At some point, I'm going to sit down and write a real column on the Chiefs. It will either involve in-depth film study (like Matt's must-read piece on the playoff defensive collapse) or tackle substantive issues about the team itself (such as what are the most serious needs, etc.). I promise, one day this will happen.
However, for now I'm confronted by the harsh realities of setting myself up for employment in that less-important universe (some call it the "real world." Whatever) and letting my kids see me often enough that they don't start calling me "Ol' whatshisname" (a very real possibility). Those distractions from football are annoying, but highly necessary if I don't want my wife to smother me with a pillow while I sleep. That could still happen regardless.
With that in mind, I keep getting enough interesting questions for the mailbag to allow us to drift away from the real world for a little while (while I'm HIGHLY disappointed by the lack of Game Of Thrones. Really, guys?). So that should hold us off for a little while (that and press conferences where Andy Reid confirms I'm right to be excited about Rishaw Johnson).
I'm going to try and make these shorter but write them more frequently as we endure the doldrums of the offseason together. Who knows, one day we may have a daily mailbag. As always, email questions / comments to MNchiefsfan@hotmail.com or tweet them to @RealMNchiefsfan. The MOAR the better.
@RealMNchiefsfan @ArrowheadPride If you had one chance to fill any hole of the team (non-qb) with an all-pro player what spot do u choose?— Thomas Haslett (@ThomasHaslett) April 17, 2014
Keeping the current roster in mind makes this question more complicated than I initially thought it would be. My first instinct was cornerback or edge rusher, considering their importance in a passing league.
The thing is that I'm very OK with the Chiefs edge rushers. Tamba Hali and Justin Houston are a duo that can get after the quarterback better than most. Yes, the position is important, but is a 10 percent upgrade at edge rusher worth as much as a 100 percent upgrade at another position? I don't think it is. My top choices would be defensive line, tight end and cornerback. In that order. Starting with CB...
This is an obvious area to address. Having a shutdown corner on the field has all kinds of ripple effects across the defense. Remember when the Jets were able to field an elite defense based around Darrelle Revis shutting down elite receivers week in and week out? It's a passing league, and an elite corner helps limit options for a quarterback.
That said, I don't like this option for two reasons.
First, I like the Chiefs cornerbacks. I know this isn't a popular opinion right now, but read Matt's piece above before you go tearing into Brandon Flowers, Sean Smith or Marcus Cooper. Flowers was taking T.Y. Hilton to school before getting hurt in the Colts game before he got hurt. After that it was a matter of Dunta Robinson and Kendrick Lewis (with a side of Demps) getting torched over and over.
Flowers has been and is still a very, very good player. Smith had a solid season (only allowed 50 percent of the throws his way to be completed, a top 10 number). And Cooper? People saw him get picked on by a pair of stud quarterbacks and are panicking. Cooper was playing corner for a little over a year before joining the Chiefs at the last moment and getting TOSSED in the fire.
Even with everything going against him, Cooper had a rookie year with way more positive than negative. His physical skills are undeniable, and his ball instincts are uncanny for a guy so new to the position. He'll be fine. Read about him vs. the Colts in Matt's piece above (seriously, read it. Great information based on hours of film review).
Throw in the signing of Chris Owens (a very competent slot cornerback) and the Chiefs are now four-deep at the position. Notice they went and signed a slot cornerback, the very position that failed when Flowers went down (apparently Smith / Cooper can't work the nickel corner spot). That's not a coincidence.
The second reason I'm not on board with cornerback is more basic; it's just not as impactful as other defensive positions that affect the play earlier. We'll get to that in a moment.
This is really, really, really, really, really, REALLY tempting. Alex Smith hearts tight ends. Andy Reid gets them involved in his offense. Is anyone saying no to the idea of Jimmy Graham catching 70 passes for the Chiefs next season? Because I'm sure not. Graham rises above the idea that tight end is not an "impact position." His presence alone would (in my opinion) elevate the offense to elite status.
So why not Graham? Because I trust Andy Reid to build a very good offense with or without him. It's basically the same reason I wouldn't give up my draft for Megatron. Reid has been coaching good-to-exceptional offenses for years. He's widely known as one of the best game-planning coaches in the league. The offense is going to be decent. And I think we all saw as the season wound down that it could well be considerably more than "decent" with just a few tweaks. So it's a need issue.
Which brings me to the inevitable conclusion.
I was going to say "defensive end," but let's be honest; you all absolutely know when I say "defensive end" I'm saying "J.J. Watt."
