In less than one week, we could be looking at the end of Chiefs games for the 2014 season.
This is a tragedy, guys. This is awful. How did the season go by so fast? I know that right now everyone is irate with Alex Smith or the offensive line or the wide receivers or John Dorsey or all the people who didn't see "Edge of Tomorrow" (Seriously, guys, it's a good movie. I know Tom Cruise is the worst, but it's a REALLY good movie. Stop making your life less fun and go see it), but we are going to MISS football once it's over.
Now, the Chiefs have a shot at the playoffs. All they need to have happen is two massive underdogs to win while they beat the Chargers. I mean, it could happen, right? Right? Wouldn't it be the most Chiefs thing ever to somehow back into the playoffs and rekindle our hopes for a few more weeks? I mean ... there's precedent for this, guys.
But even that aside, this season has FLOWN by. Pretty soon I won't have new film to watch and it'll be back to reviewing old all-22 tape. In the blink of an eye, it vanished. We hardly knew ye, 2014 season. We'll miss you, despite your maddening tendencies.
But we've still got at least one week left! Also, it's Christmas! 'Tis the season to eat too much, spend a ton of time with family (whether that's a good thing or a bad thing varies depending who you are), reflect on the real meaning of the season (OR have really long arguments with people about religion, if you're into that sort of thing), and do all kinds of fun stuff.
Since we're in the season of giving, I thought it'd be appropriate to hand out some gifts. I even got some help via Twitter. Let's start there, then I'll go into some gifts of my own.You guys are the best, by the way. Also, there are a lot of people mad at Andy Reid. I mean... we've got multiple presents for Reid alone.
@RealMNchiefsfan id give andy Reid a shock collar so when he abandons the run I can give him a jolt to remind him— corey buhrman (@coreybuhrman) December 24, 2014
Look, Andy Reid is a good football coach. Let's face it, the Steelers were KILLING the Chiefs at the line of scrimmage on Sunday. There were very few runs that found any kind of traction. In the meantime, the passing game was having success moving the ball (except, you know, in the red zone). You can kind of understand why Reid went with the passing game.
That said, I get the frustration. Jamaal Charles is absolutely the best running back in the NFL. It's not even a debate. Anyone who thinks Le'Veon Bell or DeMarco Murray or Marshawn Lynch or whoever is better does not watch enough of Charles. He's phenomenal. And when you've got a guy like that touching the ball under 15 times in a game, people tend to get ... antsy.
The best the Chiefs offense has looked this season has been when the running game has been the focus, complemented by the passing game. The very worst the Chiefs offense has looked this season is when they try and come out firing as though they've got a great QB, great pass blocking, and great WR's. They just don't right now. this team should be built around Charles and the running game.
That said, I think a shock collar is a tad excessive. But don't worry, we've got a backup plan!
@coreybuhrman @RealMNchiefsfan Or maybe a picture of Jamaal to put on the top of his play sheet— Jeff Fawver (@Jtfawver) December 24, 2014
I can't stop picturing Andy Reid checking the play sheet to find a pass, seeing Jamaal's picture, and going "Oh, yeah, yeah. Jamaal" as his assistant coaches stare at him like he's crazy. What a phenomenal idea. I'm tempted to shut it down right here, as there's no way it'll improve from that gift.
@RealMNchiefsfan Can you give Andy this link? http://t.co/K7ybgBMfuf— His Dirkness (@HisDirknesS) December 23, 2014
As best I can tell, math says Andy Reid is doing it wrong. My head hurts. Let's move on from Reid and into less controversial subjects.
@RealMNchiefsfan I'd give Alex Smith eyes on the top of his head so when his actual eyes drop he can still look down field— Gabriel George (@syrup_chugger) December 24, 2014
Hmmmm, since we're going this route, might as well include the flip side of the coin.
@RealMNchiefsfan pic.twitter.com/xxULyL7Rnp— craig in calgary (@Teeeenwolf) December 24, 2014
First of all, I have to give props to craig for skirting the "rules" of Twitter. Well played, craig. Well played.
You know what? Alex Smith is who he is. He's a decent quarterback who isn't going to hurt you but can't make stuff happen on his own with any kind of consistency. He's also good enough to REALLY help a team when things are going well around him.
Think of him this way; when the situation is good, Smith will do better than a lot of other quarterbacks would in a good situation. And when the situation is bad, Smith doesn't make it worse. BUT... he doesn't necessarily make it better, either.
Smith is a unique quarterback in that respect. He puts more on the table than he takes off it, but he depends on the guys around him a lot more than the guys at the top of the league. He's... decent. And that's who he is.
You want to know why Andy Reid likes Smith? Because Smith will run Reid's system very efficiently and lean on it to a fault. Smith will always color inside the lines. He will do what the play call asks for. He very rarely ad-libs outside of his scrambles.
Andy Reid believes in his system. So it only makes sense that HIS ideal quarterback (in his mind) is a guy like Smith, who will absolutely run the system. Smith is tied to the success of the system. So on days it's going well, he'll look like a very good quarterback. On days it is not, he'll look pretty mediocre (and at times outright bad).
Do I like Smith as a quarterback? I do, to an extent. Do I think he can compete for a Super Bowl? I do, to an extent. But he's going to need help to do it. And for that reason, a lot of people aren't going to want to "settle" for him as the franchise QB. And you know what? I get that, because he's limited. Had I had it my way the Chiefs would've drafted Teddy Bridgewater.
