Operation Back Off Me, Homes; or, Let the Team be a Team


As I mentioned yesterday, it’s time for the Chiefs to focus. Here’s what they need, aside from Ws, in order to accomplish this goal.

Help from the media: As in knock off all of the still-non-existent, hogwash prognostications that Larry Johnson will hold out for a larger-than-L.T. contract. Sure. It could happen. If LJ and his agent follow the trends most athlete/representative duos have in recent years, it very well might. But right now, it’s not news. It’s a reporter’s job to cover the news, not make it.

Johnson told The Kansas City Star several months ago that he wasn’t interested in becoming the richest player in the league; he’s more interested in winning. If last year’s playoff appearance — it barely achieved that status — was the result of a rebuilding year, let’s be optimistic that the upcoming season won’t be another.

Fact is, the Chiefs have many of the necessary parts in place to make a run in 2007. Easy. A run at the division title. That’s what Head Coach Herm Edwards wants to prioritize. And I like that. There’s no need to set lofty goals until an attainable one is in sight. Let’s have a look at the team now that the quarterback scenario has shifted from FEMA-level disaster to neighborhood-watch status.

The D: Any layman could’ve come in and improved the it. Edwards has done so, and then some. The ’07 defensive side of the Chiefs will continue to show strides. Patrick Surtain and Ty “I-only-show-up-in-the-playoffs” Law will actually produce noteworthy numbers, and our young safeties Bernard Pollard and Jarrad Page will have breakout seasons. Our linebacking core is tight, too. As much as the departure of Kawika Mitchell infuriated me, the trio of Derrick Johnson, Napoleon Harris and Donnie Edwards will be fierce. I haven’t been this excited about Chiefs ‘backers since the days of Marty. Keyaron Fox and Rich Scanlon will likely be factors as well.

One can only hope, though, that Kendrell Bell will come down with a bad case of polio to add to his injury portfolio, make like a bar patron at last call, and get hustled out the door.

The Chiefs’ defensive line threatens status quo. Defensive tackles Ron Edwards and James Reed played decent football last year. They were surprise acquisitions, and held their own for the most part. That’s not good enough, though. With Tamba Hali and Jared “Eric-Warfield-suspension” Allen on the ends, the pressure up the middle has got to improve. Especially considering that our six divisional contests feature tight young QBs that will torch defenses with pocket protection or crumble when they feel the heat.

Special Teams: Bye-bye, Dante. Arrowhead Addict wishes you the best of luck in Louie. You gave us some great games, some excitement, and an anti-climatic final year in the red and gold. Let’s hope either Jeff Webb or Ean Randolph pan out.

I don’t understand the place kicker situation; drafting UCLA’s Justin Medlock baffled me. I hope Edwards does. Lawrence Tynes wasn’t a superstar, but he wasn’t half bad, either. Dustin Colquitt continues to be a stellar third-round 2005 selection. Nice work, Dick Vermeil.

The O: Clearly, the quarterback situation leaves a lot unanswered. I have confidence that even with Jordan Black (though he never got a shot at his natural position, and his play, once the Chiefs let him stay at left tackle, improved throughout the 2006-07 campaign) and Will Shields gone, our O-line will offer the necessary QB protection, and open up running lanes as well.

Last year’s bizarre signing of Rod Gardner yielded next to nothing. I don’t get why we acquired him if he wasn’t good enough to get in the mix more than he did last year. At least we still have Tony G.

The “Dont-Call-Me” X-Factors: Priest Holmes, Mike Solari, and yes, Herman Edwards. It’s time to see if Coach I don’t watch other football contests even when the outcome will affect my team Edwards really does tell the truth, as he claims over and over again. Pardon the cliché, but time will tell.