Friday, December 31, 2010

Charlie Weis Leaving?

Just when I thought it was going to be a slow news day for the Chiefs, one of the biggest stories for the Chiefs all season breaks.

According to Chris Mortensen of ESPN, Charlie Weis will be leaving the Chiefs after this season to take the offensive coordinator position at the University of Florida. Supposedly, two sources have confirmed this, but it seems no firm agreement is in place.

Some sources have said that Weis will announce taking the position on Monday in a press conference; some say that the Chiefs are doing whatever it takes to keep him; some say he will continue his offensive coordinator duties for KC through the playoffs; some say he will not; some say he won't leave and is just using the job offer for leverage in a pay raise with the Chiefs.

Regardless of what source you've heard, the key word is 'saying.'

These are currently just rumors. Haley at today's press conference said he had "no idea" and was "unaware of anything" about Weis and if Weis was leaving "It would be news to me [Haley]."

Weis has done a great job with the Chiefs offense this season, molding Matt Cassel into a greatly efficient quarterback and has made this offense the number one rushing team in the NFL. If it is true that Weis is leaving the Chiefs, this would be a big blow to the team.

Why would Weis coach college football?

He left New England to take the head coaching spot at Notre Dame back in 2004. After a good start to his first two season, the Fighting Irish then slipped and would finish 16-21 in his final three seasons there. Weis was then fired on November 30th, 2009.

Weis would then reunite with Scott Pioli and Romeo Crennel in KC. And with the success he's demonstrating with the Chiefs, I just don't see why he would leave. That is why I am not totally buying in to all these rumors floating around.

Weis is back to the position in which he has had the best success through his football career. He had success in New England in the same position and he's having success here. But, money talks, so taking the job at Florida is possible. And if it ends up being true, then at least he gave us a great season with which to remember him (too bad it comes so shortly after I started getting used to saying "Weis is Nice!").

(And if you have heard the possibility of Josh McDaniels replacing Charlie Weis as offensive coordinator and how this would be a good fit, then why don't we take a trip down memory lane. Not saying that it's an interesting possibility, but would it ever really happen?)

New Years Eve

Today marks New Years Eve. A time for celebration, a time for resolutions (I will have a New Years Resolution for the Chiefs tomorrow), and a time for looking forward to the coming year. How better to celebrate New Years Eve than another video of the Chiefs that says AFC West Champions! I can't think of a better way. So before you start ringing in the new year with auld lang snye, ring in the playoffs with this video.

How We Got Here: A Season (So Far) In Review, Part 3

First off, if you haven't got to look over parts 1 and 2, then here they are.

Todd Haley would start the off-season before 2010 with two new coordinators, a few more free agents, and a brand new draft class. If somebody had told you this is all it would take to be AFC West champions, would you have believed them?

Instead of taking the trip to Green Bay for training camp, the Chiefs had worked out a deal with Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph to have their camp there. This way, it was much easier for the fans to come out and watch the team, see the players, get autographs, etc.

This is where a lot of fans got to see the new team for the first time. Analysts and sportscasters were picking this team for last place in the division. And why shouldn't they? The Chiefs had finished in last place in their division the last three seasons in a row. In those three seasons, they had won a combined 10 games.

Surprisingly, however, one source was picking the Chiefs to exceed expectations and win the AFC West. This was no fan that thought they could win the division every year either, this was a legitimate statistical organization that is highly respected throughout professional football.

Football Outsiders predicted this summer that the unlikely Chiefs would be the AFC West champs. With all the statistics plugged in and all the calculations complete, could this be accurate? None of the scouts thought so, laughing off this bold prediction.

For the last couple of seasons, Arrowhead had been going through renovations. The public relations people tagged it: New Body, Same Soul. The 2010 season will be played in this rejuvenated stadium.

The Chiefs lost their first three preseason games before they finally won their last. Many Chiefs fans were discouraged by these preseason results. It didn't help that their first game of the regular season was on Monday Night Football against the four-time defending AFC West champion the San Diego Chargers.

It was a rainy Monday night. The game was to be the second game of a MNF doubleheader. This was the first MNF game in Kansas City since 2004. It was sold out. The fans, although weary of the Chargers, came to support their team on national television. They couldn't have picked a better time.

The Chiefs went on to upset the Chargers 21-14 behind a good defensive effort, special teams, and the soon-to-be-nationally-recognized running game. The season was off to a start and the Chiefs, with all the other AFC West teams losing that week, were in first place.

Fast forward to week 5. The Chiefs were 3-0, in first place in the AFC West, coming off a dominating win over San Francisco, and by grace of a bye in week 4 that had all the other undefeated teams losing, the last unbeaten team in the NFL.

Unfortunately, the Chiefs could not extend it to 4-0 and lost to the Colts. This was a frustrating loss which involved many missed passes, a few big drops (one being in the end zone), and a surprise onside kick that didn't turn out good. After being 3-0, many Chiefs fans were up in arms about the team.

We need a new quarterback, let's trade for Kevin Kolb; put Brodie in, he's the better passer; Dwayne Bowe has got to go; Haley loses us games by gambling. This list of complaints went on and on.