My position infuriates people on both sides of the Alex Smith debate. Why this particular quarterback gets people SO fired up, I'll never know.
For the foreseeable future Smith is the Chiefs quarterback. I'm hopeful the team addresses OL and WR this offseason and at this time next year people are talking about "how much better" Smith looks. But you know what? He'll still be the same guy. A decent, but limited quarterback who needs some help to get it done.
I look forward to the comments here. Let's move on to more gifts.
@RealMNchiefsfan Contract for Fiddy Sack.— Nicholas Johnston (@weezethejuice) December 23, 2014
You hear that, John Dorsey? Pay Justin Houston. Pay him now. Pay him lots. He's a player you can build a defense around. He does a better job setting the edge than any other 3-4 OLB in the league. He can at least be passable in coverage. And more importantly than that, he is arguably the best edge rusher in the NFL.
I know people have issues with Pro Football Focus, but one stat they keep I really appreciate is Pass Rushing Productivity, in which rushers are given a score based on how often they get a sack, hit, or hurry relative to how often they rush the passer (with hits and hurries given a lower value than actual sacks).
Not only does Justin Houston have the highest score in the league among pass rushers, but it's not even close. His 15.6 is more than 10 percent higher than the next closest 3-4 OLB, 20 percent higher than the next closest 4-3 defensive end. The only player who even kind of approaches Houston is J.J. Watt at 14.7. Von Miller's score is a freaking 11.7.
J.J. Watt is indisputably the best defensive player in football. Houston is right there nipping at his heels, though. No one gets to the quarterback like Houston.
Is he going to cost an arm and a leg? Yes, yes he is. But the man needs to get paid. If he doesn't, as I've warned before... we will burn Utica to the ground.
@RealMNchiefsfan Mike McGlynn gets coal— Chase Snyder (@chiefssnyder19) December 24, 2014
Sorry Mike. It is what it is.
All right, I've got a few gifts of my own I'd life to give out.
To Knile Davis, the gift of self-awareness
Knile, you are very, very large for a running back. You're a big, strong guy. And on the occasions you put your head down and plow ahead you make defenders HURT, especially secondary players.
You've got to stop trying to play the game like a shifty back. You're not all that quick at the pro level. You're costing yourself yards by looking to hit a home run. Embrace who you are. Yes, you're very fast. You're also over 230 pounds. Start knocking guys' heads off. We've seen you do it.
To Albert Wilson, multiple deep passes
Because Albert Wilson is the guy who can take the top off of defenses. Yes, I'm probably going to write about him AGAIN sooner rather than later. Because it's a great story and... I mean... I WIDE RECEIVER, GUYS!!!!
To John Dorsey, Rodney Hudson's phone number
The line is a mess. If Hudson walks I'm genuinely fearful for what next year could look like. We let some perfectly decent OL walk this last year and are paying the price.
To Dwayne Bowe, a calculator and economics class
I want Bowe to be able to do all the necessary math and figure out just how much he's gotten paid for every reception on the giant contract he's currently on. I then want him to be able to decipher just how much lower any contract he'd get on the open market would be than the one he's currently on.
The purpose of all this? To convince Bowe that when the Chiefs inevitably (I think) tell him he needs to re-do his contract or get cut, he simply re-does his contract. Is there much of a precedent for players just taking less money without even testing the market? No. But Bowe has a coach who seems to love him here. I don't think it's going to get better anywhere else.
People want Bowe gone. I just want the contract gone. Bowe can help this team. Just not 14 million dollars a year worth of help.
To Travis Kelce, velcro
Because that darn ball is slippery, man.
To Sean Smith, a unilateral Pro Bowl nod
Sean Smith has been an animal this season. I'm not sure there's a corner in the league who is more physical with wide receivers. He's been erasing people. He deserves recognition, even the kind of pretend recognition that is the NFL Pro Bowl.
To Chiefs Fans everywhere, some hope
Heading into this season, many of us were terrified of what looked like a brutal schedule. That brutal schedule turned out to be even MORE brutal than we'd anticipated, with the Cardinals, Steelers, Dolphins, and Bills all being better than they were expected to be.
I told people before the season that it wouldn't necessarily surprise me if the Chiefs lost more games than they won and looked overmatched after a very easy 2013 schedule. Shades of 2011, you know?
When Derrick Johnson (the heart of this defense), Mike DeVito (a good player), and Eric Berry all went down, that feeling of dread went from "we might only win 5-6 games" to "man I hope we don't go 2-14 again."
The offensive line has been much worse than anticipated by many, due in part to injuries. The wide receiver situation has been a mess. Alex Smith didn't build on the playoff game like many had hoped. Charles has been nicked up. The Chiefs gave away games they were favored in. In other words, many of the worst fears of the fanbase came true in 2014
Yet despite all that, the Chiefs sit at the end of a brutal schedule with a shot at the playoffs. Despite all that, the Chiefs have gone shot-for-shot with multiple playoff (and Super Bowl) contenders and held their own.
Is it enough to satisfy me? Absolutely not. Is it about what the realist in me expected coming into this season? No, it's a little better. The team has holes, but two years from a complete disaster of a season is ready to compete with the top teams in the league, and a piece or two away from beating them.
Of course, that's just one guy's opinion. And who knows what next Sunday and next season hold. But for me... there's some hope here. And in the meantime, there's been plenty of fun moments in the 2014 season. For a guy who watches football because it's FUN, that's enough of a reason to call this year a good one.
Merry Christmas, and all the best to Chiefs fans everywhere.