You know that feeling you get when you've got a bunch of mailbag questions you're really excited about? No? Well trust me, it's a good one.
In fact, I've got enough fun questions that I'm eschewing (great word, that) a long introduction and getting right down to it. Additionally, I'll be saving a question or two for next week. So if you don't see yours, don't despair. I'll use it soon (or it was terrible and you're probably a communist).
As always send any mailbag questions to me via Twitter @RealMNchiefsfan or email them to MNchiefsfan@hotmail.com (they've gotten better, guys. Way less spam!). Let's GOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
@RealMNchiefsfan Unsolicited Chiefs mailbag question. Neutral field what's the outcome of 7-0 2013 Chiefs vs 4-3 2014 Chiefs?— Patrick Allen (@pkallen98) October 26, 2014
Oh man, this might be my favorite mailbag question ever. And it didn't even have zombies. Well done.
I think neutral field this 4-3 club dismantles that 7-0 club. I've got a few reasons for this.
First, last year's 7-0 club was just starting to see some (slight) cracks in the defense. A big part of those cracks were the fact that Allen Bailey circa 2013 just flat-out wasn't doing anything to rush the passer. The 2014 Chiefs would do what every other team did in the 2nd half of the season; have the tackles cheat inside, force the OLB's wide, and double Dontari Poe. Rinse, repeat.
The 2013 Chiefs wouldn't be able to use that game plan, though. Because 2014 Allen Bailey has been PUNISHING teams for leaving him in one-on-one matchups. 2013 Alex Smith would spend all day with a pass rush in his face.
The second difference I see is the presence of weapons the 2013 Chiefs just lacked. Travis Kelce and De'Anthony Thomas are simply BETTER playmakers than Sean McGrath and Dexer McCluster. 2013 Chiefs would throw Eric Berryand Husain Abdullah at Kelce, but the man is a human mismatch. By himself he tips the scales in favor of the 2014 Chiefs. And DAT... well, we've only scratched the surface with DAT. Every time he touches the ball you can see how electric he is. Dex was steady. DAT is more.
A third (and arguably biggest) factor is the secondary. Last year's secondary featured Kendrick Lewis and Quintin "angles" Demps playing the majority of the snaps at this point (besides Berry, obviously). This year's features Ron Parker and Husain Abdullah. Parker may or may not be a great free safety, but so far he's played very capably. Same with Abdullah. They are absolutely MASSIVE upgrades over Lewis and Demps. Massive. I think 2014 Jamaal Charles has at least one 50-plus yard touchdown due to a miscue or missed tackle by Lewis / Demps.
One area the 2013 Chiefs would have the edge is offensive line play. Frankly, I don't think it's all that close. However, again, 2014's pass rush would still decimate the 2013 line. So that advantage doesn't help all that much.
The final big difference between these two teams, though, is experience. The 2014 Chiefs have been in the trenches this season. They've gone to war with the Patriots, Broncos, 49ers, and Chargers. They destroyed the Pats, beat the Bolts, and gave Denver and San Fran everything they could handle in their own house. This team also has a humiliating defeat on its record that keeps it from losing any focus or taking anyone for granted.
The 2013 team, while a solid football team, just hadn't been tested like that yet. The toughest opponent they'd faced was either a so/so Cowboys team or an Eagles squad that still featured Mike Vick. It's not even close.
Make no mistake, this is a better team than it was in 2013.
@RealMNchiefsfan So do you think we should keep Berry? He is a one of a kind player in my opinion. Though Parker has fared well. We need EB.— Josh Huff (@The1Huff) October 28, 2014
Man, you know what? It depends.
Don't get me wrong. I love Eric Berry's game. He's the most versatile safety in the league. Almost no one can do everything he can do. I've always enjoyed watching him play and think he's an exceptional player.
BUT ... what if the Chiefs defense doesn't look appreciably better with him in the lineup over the remainder of the season?
Here's the deal ... from everything I've seen, Bob Sutton loves him some three-safety sets. And with Berry, Abdullah, and Parker, he has the makings of a DREAM three-safety group. Parker has played very well as a deep safety and can roam the back end. Berry and Abdullah, well ... you can line those two up ANYWHERE.
Seriously, take a look at the film from last year. Berry and Abdullah both lined up all over the place. From linebacker to single high. Those guys are versatile. Sutton can take advantage of that and move them all over the place to keep QBs guessing on passing downs. Both can blitz, both can cover one-on-one ... it's just a great pair to have out there.
Also, the Chiefs defense has struggled with the run. Berry is the Chiefs best run defender not named DJ (we're almost halfway through the season and I still get sad every time I think of DJ). He should help prevent some of those annoying 10-yard scampers we've seen way too many of. I don't think the Niners bleed the clock with Berry in the game. No way he doesn't have at least one of his classic "Holy crap that guy is a missile" stuff. Oh well.
