Want to know something that really bugs me? Of course you do! And I'll tell you... it really bugs me how little the casual Chiefs fan knows about the team he or she cheers for.
I think we all know this guy (In the interest of trying to be PC, please allow for the phrase "guy" to cover all genders. This is in no way meant to imply men are superior to women. Can you tell I've been writing papers in academic circles for WAY too long?). He watches the Chiefs when they're winning, misses at least half the games when they're losing, and consistently asks questions midway through the year like, "Hey, Who's Ryan Lilja and when did we get rid of what's-his-name?"
It drives me batty. Want to know why? Of course you do! Well, this is a little embarrassing to admit, but I used to... I used to... I was kind of... See, I didn't really... uh... Crap, I'll just go ahead and say it: I was a casual fan.
It hurts to admit, but until about four years back I was one of those people who didn't really know the team. I can't say why it changed. Maybe finally settling down and getting married made me more committed to all aspects of life. Maybe I realized my sacred duty to pass along Chiefsfandom (that's right, you read that correctly English majors) to my children. Or perhaps it was all the spare time I discovered after climbing on the wagon. In any event, I'm a fanatic now, and wouldn't have it any other way.
But returning to my point (well, actually, it's more like GETTING to my point, since I've been a little busy chasing rabbit trails), casual fans just don't know enough about the team to carry on a good conversation with a diehard fan. So in the interest of raising everyone's enjoyment level, I've compiled a list of facts and opinions about the Chiefs I believe even the casual fan should know if he wants to be taken seriously.
***Note*** This may also be helpful for fans of other teams whose only exposure to the Chiefs has been ESPN.
1. Matt Cassel isn't worthy of being referred to as a "Pro Bowl Quarterback" yet
I figured I may as well start off with something that'll get me hammered right out of the gate. OK, I'm going to give everyone a second to think of a great insult to throw at me for being a Cassel-basher.
Need help? That's surprising. Seriously, it should not be hard at all to think of mean things to say to/about me. Here, I'll do it for you.
"MN, you don't know crap about the Chiefs, and tossing out your opinion like it's fact is just stupid! Cassel had a great year, you're a moron. An arrogant, fence-straddling moron. That is all."
There, now we can move on. Look, I MYSELF have referred to Cassel as a Pro Bowl QB. Because technically, it's true. He did in fact play in the Pro Bowl last year. Here's where the issue lies... it's all about the language. Referring to him casually as a "Pro Bowl QB" makes it sound as though he A) Was in fact chosen to be in the Pro Bowl as something other than an alternative, and B) Has made multiple Pro Bowls.
See the problem there? While the language is technically correct, it's misleading. While that makes for great politics, it tarnishes the debate (and isn't honest debate the name of the game in politics and on AP? No?). Cassel is a decent QB who made big strides last season but has a ways to go before he's someone we can count on to win us games. And in my opinion (let me stress that word... OPINION), someone who gets referred to as a Pro Bowl QB needs to be able to win games by himself sometimes. In other words, he needs a certain Manningness (that's right, another made up word). And ol' Matty Nice ain't got it yet. Although I think he'll get it this year. But that's for another day.
2. Glenn Dorsey is a good 3-4 DE
So much has been said about this (a lot by me) that I won't get into it all that much. Just trust me, Casual Fan. Dorsey is NOT a bust. He is NOT an average player. He IS our best defensive lineman. He is NOT trade fodder that we're looking to unload. Go check the stats, and watch just a LITTLE game tape. Please? Pretty please? Ah, who am I kidding, the Casual Fan doesn't do that. So you're just gonna have to trust me.
3. Kendrick Lewis had an excellent rookie year
When people (and by people, I mean ESPN/NFL Network/most blogs) talk about the Chiefs secondary it's all about the corners and Eric Berry. And in a way, it should be. After all, Berry improved at a genuinely frightening rate last year and did everything he could to win but pull out a gun and shoot Todd Heap during our playoff game against the Ravens (which may have been the only way we could have won. I'm not saying it would've been ethical. But effective? Well... You know what, let's just move on...). Combine that with Lewis battling injuries and what we've got is a big case of "the overlookies" (I'm going to try and set a record for words invented in a single story).
