Hop On Board The R&D Express, Destination Kansas City Chiefs

1 Feature From The Bleachers

If you haven’t hopped on board the R&D Express (the Reid & Dorsey Rapid Transit) by now then you may want to purchase your tickets asap. Otherwise, you may miss out on the fastest change-train in the history of the Kansas City Chiefs organization.

1 Article quoteIf you’ve ever been railroaded, then you know it’s not necessarily a pleasant experience. Well, this is not that at all. This… is more like a bandwagon on Red Bull but, it’s one you want to be on because it’s moving so fast that… to quote Ferris Bueller,  “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. “

Well, if you don’t keep an eye on the R&D Express you could miss that too.

Head Coach Andy Reid and General Manager John Dorsey have been busy since they arrived in Kansas City in the first month of last year. Busy replacing players. I’ve heard of GMs and head coaches wanting to put their stamp on a team but R&D are doing it at light speed.

You’ve heard of the “Tramp Stamp”. . . well this is the “Revamp Stamp.”

Two summers ago, of the 90 players the Chiefs had in camp, there are only 15 still on the roster.

1 LIST of those remaining since 2012

52 (weeks = 1 year) + 24 (weeks = approximately ½ year) = 76 weeks (through the week of Brandon Flowers release).

90 (summer camp players) minus 15 (players listed above) = 75 (newbies).

Given that John Dorsey wasn’t hired until the 13th of January in 2013 and Brandon Flowers was released on June 12th… that’s actually 17 months and not 18 (74 weeks, not 78- which is a full year and a half).

So, R&D have averaged one player per week turnover.

I’d call that full throttle.

In the past 17 months Andy Reid and John Dorsey have indeed taken hold of the throttle. If you add up the 12 starters on offense (including the FB and the slot receiver as starters), the 11 starters on defense, and the four starters on special team, it gives the Chiefs 27 starters total. Of the 27 starters who were here two years ago, only 10 remain.

10 starters remain from a 2-14 team. That’s probably best.

Of the 12 offensive starters from 2012, only 3 remain who probably will be starters in 2014. See below.

1 2012 Reaining Offensive Players

Of the 11 defensive starters from 2012, only 5 remain who most likely will be starters in 2014. See below.

1 2012 Remaining Defensive Players

You may recall that the Chiefs started out the 2012 season with Stanford Routt (who lasted 7 games) as their corner opposite Brandon Flowers because CB Brandon Carr signed a 50 million dollar contract with the Dallas Cowboys who he always dreamed of playing for. Ultimately, Routt was ineffective and ousted and so the position was covered between Travis Daniels and Jalil Brown the rest of the way, obviously with little success (25th in the league in points allowed  passing).

The defensive front line of Dorsey, Poe and Jackson represents three high first round selections for the Chiefs from 2008 to 2012. Both Dorsey and Jackson didn’t work out. Dorsey was mostly misused and Jackson never lived up to his draft position which ex-GM Scott Pioli will never be able to justify no matter how many teams he signs and re-signs him to.

Of the 4 special teams starters from 2012, only 2 remain who may be starters in 2014. See below.

1 2012 Remaining Special Teams Players

Out of all the possible remaining starters only two have not been to the Pro Bowl: Ryan Succop and Jeff Allen. Both or either may not make the Chiefs roster come September 1st. Jeff Allen has a better chance of sticking this year than Succop. R&D have proven… they like their own guys.

Seven out of the nine remaining players have made the Pro Bowl. That’s a good way to start a team… keep all the Pro Bowlers and get rid of the rest.

In fact, R&D have even gotten rid of three Pro Bowlers (or allowed them to walk): Branden Albert, Dexter McCluster and now Brandon Flowers.

~ Since 2012, no starters on the offensive line are left except for Jeff Allen.

~ On the defensive line everyone is gone except Dontari Poe.

~ In the defensive backfield the only one left if Eric Berry.

~ That’s a high volume of turnover in less than a year and a half.

Sooner or later someone’s going to ask if it has been best for the organization to throw momma from the train because that’s a “lottle” (it’s like a little but, a lot) bit what it feels like. Fans often grow an appreciation for many players who give everything they’ve got to their team and city for years at a time only to have them seemingly, “thrown from the train” without a good explanation*. Well, at least an explanation that satisfies the heart.

