Monday, October 20, 2008

New Blog Home

For anyone that consistently reads this my new blog home is

I'd love you to follow the blog over there!


Put the Chiefs Out of Their Misery

Someone put this team out if its misery. Are there enough adjectives to describe just how poor this team is? In summary, a portly, short-yardage back burst off-tackle untouched for an 80 yard touchdown. That's right Lendale White the guy who has been getting grief from Titans fans for his out of shape body and slow feet burst untouched for an 80 yard touchdown. He averaged 8.8 yards per carry on the day. The Titans' "feature" back Chris Johnson in an attempt to run down the clock followed up that 80 yard plodding touchdown with a 66 yard effort. In all the Chiefs allowed 323 yards rushing. They allowed two backs to top 100 and each back averaged 9 yards a carry. Those are video game stats.

The Chiefs were ran over physically, emotionally and spiritually by the Titans. The spirit of the franchise was pounded into the turf at Arrowhead Sunday. Herm cannot fix this. At this point no matter what Edwards and Cunningham say players won't take it to heart. They will be hollow words and the players will have those glazed over eyes a son or daughter gets when their parent starts lecturing them. They need a new voice. They need new leadership from the top. Carl Peterson should do the honorable thing and fall on his own sword. Carl should step down from this mess he has created. I want to believe Clark Hunt is just saying the right things waiting for the off-season to make wholesale changes.

I want to believe that but part of me also believes that he's going to let Carl Peterson select his own successor. That is a horrible decision. I could understand that decision if the Chiefs were New England and winning Super Bowls and Carl Peterson was a beloved GM. But he is an embattled GM that has no support in the fan base and has proven through almost twenty years that he cannot build a Super Bowl team.

Herm has proven that he cannot win with his guys. I understand rebuilding teams are going to struggle. But struggle means losing some close games while showing flashes of talent and then sprinkling in a win or two with a blowout thrown in. What we are seeing is regression from week one to week seven. The rushing defense is arguably the worst in franchise history and Herm has spent a lot of draft picks on that side of the ball. The offense is arguably the worst in franchise history and we have no quarterback on the roster better than a career back-up.

Ingle "Freakin" Martin should start. I dont care if he's not ready. I dont care if he has to have Brian Waters tell him what the play is. He is a professional football player (allegedly) and has had several weeks to learn this offense. I mean there cant be more than twenty plays called in this gameplan anyway. This offense was supposed to be "easy" to learn so young guys could quickly pick it up. Thigpen should be the number two and Martin the one. At this point find out what you have in him.

What we should have is 28 year old Chris Simms on the roster but I won't go over that massive roster error again. No, I wont look back I'll look forward and what we need to know going forward is if Ingle Martin has any talent.

We know Thigpen and Huard do not.

We need new leadership starting at the head of this beast all the way down the chain. I love Gunther, always have but even Gunther needs to find new employment. Results are results and great coordinators would at least keep this team respectable. As it is we cant stop the run, we cant rush the passer and offensively we are a nightmare.

In all this doom and gloom it's hard to see there will be better days ahead but there will. Hang in there Chiefs fans, if this season is teaching us anything it is to appreciate when the ship is finally righted and has a new captain leading us to glory.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chiefs' Edwards Faces Titanic Task This Weekend

It is no stretch to say that the game against the Titans this weekend could define Herm Edwards coaching career in Kansas City. Tony Gonzalez's request to be traded and Carl Peterson's unwillingness to trade him for anything less than a second rounder has put a huge burden on Herm's shoulders. You could hear it in his voice and see it in his body language that Herm is on the edge right now. He was as friendly as a crocodile in the news conference yesterday bristling at reporters and repeating himself in his traditional manner when he's irritated about something.

Q: What does that say about you, about Carl, about this organization that he asked to be traded?
EDWARDS: “It doesn’t say anything about me. It doesn’t say one thing about me. It has nothing to do about me. You need to ask the player about that. That’s not for me to answer. I answer for decisions I make, what comes out of my mouth. So, you’re asking the wrong guy. You need to ask him.” (

Herm likes to repeat himself to drive home a point. Nothing wrong with it, but when he does it you know he's passionate or irritated about the subject. You could hear the irritation in his voice when he responded to the questions the reporters threw at him yesterday. To compound matters Larry Johnson has been accused of pushing a woman in a night club. After reading the statements on both sides I'm inclined to think that she is looking for money from Larry and he will be yet again cleared of charges. However to think that Larry's charges aren't yet another distraction would be foolish.

