Buying: General improvement
Things cannot get any worse. From catastrophic injuries and questionable playcalling to flat results and out-of-character quarterback play, the Kansas City Chiefs opening game was a total disaster. That also means there's nowhere to go but up, right? (Unless this season is a one-story house, so to speak.) Andy Reid acknowledged the mistakes on plays called and players used (or not used). By definition, the Chiefs performance must improve.
The Denver Broncos are a much stiffer opponent than the Tennessee Titans, and the Chiefs are on the road on this one. Then again, KC drained Arrowhead of any life by the third quarter, so even that shouldn't matter. Expect a bounce back effort across the board simply with a regression toward the mean on both sides of the ball.
Selling: Linebacker moves
It's supposed to be Derrick Johnson and Joe Mays in the middle. By the final minutes of Sunday's game, it was Josh Mauga and James-Michael Johnson. Roster moves were coming. Free agents were being called. The Chiefs had to make moves, and they've made plenty this week. In addition to Dwayne Bowe's return to the roster, the Chiefs added six new players to the active roster and practice squad. Not a single one was a linebacker.
Instead, the lone addition to maybe the greatest area of need is a man named Jerry Franklin, a linebacker elevated from the practice squad. Several veterans came and went from Arrowhead this week, guys with experience like Desmond Bishop, Marvin Mitchell, and Nick Barnett. Instead, the Chiefs are rolling with the same guys we saw last week. Against Peyton Manning. Yep. Stock sold.
Selling: All Things Alex
He will get better. I've already said as much. But I'm still reeling from the dealing, if you get what I mean. The Alex Smith extension is going to cost the Chiefs plenty for the next three-plus years, and it came at a time when the team didn't necessarily have to give Smith a deal. Justin Houston was the most pressing of the two, and another prove-it year would have been a smarter play at quarterback than outside linebacker.
One game into the regular season, Houston is turning into a beast at outside linebacker, a player who will be mentioned among the elite defenders in the league by season's end. He was already on that trajectory. Smith, on the other hand, couldn't even climb to the tired "game manager" label against the Titans. Instead, the play calling got deep and desperate when it didn't have to be, and I'm a bit amazed Smith went along for that ride.
I don't know if I can recall another lucrative extension coupled with a horrible immediate performance like what we witnessed on Sunday. I wasn't a huge fan of the trade (two seconds always seemed steep), I certainly didn't like the extension, and now I hate the results. I actually like Smith as a starting quarterback. The Chiefs could do much worse. But that's not true of Sunday's performance.
Buying & Selling: Emmanuel Sanders
This won't make sense to some of you. That's okay, it shouldn't. Emmanuel Sanders is my football Ashley, a college girlfriend I was with for a few weeks (likely days) who I still go on about to this day. She was amazing. She also likely would say "Who's that?" if you mentioned my name. Oh, Ashley.
Emmanuel Sanders was also amazing for the few minutes he was with the Chiefs. I know he never signed officially, but semantics. When John Dorsey had Sanders in the building with positive reports that a deal was done, I was in love. Finally, another reliable wideout. Another target for Alex. Flexibility in the upcoming draft. He was perfect. He was dreamy. Then he left us.
To the Denver Broncos of all teams. He's come in handy on a team already minus Wes Welker and who watched Eric Decker take his act to New York. He was never really mine, and now I have to hate him because he's with a rival. But for those few, brief moments, Sanders gave me a vision of love of football as it should be. Football with dependable receivers. Football with possibilities.
This is for you and me both, Coach Reid. For me, I'm selling the fear that the season is over. Every year we're fooled by teams who turn out to be really good or really bad, and the Titans could end up being one of the better teams the Chiefs play all season. The Chiefs are also loaded with proven veterans all around, including on the coaching staff, to let things slip out of hand. I hated Week 1. I was as frustrated as the next guy. But I'm also not going to jump ship because the Chiefs were dominated.
That said, Reid needs to lose the fear as well. The Titans have an amazing Dontari-like player of their own in Jurrell Casey. I love the guy. But to say that the Titans defense took away what you wanted to do with Jamaal Charles is caving in to irrational fear. You can count the truly elite offensive skill players in the NFL on a single hand, guys who can radically change the game on each and every play. And the Chiefs have one of those guys. And you're afraid of going to him? What in the world.
So here's to selling fear this week, both for you Reid and for the fans. The Chiefs might be worse than believed. The Titans defense might have been stiffer than you believed. But you'd ease our fear if you could just deal with yours. Give Charles the damn ball.