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Dixon’s AP Mailbag: comebacks, draft trades, Williams odds and cool cars

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Let’s dig into the mailbag and see what our readers want to know

Kansas City Chiefs v Carolina Panthers Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Welcome to Dixon’s Arrowhead Pride Mailbag, where I’ll do my best to answer your questions about the Kansas City Chiefs — and anything else that’s on your mind. If you have a question, you can hit my profile page to e-mail me, or ask me on Twitter.

While you’re at it, please follow me on Twitter, too.

On to your questions:

What are the top five Chiefs comebacks? Does the 2016 Carolina Panthers game make it? That was the only Chiefs game I’ve been to and I thought it was epic.

— Ethan

Ethan, the game of which you speak was indeed pretty epic. Trailing 17-3 at the half, the Chiefs scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter — including Eric Berry’s 42-yard interception return for a touchdown — and won 20-17 on a 37-yard Cairo Santos field goal as time expired.

But just two weeks earlier, the Chiefs had overcome an even bigger 24-3 third-quarter deficit to defeat the San Diego Chargers 33-27 in overtime.

Those comebacks were about defense; the Chiefs had superb defensive performances in the second half to win those games. Those two 2016 wins are outliers; most of the greatest NFL comebacks have relied on offensive explosions paired with adequate defense.

And until Patrick Mahomes arrived, that combination was hard to find in Kansas City.

So I’d prefer to think about the top five Chiefs comebacks of the future. The first happened in the final game of the 2017 season.

You remember that meaningless game, don’t you? Starting his first NFL game, Mahomes had been pulled halfway through the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos. The Chiefs were leading 24-10, and everything seemed under control.

But backup quarterback Tyler Bray immediately fumbled the ball, and the Broncos returned it for a touchdown. Then the Chiefs went three and out, and the Broncos responded with a touchdown drive. Suddenly the game was tied with 2:45 remaining, and Mahomes was back in.

The game almost ended right there. The Broncos sacked Mahomes on the first play of the drive, and then on third-and-4, he couldn’t connect with Demarcus Robinson on a deep pass. But the Broncos were called offsides, and the drive continued. (See? It happens to other teams, too).

You know the rest. The Chiefs won on a 30-yard Harrison Butker field goal with just four seconds remaining.

It wasn’t that Mahomes did anything spectacular in that drive. There wasn’t a long bomb under pressure with seconds remaining — the kind of heroics that turn a game-winning drive into the stuff of legend.

But I believe that in the years to come, Mahomes’ first game-winning drive will become legendary — not because of what happened during that drive, but because of what happened before the fourth quarter.

Years from now, people will remember that play — and several others in the game — as having happened in the final drive. It won’t matter that they’re wrong. What they’ll be remembering is that the final drive proved what we had suspected after the first three-and-a-half quarters: Patrick Mahomes had arrived.

Decades from now, an Arrowhead Pride writer will be working on an article about the five greatest comebacks in Chiefs history. That game won’t even be on their radar, because the Chiefs weren’t behind; the game was tied when Mahomes came back on the field. But hopefully, they’ll find this article and realize that with everything that happened in the years after that game, the 27-24 victory in Denver is indeed something worth remembering.

Thanks for asking, Ethan.

Pick 29 is a tough spot in this year’s draft. Too late for edge rusher, and too early for cornerback. That being said, how likely do you think it is that we actually pick from 29? Or is it more likely that we will trade up?

— Jack

In mid-March — when the Chiefs had unceremoniously released Justin Houston and Dee Ford, thereby divesting themselves of two defensive cogs that were working in 2018 — I might have said it was likely the Chiefs would trade up in the draft.

I’ve said it before: Brett Veach strongly believes in his ability to evaluate talent. Back when he was hired, friend-of-the-site Terez Paylor put it this way:

“He’s a good communicator. He communicates well and has strong opinions. In the draft room he doesn’t back down off of his opinions. That’s not always a given because when front office executives gather to talk about prospects, it’s a bit of a hot seat because they’re going to ask for your opinion on a player and you’re going to be challenged. I’m told Brett is not a guy who’s going to back down in that challenge. He believes in his opinions and he should because he has a strong reputation as an evaluator of talent.”

Looking at it from that perspective, it’s easy to conclude that Veach could make a big move in the first round for a player he thinks is perfect.

But it’s also true that Veach has been leaving his options open. It’s easy to forget that putting the franchise tag on Ford meant the Chiefs were committing to playing — and paying — Ford in 2019. It’s clear Veach hoped he could find a trading partner for Ford, but that happens relatively rarely; tag-and-trade deals do occur, but not that often. Applying a franchise tag is not the action of a GM who thinks there is only one path to where he wants to go.

In addition, the free agency moves he has made thus far this year have been generally conservative; they suggest Veach could be planning to enter draft day with as few pressing needs as he can manage.

