From the FanPosts last night. -Joel
Here you are again. You're talking to a Broncos/Raiders/Chargers fan, or even a fan of our own Chiefs. He/she/it is telling you that the Chiefs suck. The reasons given are ones that don't add up. Logic is falling by the wayside. Unproven statements are being treated as facts. Baby seals are being killed. You can't let this happen!
If you've never been in this situation, you don't spend enough time in pointless arguments and should be ashamed of yourself. After all, what are sports if not a chance for us to endlessly debate things that don't necessarily have a "right" answer?
Once you're in the situation, though, you shouldn't go in unarmed. Would you take a knife to a gunfight? A pistol to a tankfight? A tank to a Star Destroyer fight? A Star Destroyer to a Death Star fight? A hobbit to an elf fight? A stormtrooper to a Jedi fight?
(Wow... that went in a much nerdier direction that I intended. Let's move on)
That's what I'm hear for. I'm your Jedi, your elf, your... Death Star? Whatever you want to call me (the idea of "Death Star" as a nickname is not one I'd be entirely against, for the record), I'm hear to provide some simple arguments when you find yourself in these situations. While there's no sure thing in a debate, this can at least prevent you from having to think hard and make your brain cry while arguing your pointsArgument 1: "The Broncos are going to be unstoppable this year! Combine what's-his-name with our STUD running back Willis McGahee, and it's OVER! You heard he made the Pro Bowl last year, right? Dude's a top 10 back!"
Let's start with an easy one, and argument commonly put forth by Bronco fans... I'll say it outright: McGahee is not a stud running back. It shouldn't even be a conversation, but it is. Let's look at the evidence we have regarding McGahee...
The man's been in the league for 8 years now. He has, over the course of those 8 seasons, averaged 4 YPC or more half of those years (4.0 rook year, 4.1 first year in BAL, 5.0 3rd year in BAL, and 4.8 last year). One of those years he was not the feature back of his offense (his 3rd year in BAL). At the end of the day McGahee has a career average of 4.1 YPC and a history that involves being traded from his first team (for a 3rd and a 7th) and released by his second team. So why on earth are people talking about him as a stud RB?
Well, ol' Willy joined the Denver Broncos last year and had 1199 yards while averaging 4.8 YPC. Holy crap, right? That's good for 8th in the league in rushing! And while we Chief fans may laugh at 4.8 YPC (we're a tad spoiled by Jamaal Charles), that's a very respectable number. So who are we to deny his awesomeness when DEN fans are going on and on about the dude?
It's pretty simple... last year was more the exception than the rule in McGahee's career. He played well above the level he generally does. When the superior man sees an oddity like this, he looks to context. WHY did McGahee suddenly play like a stud RB? The answer, as it ALWAYS is, is Tim Tebow.
Before Tebow took over, McGahee averaged 3.8 YPC for the Broncos (or about what he's generally done in his career). After Tebow took over, McGahee's average shot up to 5.2 YPC. You can talk about "stacking the box" all you want, but when you've got a QB capable of running the option and being a genuine threat doing so, the RB's job becomes much easier.
Willis McGahee is an average RB made to look good by Tim Tebow. To suggest he's even close to a top RB would be to ignore his entire career and the context of last year.
Argument 2: "Pioli's riding Peterson and Herm's coattails. All the Chiefs' best players are from those guys!"
This has been argued and argued in the comment section around here, and there have been other posts that touched on the subject. So I'm going to be quick with this (if you believe that, you clearly are new hear).
Of our 22 starters on offense and defense, 7 are from the Carl and/or Herm era. Bowe, Albert, and Charles on offense. Flowers, Hali, DJ, and Dorsey on defense.
That is indeed a big chunk of our best players. Argument over, right? Wrong. Let's be logical about this... of COURSE the players that are still left from the Carl era are good players! Would you like to know why? Because those are the players that managed to stick in the new regime! Obviously whatever players are left are going to be good player, because if not, they'd have been cut by now.
But logic aside, let's look at the rest of our starting group. Cassel, Moeaki, Breaston, Lilja, Hudson, Asamoah, Winston, Hillis (I'm throwing him in as FB/HB to make my point stronger, I freely admit it) on offense. T-Jax, Poe, Houston, Belcher, Routt, Berry, and Lewis on defense. That's a solid group of players no matter how you slice it, with lots of potential for growth too. I'm not going to do a full roster comparison (because that's been done here), but think back on the players these guys replaced. By and large we're way, way better across the board even if one decides to leave out "depth" players like Baldwin, Dex, Arenas, Boss, Bailey, Daniels, and Elam, all of whom are players who would potentially start on that 2008 squad (well, minus Boss. TG was the man).
Further, let's look a little closer at that group of 7 from the Carl era. We can't say for sure how Flowers, Dorsey, Albert and Charles would've been had they developed under different coaches (i.e. if Pioli hadn't been brought in), so there's not much to say about them other than yeah, Carl was sharp to draft them. But let's look at guys who DIDN'T just spend a year under the "prior" regime. How were they doing when Pioli came to town (with Haley and, more importantly, RAC soon to follow)?
