After a brief foray into the always-dangerous territory of writing an article purely about Alex Smith, I've decided that its much more fun to NOT write about things that make people say nasty things about me. Much better for the soul when people aren't telling you how much you suck.
There's been a few serious (or not so serious, depending on your viewpoint) debates around Arrowhead Pride as of late, but I'm saving those seriouz interweb biznezz columns for a time when I can devote more than a few hours to this wonderful distraction called football.
I also thought about writing a column about Dwayne Bowe's legal challenge to his pot charges, but I figured that can't possibly interest anyone who isn't a legal nerd (do any of you REALLY care about the reduced level of "reasonable expectation of privacy" that exists in a car? I doubt it).
And so, we dip into the mailbag for some distracting questions to squeeze a few minutes of entertainment out of the mundane existence that is the NFL offseason.
@RealMNchiefsfan if you were Dorsey, what moves would you make in the remainder of FA and the draft.— Aaron Brockman (@aarbrock) April 7, 2014
If I were Chiefs GM John Dorsey, I would have done things significantly differently already, so it's tough to say where I'd go from here. So please be impressed with my self-control for not talking only about what I WOULD have done.
That said, I don't see much free agent action in the Chiefs future, so the remainder of the offseason is going to mostly be focused on the draft. I believe signing Vance Walker helps the pass rushing issues significantly, and while the secondary remains a concern, I have some faith in a few of the depth guys stepping up in an increased role (Husain Abdullah especially).
With that in mind, I'm going WR in round one and secondary player (best available) in round three. Everything after that is basically gravy in my opinion.
I get that people don't like taking WRs in the first round, but the Chiefs have a big need and this year's group is phenomenal. I can't ignore a guy like Odell Beckham Jr or Marqise Lee if he falls to the Chiefs. Too much talent there, too much potential to help the offense right out of the gate.
I don't put much stock in draft picks after the third round, but I'd like to see the Chiefs address OL depth and maybe take on a project pass rusher at OLB.
One wild card scenario for me is if TE Eric Ebron falls to the Chiefs. That guy is a very, very, very talented playmaker. In today's NFL, you can build an offense around a WR/TE combo. I think having him alongside Travis Kelce (who people need to not sleep on, his return will help) gives the Chiefs an identity in the passing game. The team that lines up a pair of matchup nightmares at TE.
So to answer your question... (shrug).
I'll change my mind another 30 times before and after the draft, I'm sure.
@RealMNchiefsfan mailbag... err Twitter question, did you implode like the rest of the internet after that HIMYM series finale?— Ryan Alcantara (@ralcantara79) April 7, 2014
For those who aren't as TV-obsessed as I am, he's asking about the "How I Met Your Mother" series finale, which enraged people more than any television finale since Seinfeld's unbelievably awful ending (although "Lost" sure seemed to bug a lot of people too. And "Dexter." In fact, let's get out of this side note, because I have a broader point).
Finales generally aren't very good. That's just the way it works on television. For every "Breaking Bad" (even people like me, who think that show is overrated, admit that the final stretch of episodes was brilliant) and "Friday Night Lights" (incredible final season and finale), there are roughly 10 shows like the ones mentioned above, where shows that were beloved throughout their run stumbled and flopped to the finish line. Why is that?
For starters, most shows stick around way too long. One of the reasons Breaking Bad and Friday Night Lights ended so strongly is that they hadn't exhausted story lines and started to cannibalize themselves with repeated and / or stereotypical story arcs. Shows like "Friends" (at least three seasons too long), "HIMYM" (same), and "The Office" (should've quit when its star left, regardless of how satisfying the finale was) have already lost all momentum and aggravated their fan base by the time they close out, so a certain amount of satisfaction is inevitable. Ross and Rachel got back together again? Yay.
Some shows have intensely unsatisfying finales for entirely different reasons. "Lost" had created way, way, way, way, way (insert a thousand more "ways" here) too many unresolved story lines to possibly solve, so they shrugged and went for making characters happy to try and appease fans. It kinda/sorta worked based on the strength of the acting, but still left a bad taste in the mouths of many (that show would have been much better had they not gone down the time travel shark jumping. They were so close).
Anyway, the main point is that finales are tough. And in particular, a finale in the mold of HIMYM, where the resolution of the show (you know, meeting the mother) was supposedly pre-ordained, is borderline impossible to pull off effectively.
All that said ... I kinda liked it.
Now, don't get me wrong, the whole (SPOILER ALERT? Although if you haven't watched it yet, are you really going to?) "Hey, this was about Ted and Robin the whole time" direction it took irritated me. We just spent a whole season watching Robin and Barney's wedding, and multiple seasons trying to convince us that they're a good fit ... and then it ends with a shrug? Very, very lazy writing. That was my biggest problem. But aside from that? I liked it. Mostly because it was real.
