Sunday, October 30, 2011

Monday Night Magic

Shortly after this season began, many fans were questioning where the magic from last season was. The Chiefs started the 2010 season with four straight wins, including a magical night on Monday Night Football to open the season up against the Chargers. In 2011, the Chiefs started the season with two straight blow outs. In week three, however, a little magic started to show against the Chargers, but it just ended in disappointment. The magic seemed to be gone in Kansas City.

What happened next was at first interpreted as perhaps a fluke, but has now got fans starting to believe once again. Three straight wins, including one following a bye week. A 3-3 record after starting 0-3. And now the Chiefs are a win away from a three-way tie for first place in the AFC West. And that game comes against the San Diego Chargers, on Monday Night Football. That's the same matchup that got the Chiefs season out to such a fast start last year. Can the Chiefs recapture that magic from last season?

Some could say they already have.

Game Notes:

Philip Rivers  141/218 (64.7%) 1,715 yards, 7 TDs, 9 INTs
Matt Cassel  108/170 (63.5%) 1,106 yards, 8 TDs, 7 INTs

Ryan Matthews  98 carries, 452 yards (4.6 ypc), 3 TDs
Jackie Battle  45 carries, 232 yards (5.2 ypc)

Vincent Jackson  24 catches, 423 yards, 3 TDs
Dwayne Bowe  29 catches, 496 yards, 4 TDs

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Over-Valued Wins?

"It doesn't matter if you win by an inch or a mile; Winning's winning."- Vin Diesel, The Fast and the Furious

As overused as the above quote is, some would say it's the truth. A win is a win, a permanent mark on a scoreboard; a standings advantage that can never be erased; an earned show of superiority, if only for a day. Once you get that win, it can never be taken away from you (unless you're USC), and enough of them can extend your season into the playoffs.

But are some wins more important and/or impressive than others?

Last year, the Chiefs went 10-6 and reached a playoff game. Yet, despite their success, many analysts were hesitant to give the Chiefs any credit. Instead, they would point to the Chiefs schedule as a weakness, saying the Chiefs had overachieved because of weak opponents and would regress back towards the mean when they had to face a tough opponent in the playoffs. Many Chiefs fans were upset at the lack of credit they believed was due to their beloved team. I was one of those fans. The thing was, however, those analysts appeared to be right. The Chiefs were embarrassed in their playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens 30-7.

Let's take a look at the Chiefs 2010 schedule. Out of the 10 games we won, only one opponent ended up having a winning record, and that was the San Diego Chargers who finished the season at 9-7. Our 10 wins did include a victory over a playoff team, the Seattle Seahawks, but the finished the season at 7-9. So the combined records of all the teams the Chiefs beat last year was 61-99, a 38% winning average. Even though the Chiefs weren't expected to be a contender last season, they soon became one, and many believed it was because of favorable matchups.

Now, this season after two blowout losses and another by a heartbreaking ending, the Chiefs are 3-3 after three straight victories. They are playing on Monday Night Football for a chance at first place in the AFC West, and have re-inspired the fans so that we can be thinking playoffs instead of draft picks. But, once again, is our sudden turnaround due to finding our rhythm and playing solid football, or is it because of our schedule?

The three teams the Chiefs lost to at the beginning of the season - Bills, Lions and Chargers - have a combined record of 13-6, a 68% winning average. The three teams the Chiefs have beat - Vikings, Colts and Raiders - have a combined record of 5-16, a 24% winning average. The Chiefs barely edged out the 1-6 Vikings, who were winless at the time, by a score of 22-17. The Chiefs then had to comeback from down 17-0 in the second quarter to beat the winless Colts 28-24 (the same Colts who just lost to New Orleans 62-7). Finally, going up against a team with a winning record, the Chiefs caught a break against the Raiders. Oakland's quarterback, Jason Campbell, was lost for the season and the Chiefs faced a combination of the backup and the new guy that had been part of the team for less than a week. Plus, running back Darren McFadden was injured early in the game and didn't come back onto the field once leaving. The Chiefs blewout Oakland 28-0, evening their record and sending the Raiders to 4-3.

So, do fans forget about the Chiefs who lost three straight games and fully embrace the Chiefs who have won three straight games and are right back in the division, or do fans look at the numbers and think that they might not be as good as their .500 record?

