So in 36 hours the Chiefs are either going to have started righting the ship on a disastrous several weeks, or they're going to be basically eliminated from playoff contention.
Right now the Chiefs control their destiny. Win and in. However, losing even one game drops their chances to something like seven percent (or less. Math is evil, so I can't recall exactly).
That's a lot riding on a game against the Raiders which many fans thought was a gimme as recently as a month ago (remember when the Chiefs beat the Seahawks and the national media started calling them a top five team? That was awesome). Now it's a home game against the team that sent the Chiefs on their spiral. I'm not really that confident in the game, considering it was Oakland that initially exposed the Chiefs. Ugh.
Anyways, nothing to calm the nerves like a little mailbag action. As always you can shoot me mailbag questions on Twitter (@RealMNchiefsfan) or my laughably out-of-date email address (MNchiefsfan@hotmail.com).
@RealMNchiefsfan after seeing Hali get fined for his sack, who do you think is more corrupt? US government or NFL?— Jacob Buhbuhbuh (@LouMcGopher) December 12, 2014
Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, is more corrupt than the U.S. government. Well, except the Haitian government. Want to hear a true story? I have friends trying to adopt a couple of kids from Haiti. It's three years and $30,000 into the process and the kids still aren't in the United States. That's in large part because at least two-thirds of that money has just... vanished. There is nowhere more corrupt than Haiti.
That said, I'm not sure the Hali vs. Miller fine was an issue of corruption or incompetence. I mean, we DO have refs fist-bumping after Broncos touchdowns, so that doesn't exactly set my mind at ease. But my understanding of this situation (this was explained by BJ Kissel... remember that guy? Good people) is that a roughing the passer penalty carries an automatic fine. Hali was flagged, while Von wasn't.
Is that really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really stupid considering the nature of their hits? Well, let's thing about this.
On one hand, Hali gets blocked (cough cough held and pulled down cough) to the point that he's falling right into the quarterback. He fails to actively try and AVOID the quarterback because it's stupid to think that a pass rusher should stop try to avoid the quarterback. the quarterback is completely unharmed. Penalty.
On the other hand, Von Miller leads with his helmet right into Alex Smith's spine well after the ball has been thrown and sends him crumbling to the turf. I've seen attempts at defending Miller's hit by Broncos fans, but they're as sad (or laughable) as defending Miller's scumbag effort to cheat testing or his fashion sense. Nice glasses, brah.
Yeah, it was stupid. But I blame the in-game refs, not Goodell. Yeah, it's become easy to blame Goodell for literally everything, but that's almost become meme-worthy to the point of "thanks, Obama" in my opinion. Not EVERYTHING that ticks you off is his fault.
So nah, not corrupt. Just incompetent. Big difference.
@RealMNchiefsfan Biggest issue with the team and where/who you realistically see us drafting— Jason Baur (@RocketBaur) December 12, 2014
I threw these together since they're pretty similar.
For me, the draft is never a "We NEED this position and will draft it no matter what" situation. You just never know how the chips are going to fall. Maybe a stud player slips a little and falls right into your lap. I'm not a believer in taking a clearly inferior player based on need. That's how you end up with Christian Ponder as your quarterback.
That said, need is a big deal, and there are three places on the team where the need is dire (as indicated in the second tweet): OL, WR, and MAYBE inside linebacker.
I'm ruling out inside linebacker for two reasons. First, it SHOULD be pretty easy to get competent ILB play. Of course, that hasn't been the case for the Chiefs this season, but still (no, I'm not going to make an argument as to why I'm right. Just accept that I am. It's easier for everyone, especially me). Second, I refuse to believe that Derrick Johnson isn't going to come back next year as good as ever. My brain won't process it. So don't talk to me about it. Because it's not happening. DJ is coming back and he's going to be great and we're going to be happy and together forever and ever. We crossed a line into creepy somewhere, so we'll move on from linebacker.
So now we're looking at offensive line and wide receiver. Frankly, I don't know much at all about who is available at various positions at this point. I don't pay attention to college football until the Chiefs are out of the playoffs (barring national media references). I couldn't tell you whether the WR group and OL group coming out this year are great or terrible if my life depended on it.
In a vacuum, though, I say go WR in the first round and go OL in the second and another pick or two. Obviously this will depend on who is available, but here's my very (VERY) rough gameplan...
Re-sign Rodney Hudson and plug Jeff Allen back in at LG next season. Swapping out Mike McGlynn for Allen will take care of a lot of problems all by itself (Allen isn't great, but he's at least average. That's a gigantic upgrade). RG and RT are still concerns, so you draft competition while bringing in some cheap-ish vets to compete. Will it be great? Probably not. But OL is tricky business, and you basically need to throw as many bodies as possible at it until you get it right.
Based on what we've seen lately, a rookie WR has a better chance at helping immediately, so that's the direction I go.
