Chiefs: AFC West Fear Factors PART II

This is Part II of a two part post

Part I was published yesterday, Tuesday afternoon at 4:00 PM

Today we’ll look at the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs Fear Factors

Yesterday we covered the Fear Factors for the Raiders and the Chargers

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The Denver Broncos

Players who make others around them better, also make determining the Fear Factors of those individuals more difficult. The Broncos have two such players, one on each side of the ball: Peyton Manning and Von Miller. Each of these players are near the top in the league at their positions and their presence contributes to the Broncos Fear Factors. Tally two Fear Factors.

Peyton Manning makes the whole offense better but, someone who was excellent even before Manning arrived is Demaryius Thomas. I hope you’re not about to debate this one with me because anyone who can make Tim Tebow look like a good QB has to be great. You only need to think back to the first play of overtime in Denver’s playoff game against the Steelers on January 8, 2012. Tebow may have, by some miracle, gotten Thomas the ball but, that TD catch and run was all about Demaryius Thomas. His 1,434 yards receiving in 2012 should gain him some personalized attention from opponents. Tally another Fear Factor for the Broncos.

What Peyton Manning is responsible for is… making the rest of the Broncos wide receivers into a potent scary battalion of their own.  I’m not going to debate that the Wes Welker pick-up is another Fear Factor on it’s own because Tom Brady and Bill Belichick made him into the best receiver in football. Was he that kind of receiver BEFORE he went to New England? No. So, Welker and Eric Decker and TE Joel Dreessen are formidable enough together that they should be feared as a unit. Tally one Fear Factor.

Von Miller is making the players around him better too. Of course, you could argue that his old sack-matey, Elvis Dumervil, was averaging nearly 11 sacks a season before Miller showed up. In fact, Dumervil had 17 sacks on his own in 2009. However, he’s not there now. Some will say newly signed LB Shaun Phillips from San Diego will be everything Dumervil was but, Phillips has only averaged 7.7 sacks per year over his 10 year career and now he’s 32 and likely on his last contract and legs.

With Derek Wolfe and Robert Ayers holding down the DE spots and the Broncos taking DT Sylvester Williams in the first round this year, they should have an excellent defensive line for years to come. The Broncos have gone defense, defense, defense the past three years in the first round of the draft and it looks like it’s paying off. Add LBs Wesley Woodyard, Joe Mays and Miller to the front 7 and they are formidable. Tally one Fear Factor for the Broncos front 7.

Future hall of famer CB Champ Bailey is great but, isn’t what he used to be though he’s still one of the best in the game. Add Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Rahim Moore and newly signed Quentin Jammer to this backfield and this group has a Fear Factor to it. Tally one FF.

In the return game, KR Trindon Holliday had a touchdown on a punt return and a TD on a kickoff return and will be taken as a serious threat by all teams in 2013. Tally ½ FF.

While the Kansas City Chiefs must beat the Raiders and compete with the Chargers, they will have to challenge the Broncos to stay in the playoff chase in 2013. While you can expect the Chiefs to whip the Raiders and contend with the Chargers, it will be a huge, but not insurmountable, challenge to stay in games with the Broncos, who have Fear Factors all over the field.

The Denver Broncos have 6½ FEAR FACTORS in 2013

  1. Manning
  2. Miller
  3. Thomas
  4. WR Corp
  5. D’s Front 7
  6. DBs
  7. Holliday, 1/2


If you’d like to spend some time getting over how giddy fans are about their Broncos… go to the FanSided site called, PredominantlyOrange.

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Kansas City Chiefs

With 6 Pro Bowl performers in 2012, the Kansas City Chiefs have Fear Factors all over the field too. In my book, the biggest Fear Factor for opponents is Jamaal Charles. Interviews with JC in recent weeks indicate he is more excited for a campaign to begin than ever in his career. Personal predictions of “2,000 yards possible” coupled with his new role as a receiver in space should excite even the greatest of doubter. Will Brinson thinks Jamaal Charles will stack Pro Bowls on Pro Bowls in Andy Reid’s new offense. Tally one big FF.

Dwayne Bowe, when healthy, is one of the best wide receivers in the league. Just ask him. The Bowe Show appears to be returning to stadiums near you. He is so excited by the new offense that he’s predicting leading the league in receiving. While Bowe has been working with lesser QB’s during his 6 year career, by signing his new multi-year deal this offseason he virtually has guaranteed himself of becoming the Chiefs all-time leading wideout in a about a year and a half. For the past 6 years, Bowe has been the most consistent performer on the Chiefs roster and he is the one opposing defenses scheme for… because he deserves the attention. Tally one FF.

