When trying to decide what to write about on this fine site, I usually draw from what is currently on my mind. And what is on my mind lately is (again) Alex Smith. Is he going to work out? Is he Cassel 2.0? Does he really throw short constantly and have no arm? Was his success predicated on the system? Is Andy Reid right in thinking Smith is great for what Reid wants?
All of these questions rattle around my head every time I think about the 2013 season, because those questions will largely determine the outcome of next year. So I decided to go back, watch the film, quantify some things, and give a breakdown after watching every Alex Smith play in 2012.
Then I was all like, "That sounds super hard, and I'd really rather watch The Walking Dead than review film right now."
So instead I'm going to cover the OTHER issue currently on my mind... the Chiefs free agency period.
(Long sidebar... what is it about The Walking Dead that appeals to us? Something like 200 million people are watching it every week! And I'm not immune, I freaking love that show. I even like most of the oft-dissed second season. I even like Rick. I only [SPOILER ALERT!!!!!] kinda wanted Lori to die. THAT is how much I love that show. I'm a tad concerned I have some deep-seeded emotional issues that are somehow worked out by imagining myself in a world full of zombies. Of course, apparently so do 200 million other people, so maybe I'm not weird. If you think you're too cool for that show, I don't even know what to tell you [Oh wait, I do. It's, "Don't come crying to me when the zombie apocalypse occurs and I know a hundred ways to kill zombies and survive in that world. It's your own fault, and remember as you get your face chewed off that I urged you to watch that show one time."])
As those of you who've been here awhile know, the last several years I've done a "Cheers and Jeers" column during this time of the year. Partly because there's not much else to talk about, and partly because it's almost impossible to find opinion pieces on free agency (...or something).
It works like this, new AP users -- or visitors who are too silly to make Arrowhead Pride their main source of Chiefs' news. Seriously guys, get with the program -- remember many years ago when there was this thing called TV Guide?
I can see everyone over the age of 20 nodding right now as the rest make scrunched up faces and wonder what in the name of God I'm talking about. See, back before you could stream any TV show online or record it and watch it later, and before every show had its own web page, there was this miniature magazine -- think books, but disposable with soft covers. I refuse to explain what "books" are -- that told us stuff about television.
... Well, one piece they had was called "Cheers and Jeers," where they praised or put down shows based on what they'd done. I liked it, so I stole it. (I'd say "borrowed" but I assume they're either extinct or too broke to sue at this point)
Now that we've done a little history, let's give the Chiefs -- and maybe a few teams/groups/people/anything, depending on whether my mind wanders. I'm feeling a little ADD today -- some Cheers and Jeers...
Cheers - Retaining Dwayne Bowe
This had to be done. We've all seen the various stats on Bowe, and we've all heard the overhyped meme that he drops tons of passes (Hey bro, did you hear he dropped a pass against the Colts in 2010? You know, right before he scored 14 TDs in 12 games? Remember that?!?!?!). Let's squash this once and for all, before someone skips to the comments to type, "He led the league in drops or something some year recently!!!"
-In 2009, Bowe's drop rate (percentage of "catchable" passes dropped) was 14.81 percent, 49th in the league
-In 2010, Bowe's drop rate was an even 10 percent, 26th in the league
-In 2011, Bowe's drop rate was 10.99 percent, 30th in the league
-In 2012, Bowe's drop rate was 9.23 percent, 14th in the league
Bowe's RIDICULOUS DROP PROBLEM, as many seemed to view it, is a thing of the past. He hovers around 10 percent, a little higher than I'd like. But he was better than Megatron was last year. And A.J. Green. And Dez Bryant. And a BUNCH of other guys. Hardly a huge problem.
Bowe is a playmaker on an offense that desperately needs them, and his one knock is overblown fears from an abnormality that occurred four years ago. He doesn't drop any more passes than many of the best WRs in the game.
I thought there was NO WAY the Chiefs were going to be able to keep Bowe with a new deal. Cheers to you, John Dorsey and Andy Reid, for keeping him around!
Jeers - The Branden Albert Situation
I'm not one who tends to automatically blame the team when guys can't get re-signed. And for all I know, Albert's asking for crazy money and the team knows it HAS to move on. That said, my gut tells me this is more of a team-based move -- as opposed to Brandon Carr, where my gut was the dude was looking to get PAID -- so I'm going to treat it as such. Fair warning, I'm wrong a lot and it could well be Branden.
That said, I hate, hate, HATE what is going on here. Branden Albert is a solid left tackle. He's solid in all areas of the game, which actually places him above many other tackles who are strong in one area but weak in another. He's athletic, strong, and is an anchor on the line.
