Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chiefs After the Combine ...

I hope everyone is enjoying their leap day (is that what it's actually called?) since it only comes around once every four years (bissextile according to Wikipedia). And while I wait for a lady to propose to me (that's what all women do on leap day right?), I thought I would catch up on some of the happenings and rumors about the Chiefs during and after the combine.

With most of the big names listening to that little devil on their shoulder (their agent) and choosing not to participate in many drills, I found the combine surprisingly uneventful. The parts of the combine that were worth mentioning, however, had little to do with the prospective players on the Indianapolis turf.

I know I'm about a day late and a dollar short on this one, but Romeo Crennel's comments at the combine not only captured the attention of the Kansas City media, but also created quite the firestorm of headlines nationwide. I'm sure most of you are familiar with what was said, but if you're not, Crennel responded to a question regarding the likelihood of the Chiefs pursuing the veteran quarterback Peyton Manning as such:

"Well, I'm not supposed to talk about anybody else's players. He's still a player with Indianapolis. But with a talent like that, I would be crazy not to consider it if he were available. All right? I'll leave it at that."

Although Crennel also commented on free agent Chad Henne, it was the above comments that caused many in the media to accuse Crennel of tampering. The tampering rules for the NFL are very broad and rarely enforced, but Crennel's comments, according to the writing of the rules, could have violated it: "Any public or private statement of interest, qualified or unqualified, in another club’s player to that player’s agent or representative, or to a member of the news media.”

Attention was drawn to it earlier in the week, with the NFL refusing to comment on the story and then rumors of the Colts not choosing to pursue the possible tampering claim.

Do I think that Crennel was trying to tamper? No. Do I think that Crennel was hinting that the Chiefs are interested in Peyton Manning? I hope so. Regardless, I am choosing to do a little tampering myself, and have started the #Pray4Pey campaign on Twitter. If you have a Twitter account and follow me (which you should), be sure to help spread the campaign across the twitterverse.

Now, for a little more news directly related to the combine performances, I wasn't especially blown away by any particular performance outside of Dontari Poe. A sub-5.0 forty yard dash and the most reps on the bench press (44) is incredibly impressive for a nose tackle. However, I'm not on board with the Chiefs drafting him in the first round. He didn't even dominate his competition in the Conference USA, and that is a telling sign.

Other positions I took notice of was offensive tackle and tight end. Mike Adams, OT from Ohio State, disappointed with only 19 reps on the bench, but I still think he would be a solid right tackle for the Chiefs. Riley Reiff (Iowa) impressed, but some analysts worry about his ability to play the right side, which is a concern since Branden Albert seems to be engrained at the left tackle position. But it's clear either of these guys would be better than Barry Richardson.

For tight end, I'm disappointed that Coby Fleener (Stanford) did not participate, since I wanted to see how he did without Andrew Luck throwing to him. Dwayne Allen (Clemson), Orson Charles (Georgia) and Ladarius Green (Louisiana-Lafayette) all impressed as many scouts believed they would, showing good ability to run routes and catch, but I was also impressed with three other tight ends.

Michael Egnew (Mizzou), James Hanna (Oklahoma) and Drake Dunsmore (Northwestern) all pleasantly surprised me. Having watched Egnew in college, we all know he could catch, having played in that spread offense, but he also put up 21 reps on bench (tied for 4th) and ran the third fastest time amongst TEs. Dunsmore put up the same number on the bench, ran two-hundredths of a second slower in the 40, and looked just as impressive and comfortable catching as any of the TE prospects. As for Hanna, he wasn't hyped going in to the combine, but actually put up the fastest time, with a 4.49 forty, put up 24 reps on the bench, and all-in-all, raised his draft stock significantly. In a copy-cat league, any of these guys would be good to pair with Tony Moeaki.

Friday, February 24, 2012

And With a Flip of the Coin ...


The two competitors squared off, knowing that a single flick of a thumb would help determine the direction of their franchise's draft decisions. Common odds will tell you that each man, the faces of their respective teams, holds a 50/50 chance on gaining the 11th pick in the upcoming draft.

“It’s a huge difference because in that one spot in the draft you don’t know who the other team is going to pick," says Scott Pioli, the man who was there to oversee the tie-breaking coin toss between his Chiefs and the Seattle Seahawks. "It’s just an earlier opportunity for you to get what you want in the draft.”

When both men were ready, the newly minted commemorative coin, with each team's logo appearing on either side of the giant quarter, was tossed lightly into the air. 

“It kind of went straight up and it didn’t start flipping until it hit the ground,” Pioli described.

After a few favorable turns on the carpeted Indianapolis floor, the familiar arrowhead was on top, and the 11th pick of the draft, and all other selections happening before the Seahawks, was sealed. [Here's the video].

After shaking hands with Seahawks General Manager, John Schneider, Pioli jubilantly commented about the Chiefs set position in the draft: "We have to see what's going to happen before us, there are 10 picks that will happen before us. I know we're going to be able to upgrade and improve our football team not only for this year but the future with this pick. We're excited about it."

