Somewhere along the line, the mailbag became one of my favorite columns to write. Probably because the topic set is so diverse. I mean, I love writing about Dee Ford and Angry Travis Kelce. I'm still tinkering with the idea of writing about Knile Davis. At some point I'll undoubtedly do something that involves rankings or lists (because, you know, football). Those football topics are always fun.
But there's something special about the mailbag. Maybe it's the fact that I don't have to think of topics. Maybe it's the chance to write a bunch of little "mini columns." Maybe it's the fact that I can write about Star Wars or parenting on a football blog and somehow get away with it (well, except for commenters and occasional emailers who yell at me. Can't please everyone).
Whatever the reason, I love this column. Let's answer some mailbag questions. I've got enough football and non-football questions that I think we'll be doing two over the next couple days. You know, so you've got something to do besides work. Work is the worst. Work is The Man's attempt to break your spirit. This week, we defy The Man with multiple mailbags!
(Send mailbag questions to MNchiefsfan@hotmail.com or tweet to @RealMNchiefsfan)
@RealMNchiefsfan Who are your surprise cuts this year?— Chris Clark (@KCChiefs_58) August 4, 2014
Hmmm ... surprise cuts are a tough one. On one hand, by definition they're tough to predict. I mean, if I PREDICT a cut can I really say it was a "surprise" cut? Quite the paradox, I have to say.
If I were to pick a couple of surprise cuts ...
(August 26: Cut down to 75 players; August 30: Cut down to 53 players)
It's not that most people I've spoken with believe Jenkins is a stud receiver. It's just that his contract situation isn't one where cutting him seems particularly helpful (his dead money makes it a minus move under the cap), and he happens to play a position that concerns plenty of people (WR) when they talk about the Chiefs roster.
I'm looking at it this way ... let's say the coaching staff is legitimately impressed with some of the young players who have done decently in camp and wants to keep them on board. Having AJJ on the roster takes reps. It's a little thing, sure, but it could matter.
I could imagine a universe where John Dorsey and Andy Reid roll with Dwayne Bowe, Donnie Avery, Junior Hemingway, Albert Wilson, Kyle Williams and Frankie Hammond and say to themselves, "Nah, we're OK with six WRs on the roster, and we want the young guys to see meaningful time in practice."
It wouldn't make me pass out from shock. But considering where Jenkins is currently listed on the depth chart, it'd make me say, "Huh, that's interesting."
I don't think this cut would be that surprising to some, but a total shocker to others. Every training camp report I've seen makes it sound as though Tyler Bray is playing at least as well as Daniel, if not better. If he's even playing as well, you go with the younger, cheaper option.
What about the "steady hand" and Chase's "experience," you ask? Meh. Daniel doesn't have significant experience playing in regular season. His lone complete game (and only non-garbage-time playing experience) he didn't do anything that screamed "We'll be way better off with Chase than any other JAG if Alex Smith goes down."
If I were to pick a cut that'd be shocking that has even a snowball's chance in Hades, though...
I believe Fasano gets a bit of a bum rap after an injury-plagued year in 2013. He's a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none type of TE who has reliable hands and can block well. Everything on the surface points to him being the Chiefs starting TE in Week 1.
That said, I COULD picture a universe (if I squint) where Reid and Dorsey decide they love Travis Kelce and think Demetrius Harris is ready to take some snaps. Richard Gordon is a passable third TE, so it's not as though the depth would be destroyed (again, if the coaching staff loves Kelce and Harris).
Kelce and Harris both bring athleticism to the table that Fasano can't match, and in an offense where explosive playmakers are very much needed, that could be a deciding factor here.
@RealMNchiefsfan @ArrowheadPride 8 yr old is not interested in sports. Force her into something or no? Top 1% scholastically otoh.— Thomas Haslett (@ThomasHaslett) August 4, 2014
Maybe have her choose between a couple different laid-back sports for a single year? I'm torn with this type of decision. On one hand, you don't want to be one of those parents who's all "No, you WILL play sports and you WILL love it!" On the other hand, you don't want to be one of those parents who's all, "Oh, we let her decide everything for herself."
Parenting's hard that way. I'd give her a choice between a few different sports, have her try it out, and call it a day if she hates it. Also, way to sneak in a "My kid's awesome in school" brag there. You can now tell your daughter she's Arrowhead Pride famous for being smart. And there is no famous more important than Arrowhead Pride famous.
