I'm gonna shoot straight with you; I've had a bad week. Like, a really bad week. Like, when your boss goes behind your back and grabs a cheaper replacement for you and then waits until you've finished a really tough week no one else could've done for the firm before telling you to clean out your desk kind of week.
(Seriously, that happened. Not gonna get into details, but it's been a bad week)
Of course, it's been a bad season for the Chiefs, so a bad week is just another drop in the bucket at this point. What do we do when the Chiefs are horrifying us with the product on the field? We distract ourselves with an impromptu mailbag, that's what! My answers will be shorter than normal so as to try and address as many questions as possible. As always, send mailbag questions to @RealMNchiefsfan.
@RealMNchiefsfan How much blame should Dorsey get?— Garrett (@CWK_ChiefsFan) October 24, 2015
That's a great question. The easiest answer is I don't know. But I'm of the opinion that Dorsey has done a solid job collecting talent. If you look at the roster there's a fair amount of talent and depth across the board.
The two biggest problems for the team right now exist at offensive line and quarterback. Those two areas have been far and away the worst aspects of the team so far this. year. The lack of attention the team has paid to the line has come back to bite them, and Alex Smith will never be a quarterback who can compensate for a bad line (in fact, he generally makes it worse).
BUT ... how much of that is Dorsey and how much of that is Andy Reid? I find it almost impossible to believe that Smith wasn't Reid's choice, and I can see why Dorsey signed Smith to an extension if Reid is insisting Smith is the guy. Can I really blame Dorsey for trusting Reid there? I dunno.
The line feels like it could be a Reid issue as well. Reid is the one who chooses his coaching staff, and he's got a very tight grip on the offense. The general lack of improvement in the line would, for me, fall more on the coaching than the GM. Again, I could be wrong, but it seems like Dorsey has made some moves to address the line.It's just young guys they've put faith in (like Fulton and LDT) have completely failed to improve enough to not hurt the offense.
Generally speaking, I like what Dorsey has done. The extension on Smith was a mistake, as was the lack of attention to the OL. But since I put some blame on Reid for those two issues, I'm gonna roll with "Dorsey deserves some blame but has done an overall solid job."
I may well feel differently as the season progresses, though. Especially if the losses keep piling up.
We're nearly at 3000 words, so this seems like as good a place as any to call it. See you next mailbag, and MAN I hope the Chiefs staunch the bleeding Sunday.
@RealMNchiefsfan lets do a last 5 years pre-season fan/media expectations vs season result power rankings.— Christian Loganbill (@cloganbill) October 24, 2015
Oh man, this could be brutal.
All right, here are the ground rules. We're going from No. 6 to No. 1, with the ranking reflecting the size of the gap between preseason expectations and regular season performance. The greater the gap in performance, the higher the power ranking. Why did I add the extra season? Well, you'll see.
No. 6: 2011 season (finished 7-9, missed playoffs)
Some of you may be surprised to see this ranked so low, as there was quite a bit of optimism about the Chiefs after an unexpected visit to the playoffs in 2010.
However, the cracks were clearly there. A rather large contingent of fans were calling for Matt Cassel's head, and looking at the schedule the Chiefs had played the year before (and the games they'd been blown out, including the playoffs) at least gave cause to wonder if the Chiefs were more middling than good.
Well, turned out they were more middling than good. The injuries to Charles and Berry obviously didn't help, nor did the Tyler Palko experience. But overall it wasn't THAT surprising the Chiefs were a mediocre team in 2011.
No. 5: 2013 season (finished 11-5, lost in Wild Card game)
Everyone knew when the Chiefs brought in Andy Reid that they would improve pretty significantly. The Chiefs had been the most poorly coached team in the league the year before. The talent was there, at least enough to be competitive.
I think quite a few fans were surprised at how MUCH the team improved, but plenty of optimism had existed. Overall, this wasn't all that surprising a season compared to preseason expectations. Fans were expecting a much improved but flawed team, and that's exactly what they got.
No. 4: 2014 season (finished 7-9, missed playoffs)
Even though we're still "low" in the power rankings, we've moved from "not that surprising" to "whoa, this wasn't at all what fans and media expected."
The Chiefs were supposed to take another step forward in 2014, having gotten rid of some baggage on defense and getting another year in Andy Reid's offense. Instead, the team was wildly inconsistent, going from beating the Seahawks one week to losing to the Raiders the next. The offense never quite got it together, and the defense struggled at a few key moments.