Fast forward to December 2nd. Matt Cassel was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Month. Cassel completed 90 of 144 passes (62.5 percent) for 1,111 yards with 12 touchdowns and one interception in November. His touchdown total was 22 with 4 interceptions. Dwayne Bowe had 14 of those touchdown passes. The Chiefs were 8-4 and still on top of the AFC West.

Fast forward to right now.

The Chiefs are AFC West champions and are hosting a playoff game. Dwayne Bowe, Jamaal Charels, and Brian Waters are heading to the Pro Bowl. We have a 1,000 yard rusher and a 1,000 yard receiver. Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson have both been AFC defensive players of the week. Todd Haley is in the discussion for Coach of the Year and Scott Pioli has a chance to win his third Executive of the Year.

After all the adversity this team has gone through, I have never been prouder to be a Chiefs fan than I am right now. When you look back and see how this team got here, in a rebuilding year, it's quite remarkable. And after the season is over (whenever that may be), I will have an Epilogue on this magnificent year. But hopefully, I won't have to put it on here until . . . February . . .

Thursday, December 30, 2010

To Sit or Not To Sit, Is that Even a Question?

As I mentioned in the post right before this, our upcoming game against Oakland is meaningful.

A win guarantees us the third seed and a loss puts us at risk of slipping to the four seed. If a game against the Jets for our first playoff game is what we want (which I think it is), then a win on Sunday will be necessary. Another benefit of being the three seed is that we would not have to play New England in the divisional round if we make it there. Instead, we would play the AFC North champion.

But all of this seems unimportant to the Chiefs coaches. No, not because they are talking about sitting players to not risk injury but because they are treating this game like it is any other game. They are preparing the starters just like they do every week. They are planning on playing and they are planning on winning.

The Chiefs seem unconcerned with playing for playoff positioning because they are too concerned about winning this game against the Raiders. That is why I like this coaching staff so much.

The Chiefs are not a veteran team, they are not a team that goes to the playoffs year after year, they are not a team that can just take a week off and then perform again the following week without any problems, and they are not a team that you can allow to become too fixated on the playoffs. If you let them just focus on a playoff game, they are very likely to just unnerve themselves.

Haley and the coaching staff has taken it one game at a time all season and this mentality does not allow the players to look past any opponent.

Haley, when asked if the decision to play to win the game considering the risk of injury was a tough one, responded: "No, not at all, . . . the stage we’re in for this team, we’re still in the developing foundation-laying period for this team. There are some teams that can think like that, I don’t think we’re one of those teams, I know we’re not. We just have so much work still to be done and we’ve got little time to do it so each and every day is important for us to continue to make progress across the board – there is no position spot that I can say we’re good here. We’ve got to keep working and keep getting better and the guys understand that and we set a goal when this quarter started to win at least three games and we’ve got a chance to do that . . ."

This game is important for the Chiefs, and it's not just Haley saying that. From the coaches to the players, there is clearly unfinished business left in Kansas City.

Playoffs aside, what unfinished business?

The Chiefs have the opportunity to go 8-0 at Arrowhead Stadium this season. That would be the first time since 2003 (which is also the last time we won the AFC West). Also, the Chiefs want momentum going into the playoffs. They have won three of their last four games and another win this week will propel them into their home playoff game. Also (yes, there is going to be quite a bit of also's), this game represents a grudge match for the Chiefs after their overtime loss earlier this season. Just watch those highlights again and you would want to play your starters too.

Also, Jamaal Charles (the one player who I don't want to play at all because if he's injured we're done), still wants yards. “I might play a lot this week and I’m still trying to get the rushing title.”

In his press conference yesterday, Matt Cassel had these things to say regarding the Oakland game: "For us as players that is our job, to go out and compete for 16 games. As a group and as a team we have a lot of work to do going into the playoffs and there are things that we want to accomplish . . . It definitely benefits you to keep your momentum going because I think that we have been playing pretty good football these past few weeks and if we can continue that it just builds further momentum going into the playoffs and hopefully gives us some confidence.”

Cassel also had these things to say in a conference call with Bay Area reporters: "Absolutely we plan on playing it like a regular game and I’m planning on playing 60 minutes and I think everyone else in the locker room is too. The last thing you want to do is go out and get your butt kicked by the Raiders on Sunday and lose any momentum we’ve built up to this point.’’

Derrick Johnson, however, probably simplified what all the coaches and players are wanting: “We still have business to handle with the Raiders.”

Although it can't be certain that the starters won't come out at some point during the game, as a Chiefs fan, you have to love this team is coming together. How the youth is blending with the veterans and how every player has bought in to what Todd Haley and Scott Pioli are trying to accomplish. So to sit or not to sit? It seems at this point that it's not even a question.

Playoff Perspective

This Sunday and the Chiefs upcoming game against the Raiders, there will be no question of an AFC West championship, there will be no question of a playoff berth. The Chiefs have already clinched both. But what has yet to be decided is what seed Kansas City will be in the post-season.

This playoff positioning won't change much; the Chiefs have no way of getting a bye and will be either the third or fourth seed. This positioning in seeds, however, could lead to a better chance in playoff success.

