I'm currently neck deep in Eric Fisher's film from 2015. That article should be ready soon. But in the meantime, I've got some mailbag questions to clear out, so let's have some fun... Remember, send questions to @RealMNchiefsfan.
(Man, that intro stunk. Hopefully it gets better from here)
@RealMNchiefsfan who is the biggest surprise cut in camp?— Steven (@mshp797) April 9, 2016
I always find that a tough question to answer. You go through a bunch of names of players you think could get cut... but those are guys really a "surprise?" No. So then you reach on guys who you DON'T think can get cut, and give an opinion you don't really have for the sake of being "surprising" (after all it certainly WOULD be surprising if Jeremy Maclin got cut, no?).
That said, I'll try to take a crack at it; Josh Mauga.
Now, I have a feeling some of you are disappointed in that guess. There's a lot of hate that flows Mauga's way, so many fans might view him as on the edge of the roster bubble. But the man has played lots of snaps 2 years in a row and did better in a more limited role last season (with the return of All-Everything LB Derrick Johnson). Sutton and company seem to like him.
That said, think he's going to have some serious heat breathing down Mauga's neck this season in my opinion, of the type he hasn't had the last two years. This actually goes hand in hand with another mailbag question I received...
@RealMNchiefsfan It's May, so talk about March! How does the competition stack up at backup LB? Zombo, Massaquoi, March, Nicolas, Smith, etc— fenster24 (@fenster_24) May 5, 2016
Now, one linebacker who isn't mentioned here is Ramik Wilson, but he becomes particularly relevant when talking about Mauga. Wilson was forced into action as a rookie in a few games due to injury, and he didn't acquit himself too badly at all. He isn't an overwhelming player physically, but he consistently finds the ball, tackles well, seems to know where he needs to be, and isn't lost in coverage.
Considering the fact that Wilson looked like he belonged on the field as a rookie, I can easily see him pushing Mauga out of the starting lineup.
And that's ignoring everyone's favorite underdog story, Justin March. If you're reading this, odds are you know who March is and how he turned heads before getting hurt last preseason (fans and coaches alike were noticing his closing ability and aggressive play). March flashed enough in coverage and in stopping ball carriers that he was getting looks with the first team last year. That's wildly impressive for his age and experience, and I can't wait to see if he's able to pick up where he left off.
When you consider the fact that Mauga has legit competition for the first time in several years, I think he's a guy who could be a salary cap casualty (saving 1.2 mil this year, 3 mil next year).
Outside of Mauga, I just don't see a lot of surprise cut candidates. Of course, again, that's why it'll be so surprising when it happens.
I avoided this topic for weeks, just because I saw the anger and the attacking that was going on in the comments and didn't want to contribute to it. Here was my thought process on it, as it occurred.
Thought Number 1: From the sounds of it, Hill did something really, really bad. Something that makes me angry and sad at the state of the world. I don't want him on my team.
Thought Number 2: By saying I don't want him on "my" team, I'm saying I think it's morally wrong for a team to sign him (essentially) and, therefore, saying he shouldn't work. But that's not how I feel about people with records in any other type of job. Which makes me feel hypocritical.
Thought Number 3: I've seen quotes from the prosecutor in that case regarding how Hill took responsibility for what he did, and I've seen quotes from Hill flat-out saying what he did was wrong. Do I really want to be someone who doesn't give second chances?
Thought Number 4: Really? "Second chances?" For something like that? Screw that guy, what about the victim?
Thought Number 5: Really, second chances. I know great people who have done really bad stuff. The criminal justice system is for punishing people, not the workforce. If I think he's got a right to work, he should have the right to work pretty much anywhere as long as he's on an appropriately short leash.
Final Thought: Fine, fair enough, the guy gets a chance on a VERY short leash. But that's me. I don't begrudge anyone disagreeing. And I better see the dude doing everything he can to balance the scales and atone for what he did. But I just can't deny a second chance. I cannot. Forgiveness and grace are a fundamental aspect of who I am and what I'm about. But man, he'd better do good with this. Like, do GOOD, not do well (Boy Meets World reference, for those of you whose life is too empty to know that).
So... we'll see. I'm still conflicted about the whole thing, and a lot is going to depend on his actions moving forward. But we'll see.
With Belichick having this long to prepare? I'd be surprised if they did worse than 2-2. It's going to depend on The Gronk's health, though. A bad QB can lock onto him and just toss it to him 20 times with good results. Throw in Bennett (who is a really, really good TE) and that offense is going to be a matchup nightmare for any defense. They'll be fine.
@RealMNchiefsfan have you watched the jungle book yet? Definately recommend it if you havent.— Josey Moore (@IMNSALESMAN) May 5, 2016
I have not, but this is a good place to insert a popular opinion. Batman vs. Superman? I enjoyed it just as much as Captain America: Civil War.
