It’s that time of year – the time of year when there’s not really much to talk about in football, but we’re all the more starved for content about it. This is the time of year when sports commentators, myself included, spout mostly hypothetical nonsense and rehash the same offseason moves over and over.
Lucky for the Chiefs, there are no big celebrity players on our squad, but that doesn’t mean we are not going to be bombarded by “news” pieces about Tebow’s new pair of shoes or Tony Romo’s Caribbean vacation. Speaking for myself, I’m also too young to care about the Hall of Fame and too much of a cynic to care much about NFL players’ personal charities and community outreach. They all do it, it’s all heart-warming and we never really find out if any actually does any good. Part of the quid pro quo between sports reporters and players is that the reporters will hype players’ charities in the offseason and whenever else possible, and those players give good anonymous trash talk about their fellow players and coaches (especially if the target is Mark Sanchez).
So, although the fact that you are reading this means that you, like me, are still going to be inhaling ever bit of Chiefs news this offseason regardless of how useless it is, I’m going to give you a primer for articles to avoid (including those written by me).
These are the top stories you’ll be plenty sick of by the time real football starts up again.
1.) Any story with a headline ending in a question mark.
As a journalist by trade, this has always been one of my pet peeves. Generally, any headline ending in a question mark is shorthand for “filler article.” If the central thesis of the piece is so flimsy to scrutiny that you can’t even write it without a typographic shrug, then why are you writing it in the first place?
2.) Can Matt Cassel take this team to greatness?
Will it rain October 13, 2017? No one knows. This, of course, is why the question never goes away. Every Chiefs fan knows the score. Cassel has given us one and a half bad seasons, one good season and performed well for another team that was probably the best in the league at the time. The overall roster around Cassel is better this year. Everyone knows this is Cassel’s make or break season in KC.
But, Cassel is also well-respected in the locker room, which means that unless he undergoes a major personality change or a sudden and inexplicable drop in his athletic ability this summer, we are going to hear nothing but positive reviews about him coming out of Arrowhead. Therefore, we will have no more real evidence in this discussion until preseason begins in August. Lyle put together a great historical comparison of Cassel to other quarterbacks in similar situations, which makes the most positive fact-based case I’ve seen for Cassel thus far. But, even then, it relies on how other players performed. Every player is different. And, given how the goings-on at Arrowhead are more guarded than nuclear secrets, my bet is we will learn exactly zilch about Cassel’s ability in the next 16 weeks.
3.) Will Charles and Moeaki bounce back from injuries?
Will it rain October 14, 2017? This is also a subject on which we are likely to hear nothing but manically positive news until the preseason begins (which they likely won’t play in anyway). Coaches, agents and the players themselves are never going to come out and say, “Yeah, I’m really behind schedule on my recovery,” or “Yeah, I definitely don’t have professional speed anymore.”
There are only three things we need concern ourselves with on this subject – 1.) Neither have shown lasting or degrading effects from previous injuries 2.) Because they were injured so early last year, they are well within the recovery times for ACL tears to be able to come back full strength by opening day and 3.) This time around at least, we have the depth at their positions to overcome their absence.
4.) Will Dontari Poe live up to his physical potential?
Ask me in three years. Seriously. This guy is a major project, and unless he learns his position in record time and stuns the pants off the coaches, he will probably be a rotational player throughout the 2012 season. As much as we have all whined about the success rate of Chiefs first-round DTs, Glenn Dorsey has quietly developed into a top run stuffer and Tyson Jackson has shown the willingness to trim his salary down to something more accurately representing his production. Thanks to the CBA, Poe’s contract won’t kill us at least, and if he is among the 50 percent of first-round-picks that bust, we will march on.
There is only one thing we can be certain about with Dontari Poe – we won’t know how good he is this year, and probably not next year either. Even if he has a great season, he’ll likely regress or at least face a sophomore slump.
5.) Will Bowe get extended?
This is the only one of the five above that I think is actually a legitimate discussion to be had. If Bowe wants Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson money, do we keep him? We’re paying him less than $10 million this year with the franchise tag, but if he wants a long-term deal with an annual salary in the teens, then the decision is less obvious. At the same time, don’t expect this to get done until midway through the season at the earliest. The two biggest factors in whether or not Bowe gets a deal are going to be the offense’s overall production with or without him, and the development of Jonathan Baldwin. If Baldwin has a breakout season and shows the ability of being a #1 receiver (which I think is highly unlikely, this season anyway) then I bet Pioli allows Bowe to test the market. If the Chiefs are tearing up the league and appear playoff-bound halfway through the year, the front office might feel like it makes sense to try and lock up Bowe early, because his value will only increase once he’s making clutch catches in post-season games.
Still, with so many variables and the fact that Bowe has already said that he will not hold out through training camp, this question is both unanswerable and somewhat irrelevant at this point. However, that does not mean we won’t be hearing about it. We are going to hear a lot about Bowe and the contract negotiations in the coming months but I’ll eat a shoe if they actually sign anything before the season begins. Mark my words.
So, that’s what I anticipate I’ll be sick of hearing about by the time we actually see some football played. Am I missing anything?