Monday, February 28, 2011

I'll Make Them An Offer They Can't Refuse

Who doesn't like a good Godfather quote?

The scouting combine unfortunately makes me feel like the 2011 NFL Draft is right around the corner. I say unfortunately because it is not. It's at least a couple of corners away. However, some would say that it is never too early to start talking about draft scenarios (I try my hardest not to but on slow news days concerning the Chiefs, it seems to be the only place I can turn).

So, how many of you Chiefs fans out there would want to trade our first round pick?

Now, without thinking about it, this would seem like a stupid thing to do. After all, building a team comes through the draft. But this draft is different then the last few drafts. This year, we're not picking in the top 10.

We sit at the number 21 spot in this years draft. A spot that does not sound very enticing. We don't get the best player at a given position, yet we still have to pay first-round money for him.

So what should we do?

There are three options:

  1. Keep the 21st pick and take the best player available
  2. Trade up in the draft for a player we want
  3. Trade down in the draft and get more mid-round selections

There is nothing wrong with the first option. Somebody's got to pick at the 21 spot, and many good players have come in that spot (Vince Wilfork, Randy Moss, John Alt [KC example]). And we are not in as dire of a need as last season; we are defending AFC West Champions after all. But if we want to take that next step as a team, should we just wait and see what lands at 21, or should we be proactive?

Trading up is another possibility. If we don't acquire a wide receiver in free agency, this would be the time to go up and get an A.J. Green or a Julio Jones. That would instantly solve our wide receiver issues and make our wide receiving corp a threat. But what would a move like that cost us and would it be worth it? I'm not a fan of trading picks, even to move up in the draft, simple because it doesn't always work out (was Ryan Mathews underachieving or what?) and then you are stuck with a mistake and a debt to another team.

Now for option three. This is the one I think the Chiefs should consider this season. 21 is not the best place in the draft, and Pioli's draft selection last year has made me a believer in his ability to collect talent in rounds other than the first (something that Carl Peterson always struggled with). If we could add a couple of other picks by giving a team another first round pick or a team behind us a jump up, then I think it just might be worth it; especially if we get another pick in the second. We can solve just as many problems having two picks in the second as we could with a draft in the first and second.

These are just some things to weigh in your mind as the month of February comes to a close.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Where Does The Weekend Go . . .

If you are completely obsessed with football like myself, then you have probably been watching the NFL scouting combine. If not, then let me catch you up with some of the happenings.

Today, it has been the quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers showing off their skills. These are highly coveted positions, and really the most entertaining part of watching the combine. There are a few players that I have been watching closely. Julio Jones from Alabama has made it impossible to not be impressed by; Titus Young, a wide receiver out of Boise State, was looking really good in his skills before what NFL Network called a leg cramp. 

I was keeping an eye on quarterbacks as well since I do believe the Chiefs need to draft a backup quarterback this season. After being underwhelmed by Cam Newton (who I've never been interested in seeing in Kansas City anyway), I kept a close eye on Ricky Stanzi, since it's been projected that he will be a middle round guy. He looked decent in his skill tests, but a couple of other mid-round selection guys looked good as well. These were Christian Ponder from Florida State and T.J. Yates out of North Carolina. 

If you haven't checked out the combine yet, I would recommend you turn on the NFL Network for a little bit. One of these guys might be wearing a Chiefs uniform next year, so it's cool seeing them perform here at the combine.

Well, I'm going to get back to watching these players. But before I leave you, check out these articles on the Chiefs that are about the combine and the upcoming draft.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Who/What Can Dexter McCluster Be?


Dexter McCluster finished the season with the Chiefs as a complete enigma. Drafted for his versatility, he displayed the traits of a game changer early on in the season, but then dropped off after coming back from a five-game hiatus in which he was injured. So, what McCluster are we going to get next season?

Let me explain myself. McCluster was drafted in the 2nd round, 36th overall, as a running back out of Mississippi. He's 5'8" and 170 lbs. Clearly undersized as a pure running back for the NFL, the Chiefs weren't shy about how they were going to use him. Running back, wide receiver, punt returner, kick returner. He was going to be a speedy variable for the Chiefs offense and special teams.

At times he looked like the best offensive player on the field during training camp last summer. He could run, he could catch, and he was fast. This continued into the regular season, when on Monday Night Football against the San Diego Chargers, McCluster had 2 receptions, one rush, and 100 punt return yards including a franchise long 94 yard return for a touchdown. That score put the Chiefs up by two scores and ended up being the deciding points in the Chiefs upset win.

Then, during a big win over Jacksonville, McCluster was injured. He would then go on to miss the next five games. Season durability questions arose, as they should, but what most were concerned about during this time was how the offense and special teams would do with his absence. This concern was intensified after the Chiefs lost back-to-back division games against the Raiders and Broncos.

When McCluster came back from injury for the second go-around with the Broncos, many things were expected out of him. However, he went the remainder of the regular season never catching more than two passes a game, and he wasn't as effective in the running game as he had been before the injury.

In the playoff game against the Ravens, with Dwayne Bowe being blanketed all day, the Chiefs needed McCluster more than ever. And although he had four receptions on the day, he also had a costly fumble on our own side of the field. Overall, the last half of McCluster's rookie season was underwhelming.

Now, what we are left with is questions. Questions about if McCluster can be that player we all thought he could at the beginning of last season. Questions about if McCluster can stay healthy over an entire season. Questions about who and/or what McCluster can be.

I'm going to concentrate on that lest set of questions (it is the name of the post after all).

Who and what McCluster can be can be answered in the same example. And the example I am going to use is of a Chief that has recently been in the news.

Ed Podolak. Probably on of the most versatile player in the history of the Chiefs, Podolak was also taken in the second round by the Chiefs as a running back in 1969. As most of the older Chiefs fans out there know, Podolak was much more than just a running back. Podolak had four consecutive seasons with over 1,000 all purpose yards between rushing, receiving, punt and kick returns.

Although Podolak was more of a true running back than McCluster (6'1", 201 lbs), the versatility is quite similar for both. The Chiefs don't ask McCluster to be a full-time running back (we don't even do that with Jamaal Charles), they don't ask him to be a full-time receiver, what they do ask of him is to be a difference-maker.

I do think that McCluster can be that type of player; maybe not with the same kind of numbers that Podolak had, but with the same kind of effect that Podolak had on changing a game. He can line up in the slot, he can line up in the backfield, he can catch passes, break big runs, be a variable (I hate using the term X-factor ever since Dante Hall popularized it) that defenses hate planning and playing against.

Is McCluster our answer at the wide receiver position? Of course not. But he can be the answer at the all-important position of game-changer.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Chiefs At The Combine

Ben Liebenberg/NFL

Well, I was able to make it a day without writing about the NFL combine.

Chiefs head coach Todd Haley took the podium today at Indianapolis, Indiana, where the 2011 NFL Combine is currently taking place. I was not in Indianapolis to hear what Haley had to say, but Josh Looney from the Kansas City Chiefs has been tweeting all day about some of what Haley said as well as some of the other happenings at the combine. If you have a twitter account, I highly recommend you follow Josh Looney on there as well as tipof_arrowhead (that's the twitter account for this blog).

