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Chiefs mailbag: Justin Houston or Dontari Poe?

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Summer is moving by with the speed of a snail, and football can't return to us fast enough. We've muddled our way through with this marvelous bag of mail. No reason to stop now. In fact, let's get right to it and mailbag.

As ever, you can send questions to @RealMNchiefsfan, or (if you're feeling daring) you can send questions to Mrs. MNchiefsfan, who has rejoined Twitter after a long hiatus (and is already busting my chops there); she can be found at @MrsMNchiefsfan.

Justin Houston, and I don't even have to think about it.

Look, I think VERY highly of Dontari Poe. He's a very, very, very good player. He's also a highly unique player, as few defensive linemen can hold up against the run AND get after the quarterback on the level he can. Also, his otherworldly stamina allows for him to stay on the field more than any other interior defensive lineman in the league (though I really do think they should let him rest more, but that's a story for another day).

But if you watch pretty much any Chiefs game from 2014 there's absolutely no doubt who the best player on the defense is. It's Houston, and it's not particularly close. He's that good. He's unstoppable rushing the passer, he sets the edge as well as anyone in the league, he can drop in coverage and hold his own ... he's as complete a defensive player as I've seen.

Poe is going to cost a massive amount of money, just like Houston. Will Houston cost more? Sure. Is the difference going to be so great that it's worth ignoring the fact that Houston is a better player at a more impactful position? I don't believe it will be.

People talk a lot about the defense running through Poe, and to an extent I see where they're coming from. Poe DOES take on a large number of double teams and contributes a great deal against the pass and the run. But reviewing the film, I just haven't found it to be accurate that Poe impacts the game more than Houston.

The Chiefs pass defense hinges on a fantastic pass rush (as most elite pass defenses without Kam, Earl, and Richard do). While the Chiefs boast plenty of scary rushers (which is the strength of the defense), Houston is the guy who wreaks the most havoc by far.

Neither Poe or Houston are replaceable. However, I'm much more confident we can find someone who is 90% the player Poe is. There are STARS in the NFL who aren't 90% the player Houston is. That's the difference between "very good" and "utterly elite." Poe is the former, Houston is the latter.

Hypothetical here. Suppose something were to happen to Andy Reid and we need another head coach for the year. You have your pick of any coach in football, be it college or pro, head coach, or coordinator. Who do you choose to lead our team and why?
Bonus follow up, suppose you still have this choice, but Andy Reid is fine. Do you still replace him?

Blaize R

This is about as easy as it gets. Bill Belichick and it's not particularly close for me. Belichick is the best coach in the NFL. For years I wondered if he wasn't riding the Tom Brady Express to fame and notoriety. This last season convinced me otherwise.

Belichick, on the fly, revamped his offense around different personnel, managed to cobble together a respectable OL out of a disaster, coached the defense into a very solid group, and managed to keep the team from being distracted by the fact that ONE OF THEIR GUYS KILLED SOMEONE. That's insane.

Belichick is the Pop of the NFL. He's the best, then there's everyone else. Which is why I'd take him even if Andy Reid were fine. He's that good.

Don't worry, though, Andy. There aren't that many others I'd take before you. I'm sure you feel much better now!

I feel as though putting a pop tart in a microwave would not produce something I'd like. Microwaves have a tendency to make stuff really ... gooeyish. "Soft" is definitely the wrong word. Part of the goodness of pop tarts is that relatively crunchy bread-like material (that definitely is NOT bread) on the edges that contrasts with the soft middle. PLUS, you've got the almost crunchy frosting outside. All good things.

Throw that in the microwave and you've got a rectangle squish. Squishy edges, squishy middle, squishy frosting, squishy squishy. That just doesn't sound appealing to me.

There are some foods that I actually like BETTER in the microwave. Pizza rolls, for example, are better to me when they're squishy across the board. But a pop tart? Nah, the toaster is the way to go.

Also, while we're hovering around the subject... what's the best pop tart? I'm a brown sugar and cinnamon guy, and I don't think it's even close. I could eat a box of those and want more. Yes, I have issues with food.

I've gone all in on Albert Wilson in other articles. I think he's got the goods to be a very productive receiver, for reasons I've detailed countless times at this point. So it won't surprise me one bit if he gets quite a bit of publicity this season.

That said, I think Philip Gaines (health permitting) is going to be a stud. He has a combination of length, speed, and quickness that few corners can match. He presses very well at the line of scrimmage, he can mirror routes fairly well already... he's the complete package as a corner.

Going back and re-watching his tape I've come away more impressed each time. There just aren't many corners out there who can keep up with receivers in and out of cuts (quickness) AND turn and run with them on go routes (speed). Throw in his freakishly long arms and solid height... yeah, I'm pretty excited about him. If Marcus Peters is able to live up to his college tape the Chiefs are going to have a really, really good trio at corner.

Would the Chiefs have the fastest 4x100 relay team in the NFL?

Jim Oxley

Man, it's tough to think of a team they WOULDN'T be able to beat, right? I assume you'd have Jamaal Charles, De'Anthony Thomas, Chris Conley, and Philip Gaines. Probably have Charles as the starter, Thomas second, Gaines third, and Conley running the final leg. At least, that's how I'd do it. And if you think I'm crazy having Conley as the anchor, please click here.

Seriously, Chris Conley can absolutely FLY when he's in the open.

I picked Gaines over Jeremy Maclin and Ron Parker, my other finalists from the Chiefs. Parker ran a 4.35 40 at the combine, but he's been in the pros for a couple of years now... one never knows if he's still QUITE that fast. Plus, Gaines has the "easy" strides of a guy who seems like he'd crush a hundred yard (meter? How do they do track these days?) dash. Plus with Gaines having 9 foot arms you'd think that would be SOME kind of advantage in handing off the baton, right?

I'd pit that foursome against anyone in the NFL and be pretty confident. One group that I think would be a fantastic matchup would be the Colts. T.Y Hilton can fly, Phillip Dorsett is maybe the fastest player I've ever watched on tape, Darius Butler can run, and whoever their 4th guy is might not matter all that much. Insert a generic corner or WR with decent speed there and you've got a solid group.

I don't see anyone knocking the Chiefs off there. Jamaal Charles, in the open, is still one of the absolute fastest players in the NFL. I think he gives the Chiefs the lead against anyone, and the remaining guys are more than fast enough to hold the cushion. There are other teams with 2 or even 3 very, very fast players, but I don't see another team with a foursome like the Chiefs have.

What team am I not thinking of? I look forward to hearing about how wrong I am! See you next mailbag.