As it stands now, here is the AFC playoff picture:

Wildcard 1
Wildcard 2

The Patriots have already clinched the East and home field advantage throughout. The Chiefs have clinched the West. Other than that, everything can change.

If the Steelers win against Cleveland on Sunday, they will clinch the division and the number two spot in the playoffs, giving them a bye. If the Steelers lose on Sunday and the Ravens beat Cincinnati, then they will be the number two seed in the playoffs and have a bye. This would knock the Steelers down to the first wildcard spot.

As far as the South goes, no one has clinched a playoff spot yet. If the Colts beat the Titans in their final game, the Colts win the South. If the Colts lose and the Jaguars beat the Texans, then the Jaguars will win the South.

Where do the Chiefs fall into this playoff positioning?

If the Chiefs win against the Raiders on Sunday, they will be guaranteed the number three spot. If the Chiefs lose and the Colts lose and/or the Jaguars win, the Chiefs will still have the number three spot. If the Chiefs lose and the Colts win, then the Colts will jump the Chiefs in playoff rankings and become the number three seed, dropping the Chiefs down to the number four spot.

Now what's the difference between the three and the four seed? Who the Chiefs play is the answer. If the Chiefs are the three seed, then they will play the second wild card spot. Which means that they will be playing the slightly less successful of the two wild card spots. If they are the four seed, then they will play the first wild card team, which is the more successful of the two.

Currently, the Ravens are the first wild card team and the Jets are number two. After this weekend, all the playoff matches will be set and we will find out who we play for sure. The most likely matchup, however, is that the Jets will play the three seed and the Ravens or Steelers will play the four seed.

Here are the stats of the Jets:

Offense: 20th in the league in passing (208.7 ypg), 6th in rushing (139.9 ypg), 13th in total offense (348.5 ypg)
Defense: 9th in pass defense (205.7 ypg), 5th in run defense (94.5 ypg), 4th in total defense (300.1 ypg)

Now as intimidating as these defensive numbers look, the Jets have lost three of the last four games, are last in the NFL in defensive interceptions, two of their wins came in overtime against the Lions and the Browns, and their quarterback Mark Sanchez has been dealing with some injuries. Despite the Jets surprising run to the AFC Championship game last season (San Diego missed how many field goals?!), they are the team the Chiefs will want to play.

Why not the Ravens or the Steelers? Here's why:

Offense: 17th in the league in passing (215.6 ypg), 13th in rushing (115.5 ypg), 20th in total offense (331.1 ypg)
Defense: 15th in pass defense (219.6 ypg), 4th in run defense (94.2 ypg), 8th in total defense (313.8 ypg)

Offense: 16th in the league in passing (218.9 ypg), 9th in rushing (121.6 ypg), 15th in total offense (340.5 ypg)
Defense: 14th in pass defense (216.2 ypg), 1st in run defense (64.1 ypg), 2nd in total defense (280.3 ypg)

Now here are some hidden stats. The Steelers are 7th in the league in defensive interceptions (18) and the Ravens are 9th (17). Also, the Steelers are 1st in the NFL in sacks (44). While New York has lost three of its last four games, both Baltimore and Pittsburgh has won three of its last four.

Since 2005, the Steelers have appeared in the playoffs three of those years and won two Superbowls. Since 2005, the Ravens have also appeared in the playoffs three of those years (two straight with quarterback Joe Flacco). Since 2005, the Jets have been to the playoffs twice.

To give you something to reference to, these are the Chiefs stats for the year:

Offense: 28th in the league passing (192.1 ypg), 1st in rushing (167.5 ypg), 9th in total offense (359.6 ypg)
Defense: 20th in pass defense (225.6 ypg), 11th in run defense (103.7 ypg), 11th in total defense (329.3 ypg)

The Jets have the least experience in the playoffs of these three teams. They are the team that I would feel the best playing against. But to ensure that we play the Jets, we have to win against the Raiders (as if we need any more reasons to want to beat Oakland). But the question that remains is: will we play our starters? Is risk of injury worth the reward of momentum?

This is a lead-in to the next post that I will have about whether the Chiefs starters will play and why they should and shouldn't. Just something to look forward to.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Player Profile: Eric Berry

Eric Berry
Ed Zurga/AP Photo
Coming out of the 2010 draft, Eric Berry was the fifth overall pick, and the third defensive player taken. But most scouts agreed that he was the best defensive back in the draft and some even said he was the best defensive player in the draft.

Berry was a college standout at Tennessee. He was a two-time All American, a two-time Jack Tatum award winner (top college defensive back in college), a Jim Thorpe award winner (also defensive back), along with many other collegiate awards. For more information, just check out his video.

The Chiefs in 2009 were 30th in the league in total defense, 22nd in the league in pass defense, and 31st in the league in rush defense. These numbers were unacceptable and Pioli knew that he had to do something about it in the draft. And that's why Eric Berry was taken in the first round.

Since Romeo Crennel has taken over this defense, we have improved in every defensive category. We have moved from 22nd to 19th in passing defense, from 31st to 12th in run defense, and from 30th to 11th in total defense. These improvements are extraordinary but all the credit can't go to the coach; after all, it's the players that perform. And Eric Berry is a very important player for our improving defense.