Here's some of the things that Looney had to say:

  • "Haley is high on the fact that Matt Cassel [will] be coached by a former NFL QB (Jim Zorn) - can't create that kind of experience"
  • "Part of Zorn's interview process included an hour-long film session with Cassel"
  • "Lots of questions from national media on things Haley has touched on many times before locally (ie, Jamaal Charles' workload & development)"
  • "On if he will call the plays, Haley says that Chiefs will get it right. Says the key is input from entire offensive staff [through] gameplanning"
  • "Haley also says that determining the play-caller is not the most pressing issue right now for Chiefs"
  • "Just spoke with Alabama QB Greg McElroy...impressive guy. NFL Combine coverage on KCChiefs.com"

Also, Gregg Rosenthal from profootballtalk.com, tweeted this:
  • "Asked if jamaal charles would get more carries next year, todd haley just stressed charles is a 'developing player.' Blah"

KCChiefs.com has the full video of Haley's press conference up, but Looney's tweets probably sum it up best (it is 20 minutes and 39 seconds long). It's just kind of exciting to get to have actual quotes from coaches and players again.

Speaking of quotes, Bob Gretz, a sports analyst with his own website, was able to interview Haley before his trip to the podium today. Haley went on to talk about the coaching staff situation and why he thinks he has one of the best staffs in the league. The most interesting part was what he said about the hiring of Jim Zorn to quarterback coach and the development that should come from Matt Cassel actually having a former quarterback as his personal coach (for the whole article, simply click on the link I put above).

“I know Charlie (Weis) wasn’t a quarterback, I wasn’t a quarterback, Josh (McDaniels) wasn’t a quarterback. Now, he’ll be coached by someone who has been there, whether it’s in the huddle or in the pocket. I think its perfect timing for where Matt is at this point in his career.”

And, to finish it up, here's some of AFC West blog writer for ESPN, Bill Williamson's thoughts on Haley at the Combine and some stuff from Adam Teicher at the KC Star.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Around the Zorn

Although Todd Haley and Jim Zorn are two very different people, there exist some similarities. These similarities are subtle, but they are there. It's not their personalities (they couldn't be more different), it's not their influences (Haley is from the Bill Parcells tree and Zorn from the Mike Holmgren tree), but it is the paths that both these coaches have taken.

Both Haley and Zorn are offensive minded guys, both served as coaches on teams that made it to the Super Bowl, both trained under great head coaches, and both were given their own head coaching positions because of their success on the sideline.

What happened after that, is what hopefully separates these two more than anything.

Zorn was given the headcoaching job with the Washington Redskins after originally being hired as the offensive coordinator that same year. Some would view his time in Washington as a failure. Zorn's record over two seasons was 12-20. He was fired after the conclusion of his second season.

Todd Haley, in his second season, silenced all thoughts about maybe replacing him. After going 4-12 in his first season, Haley followed it up with a 10-6 season and an AFC West Championship. Still, if next season ends up being a disaster, could Haley end up like Zorn? Fired, and reduced to lesser offensive position coaching?

I sure hope not, and I don't think even if next season is a disaster that Haley should be fired.

But mostly, I hope next season is not a disaster and that the failed head coach that Zorn was can complement the coach-on-the-rise that Haley appears to be (as weird as that sounds).

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Draft History 101


The draft is on the near horizon, and everyone is trying to make projections of what players their team will draft and what positions are the most in need (my mock draft is coming out in May, I refuse to do it any sooner).

Well, to get you ready for the draft, I will be having a series of "Draft History" lessons, in which I will go in to detail of a certain aspect of the draft from the Chiefs perspective.

As you can see above, this is simple Draft History 101. The other posts that I do will get slightly more in-depth or slightly more narrow on a certain aspect. They will be labeled 202, 303, and so on (just like college classes).

Anyway, let's get started.

Today's lecture will be on the Chiefs drafting in the 1st round since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970. Every fan for every team always wonders who their team will pick first. Well, although it's still an uncertainty until draft day, knowing the history of a team's drafting can actually help. I know this sounds crazy to anyone that didn't enjoy history class in high school, but there's a reason the subject is taught.

And to simplify it a little more, I will only count the following positions that were taken in the first round: center, nose tackle, linebacker, wide receiver, and quarterback. These are the positions that most Chiefs fans (including Cassel-haters) would like to see filled with the first round selection.

Before I get started, I will explain one part. I will be doing positions drafted. And what I mean by that is if a player was converted to a different position once a pro, it doesn't matter. For example, both Derrick Thomas and Tamba Hali were drafted as defensive ends out of college, but were converted to a linebacker in the pros.

Since 1970, here's how the Chiefs draft breaks down:

  • Center: 0
  • Nose Tackle: 1
    • Bill Maas in 1984
  • Linebacker: 2
    • Percy Snow in 1990
    • Derrick Johnson in 2005
  • Wide Receiver: 4
    • Elmo Wright in 1971
    • Anthony Hancock in 1982
    • Sylvester Morris in 2000
    • Dwayne Bowe in 2007
  • Quarterback: 2
    • Steve Fuller in 1979
    • Todd Blackledge in 1983

As you can see, center has not been a big concern for the Chiefs in the past. In fact, in the 40 years of drafting I just covered, only nine players were drafted that fit the position that fans want this year.

And yes, these numbers do mean something.

League wide, center is usually not an extremely high drafted position, and few are drafted in the first round. Linebacker is more common, as well as wide receiver. The Chiefs are a rarity, however, with the quarterback position, only drafting two ever in the first round; but don't expect that to change this season. And as far as nose tackle, they are also not very common in the first round because not every team runs a 3-4 and requires a big nose tackle.

Using these percentages, it seems that drafting a linebacker or a wide receiver is the most likely. However, more goes into the draft than that. The 'more' of which I speak of is free agency. Depending on what the Chiefs do in free agency, one of these positions could show it prevalence over the other. 

As always, we will have to wait and see.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rumor Has It

Rumor has it that Shaun Rodgers is a sure thing to become a Chief. This is because, after only meeting with three teams (Redskins, Chiefs, Saints) after his release from the Browns, the Chiefs make the most since. He has experience with Romeo Crennel, and the Chiefs offer him a 'contender' which he has reportedly been looking for. If Rodgers becomes a Chiefs, then the drafting of a nose tackle becomes a lesser need than before.

Rumor has it that free safety Eugene Wilson, who was released by the Texans last Friday, might just become a Chief. He has experience with Scott Pioli when they were both in New England, and Jon McGraw, one of the Chiefs safety's from last year, is a free agent. Wilson will turn 31 in August, and hasn't put up the best of numbers while in Houston. That, with the development that rookie Kendrick Lewis showed last season, and I think Wilson wouldn't make much of a difference for the Chiefs. If we wanted a free safety, why not O.J. Atogwe, who was released by the Rams on Friday. The guy has 18 interceptions in his last four seasons and is only 29.

Reports have it (this one's definitely not a rumor), that former Chief Ed Podolak was hit by a car and suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries. My sentiments go out and I wish Ed a speedy recovery.

Rumor has it that once again, draft analysts are split about what the Chiefs biggest need is in the upcoming draft. Many say offensive line, either center or tackle. Many say a pass rusher, either at the defensive end or outside linebacker position (many say wide receiver should be addressed in free agency as well). If Casey Wiegmann comes back next season (he says he's about 50/50 on retirement), this could cause the Chiefs to go defense first, or it could possibly mean that the Chiefs draft a center so that that player has a year to learn from one of the best center's in the game. Who knows what we do though.

Rumor has it that the Chiefs could make a run on Minnesota wide receiver Sidney Rice. This came after hearing that linebacker Chad Greenway would get the franchise tag from the Vikings and not Rice. Now, if Rice even makes it to free agency (Vikings are hoping to get deal done with Rice to prevent it), he would be a high-priced pick up. But, he would be the kind of pick up that could put the Chiefs offense over the top next season. But with Dwayne Bowe becoming a free agent after the 2011 season, can we afford a player of Rice's magnitude? If we tried with Anquan Boldin last offseason, we have to try for this guy.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Chiefs Throwbacks

AP
Remember back in 2009 when the AFL was celebrating its 50th year in existence? That season, the eight original AFL teams wore their original jerseys for a few games in honor of the players that had come before them.

