It’s time again to play… Would You? Could You?
Like any other fan in the Addict, I dream dreams for the Chiefs of uber-superstar acquisitions, multiple Hall of Fame draft classes and decidedly dominating dynasties… among other dreams that I shouldn’t get into here.
Yes, I have spent a lot of time in the land of “what if?” Like, I used to think about… what if the Chiefs hadn’t drafted Mike Cloud… they could have had Joey Porter. Instead of Sylvester Morris… they could have had Laveranues Coles. And, instead of Eric Downing… they could have had T.J. Houshmandzadeh. I know, I know… that was a dark period in my dream life.
Now, my “what-iffing” is all about the Chiefs’ future. So, let’s play…
Would You? Could You?
After the game, Clark Hunt said, “There’s something about having the opportunity to make the playoffs and seizing it, and I was proud of the way the guys did it today.” This was the game when it seemed like every time Jamaal Charles touched the ball… he scored! Why, because he scored 5 TDs that day. 5 TDs. I can’t wait until the day when the Chiefs turn their Raider killing energy towards their play-off opponents and begin to rule the postseason. However, for me, there’s just not a sweeter feeling… from the moment I pull on a Chiefs jersey to the moments I’ve walked into Arrowhead stadium… than the feeling of beating the Raiders and a 56-31 win hit that spot! Do you have a “sweetest moment” of this past season?
Missouri product Jeremy Maclin has been a star in this league at WR and since he came into the league in 2009 he’s averaged 836 yards a year even though he didn’t play at all last season because of a torn ACL. The Chiefs would never offer Maclin a contract unless he passed their physical but an ACL is still an ACL and the Chiefs may be better off looking for their impact WR in the draft because this draft is loaded with quality WRs. If the Chiefs offer Maclin a contract it’s going to mean they aren’t going to be able to take action on any other impact players in free agency because Maclin will not come cheaply. While John Dorsey made so many good moves last offseason, the way he handles navigating financial waters this offseason will tell the whole story as to the Chiefs success during the 2014 season. Jeremy Maclin may be the perfect compliment to Dwayne Bowe and he may be a perfect fit for Andy Reid’s system, hitting the ground running but, he’s not the best financial fit so I’m not in favor of going after him.
While I really have a distaste for “sore-winners,” which seem to permeate most of the teams in the NFL right now, if that bad attitude is what it takes to get the Chiefs to a Super Bowl Championship game… I say… forget about it. I’ve spent my life teaching children and a good deal of that, while academic, is helping our young minds to understand… socially appropriate behavior. Yesterday, while driving home from school (work) I had the “good misfortune” (there’s no other way to say it) of hearing young children imitate the interview between Erin Andrews and Richard Sherman. While disgusting… I offer it below to show just what a negative influence a sports figure’s uncontrolled impulsivity can be. And shame on the person who thought it would be funny to teach this to young kids and then glorify it by YouTubing it!
It’s been suggested before to take Poe and move him outside to DE. At least for some of the game. However, to do that the Chiefs would have to solve the NT position all over again. I recently watched film on a player named Aaron Donald from Pitt plus, he’s having a great week at the Senior Bowl and if you can tune into the game today at 3:00 on the NFL Network channel I’m sure you’ll catch him there. DraftTek.com ranks him 53rd overall but, CBSSports has him at #20 and I’ve heard it suggested that he could make his way into the top ten. He’s short at 6-1, 288 but I don’t know if I’ve ever seen any prospect handle the player in front of him and move past him to get into the backfield as well as Donald. Yes, he’s been criticized for being short and not being able to stand tall and knock passes down but if he (or another player like him) can provide that push up the middle consistently, then other teams would be forced to double-team Dontari Poe on one side of the field opening the door for either Tamba Hali or Justin Houston because teams have been able to double Poe on the inside and then double Hali or Houston outside. The Tyson Jackson-Mike DeVito pairing at DE have never provided that kind of push so finding a player who can get into the backfield up the middle will cause all sorts of problems for the Chiefs opponents. If the Chiefs can make that happen, whoever the Chiefs get to play CB in coverage are going to look a lot better. In this highlight video of Aaron Donald, be sure not to miss him tackling both the QB and the RB at the same time (about 50 seconds in). One last word on Aaron Donald. I’ve never seen a defensive lineman take better angles to the quarterback and he has the supreme ability to control his body to swing around, change direction and not lose any speed doing so. When he breaks free from the offensive blockers his acceleration is amazing (4.82 40 yard dash).
