(I apologize if this is disjointed. I prefer to write these in one sitting, but had to leave and come back to this one for days. I wanted to make sure I got it posted before tonight's game)
Is there anything worse than a casual sports fan?
I think of a casual sports fan like I think of pro wrestlers. Bear with me here (or bare with me, it's more of a party if we're all nude), I'll make sense of it. There was a point from the late 90s to, probably, now that every time a wrestler showed up at the arena in "street clothes", he was donning a fanny pack. This fact, combined with the long hair of the time allowed me to realize that professional wrestlers were 7-10 years behind mainstream culture. Casual sports fans are the same. They don't follow closely enough to know when progress is being made, but because everyone can't talk about the weather all of the time, these people think their ignorant opinions matter...and voice them...and...it's the worst.
"did you see the sporting event? how about this weather? gas prices!"
You know the type of person, you can find them in an elevator, bank line, or at your place of employment. Scum sucking lowlifes who don't have an informed opinion but HAVE to make small talk. A couple of years ago, I made a hobby of explaining to single serving "friends" why the chiefs "sucked" and what they were doing to remedy it. I tried to stick up for the chiefs to these societal leeches. I gladly invited them to be the first of the nincompoops on the bandwagon (to be fair, I've been doing this with the royals for most of my life...still wrong). I tried to tell them that they could be ahead of the curve. They declined. The chiefs made a playoff run and casual acquaintances were asking if I "saw the game". Rather than just simply reply with, "yes". I would say something like, "I watch every game, every year". Then they magically would announce that player A (ironically, it was usually the player that did the least that game) "looked good".
The next year, we get decimated by injuries and my lurking AP gets me ridiculed at work. They say things like, "How can they be SOOOOOOOO good last year and SOOOOOOOO bad this year". Before I just started replying in grunts, I would mumble things about ACLs, strength of schedule, lightning in a bottle and lack of depth. By the end of the year, the same people who think Tebow is the best QB in the NFL are right back on the "we sure put it to the Packers, huh?" grind. Fuck these people. I don't expect everyone to agree on everything. Life would be boring in that world. I like Dexter McCluster, and Clay Wendler doesn't. I'm ok with this because Clay Wendler has an informed opinion. That's the fun side of being a sports fan AND this website.
I have expressed my displeasure with the flood of n00bs that have been showing up here for months now. What we have right now on AP is a bunch of people who started coming here because they thought it about time to jump on the bandwagon and become a football fan again who are in a panic because the local team has played like piles of Warpaint shit for two straight preseason games. Preseason games. Preseason Games. (hits own temple with pad of palm) We are in a panic over the preseason? What's next? Allen Iverson has to talk about practice? Get off it, dipshits.
****Let's pick a season at random. Let's say...ummm...I don't know...2003 (this isn't random at all). We went 2-2 in the preseason that year including a 24-6 loss to the 49ers and (gasp) giving up 42 points to...(gasp)...the SEATTLE SUPER SEAHAWKS! As we all know, that season was doomed and we finished with an abhorrent 13-3 record.
I'll admit, we looked bad against the Seahawks. Really bad. I'll also say that we had a lot to overcome at the beginning of the Rams game (which, if you ask me, we did overcome, AND if momentum and game "feel" are taken into account, we were poised to control the second half if the starters had a reason to come back out).
What has happened this preseason that wasn't to be expected?
Matty Nice - Cassel takes a lot of crap in these parts, and I don't want to add to it. However, coming into camp, Matt Cassel wasn't a question mark, he was an exclamation point, pound sign, question mark and at sign (!#?@). Even the staunchest defenders of Cassel believe that, if given the perfect storm of talent surrounding him, the team can win. Let me say that more clearly:
Coming into the season, Matt Cassel's biggest supporters thought a team could win in spite of Matt Cassel's limitations.
Not exactly a ringing endorsement, eh? Just as everyone is ready to tar and feather anyone in red after the Seahawk game, after the Cardinals game, everyone was ready to measure Matt Cassel for a tailor made, custom fit celebration fleshlight (if you don't know what it is, don't google it) to thank him for a presumed super bowl championship.