And Pioli should be excited. The Seahawks aren't that different from the Chiefs, and if they were selecting before the Chiefs, it is very possible they could chose a player the Chiefs wanted to get. But to only think of the slot as the 11th pick in the draft would be short-sighted. I think, like last year, if the Chiefs are made a good enough offer, they will be likely to trade it for more draft picks. 

“Not only is a better opportunity for you to get what you want, but if there is an opportunity to make a trade you are one spot higher and the value of that pick is going to be that much greater,” Pioli said.

Trading down in the draft and collecting more picks is a very Patriots/Pioli-esque move that I actually would support if the value is there. This move would especially make sense if the Chiefs are aiming for an offensive tackle or defensive tackle in the first round. You can find those quality picks in the mid to late first round, and there are plenty of options.

But if Trent Richardson is there at the 11th pick, that would be hard to turn down.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Competition for Cassel?

“We’ve been saying it for three years, and I’m going to continue to say it, because it’s a core part of our philosophy: There will be increased competition at every position, including the quarterback position,” Chiefs General Manager Scott Pioli said at the beginning of the month. “Who that is, I don’t know. Maybe it’s Kyle (Orton), maybe it’s another free agent, maybe it’s a draft choice, I don’t know.

“Very few people can perform at an extremely high level without competition.”

So competition coming in this offseason at the quarterback position is seemingly a certainty if one were to believe Pioli's comments, and since I have no reason to doubt him, I will take him at his word. I like bringing in competition for incumbent starter Matt Cassel. Cassel has one good season (2010) in his three years with the Chiefs, and is viewed by many as an average quarterback at best even when healthy. 
But bringing in Cassel to Kansas City from the Patriots was Scott Pioli's first player transaction with the Chiefs, and a large and lucrative contract followed. Depending on who Pioli brings in as competition for Cassel will determine whether the Chiefs GM still believes in his quarterback or if he is willing to see if the page is ready to be turned, ending the Cassel chapter as a Chief.
So let's go over the options according to Pioli:
Kyle Orton
“Kyle did a good job in those three games, and you can’t take that away,” Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel said in regards to the possibility of Kyle Orton returning to the Chiefs. “I wouldn’t be sitting here if he
didn’t do the job he did.”

And while that is most certainly true (would Crennel even be HC if he had Palko as his only option?), does that mean Orton will be rewarded with an attractive offer and a promise to compete for the starting job to begin the 2012 season?

I discussed the possibility of Orton returning to the Chiefs back in January, and concluded that it is highly unlikely that Orton would want to go through another quarterback controversy to start a season, and that I couldn't blame Pioli for not wanting to bring back Orton for that very reason. But that doesn't mean that Pioli won't, and at the very least, either Orton or Cassel will make a very valuable backup.

Career numbers: 14,532 yards, 58.3% completion, 80 TDs, 57 INTs, 79.4 QB rating

Monday, February 20, 2012

Stanford Routt a Chief

Dwayne Bowe Dwayne Bowe #82 of the Kansas City Chiefs is brought down a half yard away from the endzone by Stanford Routt #26 of the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on October 23, 2011 in Oakland, California.

It was reported early this afternoon that free agent cornerback Stanford Routt came to terms with the Chiefs on a 3-year $19.6 million deal.

“Stanford has a proven record of success in the NFL,” Head Coach Romeo Crennel said. “He’s a talented player that has spent seven seasons in the AFC West, so he is familiar with us and our division opponents. We are excited to have Stanford join the team, and we are looking forward to getting started.”

“We are excited that we were able to come to terms with Stanford,” General Manager Scott Pioli said. “He is a talented player, and as we have said in the past, we are always looking to add competition at every position year-round. Stanford’s experience and level of play will make him a solid addition to our defense.”

This signing makes the Chiefs future this offseason a little more clear, simply because the Routt signing sort of clarifies the direction the Chiefs are going to go. This signing all but assuredly means that Brandon Carr will hit free agency in mid-March, and that Dwayne Bowe will all but assuredly be given the franchise tag.

I say all but assuredly on both issues because, even with Routt signed, the Chiefs could conceivably also sign or franchise Carr. This would, as Yahoo Sports pointed out today, give the Chiefs one of the best secondaries in the NFL for 2012. And as Kent Babb pointed out via Twitter: "The Stanford Routt signing doesn't necessarily mean KC won't re-sign Carr. It does, however, mean they won't overpay for him, even slightly." So I guess there's a chance ...

This is, however, very unlikely.

I have to think that the reason Routt was brought in is because the Chiefs and Brandon Carr weren't even close on negotiation for a future contract. The Chiefs, therefore, took the cheaper route (Routt). And while cheapness might disappoint fans right now, there is a bright side.

