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Kansas City Chiefs mailbag: The underachieving Chiefs?

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It's been way too long, so I'll try to take on a few more questions than normal. Also, allow me express disappointment that I have yet to receive a single training camp email demanding MOAR of someone. C'mon people. I believe in you!

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

(Email mailbag questions to or tweet @RealMNchiefsfan)

I figure you have got plenty of football related questions already so I will throw something different at you. Along with my love for football, I also have a love for cars. I especially love cars from the muscle car era, more specifically Mopars. So if money was not an object and you could have any car or truck, which would you choose? I myself would choose the 1969 Dodge Coronet R/T with the 440 6-pack.

Corey Gott (ChiefBearcat)

As a loser non-car guy, I'm gonna have to go ahead and punt this question for those readers who are informed of such things. Did ChiefBearcat make a good call, or is he crazy? Of course, since I'm required by law to answer the question in some way, shape, or form, I'll at least pick something... the Batmobile would be to easy, so that's not even fair. I'm partial to muscle cars, but don't know nearly enough to state any kind of legitimate preference. I think at the end of the day I'm gonna have to roll with the invisible James Bond car. Although that seems a tad dangerous... but whatever. It'd be worth it to scare the crap out of every pedestrian in my town.

I'm gonna have to pick a question more in my wheelhouse next... hey, I haven't talked about Alex Smith in awhile!

I've read every article on Arrowheadlines regarding Alex Smith and I would like to see addressed one thing that hasn't been mentioned or discussed and that is the leadership he brings to the team at the QB position we haven't had since Trent Green. I see this as the one area that Alex Smith is a big improvement over Matt Cassell and something that can make a big difference on a teams win loss column that can't be measured by statistics.
Leadership is what I feel to have been the one area the team was lacking on both sides of the ball last year and where we will see a dramatic difference this year leading to more wins. Could you address the leadership qualities of Alex Smith and how you think they will help the Chiefs this next season?

Having leadership skills is kind of like having a great personality when you're single... it's awesome to have and a huge edge, but if you don't have the talent it's not gonna get you anywhere most of the time. With that in mind, I think it could be a big help to us this year as long as Smith is getting it done on the field.

I can't speak to Smith's leadership abilities personally, of course. But I can say that I've heard reports from training camp that Smith takes charge and has a ton of confidence. That's a good thing. AND he seemed to be pretty widely respected by the Niners players, which is impressive when you consider how much he struggled early in his career. The guy seems charismatic enough, and I do think that his confidence will have a positive effect.

However, Matt Cassel had all the "intangibles" in the world. The problem is you just can't be a leader if you're not putting it together on the field. So while Smith has a leadership role NOW, in camp, if he doesn't get it done on the field he could have the leadership qualities of George Washington and it wouldn't matter. Big George got it done in the field (and in the assembly, which was maybe even trickier), so people followed him. I think Smith has to show he can lead the team on the field in order to be "the guy." Here's hoping!

Here's the rub. This discussion has come up many a time with my poker buddies and fellow football fans. When we talk zombies we mean the undead, slow, brainless hordes. Not the new style of fast, kinda smart "infected". I go with the classic zombie for this reason, I find it difficult and sometimes painful to make it to my kitchen while suffering from the common cold. I can't imagine I would decide to take off running after experiencing the ultimate malady of death itself. The question: where is the worst place to be when the zombie apocalypse happens? I've said many times Arrowhead stadium (or any major sports venue) simply because you might not even notice the undead if they were in the crowd and (if you have upper level tickets like me) where the heck are you gonna run to? Plus it would ruin a perfectly good day of Chiefs football.

Sincerely, Clay (Cheshire 26)

I think everyone knew I was going to take at least one zombie question after ignoring them for a few weeks, right? Right. You'll get bonus points with the old-school crowd for going with the slow, lumbering zombies. Me, I like the new age. Because it's insane to think that slow hordes could EVER take over the midwest. Come on people. All of us have a gun. And usually about 10. No stinkin' slow zombie is gonna mess with us.

Anyway, I've given this some thought myself. At first I thought a Wal-Mart or somewhere like that, but then I realized that a store like that is where you WANT to be. Hello, axe and shotgun! Arrowhead, on the other hand, would be a total nightmare for the reasons you laid out (especially missing the game). Another factor you didn't include is that the players would be some giant freaking zombies. Does anyone want to see Dontari Poe heading toward them looking to snack? Nope. Plus, then he'd totally gain back the weight he's lost.

For all that, though, there's too many people at sporting events. That creates a wall of sorts between you and the zombies and gives some time to react. Also, Arrowhead in particular is wide open with some space to move. Also, lots of hiding spots in a place that big. The worst for me would be in a college classroom building. Virtually no rooms with places to hide, everything is locked besides the classrooms, and there's often only a couple ways out in those places. Death trap, man. Plus, what are you going to use as a weapon? Paper? I'm not saying you couldn't paper-cut a zombie to "death," but it seems really time consuming.

If the Chiefs don't finish the season with a winning record is it in your opinion the greatest underachieving Chiefs team to ever play? Also if this did happen who do you think the one player who would be most responsible.... Not named Alex Smith...... GO!


Man, that's a tough one to say. If they finish as 7-9 or something I don't think I could say that. I know a lot of us (myself included) have some high hopes for this team, but you're still looking at a 7 game swing to get a winning record. While those swings happen in football, they're rare. It's easy to look at our roster and think, "yeah, we've got this," but a lot of the same talented players were here last year too.

Of course, we have a legitimate head coach and quarterback now to go along with that talent... Man, it's tough to say. But I don't think this team could be called the greatest underachiever unless it goes on to a 3 or 4 win season, and even then it would have tough competition (ah, the joys of being a Chiefs fan). It just might lose out to the 1998 team, given the sheer talent on that team's defense and how sharply the team dropped from one year to the next. That said, it's at least up there.