Is Matt Cassel Aaron Rodgers? No, in fact, it looks weird to type two names next to each other as a question. It doesn't even make sense. Is Matt Cassel Tyler Palko? No. He sure as hell isn't. In fact, he's closer to Rodgers than he is Palko. So where does he fit? Somewhere in the middle. Exactly where he is supposed to fit. Everyone knows we need a young quarterback for the future, but Matt Cassel is the current QB here. We knew this. The thing I, personally, didn't know or, rather, hadn't seen is this version of Matt Cassel. He has the same (meh) arm, but I haven't seen the Matt Cassel who can stand at the line of scrimmage, read the defense, and lead the team down the field. I, literally, don't think I have seen him do that in a Chiefs uniform. Between his successful audibles and some decent composure running a no huddle offense when all hope was lost, he's shown a lot more of the leader we've heard about.
He still stares down his receivers, but it seems to me, that he does it much worse when he is expecting (and getting) pressure. In the Arizona game, I remember seeing him throw to his third option. I remember this as much for him doing it as I do for the effect it had on me (I kissed my dog on the mouth). I think that if he can get some protection, he may just get a little bit more confident in the pocket. I feel like there is no reason to be wishy washy on Matt because his play can be, well, wishy washy.
Am I disappointed that three QBs I wanted us to look at outside the first round were (in order): Nick Foles, Russell Wilson and Kirk Cousins? Yes. Am I excited that our C+ quarterback who was supposedly at his ceiling has shown signs of improvement when we didn't get any of those guys? HELL YES!
In Madden speak, if Matt Cassel can play like an 85 instead of a 77 this year, we will breeze through this schedule/division into the playoffs. I think Pioli has built a good, deep roster in a perfect position to trade up and draft ANY QB they want next year. If we can get a playoff win this year, I'll chalk it up as a W for Mr. Pioli.
He looks good in the slot. I think he's going to create mismatches all over the field for every player on the field. He will more than likely be a security blanket for Cassel every time he's in the game I'm excited to see playground formations that put him on the same side as our monster receievers (or monster tight ends) and set up blocking for him down field.
My concern is this...because of his size, he has to be the focal point of every play of which he is a part. As much as I wish Dexter well and hope for innovative offensive plays for him, I'd rather have Moeaki, Boss, Baldwin and Bowe in the game. This, of course, is a good problem to have, but with those guys on the field and either Hillis or Charles in the background, the playbook is WIDE OPEN. We can do ANYTHING and have absolute beast blocking all the way down the field.
For the same reason, I don't really see a need for Breaston at this point, but as with everything else, it's never bad to have depth.
Patriot Smokescreen? (CONSPIRACY THEORISTS UNITE)
Brandon Flowers is obviously a linchpin for this defense. Every part of our defensive gameplan/scheming against us involves us having a top tier cornerback in our secondary. Much like when we lost Berry last year, we'll have some overcoming to do if Flowers is out. As someone who had Darren McFadden on his fantasy team last year, I know how much mysterious foot injuries can suck. But what if...it's not that bad? They know what they have in BFlow. We're playing a team with Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony G to start the season. Just as I told friends not to worry about Bowe, he would sign after camp. I'm going to say my gut tells me if the preseason games counted, Flowers would have been on the field. I am guilty of being eternally optimistic about the chiefs, but I think this could be a real plan. We have a pretty easy schedule this year and the Falcons game is one of the more difficult games of the season. Just sayin...
In the same vein, I feel like we have, quite possibly, dialed everything back after the Cardinal game. Now, we've played bad enough (and Cassel was in the game late enough) to know that the Seahawks game didn't go according to plan--even if the plan was to be vanilla. A part of me just feels like they weren't concerned with flexing their preseason brain muscles anymore than they had to. EVERYTHING I've read has told me how tight our camp was. How Romeo had them running like a machine. It all fell apart against Seattle? Nah. (My other theory is that I gave every Chief $5 to make me look smart to my friends for telling them we should have drafted Russell Wilson (How did I not realize that he was named after TWO sporting good companies until JUST now?)
I could go on, but the growing word counter is mocking me and letting me know that this post is already too long for anyone to read (Is it supposed to blink red and play an alarm countdown sound every time I hit spacebar?).
Basically, I'm saying this...
The Chiefs probably aren't as good as they were against Arizona. The Chiefs DEFINITELY aren't as bad as they were against Seattle. Everyone needs to calm down and enjoy the season. It's short. Oh, and don't talk to me in elevators or at work.
Stay tuned for possible overdue posts about Bountygate and Kevin Keitzman.
EDIT: Did I have the right to do polls rescinded?