* Andy Reid went on WHB 810 radio on Monday and explained that the release of Flowers was based on “the fit… the salary cap… and a lot of other issues” which he wouldn’t go into.

On Monday, AA’s Lyle Graversen posted a piece called, “A Look At The Kansas City Chiefs Cornerbacks Without Brandon Flowers” in which he stated,

“It’s disappointing because pass coverage was already an area of concern for the Chiefs after their playoff collapse against the Colts and now they have released their most accomplished cornerback.

It’s understandable because the Chiefs were strapped for salary cap space with a couple of key players that they plan on building around in need of new contracts and Flowers had a big cap number… [and] Flowers was coming off arguably the worst season of his career“

Following his analysis of who the Chiefs have that might replace Flowers, Graversen goes on to say,

“…it could be a long season in coverage for the Kansas City Chiefs. This is part of the reason that the defensive back position is one that I will be keeping a close eye on when training camp gets started next month.”

There’s just no balancing out the need the Chiefs have for signing other… more important…  players than Brandon Flowers. Signing your quarterback and your top rush linebacker carries oh so much more weight than retaining a CB who could be past his prime. That’s the reason the Chiefs have drafted the way they did. Marcus Cooper and Philip Gaines may not be better than Flowers immediately but in the long run the Chiefs should be better off.

What about the other starters that the Chiefs have allowed to go… released?

Branden Albert just made the Pro Bowl. He’s worked hard to get there. That’s exactly why the Chiefs couldn’t afford him. They just ran out of options as far as Albert goes.

How about Dexter McCluster? There goes another Pro Bowler. Sportrac.com reports that,

“Dexter McCluster signed a 3 year / $9 million contract with the Tennessee Titans, including a $3,000,000 signing bonus, $7,350,000 guaranteed, and an annual average salary of $3,000,000.”

R&D apparently had a plan for replacing DEX with DAT. De’Anthony Thomas’ contract has him scheduled to make $2,640,108 over the next four years. That’s approximately 4 million per year (DEX) vs. $666,000 per year (DAT). Furthermore, I expect more out of Thomas than I ever did DEX.

While it would have been great to retain Geoff Schwartz the Chiefs utilization of Schwartz only ended up pricing him out of their own price range.

This is where some trust in Andy Reid comes in to play because he has a long track record of taking and making offensive linemen into stellar run and pass blockers. He may be a superior coach here than he is a QB Einstein.

Those are the players who make it hard to see them falling off the train. I’m glad to see Glenn Dorsey go to San Francisco and do well. Tyson Jackson was never good enough to justify the pick ex-GM Scott Pioli made him. Kendrick Lewis was bad before last season started and it’s hard not to believe R&D didn’t have his ticket already punched for the end of the season long before the end of the season arrived. To me, Lewis approached the same level of incompetence that Barry Richardson showed us for years. Ole’! Jeff Allen beware.

Feelings about these players aside… the most tangible reason the Chiefs have had all this turnover is… nothing makes a “star player” like winning. Last offseason Chiefs fans were still living in the aftershock of the 2-14 earthquake season that was 2012. Brandon Flowers, Branden Albert and Dexter McCluster weren’t “Pro Bowl” performers back then. Reid comes to town, ushers in a new and productive offensive system… and a train load of new players… the team goes 11–5 and suddenly many of these same players look like world beaters.

And now… I have the feeling engineers Reid and Dorsey are just getting started and if you listen closely you can here that sound coming from a distance, “I think I did, I think I did.

How about you Addict fans? Are you at all shaken by the speed of the R&D Express or are you already on-board?

 ~ ~ ~

P.S. Here’s my own personal goodbye song dedicated to Brandon Flowers.

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Tags: Kansas City Chiefs

  • Jim Wynne

    I’m riding that train high on Dorsey and Reid Caine they know what their doing sit back and enjoy the ride

  • berttheclock

    When, the Seahawks won the Super Bowl at the beginning of 2014, there were only three players from the roster of 2010 when both Schneider and Carroll took control.

    However, I noticed the Chiefs only have 89 players on their current roster. So, I wonder who Dorsey is looking for to fill the roster to 90?