Know this Casual Fan... When Lewis didn't play, we lost 3 of 4 games. Several of which we lost in depressingly impressive (or dempressive, if you will) fashion. He's athletic, smart, and is going to be a part of our team for years and years if Pioli's got his head on straight.
4. Brandon Carr is overrated
BOOM! I just broke the internet! Before I get strung up (or even worse, have mean emails sent to me) let me talk to you about a sports theory I once read, and one that I believe is currently affecting Carr's status among fans. It's a phenomenon I call the overrated-for-being-underrated syndrome (and no, not even I will attempt to turn that into one word).
I'll throw you an example. Remember when Big Ben Wallace of the Detroit Pistons was the most underrated center in basketball? Well, so many people started talking about how underrated he was as a defensive force and team player he ended up becoming OVERRATED to the point that the Bulls signed him to a "franchise center" contract despite the fact that he had absolutely zero offensive ability. I personally think the 'fro had something to do with it, as well as the two-handed shove he gave Ron Artest that set off the Malice in the Palace (easily the greatest shove ever given in the history of shoving. No wonder Artest went after a fan instead of Big Ben). But the point is, it became fashionable to talk about how underrated Wallace was, and through that, he became overrated.
The same thing is happening to Carr. He was underrated throughout last year as he played just as well or better down the stretch than a hobbled Brandon Flowers. He was CRUCIAL in the defensive clinic we put on in the second Broncos game (crucial enough that I wrote him a poem. Seriously). He played some good ball and didn't get much credit for it.
Well, now the national media has caught on to this fact. I've seen Carr's name on every single "underrated" list that's been made over the last month. I've even seen some stories talking about Carr being the better of our two young corners. It's the "big secret" that isn't a secret at all anymore.
Let me make this clear: when not limping around on a bad hamstring, Brandon Flowers is a much better cornerback than Brandon Carr. He proved it as he outplayed every corner in the NFL prior to getting hurt during the Raiders game (while in the process of getting destroyed like the young cop on Reservoir Dogs, courtesy of Jacoby Ford). Carr's a good player, but not quite as good as the hype he's been getting lately. He still doesn't turn his head around often enough and gets burned for it. Now, by this time next year I may be eating these words. And I hope I am.
5. Jamaal Charles is not a scatback, a change of pace back, or bringing Sexy Back
Yes, I know, a Justin Timberlake reference. Ugh. But seriously, look at the guy's dating record and tell me he doesn't deserve at least a little respect (Britney Spears, Jessica Biel, Scarlett Johansson, and Cameron Diaz. And all at their absolute peak. C'mon, name another guy with a track record like that). Anyways...
If you're a Casual Fan or a fan from another team, you've probably already gotten a least a little more enlightened on this subject lately. JC's been getting a lot of love. But much of that love still centers around the idea that he needs to become a "featured back". Crap, even people here at times refer to him as a change of pace back.
Let's squash this once and for all. Darren Sproles is a change of pace back. He gets about 5 or 6 carries a game, and catches a couple of passes in the process. To be frank, my dream is that Dexter McCluster one day becomes our change of pace guy. But in the meantime, look at JC's numbers. And no, not his ungodly YPC. I mean his number of TOUCHES.
230 carries, 45 catches. So 275 touches. Find a "scatback" with that number of touches. You won't. Because Jamaal Charles isn't a scatback. he's a franchise running back, and every single stat backs it up. Is he small? Yep. Is he still awesome at every aspect of the game (including getting yards after contact, something a scatback just can't do)? Yep. So let it go. We don't have a really good change of pace back. We've got a great, great running back.
There are lots of other things I feel the Casual Fan (oh, what the heck, why not... the Cafan) should know, but my fingers hurt and I'm not getting paid for this. If you've got a few need-to-know facts or opinions for the Cafan, toss it in the ring. I'm sure they'll be just as good as the ones I came up with. Think of it as a public service you're performing by increasing the quality of Chiefs talk among Cafans. And who knows, if you teach a Cafan enough about the Chiefs, maybe they'll turn into a full fledged fanatic like us.