As the days of the offseason continue, we inch ever closer to the draft. For some, this is the highlight of the entire season (at least based on how much time and energy they put into it). For me, I've honestly come to care less and less about the draft as the years have gone along. I have no idea why (though it may have something to do with spending more time in NFL tape and having less time to spare), but the draft isn't what it used to be for me.
That said, once the draft is over, the real dry season in NFL news begins. So let's start warming up the mailbag a little more to prepare for that dark day when we're forced back to semi-daily mailbags just to make it through the darkness.
For those of you who are interested, I'm over halfway through Mitch Morse's 2015 film and will have that review ready soon(ish). In the meantime, let's mailbag.
@RealMNchiefsfan from your studies of the tapes.. Are the chiefs in more need of DLine or OLine?— Wes Gillen (@Wesizzle19) February 18, 2016
Absolutely offensive line in my opinion, especially at this point. To be fair, this question was sent my way before the Chiefs re-signed Jaye Howard, so I think it's obvious to everyone at this point.
Howard, Dontari Poe, and Allen Bailey provide one of the best front three groups you'll find anywhere in the league. Bailey is basically the real life equivalent of the Incredible Hulk. Poe is what happens when genetics say "nah, we're not gonna play fair today." And Howard is... well, he approaches Poe in his ability to move freakishly well for a big man. The defensive line is fine. They've also got some young guys who intrigue me.
The offensive line is in an interesting spot right now. When Mitch Schwartz was signed, I was immediately ready to call this far and away the best OL the Chiefs have had (on paper) in years. Fisher / Grubbs / Morse / Reid / Schwartz is a line I was very, very comfortable with.
Then, of course, Ben Grubbs got released. It seems like those who wondered if his injury situation was more serious than we'd thought were right. That's a bummer for him (get well, Ben), and a bummer for Chiefs fans as well. This is especially true now that Jeff Allen has followed the cash truck to Houston (and I don't blame him one bit).
So now the Chiefs are left with four spots on the line I'm comfortable with (again, I'm assuming Reid gets the nod at RG. I hope I'm right) and a complete unknown. Fellow AP writer stagdsp tells me not to rule out Paul Fanaika, but I'm nervous. Really nervous.
The Chiefs had some solid OL play at multiple spots last year, but they were sabotaged at times by having a glaring weakness at one spot. That's happened way too often for me to be comfortable with an unknown. An offensive line is, more so than any other part of the team, a sum of its parts. One weak spot can ruin everything, especially when defenses figure out that weak spot and start keying on it.
The key with an OL is to have "OK" across the board, never dipping below it. Anything above that is gravy. I believe Fisher, Morse, and Schwartz are all good linemen (not in that order in ability). Jah Reid can handle guard and be OK or better. Now we just need to find someone who won't torpedo it for the rest of the offense.
@RealMNchiefsfan @MattJLoper when's the last time you remember turning off a Chiefs game out of frustration?— Ryan (@ryandewing) February 18, 2016
Chiefs vs. Broncos, 2012. Last game of the season. It was a crappy, crappy year in which a team that had some talent just... faded away. I'd watched the Chiefs play awful football all season long and just wanted it to be over.
Of course, the Chiefs proceeded to get DESTROYED by a vastly superior Broncos team, 38-3. And honestly, it didn't even feel that close. It felt as though it were the beginning of yet another extended stretch of futility for the Chiefs (we didn't know at the time that the Chiefs were going to have a remarkable turnaround in 2013 under the guidance of Andy Reid), and it seemed like the Broncos were about to Peyton Manning their way to a Super Bowl.
I just couldn't take it anymore. I shut off the game and walked away. It was one of the more demoralizing moments of my fanhood.
@RealMNchiefsfan what books would you recommend to boost football iq? I've read art if smart football and Steve belichick's scouting methods— Soiled Pineapple (@soiledpineapple) February 18, 2016
Both of those books are absolutely exceptional. For those of you who aren't a Soiled Pineapple (I'm afraid to Google that one), I would encourage that read.
I'm currently neck deep in Pat Kirwan's "Take Your Eye Off The Ball." Of all the football books / articles I have read, it may be my favorite. It's a very in-depth look at the complexity of the game and what goes on besides what we observe when we spend Sunday ball-watching. I would consider it a must-read for anyone who wants to know the game at a level beyond "big men hit each other."
However, most of the learning I've done about football has been done online. Seriously. YouTube has a ton of different "technique" videos in which coaches explain various things players do on the field. Additionally, there is an absolute wealth of information regarding terminology, offensive and defensive schemes, play calling, and all sorts of other stuff if you simply use Google.
My knowledge of football has grown exponentially over the last two years in the most basic of ways; I watch a ton of film, and I look up a lot of things to make sure I understand what I'm watching. When I decided to start breaking down CB film, I bought the all-22 option on NFL.com and looked up "cornerback scouting techniques" and other similar things on Google. Eventually, I watched enough tape of different CB's and read enough stuff from various sources (everyone has different methods of scouting, and no one way is absolute) that I felt comfortable saying I know what I'm walking about (kinda) when it comes to CB's.
Then I did the same thing with QB's... and OL... and DL... and on, and on. So really, in my opinion the best thing you can do (besides read Kirwan's book) is start watching the tape and reading what smart people have to say about said tape. That's the best way to learn the game, at least for me.
@RealMNchiefsfan Keep 1 / Trade 1 / Cut 1 with Charles vs Peters vs Kelce #KobayashiMaru— Brent Rendel (@OkiefarmerBrent) February 18, 2016
Ugh, you're a sick man. Also, nice Kobayashi Maru reference. I respect that. If only I had the wherewithal to cheat the program the way ol' Kirk did. Good ol' Kirk, definitely one of the best three Trek captains (I'm Team Jean-Luc. Come at me, Voyager fans).
Anyways.... ugh. Just ugh. The problem with this is that the contract situation dictates that I HAVE to cut Jamaal Charles. I just do. It's the only move that makes sense financially. And even if you leave that part out, considering his age it's the only possible solution here. Of course, making that choice just reminds me that a vocal contingent of fans were calling for JC to be released earlier this offseason. Which makes me feel even more gross. But yeah, Jamaal is the cut in this scenario.
The trade and keep are tougher. I love what Travis Kelce and Marcus Peters bring to the team. Both are solid players at their position, with Kelce leaning closer to elite than Peters by a sizable margin. HOWEVER, Peters plays a much more impactful position and has flashed superstar potential.
I think at this point I'd go with trading.... Kelce. It's not an easy decision to make, for sure. But Peters is on a cheap rookie contract, and I very much believe he could well be one of the best CB's in the league by midway through this next season. He was wildly better than most rookie corners last year, especially down the stretch. Additionally, I trust Andy Reid to coax at least a decent offense out of the group of players we have besides Ke(lce.
I gotta go with the cheaper price and the more important position on this one. Cut Charles, trade Kelce, keep Peters.
(I just thought of a convincing counterargument. With Peters having just won a ton of awards his rookie year and a cheap contract, he'd likely fetch a lot more in a trade. Oh well, too late now...)
@RealMNchiefsfan mailbag. Is it still considered a football injury if you wreck your ankle in the stands at Arrowhead on Raiders week?— email@example.com (@KCChiefsFan1983) February 19, 2016
Only if it happened because you were performing an elbow drop from the upper deck to the lower deck on a Raiders fan, Macho Man Randy Savage style. I'm glad I can help with these important issues.
Don't forget to send me mailbag questions on the Twitter; @RealMNchiefsfan. Heck, you can even give me a follow if you want.