Of course, a ton of this is subject to change. What if (big what if) Albert Wilson plays really well the rest of the season, Bowe plays ball and brings his contract number way down, AND the Chiefs sign Randall Cobb or (somehow) Jeremy Maclin? Well, it'd be pretty silly to go WR at that point, no?
So basically, it depends. Yay for non-answer answers!
If you don't like "The Walking Dead," now's your chance to skip a section. Also, SPOILERS.
You know, I was never really all-in on Beth the way a lot of other TWD fans are. I never really thought much of her character OR Emily Kinney's chops as an actress, at least not until this season.
Beth (and Emily) showed a ton more depth than I expected after being dropped in the middle of a creepy slave-driven society in the middle of Atlanta. She was able to carry entire episodes by herself and showed (with her vicious execution of the rapey "police officer") she had definitely become hardened enough to survive in a zombie apocalypse world.
Beyond that, I wasn't too attached to her. Beth's death traumatized me roughly a thousand times less than Herschel's death. Now THAT one had me bummed. His death felt like the end of the "pre-walker" wisdom on the show. He was a really good guy. And he was just... executed. By a pirate wannabe. Ugh.
Beth, on the other hand? Meh. It'll give Darryl even more reason to be angsty, so that'll be fun. But it just didn't get to me much. Especially since it was her own fault. I mean, WHY? That's probably the biggest issue I have with what happened. It felt senseless more than anything else. She's free to go with people who love her, but instead of leaving she basically commits suicide. I just... don't get it.
So my issue was more with the way the death happened than the death itself. Maybe that's the point, though: sometimes death is stupid and pointless. And sometimes people have had everything they can take and just snap. Who knows?
The death was avoidable and not necessary, but of the "main" characters I'm glad it was Beth rather than anyone else. I've actually become fond of Rick (who is finally resembling comics Rick), Carol is great, Darryl is untouchable, Glenn is the most heroic character on the show, Maggie is loved by the most heroic character on the show, and Carl... well, yeah, they could've offed Carl. But the kid who plays him has gotten a LITTLE better, right? Right? Guys?
Anyway, of all the characters, Beth seemed the most ready to die besides Carol. And Carol is the more interesting character. So I guess it makes sense.
Either way, this season of TWD has (through half the season) been far and away the best the show has every been. Can't wait to see what's in store in the second half of the season. Also, this new fad of breaking shows up into two halves is one of the most annoying things ever.
That's a pretty complicated question, but I'll try to distill it into 200 words or less.
Right now, the offense has found itself in a situation where multiple factors are playing off one another to create a sort of "worst case scenario" for the offense. Let's look at it as though these factors are ingredients:
Take two cups of weakness at wide receiver.
Mix together with a full pound of terrible offensive line play.
Add in six tablespoons of rough performances by the quarterback.
Don't forget the dash of not incorporating Travis Kelce as a main component of the offense.
Finally, sprinkle some teams stacking the box against Jamaal Charles on top.
Basically, the combination of our offensive line, wide receivers, Alex Smith, and Andy Reid are currently determined to make our offense play down to its worst potential.
Combine that with some really, really poor linebacker play against the run (Mauga and JMJ have taken most of the blame, but Hali has had some really bad plays on the edge as well), and you've got a team that's going to struggle to win games.
The answer? Basically, execute better. That's about all that can be done at this point. A very boring, but very true statement. There's no magic formula player-wise that is going to fix things. Alex Smith in particular needs to play better for this team to be successful.
J.J. Watt is perhaps the most important non-quarterback in the game. He is an absolute stud on defense.
That said, I have a few questions.
If you take Watt off the Texans does it hurt them as much as the Chiefs losing Jamaal Charles or about a dozen teams losing their quarterback? What about Rob Gronkowski, who seems to be the real glue in New England? As dominant as Watt is, I don't think it hurts the Texans as much as those teams to lose a single player. That's just the nature of the beast when you play defense.
But really, that's a pretty subjective standard. A more realistic problem Watt has in the MVP race comes from Green Bay.
Aaron Rodgers is currently playing quarterback about as well as it can be played. It's actually scary. He can make throws other quarterbacks (besides maybe Andrew Luck) can only dream about. He's a machine.
An easy way to determine how great Rodgers is, and how not-close the MVP race ? I would absolutely trade Jamaal Charles (a guy who is an all-time talent at RB in my opinion) and Justin Houston (who has a shot at greatness as well, and may already be there) for Rodgers. I wouldn't even think about it. Nor would the Texans think about it for even a second if the Packers offered Rodgers for Watt.
Aaron Rodgers is the MVP, and it's not really as close as people want to pretend because Watt has scored a couple of goal line touchdowns.
A final note on the MVP race; it really, really annoys me that JC's touches have been more limited lately. He was legitimately in the running for MVP not too long ago. And he should be.
Seems like as good a place as any to call it a day. Here's hoping next week I'm writing a bunch of "why the Chiefs crushed the Raiders" articles.