So what makes sense? Why, trying to trade him, naturally!
After all what makes more sense when you've got the first pick in the draft than taking a player at a position of need that YOU CREATED? Nothing, that's what. Who needs pass rushers like Jarvis Jones or Dion Jordan? Who really wants to bother to try and hop on board the Geno Smith express? Star whodidawhutnow? Never heard of him. What the smart thing to do is maybe marginally upgrade your left tackle. Great work, John (slow claps).
I hope I turn out completely wrong on this and either they sign Albert long term, trade down and clean up, or Joeckel turns out to be the second coming of Willie Roaf.
K.I.S.S., John and Andy. Keep It Simple Stupid. Live by those words. When you've got a good player at a position, look elsewhere with a number one pick. Jeers for not moving us forward, but sideways or backward (or maybe kinda slanty-forwards, I guess).
Speaking of K.I.S.S...
Jeers - The Alex Smith Trade
I'm not going to spend much time on this (which is a lie, of course).
I. Do. Not. Like.
The same general idea as with Albert applies here. You've got the No. 1 pick. There are a couple of good options at quarterback.
Before I get a deluge of, "HOW STUPID ARE YOU THERE ARE NO QB'S WORTH THE NO. 1 PICK" emails, let's take a look at how things have turned since the Geno Wars died down. "Experts" are starting to get over their Luck/RGIII hangover and realize there are quality guys in this draft. The idea that Geno will go at LEAST in the top 10 is now a foregone conclusion for most, and there are rumors of a trade-up starting to fly. I'm not gonna say I was right that this would happen. But I will say other agreed with me, and they were right.
You TAKE THE QUARTERBACK!!!!!!!!
I'll say it for the millionth time; even if you think that Smith/Barkley/Wilson/Manuel isn't Aaron Rodgers material, you still go for it if you think he's Joe Flacco material (by the way, I said this BEFORE Flacco helped win a Super Bowl and became seriously overrated). Or Big Ben material. Quarterback is that important.
Now hey, maybe Reid/Dorsey decided that not one single quarterback in this draft has what it takes to even be a GOOD quarterback. If so, fine. I just have a hard time believing that, and since it's my column and I'm mad with power, they get a Jeer from me for trying to shortcut their way to a franchise QB.
I fully reserve the right to change my mind if somehow, some way, I decide to review Smith's tape and like what I see.
Cheers - The Secondary Moves
I really, really like what the Chiefs have done as a whole with their secondary. Adding Sean Smith, Dunta Robinson and the very-overlooked Husain Abdullah to their secondary took a unit that looked in need of upgrades up front and terribly shallow and turned it into a very deep, versatile unit -- at least on paper.
I like the moves as a whole and in context much more than I like the moves individually. I really like the Robinson signing now that I know he has to (at the very least) compete for a starting spot, and is much more likely to play a more limited role. Whether that role be nickel CB, safetey, or a more varied approach that leaves title out of it, I like him a lot as secondary depth.
The Smith signing isn't one I was crazy about at first. I think people get very hung up on the guy's measurables and ignore the fact that he hasn't been a great corner so far in his career. That said, I love the fact that they signed him specifically to be a physical press CB. He's a very good fit for that system, AND that tells me they'll be playing a lot more press and a lot less, "Hey, let's hang back 15 yards and then wonder why they're picking us apart with short passes."
Abduallah is a wild card. I've talked to a ton of Vikings fans about him, and the worst thing anyone has said was, "He'll be a good special teamer and a guy you can plug in without it really hurting your defense." Every other review has been more positive than that, with many predicting he'll win the FS job outright and be an above-average player for the Chiefs.
All in all, the Chiefs CB group now goes Flowers, Smith, Robinson, Arenas. I'm very, very comfortable with that group out there (then again, I love Javy and think he may get a bit of a raw deal out of this). And the safety group got someone to legitimately compete with Kendrick Lewis, who... well, he disappointed last year. You cannot suck at tackling and play safety well in the NFL. You just can't. I've got Lewis down for a surprise cut, especially if Menzie can come back healthy and play up to pre-draft hype.
Cheers for an overall job well done!
Jeers- Cutting Eric Winston
Unless this goes in the direction of "We really like Donald Stephenson at RT," I think this was a terrible idea. And no, I don't want to talk about gladiators and whatnot. Say what you will about Winston, he wasn't a bad player. This created a need -- seems to be the potential trend on the Chiefs OL right now -- where an urgent one did not exist. I hate that.
Not really much else to say on this, other than there had better be a SOLID plan in place for the OL. Because right now I can't see it. Jeers for creating another additional need.