When I watch the Chiefs, I see a team that can go 13-3 just as likely as they can go 3-13. I believe that any team can win or lose any given Sunday, no matter what the statistics leading up to the game say. This is especially true for the Chiefs. If the players show up, they look like a really good team. So I don't care about the score differential of the first two games, I care about what the Chiefs do in the current game. I don't care if their wins came against struggling opponents, I just care that they won.

Say what you want about the Chiefs start to the season, and I'll say what a certain football legend (who's opinion might mean more to you than Vin Diesel's) once wrote: "It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up." That was Vince Lombardi, and he knew something about football.

In the meantime, the Chiefs are 3-3 and as ridiculous as some may think it to be, are one win away from first. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Over There

AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Yesterday marked the fifth regular season game in as many years that was played in London, England. The reason that games started being played over there in 2007 was to try to turn football into a global sport. As Roger Goodell said Saturday before the Bucs and the Bears squared off at Wembley: "We want to bring our game to continental Europe. The issue is, we want to make a success out of it in the U.K. We think this (London) has got all of the basics that we need to be successful. It’s got an advanced fan base, a strong media market, a great stadium. We have a long history here. So all those things contribute, let’s make it work. And if we can be successful here, then we can take that model, potentially, to continental Europe.”

As good as going global sounds for a business perspective - and believe me, if we learned anything from the lockout it was that the NFL is a business - I think the notion is ridiculous.

For a business to effectively go global, it has to possess a product that people want. And as much as us Americans love our football, Europeans couldn't care less. I've been to London, I've been to a soccer game over there, and it is clear that soccer (their football) is so ingrained in their culture and in their sports world that football trying to take its place, or even dip into its market share, is like Europeans trying to bring cricket to the states to compete with baseball. In other words, it just won't work.

But the NFL just doesn't understand. The Super Bowl might be the highest watched event in America, but the World Cup is the highest watched event in . . . the world. Soccer is a global sport and football is American. That's how it's always been. Americans have always been OK with it and so have Europeans. Unlike baseball, there aren't players from other countries that play football (except for a couple of kickers), so expanding globally for scouting purposes doesn't make sense.

Remember NFL Europe, or NFL Europa? It was teams based in Europe and sponsored by the NFL. The rosters were mostly made up of young, developmental players that NFL teams wanted to get closer looks at, so they would send them off to NFL Europe to play a football version of Spring Ball. NFL Europe's teams were spread throughout the continent and for about 15 years, was a functioning entity. It was functioning, however, at about a loss of $30 million per season by the NFL.

Teams were continually being shut down, and new teams started up, because Europeans refused to embrace the sport. And why should they? It's not in their culture. If anyone embraced NFL Europe, it was Germany, which was home to five different teams before the league was discontinued in 2007 in what Goodell called the "best business decision." If European countries couldn't embrace football and the league was bleeding money in 2007 (otherwise known as a failure), what is different now? A new strategy perhaps?

According to the Associated Press, Goodell is talking to several teams about becoming regulars in the British capital, a development he thinks would be “very powerful and lead us to what we ultimately would like to do - have a franchise here in London.”

Franchise? In London?

Assuming that the NFL doesn't break away from their perfect 32 team format, one would have to believe that the goal is to have a current NFL team relocate to London. And what better team than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who is owned by the Glazer family. The same family that owns the internationally renowned soccer franchise, Manchester United. Sunday marked their second game in London, having played the Patriots there in 2009.

Besides the connection of the Glazer family, Tampa Bay is also one of those NFL teams that have trouble selling out games, and local television blackouts are nothing new to fans. So from that angle, is it possible that Goodell already has picked his brain-child's team?

“I think they recognize that the growth of the league is important and they’ve been leaders in this area,’’ Goodell said. “I think they want to see the Bucs become a global franchise and I think that’s a great thing for Tampa and a great thing for the NFL.’’

Is it? It might sound like a great thing for the NFL, but they haven't even successfully tested their pilot project yet. Sure, they can sell out one game a year, but how about eight? And is it a great thing for Tampa "hosting" a game in London? I know the players enjoy it, (just ask Brian Urlacher) it's like a free vacation for them; a little sightseeing here and there with teammates and family. Who wouldn't enjoy that? But does a game over there actually have the best interest in mind for fans over here?