By saving money with a slight downgrade at the second corner position, the Chiefs could then use that money they saved to spend on other free agents: perhaps a Peyton Manning, a Sione Pouha, a BenJarvus Green-Ellis or a Carl Nicks (could I really go 3-for-3 in my Valentine free agent post?). If the Chiefs do so, then fans will forgive them for letting a talented CB like Brandon Carr try his fortune with another team.

My initial reaction? If the Chiefs were sure they were going to lose Carr, then replacing him was the right thing to do. With the Routt signing, the Chiefs can concentrate on other positions besides CB in the first round, which they probably would have had to do if they didn't snag a free agent CB of Routt's caliber. But my full reaction will have to wait until the offseason is over and free agents have been signed. If the Chiefs keep the money they saved without spending it on valuable free agent talent, then I will be vastly disappointed. If they bring in talent that can help them compete deep into the playoffs, then it was not only an acceptable decision but the right decision.

Only time will tell.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Defending the Corners


Most Chiefs fans are familiar that Stanford Routt recently visited the Chiefs. The free agent cornerback came to Kansas City on Tuesday, and then stayed an additional day on Wednesday. Sources are unsure if this was originally scheduled with Routt or if talks between the Chiefs and Routt got serious. Either way, it brings about an interesting and perhaps necessary question:

Who do the Chiefs value more?

Kansas City wasn't the only team that showed interest in Routt, and he has already visited other teams since leaving on Wednesday. But why bring in Routt for a visit at all when they have an impending free agent cornerback of their own in Brandon Carr?

An article via SB Nation Kansas City broke the reasoning down into three options that I tend to agree with:
  1. The Chiefs are doing their homework and Routt is fine with the procedure
  2. The Chiefs are posturing themselves for negotiations with Carr
  3. Carr is already out the door
The first option is probably the most likely. Teams like to do their due process when it comes to free agents. Bringing in Routt for a workout doesn't hurt anything. Carr is a professional and I doubt he was offended in the slightest by the Chiefs making this move. 

The second option is a little more dangerous. Anytime that you attempt to show a player that he is not irreplaceable, you're playing with fire. I know this isn't unheard of when it comes to negotiation tactics with players, but it is still potentially problematic. 

The third option is the one that keeps Chiefs fans up at night. Carr is going to be a highly coveted free agent, because of his position, his performance and his age. He has spent his career as the second fiddle to Brandon Flowers, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if he is ready to try his luck as a team's number one CB and get paid like one. That might explain why the Chiefs and Carr have yet to get a deal done. 

Let's assume for a moment that third option isn't right, and the Chiefs are weighing their options, they have quite the decision between Brandon Carr and Stanford Routt. Both players have been solid during their careers, and either would offer a great complement to Brandon Flowers. So who would be better?

Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. said of the Chiefs' choice: “I would prefer Carr to Routt, but not by leaps and bounds, both Carr and Routt are high end No. 2 CBs,” Williamson said. “I trust Romeo (Crennel) to coach up Routt, who has a ton of ability. I could see Routt thriving across from Flowers.”

According to this, there is no disparagingly large difference between the two players. Routt, who took over as the Raiders number one corner when Nnamdi Asomugha left to the Eagles in free agency following a weirdly worded contract that only Al Davis could have envisioned released him, had his best seasons as a number 2 corner, and could become that player again with Flowers on the other side. 

But why purchase Routt when you can retain Carr? Carr is younger, is one of the best cornerbacks in pass breakups in the league, is homegrown so already knows the system, and is a proven commodity as a Chief. Loyalty and advanced statistics tell me that the Chiefs would do well keeping Carr.

But what if Carr doesn't have that same sort of loyalty? What if Carr is option three and is prepared to leave as soon as free agency starts? I made the case a while back that the Chiefs would be better off franchising Carr over Dwayne Bowe, but what if the Chiefs decide otherwise and Carr gets a mega-contract from a team in desperate need of a secondary?

Then bring in Routt; but not a moment sooner.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Must be the Money

This week, the Chiefs enacted a clause in the newly agreed Collective Bargaining Agreement which allows a team to sort of roll-over money they had left under the cap. Here's the actual clause:

“(v) Carrying Over Room. A Club may “carry over” Room from one League Year to the following League Year by submitting notice in writing signed by the owner to the NFL no later than fourteen (14) days prior to the start of the new League Year indicating the maximum amount of Room that the Club wishes to carry over. The NFL shall promptly provide a copy of any such notice to the NFLPA. The amount of Room carried over will be adjusted downward based on the final Room available after the year-end reconciliation.”

The Chiefs have done so, and will carry over $20 million they had left under the cap. 

“We ended last year about 20 million dollars under the salary cap which was a little bit less than has been reported,” Chiefs owner Clark Hunt recently told Steven St. John of Sports Radio 810 WHB. “We chose to carry that salary cap space over, which is something that you can do in the new CBA, you can carry it over.