So, Jack... I’d love to give you some insight into what will happen, but I can’t. Veach is entirely unpredictable. He could trust his board and sit at 29, or he could watch what happens in the first 12-15 picks, decide that an unexpected opportunity exists, and take it.

Or he could just have a piece of paper in his pocket that reads something like, “Greedy Williams... no matter what.”

Is there ANY way we bring Eric Berry back?

— Bird

I appreciate the question, Bird. In desperate moments, I also feel your pain. It just doesn’t seem right for Eric Berry to finish his career anywhere but in Kansas City. But it’s just not going to happen.

This is essentially the same question Dan asked a few weeks ago: whether Houston might return to the Chiefs like Ron Parker did. So I’ll give essentially the same answer:

“Remember... Ron Parker was essentially a journeyman when he came to the Chiefs. He was an undrafted player in this third season, and had been on three different teams before arriving in Kansas City. Houston Berry, on the other hand, has been with the Chiefs since he was drafted and has been one of the team’s stars for many years. It’s just not likely that after being released so close to the beginning of free agency, he’d come back to the Chiefs for substantially less money.”

We’re fans. We’re allowed — even encouraged — to wear our hearts on our sleeves for our favorite players. But the people who run NFL franchises — and the players who are employed by them — have no such illusions. It’s a business.

Over/under on the number of Williamses on the Chiefs roster in 2019?

— Matt

That’s an amusing question, Matt — so thank you! But it’s kind of a serious one, too.

The Chiefs had three Williamses on the roster in 2018 — Damien, Darrel and Xavier. I expect at least two of them to return in 2019 — and probably all three.

I’ve just checked my copy of the way-cool KC Draft Guide (see how neatly I worked that in?) and eight more Williamses are potential draft targets for the Chiefs: defensive tackle Quinnen, offensive tackle Jonah, cornerbacks Greedy and Joejuan, wide receivers Preston and Anthony Ratliff — and finally — running backs Trayveon and James.

Barring a trade-up, two or three of these Williami will likely be off the board by the time the Chiefs pick at 29. That leaves five or six brothers-of-other-mothers who could find a spot on the Chiefs roster.

And don’t forget running back Dexter, who isn’t listed in the KC Draft Guide but visited the Chiefs last week; apparently, Veach isn’t afraid to make decisions about player visits before receiving his copy of the Guide.

Furthermore, there are at least seven Big Ws available in free agency — including tight end Maxx — and who knows how many more could be lurking out there in the no man’s land between voided AAF contracts and missed combine invites?

After his probation officer cleared the meeting, I took this information to a... uhh... professional mathematician I know, and he said a person would be smart to take the over at 3.5, or the under at 5.5.

Rank your favorite cars of all time.

— Erik

I’d be happy to do that, Erik — although I suspect this is one of those questions that reveal more about someone’s age than their preferences.

  1. 1965 Ford Mustang
  2. 1970 Plymouth Barracuda
  3. 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280 Cabrio
  4. 1981 DeLorean DMC
  5. 1979 Honda Accord sedan

It’s impossible to overstate the way the Mustang captured the imagination of the American public when it was introduced in 1964. My family took a weekend trip to Texas the next year, and as a lark, my dad rented one. I remember two things about that trip: Dad was stopped for speeding (“What’s your hurry, Mr. Dixon?” drawled the state trooper), and it seemed like every other car in Texas was a Mustang. The 1965 version is my favorite. Everything about it says fun.

If the Mustang is the fun version of the American sports car, the 1970 Barracuda is the powerful one. I always loved the lines of its design; it absolutely screams power and speed.

The Mercedes Benz 280 from 1970 sends an entirely different message: the owner has arrived. People who bought Cadillacs wanted to show off their wealth. People who owned 280s knew they didn’t need to.

It’s not just Back To The Future. Even without the optional flux capacitor package, from its wholly American lines to the stainless-steel body, the DeLorean DMC stands alone. Like Preston Tucker before him, John DeLorean’s vision was ahead of its time.

It is said that the Honda Accord marked the moment when Japanese cars could be taken seriously. I don’t know about that. I just loved the lines of the 1979 sedan version. I always thought of it as the car you’d own before you could afford a Benz 280.

Things just aren’t the same in the car industry. All the cars look too much alike; you can no longer tell a Ford from a Chevy with just a glance. These days, even their names are soulless and unimaginative. But I really think that’s because the pharmaceutical industry has hired all the clever people who are good at naming things. Just imagine a favorite car list that included these models:

  • Honda Cialis
  • Chevrolet Claritin
  • Subaru Zyrtec
  • Cadillac Ozempic
  • Toyota Trelegy
  • Porsche Lyrica
  • GMC Abilify

Those people need to get back to the industry that really needs them.