Before I delve into the title subject matter, I want to first say a few words about our ..."/> Before I delve into the title subject matter, I want to first say a few words about our ..."/>

Kelly Gregg, Moby Dick, And Football Calculus


Before I delve into the title subject matter, I want to first say a few words about our remaining rookie holdout. There are now only 4 unsigned rookies in the league, 3 of them of 1st rounders. Guess which one of those 4 was not a 1st round pick?

Justin, dude, are you freaking high? Probably shouldn’t answer that, huh? You were a 3rd round pick for reasons that nobody but yourself are to blame. Own up to it, live with it, move on; you are, without question, not making life any better for yourself by following the course you are on.

At this point, there is no acceptable explanation for Justin Houston’s hold out unless he’s not ready, physically, mentally, and/or emotionally, to play football in the NFL. If that is the problem, then I really have to start questioning whether this is a guy I still want on my team. If that’s not the problem, then he is just hurting himself as a result of some very flawed reasoning. Rookie salaries are now more slotted than ever and given where he was taken in the 3rd round, there can be no financial aspect to this deal that is worth quibbling over.

Honestly, I’m beginning to feel both sorry and embarrassed for Scott Pioli about this pick.

Kelly “Queequeg” Gregg after the bounce.

One of my favorite characters in all of literary fiction has to be Moby Dick’s Queequeg. He was of course Ishmael’s athletic, brave, reflective, skilled cannibal friend whose culinary preference was for raw red meat. Also notable, Queequeg, being the son of Chief, was destined to be a Chief himself. I similarly look forward to Kelly Gregg realizing his destiny as a Chief and personifying a few of the fictional cannibal’s virtues on the field, both figuratively and maybe not so figuratively. I hereforth dub Kelly Gregg, “Queequeg.”

Queequeg Gregg, the Chief.

All seriousness aside, just what are we getting in Kelly Gregg? Will the addition of Queequeg and Powe, the rookie 6th rounder, be greater than, less than, or zero sum with the subtraction of veterans Sweet Ron and Perv? As to the second question, it’s a hard call at this point but we’ll nevertheless check what the stats have to say.

According to Football Outsiders 2010 stats, the Chiefs ranked 25th against the run and 12th at rushing the passer. Conversely, the Ravens ranked 12th against the run, and 27th at rushing the passer. Perhaps more significantly in terms of the NT position, the Ravens ranked 17th at stuffing the run while the Chiefs ranked 27th in that category.

Let’s break this down a little further.

The Ravens ranked 7th best at defending runs to the A gaps (i.e, between the guards). Props for that go primarily to Kelly Gregg. The Chiefs ranked 27th in the league at defending the A gaps. “Sweet Ron” was in fact “Sweet Roll” in that category because, more often than not, that is what happened – he got rolled. Clear advantage Queequeq. Upgrade.

Now we get to the meat of the matter. Powe remains a complete unknown aside from the fact that he is a rookie and he was taken in the 6th round. Given all that, it is probably unreasonable to expect him to see a significant amount of snaps through at least the first half of the season which means that Queequeg is going to be on the field for the majority of snaps this season. That’s a tall order for any NT, especially for one that’s pushing 35.

What about substituting Powe in on obvious 3rd down passing situations? Well, this might make some sense given that Gregg is not particularly known for being a skilled pass rusher. The real problem here, aside from the fact I think it’s unrealistic to expect a rookie like Powe to contribute much on this front other than to spell Gregg, is that Powe is not known as much of pass rusher/penetrator style NT himself. Perv Smith, on the hand, displayed some ability in that department. Unless something changes or other players step in and step up, all things being equal, this has all the markings of being an area of decline for the 2011 Chiefs.

Double D’s Double Take:

On paper, the addition of Queequeg Gregg should improve our ability to defend against runs up the middle, an area of noteworthy weakness for the Chiefs 2010 defense. Gregg’s age and endurance are likely to be an issue as the season wears on so Jerrell Powe is going to have to start making more of presence into the rotation, for better or for worse, hopefully the former.

In passing situations, I think we are in some trouble due to the loss of Perv Smith. As a result, I have a hunch we will see more disguised 4-3 formations featuring names like Gilberry, Bailey, Miller, Bair, and Houston (assuming he’s a Chief), maybe others too (was it just me or did it seem like Pioli was drafting as much for a 43 D as a 34 D in this latest draft?). If not that, then perhaps Jackson or Dorsey can be slid to NT on passing downs until and unless Powe can force them back outside? I just don’t know.

Addicts, what are your takes? Is Queequeg + Powe >, <, or = Edwards + Smith?