Some of the jerseys were goofy looking, some of the jerseys weren't that unfamiliar, and then there were the Chiefs.

With the state of Texas on the side of their helmets, the Chiefs showed off their throwback uniforms for the first time in a home game against the Dallas Cowboys. Texas was, of course, on their helmets because they were originally the Dallas Texans before Lamar Hunt moved the team to Kansas City in 1963.

Many Chiefs fans were upset that their beloved team was wearing a different state's outline on their helmet. Many fans enjoyed the change-of-pace that the uniforms brought.

I am one from that second type.

It's not that I enjoy the state of Texas, it's that I enjoy the Kansas City Chiefs and I enjoy the rich history that the Chiefs have. That history includes several seasons as the Dallas Texans. And those throwback uniforms pay tribute to not only the humble beginnings of the Chiefs, but also former owner Lamar Hunt's vision for the AFL and a revolution to the nature of professional football.

But why pay tribute by wearing those jerseys just one season? I say we wear the jerseys at least once a season, similar to how the Patriots wear theirs at least once a season (and were all about doing things the Patriot way).

And why stop there? I say we put the old logo at midfield instead of the arrowhead at least once a season (probably the same game we do throwbacks). That logo is sweet, it should not have to live entirely in the past.

Anyway, it was just a thought (by the way, our winning percentage wearing the throwbacks those three games in 2009 matched our total winning percentage for the year; pretty powerful stuff).

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cassel Being Green?


When Charlie Weis was first brought on with the Chiefs, he said that his ultimate and number one goal was to "fix the quarterback." This, of course, created some buzz and I'm sure everyone remembers him saying that famous quote over a year ago.

For the fans, the quote by Weis just made the struggle that Matt Cassel faced during his first year in Kansas City that much more evident. Many good quarterbacks have struggled in a season or two during their career and it's accepted, but Cassel hadn't proven that he was a good quarterback yet (some would argue he still hasn't). That, coupled with the $63 million deal he received before the start of the 2009 season, made a lot of fans upset and nervous about the Chiefs' future.

Were these concerns fair? Was Weis's statement about fixing Cassel warranted?

Let's look at the stats:

Starting 15 games for the Patriots and playing the majority of the other (against the Chiefs) in 2008, Cassel went 327 for 516 (63.4%) passing for 3,693 yards, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. This was good for an 89.4 qb rating and a Patriots 11-5 record.

In his first season with the Chiefs in 2009, Cassel went 271 for 493 (55%) passing for 2,924 yards, 16 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. The result was a 69.9 qb rating and a 3-12 record (he was absent from the season opener).

This was a clear drop off from his performance in New England, but were they "fix" worthy numbers. Clearly Cassel was surrounded by greater talent in New England than his first season in KC, but should that lack of talent effect a quarterback as badly as it did with Cassel? Was Cassel just having trouble adjusting from one team to the other? Was Cassel a victim of a fired offensive coordinator right before the start of the season? Did Haley call plays like he was coaching Kurt Warner again?

The third question is probably the most logical one. Trent Green had the worst full season of his career in his first year with the Chiefs, throwing for 17 touchdowns and 24 interceptions. Donovan McNabb was coming off one of his best statistical seasons in 2009 with the Eagles before being traded to the Redskins, where he had arguably his worst season since his rookie year. Other examples aren't lacking either.

Was Cassel just going through a transition like these, hopefully like Green's (who went on to two Pro Bowls)?

Clearly, there are a lot of variables that could lead to an answer, but all of them are just speculation. The fact of the matter is, Cassel vastly improved this season and Weis is credited with fixing him.

Well, now that Cassel is seemingly fixed, it now becomes Jim Zorn's job, who was recently hired as the qb coach, to continue to develop Cassel (who turns 29 in May), and the rest of our quarterbacks (which could include one drafted this season [that might be the most important one of all]).

Hopefully, Cassel can continue to improve. Now that he's "fixed," and he's heading into his third season with the Chiefs, there can be no more excuses, only advancement. If Cassel continues to put up the numbers like he did in 2010, then the Chiefs don't have anything to worry about.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Is Andy Studebaker the Answer?

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Never have I seen a city fall in such unwarranted love with a player for his performance in a single game than I have with Kansas City and Andy Studebaker.

Hardly anyone knew Andy Studebaker's name until last season, in week 11, when he put on a performance of a lifetime. The previous season's Super Bowl champions, the Pittsburgh Steelers, were in town, visiting the 2-7 Kansas City Chiefs. No one was giving the Chiefs any hope for this game; a miracle needed to happen. 

That miracle was Andy Studebaker.

Studebaker, a special teams guy and back up linebacker, got the start that day because of an injury to Mike Vrabel. He went on to record half a sack and 2 interceptions, one of those at the Chiefs 2 yard line after a lengthy Pittsburgh drive. He would then return the interception 94 yards before running out of gas. The Chiefs went on to win that game in overtime.

Since then, it seems that every Chiefs fan has hopped on the Studebaker bandwagon (I will admit that I yelled "that guy puts the 'stud' in 'Studebaker' after his second interception; and yes, I know that is extremely corny). But, probably more importantly, it seems the front office has bought in too. That was apparent on September 14th, 2010, the Chiefs gave Studebaker a 4-year, $5.74 million extension.

It wasn't a secret that Studebaker was being groomed to replace veteran OLB Mike Vrabel. This was apparent all last season when Studebaker and Vrabel would be doing almost constant subbing for each other. 

But even with the increased opportunities on defense this season, he only finished with the same amount of tackles as in 2009 - 28 tackles. Granted, he had 2.5 sacks this season, and tackles aren't that good of a measurement for a pass rusher (Hali had 52). But even Wallace Gilberry, who came in about the same amount as Studebaker, had 23 tackles, 7 sacks and 2 forced fumbles.

Why am I talking about this?

Both Mel Kiper and Todd McShay of ESPN have OLB Akeem Ayers out of UCLA going to the Chiefs with the 21st pick in the draft. This is what Kiper had to say about Ayers (McShay had similar things to say, so I'm just going to use Kiper):


"Kansas City must draft an outside linebacker, and in Ayers the Chiefs get a player who can learn from Mike Vrabel if he's there or step in for him immediately if he's not. Ayers is known for freak athleticism, but his versatility is the real draw. He has good skills as a pass-rusher, can drop off into coverage and holds up well in the run game. A sound fit for KC's scheme."


And although ESPN isn't the only people that do mock drafts, most of the others agree with the idea of adding a pass rusher, either at the linebacker or defensive end position. It seems that most analysts concur that the Chiefs need another pass rusher to complement Tamba Hali. Most agree that Studebaker is not the answer.

I can't help but like the guy, but to be honest, I am one of those people that hasn't bought in to Studebaker being the future of our OLB position. But is a pass rusher our biggest need in the draft? If Ayers does make it down to KC in the draft, should we take him in the first round? Or do we have bigger fish to fry than a pass rusher? We will have to wait to find out.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Thanks Gunther

Today, the NFL notified the Chiefs that they had won their tampering case against the Lions.

The case was filed by the Chiefs back on December 2nd against the Lions, seemingly stemming from comments that former Chiefs defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham had made after he was hired by the Detroit Lions following the 2009 season. 

Here are those comments: "(Kansas City) keeps wanting to dump their players. I would like to be there to catch a lot of them because I know a couple of those guys."

AP Photo
This has been widely reported as referring to former Chiefs safety Jarrad Page, who is now in New England. 

So, what do the Chiefs get? 