“The reason that we chose to carry it over is we anticipate needing it in 2012 and 2013, both to continue signing our free agents as well as being able to go out and sign some free agents from outside.”

This $20 million will be an added bonus toward the 2012 cap number, which has yet to be set. In 2011, however, the cap was set at $120.375 million for the league. The number offered by Hunt is a little off from the number that ESPN had for the Chiefs, which was $24.104 million. That amount, rolled over to the 2012 league year, gives the Chiefs $62.995 million in cap, the most of any team in the NFL. 

That number, however, could change. Any player signed by the Chiefs before the start of free agency will eat into that surplus. That means, if the Chiefs resign both CB Brandon Carr and WR Dwayne Bowe, the team will certainly have less money to roll over (which wouldn't be a bad thing if that means these players return). 

I know Chiefs fans don't hold their breath when it comes to the organization spending money in free agency, but it seems Hunt might be serious about dishing out some cash this offseason. 

“We are going to utilize that cap space and thank goodness we’ve been able to carry over the space that we had into 2011, 2012 and 2013 because it’s really going to help us, it’s going to give us an advantage against other teams that will have to let guys go.”

Of course, after next season, the CBA requires teams to spend at least 90% of the cap, which would be well over $100 million if the cap stays similar to the number it was set at in 2011. Maybe that's what Hunt was referring to?

Or maybe it's time to get crazy.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Last Thoughts From 'J'

Here's the third and final post from 'J.' He will be doing a mock draft along with me here soon. In the meantime, check out his recently created blog. It's the second-best Chiefs blog out there (after mine of course). 

Here is the third and final post of my take on the Chiefs Free Agency. We have already taken a look at who I consider the Must keeps and the 50/50’s of the Chiefs Free Agency class. Today I look at the players I hope Get Lost!!

Leonard Pope: Haley is gone, which probably means Pope’s biggest supporter is too. He has caused a lot of fans stress over the past two years with his alligator arms and constant holding penalties. Pope wouldn’t be a bad 3rd TE, but he should not get the amount of playing time he does. With the recent extension of Jake O’Connell (I’ll touch on that later) and Tony Moeaki coming back Pope talents or lack thereof are replaceable. The Chiefs need to address the TE position this offseason either through FA or the draft.

Jake O’Connell: Why J O’C was given an extension, I am not sure. He has shown nothing in his time with the Chiefs. However he does provide depth at a position where the Chiefs have no depth. At this point in his career I don’t see him as anything more than a #3 TE that plays on Special Teams. I wonder what the Chiefs have in store for him in 2012.

Sabby Piscitelli: I groaned when the Chiefs signed Piscitelli last offseason and his play warranted my groaning. He constantly looked lost in coverage and couldn’t make an open field tackle to save his life. Granted he wasn’t supposed to play as much as he did, but because of the injury to Eric Berry he was thrust into additional playing time. It shouldn’t be hard at all to find an equal or better player to replace Piscitelli.

Tyler Palko: Palko, like Langford, is an ERFA. However there is no reason to keep Palko. His play this season was abysmal. Hopefully the Chiefs address the QB position this offseason. If we ever have to depend on Palko again, it will spell doom for the Chiefs.

Anthony Becht: Signed after T-Mo went down for depth purposes, Becht didn’t do anything with the playing time he got. With a full offseason to address needs and to bring players back to health, Becht is as good as gone.

Ryan O’Callaghan: R O’C spent the year on the injured reserve, but during his time in Kansas City he hasn’t shown the skill or the development necessary to bring him back. How effective will he be after this injury? I’m not sure and I’m not willing to find out. If the Chiefs draft an OT and with their development of Mims, O’Callaghan is no longer needed.

Jerheme Urban: Urban also a follower of Todd Haley has never really shown anything during his two years in Chiefs red. With the addition of Breaston and Baldwin, the versatility of Copper and a Top Ten WR like Bowe, there just isn’t any room for Urban.

Thomas Jones:
Some may consider keeping TJ, classifying him in the 50/50 section, but I am not one of them. Jones has declined since he has come to KC and hasn’t shown much of anything. He is no longer a threat running the ball, was never a threat catching the ball, and isn’t a spectacular blocker. People talk about his leadership, but I am not even sold on that. What leader sucker punches a rookie in training camp? TJ is old and washed up and needs to hit the road with those massive, but useless biceps.

That concludes my series on what players the Chiefs should re-sign or release. As you can tell the Front Office has a lot of big decisions coming up, not only with Free Agents, but coaching replacements and the draft. So what do you all think? Do you agree or disagree with my classifications?

-J

Thursday, February 16, 2012

All Hallows Eve


Just a little trip down the 2011 season memory lane. Still gives me chills watching it now.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Will You Be My Valentine [Free Agent]?