Hali- Coming off his worst season as a pro, with just 3 sacks. Prior to that though, it's not like he was anything more than a "decent" player. He had 8 sacks his rookie year and 7.5 his second year. Is there any doubt at ALL that the transition to a 3-4 (which was brought on by coaches brought in by Pioli, most importantly RAC) aided him in becoming the pass rushing monster we all know and love today?
What about DJ? C'mon, I think we all remember a time we were frustrated with this guy. All the talent on Earth yet consistently inconsistent. Now, after a few years under RAC (again, a coach brought in by Pioli), he's considered one of the best ILB's in the game. The scheme switch and coaching changes benefited him perhaps more than anyone on the team other than Hali
Bowe? Well... Bowe's always been a stud. So I'll give King Carl all the credit there.
Don't get me wrong, most of those 7 players form part of our team's core, but two of the best (DJ and Hali) weren't anything special before the coaching changes Pioli brought about. That leaves us with 5 players Of these players, 4 only played one year under the old regime. Can we say, without any doubt, that they would have developed as well under Carl and Herm? Well, given the total lack of development by Hali and DJ, I'm at least partially skeptical.
Pioli's made more than a few mistakes (not trading the farm for RG3 is one of them in my book), but he's built a solid team here while bringing in some coaches (Thomas and RAC most notably) who have helped our talent develop. He's not riding anyone's coattails.
(Late Note: Carl Peterson deserves a ton of credit for everything he did for the organization, from beginning to end. He even deserves some credit for this team, because he DID draft 7 of our starters. The point here is that Carl's picks aren't propping Pioli up, not that Carl deserves zero credit. Glad we could clear that up)
This drives me nuts, even though many who say it don't necessarily mean it as an insult. It's just wrong, though. A part of me thinks it comes from the mistaken notion here and elsewhere that TJ was somehow the "thunder" to JC's "lightening." But that was never the case. TJ's not a power runner and never has been. He was a runner with good vision and some speed (though that was gone by the time he got to us) that was able to take whatever the defense would give.
Hillis is a different kind of player. Now, I'm not going to guarantee that he'll beast for the Chiefs this year (though I think he will). But he's bigger, stronger, and MUCH more physical than TJ was at any point in his career. He's also a far superior receiver. Come on, could TJ have ever produced this highlight (yes, it's the same one I've posted of him before. I don't care. It's awesome). Ask yourself if TJ could have made those same plays.
Hillis may or may not work out great this year (again, I think he will), but he's NOT TJ 2.0
Argument 4: "Pioli was stupid to let Carr go, and was probably lowballing him"
This is more of an in-house issue than anything else. There are still more than a few on AP (looking at you, ups) who claim that Pioli lowballing Carr was why he ended up leaving. I'm sorry, but looking at what little evidence we have, Carr was looking to get PAID (and in my opinion, deservedly so). Here are the facts we know...
First, Carr made the "pay me" sign after a pick. Come on now, this one speaks for itself.
Second, Pioli showed he was willing to pay 6 mil per year for Routt, a CB who is widely held to be inferior to Carr (although I personally don't believe the dropoff to be all that significant). Does it make sense to say he wasn't willing to offer Carr at least a mil more per year? And would that really be "lowballing" the guy?
Third, Carr's agent made sure he got .1 million more than Cortland Finnegan, widely held as the "other" stud CB on the market. That's not an accident, that's a message. Finnegan get's his deal, then shortly after Carr's deal comes out at .1 million more? If that doesn't scream, "I wanted to be paid more than any other CB on the market," nothing does.
Fourth, Pioli's shown a willingness to spend money to get or keep a player. 57 million on Hali. 28 Million on Charles. 22 million on Breaston. 63 million on Cassel. 22 million on Winston. 49 million on Flowers. 36 million on Derrick Johnson. 9 million for just one year of Bowe. Clearly, he's willing to pay out money when he feels it's appropriate, especially on in-house talent.
If we look at the evidence, the simplest answer is likely the correct one: Carr wanted the biggest deal he could get. And hey, that's fine by me. The guy's been underpaid his entire career, and he needs to think long-term here. Go get your money, fine. But the evidence doesn't point to Pioli lowballing him.
Argument 5: "Matt Cassel is INCAPABLE of playing well enough for us to win consistently!"
I'm not a big fan of Cassel. Most of you know about our horrible, protracted, public breakup and my nearly taking him back last year (it's not a plug when you link to your own heartbreak, is it?). I don't think he's in the top 10 of QBs in the league, or the top 15. It'd be tough for me to put him in my top 20, honestly.
But he's the guy we're rolling with this year, so it's time for me to begrudgingly get on board and say goodbye to my RG3 dreams. Just give me a second.
(looks down at floor sadly)
(mouths the words, "why not us?" while shaking head slightly)
All right, here's the only argument I can make for Cassel: Seattle Seahawks, 2010.
That's right, Seattle Seahawks, 2010. That's what I've got for you.
Find a way to re-watch that game. Don't just look at the box score, actually go back and watch it. You will feel better about Matt Cassel.
And hey, while you're at it, go back and watch the Dolphins game from last year. It's depressing, but you will feel better about Daboll as our OC.
So there's some arguments to toss around when you're debating fans and ignoring other important things in your life. Now I'm going to go watch the Hillis highlight and Seattle game again, while dreaming of a great season...