The swapping of fifth-round picks with the Lions and the satisfaction that Detroit completely loses their seventh-round pick.

So, not much.

Both teams can appeal this decision to the NFL, so it wouldn't surprise me if the Chiefs do in hope of getting a little bit better of a compensation than just the swapping of fifth-round picks. It was tampering after all. 

But, even if it's not changed, and we are stuck with the decision, I guess it's better than nothing. Which makes it one of the better things Gunther Cunningham was able to do for the Chiefs in his career. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Oh Romeo!

Romeo Crennel Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel of the Kansas City Chiefs looks on from the sidelines alongside head coach Todd Haley during the game against the Green Bay Packers on September 2, 2010 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

It's semi-old news that Shaun Rogers came to Kansas City this week to meet with the Chiefs organization. He was released earlier in the week and is one of the only players that has warranted any attention. This is because he is a 350 lb nose tackle.

Some say that Rogers will most likely end up in Kansas City because Rogers had his best season under Romeo Crennel when both were still with the Cleveland Browns. That familiarity, plus the fact that the Chiefs could use that big of a nose tackle (which might save them from drafting one this year, at least early on that is), equals a fair possibility.

Now, I am going to go back to what I just said in the previous paragraph: "had his best season under Romeo Crennel." I had heard that statement so many times when reading about Shaun Rogers. Then I started thinking, "join the club."

After Crennel became our defensive coordinator last offseason, he has made the Chiefs defense respectable again. We improved all over that side of the ball, and the stats can prove it.

But how does a team improve so much? The answer is the players.

Several Chiefs players had their best seasons under Crennel this season without a doubt. For simplicity, I am going to stick with the starters; and for common sense, I am not going to include rookies. They are:
        Derrick Johnson: 121 tackles, 4 forced fumbles, 1 sack, 1 interception, 1 touchdown
        Tamba Hali: 52 tackles, 4 forced fumbles, 14.5 sacks
        Glenn Dorsey: 69 tackles, 2 sacks
        Jovan Belcher: 84 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1 sack
        Brandon Carr: 57 tackles, 1 interception, 25 pass deflections (the true testament)

Several Chiefs players had one of their best years under Crennel this season:
        Ron Edwards: 26 tackles, 2 sacks
        Shaun Smith: 56 tackles, 1 sack (best season since 2007 when he was with Crennel in Cleveland)

Now, should these statistics be due more to the fact that most of the players are young and developing? Perhaps, but it just seems like these numbers lead to a conclusion that seems to be too consistent to be coincidence. The conclusion is that Romeo Crennel is one heck of a defensive coordinator and he has assembled a great staff of coaches. I'm glad he coaches for us, and I hope the defense can continue its improvement.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hali Franchised



As I'm sure you've heard today, Tamba Hali got the franchise tag from the Kansas City Chiefs. This is a move that many expected.

This doesn't necessarily mean that talks between Hali and the Chiefs organization (Scott Pioli) are breaking down. This mainly means that the Chiefs don't want the chance of any other team coming in and sweeping Hali away from us.

Hali received the non-exclusive tag, which means other teams can make offers to Hali and, if the Chiefs don't match them, can actually aquire Hali. But they would also have to give up two first round picks for him, which makes it very unlikely (Jared Allen cost the Vikings a first round and two third rounds after the Chiefs put the franchise tag on him).

Pioli has indicated this entire offseason that keeping Hali a Chief was very important to him. Today, after the franchise tag was placed on Hali, Pioli said this in a press release: "Tamba is a key contributor to our football team, and we have a tremendous amount of respect for him both personally and professionally. We want Tamba to remain a member of the Chiefs, and we will continue to work together with the hope of reaching a long-term agreement."

Hali has indicated that he wants to remain a Chief, which is fantastic for the organization. But reports have also come out that he will want a deal similar to DeMarcus Ware of Dallas. Ware's deal was a six-year, $78 million extension.

Is Hali worth this?

I personally believe Hali will sign for less, but if push came to shove, I think Hali is worth that amount. He had an amazing season last year under new defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel (look for an upcoming post on Romeo coming soon). Our defense can't afford the loss of our best pass rusher. And if the Chiefs were to enter next season (if there is one) without Hali having a new deal, I think this is a failure by the Chiefs organization to negotiate with a great, young player.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Red Zorn



This morning, the Chiefs announced the hiring of Jim Zorn as the quarterbacks coach. He was recently let go from the same postion from the Baltimore Ravens. And the Chiefs coaching staff just got that much better.

How did they get that much better? They brought on a coach thats entire football career has focused around the quarterback position. And that career has seen its share of success.

Zorn was a starting quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks where he spent the majority of his career. He then went on to coaching, and after spending a few years in the college ranks, took the jump to the NFL. Before the Chiefs, Zorn has been a qb coach for three other teams (Lions, Seahawks, Ravens), and even the head coach of the Washington Redskins from 2008-2010 (though hired originally as the offensive coordinator the same season he was promoted).

Upon the hiring of Zorn, head coach Todd Haley had this to say: "We are excited to finalize our coaching staff today with the addition of Jim Zorn. As a former head coach with more than two decades of experience playing and coaching the quarterback position in the NFL, Jim has a tremendous working knowledge of the game, and he will play a big role in the continued development of our football team.”

This is the move that many of us, including myself, wanted. Not necessarily Jim Zorn, but a respected quarterbacks coach that can help in the development of Matt Cassel. I had also mentioned Zorn's name a while back as a potential offensive coordinator.

However, some argue that he is too "soft" of a coach and will do whatever Haley tells him to do. I don't agree with this statement how it is; he's the qb coach, not the OC. His primary goal is to work with the quarterbacks and I think Haley will let him do his thing without interference. If Haley planned on working a lot with the quarterback, he would have just promoted Nick Sirianni but do most of the work himself.

Plus, Zorn has shown that he is very good at what he does. As Zorn as their qb coach, different players have shown great improvement from one season to the next. Hasselbeck had his best seasons under Zorn, leading his team to the Super Bowl during the 2006 season. Under Zorn in Washington, Jason Campbell had his two best seasons to date. And then, last season, Joe Flacco posted his best season in his three year career (unfortunately Chiefs fans got to witness that) with Zorn as his qb coach (another interesting fact is that Flacco was infuriated with the Ravens organization after they fired Zorn).

Zorn will give balance to the offense; this is what many Chiefs fans were worried about after the promotion of Bill Muir to offensive coordinator. I think, after this hire, all those same fans will be able to sleep a little sounder tonight.

And, here's a little bonus for you. For everyone asking what the connection between the Chiefs and Zorn was, I have one. It's probably more of a coincidence than a connection, but still an interesting fact. Zorn was stripped of his play calling duties on offense in 2009 as the head coach of the Redskins after a loss to the winless Chiefs; this of course gave Todd Haley his first NFL win as a head coach. It signified the beginning of the end for Zorn in Washington, and now we have him in KC. Chiefs seems to be good at stuff like that (Cassel, but sort of the opposite circumstances).

Monday, February 14, 2011

Will You Be My Valentine (free agent)?

Today, of course (unless you honestly forgot and are now shutting your laptop and hustling towards the nearest Wal-Mart), is Valentine's Day. It's a day to celebrate your already established love, or perhaps, find a love. So, there's no better day than Valentine's Day to talk about free agency.

Love. It is a simple yet complicated word. In sports, as in life, this four letter word can make all the difference. Remember in high school, when the girl you used to have a crush on was with some other guy. You resented him; and, if they were together for long enough, you might have even started to resent her. But then, they would break up, or he would move off to college, and all of a sudden, she was available.

That is what free agency is. You see a player on another team that performs spectacularly and you wish he was on your team. It could even be a player that you hate from a division opponent that you hate even more, but you know in a heart beat if he was available you would beg for him to now be on your team.

