Return of the Kansas City Chiefs mailbag

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MNChiefsfan's summer mailbag on the Chiefs, Zombies and more.

It's April and times are tough. Not only are my taxes due in eight days (I really need to get on that. Or at least get on telling my wife she needs to get on that), but the NFL has trolled Earth by moving the draft into May. MAY? My God, we're going to kill each other well before then.

Since I can't handle more than one week going by without Chiefs-related news (I'd even settle for "news" at this point), I need something to fill my time. With that in mind, we're dusting off the mailbag and making this a summer event. I'll be taking any and all questions, and the number of distractions columns I'll be able to write will be directly related to the quantity and quality of emails / tweets I receive. So here are some tips:

  • Chiefs-related questions are encouraged, but not mandatory. Football in general or even completely off topic subjects are fair game (and sometimes the most fun). It's the offseason, people.
  • I heart television. All kinds of television. The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Friday Night Lights, HIMYM, Breaking Bad, Scrubs ... I heart it all. These types of questions are good things. Also, "weapon of preference in zombie apocalypse" will be addressed today. So not that one. And I DO have a limit of one zombie question per article, because some people (strange people, I admit) don't find zombies awesome.
  • Have fun with it, I don't take the interweb serious enough to be bugged by any question (as you'll soon see).

Anyway, this column is lean on questions (since I just put the word out via Twitter today), so I'll be using some questions I got on short notice as well as cannibalizing a few topics I saw around Arrowhead Pride.

Let's get started...

For future mailbags, throw me a tweet @RealMNChiefsfan or email MNchiefsfan@hotmail.com.  I want to hear from you.  It gets lonely here in Minnesota.

You know, I have a sneaking suspicion that this isn't really Andy Reid, but I'm a trusting guy. And the picture definitely LOOKS like Andy Reid ... I'm convinced.

I can say for sure that I'm not free safety material. I mean, sure, I've got killer hands. It's everything else I struggle with. You know, the running, jumping, cutting, hitting, and reading NFL offenses part. Beyond that I'm basically everything you could possibly want in a free safety.

The thing is, now we know why Andy and Dorsey haven't had any luck addressing the free safety position beyond re-signing Husain Abdullah (who I do like); they've been looking in the wrong places. Twitter is NOT where you're going to find your free agents, Andy! I mean, that has to be the 7th or 8th thing you learn as a head coach. To be fair, Twitter didn't exist when Andy started coaching. So he could be confused as to what it's for.

That said, I'm worried about safety. The Chiefs could have signed Chris Clemons for dirt cheap and chose not to. They have missed out on several strong safety types. What's the long term plan here? It may not be so funny when the season starts. My hope is that they're in love with Sanders Commings and not worried about safety at all. We'll see.

That is an awesome question.  You have to take a lot of things into consideration here, like different eras. For example, Buck Buchanan was an absolute ANIMAL in the 60's, but I have a hard time imagining a guy listed at 6'7 and 270 pounds being able to play along the interior defensive line in today's NFL. The game has changed, and more modern players are just monsters. That has to be considered.

Another thing to take into account is team need. Just because Priest or Okoye are all-time fan favorites doesn't mean they'd be a good fit on this roster. The Chies have Jamaal Charles. That pretty much ends any discussion about plucking a RB out of the group. Also, Joe Montana doesn't count, given the short duration of his stay.

With those things in mind, I've narrowed it down to several players:

DB Deron Cherry

This is a pretty obvious choice. The Chiefs have a glaring need at free safety (at least I think they do), and he was a great, great player. Unfortunately for me, he was a little before my time, but I've heard the stories. Cherry had a knack for forcing turnovers and is one of the greatest underdog stories in the history of the league (the man initially signed as a free agent punter. A PUNTER!). He's in the running for sure.

OT Willie Roaf

Why, when we have so many needs? Because I will never, ever, ever, ever make a list of Chiefs that I'd want on the team without including Big Willie Roaf. Remember what that looked like every game? The ball would be snapped, and his pass rusher would go nowhere. Absolutely nowhere. On runs... the ball would be snapped, and whatever player he had in front of him went 10 yards down the field. That's just how it was. He would instantly be the best left tackle in the NFL currently, and it wouldn't even be close.

WR Otis Taylor

I know, I know, I discussed the problems with guys from the older era. But Taylor is an exception. He was 6'3 and 215 pounds, big for a MODERN receiver. And the man could move (no Jon Baldwin syndrome) to go along with that, not to mention having exceptional hands. He played in an era where defensive backs were allowed to MAUL wide receivers down the field and still dominated. I can't even imagine what he'd think of today's age, where defensive players couldn't touch him beyond five yards.  I have a feeling he'd feel like he was playing a different (and much easier) game. He has to be considered.

DB Albert Lewis

Lewis made his name at CB, but I'll be honest ... I'm thinking about safety here. I know "move so-and-so CB to safety" is the new "tackle to guard," but in this case I believe it has merit. Lewis has the size, speed, and instincts to be an INCREDIBLE single-high safety. Which, incidentally, is exactly what the Chiefs defense needs.

LB Derrick Thomas

I understand that the Chiefs have Tamba Hali and Justin Houston as edge rushers. However, the Seahawks showed us last season that having multiple "small" pass rushers along the front four (and rotating in and out) is a fantastic way to destroy modern passing offenses. I'm not going to tell you anything about Thomas you don't already know, but him rushing the passer alongside Houston, Hali, and Poe would be frightening.

The choice ... Albert Lewis, CB/S

I might get killed for this, and I changed my mind roughly 9,304 times. But Lewis is the best combination of need and talent in my opinion. The Chiefs can decide to either use him as a legitimate shutdown corner or as the best free safety in the NFL (which I believe he would be. No disrespect, Jarius Byrd and Earl Thomas). Lewis can do anything. My choice would be to have him roam the defensive backfield and use that crazy range to make quarterbacks pay for testing us deep. He and Eric Berry could very well end up one of the greatest safety combos of all time.

