7 Chief Concerns For The 2015 Off-season
By Laddie Morse
What a difference a minute makes.
One minute, Chiefs veteran All Pro ILB Justin Houston wants to stay in Kansas City, and the next minute General Manager John Dorsey appears to have upset him during his new contract negotiation process so much that he wants to actively seek out other teams when free agency begins.
One minute Chiefs nemesis Peyton Manning looks like he’s physically compromised and leaning towards retirement and the next minute he’s agreed to take a $4M cut in pay to come back and play for and make another Super Bowl run.
One minute the experts are projecting the Chiefs to take a WR with their first pick in the draft and the next minute the experts are projecting the Chiefs to take a different WR with their first pick in the draft.
To quote Ferris Bueller,
"“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around for awhile, you could miss it.”"
Yes, we all want to know what will happen with regards to Justin Houston and of course who the Chiefs might be targeting with their first draft pick but there are other concerns this off season. Kansas City’s issues can’t be narrowed down to a couple of roster projections.
So, here’s what else is concerning me.
General Manager John Dorsey’s first pick for the Chiefs in 2013 was Offensive Tackle Eric Fisher. The very next year the Chiefs allowed their current LT and best lineman to walk, thrusting Fisher into a starting LT role in his sophomore year.
In 2014, Dorsey’s second off-season, he selected an ILB in the first, Dee Ford. Ford didn’t get many snaps in his rookie season but may he be thrust into a starting role in his sophomore year too, because Dorsey’s hand may be forced to release long time stellar starter Tamba Hali for cap space speculations.
Now, with the 2015 draft pressing down, Dorsey’s third, and in anticipation of a 2016 off season in which he’ll be faced with the task of re-signing his star DT Dontari Poe, should we expect he’ll be drafting a DT with the first pick with the possibility of the Chiefs losing a top class player three years running?
You could call that pathology, running scared. I do believe in planning ahead but when the most important move you make each year is relegated to fixing one hole in the roof after another, it’s hard to say you’re actually building the house under that roof much less calling it getting ahead in the process of creating a championship team.
So, as was the case with previous GM Scott Pioli, the concern is whether or not Chiefs fans will all have to sit back and watch as another GM learns his on the job lessons the hard way.
Wasn’t it just 24 short months ago (and for years prior to that time) that K.C. fans were constantly chanting the same mantra…please spend your cap space, please spend your cap space… Don’t you recall when most of us were questioning owner Clark Hunt’s solvency? Remember, the Chiefs were supposedly so poor that the Hunt family had to eat their breakfast cereal with a fork to save money on milk.
Along comes John Dorsey and two years into his General Management tenure the Chiefs are having to sit by and watch as other teams in their own division are gearing up to set their own Big Bang Theory in motion as Free Agency begins today.
That’s not the position of leverage that John Dorsey was taught while playing understudy to one of the league’s best GMs in Green Bay, Ted Thompson.
Of course the Packers are traditionally not big spenders in free agency to begin with (which makes all the personnel spending Dorsey did in his first six months on the job a bit disconcerting). However, Green Bay’s draft-and-develop plan is so ingrained in the culture of their program that they can afford to watch as players like WR Randall Cobb leave in free agency. When John Dorsey shows up in K.C. and decides he can afford to apply that same draft-and-develop approach immediately, well, in his first offseason with his star left tackle (and others) on his offensive line, consequently the Chiefs experienced a year as bad as can ever be recalled when it comes to protecting their quarterback. Can you say “lacerated spleen” three times quickly while hitting yourself in the stomach as hard as you can?
That leads me to another concern because I had a similar concern about Scott Pioli: does Dorsey believe that the “N” in NFL stands for nepotism? This kind nepotism doesn’t apply to the actual Dorsey family itself but does apply to Packer family bloodlines and the Eagles bloodlines for Coach Reid? How many players who previously played for the Packers (or Eagles) will John Dorsey spend time pursuing and signing. Sure, it’s only natural to bring players in who you are already familiar with but this goes beyond that. The concern I have here is whether or not there will come a time when John Dorsey will be making the Chiefs decisions, while 100% trusting in his own abilities to evaluate?
Leaning is not learning. Is JD still leaning on his previous mentor or is he his own man?