Well, all's far in love and free agency.

So, on Valentine's Day, I will be sending valentine's to the free agents that I would like to see playing for the Chiefs next season. Free agents (due to the collective bargaining agreement, these listings of free agents is going to be a little sketchy and there classifications may change soon, but bare with me), just like anybody, can accept or refuse my valentine; but, unlike women, they don't care that I will be sending valentines to multiple people. Here we go:


No Vincent Jackson, I cannot keep my adoration for you a secret. Although you may act like a diva sometimes (not to mention holding out when you were supposed to perform), you have incredible hands and can make big plays out of a simple completion. Although my affection will probably go without reward because the Chargers will almost certainly use the franchise tag on you, just know that if they don't, I'll be here waiting for you. Will you be my free agent?


Steve Breaston, you may be the most likely to come to KC, and that doesn't bother me one bit. You've been used to being overshadowed by more well-known receivers, but that doesn't mean that you're not something special. You know our head coach well, and that might be all that you need. You wouldn't have to be second fiddle to Larry Fitzgerald anymore, just Dwayne Bowe. But if Bowe starts dropping passes again, who knows how many throws you'll get your way. Will you be my free agent?



With Vrabel most likely gone after this season and Andy Studebaker still unproven as far as I'm concerned, why not bring in a beauty and a beast. LaMarr Woodley is both. He is only 26 years old, a young stud, and has averaged over 11.5 sacks over the last three seasons. He is everything we could ask for lining up on the other side of Tamba Hali. This seems like a match made in heaven; but really, it only requires a little free agency. Our defense will be like the old flame we once knew well (Smith and Thomas). Will you be my free agent?


I'm going to stop at three, but if you have anymore free agents that you would like to see get valentine's, leave them in the comment box so you don't have to keep your love a secret anymore.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

What to do?

Well, today marks the first Sunday in what feels like forever in which there is no football on TV. And, like many of you, I asked myself, "What the heck am I going to do on Sundays now?"

It's the feeling all football fans deal with once the NFL season is officially over. Do we start watching basketball more often? Do we get ready for our favorite baseball teams' spring training? What can I obsess about now?

I can't answer those questions for you, but what I can tell you is that football season never ends. If you're a Chiefs fan, you stay a Chiefs fan 365 days a year. And you can prove your fan hood by following this blog. Tip of the Arrowhead won't stop posting information, news, questions, analysis, etc. And, as a fan, you won't stop reading it (only a suggestion of course).

Soon, I will start diving into free agency (once there is something to report) and the upcoming draft. I will, of course, try to keep everything original from other websites so you don't feel like you're reading the same stuff wherever you go concerning the Chiefs.

But, to keep the Chiefs season rolling just a little bit longer, here are some videos from kcchiefs.com from last season. Hope you enjoy and remember: Arrowhead never sleeps.

Click here for video on Top 10 Takeaways of 2010.
Click here for video on Top 10 Touchdown passes of 2010.
Click here for video on Top 10 Sacks of 2010.
Click here for best of 2010: Defense.
Click here for best of 2010: Offense.
Click here for best of 2010: Special Teams.
Click here for 2010: A Year in Review.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Aaron Rodgers Effect


Last Sunday, we saw Aaron Rodgers lead the Packers to a Super Bowl victory. Some would say this was a great achievement considering so many starters and key contributors found themselves on injured reserved during the season, including a starting running back, linebacker, and tight end. Even in the Super Bowl, star corner back Charles Woodson and veteran wide receiver Donald Driver, left the games with injuries and didn't return. Yet, throughout all these injuries during the season, and throughout the injuries suffered in the Super Bowl, the Packers held on and won it all.

And Chiefs fans scratched their heads.

How could a team sustain so many injuries and still be competitive? They finished with the same 10-6 record that the Chiefs did. They won three playoff games on the road (including a dominating performance over Atlanta). They never even trailed in the Super Bowl. How could this be done?

And then the answer came: an elite quarterback.

Aaron Rodgers' performance had made Chiefs fans (or at least myself) doubt Matt Cassel more than his 5 interceptions and 0 touchdowns in the final two games of the year. Rodgers' ability to make the players around him better and, at times, put the team on his back is something that any team can envy. But especially the Chiefs.

Throughout the Chiefs history, one could argue that the Chiefs have only had two elite quarterbacks: Len Dawson and Joe Montana. Dawson won us our only Super Bowl. Montana, at nearly the very end of his career, was able to get us to the AFC Championship. And then that is it.

We've had good teams, don't get me wrong. In the early 90s, the Chiefs were a dominant force. But here's a stat for you to look at: seven different quarterbacks started games from 1990-1997 for the Chiefs. In those eight years we went to the playoffs seven times. If we had a young, elite quarterback like Rodgers (and some would say we did in Rich Gannon but we chose to keep Grbac) instead of a different starter every other year, who knows how successful we might have been.

Fast forward to present day. Are we in danger of being that sort of team from the 90s? Good all over the field  but incapable of reaching that next level because we don't have an elite quarterback?

Teams have won Super Bowls with quarterbacks that managed the game (Brad Johnson, Trent Dilfer), but not on a regular basis. Do we want to be one of those lucky teams that wins a Super Bowl once because of a great team effort, or do we want to be in contention every year because our quarterback is just that good (Patriots, Colts, etc.).

That should be an easy answer.

Can Matt Cassel be that quarterback? I just don't know. I want to think he can be that quarterback, and I don't want to write him off yet, but at times it doesn't look very good. To become an elite quarterback is simple: one must do something elite. Let's hope that Cassel does something elite very soon. Otherwise, history might just be repeating itself.

Friday, February 11, 2011

You Can Go Your Own Way

The Chiefs find themselves at a very interesting crossroads. There are seemingly three paths the Chiefs can take. The first two paths are ones that have already been done before. The third is an entirely unique path, one that the current Chiefs can forge and create their own legacy.

I come by these paths based on two similar seasons in Chiefs history. The 1986 season will be path one, the 1990 season will be path two, and then path three will be the future that could be had out of this 2010 team, a path different from the first two. Here we go.

1986


This year marked the first playoff appearance for the Chiefs since 1971. But before we get to that, let's talk about how that team got there.

It was the fourth season under head coach John Mackovic. In his previous three seasons, the Chiefs went 20-28. But in 1986, pieces came together. And once again, the Chiefs were lead by their dominant defense. That season, the Chiefs' defense was ranked 8th in total defense and was lead by veterans and young players alike.

The offense, however, was not quite as dominant. After another lackluster performance from Todd Blackledge at quaterback, coach Mackovic put one-time Pro Bowler Bill Kenney in at quarterback. Kenney wasn't the greatest, but he was good enough to get the team to 10-6, although relying on the defense most of the time.

This record was good enough for the second best in the AFC West and got them a wild card spot. But Kenney was injured in the last game of the regular season and didn't participate in the wild card game against the Jets. The result was a 35-15 loss. Mackovic was relieved of his duties at the end of the season and special teams coach Frank Gansz was named head coach.


1990


This year represents the beginning of a fantastic run by the Chiefs; but, once again, before we get into all that, we have to start with how they got there.

It was the second year under head coach Marty Schottenheimer. The Chiefs were still known as a defensive team, even though they were only 16th in total defense. That's because they knew how to get to the quarterback. In fact, they lead the league in sacks with 60. Of those 60, Derrick Thomas had 20.

On offense, we were much improved from 1986. We had balance between the run and pass game. Quaterback Steve DeBerg had a great season: 7th in the NFL in passing with 3,444 yards, 23 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions. 1989's NFL leading rusher, Christian Okoye, had another great season, although he finished behind teammate Barry Word for yards.

