(Author’s Note: I went with Part I here, because I’m quite sure that this is only just the beginning of this feature.)
His latest Chiefs column has me shaking my head in disbelief.
Are my eyes playing tricks on me, or did he seriously suggest that the Vikings should let Adrian Peterson walk after his third year? Really? A savior named Purple Jesus descends from the heavens in half-Dickerson/half-Sweetness form and you advise the Vikes to return to sender? Because Larry Johnson twisted his foot on an awkward tackle? I don’t think so, Judas.
Whitlock’s got it all wrong here.
Yes, thirty-something running backs do tend to hit a wall, but that’s only high-mileage running backs. Johnson doesn’t even turn 28 until later this month, and he only has 36 career starts. That’s 12 games shy of three full seasons. I’ve seen junior high football players suffer injuries similar to the one L.J. suffered last Sunday. I honestly don’t think this injury had anything to do with wear and tear. I mean, I sprained my ankle this past Fourth of July goofing around at a party. It happens. Especially when beastly men are running and colliding at full speed over and over and over again.
Seriously, what did Whitlock expect Carl Peterson to do here? Bring in defensive-minded head coach Herm Edwards, build a solid defense and hand the ball off to Kolby Smith 30 times a game with Brodie Croyle or Damon Huard under center?
No. The Chiefs, as presently comprised, need a stud running back. Herm’s system needs a workhorse back, there’s no denying that. In fact, I’m not so sure that he didn’t view his departure from New York as trading in a washed-up back (Curtis Martin) for a young stud (L.J.). Actually, I’m pretty sure that reason along with not having to deal with The Big Apple media are the main reasons he bolted.
This franchise quarterback argument is equally maddening. Dude, how many “franchise quarterbacks” are there? Tom Brady. There’s one. Peyton Manning. There’s two. Brett Favre? Yep, but he’s 67 years old. Tony Romo? He’s paid like one, but he need to play like one now — for longer than one year. Carson Palmer? Donovan McNabb? Drew Brees? Eli Manning? All of those are hard sells at the moment. Contrary to popular belief, a GM successfully drafting a franchise quarterback happens with about the same regularity as oridinary Joes scoring with A-list actresses (no, moron, Notting Hill wasn’t real).
Besides, we’ve seen what happens when you draft a franchise quarterback with a top pick and don’t give him a stud running back. You think things might have been different for David Carr and Joey Harrington if they played with Marshall Faulk, Edgerrin James and Joeseph Addai? I’m not saying those guys ever could have been Manning, but an effective rushing attack is just about the only way to set a young quarterback up for success. That and bringing him along slowly. Romo sat for years before being thrown into the fire. Once he became the Cowboys’ starting QB he had two stud RBs (Julius Jones and Marion Barber) to lean on.
Throwing Brodie into a starting role after only a year and some change in the league with only Smith and Michael Bennett (we didn’t know Priest Holmes was serious at that point) to lean on would’ve been a disaster, especially behind the five-man freeway currently masquerading as an offensive line and a tight end and a linebacker filling the void at fullback. That’s not a successful formula for winning ball-control football. Even less so with Huard under center.
Also, let’s give Brodie a chance before we write him off, Big Sexy. He may not be a renter at all — he could be a keeper. We’ve seen so little of him that there’s no way to know just exactly what we have yet. The players believe in him (ahem, Joe Montana comparisons), his arm’s stronger than Huard’s pee shooter, he moves much better than Captain Stationary, he seems to have
more intestinal fortitude
bigger balls as well, and he doesn’t look like somebody just busted a cap in his dog everytime he runs out to the huddle.
And Larry Johnson is definitely a keeper. One “freakish” (Whitlock’s word, not mine) ankle injury doesn’t change that. His first 36 starts are comparable to those of several current and future Hall of Fame backs.
I’m just wondering what to expect next from Whitlock. Will he blame Norv Turner’s playcalling on L.T.’s contract? The Rams’ injury woes on Steven Jackson’s new deal? Alex Smith’s underachieving ways on Frank Gore? The bees disappearing on “bojanglers?” I’m sick of that guy, so we’re going to move on to the Broncos. Unlike Whitlock, most of us can only digest so much junk.