Although Berry has blown some coverages, mostly deep routes, he has also made some spectacular plays. And remember, he's a rookie, he's going to make some mistakes. But he will learn from those mistakes, as he already seems to be doing. He's an exciting young player and he could very easily be the best player at his position for the entire league in a few years.

How We Got Here: A Season (So Far) In Review, Part 2

The 2009 draft was the first opportunity for Scott Pioli to build the team in his image; to build it for the future. Pioli was notorious for taking defensive players in the first round at New England and he did it again with Kansas City.

With the third overall pick, Pioli took defensive end Tyson Jackson out of LSU. He would then take defensive tackle Alex Magee in the third round, cornerback Donald Washington in the fourth, offensive lineman Colin Brown in the fifth, wide receiver Quinten Lawrence in the sixth, running back Javarris Williams, tight end Jack O'Connell and Mr. Irrelevant, Ryan Succop, in the seventh.

One could fairly go back and say that this draft wasn't a success. Magee, Brown, and Williams aren't even with the team this year; Washington and O'Connell are special teams players (although O'Connell did a good job filling in for Moeaki when he was injured), and Jackson has not lived up to the hype and has missed significant portions of this season to injury and only has a handful of starts. One could honestly say that Succop has been the best player so far.

The 2009 season didn't fair much better.

Chan Gailey was fired two weeks before the start of the regular season; Larry Johnson had his issues and then was released; Matt Cassel split even with 16 touchdowns and 16 interceptions; Dwayne Bowe was suspended four games; and the Chiefs ended the season 4-12.

But there were positives from that 2009 season, positives that the Chiefs could build on.

Chris Chambers, picked up mid-season, gave us a number two receiver and his game against the Pittsburgh Steelers showed it; Jamaal Charles went on to have an amazing season, finishing with over 1,100 yards rushing and that break-out performance in Denver; Derrick Johnson earned his starting job back in that Denver game too; and, for a young team, we were just a few play-makers away from being a team to be reckoned with.

So began the 2010 offseason, where Scott Pioli would silence the critics and get the Chiefs closer to their goal of the playoffs.

On January 7th, Charlie Weis, who had worked with Pioli in New England, was hired as offensive coordinator. On January 13th, Pioli hired Romeo Crennel as defensive coordinator. They had also worked together in New England. These are questionably the two biggest signings of the offseason.

As far as free-agent signing are concerned, however, Pioli was also successful. He gave Chambers a contract, brought in running back Thomas Jones from the Jets, brought in offensive guard Ryan Lilja from the Colts, brought in defensive end Shaun Smith from the Bengals, and brought back center Casey Wiegmann from the Broncos.

Then here came the 2010 draft. This was Pioli's second chance to build the team for the future and this time it would not be a swing and a miss, it would be a home run. It is also arguably the best draft of any team this season.

In the first round and fifth overall, the Chiefs took safety Eric Berry; running back Dexter McCluster and cornerback Javier Arenas in the second; guard Jon Asamoah and tight end Tony Moeaki in the third; and safety Kendrick Lewis and defensive end Cameron Sheffield in the fifth.

With these new players signed and these veteran coordinators hired, it was up to Haley to put all these pieces together.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


When I did my Pro Bowl selection post, I was slightly upset at the turn out. I thought that a few of our players got snubbed and that it was strange that a division champion would send only three players to the pro bowl. I mean heck, we sent two players to the Pro Bowl in 2008 when we only won two games. And on further inspection, it is indeed the fewest amount of players the Chiefs have ever sent to a Pro Bowl when winning a division championship.

But, I felt that I spent more time complaining about the snubbed players than about the players that did make the Pro Bowl.

So here's their moment.

Congratulations Dwayne Bowe, Jamaal Charles, and Brian Waters. This is Bowe's and Charles' first Pro Bowl invitation while it is veteran Waters' fifth. Bowe and Charles have had the best statistical seasons of their careers and Waters continues to be an anchor of the number one rushing team in the NFL.

These three players have been a large reason for the Chiefs success throughout the season and are very deserving of the award. I am glad that we have these players on our team and for Bowe and Charles, I'm sure this is just the first of many Pro Bowls to come.

Pro Bull

The Pro Bowl selections were announced tonight and with it came the snubs. And there are few teams that can say they got snubbed quite like the Chiefs.

Here are the Chiefs that did get selected for the Pro Bowl:

Running Back: Jamaal Charles

Wide Receiver: Dwayne Bowe

Offensive Guard: Brian Waters

Some would say that this isn't too bad of a list. Three players is pretty good. And these players that were selected from the Chiefs earned it. But if you look at some of our players that didn't get into the Pro Bowl, compared to the players that got in, it will leave you scratching your head.

The AFC quarterbacks are Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, and Peyton Manning. This sounds like a pretty good list and the first two players on this list deserve a Pro Bowl (yes, Philip Rivers had a great season); but Peyton Manning? The Pro Bowl is supposed to be a selection of the best players at their position for that year. Peyton Manning is a great quarterback and a habitual Pro Bowler, but Matt Cassel has had a better year.