Presently, the Chiefs have no other “individual” player to be feared on offense. Except, if you take Andy Reid’s new evolving offense and Alex Smith’s emerging ability to run that offense, you could say that opposing defenses will be… facing a fear of the unknown. Reid has brought in his own version of the West coast offense, which is based on spacing, timing and efficiency. He’s added a pistol specialist (reportedly, not only to help the offense but, the defense as well) and is exploring a wide variety of formations. Alex Smith is the perfect QB to run Reid’s offense and he’s someone that Reid has made attempts to work with in the past. While I don’t see Alex Smith as a performer to be feared… within the context of Reid’s offense, at least a ½ a Fear Factor should be given. Tally ½ a FF.

Outside linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali have something special in concert, something that most every Chiefs fan can’t wait to see and hear: two locomotives racing full speed on a collision course with a Lamborghini stuck on the tracks. As much as any Chiefs fan fears Peyton Manning, every Broncos fan fears the exact above scenario. No matter who’s getting squeezed this season, understand this, there will be squeezing. The pair had 19 sacks together last year and because the Chiefs appear to have better coverage this year, which will allow Ho-Ha more time to get to their destination, it also appears this sackers tandem will have over 25 sacks together in 2013. Tally 2 Fear Factors.

ILB Derrick Johnson made his first Pro Bowl in 2011 and followed that up with another in 2012. His pure speed, great angles and sweet smile make him a force in the middle. His 125 tackles in 2012, plus 9 career INTs, make him one of the best all-round ILBs in the game today. DJ scores a FF for the Chiefs.

Eric Berry is an excellent Safety. However, his three year career hasn’t shined a bright light on his best quite yet. He made the Pro Bowl as a rookie when he was obviously not yet fully developed. After being out for a year, his third season included an early developmental slash recovery period at the beginning of the year. In other words, we haven’t seen the top end out of Eric Berry yet… even though he’s made the Pro Bowl twice. This year, he either gets hurt again (knock on wood) or he is better than ever. Bet on the later. EB offers another big FF for the Chiefs.

While it is rare that a punter could put fear on an opponents face, Dustin Colquitt can do that. While Colquitt’s new contract, the highest for a punter in the history of the league, may scare a few GMs, it’s his kicks that make special teams coaches across the league pay attention. Coffin-corner kicks, punts placed inside the ten, boomers that seem to hang for ever and knuckleballs that are next to improbable to catch… Colquitt has it all and he did it all in 2012. Dustin led the AFC in kicks inside the 20 yard line, had a 46.8 average per punt and gained his first Pro Bowl berth. Tally ½ a FF.

The Chiefs did a lot of beating themselves in 2012. In 2013, if they can stay in games, cut down on turnovers in a big way and force some turnovers of their own, they can compete for the AFC division crown. The Fear Factors tell the story. They’re in the same league with the Broncos, who many are picking to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.

The Kansas City Chiefs have 7 FEAR FACTORS in 2013

  1. Jamaal Charles
  2. Dwayne Bowe
  3. Andy Reid and Alex Smith, ½
  4. Justin Houston
  5. Tamba Hali
  6. Derrick Johnson
  7. Eric Berry
  8. Dustin Colquitt, ½

 Now, if the Chiefs can show that they’ve filled in the holes in between their Fear Factors, then the division crown will be within reach.

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 He has not learned the lesson of life

who does not every day surmount a fear.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

What say you, Addicts? Does having the most Fear Factors make the Chiefs the best team in the division?

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  • berttheclock

    I await Andy Reid stepping before the team and saying:
    “So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is–Peyton Manning himself–nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our NFL life, leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the team itself which is essential to victory. And I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.”
    With apologies to President Franklin D Roosevelt for co-opting his first speech to the nation.

    • ladner morse

      I’m sure Roosevelt is rolling over in his grave right now.
      With laughter!

  • Gjrchief

    Brandon Flowers not even worth a half? You even comment on the improved coverage you are expecting , how do they not collectively tally a FF?

    • ladner morse

      The CB unit was a tough call. Oh, I love Brandon Flowers and believe he should have made a Pro Bowl by now but the reality is… no one in the CB unit has made a Pro Bowl. Also, when you think of opposing QBs planning for the Chiefs pass defense I don’t believe anyone… as of yet… is saying they should throw away from Flowers. It’s still a “wait and see” with this unit.

  • micah stephenson

    Dont nobody fear that weak ass P.Manning! We got somebody waaaay better. Alex Smith!!!! Lol.

