Chiefs: Recapping, Reviewing And Releasing
By Laddie Morse
A blogger recently touted, “One game does not a season make,” to paraphrase an idiotic idiom. Of such is little solace, for such a costly loss. However, the nature of the Kansas City Chiefs defeat on Sunday brings a panorama of perspectives into clearer focus moving forward. Consequently, it’s been a well worn week of recapping, reviewing and releasing… and redundancy has been spared no measure or resource.
Perhaps like never before.
Beat the Reid drum slowly. Its been quite a week for that, of this I am certain. However, as much as I’m a fan of sports figures in leadership roles not throwing their team, or teammates, under the bus… or freight train in this case… I am equally unhappy about being bamboozled over the reasons for why what went wrong… actually went wrong.
Yes, head coach Andy Reid admits he misused the team’s sole superstar Jamaal Charles, but generating such great energy by moving towards such an admission, creates a curious Shakespearian “Why doth thou protest” vacuum.
So, what’s the smoke screen, if there is one?
One giant reason I believe Andy Reid was living the “smoke screen dream” on Monday is that he has such a good record following the bye week. Uh, what? I know what you might be thinking, “What does that have to do with the Titans loss?” Well, if Reid can win a higher percentage of games by having even one extra week to prepare, what should he be able to do with a whole off season and home field advantage in his favor? Yet, we’re supposed to believe it’s all his fault, according to Mr. Reid-em-n-weep.
I’ve been working with learners all day every day for approximately 38 years now. Although my Master’s degree is in reading instruction, I predominately spend my time “reading”… people. What I’m deciphering in Reid’s response is this… something was wrong with Jamaal Charles. JC spent a significant amount of time in training camp observing from the sidelines. It’s been awhile since I’ve personally witnessed Charles instantaneously converting his first step into full throttle world class sprinter’s speed.
If we know anything about Andy Reid by now, it is this: he will do whatever he has to do to protect the career of his players before he allows them on the field, following an injury. In the case of Jamaal Charles, he couldn’t legitimately keep the man off of the field. If JC tells you he’s ready… he’s ready. You trust that. But, by all accounts, he didn’t look Charles-esk. Whether it’s 7 carries or 27 carries, 2.7 yards per carry is not what you’d expect to see coming out of those legs. Not when his career average is 5.6, which is one of the all time best yards per carry averages among NFL running backs. Ever.
So, Reid sees it. JC knows it. Instead of calling an ace of spades and ace of spades, Reid does the princely thing and covers for his buddy who drew the bad hand of the day.
While I can also admit that there’s a distinct possibility that the newly constructed offensive line doesn’t yet have the ability to create holes any bigger than those you’d find in the middle of a donut (and I’m being really generous here)… I also must confess that JC didn’t look like JC on this day. In any case, I’d much rather hear coach Reid talk about the donut-holelessness of his OL than his metaphysical confession ridden poor play calling performance as it relates to Jamaal Charles.
Any other explanation about why Reid went full Monty when sharing his “naked truth” about why the Chiefs lost this game, would be total speculation on my part. But I can tell you this much… it’s not what he has publicly proclaimed to us this past Monday.
One more recapping moment of pure ecstasy before we traverse…
One can not help but wonder if Reid’s penchant to “protect like a mother-fn hen” is also the reason he kept second year dynamo TE Travis Kelce out of harms way during this game. At times it seemed that the game day telecast announcers had the Chiefs figured out better than the head coach of the Chiefs. I could not have agreed more when they stated that because playmaking WR Dwayne Bowe was not available for this game they were wondering “who” could step up and be that other playmaker to take the pressure off of Jamaal Charles? A few plays later Travis Kelce makes a big catch and the announcers declare… “There he is, that’s who will be that other playmaker the Chiefs need to succeed in this game.” So… Travis Kelce… goes on to catch a grand total of 2 more passes in this long lost losing-cause contest.
Every time Travis Kelce steps on the field and the Chiefs target him… he looks like the love child of Tony Gonzales (ever heard of him?) and Jesus (ever heard of him?). There he was right in front of my eyes… the guy who could “save” this game and… possibly the Chiefs season… and make KC fans forget all about Tony Gonzales… uh… never mind… no one, and nothing, will ever make us forget about Gonzo.
So, let me recap my recapping: → bamboozled and befuddled.
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To begin the review, you need look no further than what was happening in other games around the league. The scores? No. I’m talking about who played in those games. Specifically, the rookies.