I don't think so. Perhaps I'm just a staunch believer in protectionism for American Football. Maybe I'm like the citizens before WWI that said just let Europe's problems be Europe's problem? Maybe I don't want to see the sport I love become diluted with international match ups, eight hour plane flights, and only seven instead of eight home games a year?

Or maybe I speak for most NFL fans. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Unorthodox but Welcomed: Chiefs Beat Raiders

Ric Tapia/NFL

KC - 28                          OAK - 0

If you told me before the season started that the Chiefs would only be 3-3 entering their Monday Night Football game against the Chargers, I would have said that record is simply not good enough. If you had told me the Chiefs would be 3-3 entering their Monday Night Football game with a chance at first place in the AFC West, I would have called you crazy. But, that's where the Chiefs find themselves, and I will discuss this seemingly unthinkable feat later in the week.

For now, I will continue to bask in the glory that is a SHUTOUT BEAT-DOWN of the hated Oakland Raiders. As always, here's the breakdown:


  • Looking at the scoreboard, it's not hard to say that the Chiefs defense had a dominating day of football. But when you look at the stats, it's even more amazing. The Chiefs defense had SIX interceptions. I can't remember the last time the Chiefs had that many interceptions in a game. And TWO of those interceptions were returned for touchdowns. That's 14 of 28 points the defense was directly responsible for.
  • And as far as that defense was concerned, Brandon Flowers and Derrick Johnson had dominating performances. Flowers had two interceptions and Derrick Johnson lead the team in tackles with 13, including three key ones on the 1 yard line, keeping the Raiders out of the endzone. A Raider touchdown at that time could have changed the game, but instead Oakland came away with nothing.
  • Dwayne Bowe and Steve Breaston continued their domination of defensive backs, making big catches at big moments and single-handedly achieving many first downs because of their ability to gain yards after the catch. They turned many short catches into long gains, which is an asset you have to love.
  • Speaking of wide receivers, wasn't it nice to see our first round draft pick, Jon Baldwin, finally playing some football for the Chiefs? I sure thought it was, and he wasn't ineffective. And although he only had one catch for 14 yards, that catch included a first down he created with yards created after catch. And he was targeted five times, which means he is considered a valuable part of the passing game.
  • The Chiefs special teams, Dustin Colquitt particularly, did an excellent job of punting the ball, and had several downed within the ten yard line. Succop put all but one kickoff into the end zone for touchbacks which kept Oakland's speedy receivers in check.
  • Jackie Battle continued his successful rushing, with 76 on 16 carries, a 4.8 average. And this came against an Oakland team that dominated the line of scrimmage against the Chiefs last year. Well, not today.
  • And here's a fun fact, that was the Chiefs first road shutout since 1973.

  • When none of your touchdowns come from offensive skill players, you have to wonder about the effectiveness of the offense. Two defensive touchdowns made the game a blowout, but the offense wasn't doing much to help their effort. In fact, the game was so unorthodox, that I'm not sure it can be used as a gauge to effectively evaluate the team following a bye week, especially when it was against such the tepid quarterback situation of Oakland. And in addition to that, McFadden only had two carries before he was injured. So the Chiefs might have looked a lot better than they actually are.
  • As mentioned above, the Chiefs two offensive touchdowns weren't scored by typical players. McClain fumbled the ball at the one and it was recovered in the endzone for a touchdown by Jon Asamoah. It was a disaster averted, and if it hadn't been, it could have been a game changer. The other offensive touchdown was a wildcat formation run by Javier Arenas, who kept it and ran untouched for a touchdown. Considering there were only two offensive touchdowns after four defensive turnovers that didn't result in touchdowns themselves is a little disconcerting. 
  • The reason for this should probably be put on the shoulders of Matt Cassel. The offensive playcalling has greatly improved, and the playbook has been opened up for Cassel, yet he failed to follow up two games of quality play today. Cassel finished 15/30 (50%) for only 161 yards and 2 interceptions (granted, one of those was on a Hail Mary attempt before halftime). Hopefully this was just some rust following the bye week, because the Chiefs will need the Cassel we saw in Indy to beat the Chargers next week. 
  • Since the Chiefs did so well, I'll hold it at that. Good win for the Chiefs; the resolve it took to not quit on the season and get back in the division race is astounding, and I am proud of how the team has rallied around one another. #Suck4Luck seems like a distant memory.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Chiefs vs. Raiders: No Love Lost

