Roughly two years ago, Herm Edwards said something that changed the way I watch football. And no, I’m not talking about one of his quasi-religious pearls of wisdom ( e.g. “I live by fate, not sight.”). It was one of his many blame-shifting lies that affected this change. The subject was Glenn Dorsey, and the question was whether or not he was struggling as a rookie. Herm’s response was that Dorsey was “our most unselfish lineman” and that he was “beating up the guard and taking on the double-team.”
Chiefs Nation ran with it, any criticism of Dorsey eliciting a quick “he’s getting double-teamed; debate over.” Before long public opinion held that not only was Dorsey not struggling, he was actually thriving. Double-teams, half-tackles, games played, Oh my! There was even a coverage sack in there. His stats (tackles only, not forced fumbles or sacks) were compared against past defensive linemen in a dishonest attempt to paint a pretty picture. “Dorsey has more tackles (again, sacks don’t count) than Albert Haynesworth did his rookie year! He must be awesome! Somebody call Canton and tell them to get that bust ready.”
The problem is, it was a fantasy. I know, because when Herm made his absurd statements, I made a decision. I would watch Dorsey every play of every game for the rest of the year, and I would make note of any double-teams drawn. The results were ugly. Not only was Dorsey not drawing any doubles, he was routinely stood up by the opposing guard. He had no pass-rush moves other than the ‘stand ‘n shove’. Lateral movement was a strength, but it was buried under a slew of weaknesses. Dorsey had a tough first year. I saw every single play.
This isn’t meant to be an anti-Dorsey rant. I actually thought he improved slightly last year. If he keeps improving, he could end up a pretty solid player. My point is, when people heralded his double-team drawing and pocket-pushing, I knew they hadn’t actually been watching him. Because I had, and no one who had seen what I saw would have thought he had a good year. He didn’t. He was an out-of-shape, raw rookie and it showed. I earned that knowledge by focusing on him every play, sometimes to the detriment of my knowledge of other players. For instance, I hardly ever got to watch the tomfoolery of Tank Tyler*. A heavy price to pay.
*Tank was cut by Carolina the other day. Potential! Looks like he’s well on his way to joining his Chiefs d-tackle draft pick forefathers in the unemployment line. Hopefully they won’t haze him for being the new guy. I hear Eddie Freeman is quite the prankster.
In all seriousness, I’m glad Pioli was able to get a fifth round pick for Tank. I believe we used that on Cameron Sheffield? Circle of life.
I didn’t focus as much on Glenngarry Glenn Dorsey in 2009. I wanted to start fresh, and there was another LSU block eater to watch. This season I’ll be returning to Dorsey country. You dance with the girl who brought ya, even if that girl is a 300-pound reminder of Herm Edwards. This is an important season for Dorsey. The excuses have run out, and he needs to perform. I want to be able to judge the results for myself, so I’m going to be glued to Dorsey-vision again this year.
The problem is that while I’m earning my masters in Dorseynomics other players will inevitably elude my creepy, dead-eyed stare. I live in constant fear of the day someone asks me how Sweet Ron Edwards is doing and I don’t have an answer (I….I…..I don’t know how Ron Edwards is playing.) This is where you Addicts come in.
What I’m proposing is a project wherein many of us become specialists in certain players. AA commenter and Big Matt colleague Sesame Cake has already volunteered to become our resident Kendrick Lewis expert. I know I’ve heard Ehud say he wants to keep a close eye on Brandon Carr. I’d like to get several of you on Tyson Jackson and at least one other guy on Dorsey to keep me honest.
The goal here is to have one of our best Addicts following everyone in the Chiefs’ playing rotation, particularly the offensive and defensive lines. As fans, we’re trained to watch the ball, and that’s what almost everyone does. Given that the camera follows the ball, its only natural our eyes will as well. The result is that we all become intimately familiar with the quarterbacks and running backs, but a lot of the nitty-gritty goes unnoticed. I want us to notice that nitty-gritty. In fact, I want us all up in its business. If I’m interested in how Ryan Lilja pass-blocked against Denver, I want to be able to hear it from someone I trust. Someone who has actually watched Ryan Lilja game in, game out. In other words, I want to break our reliance on team-generated spin. I want my Chiefs knowledge to be as pure and untainted as possible. Like I said, I can’t do this alone. I’m going to need your help.
If you’d like to participate in the Arrowhead Addict Roster Familiarity Project, drop a comment letting me know which player you’re going to follow (literally or figuratively). From that point on, you’ll be my source for that player. I will consult you when I’m curious, and I will take your analysis to heart. All I ask is that you try to be as unbiased as possible. I realize that isn’t easy, but its necessary for a project like this.
Like I said, I’m on Dorsey. And if my boy Magee ever manages to see the field, I’ll be keeping a sharp eye on him as well. I’ll need help with everyone else. I want you Addicts all over these guys. Research them, watch them play, write them letters, go through their trash. Don’t be afraid of a little light stalking.
NFL teams expect their fans to swallow any nonsense they’re fed without question. That is unacceptable to me. I want knowledge, not fairy tales. I intend to learn as much as I can about these Chiefs. Join me in my quest…..just don’t tell Scott Pioli. A fan with information is obviously a threat to our Super Bowl chances, and I’d rather not be carried off in the middle of the night.