Herm's titanic task is to find a way to get this young football team to focus on Sunday against an undefeated Titans team. The young Chiefs players turn to their veteran leaders like Larry and find him in trouble with the law or they turn to Tony Gonzalez and find him wanting out of the situation. Brian Waters seems to be the only steady veteran through this mess. To me Waters is the voice of the locker room and the franchise. He totes the company line.

Herm and Carl are on the brink. This rebuilding plan hangs by a thread and this Sunday could very well define not only the future of the franchise but who inevitably is leading it. If the Chiefs come out and play like they did against Carolina with slumped shoulders and people standing around after an interception waiting for someone else to make the tackle Herm has lost his team. To the fans and media that would be the final nail in the coffin for Herm Edwards and Carl Peterson in Kansas City. Win or lose the Chiefs have to come out and play with the passion they showed against the Broncos. Herm has to show the ability to get his team up for this game. Through all of the distractions and all of the negativity he has to provide a solid gameplan and motivation for a team teetering on disaster. If he can do this fans, media and more importantly the players might get some renewed vigor and confidence in what they're being taught.

On the bright side, Brodie Croyle is back and that might bring a little spark to the offense. Brodie is linked to Herm at the hip. His fortunes could be the fortunes of this head coach. If Brodie is awful or worse gets hurt Herm will take the blame for annointing him the quarterback of the future. If Brodie's week 1 injury provided any positives it was that it showed without a doubt, every single back-up on this team is league average or worse. There is no pressure on Brodie from any guy holding the clipboard on Sunday. Huard has been miserable and looks lost at times, Thigpen looks like a guy that needs time in the CFL and Hagans was a half thought out joke. In fact I'd go so far as to say that Ingle Martin should be moved to the number three quarterback ahead of Thigpen. Sure I only have some pre-season games with the Titans to back up that claim but that is my opinion.

Herm Edwards is sailing this ship through icy waters right now and he has to keep the ship afloat against a Titanic opponent in what could be the most critical game of his coaching career. If it sinks there won't be any Ballads of the Edwards-Fitzgerald from Chiefs fans.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Trades are Exciting

The trade deadline came and went and Tony Gonzalez is still in the red and gold of Kansas City. I'm happy and sad at the same time. I'm happy I'll still get to see number 88 catching passes in KC but part of me wanted to see some shakeup. Trades are exciting and in a year of down performances debating the merits of a trade adds some spice. My question is what if anything does he say to the players in the locker room now that the trade fell through? Perhaps nothing needs to be said.

Regarding LJ. I find it suspicious on the day of the trade deadline that this assault charge gets released to the media. Call me a conspiracist but could it be someone put this out there to cool interest in him? On the outside looking in the charges look flimsy. I wasn't there and don't claim to have all of the facts but picking LJ out of a police lineup seems a bit skewed. I could pick him out of twenty of his closest relatives I've seen his face so much.

My opinion is the NFL needs to do something to make the trade deadline a bit more active. The NFL salary cap rules are so convoluted it takes a capologist to figure it out and I'm sure that has a major impact on the lack of trades that occur mid-season and in the NFL in general.

Teams in contention over-value draft picks. Picks in the second, third, and fourth rounds are some of the most over-valued by General Managers. Draft picks are a bit like playing the lottery. GMs are hoping to find a jackpot in the third round instead of taking the payout on a known quantity. Are you telling me that the Giants or Bills wouldn't be a better team with Tony Gonzalez on their team for a second round draft pick? What are the actual odds the Bills or Giants draft a player in the second round in the next two or three years that is better than a Hall of Fame Tight End still playing at a very high level? I would say the odds are very low considering your average NFL career is something like three and a half seasons. Add to this that the Bills and Giants will most likely draft in the bottom third of the 2009 draft and the odds are even less of finding value that is greater than what Tony Gonzalez or Larry Johnson bring to their team.

A combination of coveting draft picks and the salary cap make NFL trades very rare and deadline day is often a dud instead of an exciting swap of players that a lot of fans would like to see.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tony Gonzalez Picked a Fine Time to Leave

My first reaction to the news Tony Gonzalez wants out of Kansas City is "good for him". I wouldn't want to be stuck on that nowhere franchise at age 32 either. He has every individual award he could want as a tight end including all of the records. Tony Gonzalez literally has nothing to play for now except a ring. The Chiefs by all accounts won't be looking at a Super Bowl any time soon and by the time this young team "might" be ready (that's a big might) he will be past his prime and in a back-up role.

So in a way he did pick a fine time to get out of Kansas City. The other part of me however wants to question his internal fortitude just a little bit. Brian Waters said he wants to be on a winning team as well but he said he'd rather build it from the ground up. Tony Gonzalez wants to "ride the coat-tails" to quote Waters. Just when the days are darkest our most beloved player wants to bail. What does that teach the young players on this team? When the going gets tough, quit or request a trade?