While Peyton Manning leads the league in passing yards (4,436), he has also had his share of mistakes. He is 11th in the league in quarterback rating with 91.4 and 6th in the AFC. He has 31 touchdowns on the year but also has 17 interceptions.

Matt Cassel, on the other hand, might not have the passing yards that Manning does (Cassel is tied for 18th in the league with 3,001), Cassel has been more efficient. Cassel has the fifth best quarterback rating in the NFL and 3rd best in the AFC with a 98.8. He has 27 touchdowns, four less than Peyton Manning, but only has five interceptions, 12 less than Manning.

Not selecting Hali I can understand more than not selecting Cassel. Hali has been fantastic this season, but in selecting linebackers for the Pro Bowl you have to balance sacks and tackles. Hali is sixth in the NFL in sacks but he has lower tackle numbers than the players selected.

The Pro Bowl should not be based on the name of the player but their performance on the field. It is disappointing that Cassel's magnificent statistical season and other players' great seasons were not rewarded with a Pro Bowl trip; but it can still be rewarded by the upcoming playoffs. The post season is where a player proves just how good he is. And I'm looking forward to it.

Player Profile: Dwayne Bowe

Ed Zurga/ AP Photo

No player has made Chiefs fans more jubilant or more frustrated in recent memory than Dwayne Bowe.

Like I mentioned in an earlier post, Bowe was taken in the first round of the 2007 draft from LSU. He was immediately the number one target at wide receiver and finished only behind Tony Gonzalez for reception yards at 995 with 5 touchdowns. He broke franchise records for receptions, total receiving yards, and single-game receiving yards for a rookie.

The next season, he got that 1,000 yard receiving season he barely missed the year before. He finished with 1,022 and 7 touchdowns. Once again, behind Tony Gonzalez.

The 2009 season, however, was a struggle for Bowe. He served a four game suspension for using a banned substance. This did no favors for him trying to gain chemistry with newly acquired quarterback Matt Cassel. That season ended up being his lowest statistically, finishing with only 589 yards and 4 touchdowns. He finished behind Chris Chambers, who was picked up on waivers during the season.

Bowe, who had struggled with drops his entire career, had always made up for those mistakes in his previous seasons with the yards he could put up on a team. But with his lack of performance and his off-field issues in 2009, combined with the drops that always seemed to come, many were pushing that if Bowe didn't have an outstanding year in 2010, then it was probably time for him and the Chiefs to go their separate ways.

Then came 2010.

After having a slow start, and several key drops (not sure if I was ever going to forgive him for the Colts game), Bowe was in the KC lime light for all the wrong reasons. People wanted him traded or released immediately, people wanted Bowe out. But something changed with Bowe after that game: significant statistical improvement.

Since then, Bowe has been amazing. He has been Cassel's favorite target and is becoming a team leader. He is a big reason for Cassel's success and has shown much more consistency in his catches than previous seasons. He's putting up Pro Bowl numbers in my opinion (which we will find out later today), and has definitely proven that he is the Chiefs number one receiver for now and in the future.

His stats this season are: 67 receptions, 1,094 yards, 15 touchdowns, five 100-yard performances, five multiple-touchdown games, and a lot of happy fans.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Players of the Week

In such a one-sided game, it is impossible to point at two people, one from offense and one from defense, and say that they had the biggest impact on the outcome of the game. This game was a team victory, with everyone contributing.

Several players had good games and meaningful statistics. Cassel threw for three touchdowns and in the process broke the 3,000 yard mark passing. Tony Moeaki continues to break Tony Gonzalez's rookie stats. Jamaal Charles moved up to the number two rusher in the NFL. Casey Wiegmann made his 10,000th consecutive snap. Brandon Carr got his first interception of the year. Tamba Hali got another sack which moves him up to 5th in the NFL.

These are only a few of the notable players in the game. But since the NFL is made up of highlight reels, I find it only appropriate that the two players of the week were the ones with the biggest plays.

Offense: Dwayne Bowe

Defense: Eric Berry

How We Got Here: A Season (So Far) In Review, Part 1

The Chiefs won the AFC West yesterday with a victory over the visiting Titans and a San Diego loss. As we still revel in our first AFC West title in seven years and our first playoff appearance since 2006, it is easy to forget about the season that was and just how we got here.

Before the conclusion of our 2008 season, the worst in franchise history at 2-14, Carl Peterson resigned as GM of the Kansas City Chiefs. Seemingly forced out by Chiefs ownership, and recently reviled by Chiefs fans, Peterson metaphorically fell on his sword. But all was not lost because of Peterson; even though he made some questionable trades (Jared Allen to the Vikings, Tony Gonzalez to the Falcons), Peterson, with the help of coach Herm Edwards, had started to build a team for the future through the draft.

Although it seemed that Peterson could rarely find talent past the 2nd round, and was never able to draft a franchise quarterback in his 19 seasons with the Chiefs, much of our success today comes from the players he drafted.

