Please overlook the obvious observations in this fan post. I originally wrote it for a UK based web site. We don't have as much news over here so some is a bit general. I found this site and thought I'd post it here. In future it will be wrote with this site in mind.
Before I post my first blog piece I thought that I should take the time to introduce myself. I'm Michael Gooding (@MCGooding on twitter). I'm 25, from Cardiff, South Wales in the UK. I have a normal everyday job, wife, daughter and I have loved sports since I can remember. I've always been an avid soccer fan, and it was from this that one Sunday evening after watching 'Super Sunday' I discovered the NFL.
I watched for several years, getting more and more engrossed as time went on. 4 years later, just before this season startedI thought it was time to choose a team to get behind. I joined up to NFLUK (www.nfluk.com) and started posting on the forums. After not so long it became clear that the Chiefs were one of the least supported teams over this side of the pond. I decided there and then that this was the team for me and have been experiencing stress and depression ever since!
Below are my thoughts on recent events from a UK fans perspective!
Finally! Optimism at 1 Arrowhead Drive
2-14. That just pretty much sums up this season. Cassel sucked. Quinn sucked. Dwayne Bowe was far too inconsistent. No other receiver stepped up to the mark. There was only 3 guys with over 400 receiving yards all season. On defense, the secondary was poor all year. There was no real second cornerback for most of the year behind Brandon Flowers and Eric Berry couldn't cover any tight ends.
There was unrest amongst fans all year. More than once a plane was flown above Arrowhead calling for Piolis head and for the replacement of Cassel at the Quarterback position. We also had the tragic incident that claimed the life of both Jovan Belcher and his fiancee that left an orphaned little girl and a city in mourning.
There was progress in some areas though. Jamaal Charles continued to do his thing, rushing for 1509 yards and had 236 yards receiving. The O-line gave pretty solid play, and Left Tackle Branden Albert only gave up 1 sack through 11 starts. However, back spasms saw a premature end to his season and he only played in 2 more games, starting in neither. The Defensive Line and Linebacker core also showed promise as the season progressed.
The off season has started off exactly as it should. No chief fan should be disappointed with the moves that have been made so far. We all finally got our wish, Pioli, after much speculation following the firing of Romeo Crennel got given his marching orders. Thanks to the saveourchiefs movement the pressure was put on Clark Hunt and after the appoinment of Andy Reid, Pioli was gone at last. To top it all off we now have the number 1 pick in the draft as a point to turn this roster around.
But through all this promise it turns out there's no obvious sure fire quarterback deserving to go number 1 overall. Something that can only happen to us Chiefs.
I'm happy with the hire of Andy Reid. At first I was a bit apprehensive because I was hoping for Mike McCoy. But when you look at it, we were the first ones to appoint a head coach out of the 7 teams looking, and I think we essentially got the man that the organisation wanted. He comes with a wealth of experience. I know in his last 66 games he is 33-33, but I think the change of scenery will do him good. The KC media isn't as unforgiving as what he was accustomed to in Phily. My only worry now is what has gone on in his private life, it seems that you would expect someone to take time out after the tragedy his family suffered. Then again we don't know how he ticks, and I'm fully behind him being the guy to take us to the next level. I want to commend Clark and the rest of the backroom staff at 1 Arrowhead Drive on recognising their man and going out and being aggressive in pursuit of him.
Reid has already started to assemble his backroom staff. I quote from kcchiefsblog.com, ''The biggest players are offensive coordinator Doug Pederson and defensive coordinator Bob Sutton. Pederson, like many of the new hires, was with Reid in Philadelphia, spending the last four years with the Eagles including two as quarterbacks coach. Sutton, however, comes to Kansas City from New York where he was the linebackers coach for the Jets.
Also joining the staff are Eric Bieniemy (Running Backs), Tommy Brasher (Defensive Line), Travis Crittenden (Assistant Strength and Conditioning), David Culley (Assistant Head Coach/Wide Receivers), Mike Frazier (Statistical Analysis Coordinator), Corey Matthaei (Quality Control), Tom Melvin (Tight Ends), Matt Nagy (Quarterbacks), Britt Reid (Quality Control) and Barry Rubin (Head Strength and Conditioning).
So far nine of the Chiefs coaches have followed Reid to the Chiefs, but that number could rise as the staff is rounded out.''
There was alot of talk about the possiblity of switching back to a 4-3 under Reid, but with the hire of Bob Sutton the likelihood is that we stay with the 3-4. This is a good move as it would've been a headache changing scheme, and it would mean that there were a few players the system wouldn't suit, such as Houston who perhaps isn't big enough to play at end in the 4-3. With the production that we got out of him this year with 10 sacks (Hali finished with 9), playing outside linebacker in the 4-3 may have seen a drop off in performance and impact. Why would we want to risk this when he was proabably our best defensive performer this year. A good move all round with Bob Sutton.