In real life, you are very unlikely to stay friends with "the gang" as you get older. That's just a reality. Things change, friendships change, and the whole "we're friendz for lyfe!" attitude you have in your mid-twenties changes.
In real life, having a daughter changes a man in a way I can't possibly describe. You've either had a daughter and you get it, or you haven't and you don't get it. It's really that easy. For those of you who think I'm making stuff up, trust me, you'll get it if / when you have a daughter.
In real life, that "love of your life" (The Mother) isn't where you always end up. People get sick. It's sad, but it happens. Sometimes love stories end way too soon. Now THAT'S real.
And sometimes, in real life, you end up settling on someone (Robin was "settling," and I refuse to argue about this) and it's not necessarily a bad thing.
For all those reasons, that finale doesn't even rank in my top 10 of terrible television finales. It was OK. And yes, I could have just answered with these several sentences. Anyway, about those Chiefs...
@RealMNchiefsfan ~ How much do you think Chief interest in DJax was more of if you don't sign with us, then stay out of the AFCW?— MAXIMUM, MBAF | CIS (@maxsch00) April 8, 2014
Hey, here's a question I can answer in under 500 words!
I don't think that factored into Reid and Dorsey's decision making at all. Would it be absolutely horrible to see DeSean Jackson playing for the Broncos or Chargers? Absolutely. Was it ever all that likely that he'd sign in either place? I really doubt it.
I don't see Jackson as a guy John Elway would go after. And I also think that Peyton Manning would put a hit on him before training camp even ended. There's just no way a preparation freak like Manning would be able to handle Jackson's approach to the game. It's not the way he plays.
Jackson to the Chargers really scared me. Philip Rivers can still play, and Keenan Allen / Jackson would have been SCARY. But they were never even rumored to be in the hunt.
Honestly, the more I review the rumors surrounding the Chiefs' interest in Jackson, the more I think that the interest was extremely overstated by the media and fans. Really, there wasn't any indication of more than a quick look by the Chiefs. It could have been as little as one phone call between Andy Reid and Chip Kelly to figure out what happened in Philadelphia. I think it was mostly hype.
But no, I don't believe teams operate with a "let's sign this guy just so (insert division rival here) doesn't" mentality. You can't build a successful team with that mentality. I think the interest in Jackson was due to him being an exceptional and unique WR.
@RealMNchiefsfan I'll bite. MN What do you think about Eric Berry, and is Sam M. right?— Bob Davis (@CaptainCrash117) April 14, 2014
@RealMNchiefsfan what evidence do we have that Berry would be an elite deep safety that people are making him out to be? College tape?— Garrett Johnson (@The_GJohnson) April 14, 2014
So... apparently there's some kinda of controversy about Eric Berry?
I'm not going to make this too terribly long, because I have a sneaking suspicion that I'm on my way to a full-on film review of Berry's 2013 snaps via All-22 film. That said, I'll give a few impressions on Eric Berry.
To start off, the idea that he is strictly an in the box safety is just not true. It's not. If you want a glimpse into how Berry is used, read Matt V's exceptional review of the defensive collapse against the Colts. Or if you think Matt's too biased, try reading Football Savages look at Eric Berry, where his play all over the field is again discussed. Or, if you're a big fan of Pro Football Focus, take a look at what they say about Berry when naming him to their 1st All Pro Team (here's a hint; they DON'T say he's stuck in the box and can't cover). If you're looking for pretty pictures, take a look at BJ Kissel's case for extending Berry, where he discusses how Berry is all over the field.
Why am I linking you to a bunch of articles rather than discussing my own impressions? Mostly to combat the idea that I'm just being a homer when I discuss Berry. Basically every person who has taken the time to examine the film walks away wildly impressed with Berry's ability. Heck, even the more critical views of Berry acknowledge his unique skills. This is not a homer thing, it's a talent thing, and it's almost universal among those reviewing the tape.
While Berry is not without weakness (his press coverage is questionable, and when he's run directly at while playing in the box he can be run over), his ability to do almost anything all over the field makes him an almost totally unique player. You can do almost anything with him out there and it's going to be done well.
Again, I'm keeping this short (for me, at least) for the sake of a later article, but here are a few coverage stats for Berry via PFF. Remember, the major detraction of Berry is that he's "weak in coverage" (at least, that's the claim). I'll also include his ranking out of 57 safeties (FS and SS) who played 60 percent or more of their teams' snaps last year. Again, keep in mind while reading these that the claim is Berry is weak in coverage.