In 2005, we got linebacker Derrick Johnson and punter Dustin Colquitt (who at one time was the hardest working man on the team it seemed).

In 2006 we drafted defensive end Tamba Hali (who has converted to linebacker in our 3-4 defense) and safety Bernard Pollard (who might have been the most important pick of them all: he tore Tom Brady's ACL in the first game of the 2008 season which opened the door to Matt Cassel and we all know what happened next).

In 2007 we drafted wide receiver Dwayne Bowe. Yes, that was the only notable pick from that draft class.

Now, in 2008, we had one of our most successful drafts in recent memory. It was Carl Peterson's last draft and I would say that it rivals the successful draft we had in 2010, though without the immediate impact. With two picks in the first round, we took defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey and left tackle Brandon Albert. We took cornerback Brandon Flowers in the second, running back Jamaal Charles in the third, cornerback Brandon Carr in the fifth, and tackle Barry Richardson in the sixth. Overall, we had 12 draft picks that year, but I listed the one's that have served a purpose.

On January 13th, 2009, Kansas City hired New England's Vice President of Player Personnel, Scott Pioli, to replace Peterson. Pioli had won the George Young NFL Executive of the Year award two years in a row while with the Patriots and was viewed by many to be one of the best in the business.

On January 23rd, 2009, Pioli fired head coach Herm Edwards. The job search was out for a new head coach.

Fresh off a run to a last minute Superbowl loss, Todd Haley, offensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals, was offered the job. Haley accepted the position on February 6th, 2009. Said Pioli on hiring Haley: “One of Todd’s unique qualifications is the fact that he’s served with a number of different organizations, four in particular that have turned their franchises around . . .We have a shared vision of what it takes to build a successful franchise in the National Football League.”

Pioli was not only noted for his ability to bring in young talent in the draft but also for the trades he made and the free agent singings he instigated. That's how he did it in New England and that's how he was going to do it in Kansas City. This was made evident when on February 28th, Pioli traded the 34th pick in the 2009 draft for quarterback Matt Cassel and linebacker Mike Vrabel. Matt Cassel, who replaced Tom Brady after injury, led the Patriots to a 11-5 record but surprisingly no playoff berth.

All was set for the 2009 draft.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Enjoy it Chiefs Fans, We Earned It!


Today, the Chiefs celebrate their first AFC West championship since 2003!

Not only did the Chiefs handle the Titans today but the Chargers did the unthinkable: lost. And not only did they lose 34-20, but they did it to the 3-11 (going in to the game) Bengals. The same Bengals that were without their two starting wide receivers: Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco.

And with the result of today, there is one person to thank (no not God although I have done it several times already): Pete Carroll.

Ed Reinke/AP Photo
What does the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks have to do with the Chiefs AFC West championship? He recruited Matt Cassel and Carson Palmer. Carson Palmer is the quarterback of the Cincinnati Bengals. Although the former Heisman winner had been struggling all year, he had a great day with his lesser known receivers. Completing 16-21 for 269 yards, 4 touchdowns and a 157.2 qb rating; he outplayed the Chargers defense all day.

Palmer certainly did a big favor for Matt Cassel: his college team mate, his good friend, and the guy he was best man for at the wedding. Not that the Chiefs were relying on a Chargers loss, but it is good to wrap up the division a week early and not have to worry about a Raiders upset next week.

Palmer didn't do it on his own, 124 of his yards and 2 of his touchdowns went to Jerome Simpson, an unknown receiver who got playing time this week because of the injury to Ochocinco. Cincinnati had 102 yards rushing and forced two San Diego turnovers.

Holding San Diego to 64 rushing yards (Mike Tolbert was carted off the field early on) and Rivers to one touchdown and 256 yards passing was huge. Cincinnati had the pride (that had been lacking for much of the year) to never give in; the pride to not let their play reflect their record; the pride to go out their and beat a team that couldn't afford to lose.

Thank you Cincinnati. This officially makes up for you destroying Trent Green.

Home Sweet Home

Charlie Riedel/AP Photo

Several words could describe this game: ugly, penalized, at times questionable, frustrating, one-sided. Usually you don't see 'one-sided' followed by the rest of those words and it mean a win for the team you're rooting for, but today it did.

The Chiefs offense was so explosive in the first half and the Chiefs defense so overwhelming throughout the game that the game wasn't even close. After scoring 31 points in the first half, and the defense holding Tennessee to just 7, all Kansas City had to do was just score 3 points in the second half to ensure victory. The Chiefs defense held the Titans to just another 7 points in the second half. The final score was 34-14.

Just how good was our offense? 458 total yards; Cassel was 24-34 (his first 8 pass attempts were completed) for 314 yards (his second highest total of the season) and 3 touchdowns, 128.8 qb rating; 152 total rushing yards; Dwayne Bowe with 153 yards and 1 touchdown; 9-18 on third down conversions (with most of those failed conversions coming in the second half with a sizable lead). We scored 24 points from our first four possessions to start the game. The start of this game reminded me of our first game this season against the Broncos and how fast they started. This time, it was the Chiefs that got off on a lightning fast pace.