For reasons listed above, the Chiefs need to fix their defensive line first and foremost this offseason. That may mean they use their first round pick in the NFL draft to accomplish that task. However, if the Chiefs try to go cheap and use free agency they could end up with Cedric Thornton from the Eagles. Thornton is only 26 years old but is a huge (6-4, 310) run-stuffing DE/DT who can play inside or out. I wouldn’t expect him to outperform incumbent Tyson Jackson, who is still a possibility to return, but only if the Chiefs can sign him to a much reduced contract. I’m convinced the defensive line is the first unit to fix on the whole roster and following is the priority list, as I see it, for the whole defense:
A) DL unit
B) DB unit
C) LB corp
The next position player that needs to be addressed is Free Safety. A Free Safety with exceptional cover skills will change a lot about the Chiefs defense but until the Chiefs can get their defensive line shored up with a new player who can be a disruptive force in the opponents backfield, then settling on a new Free Safety, no matter how good he is, won’t make much of a difference.
There’s a Bob Sutton connection from Sutton’s days with the New York Jets and Cromartie would probably come cheap. He turns 30 in April and only had a base salary of $840,000 in 2013 but, if he’s wanting big payday he would definitely not be worth it. However, Cromartie is the larger CB type the Chiefs seem to be coveting these days at 6-2 and 210 pounds. Antonio Cromartie would also be one of those players who would come in and not have to struggle learning the defensive playbook and could take over the leadership role, should the Chiefs choose to cut ties with Dunta Robinson, which I’m hoping they do asap.
Be truthful now… did you ever want him back then? Of course it makes no difference now… except to say, some of us had good judgement back then… but it’s time to stand up and be counted! Well, I wanted Foles when he came out of college and if you think Andy Reid, who drafted Foles, is surprised that Foles is doing so well, then you might want to consult the North going… or the South going… Zax. Either one.
I have them ranked like this, in terms of their poor performance and their importance to the team:
1. DBs, 2. WRs unit, 3. TE unit, 4. LBs unit, 5. Punters/kickers unit
Yes, the defense started out great this year but the descending play of Brandon Flowers and 25th ranked passing defense overall makes this unit the least improved and most disappointing on the Chiefs roster. Next, WRs had no one step up next to Dwayne Bowe and Bowe had an off season. DL, WR and Safety are the greatest needs as I see it and unless the Chiefs get another WR that can make his own move to get open, then the offense is going nowhere in 2014. The next position player who could help the Chiefs move forward in 2014 but didn’t in 2013, is the TE position group. Obviously, Anthony Fasano must play up to his potential and 2013 third round selection TE Travis Kelce must stay on the field, stay off the IR and make good on his contract before the Chiefs offense is going to improve in 2014. The Chiefs linebacking corp stayed basically the same. Akeem Jordan was not a step up and may be replaced this offseason. Punters and Kickers remained as advertised: excellent… but not big improvements none the less.
I have them ranked like this, as the “most improved units” based upon their performance and their importance to the team in 2013:
1. QB unit, 2. OL unit, 3. DL unit, 4. Kick return unit., 5. RBs unit
Adding Alex Smith was “the one” biggest positive improvement on the Chiefs roster this season. I know some will argue this… but their arguments seem to be based on old facts and figures and those making that claim seem unwilling to be persuaded by the performance of Alex Smith this season. After all, he is in the Pro Bowl. BTW… I count myself as one of those who started out as a non-Alex Smith supporter who became persuaded as time has passed this year. I hope other fans come along as well because offseason conversations about using any resources in getting another QB are misinformed and misplaced. The offensive line started out slowly but became an important force in guiding the Chiefs late in the season. Now, even if Pro Bowl LT Branden Albert does leave via free agency, which most expect him to do, the other available OL are strong enough to deal with such a loss. When Glenn Dorsey was replaced by Mike DeVito and Dontari Poe improved by leaps and bounds and Tyson Jackson had his best season, the defensive line became a strong point for the defense. Special teams coach deserved every penny the Chiefs paid him this year and the return unit has become a top ten unit in the NFL. The late season play of Knile Davis and the excellent year that Jamaal Charles had places the RB unit on the improved list of units for the Chiefs this year.
So Addict fans, would you, could you, disagree with me? Naw, I didn’t think so.