Hop On Board The R&D Express, Destination Kansas City Chiefs


If you haven’t hopped on board the R&D Express (the Reid & Dorsey Rapid Transit) by now then you may want to purchase your tickets asap. Otherwise, you may miss out on the fastest change-train in the history of the Kansas City Chiefs organization.

If you’ve ever been railroaded, then you know it’s not necessarily a pleasant experience. Well, this is not that at all. This… is more like a bandwagon on Red Bull but, it’s one you want to be on because it’s moving so fast that… to quote Ferris Bueller,  “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. “

Well, if you don’t keep an eye on the R&D Express you could miss that too.

Head Coach Andy Reid and General Manager John Dorsey have been busy since they arrived in Kansas City in the first month of last year. Busy replacing players. I’ve heard of GMs and head coaches wanting to put their stamp on a team but R&D are doing it at light speed.

You’ve heard of the “Tramp Stamp”. . . well this is the “Revamp Stamp.”

Two summers ago, of the 90 players the Chiefs had in camp, there are only 15 still on the roster.

52 (weeks = 1 year) + 24 (weeks = approximately ½ year) = 76 weeks (through the week of Brandon Flowers release).

90 (summer camp players) minus 15 (players listed above) = 75 (newbies).

Given that John Dorsey wasn’t hired until the 13th of January in 2013 and Brandon Flowers was released on June 12th… that’s actually 17 months and not 18 (74 weeks, not 78- which is a full year and a half).

So, R&D have averaged one player per week turnover.

I’d call that full throttle.

In the past 17 months Andy Reid and John Dorsey have indeed taken hold of the throttle. If you add up the 12 starters on offense (including the FB and the slot receiver as starters), the 11 starters on defense, and the four starters on special team, it gives the Chiefs 27 starters total. Of the 27 starters who were here two years ago, only 10 remain.

10 starters remain from a 2-14 team. That’s probably best.

Of the 12 offensive starters from 2012, only 3 remain who probably will be starters in 2014. See below.

Of the 11 defensive starters from 2012, only 5 remain who most likely will be starters in 2014. See below.

You may recall that the Chiefs started out the 2012 season with Stanford Routt (who lasted 7 games) as their corner opposite Brandon Flowers because CB Brandon Carr signed a 50 million dollar contract with the Dallas Cowboys who he always dreamed of playing for. Ultimately, Routt was ineffective and ousted and so the position was covered between Travis Daniels and Jalil Brown the rest of the way, obviously with little success (25th in the league in points allowed  passing).

The defensive front line of Dorsey, Poe and Jackson represents three high first round selections for the Chiefs from 2008 to 2012. Both Dorsey and Jackson didn’t work out. Dorsey was mostly misused and Jackson never lived up to his draft position which ex-GM Scott Pioli will never be able to justify no matter how many teams he signs and re-signs him to.

Of the 4 special teams starters from 2012, only 2 remain who may be starters in 2014. See below.

Out of all the possible remaining starters only two have not been to the Pro Bowl: Ryan Succop and Jeff Allen. Both or either may not make the Chiefs roster come September 1st. Jeff Allen has a better chance of sticking this year than Succop. R&D have proven… they like their own guys.

Seven out of the nine remaining players have made the Pro Bowl. That’s a good way to start a team… keep all the Pro Bowlers and get rid of the rest.

In fact, R&D have even gotten rid of three Pro Bowlers (or allowed them to walk): Branden Albert, Dexter McCluster and now Brandon Flowers.

~ Since 2012, no starters on the offensive line are left except for Jeff Allen.

~ On the defensive line everyone is gone except Dontari Poe.

~ In the defensive backfield the only one left if Eric Berry.

~ That’s a high volume of turnover in less than a year and a half.