    • ladner morse

      I think Dorsey will keep the roster at 87 to 89 as long as he can because I fully expect him to pick up some key players because of how good this draft was and because with each team keeping the younger players from this draft other older players (or players from this draft) will be displaced and released. I think there will be so many of those cuts that their will be ton of available good players on the street this fall.

      • mnelson52

        I think he is saving room for corner and WR…. Not knowing how things are going with Houston, he could be saving room for another pass rusher although I hope that isn’t the case.

  • berttheclock

    All aboard. Reid is the Hoghead and Dorsey his stellar conductor.

    • ladner morse

      I should have gotten a picture of the Hogwarts Train.

  • Stacy D. Smith

    Good work, Ladner! The question here is whether or not Dorsey can replace productive players from previous regimes. He inherited a talented core of players. Several of them will be lost to age or cap-prohibitive contract numbers over the next few years. How well he’ll be able to backfill that talent will be key to how long he can stay in Hunt’s good graces.

    • ladner morse

      Thanks Reach… the changes that they have made has also made the Chiefs roster a lot deeper for sure.

      • Stacy D. Smith

        Agreed. We’ll see how much of that depth can move into starting roles and be productive. One of those players is already a work in progress with Cooper. How he plays in year two will be key both for the front office and the team.

        • ladner morse

          If… if… if… for some crazy reason Houston or Bowe can’t go… then I think R&D have done the right thing by drafting OLB Ford #1.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            I tend to agree.

  • berttheclock

    When R&D took over, the Chiefs were more akin to the old California Limited of the golden days of the AT&SF Railroad. They, quickly, turned the Chiefs into the El Capitain, the all luxury streamline chair car Santa Fe train which ran from Chicago to the coast and roared down the main line through Argentine and Turner. Now, they are working to put together the Super Bowl Chiefs, on par with the great Super Chief of yore.

    • Michael Shaw

      Wow bert what the heck are you…….an encyclopedia!! :)

      • berttheclock

        Hey, I was the 13th member of my family to work for the railroad. My dad was a long time conductor for Santa Fe and I was a fireman for them just out of high school, worked in the Argentine yards and diesel shop and paid a great deal of my way through KU working for them. Railroading was just something that gets into your blood.

        • jimfromkcj

          Well surprise surprise, another poster with railroad background. I hired on the old CB&Q in Dec of 1957. After 3 mergers, I retired from the BNSF on Dec 1, 1999. Loved every minute of it. I worked as a switchforeman and as a conductor and yardmaster. had two sons who also worked on the railroad, One still works there and will retire in a couple more years.

    • mnelson52

      I think the picture looks more like Soul Train with a lighter tint.

      • ladner morse

        It’s supposed to be a “Coal Train” not a Soul Train. :)

    • ladner morse

      Bert, my uncle worked for the railroad too. Do you happen to have a train collection?

      • berttheclock

        No, but, I did have a Lionel set as a kid. But, my biggest miss was in ’71 when friends decided to emigrate to New Zealand and offered me their great Marklin West German set. I passed to my regret.

  • Reggie Flenory

    Im down let just hope the schedule doesnt de rail us

  • mnelson52

    Good article Laddie. The thing that is really sad though is, all the hours put in to make these guys some of the best in the league. Then when they become good, and want their payday, you can only afford to pay about 10% of them because of cap space, and then they come back with another team and give us a hard time. The only way around that, would be no cap, but that would ruin the NFL. The small market teams couldn’t afford good players. One good example (although in the opposite direction) would be A. Smith giving the Niners all they want this year, win or lose. When Poe wants his payday, I would hate to see him line up against us. On another note, the one thing that bothers me about releasing Flowers is, even though Dorsey is good at evaluating players, he has not proved he is good at the back end of the defense. I think keeping Lewis last year was a mistake. Hiring Robinson was a mistake. Smith may turn out to be OK at corner, but even though he is bigger and aggressive at the line, in 2012, the year before Dorsey got him, He allowed more TDs in coverage than any other corner in the NFL. All that makes me nervous about what we may have in our defense. Sorry, I guess I got off subject a little.

    • berttheclock

      That’s OK. Laddie will send out the wrecker and the section gang to get you back on the rails.

