Cassel this and that. I'm sick of it. Let's be real, with all the talent we have on this roster, the weakness of our schedule and the state of flux that our division (and seemingly the rest of the AFC) is in, if we can't have a winning season THIS year, we don't deserve it. Honestly. I could really give a damn who's chucking the ball this year, so long as it's one of the QB's that we have on the roster at this moment.
Seriously, I'm ok with a trick shot QB throwing to Dwayne Bowe, Jon Baldwin, Stevie Phantom, McClusterfuck, JC, Hillis Destroyer of many a Circle of Willis, or anyone else we have set to touch the pill. Even Javier. I don't know why we didn't let him run the ball more after Oakland, but I digress. So let me get this straight, the Chiefs get better at every position except QB, yet they STILL won't win the division? Let's really break this down, shall we?
First off, I want to give the disclaimer that in no way am I suggesting that I can predict the future, have some kind of inside knowledge or NFL connection. All I have is book smarts and common sense. I'm not too good with numbers, but I'm very good with analyzing things, reading between lines and researching certain topics. If you want sources or something I can give them to you, but be warned, my semester ended about 1 month ago and I'm not o fond of doing anymore fucking bibliographies or citations. So either trust me, debate with me in the comments or stop reading. As always, tips for writing FanPosts are welcome, but remember that everything I found in this PERSONAL OPINION ARTICLE THAT I WROTE FOR MY READING PLEASURE AND YOURS took a while to find, especially the Memphis/Dontari Poe stuff (their school athletic pages are honestly really disorganized and don't have much history). Now let's start the show.
From This Year to Last
- Charles+Berry+Moeaki+Cassel+Baldwin: 14+15+16+7+7= 60 Missed games from 5 starters (3 Pro Bowlers and 1 First Round Draft Pick). I don't think people realize just how many games that leaves the team without just under a 1/4 of their starters. If the Packers lost Jennings, Woodson, Finley, Rodgers, AND Bulaga for that many games in a season, those guys probably would do as good as we did, maybe slightly worse (Saying that because I don't know, just speculating, but I'm pretty damn sure Palko was a million times worse than Flynn). The most under estimated of those lost, in my opinion, was Cassel. I get that people don't think Cassel is great, but he's the best QB we have on the roster for our team, so he obviously gives us the best chance to win. So in losing him we still lost our STARTING QB. And since Kyle Orton isn't coming back, Manning is in Denver and we didn't play bad enough to draft Luck or RGIII, Cassel is still our best option at QB. Period.
- All those that tore their ACL's did it so at the best possible time. The recovery process now gives them an extra 2 months to strengthen up before Training Camp. Don't believe the reports coming out of OTA's about their health? Check web-MD. Check with your local physician. Then look historically. About a year, give or take a few months depending on the person. So, barring any injuries in the off-season (which the Chiefs are not risking at all) they'll be ready to go to start the season. And that's all that matters there.
- Our worst starter, Barry Richardson has been replaced with one of the top players at that position, Eric Winston. So can we agree that Cassel will have at least a TAD bit more time since there's not a revolving door on his right side anymore? Good, moving on...
- We don't know if Peyton Hillis is or isn't a Pro Bowl caliber player still, but I don't think one bad year in CLEVELAND should put him in the "he was good a while ago" category. They changed OC's from the guy who used him to rack up 1,600 total yards and 13 touchdowns to.....nobody. Literally, he had no OC. The aforementioned gentleman? The one who coached up Hillis to those Madden numbers? Brian Daboll. Our current OC. What a kowinkydink. I just hope that he's better than Thomas Jones. JC averages 6 a carry. From Hillis, I'm wanting around 4.5. I'd be satisfied and I think that that's very doable with Daboll coaching him again.
Romeo Crennel, RAC, Sembower's Garden Gnome or Whatever Else You Want to Call Him
To the Romeo Crennel "Pushover Coach Gets No Results, Check His Time In Cleveland" statements: Name me 7 players of their 53 man roster you would have taken from the Browns and WILLINGLY started over your teams 5.
I'll save you the time.
- 2005: Cribbs? Sure. Braylon Edwards? Battled injury all year. That's 1. Maybe.
- 2006: Same 2 + Lawrence Vickers? Wasn't that good then. Didn't come on until the end of the year. Kameron Wimbley? Depends if you're desperate or stupid at that point. Winslow? See above analysis.
- 2007: You mean the same year he went 10-6 in the AFC North and STILL only missed the playoffs by a game? Joe Thomas. They shored up their weak tackle spot, buckled down, believed and FAR exceeded their projected 5 wins before the season. Sounding a bit familiar?
- 2008: Take everyone that was on this list except Joe Thomas off. Add Ryan Pontibrand. THAT'S what happened. You'd get fired too if that's all you had to work with.
Bewsaf has an article up now about "floundering teams" and the Browns have been "floundering" since 1999. 13 years. And in those 13 years, they've managed 2 winning seasons. The most recent from Crennel. The other? Butch Davis. The reason they got in? 5 teams finished at 9-7.