Now, this is obviously not a post on all the wonderful accomplishments Mr. Dorsey has had in the past two years… which are many and that is why I am a John Dorsey supporter. However, this post is all about the 2015 offseason concerns so forgive me for not listing the positive actions of the Chiefs GM for which he deserves kudos.
So, let’s talk about Coach Andy Reid. Has he learned his lessons about not using his star running back? Let’s hope the final plays of the Super Bowl have cemented that lesson for him eternally. Has he learned his lessons about how to manage a game? There was evidence this season that in this, the 16th year of his career as a head coach in the NFL, Andy Reid has some… lurning ta do.
Also, if Andy Reid was not calling the plays on offense for the past two years… would the Chiefs Offensive Coordinator have been fired at the conclusion of this past season? When you evaluate each unit on offense, you could sum them up by saying… the QBs played at worse, adequately… the RBs played at worse at a Pro Bowl level… the WRs played at worse, worse than any corps of WRs in Chiefs history and… the OL played at worse, well, they couldn’t have been any worse.
It’s this man’s opinion that if Head Coach Andy Reid had not been so involved with the offense this year, the Offensive coordinator, Doug Pederson, may have been fired. No, I’m not calling for his head. I’m just asking what else does a coach have to do to get fired? Still, for the sake of continuity, I’m glad the Chiefs are sustaining the same staff for three years running. To quote Billy Joel, “That hasn’t happened in the longest time.”
Anyway, it appears appropriate to lay more responsibility for the Chiefs 2014 offensive inabilities at the feet of the GM, than to do so, the OC, simply because you can’t build castles out of cow pies.
Are Head Coach Andy Reid’s challenges as a clock manager, and more importantly sticking to a balanced offensive game plan (not abandoning the run), due to an inability to multitask under pressure? Reid could relinquish his play calling responsibilities. It’s a matter of trust and it’s worked well for other coaches. The best example recently would be Jason Garrett in Dallas who is known as an inventive play caller like Reid. He gave up his role as the play caller just one year ago and the Cowboys went from 8-8 to 12-4 plus a playoff victory.
If LeSean McCoy is expendable, is Jamaal Charles? I’d also like to know if John Dorsey is ever even a player in the kinds of conversations that landed a talent like McCoy in Buffalo? Not that I’d want the Chiefs to trade JC for Kiko Alonso but I’d like to think the Chiefs are active in these kinds of conversations that could help transform their collective talent pool into a championship roster.
Does the trend of de-valuing the running back in the NFL affect the respective value that a player like Jamaal Charles has to the Kansas City Chiefs? I say no. Jamaal Charles is far and away the best player on the Chiefs roster. In fact, I’d go so far as to say he’s the best player the organization has had since Hall of Fame LB Derrick Thomas pulled on a Chiefs jersey.
Would I rather see a long run… or a long pass play? JC has me voting run. My concern is that one day “empty backfield” will be the standard formation for every team in the league.
Addition by subtraction. Everytime the Chiefs cut a player they add another need to their already growing list of roster needs. When the Chiefs cut Joe Mays on Thursday they added another need at inside linebacker. I’m going to assume that this means they’re going to take a long look at ILBs in this draft. Multiple offensive linemen, multiple wide receivers, a safety, a cornerback, and now an ILB… it’s a lot to satisfy in one draft class. And the Chiefs must cut one… maybe two… more in the next few days to get under the cap limit. I guess it’ll be a roster full of a few well established vets and a whole bunch of rookies.
What was the purpose or meaning of these comments by John Dorsey about Dwayne Bowe on Monday, December 29, the day after the Chiefs season ended, “His numbers were about what they were last year. I think he’s a really good teammate.” And in February Dorsey also said of Bowe,
"“Dwayne does the little things that you didn’t see. I mean if you go back and do a cut up of third down situations, he really did some nice things on third down. He does the selfless things in terms of run blocking in those situations.”"
Perhaps he knew he’d be getting rid of Bowe and was trying to sell other unsuspecting GMs on his value.
Ian Rappaport reported on Thursday that the Chiefs are wanting to dump Bowe by hook or by crook (trade or release).
So, how did we get here?
See Concern One and Two.
What do you say Addict fans? Do you have a concern that no one has given voice to as of yet this off season? Really? I thought so!