- Completion percentage allowed when thrown at: 58.7 (14th)
- Yards per catch allowed when thrown at: 9.4 (9th)
- QB Rating allowed when thrown at: 64.8 (11th)
Call me crazy, but if your weakest area is still an area where you're statistically in the top 25 percent of the league (and above noted "studs" like Eric Weddle and Earl Thomas), you're a heckuva player.
Now, about that contract. It's bad. Really bad. $11.6 million dollars in cap space is not a good amount to be paying ANY safety, even an elite player. Which is why Berry should have absolutely been extended by now. Of course, it takes two to tango, and we don't know what's going on in negotiations.
However, that contract is about to get a lot more under control in 2015. This year, Berry's contract gives him the highest cap hit for a safety in the NFL at $11.6 million dollars (per Over The Cap's numbers). However, next year his cap hit drops a full $3 million and changes to $8.3 million, which will drop him to the fourth largest cap hit at his position in the league. Is that an amount I'm willing to pay for Berry? Yes.
Basically, the Chiefs are in a spot where the contract is obscene ... but that's a one-year problem. To panic and trade such a versatile, gifted player would be ... well, not smart. Now, if someone makes an obscene offer? Sure. Anyone is fair game with a big enough offer. But I don't see it happening.
@RealMNchiefsfan The Chiefs sign a raw UDFA talent and he turns out to be an actual dragon. What position(s) would they try him at?— Luxatos J'Lazula (@Luxatos) April 8, 2014
I think you're ruling out the possibility that this has already happened. Have you watched Justin Houston play? He's absolutely a fire-breathing dragon. I'm terrified of that man. In fact, talking about him makes me nervous. Let's move on.
If you could live in any fantasy world what would it be? Books, movies, tv shows, video games are all fair game but you can only pick one. P.S., I don't twitter or email, never sent an email. Sorry :)
-omahawkchop24 (via Arrowhead Pride comments)
First of all ... did you make this comment from the past? How have you managed to go until 2014 without ever sending a single email? That's either insanely impressive or very frightening. I've gone back and forth a few times on it. Way to fight the power!
The real problem with fantasy worlds is that they're full of drama. I mean, I've got a wife and four kids. Do I really want to be toting them around Middle Earth while Sauron is sucking the souls out of men? It seems like a bit of a hassle. Same problem with the Star Wars universe. Tough to enjoy all that technology if there's an off chance the Sith might kill you for no good reason. Westeros? The Lannisters don't have enough gold to get me to move there, thanks.
So where, if anywhere, is safe enough for me to relocate? I have to go full nerd and say the Star Trek universe. Stable government that keeps the peace (as long as you stay away from the fringe areas), not nearly as much universal conflict (as in, I could live on a planet and not once be attacked. That seems relaxing), and a wonderful invention called a replicator that just ... CREATES any kind of food I want.
Would I weigh 900 pounds after a few years? Well, yes. But that's a lot better than being force-choked or having a Nazgul impale me while shrieking.
Better Summer Vacation Spot: Cabin on the Lake, or Beach House.....on the beach.
I'm going to go ahead and ignore the horror movie implications of this question and be all practical and stuff. Always a cabin on the lake. ALWAYS. Because sharks are the scariest thing on the planet, and nothing else even comes close. I would rather die in almost any other fashion than via shark attack. Is that largely because I saw "Jaws" when I was four? Probably. But that doesn't change how I feel. I can barely tread water in a LAKE without getting nervous. I feel like I've said too much.
What's with the handle change? Trying to be more professional?
You know what ... I really don't know. I was working for another site where I went by my full name, and it just seemed appropriate to switch it up here as well. Plus, after watching Bajah07, Flowers24, and KaloPhoenix all cave to the (Thor)man and turn into corporate stooges, I couldn't hold out. I just want Joel to like me, really.
All kidding aside, the change doesn't have anything to do with genuine professional goals. I've got a day job that's not going to change barring AP offering me a $50k a year contract (the possibility seems remote at this point) and my wife signing off on me being a writer full time (that's not gonna happen).
I might just like being able to Google my name and have something show up. My kids sure thought it was cool, at least.
Seth, we discussed Alex Smith vs. playoff teams in his career a while back...
Whoa, I'm going to stop us right there. This was an extensive (and very insightful) email from AP user RememeberDelaney37, and it's going to require a very long answer. Seeing as we're already well above 2500 words, I'll leave this for the next mailbag.
In the meantime, tweet questions / comments / compliments / insults to @RealMNchiefsfan or email me at MNchiefsfan@hotmail.com. I'm almost certain I can answer any question you have. I mean, it probably won't be a correct answer or anything even resembling one ... but it'll be an answer. And that's better than nothing.