      • mnelson52

        I meant to say off track, not off subject…

    • ladner morse

      Keeping Poe and players like him… it’s an interesting topic and I think the league could remedy the situation by giving teams a greater ability to keep the players they have developed (or drafted) for four years or longer by allowing them to match whatever another team has offered while NOT having it count against their own individual cap. It still becomes a race between owners who want to stay fiscally responsible and those who are willing to pull out all the stops but I’m sure they could come up with a metric for how much any free agent player could be offered much like they have regulated what rookies will be paid. Another big plus would be the return of player/team loyalty: players who can play out their whole careers with one team (while not having to take a personal financial hit by doing so).

      • mnelson52

        I definitely don’t have the answer, but if you have the best coaches for developing players, it seems wrong to have to send them away to play against you. The PA would would never go for it, but it wouldn’t be a bad Idea to start working toward putting a cap on each position that would fit within the total cap. Then maybe give some kind of bonuses based on performance for each year. That would keep most players from wanting to leave their respective teams.

        • ladner morse

          Yea… there should be some kind of “investment” consideration for teams without taking away the rights of players to capitalize on their own progress by getting the best contract possible. Maybe they could keep the 4 year contract stipulation for rookies but add a 6 year stipulation for keeping that player if the team so chooses while still allowing that player to shop their worth yet offer the original team the chance to keep them if they choose… without a cap hit.

          I know it’s doable… and I think it’s for the betterment of the league… and the players don’t have to feel like they are losing out if they are able to max the amount they can get. So, the only aspect that changes is the player has to wait 6 years to move to another team… unless the team decides it’s in there best interest to cut ties.

          It’s a problem for the league because the way I’ve come to view teams (including the Chiefs after writing this post) is that the whole league is transient. In reality there are very few core players for each team that remain that team’s identity. Not so in decades past. Now… it’s just a few good players during one half of a decade and a few good OTHER players in the next half of a decade. It makes it much harder for fans to feel a connection with a team that is long lasting.

          The owners have their rights.

          The players have their rights.

          The only group here without “rights” are the fans… who happen to be footing the bill.

          And that’s not right.

          After all, the game of football doesn’t “belong” to the owners… they’re just holding it hostage.

          • mnelson52

            I 100% agree Mr. Morse.

      • Stan Colbert

        I think the union probably likes the mobility of the situation. Another thing to keep in mind the great number of player releases went to teams that were not as good and paying big contracts may impede their ability to catch up. San Fran. seems to be able to year after year remain the top talent level team.
        If Reid, Dorsey & Sutton are the pros we think they are we could be in for quite a ride!

      • jimfromkcj

        With the salary cap, it is even more important to draft players who can play at a high level. Drafting dogs or marginal players is how we got to where we are. The teams who get viable players in the 5th, 6th and 7th rds will be the top teams in the future.

        • ladner morse

          Yea, it almost looks like… if you don’t draft really good players i all rounds and then take full advantage of their potential within the first fours years of their stay with your team… then there’s no way you can win a Super Bowl. Not even if you have a Peyton Manning.

          • scomstock55

            sounds great…but nearly impossible to hit on all draft picks…

  • Gonzo in OC

    Long time so Cal chiefs fan, first time poster here. The Op nailed it with this post. So much so, that I felt I needed to say that was good work and reading for a fan,…………. fan.

    • ladner morse

      Thanks Gonzo! What part of SoCal are you from? I’m originally from the Pomona Valley area… grew up there.

      • Gonzo in OC

        Oh, oh. Born n raised in Tustin but living in Costa Mesa with wife that was born n raised here. CM gf you say?

        I’m a chiefs fan back to 88 and the Mrs since 89. We’re headed to arrowhead for the first time when Detroit heads in to town. Detroit is my favorite NFC team since 88 as well.

        As a free agent fan, what can I say, I really know how to pick em aye? Ha

        The immediate future looks bright at least.

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  • jimfromkcj

    Laddie, anything that retards a level playing field should not be considered. Giving a team extra consideration because they lose players that they don’t want to pay is ludicrous. With the salary cap, the playing field is even as it can be. It is up to the teams themselves to get people in management to keep their team competitive. We don’t seem to be able to find the right people who can manage the cap and keep the players coming in via the draft. We also have been terrible in the draft for what seems forever. Too many fizzles in the first three rounds where most starters are picked and just forget the last 4 rounds as they seem to be meaningless as far as the Chiefs are concerned. If we hit on any of them it is pure luck.

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