This was a Titans defense that was determined to stop the run of the Chiefs. According to ESPN stats and information, the Titans had loaded the box 98 of its opponents attempts this season, second most in the NFL. This was a team that was prepared to live or die by Cassel's arm. And died they did on a 70.6% completion rate by Cassel.

Just how good was the defense? They held an opponent to 20 points or less for the ninth time this season; they held the fourth leading rusher in the NFL, Chris Johnson, to 58 yards; they intercepted Kerry Collins twice (three times but Kendrick Lewis's was negated by a questionable roughing the passer penalty); and to top it off, held the Titans to only 270 total yards.

Now, with such dominating stats, why would I use the words 'frustrating' and 'questionable.' 

The thing I found most frustrating was the penalties. The Chiefs had 7 penalties for 84 yards. A lot of these yards came from unnecessary roughness calls. We got suckered into the Titans way of playing it seemed, and many good plays were wiped away by those yellow flags. 

Another thing I found frustrating was Thomas Jones's fumbles. One near our own goal line which we recovered, and then one down in the red zone late in the 4th (even though it would have been reversed if we had any time outs left to challenge). If this had been a close game, those fumbles might have sank us. Jones is a veteran running back and should not be making those sort of mistakes (even though the game wasn't close on his second fumble, I am greedy and would have liked to see us score again).

And as far as 'questionable' is concerned, I think we all know where I'm going with this. Why did we put in Croyle before the end of the third quarter. He was in there for one possession, threw the interception, and then was replaced by Cassel. Why take out Cassel in the first place? The camera's showed him upset and talking to coach Haley on the sidelines during his short stint on the sideline. Did Haley want to see how Cassel responed? On one of his best games of the season? I'm just glad they brought Cassel back in.

Now, that sort of wraps up my post game analysis, but before it's over, how about Arrowhead? We just went   7-0 at Arrowhead and finish the season there next week against the Raiders whom we just eliminated from the playoffs today. We are 10-5 on the season, our highest win total since 2005, and we are one win away from an AFC West championship. Big victory today.

Feelin' Lucky?

With this game coming up against the Titans, I will be using all of my lucky mojo. This includes my lucky Chiefs shirt and my newly discovered small-stuffed Chiefs football.

I held that tiny red and yellow football the entire game against the Rams last week and it came through. That's when I decided I would continue holding that football during Chiefs games until the luck runs out. I've already had to give up on a few former lucky items, including my Matt Cassel jersey on game days. It came through for me on the win in Buffalo, but betrayed me for Oakland and Denver. I decided that all its luck had been used for the Buffalo overtime thriller (which wouldn't surprise me at all) and haven't worn it on a Sunday morning since.

Do you think I'm crazy yet?

There are a lot of sports fans that are superstitious. Some are just more than others. I am one of those more. But I am not afraid of it, I do not hide it. And with huge games being played by the Chiefs, I don't want to leave anything to 'chance.' The Titans have 5 turnovers in their last 3 games; I'm hoping to keep that trend going.

Why are sports fans superstitious? I think it's easier to blame a loss on oneself and bad luck than on their beloved sports team. I am not a psychologist though, that is just my analysis.

But if you are like me and have some lucky object or some lucky ritual, let Tip of the Arrowhead know about it by leaving a description of it in the comment box.

All I Want for Christmas is a Playoff Appearance

Playoffs. To some it is already clinched, to some it is slipping away; to others it will have to wait until next year, to others it is being fought for right now.

The Chiefs find themselves in an all-out fight for their playoff lives; seemingly a win-or-die situation. To make the playoffs, the Chiefs have to only worry about one thing: winning. As I've said on my posts several times, if we do not win, then we are probably not in. Well, I felt I should elaborate on that. Below is a AFC West chart.


As you can see, the Chiefs are on top of the AFC West, but only by one game. If the Chiefs lose tomorrow but win against the Raiders, and the Chargers win out, the Chargers would win the AFC West. Even though they would be tied at 10-6 and have an identical 3-3-0 divisional record with split head-to-head, the Chargers would have a better conference record at 8-4 than the Chiefs with 6-6. If the Chiefs win tomorrow but lose against the Raiders, and the Chargers win out, then the Chargers would win the AFC West with the same record as the Chiefs but a 3-3-0 to a 2-4-0 divisional advantage.

If the Chargers lose one game, however, and the Chiefs win one out of their next two, the Chargers are eliminated and the Chiefs clinch the AFC West. With San Diego playing Cincinnati and Denver in their final two weeks, though, I wouldn't hold my breath.

And believe it or not, the Raiders are actually still in this. They need KC to lose out and San Diego to lose one of two. Good luck with that.

There is no room for error in the Chiefs quest for the playoffs because they have no way of making a wild card slot. The two teams that are currently leading the chase for wild card slots could lose both weeks and the Chiefs would still not win the tie-breaker if they happen to lose one of their next two.

Wild Card
NY Jets

With the pressure of playoffs, and players starting to look at the schedule and the television instead of focusing  on the upcoming game, young teams can become overwhelmed and show it on the field. The Chiefs are a young team, but luckily, they have veteran coaches and coordinators. I don't know if there are two more veteran guys than Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel, coordinators during the Patriots dynasty. And Todd Haley led the offense on the Cardinals near Cinderella story to the Superbowl a couple of years back. These coaches have been in these situations before, and it is up to them to keep the team focused.

