Well, it was fun while it lasted for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Our boys were unable to extend our winning streak to two. Can't win 'em all, amirite?
(Excuse me for a quick second, I need to go bang my head against a wall for a few minutes........
...........................................................and we're back!)
I don't mind telling you, I'm irritated this week. I'm irritated with finals that take eight hours to complete. I'm irritated with clients who can't seem to give me the information I need to help them. I'm irritated with my wife for being all pregnant and crazy (seriously... the crazy is overcoming our household at an alarming rate). I'm irritated with most things Chiefs. I'm irritated with ProFootballFocus for mystifying me with their "grades." I'm irritated with people saying the Chiefs should draft a freaking inside linebacker in the top three.
Seriously, I'm irritated. So why not start an argument?
Time for "Arguing with irritants".
Irritating thing No. 1- People who are refusing to acknowledge Tyson Jackson's (my boy!) recent success rushing the passer and the fact that it's not a fluke
Look, I get it. TJax has shown about as much proclivity rushing the passer as I do for writing columns that don't contain an annoying number of parentheses that often serve no purpose ( ). He was taken really high in the draft. He's been in the league a while now and to expect a sudden improvement in pass rushing is unlikely. God hates Kansas City even more than Cleveland this year and would never allow a player to take a dramatic step forward that could really benefit the Chiefs in the long run. Four games is only four games. I really do understand all those things.
1) Four games is... four games. It's not one game. Not two... not three... At what point are we past the "this is a total fluke that will fade out next game" phase?
2) As BJ Kissel so astutely (and dreamily) pointed out recently, TJax has been used differently as of late. We've seen TJax in the "pass rush" formations next to Dontari Poe (who I will be talking about shortly), with Tamba Hali and Justin Houston manning the edge rush positions. I can't say EXACTLY when this began, but I know it definitely was not happening consistently during the first half of the season.
So TJax was asked to fulfill a new role while back... and he's getting results. Results to the tune of three sacks, one QB hit, two QB hurries, and two batted passes. In four weeks. I don't give a crap what scheme you're talking about, those are great stats for a defensive lineman.
Frankly, those who are claiming TJax is just getting lucky (or some such asinine thing!) are ignoring what's happening out there. My boy is finally taking the advice I was doling out last year and abandoning any attempt at pass rush "moves." He and Dontari Poe are, quite simply, pushing. That's it. Sure, they might shift to the left or right every now and then or try to throw the o-line, but what they're principally doing is PUSHING. And it's working. Those two are just strong, strong men. And with Hali/Houston being the premiere puff, puff, pass rush duo in the league, quarterbacks are seeing their options shrink.
I could be wrong, and maybe this is all just a big fluke. But that's what people said after the Bengals game. Then they said it after the Panthers game. Then the Broncos game. And STILL after the Browns game. Maybe, just maybe, we're seeing TJax used appropriately on passing downs and we're watching the emergence of something wonderful... an interior pass rush.
(I just can't wait for TJax to get zero pressures/hits/sacks/BPs on Sunday and get me mercilessly mocked. C'mon, big fella, don't let me down. Please? I've suffered enough this year with how much suck Allen Bailey has managed to bring to one team)
Irritating Thing No. 2- ProFootballFocus Grades
Look, I like PFF. They provide stats that are ridiculously in depth. There's almost nowhere else to go to get stats like "% of catches allowed" for CBs or "catchable drop rate" for WRs. It's a really nice place to look for quantifiable things like, "yards per rush when running off LT." A phenomenal site, and one that I'd recommend to everyone crazy enough to care about such things (like me, for example).
However... their grades have bothered me from the first time I looked at them. It was when I spent 5-6 hours watching hundreds of Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson snaps. PFF had Dorsey ranked significantly higher than TJax as a run stopper. And I just... didn't see it. I saw Jackson getting doubled more often, but still holding his ground. I WANTED to believe that Dorsey was an elite run stopper, but every time I went back and re-watched film I just did NOT see it.
Same thing with Eric Winston this year. Yeah, i think he's done decently for the Chiefs, and I'm really glad he was signed. However, he HAS had occasional issues with pass protection. Yet PFF rates him as one of the best RTs in the league against the pass rush, with a very positive grade.
The breaking point came for me this week after watching and re-watching the game against the Browns. I'd heard (repeatedly) that Alex Mack had "owned" Poe from some people, and that Poe had held his own from others. So I re-watched, focusing on Poe. Now, I'm not going to do a breakdown on the same player two weeks in a row, because that seems a little repetitious. But I will say this: Dontari Poe played a decent game on Sunday. Then I see this on PFF:
While the choice of Dontari Poe (-2.8) hasn’t been a complete disaster, he’s hardly lived up to the 11th pick used to select him, as a run-stuffer or pass-rusher. Poe’s 11 total pressures (zero in this game) from 314 rush attempts means he should probably be taking a break on third down. Instead, the defensive lineman has played 73 percent of all snaps including 49 more snaps against the pass than the run. That said his play in the running game has also been lackluster and here he lost out to Alex Mack more often than not. On Montario Hardesty’s 25 yard scamper, watch the ease with which Mack pushes him back, to his knees and out of the play.
Now, I'm not going to quibble about Poe's impact as a pass rusher. I wish he were doing more. That said... after watching the Browns game another couple of times (watching Poe and TJax specifically), I have to speak out on this.