Verran Tucker and Chirs Johnson - Kansas City Chiefs v Oakland Raiders

The hatred between the Chiefs and the Raiders is as old as the AFL, and this season is no exception. The Chiefs are trying to turn their season around before it's too late; the Raiders are trying to keep pace with the Chargers for the AFC West lead. The only thing standing in each other's way, is each other.

Being a Chiefs fan, it's clear how I want this to play out. I want the Chiefs to win/blowout the Raiders in Oakland and reestablish last year's superiority over the division. But even as an advent Chiefs fan, this task seems very difficult.

The Raiders finished 8-8 last year, but they were 6-0 in the division. That record included two wins over the Chiefs, one an overtime victory in a game the Chiefs let slip away and the other a beat down in Kansas City on the final regular season game of the year. If the final game last year is any indication of how these two teams will match up, then the Chiefs are in trouble. These two teams, however, are quite different from when they last met.

We all know about the Chiefs injuries this season, but the Raiders have their share of differences this season. With Jason Campbell out for the season (and possibly out of Oakland), Carson Palmer was brought in for a king's ransom - this year's first round draft pick and their 2013 second round pick, which is a conditional first round pick based on statistics that haven't released yet. But it has yet to be determined if we will see Palmer, or original Campbell backup, Kyle Boller. If I had to guess, it will be Boller though.

But what should worry the Chiefs is not what is different this year with the Raiders (no Nnamdi, new head coach), but what is still the same. The Raiders still have one of the biggest and most physical defensive lines in the league. The same offensive line that held the Chiefs to 3.1 yards per carry and 4.0 yards per carry in their two games, never surrendering a 100 yard rushing performance, even to Jamaal Charles. This defensive line, anchored by Richard Seymour, can control the line of scrimmage, and their effectiveness will be a key factor in determining who wins this game on Sunday.

As far as Oakland's offense is concerned, whether it be Palmer or Boller behind center, they are still going to have Darren McFadden. McFadden has helped lead the Raiders to the second best running game in the NFL, and all the sparks we saw out of McFadden earlier in his career have added up to consistent greatness this season. The Raiders are also filled with a bunch of young, talented wide receivers that are very fast, just the way Al Davis liked them.

For special teams, this might be the first time in the long time the Chiefs have had the advantage. Sebastian Janikowski missed practice this week with an injured left hamstring, and the Raiders have been bringing in kickers to try out in case Janikowski misses time. If ole SeaBass is injured, then the Chiefs have to like their odds at forcing the Raiders to punt rather than taking long field goal attempts.

All-in-all, the Raiders are favored this week and the Chiefs haven't won in the last several years coming off a bye week, but I'm not willing to count the Chiefs out of this game in the least bit. As much value as a good running game has, if you don't have a quarterback that can extend drives, then your offense can't have success. That's the scenario that faces Oakland's offense this week. If the Chiefs defense can contain McFadden, I think there is a good chance Kansas City pulls off the win on the road.

Game Notes:

Matt Cassel: 93/140 (66.4%) passing, 945 yards, 8 TDs, 5 INTs
Kyle Boller: 8/14 (57.1%) passing, 100 yards

Dexter McCluster: 32 carries, 172 yards, 5.4 ypc
Darren McFadden: 111 carries, 610 yards, 5.5 ypc

Dwayne Bowe: 23 receptions, 420 yards, 4 TDs
Darrius Heyward-Bey: 22 receptions, 345 yards, 1 TD

Chiefs Defense: 17th in Passing (249.6 ypg); 21st in Rushing (119.6 ypg); 19th in Total (369.2 ypg)
Oakland Defense: 28th in Passing (283.5 ypg); 16th in Rushing (113.2 ypg); 28th in Total (396.7 ypg)

Friday, October 21, 2011

No Such Thing as a Sure Thing

My recent post on AFC West quarterbacks and how it shows the discrepancy of success for first round draft picks at that position got me thinking about how the rest of the league stacks up. Before I dive into it, let me explain why the quarterback position has garnered such concentration from me this week.