That is why the word 'playoff' has been officially banned from all Chiefs facilities. This fact came in Haley's press conference on the 24th. Other teams have done this before and have been successful in their playoff aspirations. This is exactly what this team needs, to take it one game at a time, and to stay focused on the task at hand.

This goes the same for us fans too; no need thinking about our last playoff season when Damon Huard was our leading passer, Larry Johnson was still on the team, and Tony Gonzalez didn't seek greener grass. It seems like so long ago.

So, players and fans, lets just keep our attention on the Titans game this week and get a win. After all, at the beginning of the season, who saw us in this position?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Remember the Titans?

Kansas City Chiefs

Just like last week, this is a must win game. As I'm sure you're getting tired hearing, if the Chief's don't win, we're probably not going to the playoffs. But, this game is more than just a must-win, it's an opportunity for the Chiefs franchise to make up for what happened more than two years ago.

If you don't remember, let me remind you.

It was October 19th, 2008. Chris Johnson had just emerged on the scene his rookie season. With a little over four minutes left in the game, and a 27-3 advantage, Johnson broke a 66 yard run for a touchdown to make the game 34-3. After going in for the touchdown, Johnson then proceeded to take over some bongo drums at the back of the end zone and bang on them like Todd Rundgren.

This was at Arrowhead.

Granted, many of the players on the 2008 Chiefs team are not on it today or are not used in the same capacity. This wouldn't be a revenge game for most of the players, this would be a revenge game for the fans. That is why it was so surprising to me when I heard Chiefs were on the verge of a blackout.

Personal vendetta aside, this game is going to be tough.

The Titans do not have a shortage of playmakers. Chris Johnson has 1,267 yards rushing (4th in the NFL) and 11 touchdowns. The Titans are 12th in the NFL in rushing yards a game with 115.6. Kenny Britt, the Titans 1st round draft pick in 2009, has 601 yards receiving and 7 touchdowns (that's with missing four games). Nate Washington, another wide receiver, has 612 yards receiving and 6 touchdowns. And remember Randy Moss? He's on there too. Although he hasn't done much (5 receptions for 62 yards), he has the big play capability that can burn teams.

Since Vince Young had his falling out with head coach Jeff Fisher and the Titans organization all together, Kerry Collins has stepped in well (after Rusty Smith's stint). Since taking over as the full-time guy in week 13,  Collins has 650 yards passing, 58% completion, 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. The Titans are 1-2 for those games.

The Titans are better than their 6-8 record, however. They are in the AFC South, so they have to play the Colts, Jaguars, and Texans twice a year. The Chiefs are 1-2 against AFC South opponents this year. Haley acknowledged this in his press conference yesterday: "they’ve played the most difficult schedule in the league at least going off of last year’s numbers." 

But this shouldn't be a trap game. The Chiefs are taking the season one game at a time and know how important each game is. Being at home, where we're 6-0, being so close to the end of the season that we can smell the playoffs, the Chiefs know what's at stake. Look for a cold day but a warm win against the Titans.

Chargers vs. Bengals

Well, this game probably won't even be close, but since all Chiefs fans want San Diego to lose to take some pressure off of them, here is the pregame.

Cincinnati has struggled all year. They are 3-11 on the season which included 10 straight losses (If it makes you feel any better, 7 of those 10 losses were by 8 points or less). This is far from the success they had last season, sweeping their division and earning a playoff spot. To add injury to insult, one of their most productive players, wide receiver Terrell Owens, had a season ending knee surgery on Monday. Owens has 72 receptions for 983 yards and 9 touchdowns.

Their second leading receiver, Chad Ochocinco, has bone spurs in his right ankle that will require off-season surgery. He was limited in last week's victory over Cleveland and has not practiced the last two days. This, combined with his feud with head coach Marvin Lewis, leads many to believe that he, also, will not play Sunday. Ochocinco has 67 receptions for 831 yards and 4 touchdowns.

With the Chargers receivers getting healthy and Vincent Jackson back from his holdout and suspension, the advantage goes to San Diego.

Carson Palmer, the Bengals quarterback, hasn't been having a banner year. He has plenty of yards passing (3,396) but has a 78.7 qb rating. This is due to his 21 touchdowns but 18 interceptions and 3 fumbles. Compare  Palmer's season to Philip Rivers and you see quite a gap. Rivers is having the best statistical full season of his career. A 105.7 qb rating, 4,141 yards passing, 29 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. You have to believe the advantage in quarterback goes to San Diego.

Cedric Benson has been a solid running back for Cincinnati all season and has over 1,000 yards. San Diego's leading rusher is Mike Tolbert and only has 737 yards rushing. This is probably the only advantage I would give to Cincinnati.

This is the Bengals final home game of the season but it has been blacked out on local television. I can't even give Cincinnati a home-field advantage.

All-in-all, San Diego should easily win this game. But it is the holiday season; miracles have been known to happen around this time.