The idea that Mack somehow had his way with Poe is just... wrong. Yes, he absolutely owned Poe on Montario Hardesty's run late in the 3rd quarter. Of course, this was after the D had been forced onto the field multiple times. This was when the game was pretty much over (sad, sad day when the Browns have us killed by the end of the third, but I digress). This was the best center in the NFL But Poe's getting hammered on for getting smoked on one play?
I could look past this if Poe had actually had a bad day, but that's the thing... he did not. Like I said, I'm not going to do a breakdown, but if you have access, I'm begging you, GO BACK AND RE-WATCH. Specifically, watch the first three quarters. Watch how often Poe is double teamed (practically every pass rushing down). Watch how often a guard is assigned to help Mack out. Watch him beat Mack individually more than once (I'd give you times to look for, but you won't even have to go past the first series to see Poe beat Mack and hurry Weeden's throw on 3rd down, along with TJax)
In fact, I WILL give one example. Go to 35 seconds left in the first half. Poe is one-on-one against Mack, holds up, sees the run, throws Mack out of the way, and brings down Richardson for a short gain.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Poe got the best of Mack. He did not. But he did not acquit himself poorly at all on Sunday. If you think I'm wrong, go re-watch the game. If you still disagree with me and think that Poe had a poor game, fine.
(And no, Tarkus, this is not revenge on PFF for hating on my boy Jeff Allen. Well, ok, that's only, like, half my motive here.)
Irritating Thing No. 3- Manti Te'o
This guy is going to be the death of me. I'm sure he's a really nice guy and all that, but holy crap. We're talking about taking a freaking ILB in the top three. Seriously. I hate everything.
I have no idea how to continue to argue this, so I'll try to put it another way. Even if you believe that the "top" QBs in this draft are only slightly better than the "second tier" QB's, it's STILL worth the top pick to get that small upgrade. A quarterback that is five percent better than the next guy up will do more for our team than a linebacker who is 75 percent better than the next guy up. That's how important quarterback is.
Think of it like this... let's say you won a bet with God (I realize we're starting off a little weak with this analogy) and you could add a player of your choice to the Chiefs. Here are the stipulations (you know, because he's God and he can add stipulations after getting you all excited to add a player): you can either...
1) take a "second tier" NFL quarterback from another team. Anyone not named Brees, Brady, Rodgers, Eli, RG3, Luck (we're eliminating those guys because they look like they've got a great shot at being "elite"), Peyton, or Ben.
2) take any player you want at any other position in the NFL.
I'd bet good money (I get it's stupid to bet against someone who just won against God, but roll with me) that you're taking a quarterback. Over Ngata. Over Revis. Over Megatron. Over Fitz. Over All Day. Over Ware. Over Willis.
And you'd be absolutely right. A "second tier" quarterback (a dude maybe at the fringe of the top 10) would have more of an impact on our team than the absolute best player at any other position. And it really wouldn't be that close. Think about it... are you going to add Revis or Matt Ryan? Who is better at his position? It's inarguably Revis. But Ryan would have exponentially more impact on our team.
That's the importance of QB. That's why we need to do absolutely everything to give ourselves the best possible shot at getting the best QB in this draft, even if he's only 5% better than the next guy up.
Irritating Thing #4- The Steve Breaston Drama
(Now I've gone from arguing with irritants to just listing things that are bugging me. I'm telling you, it's been an annoying week)
I have no idea why Breaston isn't playing. But it ticks me off to no end. I'll say it again; Steve Breaston is the shining example as to why we have absolutely now way of knowing what we have with our current offensive players. You combine our utterly horrific QB play with coaching that makes me feel like a genius every week, and there's just no way of knowing. Poor Steve. I have a feeling, though, that those keeping him on the bench may be gone well before he is.
(For the record, it'd be different if this was just starting now, with the season well over. But this crap's been going on for well over a month now. I would not blame Breaston one bit if he stole Terrance Copper's uniform and went out there just to prove a point)
Irritating Thing No. 5- RB/FB situation
1) The clear ineffectiveness of Hillis with the Chiefs typical ZBS runs
2) Shaun Draughn being the most jaggy JAG that ever jagged
3) The season being in the toilet and the importance of seeing what our young guys have
... is perhaps the most irritating of anything that's irritating me this week. And I don't even have anyone to argue with about it!
Throw that in with Patrick DiMarco, a guy who comes in and hits everything that moves. Where the crap was he all season? Why on earth was Nate "but I'm skrappy" Eachus taking snaps at FULLBACK when we've got a 245-pound guy willing to hit stay in his street clothes on gameday?
As AP user NigerianNightmare pointed out to me, watch JC's game-opening TD run. Studly, right? Now watch it again, this time focusing on DiMarco. Dude gets through the hole and has a collision with the Browns ILB, a 240 pound rookie who, while out of position, had recovered enough to be moving back towards JC just as he was bursting through the line. No need to worry, though. DiMarco stonewalls him, JC does JC things, 80 yard touchdown. If that's Eachus, it's a 5-10 yard gain, as there is no way he stops that LB. Yet for some unknown reason, we're only now seeing the guy?
JC's quietly having a pretty stellar season (1220 yards with three games to go, about to become the NFL's all-time leader in YPC). What could have been had he had a genuine FB in front of him all season? Ah, well... no big deal. Just another year of a genuinely freakish RB's prime wasted, right? Just dozens of pops from LB's he took that maybe he didn't have to. Ugh.
Final Irritating Thing
The fact that AP user Aiken Drum was right when he said this season we were going down the toilet.