In addition to my love for the Kansas City Chiefs, I also am a life-long fan of the New York Yankees. I normally do not discuss the Yankees here, for two reasons. One, it tends to annoy the Yankee haters (there are more than one around here) and two, it doesn’t usually have much to do with the Chiefs. However, I was struck by a comparison that I want to discuss here. Being a fan of the Yankees means that you don’t lack for resources in building a team. Almost any big free agent is in play, if wanted. You don’t lose players because you don’t have enough money to pay them. Also, the Yankees can afford to gamble on big contracts to unproven players. What does this have to do with the Chiefs? Not much, but I am talking about Chief fans and Yankee fans.
It is quite easy for a Yankee fan to fall into the trap of wishing for an all-star team. Average or even good players are not ‘good enough’ for some fans. They want that player dumped and the latest hot player brought in. Reading comments of Chiefs fans around the internet made me think of those “I want an all-start at every position” Yankee fans. Jovan Belcher? He is a stiff. Barry Richardson? Give me a break. Ron Edwards? Dump him. However, the Chiefs are not the Yankees and the NFL is not Major League Baseball. That approach doesn’t really work in baseball and rarely works in football. My point? The Chiefs are going to play next season with some players starting that fans might be pining to replace. So, I thought I would ask the question: Who can we get by with? Short of a major free agent splurge and/or a great draft, some of these players will be starting next year. Let’s go through some players and discuss if we can get by with that player starting next year. Considering we have Andy Studebaker ready to replace Mike Vrabel and Jon Asamoah ready to step in for Brian Waters, I am not going through those positions. Also, even though Thomas Jones is technically the starting RB, Jamaal Charles is our true feature back. Therefore, that position is not included in this article. That leaves the following players/positions.
Ron Edwards, nose tackle:
Big Ron has shouldered a heavy load for two seasons now. Each year, he starts off well, but declines in the second half of the season. A great deal of that has to do with the lack of help. Ron has had to hold the point without a lot of rotational help. Frankly, I think he is unappreciated. He has done a decent, thankless job. Having said that, nose tackle is one of my three top needs. Ron needs help. At a bare minimum, he needs another solid nose tackle. Can we live with him starting next year? It’s not a happy thought. My verdict, Ron Edwards can be an effective backup, rotating in. However, a new starting nose tackle is essential to the Chiefs.
Well, the etc gave this one away. The WR position across from Dwayne Bowe has been a carousel of mediocrity. Tucker could be a keeper as a 4th WR, but I don’t want to see him starting next year. My verdict, a new starting WR must be found.
Barry Richardson, right tackle:
Some folks have right tackle as a very high need for the Chiefs. No doubt, a good right tackle would be a big help. However, you can’t have everything. Can the Chiefs take a step forward with Barry Richardson starting at right tackle? My verdict, yes, we can. He is still developing. Ideally, he is a very solid backup that can play both tackle spots. In the meantime, Barry and the Chiefs can still get better with him starting at right tackle.
Casey Wiegmann, center:
Casey is who he is. He is an undersized, smart, durable, technically sound center effective in a zone blocking scheme. He is also 37 years old. As loyal readers know, center is a position I am very keen on upgrading. That doesn’t mean that we can’t get by with Wiegmann starting next year. My verdict, I don’t love it, but the Chiefs could continue to grow with Casey Wiegmann starting at center.
OK Addicts, those are my thoughts. We can live with Barry Richardson and Casey Wiegmann starting next year. The other positions need to be replaced. Sound off everyone. Who can you live with starting next year and who needs to be replaced?