    • kcpauly

      Micah, you been on fire lately…LOL :~)), good shit keep it up man
      Go Chiefs!!!!!!!!!!!

  • micah stephenson

    Andy Ried aint been wining lately and is now coaching a 2 win team and A.Smith is a bum so did you mean -1/2 for them?

    • Austin Wagner

      That’s exactly what he wrote, 1/2 point for Big Red and Smith combined… I think that is fair

      • ladner morse

        Austin… I think we all need to learn how to speak “Michanese”… like kcpauly.

    • ladner morse

      Reid and Smith appear to be a possible marriage made in heaven and the 1/2 was given to them because of the “fear of the unknown.” You could say that about a lot of “coach/QB” combos but they may not deserve it like Reid and Smith do because his skill set appears to hand crafted to fit Reid’s west coast schemes plus the incorporation of the pistol & spread make give Reid’s new offense just enough of a mystery to earn them “together” a one half a Fear Factor. You can be sure that opposing DCs will be scrambling and practicing for many different schemes when preparing to face Reid’s new KC offense.

    • Hacksaw 46

      micah, ergela zara!

  • kcpauly

    Nice right up on part 1 and part 2 Laddy, I enjoyed the columns, I hope for the best out of our team and I think the AFC West is definitely in our reach, at the very least we should be able to squeak out a wildcard..Go Chiefs!!!!!

    • ladner morse

      Yep… Wildcard is the least I’m hoping for. As I wrote about the Fear Factors I came to realize it’s a system of team evaluation that has a major flaw. Two really. Make that three.

      One… I didn’t weight the Fear Factors. For instance I give K Sebastian Janikowski a one Fear Factor and I also give QB Peyton Manning one Fear Factor. All things are NOT equal in that kind of evaluation. If there was a way to weight the FFs it would work better.

      Two… the 2012 Chiefs are a perfect example of why this system may not be able to predict success at all. All of their Pro Bowlers got a Fear Factor this year but the team obviously had so many positional holes other wise and that why they faltered with only 2 victories.

      Three… this system doesn’t account for coaching. However, there are only a couple of coaches out there who might be considered a Fear Factor… like Bill Belichick. Then again… like Peyton Manning… he’s become a terrific regular season coach… but loses in the playoffs too often now… having gone to the playoffs 7 out of the past 8 seasons and losing each time.

  • elly violette

    If you are giving the Broncos and the Chargers “Front 7″ each a Fear Factor, don’t you think the Chiefs defensive front 7 should get a FF?

    • ladner morse

      That’s a good question. The Chiefs were given three FFs to their LBs so that is better than giving one to the whole front 7. Plus, I don’t think DeVito, Poe and Jackson deserve any FFs quite yet. Denver got one for Miller then one for their group as a whole. I think that works out about right. They are good enough to be feared and respected as a unit… AND of course Miller is a force on his own.

  • FitzWilly

    I fear we are gonna have another 2-14 season
    we are not very good
    andy reid’s best days are behind him

  • jimfromkcj

    Lad, to be fair, Peyton and Miller should get a minimum of 2 FF’s a piece. Miller was only a half a sack from matching Houston and Hali’s sack totals. He also matched them in interceptions, Beat them by taking it to the house and he had 6 forced fumbles to their 1. He also had more tackles then either one of them. So he was a two man wrecking crew for the Broncos. Peyton was so superior to our QB’s last year that maybe he should get 3 FF’s. When I look at our team and start comparing them position to position the only players I see the Chief’s matching them are Jamal and Derrick. I know Flower’s has his followers, but he has a problem matching up with the taller WR’s, and I think that is why he has not been to pro bowls. He is very good, but their are bigger CB’s who are better. Looking at the Broncos, They have 3 CB’s that I would not trade for any of ours if I was picking a team.

    • Darkwolf1414

      Actually, over the years Flowers has matched up well against taller receivers. He’s only 5’9″ but his speed and vertical at the point of attack even the playing field. Not to mention he’s a hard hitter. He hasn’t made Pro Bowls because people like Champ Bailey are still getting in based on their name. Because of that CB is a tough position at which to break into the Pro Bowl.

    • ladner morse

      Jim you are absolutely right. Below in the comment section I addressed the flaw in this system… and that was weighting the FFs. The solution may be to just do as you have suggested here… give certain players multiple FFs. Especially since… as I have already done… givng Sebastian Janikowski an FF is not the same as giving Peyton Manning an FF. Manning obviously needs several FFs. He has a lot of Fear Factors and will create a load of problems for opposing DCs to plan for.