I must think for Tony Gonzalez to want out and to publicly state such the situation around One Arrowhead Drive must be awful. Is Tony not buying into Coach Edwards' philosophies? Did he ever? Are the young guys also going to mentally check out on Edwards seeing that respected Hall of Fame players are doing so? I think the precedent Tony Gonzalez is setting for this club and its fragile mental state is a bad one. I respect Tony Gonzalez and I know "why" he is wanting out but why now? Herm seems on the edge of losing this team and with it his job could follow suit. He has already lost a lot of the loyal fan base.

Losing Croyle's security blanket in Gonzalez might seal the deal on Herm Edwards' tenure in Kansas City. Fair or not this team is developing too slowly for anyone's tastes. The offense is still unimaginative and no amount of Gunther cussing down on the sidelines is going to fix what ails this team.

Rumor on Fox Sports Sunday said that Larry Johnson kept coming up when people would call about Tony Gonzalez. If they are shopping Larry Johnson that is a good thing. He is not a guy you rebuild with. I like Larry Johnson and always have but I dont know if his attitude equates well to a young team trying to build some chemistry. Larry's running style also is not condusive to a team with a struggling offensive line. He's a downhill runner that needs a step or two to get those long legs churning. Against Denver he was able to do that and his talent once again showed but with Larry in the game we look very one-dimensional given his penchant to not block well and his mediocre pass-catching skills. If Charles were the full-time back we might actually get more production out of him given he presents a threat in all phases of the game. If not and we keep Larry Johnson fine. I dont think anyone will pick up his contract but they need to find a way to get LJ and Charles in the backfield together. Give defenses something to worry about besides their sack totals at the end of the game.

Monday, October 6, 2008

New "Arrowhead Anger" Workout Works Wonders

So a couple weeks back I started to feel sloppy sitting on my couch watching football instead of actually being athletic so I started to formulate a workout that would also double as a drinking game.

Every time the Chiefs punt or give up points you do ten pushups; if it is a three and out you could do ten more. Every turnover is twenty-five situps or crunches. I warn you this workout is harder than it sounds. When I quit watching the Panthers game at 31-0 I had already exceeded 120 pushups and something like seventy five crunches.

I figure by year-end my stress levels will be lower and I'll be pretty buff.

**Warning: you could also turn this into a drinking game but I am afraid the center for alcohol poisoning might get a few phone calls and I dont want to be held responsible***

Falcon, Dolphins, Chiefs a Rebuilding Comparison

The Falcons have 3 wins in five games one year after they lost their "franchise" QB in Vick and their coach quit before the season ended causing a turnover in coaching philosophies. To top it off they are starting a rookie QB. The Falcons are rebuilding with 23 rookies, 1st or 2nd year players. They have 9 1st, 2nd or 3rd year players starting. So in a year after Atlanta won four games they have already won 3. They have a rookie Qb, rookie LT, rookie MLB, two young corners, two young guards, and a young right tackle. I see some similarities on this team to ours but the major difference that I see is creativity and perhaps their draft picks are panning out? Or is the difference Matt Ryan? Remember this is a team that pounded KC in Atlanta three weeks ago.

The Dolphins in back-to-back games have beaten the AFC Champs and the AFC Runners up. They too have 23 rookie, first or second year players. They are starting 8 of them. They have a veteran noodle-armed QB with no mobility in Pennington (a slightly younger Huard). They have some once great running backs coming off injury (Brown) or hiatus (Williams). They have Ted Ginn Jr. and Camarillo as their wideouts (even worse than KC in my opinion) and no Future Hall of Fame tight end. They are starting a rookie left tackle, kicker, and punter. Most of their defense is young minus Porter and Holliday (a bust in KC). The Dolphins are 2-2 and arguably have two more impressive wins than the one KC had versus a suspect Denver defense.

The Chiefs on the other hand are 1-4 and have 26 first, second or third year players. They are starting fifteen of them which is nearly twice as much as the other two rebuilding teams. However, Herm has had some time to draft his guys around here. A lot of these guys may pan out but some of them are starting to look mediocre. Derrick Johnson is starting to finally show up on game film in his third season but Tamba Hali to me looks terrible. He stands straight up and gets driven into his linebackers on running plays and offers no moves at all to get to the QB on passing downs. Dorsey is not exactly clogging the middle if the number of rushing yards per carry and per game are any indication. He's a rookie but I'm pretty sure Warren Sapp was better than this at this stage in his career. For anyone who thinks it's not fair to compare him to Warren Sapp, I call BS. If you are drafted as a top 5 player out of a National Championship NCAA team you need to play like an All-Pro out of the gate. I mean it's Defensive Tackle, it's not quarterback. Line up learn a few stunts and beat the guy across from you. Tyler and McBride are also not exactly impressive. Some of these guys need to start playing. Rookies yeah i'll cut them some slack but the other guys need to start flashing some potential or they will be labeled busts sooner rather than later.

