KC Chiefs: Predictions following Week 2

 

Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE

Well, Kansas City fans, at this point during the week I’m sure we’re all a little exhausted of hearing about the the Chiefs’ failure against the Rams Saturday night. The Chiefs secondary was lacking in some things (to say the least), the injured status of Kendrick Lewis and Brandon Flowers has us all concerned and Ricky Stanzi performed miserably. To boot, we all have questions pertaining to just what caused Tamba Hali’s suspension. But let’s try to brighten up here. Bowe is back, Cassel is continuing to do well in Daboll’s offense and, at the pace he’s going, Peyton Hillis is looking to be a strong candidate for Comeback Player of the Year. Further, the Chiefs are better off seeing the weakness in their D now instead of, say, the fourth preseason game; the two remaining preseason games should provide us fans with a good litmus test for what to expect from our Chiefs at the start of the regular season now that Crennel knows just what kind of adjustments need made that could hamper some of the better QBs in the league, several of which the team’ll be facing right off the bat.

Before making my predictions last week, I considered how I saw the Chiefs’ 53-man roster fleshing out and drew the following conclusions:

ST: K – 1, P – 1, LS – 1

OFF: QB – 3, RB – 4, WR – 7, OL – 8 or 7, TE – 3 or 4 (8 OL & 3 TE, or 7 OL & 4 TE)

DEF: DL – 7 or 8, LB – 8, DBs– 10 or 9 (7 DL & 10 DBs, or 8  & 9, respectively)

When considering this structure, I felt a few position group numbers were a little high, but a quick look at last year’s roster, courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference, assured me that I’m pretty well in the ballpark. And, yes, having a minimum of nine guys in the secondary and a possible ten still seems a little excessive, but when you consider that last year’s active roster, at one point or another, included Brandon Flowers, Brandon Carr, Eric Berry, Kendrick Lewis, Jalil Brown, Travis Daniels, Javier Arenas, Reshard Langford, Jon McGraw, Donald Washington & Sabby Piscitelli, I’m not too far off base. Of the nine or ten DBs I expect to make the roster, do I expect all of them to be on the active roster come game day? No; just as I don’t expect the 7th WR, 8th OL, 8th LB, or 3rd QB to be on the active roster. Remember, though it’s a 53-man roster, only a maximum of 46 players may be active on game day (up from the previous CBAs 45-man limit), which leads us to this week’s predictions:

1.  With Flowers and Lewis out for an indeterminate amount of time, Crennel will take a hard look at the DBs on roster (I know, I’m friggin’ Nostradamus, right?). Chalking up Saturday’s problems to a secondary that is “young”, “inexperienced” and lacking “maturity”, Crennel will focus mostly on filling out the roster with the more veteran players. Though some of these players’ ceilings may not be as high as some of the newer guys, their consistency and reliability in the short term will prevail over longer term, but potentially better, developmental projects. As I see it the roster will consist of : 1. Flowers; 2. Routt; 3. Berry; 4. Lewis; 5. Abram Elam; 6. Travis Daniels; 7. Jalil Brown; and, 8. Javier Arenas. This leaves one maybe two spots to take on either Jacques Reeves and a project player, or two project players, with the likely candidates being Dequan Menzie, Terrance Parks and Tysyn Hartman. Dequan Menzie may be in the same boat as Junior Hemingway; an injury plagued camp may spell practice squad, but I think the odds of that are worse than with Hemingway, and choosing Menzie and either Parks or Hartman over Reeves to fill out the bottom of the roster wouldn’t be too surprising. That being said, I could somewhat understand if Reeves was chosen to stay on roster with the other candidates being practice squad eligible. In any event I would not be shocked to see all three of Menzie, Parks & Hartman keep ties with the team, even if one or two is/are kept in the capacity of practice squad player(s). The remaining options (Fenner, Fanor, etc.) just don’t strike me as making the cut in any capacity.  That includes Donald Washington, who despite being a veteran and “more mature”, seems to me to be too costly of a save at this point.

Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

2. Stanzi will still make the roster, but as the No. 3 QB and only for the purposes of continued development. He’s just not looking that good right now, and if a playoff berth is still in the cards and push comes to shove (Cassel and Quinn are unable to play), Pioli has enough sense to make a powerplay for a much better QB. The three I could see getting the most consideration in this hypothetical situation are Matt Moore, Matt Hasselbeck and Mark Sanchez. Moore has the most (and recent) experience in a Daboll-driven offense and could slide in and understand the terminology, assignments, etc. the easiest. Hasselbeck, on top of the reasons Paddy pointed out, not only provides consistently good play, but given his age would not be perceived as a threat to Cassel. And I think Sanchez is simply better than he’s given credit for: he’s actually improved every year he’s been in the league, he has playoff wins under his belt, and given a more stable locker room and stronger supporting offensive cast, I think he would surprise. Obviously, this hypothetical scenario also takes place later in the season where Moore, Hasselbeck and Sanchez may be seen as expendable for the right price. In any case, I don’t see Stanzi taking the field if the Chiefs still have a shot at the playoffs; until he shows us significantly more than he has, I think I’d rather see Zorn suit-up and take the field.