With both sides of the ball playing extremely well, the Chiefs finished 11-5, 2nd in the AFC West, and made the playoffs. They, however, lost in the wild card round 17-16 to the Dolphins.

What all this means


As I said above, these two seasons represent paths the current Chiefs can go down. After Mackovic was fired, the Chiefs won 8 games combined in the two seasons that followed. It seemed that the 1986 team was a one-hit wonder. The 2010 Chiefs, with a much more rigorous schedule coming up next season, could be that sort of one-hit wonder.

In 1990, this marked the beginning of many fruitful seasons in Kansas City, which included several playoff appearances and AFC West championships. But, the Chiefs always seemed to come up short, never making it to the Super Bowl. The 1990 team was not a one-hit wonder, but it just never could get through to the next level. This could be the fate of the 2010 Chiefs; competitive year after year, but never making it to the big show (there's another interesting aspect of the Schottenheimer years I will address in a future post that is similar to the current Chiefs,and worrisome).

Or, the 2010 Chiefs could do what neither of these similar teams could; win. We could be both successful in the long-term (season after season) and the short-term (in the playoffs). The 2010 Chiefs have the building blocks for many successful seasons ahead, and I hope they are different from their predecessors. I hope this team can win the Chiefs a Super Bowl in the not-so-distant future. 

So, what will it be?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Rumor Has It

Rumor has it that if a deal cannot be reached with Tamba Hali, then he will have a franchise tag placed on him. The last time the Chiefs franchised a player, it was Jared Allen in 2008. As we all know, Allen was then traded to Minnesota for a hefty price. To be franchised means that you will receive 120% of your previous years salary or an average of the five highest paid players at that position. If Pioli and Hali cannot work out an extension and a franchise tag is forced, I will view this as a failure on the Chiefs part. Hali is a critical component and needs an extension, not a tag. 

Rumor has it that several wide receivers will be available in free agency that would look with an arrowhead on the side of their helmet. Vincent Jackson, a member of the hated Chargers, and Santana Moss are two of those. Jackson will, in all likelihood, be franchised. Moss, however, might not. He turns 32 in June, but put up the second best season of his career finishing with 93 receptions for 1,115 yards. If we were willing to pay Chris Chambers the kind of money he got (and he turns 33 in August), then paying Moss what he wants seems like a no-brainer. 

Rumor has it that Chiefs center Casey Wiegmann, says there's a 50-50 chance that he retires this offseason. This is according to Bill Williamson of ESPN. Wiegmann turns 38 in July, but still had an extraordinary season with the Chiefs. Wiegmann plans on telling the Chiefs his plans on retirement before the draft just so, if he does, the team will know that the position will need to be filled.

Rumor has it that Chiefs offensive quality control guy Nick Sirianni, will get the promotion to quarterback coach. Rumor had been circulating that the Chiefs would go out and get a respected qb coach from another team. I would like to see the hiring of a better-known and experienced qb coach, but Sirianni getting promoted wouldn't be too bad either. 

Rumor has it that Shaun Rogers, who was recently released from the Cleveland Browns, could end up with the Chiefs. Rogers is a defensive tackle who had his best season playing for former Browns head coach and current Chiefs defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel. The Redskins have already reached out to Rogers, but he just might like what's going on in KC; that's if the Chiefs are even interested.

If you have any more rumors, feel free to leave them in the comment section.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Most Valuable Chief

This marks the last of my award posts that I have been doing. I had been keeping up with them last week when they were being announced each day prior to the Super Bowl, but I sort of fell behind.

At the end of last week, quarterback Tom Brady of the New England Patriots won the Associated Press NFL Most Valuable Player. He was the first unanimous selection for the award in the history of the award.

Well, Tom Brady might have been the MVP of the league, but the MVP of the Chiefs is none other than Jamaal Charles.

Charles finished the season with the second most rushing yards in the league (1,467) and the second highest carry average in NFL history (6.38). Arian Foster, the league's leading rusher, had about 150 more rushing yards but almost 100 more carries. This shows you just how electrifying and effective Charles was.

He followed a breakout game against the Broncos in the last game of 2009 with a breakout season in 2010. He was voted to the Pro Bowl and first-team All Pro.

Charles was definitely the MVP of the Chiefs this season and hopefully can continue this same kind of production next year as well.

Emmitt Thomas and How Everything's Bigger in Texas



On Monday (I acknowledge that I'm a little late on this post and for that I am sorry), former Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Emmitt Thomas was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. Thomas is also currently the defensive backs coach for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Thomas was picked up by the Chiefs in 1966 as an undrafted free agent out of Bishop College in Texas where he played quaterback and wide receiver.

Thomas spent all of his 13 seasons with the Chiefs. In that time he recorded 58 interceptions (Chiefs record), 5 interceptions returned for touchdowns (tied for Chiefs record), 181 games played in (8th highest in team history), 1 AFL All Stars Game (1968), 4 NFL Pro Bowls (1971,72,74,75), 1 first-team All Pro selections (1974), 2 second-team All Pro selections (1969,71), and a Super Bowl Championship (1969 season).

He then went on to a coaching career where he won two more Super Bowls with the Washington Redskins as a wide receiver and defensive backs coach.

EMMITT THOMASHe was inducted into the Chiefs Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008.

Now, if you haven't picked up on the irony yet, I'm going to go ahead and put my point out there: Emmitt Thomas was finally inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame two full years after he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame?  I know Texas is a sports pipeline and is known for its sports, but Thomas hasn't played since 1978 and won a Super Bowl and is a Hall of Famer. This seems crazy to me. Apparently the Texas Sports Hall of Fame is more exclusive than the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Date to Remember

There are two meaningful events that happened on this date, February 8th, in Chiefs history. The first is that of tragedy. The second, that of a joyous occasion.

On February 8th, 2000, now Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Thomas died. 

According to police reports, Thomas was speeding on icy roads during a snowstorm on the way to KC International Airport. The vehicle went off the road and Thomas, who wasn't wearing a seatbelt, was thrown from the vehicle and paralyzed from the neck down. Another passenger was killed immediately.


On his way to therapy in the hospital on February 8th, Thomas went into cardio-respiratory arrest and died soon  after. 

In his career with the Chiefs, Thomas was selected to 9 Pro Bowls, 3 first-team All Pros, 3 second-team All Pros, 7 time first-team All AFC, NFL 1990s All-Decade team, 1989 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, 1993 Walter Payton Man of the Year winner, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009. He also has the NFL record of sacks in a game (7), and six Chiefs franchise records.

We should all take a moment of silence to commemorate this great player.

Now, that everyone is depressed, let me get to the good part.

On February 8th, 1963, Lamar Hunt announced that he was moving the Dallas Texans to Kansas City. This, of course, was the creation of the Kansas City Chiefs. Hunt chose KC because of its potential market and fan base, being located around states that didn't have professional football teams.

But I don't care about the economic reasons he made this move, I'm just glad he made it. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Comeback Players of the Year

I know in my 'Chiefs Update' post, I already stated who the Chiefs Comeback Players of the Year were. But I thought, since I gave all the other award winners their own posts, I can do the same for these players. Especially since their improvements were profound.

But before I get started, I want to say two things: 1) usually there is only one Comeback Player for the entire NFL, but I had too hard of a time trying to choose between these two that I decided to just do an offensive and defensive one. 2) for the actual voting for Comeback Player of the Year, quarterback Matt Cassel actually received two votes. I didn't suspect this would happen at all, but it's kind of telling of how much that Cassel and the Chiefs improved as a whole from last season.

Now, we get started.

