Something something something introduction. Let's do the mailbag!
(Don't blame me for mailing in the intro. Blame the Minnesota Bar Association for making me learn what the difference between Larceny by Trick and Larceny by False pretenses. I hate everything. Also, as always, email mailbag questions to MNchiefsfan@hotmail.com or tweet to @RealMNchiefsfan)
Here we go with a football and non-football question.
The reports of TE Demetrius Harris shining in OTAs is promising. For the sake of argument let's assume he gets a roster spot. If TE Travis Kelce comes along from his injury he's virtually a lock for another spot. That leaves one TE spot for Anthony Fasano and Sean McGrath (assuming they keep three). Who hits the bricks?
With the developments in the Ukraine this spring, still feel confident with your answer from last year that Europe will go a full century without a major land war?
Every year there's at least one guy who just CRUSHES OTAs and becomes a fan favorite. We all start drooling over the prospect of a diamond in the rough emerging against all odds and making our team better in a way we hadn't anticipated. That guy generally ends up disappointing when the pads come on and/or when the regular season begins, but we do the same thing all over the next year. That said ... how 'bout Demetrius Harris!!!!
Look, I see the appeal here. Harris measures in at 6'7. That's the same height as Jimmy Graham. He, like Graham, has a basketball background. And from all reports he came to OTAs heavier (after being a stick-thin-for-football 230 pounds last year). He's had a year to get used to being on the field as opposed to the hardwood, and word is he's catching everything in sight in practice. Oh, and he also ran the 40-yard dash in 4.52 seconds. Good LORD.
IF Harris has indeed learned to harness his considerable athletic prowess, he'll be a nightmare for opposing teams. 6'7 with a great vertical and the know-how on winning jump balls is almost impossible to defend. That said, we'll see what happens in preseason. Last year Harris generated some buzz in OTAs (though not at this level) and looked lost once the preseason games started. So we'll see (crosses fingers).
But for the sake of the hypothetical, we'll say Harris and Travis Kelce have spots locked up. In that case, I believe either the Chiefs either keep four tight ends (maybe Andy Reid will remember last year's injury-palooza and keep extra guys at that spot) or The Beard gets cut.
I know everyone is down on Anthony Fasano right now, and he definitely struggled with injuries last year. But he's a better tight end than Sean McGrath, and I don't think it's all that close. McGrath has great hands and an amazing beard. But he's not much of a blocker at all, gets knocked off his routes with minimal contact, and doesn't possess the athleticism (in my opinion) to be a long term option at the position.
Fasano, for all the stuff last year, has shown himself to be a solid pro. Word is (via Terez Paylor) he's having a good camp and is fully healthy. In fact, I'm guessing that (all fan speculation aside with our gigantic and athletic youngsters Kelce and Harris) Fasano is the Chiefs starting TE come Week 1.
As far as last year's prediction go, I think what I'll go ahead and do is predict MOAR conflict in Europe. You should be hearing very shortly that all hostilities have ceased and thousand-year treaties have been signed. You're welcome, Earth.
My question since Westeros is coming up: Which characters would you relate to NFL players / coach / team.
For me ...
Tom Brady = Joffrey Bratheon
Peyton Manning = Tywin Lannister
Tony Romo = Daenerys Targaryen
Wes Welker = Tyrion Lannister
Rob Ryan = Samwell Tarly
Bill Belichick = Petyr Baelish
Eric Berry = Jon Snow
Jamaal Charles = Ghost
Roger Goodell = Ned stark
Man, that question bums me out. Also, SPOILERS (in case that's still necessary).
But for the love of God, are we ever going to have someone to genuinely root for on Game of Thrones without becoming instantly fearful for their safety? Ned Stark's death felt like someone had dropped a lead weight on my chest, but at least it was original (killing the apparent hero). Robb Stark's death felt destined, though the way it happened was still horrifying. Catelyn was clearly doomed as well. I didn't care about Jaime's hand. Kahl Drogo was cool, but felt more like a plot machination than anything else.