The Chiefs are on a precipice.

On one side there's a comeback season. If the Chiefs beat the Raiders, they are only a 1/2 game back of Oakland and can then pass the Raiders in the standings after the silver and black take their bye week. The Chargers are 4-1 but haven't looked like an elite team yet this season, and the Chiefs nearly pulled out the win in San Diego a few weeks back. And since the Chiefs play the Chargers on Halloween night following the Raiders game, they could almost completely catch up in the AFC West race with back-to-back wins against division opponents, leading to a 4-3 record and 2-1 in the division. At this point, we can forget about the Suck 4 Luck campaign, two blowouts earlier in the season, and all the injuries suffered; we can instead turn our attention to a tight division race and even start talking about what we would need to happen to make the playoffs. Call it the best case scenario.

On the other side, the Chiefs face a miserable season that only gets worse from here on out. We lose to the Raiders, fall to 2-4 and 0-2 in the division, lose all the confidence we have gained over the two weeks proceeding the bye, and then lose to the Chargers in front of a national audience, all but eliminating our playoff chances. At this point the season is lost, and we just try to finish out the season with some pride. Concerns will be addressed in the offseason, and if Matt Cassel is one of them, then we can't discount the idea of selecting a quarterback high in the draft. And if the Chiefs don't win again this season, then there's even the possibility of Andrew Luck.

But as history has shown us time and time again, there is no such thing as a sure thing. And by sure thing, I am referring to a Super Bowl winning quarterback. As good as John Elway was coming out of the 1983 draft number one overall, it took him until the 1997 season to win a Super Bowl.

So, going with the worst case scenario for the season and looking at quarterbacks for next year, I think it is interesting to see how first round quarterbacks have either succeeded or failed around the league. Since we have looked at quarterbacks in the AFC West, let's look at other quarterbacks around the NFL drafted in the first round since 2001.

Check it out after the jump.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Suck4Luck or Not at All

The recent acquisition of Carson Palmer by the Oakland Raiders made me realize something that I had previously been blind to: The AFC West as a whole is probably the best example of the risk that is involved in selecting a quarterback in the first round.

In the AFC West, there are now six quarterbacks that were selected in the first round. I will list them below according to year and position drafted.
  1. 2003 - #1 Overall, Carson Palmer, USC to Cincinnati Bengals
  2. 2003 - #19 Overall, Kyle Boller, California to Baltimore Ravens
  3. 2004 - #4 Overall, Philip Rivers, North Carolina State to New York Giants
  4. 2005 - #25 Overall, Jason Campbell, Auburn to Washington Redskins
  5. 2007 - #22 Overall, Brady Quinn, Notre Dame to Cleveland Browns
  6. 2010 - #25 Overall, Tim Tebow, Florida to Denver Broncos
This list of quarterbacks gives you almost every example of what could happen to that player and that team after drafting a quarterback in the first round.

Carson Palmer is a two time Pro-Bowler (2005, 2006), NFL Alumni Quarterback of the year (2005), and FedEx Air Player of the Year (2005). He was handed the keys to the franchise following his rookie season (he didn't see a snap in 2003, instead learning the position from Jon Kitna), and looked to be a rising star, leading the down-and-out Bengals to the division championship with an 11-5 record in 2005. In the playoffs, Palmer tore his ACL and MCL against the Steelers, and the Bengals lost the game. Palmer, however, proved enough after his stellar season that the Bengals signed him for a six year extension that would keep him in Cincinnati through the 2014 season. But things got complicated after that. The Bengals started to struggle again, and the team became dysfunctional. Palmer started missing more games due to injuries, and when he was playing, was never as good as he had been. His situation with the team became so estranged that he retired instead of continuing to play with the team before the 2011 season. Now he has been traded to the Raiders for two first round picks. Palmer leaves Cincinnati having never won a playoff game for the Bengals.