On this day last year, I introduced a post for Valentine's day in which I made my admiration known for three certain players, all of which I hoped would come to the Chiefs when free agency rolled around. Unfortunately, two of those players (Vincent Jackson and LaMarr Woodley) were franchised and never able to accept my valentine. One, however, did and I have to believe my valentine invitation was one of the reasons Steve Breaston came to the Kansas City Chiefs.

This year, I will concentrate my persuasive powers of love on a new group of players and hopefully Cupid's arrow will strike into the heart of the players I mention. It's the holiday for unabashed love, so I'm sending mine to these following players:

I hope you sure up my heart like you have the interior of the Saints offensive line since you were drafted there in 2008 Carl Nicks. You're a back-to-back All Pro and a two-time Pro Bowler, but I would never two-time on you with Ryan Lilja if you came over. At only 26 years old, I could see you and the Chiefs grow old together, while providing a needed hand to our offensive line. Your old team has not pursued you as hard as they should, but I will. Will you be my free agent?



With Thomas Jones and Jackie Battle both possibly leaving, I would be all alone with Jamaal Charles. Granted, Jamaal treats me great, but he wasn't around a lot last season. I don't want to feel that kind of pain again, and need a back up plan. You, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, can be that person. You're used to sharing time in New England, so why not share time with Charles here in KC? He's a great guy, and you two can help each other look good. You're one of the best in short yardage, and that means a lot to me. Will you be my free agent?


This last valentine is the hardest to decide. Like the final rose given on an episode of the Bachelor, I have a tinge of doubt. Should this valentine go to an offensive tackle? Probably, but I don't see any that are good enough to mend the broken heart of watching Barry Richardson start for the last two years. That's why I decided to give it to Sione Pouha. You can be our anchor Pouha, not letting people walk [run] all over us. I don't care if Aubrayo Franklin is also available, everyone pales in comparison to your defensive domination. Will you be my free agent?

Hopefully you found this post enjoyable and not as creepy as many did last year.

The Manning Enigma



My friend and I have spent many hours of the week talking about the Chiefs. Whether it be casual conversation or irate ranting, we have always offered sounding boards for each other's ideas and thoughts. Recently, I have noticed a change in demeanor regarding a certain quarterback in the NFL. That QB is none other than Peyton Manning.

Peyton Manning has been an insurmountable opponent for the Chiefs over the years, the reason why my friend has had ill will towards the eldest Manning quarterback in the past. The Manning-lead Colts disappointed the 2006 Chiefs in the playoffs when KC barely got in. But no time was more heartbreaking than the juggernaut 2003 Chiefs home loss to the visiting Colts. It was the greatest season the Chiefs have enjoyed in the last decade, but the 13-3 Chiefs couldn't stop Manning's offense and was eliminated.

So Chiefs fans have every reason in the world to dislike Manning and his Colts. But how many hearts would be mended if the assumed-to-be free agent joined the team he has given so much turmoil to in the past? In regards to my friend, at least one.

Since it became accepted that Manning will most likely not return to the Colts next year after missing the entire 2011 season due to a neck injury, fans for teams far and wide have contemplated #18 coming to their team and making them an instant contender.

Fans aren't alone in that sentiment it seems. Owners and general managers of teams have indicated that they will pursue Peyton Manning if healthy. Among these teams are the Redskins, Cardinals and Dolphins. The Dolphins, many speculate, make the most sense and are on Manning's short list. They've got solid players on offense, a good defense, are in a warm-weather climate and have no long term commitments at the quarterback position.

But there is one key phrase I mentioned above that will make all the difference in the pursuit of the four-time NFL MVP: 'if healthy.'

Manning is coming off a neck surgery that many doctors thought could end his career. The initial prognosis didn't look good, but as of late, Manning has been cleared by doctors if he wants to return to playing football. If this was all the information teams had about Manning's status, then there would be no controversy. Many scouts, however, have seen Manning throw during rehabilitation exercises and report plenty of concerns with his performance.

Indianapolis Star reporter, Bob Kravitz, said on a radio show last week that Manning's arm "is a noodle." "He can't throw like an NFL quarterback and by March 8th [regarding the day Manning's $28 million option comes into effect if the Colts were willing to exercise it] there's no way of knowing if he’s going to be ready or not.

“I know some of the people that have seen him throw. They say he’s not throwing like an NFL quarterback yet, but that doesn’t mean he never will,” Kravitz said. “This thing is going to take time. Structurally, he’s sound. Structurally, he can take a hit. He’s not an NFL quarterback right now, that doesn’t say that he won’t be in a couple of months.”

A noodle arm isn't exactly what you want from a potentially very expensive commodity. Michael Lombardi of NFL Network added: "He can't throw the ball to his left. He can't throw the ball across his body, because he doesn't feel it. People that catch the ball for him say he doesn't really have velocity on the ball yet.”

As risky as these scouting reports coming back may seem, Manning and his agent don't seem concerned about the recovery process.

"There had been substantial discussion that (Manning) wasn't going to be able to play, and that it was too dangerous and foolish for him to even think about it, and that's not accurate," Manning's agent Tom Condon said.