Otis Taylor was a close second, given the Chiefs desperate need at receiver. But Lewis is just too good to say no.

See, I told you we'd get to zombies at some point.

Darryl or Michonne is a pretty simple question, contrary to popular belief. At least when you give it multiple hours of thought the way I have. On the surface, it's Michonne all the way. She's taken on dozens at a time and walked away unscathed. She doesn't need a crossbow. And seriously, it's a freaking sword.

However, much like people who look only at stats (tape snob alert!), that kind of analysis isn't digging deep enough. See, it's Michonne AND HER SWORD that are special. You take that sword from Michonne and she's right back down to normal as a zombie killer (well, not normal ... but at least only "above average." She becomes the Alex Smith of zombie killing. Good, but not great).

Darryl Dixon is a whole different ball game. Yes, he relies on his trusty crossbow. But he's killed zombies with almost any weapon imaginable. He can throw knives like a ninja. He can brawl unarmed. He can track like a ... well, like a guy who grew up in the sticks. He can hunt. Killing zombies isn't JUST about killing zombies. It's about staying alive long enough TO kill zombies. Darryl takes it as an all-around threat vs. Michonne's specialist ability.

As far as weapon goes ... I was going to go the old-school, hand-to-hand route that most people go. Then an AP user made an exceptional point, and I'm going to steal it.

As a weapon, I choose  a .22 caliber automatic or even semi-automatic rifle (I'm not going to get into specific types, not being a very good gun guy. Someone will help me out). Why such a small-caliber firearm, of all things? Because as was pointed out to me, .22 ammunition is EVERYWHERE. In my house alone we have over a thousand bullets of that caliber, and that's in a relatively small box.  .22 ammo is very small and lightweight. You could store thousands upon thousands upon thousands of rounds in a single closet.

Attach a bayonet to the end, and you're in better shape than any of those fools running around with their hammers and axes. You could sit on your roof and mow down the surrounding crowd, then take a trip to Wal-Mart or any gun store and be restocked enough to fight off another herd. Quick, easy, and simple. Sometimes technology IS best.

And yes, I've given this too much thought. One of the hazards of living in Minnesota, I guess.

If both are on the table, I take the Chiefs job. And that's not because I'm some kind of starry-eyed loyalist (although I kind of am), but the simple practical fact that "significantly less than market salary" in the private legal profession is still generally very good money. So it's not like I'd be working for peanuts.

Plus, you can't put a price on living where your favorite team plays. As a guy who has been to ONE Chiefs game in his life, let me tell you KC natives; don't take it for granted. Being a team employee, I imagine I'd have some access to games for cheap or free. Best of every world. Also, I have some great friends in the area and I'm sick of these Minnesota winters. Win / win / win.

Now, if I'm just getting offered the Broncos job?  Yeah, I'd probably take it. Mostly because at the end of the day, my real "team" consists of my wife and kids. I can work for a couple years, save a ton of money, pay off law school, and set us up nicely to get a Broncos-free job. If it gets offered I have to take it. I fear what my wife would do to me if I said "no."

I love this question. This is tough, though. I've never actually MET either of the legendary brothers, but I have some thoughts on this.

I think I'd go with me being a WR regardless of who I play, simply because it's a much easier one-on-one position to be in. DB in one-on-one is borderline impossible.

With that in mind, I'd have to go against Joel. I understand that Joel is younger than Chris, and also resembles Russell Crowe. Both of these things weighed heavily on my mind in making this decision. However, I can't ignore Chris's meteoric rise through the ranks for SB Nation. Anyone who is that kind of phenom is willing to do anything to get ahead. I wouldn't put it past Chris to shiv me as I passed him on my route.

[Edit by Joel: Chris does have a receiver frame.]

All that said, Joel couldn't handle me. I bet he doesn't even lift, bro.

How much better can Alex Smith get?

-Joel Thorman, via AP Article

You may or may not have seen Joel's fantastically successful trolling of AP article the other day.  Basically, the question was: How much better can Smith get after what was a career year last year?

My slightly longer answer is ... significantly. Look at the first half of the 2013 season vs. the last half (including the playoff game) of the season.

First eight games

59.1 percent completion percentage

6.28 yards per attempt

Nine touchdowns

Four interceptions

82.14 QB rating

Last eight games

63.1 percent completion percentage

7.07 yards per attempt

18 touchdowns

Three interceptions

101.83 QB rating

As the year went along, Smith got better. Quite a bit better. So it certainly appears that familiarity with Reid's system leaves open the possibility that he has a full year resembling that second half of the season (leaving out the absurd TD/INT ratio, which is probably not quite repeatable).

And for all those who say, "Yeah well, we lost a lot of those games down the stretch," my answer is ... yes, we sure did. Which is why the Chiefs need to get safety and other areas addressed on defense (like communication in the secondary). Because it's disgraceful the Chiefs defense allowed the team to lose games where the QB was playing that well. Absolutely disgraceful (and don't get me started on the receiver play that second Denver game)

My short answer? Smith is good enough to win playoff games already. He's already played well enough, and did what was necessary against the Colts. And that includes making a huge, big-time, clutch throw...

Alex_1_medium

... that wasn't brought in. The man has no sort of luck at all. Here's hoping that swings back his way in 2014.

Man, are we already at 2,500 words? We'll call it a day from here, again, throw me tweets @RealMNChiefsfan (it makes it easier for me if you use #MNmail) or email me at MNchiefsfan@hotmail.com with questions. We'll be doing this all summer, and I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

And Joel ... the gauntlet's been thrown down. Come at me, bro.

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