AFC West Outlook
- As far as our division goes, let's just take the Raiders out of this conversation. They're not doing much of anything unless they give teams a constant 30 carry diet of DMC. And he can't carry that load. Physically. He'll get hurt. Spell him? Sure, but Bush is now in Chicago. So.....yeah.
- San Diego has Phillip Rivers. And as much as I hate him, I'll still say HE, not Manning, is the best QB in the division. He just chokes habitually. And it's only his fault. Either Gates was getting doubled, Matthews was.... you know... being Matthews (whatever that is) or the special teams unit just was flat out blowing games. And every detriment I just listed is no longer a problem. Their D got better, their O got better. They got a new special teams coach. They bought Norv Turner one more year and he's going to have them playing to shut everyone up. Here's your competition in the AFC West.
- Denver: Manning. The neck surgeries. The practice video. The jettison of Tebow. "He looks good" "I feel fine" "I'll top 1,000 rushing yards again because he's here". Not going to lie, I am worried. But if anyone saw this coming, it's Pioli. We have the best secondary in the AFC West by far. We're better equipped to deal with aerial teams (like the Packers :-D) than anyone else. We lost Carr, replaced him with Routt. He's played #1 spot and was ok in Oakland aside from the whole penalty thing. I'm concerned that his aggressive style is actually, in fact, his playing style and not just an attribute of him being a Raider. Still, I think he breaks out here. Add Hali & Houston's pass rush to Crennel's record vs Manning (6-3) and I think we have the edge. Now, factor in San Diego's rush and Oakland's rush (and dirty play), playing outdoors more than ever late in his career, road games against Baltimore, Cincy, Atlanta, New England and home games against Houston, and Pittsburgh? I'd call 8 wins a success for them....
The Curious Case of Dontari Poe
Big as a truck, strong as an ox, fast as a thoroughbred (for his size at least) and yet he didn't do as well as "we think he should have" in college. Well here's my analysis; Poe didn't dominate in college or get gaudy numbers because of 3 things.
- He changed defensive coordinators every. Single. Season. The defensive coordinator that recruited him didn't even coach him his freshman year. Last year, he changed from having one defensive coordinators to two...after the first game of the season. Think about that. Now, there's not just one guy telling you what to do and how to do it, there's two. I started a new job last week and through the course of my training, I can tell you one of the most frustrating things in the world is taking and following instructions from one person only to have the other person training you tell you that you were instructed wrong and then have it happen again. I'll step out on a limb and say it would've been impossible for him to get proper coaching, fully learn any system, or just focus on one job, especially on a team as bad as Memphis. Crennel has made Shaun Rogers and Shaun Smith look like dominant forces. I can just imagine what he'll do to a 6-2 350 lb man who runs a 4.98 40yard dash.
- "He played predominantly against the spread. And if you know football, you know NT's don't get numbers, especially against the spread." Screw that, he played for one of the worst football programs in the last 5 years. 2-10. 1-11. 2-10. Total of 5-31. 16% winning percentage. I've watched many a football game, and never have I ever seen one defensive lineman dominate and entire other team with NO HELP. Sounds so cliche, but football is a team sport. And a major factor in why he couldn't produce is simple. He had no team.
- He didn't need to. Memphis wasn't leaning on him to be the star of the defense. Much like we won't need him to in KC. His job here is to eat blockers, 2 preferably 3 at a time. Free up the linebackers and safeties so they can make the play. Clog the lanes, collapse the pocket. Not get sacks and ridiculous amounts of tackles. Those are bonuses. Unfortunately, playing in the system(s) he played in during his college years, his job was to help pick up the slack and make some kind of plays. But when there's really nobody else to fear on a defense, you can key in on the best player they have and neutralize him. And that's a lot easier to do when the best pure talent on the team hasn't had a lick worth of good coaching. Memphis made Poe work in the same way you stay in a failing marriage for the kids; it just wasn't as good as it could have been. Lack of coaching, lack of talent, and lack of just about everything else makes for poor development.
Hopefully, Crennel & Pleasant can speed up a process that's 2-3 years behind the curve. For that reason, I don't see Poe cracking the starting line up for a while. If he doesn't pan out, trade bait for a 4-3 team. If he does, well then ladies and gents, we've got ourselves a monster in the middle.
To sum it up, last year sucked and we still did ok. Literally, two blown blocks by a guy who's not with us anymore away from an AFC West title. Without our top 2 players, our qb, our first round draft pick, horrible play calling, a ridiculously tough schedule, and all the controversy you could think of for a small market team that hasn't won a playoff games since the 90's. This team, on paper, on film and in real life seems to be ready. Super Bowl champs? In my wildest of wet dreams. Playoff win or two? Just my hopes. A winning season? My bare minimum of expectations. Regardless who's throwing the ball. Things that could derail us? San Diego. Peyton Manning actually returning to prime form. Multiple injuries....again. Romeo Crennel and Brian Daboll both not living up to expectations. I know everything that can happen will happen. But before you become super pessimistic or super optimistic, ask yourself realistically; How likely is it that it will happen?