John Dorsey has been appointed as the GM. Dorsey comes in from Green Bay. He shares links with Reid from his time there. Tom Heckert was the other choice for GM, he also shared sometime with Reid in Philadelphia. Now that Dorsey has got the job then I expect us to build through the draft rather than make bold moves in free agency. In 2010 Green Bay and Carolina were the 2 teams with the most players on their rosters that were their own draft picks.This shows that Dorseys philosophy will be to use the draft to build a team rather than potentially waste big money pursuing free agents. No doubt we try and bring in one or two to bolster the roster and to ensure competition across each position.
This could be looked at as a brilliant time to be a Chief. After an awful season its nice to have fresh faces and finally get some optimism. The only thing worth the season we suffered through is the #1 overall pick. Unfortunately I can't help but feel that we have been unlucky landing the 1st pick this year. After all, last year there was Luck, RGIII and, although nobody expected him to make such an impact, Russell Wilson. Add on top of this next year is likely to bring both Johnny 'Football' Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater to the pros, and this years crop of Quarterbacks just doesn't compare.
I think we will have a hard time if we go and try to shop the 1st pick. It would be the right thing to do but I don't think teams will see the need to move up to 1st overall to take someone imparticular. If we do indeed go with a QB, which doesn't look too likely after interviews given by Reid and Hunt, it could be a number of guys, including Geno Smith and Mike Glennon. I honestly think we can wait to the 2nd round to pick up a QB. The likelihood is that someone out of Geno, Glennon, Tyler Wilson, Matt Barkley and Ryan Nassib will be available into round 2 and beyond. Indeed, the mock draft over at walterfootball.com only has 2 Quarterbacks going in the first round, and that has us taking Smith 1st overall. Is the drop off from Smith to Barkley or Wilson really that much? Is Smith really a can't miss prospect? Probably not. Are they upgrades on Cassel and Quinn? Likely.
I'd be happy with taking Luke Joeckel in the 1st, especially considering Branden Alberts back problems and the fact he is a free agent. It would be nice to keep Bowe, but if he is adamant in moving on then I don't see much point in keeping him somewhere he doesn't want to be. He has been too inconsistent this season with dropped balls and didn't really help either Quarterback. Of course, you don't want to be putting a rookie QB in with no one at WR, and this will have to be addressed through the draft or via free agency. It would be nice if Jonathan Baldwin could step up and fulfill the role as number 2.
I'm all for bringing in a veteran guy at QB as well. No matter if or where we draft a QB, I think we need a veteran presence who is able to possibly start before the rookie is ready, and then serve as a good mentor moving forward. In this regard I look at Alex Smith. He's solid, serviceable, and somewhat of an upgrade on Matt Cassel. If giving up a 3rd round pick is all it would take I'd certainly be looking at the possibility. Maybe we could get a 3rd rounder back if we do manage to find a trading partner and manage to move down in the first round. At this point Chance Warmack, the Guard out of Alabama maybe the choice of the first round pick. This could also pave the way to bring back Albert to continue playing Left Tackle. Theres also Matt Flynn and Colt McCoy out there. McCoy played in the spread offense in college and this has some resemblance to the west coast offense that Reid is likely to run. I'm not sold on what Flynn brings to the table, but Dorsey has the GM gig, and this could well be the way we go. They share the link of both being at Green Bay. He's looked good in the limited time he has played in the league, and I'd go with him over Cassell right now. With regards to Cassel, him and Quinn have both got to be out of here. Even if its just to start afresh.
Defensively, we'll need to find somebody to start opposite Brandon Flowers at the cornerback position. I'd like to use the draft to pick up a cornerback in maybe the 4th round that can be developed to be a starter in future years. Javier Arenas looked good during the back end of the season but ideally he would be used in nickel and dime situations along with Jalil Brown. Arenas may have the upside to become a starter in the future. Dominic Rodgers-Cromartie is a free agent that may be worth pursuing to come in and be an immediate starter. He has the ties in Philadephia with Reid and was involved in the trade that sent Kolb to Arizona along with a 1st round pick coming Philys way. Aqib Talib is another free agent that could be an upgrade, but with his disciplinary record, it could be that we stay well away.
A middle linebacker to play alongside Derrick Johnson is also somewhat of a priority going forward. This could be used in the draft or perhaps a free agent will be brought in.
Going forward theres plenty of reason for optimism. I am finding being a Chief fan fun again. The future maybe unknown but no we really do have the chance to turn things around and I'm confident that we have the right people in the right places to make us a contender again. If we get the Quarterback position right this off season we can get good and fast. This roster is not the worst by far when you look across the NFL as a whole. Have faith fellow fans. This could be the start of something special.