Sooner or later someone’s going to ask if it has been best for the organization to throw momma from the train because that’s a “lottle” (it’s like a little but, a lot) bit what it feels like. Fans often grow an appreciation for many players who give everything they’ve got to their team and city for years at a time only to have them seemingly, “thrown from the train” without a good explanation*. Well, at least an explanation that satisfies the heart.

* Andy Reid went on WHB 810 radio on Monday and explained that the release of Flowers was based on “the fit… the salary cap… and a lot of other issues” which he wouldn’t go into.

On Monday, AA’s Lyle Graversen posted a piece called, “A Look At The Kansas City Chiefs Cornerbacks Without Brandon Flowers” in which he stated,

"“It’s disappointing because pass coverage was already an area of concern for the Chiefs after their playoff collapse against the Colts and now they have released their most accomplished cornerback.It’s understandable because the Chiefs were strapped for salary cap space with a couple of key players that they plan on building around in need of new contracts and Flowers had a big cap number… [and] Flowers was coming off arguably the worst season of his career“"

Following his analysis of who the Chiefs have that might replace Flowers, Graversen goes on to say,

"“…it could be a long season in coverage for the Kansas City Chiefs. This is part of the reason that the defensive back position is one that I will be keeping a close eye on when training camp gets started next month.”"

There’s just no balancing out the need the Chiefs have for signing other… more important…  players than Brandon Flowers. Signing your quarterback and your top rush linebacker carries oh so much more weight than retaining a CB who could be past his prime. That’s the reason the Chiefs have drafted the way they did. Marcus Cooper and Philip Gaines may not be better than Flowers immediately but in the long run the Chiefs should be better off.

What about the other starters that the Chiefs have allowed to go… released?

Branden Albert just made the Pro Bowl. He’s worked hard to get there. That’s exactly why the Chiefs couldn’t afford him. They just ran out of options as far as Albert goes.

How about Dexter McCluster? There goes another Pro Bowler. Sportrac.com reports that,

"“Dexter McCluster signed a 3 year / $9 million contract with the Tennessee Titans, including a $3,000,000 signing bonus, $7,350,000 guaranteed, and an annual average salary of $3,000,000.”"

R&D apparently had a plan for replacing DEX with DAT. De’Anthony Thomas’ contract has him scheduled to make $2,640,108 over the next four years. That’s approximately 4 million per year (DEX) vs. $666,000 per year (DAT). Furthermore, I expect more out of Thomas than I ever did DEX.

While it would have been great to retain Geoff Schwartz the Chiefs utilization of Schwartz only ended up pricing him out of their own price range.

This is where some trust in Andy Reid comes in to play because he has a long track record of taking and making offensive linemen into stellar run and pass blockers. He may be a superior coach here than he is a QB Einstein.

Those are the players who make it hard to see them falling off the train. I’m glad to see Glenn Dorsey go to San Francisco and do well. Tyson Jackson was never good enough to justify the pick ex-GM Scott Pioli made him. Kendrick Lewis was bad before last season started and it’s hard not to believe R&D didn’t have his ticket already punched for the end of the season long before the end of the season arrived. To me, Lewis approached the same level of incompetence that Barry Richardson showed us for years. Ole’! Jeff Allen beware.

Feelings about these players aside… the most tangible reason the Chiefs have had all this turnover is… nothing makes a “star player” like winning. Last offseason Chiefs fans were still living in the aftershock of the 2-14 earthquake season that was 2012. Brandon Flowers, Branden Albert and Dexter McCluster weren’t “Pro Bowl” performers back then. Reid comes to town, ushers in a new and productive offensive system… and a train load of new players… the team goes 11–5 and suddenly many of these same players look like world beaters.

And now… I have the feeling engineers Reid and Dorsey are just getting started and if you listen closely you can here that sound coming from a distance, “I think I did, I think I did.

How about you Addict fans? Are you at all shaken by the speed of the R&D Express or are you already on-board?

~ ~ ~

P.S. Here’s my own personal goodbye song dedicated to Brandon Flowers.