clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Chiefs mailbag: Justin Houston or Von Miller?

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Now that football is (sort of) back, we'll be doing mailbags less frequently. But I've been having enough fun with these that they're definitely still going to appear at least once a week. They'll be a little longer and include more questions, though, as I try to catch up to the many tweets I've been sent. Let's do this mailbag thing.




Look, the "Von Miller or Justin Houston" side you're on is always going to depend on what team you're a fan of. That's just how it is. That said, Houston is a better pass rusher and is just as good (if not better) than Miller in both coverage and against the run.

Maybe Miller turns the debate back around again this season, but as of right now Houston is absolutely the better player. Also, as I've said before, if those two had to fight to the death Houston would tear Miller's head clean off and eat it.

The Super Bowl win, and I didn't even have to think about it.

I'm just so, so, so tired of the playoff drought. So very tired. And I'm also quite jaded from it. So for me, I hear "10 years of being unbeaten in the AFC West" and my first thought is, "great, but the Chiefs would find a way to still not win a playoff game during that decade."

Additionally, when you phrase the question this way you GUARANTEE the Chiefs aren't winning the Super Bowl in that decade (at least as I read the question). I definitely can't pick an option in which the Chiefs are automatically disqualified from the grand prize, no matter how satisfying it would be to beat the Broncos 20 times in a row.

(re-reads "beat the Broncos 20 times in a row)



Yeah, still can't do it. As incredibly funny as it would be to have a 20 game winning streak on division rivals, you know by the 7th year or so every comment about the divisional record would be followed by "they haven't been able to translate that into postseason success, though." No thanks.

Now, if I were to pick between 10 years of perfect division play and the CHANCE of a Super Bowl vs. one guaranteed Super Bowl win, the choice is tougher. I'd have to think a team good enough to run the table in the AFC West for a full decade would field multiple squads with a puncher's chance at winning it all. If you're 6-0 in your division odds are you're a playoff team.

Even then, though, I can't refuse a guaranteed Super Bowl. It would be different if the Chiefs had one a Super Bowl in my lifetime. But they haven't. I want to see it. So I pick the guaranteed championship. I would write a thousand "this is why the Chiefs won the Super Bowl" film reviews that summer. It would be glorious.

Whoo boy... I can't wait to see how many people get mad at me here.

On offense, if I'm guaranteed the trade (and I imagine I am in this scenario) I have to keep Charles, cut Kelce, and trade Smith.

I'm physically incapable of cutting or trading Jamaal Charles. I'd have to be insane. Beyond simple fanboi issues, though, there are actual football reasons to keep Charles. He's under contract for longer than Kelce even though he's a couple years older. He's also a much bigger part of the offense and, for all the (very, very, very deserved) Kelce hype, the man has one season under his belt. Charles is a superstar. He's what we hope Kelce becomes. Give me the sure thing on a longer contract all day.

And as far as Smith goes, the simple fact of the matter is that Smith's contract isn't terrible for a quarterback, and you'd get a lot more value out of him than you will a running back (even a beastly one). Trading Smith will absolutely net you a 1st rounder (and then some) from a quarterback-needy team, whereas trading Charles would get... what? I don't know what exactly the market for RB's is, but it's LOW.

It's not an easy choice, but you keep Charles, cut Kelce, and trade Smith.

The defensive group is actually easier for me. Keep Poe, cut DJ (that really sucked to say. So much for "easier"), trade Smith.

Out of the 3 players, Poe is the most important on the Chiefs defense. And while I know Jaye Howard is everyone's flavor of the month right now (and he's definitely shown flashes), but Poe is a unique player who brings a ton to the table. Very, very few DL can be stout against multiple gaps but still rush the passer. He's a special player.

Additionally, he's younger than DJ or Smith by quite a ways and has one more year on his contract than either of them. Pretty easy decision. DJ gets cut because even fantastic inside linebackers don't fetch much value in the trade market. With Smith you can get a decent return on a guy you've got to either pay or lose to FA next year regardless.

Let's think about something less gross than cutting DJ for awhile now...

I'd say that's a pretty safe bet. Junior Hemingway's best argument for his continued existence on the team is "he's a good special teams player" (see how that worked out for Cyrus The Artist Formerly Known As MOAR Gray?). I'm not sure I see a future for him with the Chiefs. He saw plenty of snaps last season and did nothing to make me think he can contribute to an NFL offense.

When we're looking at the Chiefs WR's there are four absolute locks: Maclin, Wilson, DAT, Conley. That's it. Outside of those four you've got a group of guys fighting for a spot on the roster.

There are a lot of names churning for those last two spots (assuming they keep six wide receivers). And most of those names are a lot younger and faster than Jason Avant. Generally speaking, when I hear people talk about cutting Avant loose I hear things like "upside" and "promise" and "developmental." Basically, the thought is that we know Avant is a league-average 3rd or 4th receiver, so why not give a shot to someone younger with more upside?

My problem with this kind of thinking is two-fold:

1) It's never a good idea to rely too much on "promise" at the expense of "proven" in the NFL.

2) Look at the four "locks" again. Of those four players, three of them are either coming into their second year in the league or are a rookie.

That's already plenty of "young" players with "upside" at WR the Chiefs can treat as "developmental" players on the roster. You know what there AREN'T a lot of? Guys we know for a fact don't suck.

And that's what Avant provides. I compare him to a "you must be this tall to ride the roller coaster" sign at an amusement park. If you want to get on the field as a receiver for the Chiefs, you can't suck because Avant will get your playing time.

I'm all for giving young players with upside a shot, but having a guy like Avant on the roster makes them EARN that shot rather than having it given to them by default. Avant isn't a sure thing, but don't kid yourself for a moment; Andy Reid and the rest of the coaches aren't going to take one of their only two WR's they know for a fact doesn't suck and put him out to pasture. Not until they're sure the WR's will be better this year than last year.

Avant isn't a stone cold lock, but I'd be surprised if he didn't make the team. Additionally, I'd be excited for what that meant for the youngsters at WR, in that they'd shown enough to make Reid comfortable moving forward without the gatekeeper.

It's a safe bet. See if you can get him to double up on the money before camp keeps rolling and Avant keeps getting serious reps. Don't give him time to change his mind!

Unpopular opinion alert; I get it with the London game. i don't like it, but I get it. Hunt is playing ball with the league. Fine, whatever. It bothers me, but at least I can kinda see the reasoning. I also don't think it gives a genuine competitive disadvantage.

The Thursday Night game against Denver legitimately bothers me, because I DO think it hurts the team. Last year's disaster in Oakland scared the daylights out of me. I'm terrified of a repeat (the team walking in slow motion for an entire half before waking up too late).

That said, I think there are a few things the Chiefs have going for them with this specific scheduling.

First, the fact that it's early enough in the season that Reid (he of the famous game planning) will be able to have some stuff prepared in advance. That's different from midway through the season, where you're just trying to survive week by week. I imagine Reid's going to be planning for both Houston and Denver prior to the season starts. That will (hopefully) help alleviate some of the problem.

Second, I'm glad that the game is at home. On a shortened week you've got enough problems without having to lose half a day (or more) to traveling. Good for the Chiefs, bad for the Broncos.

But without question the TNF game coming so early (and against such a tough opponent) is a big problem. Really, we'll know a lot about the Chiefs after the first 4 games. That early schedule is simply brutal.

See you next mailbag.

NEW: Join Arrowhead Pride Premier

If you love Arrowhead Pride, you won’t want to miss Pete Sweeney in your inbox each week as he delivers deep analysis and insights on the Chiefs' path to the Super Bowl.