Offensive Comeback Player of the Year: Dwayne Bowe


Dwayne Bowe was our go-to guy on offense this season, just like many hoped he would be when he was drafted number 23 overall in 2007. He put up an encouraging rookie season, having five yards shy of a 1,000 yarder. In 2008, he put up a 1,000 yard season with seven touchdowns.

But in 2009, between injury and suspension for a NFL banned substance, he only played in 11 games and recorded just 589 yards and four touchdowns. He never seemed to develop chemistry with Cassel, and finished behind Chris Chambers in receiving yards, whom was acquired during the season. Many believed after this showing, if Bowe didn't break out this season, his time in KC was done.

Well, Bowe came through. He put up 1,162 yards and 15 touchdowns, one shy of his career total entering the season. He also was voted into the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career.

Defensive Comeback Player of the Year: Derrick Johnson


Johnson was in Todd Haley's "dog house," as many called it, all during the 2009 season. He lost his starting position to Demorrio Williams early on and rarely made a start that season. This was quite a different experience for Johnson because he had shown his value after being the 15th selection in the 2005 draft.

Johnson was making a couple of transitions. He was transitioning to a new coaching staff and general manager. But most importantly, he was transitioning to a completely new defensive style. The Chiefs had decided to make the switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4 on defense. Johnson was having difficulty with this switch, so Haley benched him (the most telling sign was his 7 point decrease in rating from Madden 10 to 11).

This season, Johnson battled all throughout training camp with Williams, but eventually earned back his starting position. The result: a near Pro Bowl season and a new contract. The contract is big because it's a sign that Johnson has bought into Romeo Crennel and the progression of the defense.

Johnson finished this season with 121 tackles, 1 sack, 1 interception, and 1 touchdown. A great season for a great player.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Post C

Today, we find ourselves just a few hours from kickoff for the greatest game in professional football. A battle between two of the oldest franchises in the NFL; The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers.

This is also my 100th post, hence the post title "Super Post C." C is the roman numeral for 100, so don't think I'm entirely crazy.

This will be a great game. And to be honest, I don't know who to root for. In one corner, you have a team that's already won six Super Bowls and is spoiled in their achievements. Their victories have scanned decades

In the other corner, you have a team that beat the Chiefs in Super Bowl I, and their legendary head coach called the Chiefs and the AFL a "Mickey Mouse" league. They have also been to four Super Bowls and won three.

So, as you can tell, I am torn.

So, I asked some of the people that will be accompanying me in watching the Super Bowl for their predictions. My sister says Green Bay over Pittsburgh 35-31. My dad says Pittsburgh over Green Bay 28-14. It seems my family is also torn.

Before I finish this post, I want to make one last point: The Chiefs beat the Steelers last year during the regular season and the Chiefs beat the Packers during this years preseason (without Aaron Rodgers but oh well). I know this point doesn't mean much, but it makes me feel slightly better about the game.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Chiefs Update

There were a couple of happenings today for the Chiefs that I didn't think qualified for a full post. And here they are:

It started with Todd Haley winning NFL Alumni Coach of the Year. This is a prestigious honor, don't get me wrong, but it doesn't mean all that much. Haley finished third in the voting for the Associated Press Coach of the Year, which is what really counts.

Plus, some of the NFL Alumni selections for players of the year were a bit strange and made me question the association. For example, Aqib Talib from Tampa Bay won Defensive Back of the Year. Talib missed five games on the season, including the final four. Maurice Jones-Drew won Running Back of the Year and Philip Rivers won Quarterback of the Year. Obviously, these selections are questionable.

In other news, the 2011 Hall of Fame class was decided tonight. Deion Sanders, Marshall Faulk, Shannon Sharpe, Richard Dent, Ed Sabol, Les Richter and Chris Hanburger were selected. Kansas City Chief Willie Roaf didn't make the final cut. It was a long shot Roaf would get in this season, but he will before too long.

Michael Vick won the NFL Comeback Player of the Year. For the Chiefs (in my opinion of course), the Comeback Player of the year is a tough choice between linebacker Derrick Johnson and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe. Both had rough seasons last year and each followed it up with a great 2010 season. So, take your pick.

Lamar Hunt's Lament


Lamar Hunt is the founder of the Kansas City Chiefs. Every self-respecting Chiefs fan knows that and knows some of what Hunt was able to accomplish in his lifetime. He is viewed as the creator of the American Football League (AFL) which eventually merged with the National Football League to make the sport even more popular in America.

This Texas oil tycoon loved sports, and this was apparent with the sports teams that he owned or had a part in during his lifetime. But his true love was football, and his pioneering of the Dallas Texans which eventually became the Kansas City Chiefs is one of the most important moves in NFL history. He was the first AFL personage inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, and in honor of Hunt, the AFC Championship trophy was dedicated to him in 1984. Hence, the Lamar Hunt trophy as we know it today.

But, after the merger in 1970 between the AFL and NFL, Lamar Hunt has never been able to witness another Super Bowl with the Chiefs playing in it because the Chiefs have failed to win his trophy. After having such an integral part in bringing legitimacy to what legendary head coach Vince Lombardi at one time called a "Mickey Mouse league," the Kansas City Chiefs have failed to return to the game's ultimate venue.

Players and personnel have always said that working with Hunt was an honor and a rewarding experience. During years with great success in the regular season, a rallying cry would often be to bring Lamar Hunt's trophy home. Sadly, this didn't happen.

When Hunt died on December 13th, 2006 of complications from prostate cancer, the Chiefs had only reached the AFC Championship once (1993 season), and had lost. Heck, there was a stretch in Kansas City where the Chiefs went 14 consecutive seasons without making the playoffs (we're spoiled today compared to then).

But throughout all the ups and the downs, Hunt was always a classy individual and was loved by the city. This weekend marks Super Bowl XLV. So, before the game, let's take a moment to think of and thank Lamar Hunt, he's a big reason why this is all possible. And then let's add another prayer: that we bring Lamar's trophy home someday soon.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Rookies of the Year

The offensive and defensive rookies of the year have been selected. The offensive rookie of the year was quarterback Sam Bradford of the St. Louis Rams, the number one pick in the 2010 draft. The defensive rookie of the year was defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh of the Detroit Lions; he was the number two pick in the 2010 draft.

These were good choices for the awards and they went to the players that everyone thought they would. Congratulations to them both.

But on this post, I will be handing out the awards of offensive and defensive rookies of the year on the Kansas City Chiefs.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Tony Moeaki

Moeaki was picked in the third round of this years draft out of Iowa. He fell to the third round in the draft because many scouts were worried about the proneness to injury he battled with in college. Yet, he only missed one game (due to concussion) and started every other game.

In his first season, Moeaki had 47 receptions for 556 yards and 3 touchdowns. This accounted for the second most receptions and the second most receiving yards on the team. These stats were also good enough for fifth most receptions out of all rookie receivers and second most amongst rookie tight ends. The yardage total was also second of all rookie tight ends.

Moeaki brought instant stability to the tight end position this season. And here's something to compare it to: 33 receptions, 368 yards, 2 touchdowns. That's the numbers from Tony Gonzalez's rookie season. Not saying that Moeaki is the next Tony G, but I definitely hope so.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Eric Berry


This is an easy choice. Berry started every game for the Chiefs recording 92 tackles, 2 sacks, and 4 interceptions. He was also voted to the Pro Bowl, a special treat for a rookie player.

Berry is the kind of player that you can build a defense around, and although he struggled against tight ends all season, this is where I'm going to remind everyone that he was a rookie.

I've done plenty of posts on Eric Berry, so here's one for more stats and info if you want them.

Was Muir A Good Move?