But Oberyn's death? That sucked the life out of me. Here was finally, finally, FINALLY a guy who not only seemed principled enough to stand up for a universe where monsters get what they deserve, but smart enough to actually make said monsters pay. My biggest fear was that he was all show and no go when it came time to throw down. The fight with The Mountain showed I was WAY off, and for about two minutes I thought, "Finally, the guy who is going to make those Lannisters pay!"
Of course, then he got his skull caved in for being stupid. Which, by the way, seemed TOTALLY inconsistent with how calculated he was when dealing with Tywin Lannister. And not only to die like that, but have to hear about what happened to your sister RIGHT BEFORE getting popped like a grape? Sheesh. That one got to me. I'm honestly almost in "Breaking Bad" territory here. That's where I care so little about what happens to the characters that I start losing interest. We'll see how Jon Snow does. I'm guessing he's dead inside five episodes.
That said, I'll name a couple (now that I've wasted a couple hundred words venting):
Tywin Lannister- Roger Goodell
As if it could be anyone else. The puppet master who everyone KNOWS is the puppet master. The one guy you don't want to cross. The guy who is control of everything and everything that happens. BUT ... also the guy who has one glaring weakness (Tywin's lack of actual funds, Goodell's seemingly mindless handling of schedule / concussion issues) that could bring him down eventually if he's not careful.
You stuck this one. I don't think I even need to explain this other than both are the guys really in control of the NFL / Westeros.
Oberyn- Jamaal Charles
Minus the head-squashing, naturally (JC's smart enough to wear a helmet, after all). No one can move like they can, and both are capable of cutting down giants (ask J.J. Watt). Don't get too close, Jamaal!
Joffrey- Jim Harbaugh
This isn't an entirely fair comparison, since Harbaugh is highly competent while Joffrey was not. However, no one else even comes CLOSE to being unlikeable enough (nor throws enough temper tantrums) to be Joffrey. Can't you just picture Harbaugh screaming "I AM THE KING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" during one of his ridiculous sideline fits?
Walder Frey- John Elway
Because, as I've previously stated, I hold no one in more contempt in both worlds. Oh, also, they're both irritatingly intelligent, as much as we'd love to pretend otherwise.
Jon Snow- Alex Smith
Both could well be exceptional characters and THE most important piece in the overall story, but neither get quite the respect they deserve. Also, many who DO respect them are maniacal about their devotion.
They're both very good at what they do, though, even if they're not the best. And really, does it get any more accurate than Alex Smith's wife telling a reporter that they "know nothing?"
I could do this awhile, since there are about 9,000 characters in GoT. I'll leave the rest to you good people.
We're already at almost 1,300 words, so I'll keep this brief (also keeping in mind that all Alex Smith columns are basically a lightening rod or a sign saying "kick me, please"): Absolutely, yes.
As I've discussed at great length, Smith threw the ball down the field MUCH more during the second half of last season. He did so with more success as well, while actually (slightly) lowering his INT rate. If Smith plays like he did down the stretch last year, he'll easily hit those marks. So yes, it's within the realm of possibility.
I think punt returns will ultimately go to De'Anthony Thomas. I don't believe there's much question about that. He's got speed, moves, and experience. I think Dave Toub is going to have a field day with Thomas.
Kick returns are a little more interesting. On one hand, Thomas has the speed to return kicks. On the other hand, Toub may prefer guys who are a little less "shifty" and a little more "straight ahead speed."
Knile Davis is an obvious candidate. He didn't see a ton of time at kick returner last year, but flashed SERIOUS potential in that capacity. His speed is genuinely startling (especially considering his odd running style), and when he gets a head of steam he doesn't seem like he'd be a fun guy to bring down. I'd put him at the top of the list. On the other hand, Joe McKnight has more experience as a kick returner, and I've heard at least whispers that the Chiefs like him.
I'm guessing the job ultimately goes to Davis unless they plan on using him WAY more in the offense. His speed is just too much of a weapon on returns.
We've got time for one more, right? I've got some other mailbag questions I'll get to next week, but for now, let's wrap 'er up.
Interesting! This is all I have to say about that...
Stay on target, Bob Sutton. Stay on target.
(If you're too lazy to look above, send emails to MNchiefsfan@hotmail.com and tweet to @RealMNchiefsfan)