"He is sound in the structural part of his neck and he can certainly take a hit and play a football game. How effective he would be in the game … probably not as effective today as he would be two months from now. He’s on a timeline. … We expect him to play.”

In an interview with ESPN at the beginning of the month, here's what Manning himself had to say: "I really feel good. I continue to make progress every day," he said. "Everything that the doctors have told me has been on point, which is encouraging to me. I just had a great day today with rehab, just got back from the facility, and that's what we continue to do. Just keep trying to get better. So far I have. That's the plan from here on out."

So initial reports aside, let's assume that Peyton Manning becomes one of the most coveted free agent acquisitions in history. What team will he choose? I don't know. What team should he choose? Why not the Chiefs? And here's why:
  1. Unlike relocation to the Dolphins or the Redskins, playing for the Chiefs would land Manning in the AFC West, one of the easiest divisions in the NFL. The Chiefs, who are already considered contenders for the division title with Matt Cassel, would take that next step towards a championship caliber team that fans have been waiting years for. Going to the Dolphins would mean facing Tom Brady and the hard-hitting Jets twice a year. Going to the Redskins would mean facing the current world champ Giants and the other Manning twice a year.
  2. As I said above, the Chiefs are already contenders. The Chiefs are coming off a 7-9 season after losing several key figures to Injured Reserve early in the season. These players returns will make the Chiefs perhaps the best or, at least, most well-rounded team that Manning would be a part of. He would have Dwayne Bowe (assuming he is franchised), Steve Breaston, Jon Baldwin, Dexter McCluster and Tony Moeaki to throw to and Jamaal Charles to hand off to. These players offer Manning one of the quickest routes for success in teams that are interested (which I think is much more important to Manning than a warm climate).
  3. Unlike Todd Haley, Romeo Crennel is the type of coach that Manning has enjoyed for the majority of his career; a calm guy who's players love him. And, as Bill Barnwell from Grantland pointed out in mid-December when he named the Chiefs the #8 team that most makes sense for Manning to go, they have one of the best medical staffs in football that could help keep Manning healthy going forward. 
  4. And this move doesn't just make sense for Manning, it makes sense for the Chiefs. They have $63 million in cap room. As Nick Wright pointed out via Twitter earlier, "KC could sign Carr, Bowe a top O and D Lineman and still offer Peyton 1yr $30M. No reason not to." And in reality, Peyton's contract doesn't have to be that much. Manning knows there is uncertainty about his future, and sources close to the QB have told teams that he is open to an entirely incentive-laden contract based on performance. This lessens the risk of picking up Manning in free agency and puts the pressure on Manning to actually play during the season. This sounds like something Scott Pioli should be all over.
Bringing in Peyton Manning is certainly a short term fix. Even Manning couldn't answer how many years he'd have left before retirement, simply responding "hard to say" when asked by ESPN. It's this reason that some sports commentators have offered caution when speaking of Manning. Former QB and current sports analyst, Joe Theismann, was critical of the idea of the Redskins pursuing Manning in free agency. 

"It's not a good idea, it's not a bad idea -- It's a horrific idea," he told a Washington radio station. "It would be one of the poorest things that we could do as a franchise. Are we gonna go find another guy for just a couple of years again? Haven't we done this before? Haven't we seen this act before? And by the way, if you get Peyton Manning, don't you have a concern about protecting him? Don't you have a concern about who he throws the football to? We're tired of looking for stop gaps.

"It's time to draft one of your own, or make a deal for a young one of your own, and nurture him, and then put the players around him. If we're gonna be 5-11, if we're gonna be 6-10, let's do it with somebody who's [learning as he goes], instead of guys that have been here, making mistakes."

Certainly I agree with Theismann's take on the importance of developing a franchise quarterback, but the Chiefs weren't going to do that anyway. All signs lead to riding out the storm with Matt Cassel. But if Pioli doesn't want to use a high draft pick on the quarterback position now or in the near future, I'd have to believe the upside of Manning far outweighs any upside offered by Cassel.

So for the Chiefs: Why not Peyton Manning? And for Peyton Manning: Why not the Chiefs? It can be the perfect match if both parties allow it to be. One last chance for glory for a Manning nearing the end, and a small window for the greatest of all football glory for Chiefs fans.

At least consider it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Some More Thoughts From 'J'

This is the second post from 'J' who is doing a three-part series on what fate should hold for the Chiefs free agents. In case you missed it, here's Part 1

In my first blog I explained which Free Agents should be considered “Must Keeps” for the Kansas City Chiefs. Today I will look at which Free Agents fall into the 50/50 section. This simply means if these players can be re-signed at the right price the Chiefs should consider bringing them back, however if they are lost to Free Agency it wouldn’t be a significant loss to the team.