QB Derek Carr was the 36th pick in the 2014 draft. He started for the Raiders. He looks like he’ll be their franchise QB someday. The 35th pick, by the Browns, OG Joel Bitonio started game one and it looks like the game is not too big for him. WR Kelvin Benjamin, the 28th pick in the draft by Carolina, had 6 catches in his first game and he looks like he’s going to be better than I projected he’d be. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix looks like he’s going to be very good for the Packers and he’s on the field regularly.
The point is, the Chiefs can’t truly develop their pass rushing phenom Dee Ford (the 23rd pick overall) unless they give him some game reps. It’s frustrating for fans to watch as other teams place their rookies on the field, while the Chiefs say they like to give their rookies “playing time”… but then don’t follow through on their promise to do just that.
However, to review what really happened in the Chiefs game with the Titans is meaningless, unless you can put into perspective, the costly loss of Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson.
If I were to ask you before the season started, “Would you rather lose the opener against the Titans or lose Derrick Johnson for the year?”… I can’t imagine one fan saying they’d take the win over the Titans instead of having Derrick Johnson for the whole season.
In my mind, this is the most significant loss to the team since Tony Gonzales left town. DJ has made the Pro Bowl each of the past three years and he should have been in the Pro Bowl years before that. However, it’s not his performance alone that makes his loss so huge… it’s his presence. His longevity matched with his even keeled nature and ability to pull players together is unmatched by any other player on the roster. Team leader? Absolutely. Replaceable? Not in any way, shape, or form. Not during this season anyway.
The loss of DJ alone throws the Chiefs into a transformational cycle.
When last season ended in such an appalling defeat, together Andy “I’m too busy writing history to” Reid and his co-pilot, John “Open Door”-sey Policy must have queried, “Are we close enough to being a competitor for the crown now?” Based on their off season moves, you’d project that they thought the answer to that was yes.
However, after losing DJ and DE Mike DeVito in the same game… and after what looked like a disastrously pathetic 2014 coming out party… I’m guessing that they’re thinking, “Let’s give the Broncos a run for their money, and then measure where we’re at after that.”
If the Donkey’s give the young chieftains the shellacking everyone is expecting they’ll give them… we may see Reid and Dorsey taking some actions that come closer to looking like they are planning for the future, than looking like they’re playing for the championship this year.
+ Playing their first overall pick, Dee Ford* more. Much more.
+ Resting JC even more and testing the legs of Cyrus Gray, Joe McKnight and DAT more than we first anticipated.
+ Giving DB youngster Phillip Gaines snaps at the hot spot on the corner.
+ Sampling some offensive wrinkles that we might not have otherwise seen.
+ Trading away a hefty contract to gain extra draft picks in 2015 or 2016.
*BTW… one of the more ludicrous suggestions I heard this week, in the wake of the Chiefs dam-breaking loss, was that they should use OLB Dee Ford as a replacement for ILB Derrick Johnson. Geesh… oh well, why not… since all purr-fessional futballers aRe… instantaneously interchangeable! Right?
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Some have speculated that the Chiefs making all of the practice squad changes and roster alterations this week was a knee jerk reaction to a trifecta of losses (DJ, DeVito & an opening day defeat) on Sunday. Well, you better scramble, if your eggs are frying, or you’ll end up with an unpalatable and overdone souffle.
If the Chiefs pull out a victory in Denver this weekend (a humongo-gi-normous “IF”), all of a sudden, everyone is thinking the Chiefs are once again AFC championship competitors. It’s that simple. Andy Reid, and the rest of the Chiefs, are not traveling to mile high to quietly… stop, drop, roll over and die. Reid will come up with a much improved game plan than he did for the Titans’ game.
While we’re on the subject of the Titans… and before we lay that one down to it’s final resting place in infamy… fans not familiar with Tennessee should know that they are a very good team. A year ago, QB Jake Locker was tearing up the league and then got hurt. The coaching change did them a world of good and they will be a playoff contender this season. It’s no shame to lose to the once lowly Titans.
Back to the free agent catch and release program instituted by John Dorsey. While it will continue to be the Chiefs policy to take the roster and turn the “bottom end over” faster than Kim Kardashian playing Twister on her honeymoon, I’ve never seen the likes of 15 changes in a 24 hour period before. Not on any team.
UPDATE: If you haven’t heard, the Chiefs signed CB Jamell Fleming off of the Ravens practice squad on Friday and I believe that makes 16 moves this week, or is it 17 (and many of us knew about it before Andy Reid did on Friday).
So, someone’s in the kitchen with Dinah, a’cookin’ up sumpin’… but we’ll have to wait until after the Broncos game to get a whiff.
What do you say Addict fans? Are you catching a whiff of change in the air yourself? Besides the fact that Autumn is just around the corner.