@RealMNchiefsfan @ArrowheadPride favorite video game growing up?— Garrett Johnson (@The_GJohnson) August 14, 2014
Holy moly. There are so many different directions this could go. I suppose it depends on what you mean by "growing up." I'll stick with my actual childhood (for the record Grand Theft Auto: Vice City was my teenager game and Madden was my young adult game), so we're going back to NES.
There are a lot of amazing options for original Nintendo (which just so happened to coincide PRECISELY with my childhood). RBI Baseball was incredible. The Ninja Turtle games were addictive. Tecmo Bowl is iconic for a reason (and not just Bo Jackson). Super Mario Brothers 3 is ridiculously entertaining (Giant Land? The suit that allowed you to turn into a statue? COME ON). Kirby was insanity.
I'm probably forgetting, like, 400 different games. Seriously, I understand that games are better now. But are they really BETTER? Original Nintendo was insane.
All that said, there's one game that stands out even among the crowded Hall Of Fame that is Nintendo. It's such a great game that I'd be willing to bet half of you know what I'm thinking.
In my heart, I'll always be Little Mac.
Mike Tyson's Punchout was the greatest video game experience of my life. You were THE underdog. I was too young to realize that it made no sense that a pint-sized runt (107 pounds, or smaller than your average 16-year-old) would be fighting every weight class on the planet. Or that the game was super racist in a lot of ways. Or that having to jump to hit a guy in the face was a bad sign. Or that Soda Popinski was absolutely a serial killer who would have done incredibly brutal things to Mack in real life.
None of that mattered when I was beating Glass Joe like he owed me child support, wiping that stupid grin off Don Flamenco's face, knocking Bald Bull out with one gut shot, or shutting King Hippo's fat mouth. Remember how hard it was? Remember how long it took to figure out each guy's weakness and exploit it? How many times you had to restart?
This was when games weren't sissified and gave you infinite chances to start over at some checkpoint. When you lost, you LOST and had to "make a comeback." Lose again? You're done. Start from scratch. I have no idea how many times I had to CLAW my way through the ranks before I made to to Mike Tyson. But it was not a small number. By the time I got to Iron Mike I felt like I'd earned that title shot.
And then Iron Mike slaughtered me. Completely mopped the floor with me. I'm not sure I made it a full minute into the first round.
I felt like I'd lost something vitally important, watching Little Mac sit dejectedly with those horrible words ("game over") beneath him. It had taken so much to get to Tyson. And he'd been so dominant. How was I ever supposed to beat that guy? He knocked me down with one punch!
Of course, I did eventually conquer Tyson. And the day I did, I felt like I was the one who'd just won the Heavyweight Championship of the World. And of course, I had. I don't think there's ever been a more satisfying game to win. I look forward to all of you telling me how wrong (or right) I am.
One more actual Chiefs question and we'll call it on this mailbag for the week.
@RealMNchiefsfan @ArrowheadPride A lot has been made of the depth we have at WR3. What happens if/when Bowe or Avery goes down, though?— Sean (@cynic_optimist) August 15, 2014
You know what, I think the Chiefs would be OK.
Here's the thing; neither Dwayne Bowe or Donnie Avery were all that productive last season. While Avery had a few flashy games and Bowe had some good moments, neither did anything that makes me believe the Chiefs are screwed if one of them is hurt for an extended period of time.
Personally, I think Bowe will have a better year this season. But I also believe that the more noticeable uptick in the offense (if it happens) will come from other places. I see De'Anthony Thomas and Travis Kelce adding a great deal of speed to the offense this year. And Knile Davis could see an increased role as well (and could do some things with it, if his preseason snaps were any indication. For the record, I believe an increased role for Knile would be WITH Jamaal Charles on the field, not replacing him.)
The bottom line is the offense, in this blogger's opinion, is going to run through Jamaal Charles, Knile Davis, and De'Anthony Thomas, with the TEs having a major role. I think the WRs will again be in a position where the ball is going to be spread around a great deal. The offense isn't going to be based around Bowe's or Avery's talents, and so if one of them goes down it'll tough, but not killer. Of course, it all depends on Alex Sm...
You know what, that seems like a good stopping point. We'll do this again real soon.