3. Following another lackluster game performance, Josh Bellamy’s stock has dropped some, but he should still be counted as a candidate for the last WR slot (though arguments for Markshausen and, as KCMikeG pointed out, Jamar Newsome have gotten stronger). Bear in mind that a) the last WR isn’t likely to sniff the active roster, b) injury to Bowe or Baldwin will be overcome by Breaston resuming the role of the No. 2 WR, a role he held for most of his career (remember: Boldin played out of the slot in Arizona), and c) an injury to McCluster will result in Breaston, and eventually Wylie, being able to fulfill the role being carved out by Dex. If Breaston or Wylie get injured, it’ll be a blow, but likely not a humongous one. If any two of Bowe, Baldwin and Breaston get injured, the Chiefs would definitely be in trouble, but unless both of those injuries were expected to be long-term, I’d anticipate we’d see Daboll calling for more 2-TE sets until one of the guys returned.

Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

4. I’ve grown quite fond of Kendrick Lewis. As last year wore on after Berry’s injury, Lewis started to improve by leaps and bounds, and I firmly believe he is a better player now than he otherwise would’ve been at this point in his career had Berry not been injured. In the face of adversity, Kendrick rose to the occasion, and how can you not love a player capable of that? But that being said, I agree with AA’s own Lyle Graversen that the loss of Flowers is greater than the loss of Lewis. Abram Elam will provide adequate temporary replacement of Lewis until Lewis can heal up; however, one of the greatest disappointments concerning Kendrick’s injury is that the newly implemented defensive scheme of putting Lewis and Elam in at safety and letting Eric Berry roam freely and wreak havoc is in danger of not being utilized until his Lewis’ return. Enter Travis Daniels. I’ll admit, I was pretty indifferent to Travis Daniels prior to this season (didn’t love him, didn’t hate him), but since he switched to taking on safety duties, I have a little more hope in his capability to make significant contributions to the team. There are two preseason games left, and I would not be the least bit surprised to see Daniels tested harder at safety to see if he can provide suitable replacement for Lewis in the new scheme so it can start being effectively used before Lewis heals up and returns. With Tamba a certain loss in the Atlanta game, and Flowers and Lewis uncertainties as to whether or not they’ll play, Daniels being coached up enough so that the new scheme isn’t a liability may be integral to a Chiefs victory on opening day. That may be a lot of faith to put into Daniels, but a roving Berry may be the team’s best hope for a victorious pass defense without Flowers, Lewis and Hali in the mix.

Thus concludes my predictions/observations for this week, Addicts. If you disagree with anything I’ve said or proposed, or think that there’s a player I’m not giving enough credit to (or giving too much credit to, for that matter), let me hear it in the “Comments” section. And as always, Go Chiefs!!!!!

Topics: Arrowhead Addict, Brandon Flowers, Chiefs, Eric Berry, Josh Bellamy, Kansas City Chiefs, Kendrick Lewis, NFL News, Preseason Predictions, Ricky Stanzi, Tamba Hali, Travis Daniels

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  • Guest

    This is totally unrelated but

    Name

    ATT/COMP

    Yards

    Comp %

    Yrds/att

    Td

    Int

    Long

    Sack

    ratings

    P. Manning

    30/20

    221

    66.7

    7.4

    0

    3

    22

    0

    48.7

    M. Cassel

    24/18

    209

    75

    8.7

    1

    0

    29

    1

    114.8

    P. Rivers

    20/16

    146

    80

    7.3

    1

    3

    23

    2

    74.2

    C. Palmer

    30/16

    140

    53.3

    4.7

    0

    2

    18

    0

    38.2

  • Justin R Groth

    Name

    ATT/COMP

    Yards

    Comp %

    Yrds/att

    Td

    Int

    Long

    Sack

    ratings

    P. Manning

    30/20

    221

    66.7

    7.4

    0

    3

    22

    0

    48.7

    M. Cassel

    24/18

    209

    75

    8.7

    1

    0

    29

    1

    114.8

    P. Rivers

    20/16

    146

    80

    7.3

    1

    3

    23

    2

    74.2

    C. Palmer

    30/16

    140

    53.3

    4.7

    0

    2

    18

    0

    38.2

    • Justin R Groth

      Sorry i tried to post a chart that didn’t quite work. It’s unrelated but i just thought it would be nice to see that cassel is doing the best in the AFC West. I know it’s only preseason but it’s encouraging