One player to blame if things go poorly who ISN'T the quarterback... whoa, that's a tough one. I'll leave out potential injuries because that's too easy. I guess I'd have to go with Sean Smith. A lot is riding on our secondary this year, and with the words "attack" said every 1.3 seconds about our defense it is going to be huge that our corners perform well in press coverage. If Smith is really inconsistent it could lead to a TON of big plays given up. A lot of players could hurt us more if they suddenly fall off the map (JC, Bowe, Hali, DJ), but I see Sean Smith as the most likely to really hurt us if things go wrong.

Seth/MN/lawyer scum :-), It's RememberDelaney37, the one and only.
In movies, from time to time, we see a role played by an actor that becomes iconic in its own right but becomes damaging to the actor/actress who played that role because they get typed cast or can never live up to that role, and their acting career flounders. A few roles like this would be Luke and Leia Skywalker (Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher were in what other roles as live actors after the original trilogy?), Stiffler (can that guy play anyone but Stiffler?), Superman (heh, good luck getting away from that role Henry, look what happened to Christopher Reeve as an actor) and Tommy DeVito in Goodfellas (Has Pesci ever not played a gangster/crook?). I believe some more recent roles that will end up fitting into this will be Harry Potter and our beloved Joffrey Baratheon. Try as they may, those actors will never be seen as anything other than those roles, I'm willing to bet.
So my question is, what current or former Chief do you think caught lightening in a bottle with one game performance that caused a major overevaluation of their talents and potential for this team, which equated to nothing more than a waste of roster space?
Look forward to your parentheses-filled thoughts


First of all, I have to disagree with you about Pesci. He was WAY too good in multiple movies to say that he was ever ruined by a role. Yeah, he played a similar guy in most of them (mobster type), but are you forgetting Home Alone? He nailed that role. And he played basically a wuss scumbag in the Lethal Weapon series. Playing the same type of character in various forms is very different from having your career ruined by ONE character, and Pesci varied it up just enough to get a pass. Plus, when you're good Goodfellas, Casino, Raging Bull, Home Alone, and My Cousin Vinny... that's enough solid-to-amazing movies you helped carry to earn you a pass out of that group.

Another interesting note... if you're a good enough actor, that iconic role doesn't have to define you. Harrison Ford managed to overcome being typecast as either Han Solo OR Indiana Jones. Malcolm's dad is now a sociopath meth dealer. Jennifer Aniston managed to stop being "Rachel" and start being "that woman everyone on the planet feels kinda bad for." (OK, that last one was a bad example). I think the kid that plays Joffrey MIGHT be saved by that. No chance for Harry Potter, though. That guy is doomed.

To move in the direction of the Chiefs, I'lve got two recent guys right off the top of my head: Andy Studebaker and Allen Bailey. Chris Chambers wins honorable mention

Chambers is a bit different in that he succeeded in more than one game (which is why he doesn't "win"), but he vanished so COMPLETELY into the night that it's worth noting that the guy basically managed to string together a couple decent games and was then anointed as FINALLY the answer across from Dwyane Bowe. He then managed to basically steal money for a year. It was incredible.

Andy Studebaker will probably get some arguments from those who loved his "heart" and special teams contributions, but I have to disagree. The guy couldn't defend the run and provided next to nothing rushing the passer. Yet he hung around for YEARS and had folks constantly thinking he'd end up as our SOLB. Why? Because in one magical game he picked off Big Ben twice and almost returned one for a touchdown. People hung onto that for the rest of his time in KC, at least until Justin Houston became a fire-breathing dragon to make them forget. In Studebaker's defense, though, he did manage to recover Philip Rivers' fumble in the "worst thing ever" incident, so he at least in part paid the team back.

Allen Bailey is even more noteworthy in that he didn't do it with one game, he did it with one play. His undeniably epic sack of Aaron Rodgers in that late 2011 upset got basically everyone who loves the Chiefs buzzing about him (well, that and the fact that he weighs 280 pounds and is about 4% fat). Last I heard out of training camp, Branden Albert was making him look like "a high schooler." That's a direct quote.

That sack was pretty awesome, though...

What would be the impact of Baldwin having a true breakout year? How many games would it be worth to us and does it change our chances of actually winning a playoff game? Could the sky be the limit?
Also, since I don't watch much TV and am apparently too old to recognize the shows and characters you talk about (except for zombies - every generation loves zombies), where did the word MOAR originate? I feel culturally ignorant...


Well, Bill, MOAR is just an internet "meme" that spread... somehow. The first time I saw it was a picture of a rather large gal eating wedding cake with abandon and captioned "MOAR CAKE!!!!" I found it pretty funny, and it expresses my inner rage when guys like Cyrus Gray can't get playing time quite well. On that note, I'm just a couple more solid Donnie Avery practices from starting a MOAR Donne Avery movement. That one may not gain traction.

With regards to Baldwin, I seriously don't see it happening. That said, the ramifications would be RIDICULOUS. Now for it to be a "true breakout year" for a guy as physically talented as he is, I'm thinking he'd become 90-95% of what Bowe is, only with deep routes added on. If that happened, the ceiling would be almost removed from our offense. Can't double Bowe anymore. Can't flood short routes. Absolutely can't stack the box. Can't defend us in the red zone. Barring a meltdown from Smith or the OL, I think a true breakout by Jonny B would put us in the running for a top 5 offense. It would be that huge in my opinion. And I think it would make our chances of a playoff win much, much greater.

I really wish I believed it was going to happen... On that depressing note, MOAR Donnie Av... you know what, it's too soon. Maybe next time. Instead, make sure to email me MOAR mailbag stuff!

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