A lot of fans were expecting a return to the playoffs. What they got instead was a roller coaster. There was quite the gap between expectations and reality this year.
No. 3: 2010 season (finished 10-6, lost in Wild Card game)
The most pleasant surprise of the bunch. Coming into 2010 the expectations on the Chiefs by both fans and the media were remarkably low. They'd stumbled to 4-12 the prior year and looked pretty rough doing it. The only thing fans had to look forward to was a "new" Arrowhead Stadium.
But instead of going quietly into the night, the Chiefs had a huge win to open the season at home against the Chargers, and managed to play at a decent level for much of the season. The rare pleasant surprise for fans, this season was definitely a major surprise.
Now we're moving into the Grand Canyon-sized gap territory, starting with one of the worst Chiefs season I've ever witnessed.
No. 2: 2012 season (2-14, somehow even worse than that record)
For reasons I can't fully remember, many fans (myself included) had convinced themselves that Romeo Crennel was the answer at HC, Peyton Hillis would be an awesome partner with Charles, and Peyton Manning joining the Broncos would be no big deal. Charles and Berry were returning to a 7-9 team, the young guys were gonna take a step forward, and it was all going to be beautiful.
It, um, did not go well.
There's not much to say about this season. It was a really bad team losing a lot of games. Jamaal Charles was fun to watch still, but outside of that this season was horrific. Remember the RAC quote about not knowing why the Chiefs were losing? Good NIGHT, man, you can't say that to the press!
Considering the buzz going into that season, I thought the gap between expectation and performance in 2012 would be impossible to match. Of course, I didn't count on...
No. 1: 2015 season (1-5 so far, feels like 1-15)
The hype around the Chiefs wasn't just a case of homer-laced optimism. Bill Barnwell picked the Chiefs as a Super Bowl contender. Many national analysts pegged them as a dark horse team to make noise in the playoffs. They were getting multiple players back on a defense that had been one of the best in the league in 2014. They had added Jeremy Maclin and Ben Grubbs to address the most glaring weaknesses from the year before. Players were talking about a "special" feel during camp.
It felt like a year they could finally, finally, finally do something in January. A relatively comfortable win in Week 1 ony served to reinforce that idea.
Since then... I can't even. The Chiefs have not only lost 5 straight, but they've looked horrible while doing so. The defense has been leakier than expected, and the offense... man, the offense.
I cannot remember any season in the 20+ years I've been a fan (I'm 30, but I figure those first 6 years or so don't count, as I had no idea what was going on at that age) in which the product on the field has been so far removed from what we expected. We expected good, with MAYBE an outside shot at great. Instead, we haven't even seen competent.
This year has been special, but only in how disappointing it's been. And now I'm sad.
@RealMNchiefsfan so you enjoying Heroes Reborn yet? worth watching?— Avik Khan (@BDChiefsFan) October 24, 2015
So far I've enjoyed it. It's not "whoa this is incredible" the way the first season of the initial "Heroes" show was, but I figured it wouldn't be able to live up to that standard so I'm not disappointed.
They've done a decent job re-capturing the tone of the series, and I'd put this new season up against any of the other seasons they had prior (outside of the utterly fantastic first season, of course) and say it's superior. I still wish they would've managed to keep a few more of the "old" characters on board, though. It's just not the same without Sylar and Peter heading on a collision course.
@RealMNchiefsfan Will Conley keep his starting role given the recent drops?— Keith MacLean (@KeithMacLean78) October 23, 2015
I don't think he should, really. Albert Wilson has shown he can make things happen with the ball in his hands. Conley has demonstrated the ability to create separation (which is fantastic news), but he very clearly isn't quite ready to be a consistent contributor yet. If you can't catch the ball consistently, you cannot be relied on to produce.
Conley needs to spend some time with the jugs machine after practice for the remainder of the year and come onto the field in spot duty. The raw material is absolutely there, and he actually looks better on the field than I expected. But the hands need to improve.
The good news is if he can make that happen he appears to have the making of a solid receiver.
@RealMNchiefsfan would Eric Taylor have more wins this year than Andy Reid?— Matt Flattery (@Mat_Flat) October 23, 2015
Don't be absurd. Of course he would.