50/50:

Kelly Gregg: Gregg a bowling ball of a NT was a nice pick up in last year’s Free Agency class. He gave the Chiefs a big-bodied presence in the middle which is essential in any 3-4 defense. The Chiefs particular system asks NT’s to play a 0 technique, or head up on the center. Their responsibility is to demand double teams, allowing the linebackers to make plays and stopping the run. Gregg did an admirable job this season and Derrick Johnson’s numbers reflect that. However the Chiefs were not a great run stopping team, ranking 26th in the league, allowing 132 yards per game. In this aspect Kelly Gregg did not do enough to help the defense. Gregg who may be considering retirement at the age of 35 would be welcomed back in a advisor/rotational NT role. However the Chiefs need to find an upgrade at this position in the offseason. Is that 2011 6th round draft pick Jerrell Powe or another FA pickup/draft selection?

Kyle Orton: Orton did a good job in the 3 games he started for the Chiefs this season. He led the team to wins over previously undefeated Green Bay and the Denver Broncos. He had the Chiefs in a position to win against Oakland before two blocked FG’s kept the Chiefs from winning and ultimately making the playoffs. While Orton is definitely not an elite quarterback it is plain to see that he gives the Chiefs a legitimate starting QB and is a much better thrower of the football than incumbent starter Matt Cassel. However Orton should have many suitors in Free Agency and have a chance to start somewhere else. If he elects to return to KC he will not only be battling against Cassel for the starting spot, but also GM Scott Pioli’s infatuation with the former Patriot.

Jackie Battle: The RB position needs to be upgraded this offseason. In the most action Battle has ever gotten at the NFL level he just looked average. A back with below-average vision, who is just content to lower his head rather than make a cut is worth keeping around as a 3rd back. Battle is a hard worker and is a good special teams player, but not much else. Battle is a solid contributor, but one that can be replaced rather easily.

Jon McGraw: McGraw is a hard worker, giving everything he has. However at 32 years old he has slowed down considerably. He knows angles and is a decent tackler, but his coverage days are over. With Eric Berry coming back and other safety options available McGraw could be expendable. However he brings a certain leadership and toughness welcomed to any NFL Roster.

Amon Gordon: Gordon, an NFL journeyman, played well for Kansas City this season. Gordon has the size (6-2 305) and strength to play anywhere on the defensive line. He brought energy to the defensive and made several plays. While Gordon should never be relied upon to play or get a majority of snaps he provides solid depth. However he may become expendable with the emergence of Allen Bailey, the youth of Wallace Gilberry, and the unknown in Brandon Bair.

Wallace Gilberry: Gilberry bulked up last season in an attempt to become an every down lineman rather than just a pass rushing specialist. That idea backfired and he wasn’t nearly as effective in 2011 has he was in 2010. What Gilberry does bring is some youth and solid depth to the Chiefs defensive line with proven results. If it comes down to re-signing him or Gordon I believe the Front Office will lean towards Gilberry.

Travis Daniels: Daniels played very well this season as the 4th corner behind the Brandon’s (Carr and Flowers) and Javier Arenas. As the old adage goes, you can never have too many corners. Daniels could probably be a #3 for a DB hungry team and could also step in and play a little safety if need be. However with lasts year’s draft pick Jalil Brown heading into his second season and Scott Pioli’s propensity to draft corners in the draft, it may spell the end of Daniels tenure in Kansas City.

Barry Richardson: I am probably going to catch a lot of flak for putting B-Rich on this list, however the depth the Chiefs have along the OL is atrocious. Richardson should only be kept for depth purposes as a swing tackle. He can step in and play average football for you for slight stretches at a time, but should not be relied upon for anything else. The coaching staff may have big plans for 2011 UDFA David Mims and hopefully with the addition of an OT through the 2012 draft, B-Rich could be history.

Reshard Langford: Langford is an Exclusive Rights Free Agent (ERFA) which means the Chiefs control his future. There is absolutely no reason not to bring him back. At the very least he provides much needed safety depth and special teams ability.

Casey Wiegmann: At 38 years old Wiegmann may be considering retirement for the 3rd straight offseason. He has accumulated over 11,000 straight snaps and has been a solid player for the Chiefs OL. However his age is really becoming a factor and his play is starting to decline. With Rodney Hudson waiting in the wings and poised to take over the starting role, Wiegmann may decide to call it quits while he is still physically able too. The Chiefs currently have an opening for an Offensive Line Coach and who knows the system better the Wiegs?

That is all of the 50/50 type Free Agents that the Chiefs have this season. Obviously some will have to be kept because a team just cannot have that much turnover in one offseason. Coming soon will be the 3rd and final part of my free agency series. The Get Lost group is on its way.

-J

To see these and more thoughts from 'J,' check out his newly created blog Tomahawk Talk.

Chiefs New Offensive Line Coach



It was reported late last week that the Chiefs were in the process of interviewing Jack Bicknell Jr. for their offensive line coach position. This morning, the same source that reported Bicknell's interview has reported that Bicknell has gotten the job with the Chiefs.