Kyle Boller, selected just 18 spots behind Palmer, never had the success that his draft position garnered. After being drafted by the Ravens in 2003, Boller started off his rookie season 5-3 before suffering a thigh injury that kept him sidelined most of the remaining season. The 2004 season would be the only time in his career that he would start all 16 regular season games, throwing for 2,559 yards, 13 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. In 2005, showing signs of promise, Boller played well in nine games, but missed seven games due to a bad case of "turf toe." Boller, however, seemed to be on the rise so it came as a little bit of a surprise when then Ravens coach Brian Billick decided to bring in veteran quarterback Steve McNair during the offseason and declared him the starter for the 2006 season. Boller still played in five games that year, but all the rhythm gained by previous years seemed gone. He played in 12 games in 2007, filling in for an injured Steve McNair. After McNair retired, Boller was given the opportunity to compete for the starting job against Troy Smith and first round pick, Joe Flacco, in 2008. After winning the preseason starting job, Boller would then again become injured and sent to Injured Reserve. He spent 2009 with the Rams, and the last two seasons with the Raiders, never seeing more than a backup role.

Philip Rivers was part of that famous 2004 draft day trade when it was learned that Eli Manning refused to play for the San Diego Chargers, the team that drafted him. The Chargers soon traded for Philip Rivers, who was drafted number four overall by the New York Giants. Since then, Rivers has been a great quarterback for the Chargers. He inherited a good team when he got there, but has since put the team on his back over the last couple of seasons. Rivers is a three time Pro Bowler (2006, 2009, 2010) and has put up the best numbers of any quarterback in his draft class but has failed to do what other 2004 first round selections, Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning, have done: win a Super Bowl.

Jason Campbell was selected by the Washington Redskins in 2005, and by 2006, was the starter. Although he showed a lot of potential in his time in Washington, Campbell was never able to break through to that next level. Many analysts thought that Campbell was a bit of a reach when the Redskins traded a third round pick to move up and get him, but Campbell has proved steady over his career only having one season where he threw more interceptions than touchdowns. But because Campbell never wowed, he was traded to the Raiders following the 2009 season, with the Redskins electing to go with recently acquired Donovan McNabb instead. And while continuing to not wow in Oakland, Campbell was doing enough to get his team victories. All-in-all, however, not the kind of performance you want out of a first round pick.

Brady Quinn, was not considered a reach. In fact, when he began to slide in the draft, analysts were wondering which team was going to walk away with a steal in 2007. He would start his rookie season third on the depth chart behind Charlie Frye and Derek Anderson. After horrible performances by Frye to start the season, he was traded to Seattle after week one and Anderson became the starter. Some just assumed it was a matter of time before Quinn won out the starter role, but Anderson went on to have a Pro Bowl season and Quinn only saw eight pass attempts all season. In 2008, the Browns were off to a 3-5 start, and then head coach Romeo Crennel decided to replace Anderson with Quinn. Although Quinn looked decent in his three starts, he broke his pinky and was sidelined the rest of the year. In 2009, Quinn started the season as a starter, but was benched in his third game in favor of Anderson. Quinn would once again become the starter in week 10, and had the best games of his career until missing the last two games due to a foot injury. Quinn was traded to the Broncos before the 2010 season for Peyton Hillis, a 2011 sixth round pick, and a conditional late round 2012 pick. He has yet to see a snap in the regular season for Denver, and, even after being declared second qb on the Broncos depth chart this season, got jumped for the starting role by . . .

Tim Tebow. Perhaps the greatest college football player to ever live, is now the Broncos starting quarterback. When then head coach Josh McDaniels elected to trade his second, third, and fourth round picks to move into the first round again and grab Tebow, a lot of negative things were said. Scouts were low on Tebow, saying he didn't have the skill set to be a NFL-caliber quarterback; be it his slow delivery, his accuracy, or other quarterback inefficiencies. Nevertheless, Tebow was a Bronco. He spent his rookie year behind starter Kyle Orton, and only came in during certain subpackages. He finally got to start the final three games of Denver's lost season, putting up some surprisingly good numbers in spite of being a scout's nightmare. He would end the 2010 season with 654 yards passing with 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, as well as 227 yards rushing for 6 touchdowns. After the lockout ended this season, some were saying that Tebow had regressed and was anywhere from the third to fourth best quarterback on the team. Tebow was offended by some of his critics, and spoke out when he felt they had gone too far. With fewer people believing in Tebow, including new coach John Fox, it looked like Tebow wouldn't get his chance. Well, five games into the season and a near late rally against the Chargers after pulling an ineffective Orton, Tim Tebow is getting his chance as a starting quarterback in the NFL. Only time will tell how this turns out, but as polarizing as he is, it's hard not to root for him.