The Chiefs would be 5-1 right now if Coach Taylor were leading the way. Now, would they have lost to the Packers in horrific fashion still? Absolutely. Coach Taylor needs a crisis to fix early in every season, and that would've been his crisis. He would have gathered the team around him and told them that every now and then a man is gonna get into a fight he's gonna lose. That what's important is how he learns from that fight. The team would realize he's absolutely right, not let that loss define them, then come back and win the next week 52-3.
You think the Chiefs would've turned the ball over five times against the Broncos with Coach Taylor at the helm? Please. After the first turnover he would've sat down every single player just to prove a point. No way they lose that game with clear eyes and full hearts.
If Coach Taylor were in charge, he would've taken Alex Smith aside by now and made sure he had one more in him. If he didn't, Coach would've gone with his scrappy backups and made a champion out of them. Because that's what Coach Taylor does. He makes champions.
Also, he would have magically healed Jamaal's leg with a racquetball game. True story.
@RealMNchiefsfan So you haven't played quarterback....have you played football? hundreds of hours doesnt make somebody an expert.— Tom Stroman (@TheHeckler65) October 23, 2015
This wasn't really a mailbag question, but I thought I'd have fun with it. My latest internet admirer was quite upset with me saying "in my experience" when it came to quarterbacks (I was talking about Alex Smith's odd habit of having pocket presence come and go at random times) when I've never played the position.
I thought I'd share a quick confession; I didn't play football in high school. I played basketball. Everything I know about football is based on observing film relentlessly and reading everything I can get my hands on about the game (there are a lot of wonderful resources out there explaining various schemes and player technique).
On a related note, I've never actually arrested someone but am quite familiar with the requirements of an arresting officer to make a search admissible in court. And I've never been an actor in a film, but can identify good acting when I see it. Life's kinda weird that way, isn't it?
@RealMNchiefsfan and if Jaye Howard doesn't get an extension before or after the year is over will you have a heart attack? Lol— ChiefsMan (1-5) (@DHill9276) October 23, 2015
I might. I really might.
Here's the thing though; this has gone on long enough already that it might be too late. Jaye Howard could be placing a massive bet on himself to perform at a high level and get PAID during the offseason. And so far he's on pace to collect.
He's already not as much of a secret as he was a few weeks ago. One of the unfortunate things about PFF's newfound popularity is that when there's an unknown name on one of their "ratings" lists, people start to pay attention. I've had more and more non-Chiefs fans ask me about Howard in recent weeks. That's not a good sign. And there's absolutely no way opposing coaches and GM's aren't seeing his tape and thinking he could help them out.
Howard's ability to wreak havoc behind the line is so impressive. Needs to get locked up. Now. pic.twitter.com/0qnEdAEVwO— Seth Keysor (@RealMNchiefsfan) October 19, 2015
I'm not sure if Howard is going to absolutely and completely break the bank, though. History tells us that teams are somewhat hesitant to pay players big money after a single breakout year. Teams might be leery that this is a "contract year warrior" situation and Howard will vanish once he gets fed. Additionally, even NFL teams tend to pay less attention to teams that suck. The Chiefs being a bad team might actually help keep interest in Howard a tad lower.
All that said, the team should be banging on Howard's agent's door every morning. See if you can't sign him to Allen Bailey money. A long-term lineup of Bailey / Poe / Howard is an absolutely fantastic front three. And it really does start up front on defense. I hope they keep Howard around for a long time.
@RealMNchiefsfan toilet paper over or under? Crunchy or creamy peanut butter? Regular or Double Stuf Oreos? Jared Goff or Connor Cook?— Joshua Donaldson (@JoshuaDonaldson) October 24, 2015
Now you people are just cheating, disguising multiple mailbag questions as one.
Toilet paper is under unless you've got a cat or a toddler. Then it's under to protect from the constant "hey look, I can make this thing unravel!"
Creamy peanut butter all day. If I want to eat some nuts I'll eat some nuts.
Is there literally anyone on Earth who doesn't prefer Double Stuff Oreos to original? There can't be. If you are, I'd like to meet you, you savage.
I haven't watched much of Cook or Goff. The limited stuff I've seen of them leans me toward Goff. Tons of arm talent, seems to have a decent sense of the pocket. Neither makes me all that warm and fuzzy, but if I were picking (at this point, having barely seen anything) I'd pick Goff.