All that said ... what if it doesn't work out that way? What if the defense isn't appreciably better with Berry on the field?
If that happens, then it's time to count the cost. IF Berry comes back and the defense is unchanged (or regresses, like some people predict), then GM John Dorsey will have to ask himself if a guy who the defense can function perfectly well without is worth top dollar.
It's a perfectly reasonable question, really. You pay the big bucks to the guys your defense can't live without (the Justin Houstons and Dontari Poes of the world). the defense has been very good without Berry. In theory, it SHOULD be very very very good with him. If not, then it's time to at least evaluate things moving forward.
None of that means Berry isn't a fantastic player (he is) or that he doesn't help the defense (he does). I'm just saying it's at least worth keeping an eye on as the year goes on. Me, I'm hoping that those 3 safety sets combine with our new and improved pass rush to crush offenses into dust.
@RealMNchiefsfan Your are going to die tomorrow. What are you eating today?— Christian Loganbill (@cloganbill) October 30, 2014
I mean ... whoa. I gave this question thought for a solid two days. Seriously.
All right, we're going to pretend being too full isn't a problem, right? Right.
In that case, I'm starting the day off with a traditional breakfast. Scrambled eggs, buttered toast, bacon, the whole nine yards. Additionally, I've gotta have pancakes with peanut butter and maple syrup (amazingly, some people have never tried this or think it's gross. Those people are wrong).
I agonized over lunch for quite some time (dinner is a no-brainer, but we'll get to that shortly). At the end of the day, though, I'm going with what will surely be a controversial choice; a Tombstone pizza. Nope, I'm not kidding. I love Tombstone pizza. I'd eat that stuff every day if my wife would let me. I don't know if it's because it's the pizza I grew up eating or what. But I don't think I'd want to go my last day without it. I think I may have a problem with salt.
For dessert (remember, being full isn't an issue here) I'd go with Mexican fried ice cream. I don't know what restaurants serve that or where it's any good. All I know is the few times I've had it and it was done well, it was eye-rollingly delicious.
For supper? A Z-man with fries, with a side of ribs. I didn't even have to think about that one. The Z-man is perhaps the only food I've ever eaten that actually lived up to the hype. We'll be coming down for the Seahawks game and I'm almost more excited about getting to eat another Z-man than I am about the game itself (almost). I also need a side of mashed potatoes. And I mean GOOD mashed potatoes, loaded with enough butter to kill you (I mean, I'm dead anyway, right?).
Throw down some good cheesecake for dessert, and that's what I call a good day of eating. Excuse me, I need to go find some food.
One last question, in light of the fact we're playing the Jets on Sunday...
Hi,I have been an Arrowhead Pride follower for many years now and I enjoy your pieces very much. I would love to see you write a piece flashing back to all those who once thought the Chiefs should have been drafting Geno Smith. Personally I was dead against that and given the benching of Geno for Chiefs week I wonder where those Geno supporters are now.
Manitoba Chiefs Fan!!
I anticipated some form of this question this week. In fact, I tried to head it off on Twitter.
@RealMNchiefsfan I thought so too. Do you think he'd be succeeding somewhere besides NY? I think the minute he got drafted there it was over— Kyle Brynsvold (@kbrynsvold) October 30, 2014
It's funny how things work out. I readily admit I was fully prepared for the Chiefs to go all-in on a quarterback with the first pick in the 2012 draft. And of the quarterbacks available, Geno Smith was the one I preferred.
I wrote about it at length in a variety of posts, so there's no need to get into my reasoning at this point. Clearly, his career hasn't gone in a direction that indicates he would have been a good pick.
However, it's worth at least noting that Smith ended up in one of the worst offensive situations he could have possibly landed, including coaching. Rex Ryan may be a great defensive mind (he really should just stick to being a stud defensive coordinator), but nothing I've ever seen from him indicates he has any clue how to develop a quarterback or run an offense.I think the writing was on the wall for Geno the moment he was picked.
The main problem with Geno has been his propensity to turn the ball over. Had he been drafted by an Andy Reid-led team, I believe he'd look like an entirely different quarterback. That said, Andy Reid obviously didn't think he was worth the first overall pick (instead choosing Alex Smith via trade). Who am I to argue with Reid when it comes to quarterbacks?
I'll take advantage of this week to readily admit that hey, I was wrong about Geno. I'm glad the Chiefs went the direction they did. Of course, at least I wasn't in the most wrong group of all time when it came to 2012 eligible quarterbacks. Let's end on their war cry, shall we?
Ty-ler Wil-son! Clap! Clap! ClapClapClap!