I feel like our entire society at this point basically hates on every action movie that doesn't have the same "vibe" that literally every Marvel movie has at this point, which is essentially, "let's all wink at each other and chuckle in between action sequences."
Yeah, Batman vs. Superman was WAY different from the Marvel movies, and was very Snyder'd. But you know what? I dig the darker, more gritty tone. I feel like with the DC universe there's actually something at stake, whereas in Marvel you know everything's gonna be fine at the end of the day. Could just be me.
Also, I almost couldn't sit through Team Iron Man's asinine reasoning for entrusting the United Nations with oversight of the Avengers. It was that poor. Yeah, I've got an idea, let's let a body that can't agree on anything and has multiple nations where horrific things are happening RIGHT NOW be the group in charge of the most powerful beings on earth. We definitely want politicians making those calls, amirite?
Also, every time they talked about all the bad stuff that happened on the Avengers' watch, I kept waiting for someone to point out that a lot of the fights they ended up in would've been much, much, much worse without their intervention. It's like, "Yeah, I know, dozens of people died that one time we stopped an alien race from killing literally everyone on the planet. That's our bad, clearly."
I may or may not take such things a tad too seriously. Anyway, about football...
@RealMNchiefsfan What do you think will be the final number of receivers the Chiefs keep after camp and who are they?— Wes Gillen (@Wesizzle19) May 5, 2016
That's a tough call at this point, so I'm going to only kinda / sorta answer that question by saying who I think the top 5 receivers on the roster are going to be this upcoming year...
1) Jeremy Maclin. Because duh.
2) Chris Conley. Kid has sucked me in for whatever reason. We'll see if that offseason with Maclin made a difference.
3) Albert Wilson. Moving him to the slot (dude doesn't track the ball well enough down the field) will do good things for him, he's got the YAC skills to make an impact when he's not asked to do things he's bad at.
4) Rod Streater. I always liked him when he played for the bad guys. He's had a weird last year and a half, but he can play when healthy. Between him and Mike Williams, I think he'll be the veteran signing that makes an impact on the field. He's the guy who wouldn't surprise me if he ended up higher on this list.
5) Demarcus Robinson. I don't think he sees the field a ton, but he's got some talent, particularly after the catch.
6) Tyreek Hill. I think there's a good chance Hill sees the ball more than Robinson early, but in more of a DAT role. He's F-A-S-T in a way that's genuinely startling.
Now, if you're thinking, "man, that leaves out DAT," you're absolutely right. I think DAT is a really good punt returner and shows some sizzle with the football... but I can't get over the weirdness that was last season. I feel like we've seen the end of DAT's impact as a Chief. I hope I"m wrong.
@RealMNchiefsfan We need Eric Berry signed as a player and to help with cap space. Why hasn't this happened yet?— David Berry (@DavidWBerry) May 5, 2016
It takes two to tango, my friend. From the sounds of it, Berry is looking to get paid top tier money. Contracts like that aren't easy to write up or close without completely crippling the team.
Personally, I think Berry's taking a risk here. He's a fantastic football player. But Dorsey and company have shown the ability to find safeties who can play. What if Fleming, or Cooper, or one of the younger guys proves to be solid at safety? Say, to the level that Abdullah was? Suddenly it becomes more difficult to pay a great player 10 million plus a year when you've got a good one for a tenth of the price.
I'm not saying it would be a good idea to let Berry walk. I think Dorsey gets it done, similar to how he got Houston done. I'm just saying it's a risk on Berry's part. His stock is unlikely to get higher than it is right now, coming off an All Pro season after beating cancer (that sentence is still crazy to write). The only thing that can happen now, barring him taking his game to yet ANOTHER level, is that it can stay the same or go down.
That said, Berry is in a position to take risks; he had a rookie contract when they were still insanely high. This isn't a situation like Allen Bailey, Ron Parker, or Jaye Howard, where Dorsey was negotiating with players who had never received a big payday.
Think about it. Imagine you've spent the last couple of years making close to league minimum. You can do one more year of that OR sign a piece of paper that hands you somewhere between 5-15 million dollars immediately. I mean... what would you do?
With Berry it's different. he's an incredibly wealthy guy already, so the team doesn't have that leverage. And every piece of leverage a team doesn't have means more difficult negotiations. That's just the nature of the beast.
I expect Berry will be re-signed, but it may not be all that soon. Again, these negotiations are going to be tough. I think he, Houston, and Peters are guys you build a defense around (along with Dontari Poe). And those guys don't come cheap.
Whew, this got to be a pretty long mailbag. Let's do it again soon!