I really didn't expect it. I expected an announcement after the Super Bowl. I expected an assistant from a team in the Super Bowl to get the offensive coordinator position. Was I wrong in having these expectations? After all, we had waited this long, most of the candidates were already off the table, and these two teams competing for the championship are loaded with successful assistants.

But instead, we did one of the most boring things ever: promoted from within. And now, it seems, every one is upset with Todd Haley. I'll be honest, I'm slightly upset as well. Not as upset as Kent Babb or Sam Mellinger from the KC Star, but still upset.

Haley has chosen a 68 year-old assistant coach who is a former offensive coordinator for a Super Bowl winning team but never called an entire game all season. Haley has chosen a run-oriented coach who is the antithesis of what everyone thought the Chiefs were going to get at the OC position. Haley has seemingly chosen a coach who will do everything Haley tells him to do (which has gotten people in the KC media to start calling him Todd the God).

But, is this a bad thing?

I don't buy the promotion simply because Haley wanted "continuity" with the offense. We've had the same playbook since 2009. Weis came in and did a good job and the players developed. We had the continuity of the offensive scheme. So, what Haley is saying is that keeping the same offensive scheme that the players are familiar with is more important than bringing in a rising offensive coordinator.

For all we know, this might be true.

And as far as playcalling, Haley didn't want to give a definitive answer:  "I think that really good playcalling is the result of a staff that works very well not only in the off-season but specifically in the season, that’s when the playcalling gets done; (it’s the result of) a staff that works well together in harmony so-to-speak and is on the same page. We’re going to continue discussions and we’re going to get that part of it right . . . [But] that hasn’t been determined at this time.”

This collaborative effort that Haley alludes to was seen in week 3 of last season, when Weis was having gall bladder trouble and couldn't take on the full responsibilities of the OC position. During this week, the coaching staff as a whole came together and made a game plan that lead to one of the greatest offensive showings of the season against the San Francisco 49ers (before you buy into this collective coaching angle, let's remember the 49ers went 6-10).

This collaborative effort also leaves the door open to hiring a well-known and respected quarterbacks coach. The hiring of an effective quarterbacks coach that can work with and develop Matt Cassel and the other quarterbacks might be more important than the promotion of Muir himself. There has been speculation of who is likely to be hired to this position, but that's all it is: speculation. But with either the hiring or promotion of a new offensive coordinator, will they have a lot of say in the offensive game plan? That's what it looks like, and that's why it's important.

So, will this system work for an entire season? We don't even know if that's how it's going to be. We don't know how next season is going to go or work out. We don't know who or whom will be calling plays and if they will be successful or not. But for not knowing a lot of things, everybody seems to be condemning Haley.

I agree with Bill Williamson of ESPN when he said that the future success or failure of the Chiefs will squarely land on Haley's shoulders after the move at OC. And I believe that Haley is a smart man and realizes that too. Let's not forget that Haley was a successful OC in his day. If this is how he wants to do things, I think he's earned the right to try. How things work out, who knows? But let's not assume that it will be a failure.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Chiefs Have New Offensive Coordinator

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According to team sources in Kansas City, veteran offensive line coach Bill Muir will be promoted to Offensive Coordinator.

After several weeks of interviewing, it looks like Haley has decided that Muir was the best person for the job. Muir has 33 years of NFL experience and is one of few people that can say he's been a coordinator on both sides of the ball. He was the Colts defensive coordinator from 1989 - 1990 and then the offensive coordinator/o-line coordinator for the Buccaneers from 2002 - 2008. With the Bucs, he helped the team to a Super Bowl Championship and 3 division titles.

"We are very fortunate to have someone of Bill's caliber take over the role of offensive coordinator,” Haley said. “Bill’s depth of experience, his championship success as a coach and as a coordinator is widely respected around the league, and he will serve our young and veteran players very well and provide critical continuity as we continue to develop on offense.”

“Coach Muir has been a big part of what we’ve been able to do as an offense, so I’m excited about him taking over the coordinator role," said Matt Cassel. "As a quarterback and as an offense, continuity is important, and having someone with Coach Muir’s experience will help us continue to move forward in the right direction.”

The Chiefs really kept the interview process hush-hush and even had this story completely typed up with quotes and all by the time anyone found out about it, so I can't really claim I was on top of the story all that much. Really, no one but the Chiefs were. But we should just get used to this type of operating. I'm not saying that it's a bad thing, just frustrating to a blog writer is all.

Muir, in addition to being offensive coordinator, will also retain his duties with the offensive line.

Now, many were speculating (including myself), that the Chiefs would want to bring in someone with expertise with quarterbacks to be the offensive coordinator. This would help in the development of Cassel. Bill Muir is a running game type of guy, that's where his knowledge lies. So, I wouldn't be surprised if the Chiefs brought in a veteran quarterbacks coach to help in Cassel's development since that help won't be coming from the OC position.

Muir is definitely not the sexy pick that I envisioned once Weis announced that he was leaving. And I'm not sure I like where this hire is leading the Chiefs. And that's to Haley calling the plays on offense.

Many of us have hoped this wouldn't be the case, that we could bring in an OC that could call the plays, which is usually what an OC does. But Muir isn't that type of OC.

Chris Mortenson of ESPN reported that Haley is still undecided on whether he will be calling the plays next season. I believe after this hire, it's all but a certainty. And, unless I am mistaken, wasn't it Jon Gruden who called all the plays in Tampa Bay during his head coaching reign?

Muir will probably serve in game-planning (which isn't a bad thing because with this promotion the Chiefs keep continuity with the offensive scheme), but at this point it looks like we'll be seeing Haley calling the plays, a duty he refuses to let go. But after all, he just said the odds of him being offensive coordinator were "very limited." He never promised us he wouldn't call plays.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Todd Haley does not win NFL Coach of the Year

After winning the 101 AFC Coach of the Year, Chiefs Head Coach Todd Haley failed to win the Associated Press honor of NFL Coach of the Year.

Instead, the honor went to Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick. Belichick has previously won the award in 2003 and 2007. He lead the Patriots to a 14-2 record; the best in the NFL.

I really thought Coach Haley deserved this award after the biggest one season turnaround in franchise history. And not only did he lead the Chiefs to 10 wins, but also to an AFC West title after a seven year hiatus. But at the end of the day, Haley only received 4 and 1/2 votes out of 50.

The Patriots are perpetual title contenders, so Belichick deserved credit for consistency; but Haley is changing the culture of the Chiefs to a winning one, and I'm just disappointed that he wasn't rewarded for his efforts.

FedEx NFL Ground Player of the Year

According to Josh Looney from kcchiefs.com, Jamaal Charles has won the FedEx NFL Ground Player of the Year.

Charles has won the award over the NFL rushing leader Arian Foster, and Atlanta running back Michael Turner.

Chiefs fans everywhere knew of how good Charles was this season. Now with this award and his first Pro Bowl selection, the nation can start to take notice.

Charles was nominated for the FedEx NFL Ground Player of the Week on four different occasions, winning once. This was FedEx's description of Charles on nfl.com:

"Charles rushed for 1,467 yards and averaged 6.38 yards per carry (230 carries), helping the Kansas City Chiefs win the AFC West title and reach the playoffs. Charles joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown (291 attempts, 1,863 yards, 6.40 yards per carry in 1963) as the only players in NFL history to have at least 1,400 rushing yards and average more than 6.30 yards per carry in a single season. Charles played in all 16 games and had five rushing touchdowns including a 56-yard touchdown in Week 1."

Because of Charles' win, FedEx is donating $25,000 to the Safe Kids USA in Kansas City.

Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers won the Air Player of the Year.

And let's not forget that one more Chief has a chance to win an award today (cough Todd Haley cough).