In Saturday's 'Personnel Preference' post, I broke down the offensive line numbers that Giants have enjoyed since Bicknell has been the assistant offensive line coach. These were according to NFL.com, and were based on sacks allowed totals. But, since it seems that Bicknell is going to be the new offensive line coach, I decided that I should look a little more in depth at the numbers with the help of Football Outsiders, who is, in my opinion, the leading statistics based website on the internet.

2009:
  • 12th in sacks allowed (32)
  • 13th in run blocking 
  • 9th in pass protection
2010:
  • 2nd in sacks allowed (16)
  • 7th in run blocking
  • 2nd in pass protection
2011:
  • 7th in sacks allowed (28)
  • 28th in run blocking
  • 6th in pass protection

These numbers are very good, and Bicknell, although just an assistant under Pat Flaherty, has to take some credit for these numbers. And although Bicknell hasn't been formally announced as the Chiefs new offensive line coach, it seems that other sources reporting Chiefs actions before they do has been a trend throughout the year. Because of that, I'm going to guess this report is true. 

Assuming it is, the only two positions left to be filled on the Chiefs coaching staff are assistant offensive line coach and receivers coach. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Personnel Preference

The Chiefs reportedly signed tight end Jake O'Connell to a one year extension Thursday. One of the last remaining pieces of the Chiefs 2009 draft class, O'Connell has not been one that has seen much playing time since his arrival but does offer some depth. In 2011, he was cut then re-signed several times during the course of the season. O'Connell coming back, however, leads me to believe that Anthony Becht will not. They served almost identical roles, and I suspect additional depth will be brought in via the draft to possibly replace O'Connell in training camp. But if he does stick around for the 2012 season, he has 12 career catches for 90 yards.

The Chiefs also added depth at the safety and special team's position after reaching an agreement with former Broncos player, Kyle McCarthy. He played in 4 games last year and 8 games in 2010. The 25 year old out of Notre Dame signed with the Broncos as an undrafted free agent in 2010, is 6'1" and 205 lbs. McCarthy has 7 career tackles in the NFL.

While these next ones don't involve the Chiefs signing anybody, it does reveal interest the Chiefs have expressed across the league.

On Thursday, Oakland cornerback Stanford Routt was released from his typical-Al Davis mega-deal and is now free to pursue free agency. He was just one year into a 5-year $54.5 million deal. This is a sign of things to come under the new regime of the Raiders organization. This affects the Chiefs in two ways: 1) it seemingly no longer makes Brandon Carr the most desired CB on the market and 2) it reportedly gave the Chiefs something to call about. Routt's agent said on Friday that Routt is scheduled for workouts with the Bill and Titans, but also that several team had contacted him with interest including Minnesota, Dallas and Kansas City. Frankly, I'd rather have Carr.

And now for some coaching news, it was reported on Friday that the Chiefs have spoken to Giants assistant offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr. about their vacant offensive line coaching job. After Bill Muir announced his retirement, that position became a point of need for the Chiefs. And of course, there's nothing hotter than a coach from a Super Bowl winning team. Bicknell has been with the Giants over the past three seasons. Over those three years, the Giants have been 12th (2009), 2nd (2010), and 7th (2011) in offensive line statistics.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The New Look



Todd Haley, in his introductory press conference as the Steelers new offensive coordinator, looked well groomed as his iconic beard was absent and his usually mangy hair cut. But the most different look Haley brought to this press conference was that Steelers patch he had on his left breast.

Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin introduced Haley on his return "home." “When I started this process, I talked to a lot of people and did a lot of research,” Tomlin said. “I was really impressed by him, not only by his resume and experience, but also his genuine love for the Pittsburgh Steelers. That was a unique element for me, one that I have been attracted to in the past. I will always be interested in guys that know what the standard is for the Steelers.”

“One of the first things I will say to these guys is we aren’t going to be real into a lot of sensitivity,” Haley told the Pittsburgh media. “If you are sensitive, this is probably not the best place to be. But I have to adhere to it too. I dish it out, but I have to take it.

“But this is a passionate, emotional game and you watch the playoffs, and everybody is a little different. I watch those Harbaugh guys, they are pretty into the games. It is about the end result. When I got let go in Kansas City, and the calls and the texts that I was getting from the players there, Derrick Johnson, Dwayne Bowe and all of those guys, that is what as a coach means something to you.

“When Steve Breaston comes back to play, and you were just as hard on him as anybody. It’s about the end result, and these guys really appreciate that. If they know you have their goals in mind, and they all want to be great players, as good as they can possibly be, once they figure that out, that that is what you care about, it is a non-issue, generally.”

I'm happy for Todd Haley, but I'll definitely be rooting against him and his Steelers as the Chiefs face them on the road this coming season.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/02/09/3420080/steelers-introduce-todd-haley.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/02/09/3420080/steelers-introduce-todd-haley.html#storylink=cpy