Cheers- Letting Glenn Dorsey Walk, Signing Mike DeVito
Now that Dorsey is no longer a Chief, I feel oddly nostalgic about him. I didn't keep it much of a secret that I thought he was an overrated run-stuffer (I will argue about this all day. The dude wasn't taking on double teams and his side was targeted consistently over TJax) and an absolutely liability when teams passed (I'll argue about this all day as well. He got no push, ate no blockers).
That said... remember how excited we were to draft him? I genuinely thought the Chiefs were getting the next Warren Sapp. I couldn't BELIEVE he fell to No. 5. I thought he was the best overall player in the draft. Early in the 2010 season I thought he was starting to arrive. Truth be told, I'm gonna miss the guy. He was a Chief long enough that it's going to be weird not seeing him out there.
However, it was the right move. DeVito is, from everything Jets fans say, what Dorsey was said to be here; a run-stopping brick wall. He won't help against the pass (and that bothers me), but I'm very hopeful that DeVito can help shore up that right side of the line, where teams were targeting the Chiefs last year (you don't run on TJax/Houston).
So call this a surprisingly wistful Cheer. Best of luck to you in San Fran, Glenn.
Cheers- Anthony Fasano Signing
I'm a big Tony Moeaki fan. I think he can do it all. So I didn't see the position as in need of fresh blood that would take his spot outright (which Fasano still may very well do).
But Fasano can do it all. He's got solid hands -- check that, GREAT hands -- blocks well both for the passing game and the running game, and I hear that he once saved a puppy from a burning building (that may or may have been added in because I wrote myself into needing the third "thing"). The contract was a little steeper than I'd like, but from what I understand about Reid's offense we're gonna need all the tight ends we can get. There's a dirty joke in there somewhere. I just know it.
He's a solid player on an offense that needs more solid players. Cheers!
???- Signing Donnie Avery
I just don't know. I just. Don't. Know.
My initial reaction was, "Hey, I've heard that name!!!" Then it was, "I don't know if I've ever heard anyone really EXCITED about that name, though..."
Then I saw that he's considered a burner and a deep threat and I was all like, "Hey AWESOME, the Chiefs need someone who can stretch the field!"
(Waiting out obligatory Alex Smith can't go long joke here.)
Then I saw his drop rate last year was a little above 16 PERCENT last year and thought "Oh... crap."
Then I saw that he had a grand total of three receptions in eight games for the Titans in 2010 and went out looking for a guy bigger than me to fight so he would punch the pain away.
Fortunately for me, at the last second I saw that in 2009 with the Rams, Avery's drop rate was a while-still-not-ideal-hardly-crippling 11.32 percent. This gave me an excuse to abandon my quest to get punched in the face.
THEN I saw that in 2008 with the Rams, Avery's drop rate was 5.36% and my brain started crying. I can't handle this kind of confusion and uncertainty.
I just. Don't. Know.
So let's move on, because I STILL can't figure this out. At the very least, he's relatively cheap. So... yeah.
This is starting to reach "tldr" status for me, and I'm the guy writing it. So time to wrap this up.
-Cheers- Geoff Schwartz signing. Could win a job, at worst is solid depth.
-Cheers- Keeping the longsnapper, Thomas Gafford. Because I think it's awesome a guy can make that kind of money snapping a ball really far.
-Jeers- Chase Daniel. Because they insist on killing my dream of taking a QB and they spent millions on a guy who's played slightly more professional snaps than I have.
-Cheers- Keeping Captain Colquitt kicking contentedly.
-Jeers- The last month and a half of pregnancy. If you don't hear from me again, it's because my wife killed me. And ate me. I'm very afraid right now.
-Cheers- BJ Kissel and the crazy-good content he's been cranking out lately. We heart you, BJ (ANOTHER easy double entendre I'm gonna let pass by untouched)!
-Jeers- Not finding a way to keep Ropati Patooey (or Pitoitua). I liked that guy as solid depth.
-Jeers- The fact that it's late March and Reid has yet to announce that Cyrus Gray is awesome.
-Cheers- Dumping Cassel. I've dumped him twice already, so I don't think I need to go into detail here. I'm never going back to you, Matt. We're through for good and.... what do you MEAN you're now going to live in the same city as me?!?!?!? (runs to call support group)
-Cheers- Getting my boy Tyson Jackson restructured. Hopefully he gets that long term contract this year.
-Cheers- Fax machines. I'll never get mad at another one again. Good luck convincing yourselves that Dwight Freeney isn't a step down, Broncos fans! In fact, that's a great point to stop at. Let's all end on warm, fuzzy feelings about something blowing up in Denver's face.