I could go into detail regarding why I think an interior pass rush is more impactful than coverage. Or I could talk about Watt's versatility vs. the run and the pass. But I don't really need to do that. All I need to do is just point out that in this scenario, Watt and Dontari Poe would be playing next to each other.
That's such an obviously impossible situation for offenses to overcome that I don't really feel the need to go beyond that. You have to double Watt on every play that isn't a run away from his position. Poe demands a double team nearly as consistently. That's four blockers taken up every play before the ball is even snapped. Which means the rest of your defense is playing 9-on-7.
It's completely unfair. And just once, I'd love to see "completely unfair" stack up in favor of the Chiefs. Watt is the clear choice. I would trade two first round picks for him. And I'm not kidding one bit.
@RealMNchiefsfan @ArrowheadPride can you explain how Bowe's charges changed to defective equipment and littering?— Chris Wilson (@CWil031) April 17, 2014
Before I even start, let me be clear; I prosecute in Minnesota, and this stuff can vary quite a bit by jurisdiction WITHIN a state, let alone from state to state. So when I speak, it's in generalities. With that said...
A plea to a charge that seems completely separate from the initial charge is not uncommon in criminal law. The vast majority of cases get resolved by a plea. And what makes a person willing to plead guilty? Having the option to plead guilty to something less serious than what he's charged with.
Bowe was charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana (among a couple other traffic offense). With first-time offenders, a marijuana misdemeanor is going to get pled down. In my practice, it's very standard for a low level drug offender to be given a stay of adjudication (which basically means a chance to keep it off their record if they toe the straight and narrow).
When you're prosecuting, what types of "offers" you make to settle a case varies on a few factors: the nature of the offense, the history of the defendant, mitigating factors, and the strength of your case are the four I consider the most important. There's no hard and fast rule as to what the MOST important aspect is. It will vary from case to case. But all four will absolutely be considered.
In Bowe's case, almost every factor is working in his direction. It's a misdemeanor charge with a pretty small amount of marijuana (nature of the offense). His record is clean (history). They weren't out being crazy, just grabbing a late-night snack (mitigating). He was already looking at a good offer.
The fourth factor made this deal almost inevitable. The prosecutors had a crap case. There were search issues. There were issues with the squad recording. The bag wasn't Bowe's according to the passengers. The freaking pot was claimed UNDER OATH by one of the other people in the car. Long story short ... this case was crap. They weren't going to get a conviction 99 times out of 100 with these facts. Your only shot is a ticked-off judge or a jury full of Broncos fans. Otherwise? It's not happening.
So you make a deal. In this case, you can still get some money for the state (via littering and defective equipment charges), and Bowe gets to avoid the cost of a trial. Win / win. With the particular facts of this case, it was never going to end any other way.
@RealMNchiefsfan Top 5 Zombie killers from Chiefs team? I know Poe is 1st.— RajaGummadi (@rajagummadi) April 17, 2014
False. The correct answer is NOT Dontari Poe.
Me being me, I spent about 20 minutes thinking about this before coming up with an answer. Part of that was deciding on a crucial question: What does "zombie killer" even mean?
Does it mean who would kill the most zombies throughout the course of a zombie apocalypse? Because then we need to factor in knowledge of firearms, survival skills, hunting skills, foraging skills, and all kinds of other stuff. Do we mean who could kill a lone zombie the most quickly? Most zombies at once?
I finally decided that for me, "zombie killer" means the following ...
"Who, with a bat / club / sword/ whatever in hand, would survive the longest against a horde of a thousand zombies?"
That takes out Poe. While Poe's speed / athleticism / stamina is incredible for a guy his size and strength, it's still going to become an issue when asking him to fight that many of the flesh-munching monsters. Also, you've gotta take girth into account. Have you seen the size of Poe's thighs? They're practically begging for an unnoticed walker to snag a quick bite before getting pulverized. You can't be a man of girth in this situation, even if it's super-muscle-y girth. I feel I've talked about Poe's thigh / girth long enough.
What you need is someone who is insanely strong, but also has incredible endurance and speed as well. Once you think about it, there's only one answer. Justin Houston.
Have you ever looked at Justin Houston? I mean REALLY looked at him? The man is a monster.
Houston could throw a zombie 50 feet, but ALSO sprint a hundred yards to gain separation from the group. Rinse, repeat. He's the scariest man on the Chiefs.
Now, if I want someone to fight a bear for the fate of family? I'm going with Poe. Let's do this again soon!
(For those too lazy to look above, email to MNchiefsfan@hotmail.com or tweet to @RealMNchiefsfan for mailbag stuff)