I don’t know about the rest of you, but this past week has done wonders for my mental health.
Although we still have to get through the rest of free agency, the Draft and training camp, it is quite clear that the Chiefs team that takes the field in September will be the best in years. In terms of balance on both offense and defense, it may be the best we’ve had since the 1990’s.
Of all the myriad moves the Chiefs made in the past week, nearly all seemed to have two things in common: 1.) The players cited the winning credibility of our head coach as one of the major factors in them signing for KC (when was the last time we heard that?) and 2.) (In part because of point #1,) the team got good value with each of its pickups.
On the second point, there were only two players some commentators believe the Chiefs overpaid for: TE Anthony Fasano (4 years, $16 million) and QB Chase Daniel (3 years, $10 million). I disagree in both cases.
Line up this guy’s stats next to literally any player that has caught a ball for the Chiefs in the last five years. He’s averaged 4.6 touchdowns per season since joining the Dolphins in 2008. The only Chief that comes close to that is WR Dwayne Bowe with 6.8, but take away his insane 15-TD 2010 season and his average is 4.75 – pretty much the same as Fasano. By the way, Bowe’s deal averages to over $10 million per year, Fasano’s — $4 million.
What’s that? Only crap quarterbacks were throwing to Bowe the last five years? Well, here’s a list of the guys that have been throwing to Fasano since 2008: Chad Pennington, Chad Henne, Tyler Thigpen, Matt Moore, Ryan Tannehill. The only time Fasano has played with a quarterback that posted a QBR ranked in the top 15 in the league was in his first year with Pennington, who turned in a 74.6 rating that year.
That year, Fasano averaged 13.4 yards per reception and racked up 7 TD’s. Just a reminder: Alex Smith’s QBR last year was 70.1. Moeaki certainly has potential, but he’s only gotten into the end zone four times for us in his NFL career.
Obviously, there is very little tape on Daniel, but the Chiefs got the market rate for him.
I understand a lot of Chiefs fans are skeptical because pretty much the only people who have seen Daniel play in an NFL uniform are Saints and Redskins fans. Luckily for you, I went to college in Washington, DC, and I was still following the Redskins in 2009 when Daniel entered the league. An undrafted free agent pickup by the ‘Skins, he outplayed every QB on the roster that preseason, ending with a QB rating of 110.6. But, the regime decided to stick with QB’s Todd Collins, Colt Brennan and Jason Campbell when the season started because they’d already wasted draft picks on two of them and they trusted old man Collins as a safer backup option.
Daniel’s spot on Washington’s practice squad wasn’t even warm before New Orleans snatched him by offering him a roster spot, seeing a little of Drew Brees in him. Here’s how his preseasons with the Saints have gone since:
2010: 31/48 (64.5%), 369 yards (11.9 average), 4 TD, 3 INT, RAT: 78.1
2011: 28/53 (52.8%), 447 yards (15.9 average), 3 TD, 1 INT, RAT: 91.3
2012: 46/64 (71.8%), 538 yards (11.7 average), 4 TD, 2 INT, RAT: 98.7
Of course, it’s always difficult to judge players – especially quarterbacks – based on preseason play. On one hand, they’re throwing against mostly backup defensive backs, but they’re also playing with a hodge-podge of offensive linemen and receivers, most of whom haven’t played with each other before and won’t be on the team by the time the regular season begins. In the end, there are reasons why the chaotic qualities of playing in the second half of preseason games can go both for and against QB’s.
What we can gleam from these stats is that Chase Daniel has proven he can be an efficient quarterback and he is progressing. The only lull in his progress towards very high-efficiency throwing was in 2011 when he was obviously trying more deep passes, accumulating a 15.9 yards-per-completion average.
It is also telling that he was able to work his way up from undrafted free agent to second-string quarterback on the New Orleans freakin’ Saints, whose offense requires both smarts and a guy you trust to throw the ball 50 times a game sometimes.
But, don’t take my word for it.
Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. wrote in an ESPN Insider article this week: “Daniel was one of my favorites among this year’s free-agent quarterbacks, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the former University of Missouri QB makes an impact on his new team. He, too, is efficient, gets the ball out quickly and is accurate with his ball placement. Plus, hanging in the New Orleans Saints’ quarterback meeting room over the past few years couldn’t have been be a bad thing. He might just challenge Smith for the starting role. It’s safe to say that not only will Kansas City be improved at quarterback, but more importantly, the number of turnovers and mistakes generated from this position will be dramatically decreased from a year ago. That in itself should dramatically improve the Chiefs’ chances of generating more wins.”
Bottom line: The Chiefs got a 26-year-old backup quarterback with upside and Reid thinks he’s a fit for the system. Good signing.
The Chiefs made plenty of other good signings and check out Stacey’s post for a full list and AA’s coverage throughout the week for breakdowns of every player.
The wave of acquisitions has given the Chiefs an all-around stronger roster. We no longer have any gaping holes. In the Draft, we can essentially do whatever we want, which is the strongest possible position.
I, for one, am giddy again, and I haven’t felt that for this team in a good long while.