  • KCMikeG

    Thanks. I think Newsome will make it especially if he makes the most of his touches tomorrow night. With you on the predictions with a few twist. 7OL – 3TE thanks but Maneri is a beast and I have seen enough of O’Connell – 5 RB Charles, Hillis, Draughn, Gray AND McCluster. Sure he may spend more time in the slot than at RB but you’re crazy if you don’t think Daboll will use him from there AND it allows us to keep another of our promising young WR’s with Bowe, Baldwin, Breaston, Wylie, Newsome, Bellamy and most would say Copper for ST’s but I would rather see Zeke or Horne with Hemingway on Practice Squad. In this pass heavy evolution in the NFL we will need more WR’s, pass catching TE’s and RB’s that can catch and YAC.
    Have to keep 8 DL – Jackson, Dorsey, Toribio, Poe, Powe, Gordon, Bailey, Pitoitau with Bair on PS. Like Reeves and Parks at DB also. I think it is too early to panic on back up QB. Stanzi is just coming off his 1st offseason and has never had time in our starting offense. Quinn hash’t played an active role in 3 years. I think they both will develop into their roles and I am excited to see which one takes the lead.

    • BigGil

      I think it was in the Shaun Draughn article posted this past week on the team’s official site that Carthon was quoted as saying the team was keeping only 4 backs (don’t know if that was meant as just HBs or HBs/FBs total, he didn’t specify), otherwise I’d be with you on that (and I still wouldn’t be surprised to see Dex playing at RB at some points regardless of how he’s classed). If we were to see only 7 OL instead of 8, I’d hope it be in favor of 4 TEs (running 2 TE sets but only having 3 on roster is a little gutsy) or using the free spot to keep 8 DL (since we might otherwise see a promising player or trusted contributor get taken away or cut due to necessity). Of the two practice squad eligible DLs (worth keeping), Bair is probably less likely to be poached than Powe, so I can see your point, but I’m starting to really like what I see in Bair and would be aggravated to see him taken out from under us… which is something I can also say for Powe. It’s definitely a tough call. I exaggerated a bit with Stanzi, but in a playoff contending scenario I’d still definitely prefer one of the named three (from most preferred to least: Hasselbeck, Sanchez, Moore). One thing I forgot to bring up with Hasselbeck is that some of his best years were under Zorn’s tutelage in Seattle; being reunited with Zorn would definitely be a good thing and, I think, be an option worth great consideration if Cassel were unavailable for whatever reason. Cassel’s looking great in Daboll’s offense, though, so, hopefully, being without him will be a non-issue, and activating a contingency plan will not go beyond the hypothetical.

  • Danny W

    Man I like reading you but is there any way you can increase the font size, I’m not trying to gripe, it’s not hard to read as far as entertainment goes but it is hard to read because of the font.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kyle-Waggener/1509732045 Kyle Waggener

    I would be a bit worried keeping only 7 O-linemen. We start 5 and if somebody gets hurt we only have two backup’s and we’d be in trouble. I remember a few years ago we had a rash of injuries on the O-line and were literally taking guys off the streets and starting them the next week. I’d even consider keeping 9 O-linemen. A backup G, C/G, and two Tackles. What could help 8 work out is that Jeff Allen played tackle in college and could probably play that position as well as guard in a pinch. If it were me, there’s no way I’d keep less than 8 O-linemen.

    • DoubleD

      Bear in mind that Maneri could probably play OL in a pinch. He’d need to re-add another 10 lbs or so but it’s nevertheless an option if push comes to shove. So, by keeping Maneri as a TE, you also have potential depth for OL.
      Another player that I feel merits serious consideration for the active roster (and worst case, the PC) is Josh Bellamy because not only does he possess a high ceiling as a receiver, but also because he has CB experience/potential (the position he played for Louisville). His experience as a KR and overall athleticism should also make him a good candidate for ST (gunner and/or returner) which, if I’m Pioli, Crennel, et al, could be the deciding factor on what I decide to do about Terrance Copper. Experience is certainly valuable but I can’t see why that should outweigh production, which Copper lacks (however noting mentally that the marriages with intangible-laden vets such as Vrabel and Jones lasted way longer than they should have).

  • Danny W

    If Cassel and Quinn go down I would like to see the Chiefs go after Ryan Mallet out in New England. That kid looked good last year and just as good this year. Bet we could get him for a third.
    Travis Daniels will surprise everyone if on the field. I think he can read a quarterback better than anyone on the defensive backfield on the roster. I would bet he could get 10 picks a year. I hope we keep Powe on the D line and go with some three nose tackle sets (Poe, ToeRib, Powe), now tell me that wouldn’t set some linebackers free? Lets go ahead and start for preparing for life after Dorsey.

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