As you can see, drafting a quarterback in the first round is not always the answer for a franchise; really, it's a crap shoot. Only Tebow remains with the team that originally drafted him, and only Rivers and Palmer have lived up to the hype. None of these quarterbacks have delivered a Super Bowl appearance, and only one a playoff win.

I know that the Suck4Luck campaign has sort of lost momentum in Kansas City due to two straight wins and much improved play from Matt Cassel, but if we were to end up with a high draft pick in 2011, should we pursue drafting a quarterback? Should the Chiefs finally join the ranks of AFC West teams with a quarterback selected in the first round (Matt Cassel - 7th round pick; Tyler Palko - undrafted; Ricky Stanzi - 5th round pick) or is the risk just too great past Luck?

Either way, here are some stats to keep your eye on:

Andrew Luck, Stanford - 129/181 (71.3%) 1,719 yards, 18 TDs, 3 INTs
Matt Barkley, USC - 152/223 (68.2%), 1,782 yards, 16 TDs, 4 INTs
Landry Jones, OU - 171/253 (67.6%), 2,177 yards, 16 TDs, 6 INTs
Robert Griffin III, Baylor - 142/182 (78%), 1,950 yards, 22 TDs, 2 INTs

Carson Palmer to the Raiders

Carson Palmer becoming a Raider is all but done, with reports saying Oakland is sending a 2012 first round pick and a 2013 conditional first round pick (which means if Palmer see's enough playing time as well as performs up to a certain standard, it will be a first round pick; if not, it would slip to a lower pick) to the Cincinnati Bengals.

You have to believe that this is a great trade for the Bengals, receiving two first round picks for a quarterback that had decided to retire other than play for them. Andy Dalton, a second round pick out of TCU, has lead the Bengals to a 4-2 record which made this decision that much easier. Some analysts have argued that it is a risk for the Bengals to trade a quarterback of Palmer's caliber to a team it might be competing against for one of the AFC Wild Card playoff spots come the end of the season. But with two teams such as the Raiders and Bengals, I believe you just have to cross that bridge when it gets there.

Now some questions arise from this trade for the Raiders:

  • Will Carson Palmer start this week against the Chiefs?
  • Will Carson Palmer be better than Kyle Boller?

At the quarterback position, familiarity is of the utmost importance. So one would think that even with Palmer coming in, the Raiders would wait to assimilate him into the offense during the bye week, which comes immediately after the Chiefs-Raiders game this Sunday. On the other hand, the Raiders haven't been known for the 'should-do's'; just this past week, right after acquiring former first round linebacker Aaron Curry from the Seahawks, Oakland coach Hue Jackson said that he would be one of their starting linebackers that Sunday. "I brought him here for a reason and he's going to play. I didn't bring him here to look at him to figure it out or anything like that." You have to wonder if the Raiders will take the same approach with Palmer.

The other question is whether a Carson Palmer off the street and fresh off retirement will be better than a Kyle Boller that has been ingrained into their offense for two seasons. Although Palmer has had a better career, Boller is familiar with the offense. So do the Raiders go with the backup they seem to have no faith in who has averaged 1,854 yards, 10 touchdowns for around a 55 completion percentage in the three seasons he's (been allowed) to play at least 11 games; or do they go with the new face who has averaged 3,137 yards, with a 62.9 completion percentage, and 22 touchdowns in seven seasons he's started at least 13 games? By the way, they were both 2003 first round draft picks.

If I had to make a prediction, I'd say that the Chiefs will see Kyle Boller this weekend, just because Palmer needs to become accustomed to Oakland's offense (although the transition may be easier because Hue Jackson and Palmer worked together in Cincinnati for a few seasons) before being given the starting role, which I could see happening during the bye week.

In case you were wondering, Palmer is 3-1 in games he's started against the Chiefs, although his stats have never been that pretty. And lest we forget Palmer's performance against the Chargers last season that clinched the AFC West title for the Chiefs.