Chiefs Meltdown Bad Sign for Herm's Staff

"I didn't see that coming at all. We were a confident team after last week's game," Edwards said. "Then we come in here and we acted like we've never played before."

Part of me saw this coming. A young team fresh of an upset goes on the road and has a letdown game against a very stout Panthers team. But, part of me saw the Denver game as a confidence builder and a stepping stone to better games. I expected the Chiefs to lose on Sunday and maybe even by ten to fourteen points (spread was 9.5). What I didn't expect was such a flat performance. They may as well have not showed up. The blame there goes to Herm Edwards and the coaching staff. Not sure what you learn from this game as a young player. That it's ok to quit? The Chiefs quit on Herm in this game and that is the most troublesome part of this loss. I will say the young cornerbacks Brandon Carr and Brandon Flowers didn't quit but the rest of the team did. Muhsin Muhammad is not faster than those Chiefs defenders at his age is he? Yet he outran them to the endzone. That is a lack of desire or even more incriminating to a "fast young defense" is that a 36 year old possession receiver is faster than your twenty-something corners and safeties. So pick your poison. Either the Chiefs defenders gave up on the play or Muhammad is faster than a collection of young guys.

A prime example of the difference between a good coach and a mediocre one, Tom Coughlin. Coughlin is a hard-nosed old school disciplinarian football coach. He benched his best receiver before the game yesterday (Plaxico Burress) for being late. Coughlin's team has a huge upset win in the Super Bowl last year and Michael Strahan retires and Osi Umenyiora is injured yet they still come out and play at a very high level. If any team was due for a let down season it was the Giants. They won it all in one of the biggest upsets of all time. Their franchise defensive end retires and their other star defensive end is lost for the season. Mailing in the 2008 season would have been acceptable. How do you motivate a team like that? Yet Tom Coughlin has it figured out. Herm can't even motivate a young, hungry team with many guys playing for future contracts. Losing is 'ok' if the heart is there. The Chiefs coaching staff really needs to re-evaluate what they are doing in mental preparation. I have seen heartless performances in two of the last three weeks. That is not acceptable from a fan base that is trying to be patient with rebuilding.

The Chiefs have a bye week to regroup and for the coaching staff to make some tough decisions. I have come to two decisions that in my mind need to be made. First, move Hali back to left side defensive end. He is jumping around standing straight up and not even playing the run on almost every down. He lacks the burst to beat a left tackle and lacks the power to get off blocks. He needs to play on the left side to face some inferior competition. On the right side they need to play a guy that is more stout against the run. We can't get a pass rush anyway, don't compound the problem by letting Hali struggle on the right side against the run too.

Second, McIntosh needs to be replaced by Herb Taylor at right tackle. I understand the desire for consistency on the offensive line. Right now they are consistently awful. McIntosh needs to be a backup left tackle or even moved to right guard where his lack of quickness isn't as exposed. He is supposed to be a decent run blocker so why not move him inside at this point in his career? Brandon Albert at left tackle and Herb Taylor at right tackle needs to happen and happen in the bye week to give Taylor a chance to get acclimated.

Offensively the Chiefs are not any more imaginative with Chan Gailey than they were last year with Mike Solari as the offensive coordinator. First play of the game a play-action deep pass is a great way to put a little doubt in the mind of the defense. Hell run an end around or a half-back pass from Larry; something to slow down the run blitzing safeties and linebackers that are gang tackling Larry Johnson behind the line of scrimmage. Another play that slows down the rush is the shovel pass. If the defensive line and linebackers are coming so hard to the line of scrimmage squirt your back in behind them for a nice 4-7 yard pickup with a shovel pass. It's safe so it could be effective and again it shows a new look to the defense. Where are the slant passes to Bowe/Darling? I know the Chiefs offensive play book is limited with noodle-arm, no mobility Huard but don't compound the issues by being unimaginative with what weapons you do possess. How about Charles and LJ in at the same time? fake run to LJ up the middle and a toss outside to Charles? I know that might *gasp* put Georgia Tech fullback Mike Cox on the sideline for a play or two but I think the Chiefs will be just fine without him. There are a lot of ways to give some new offensive looks. With arguably the finest defense in the NFL coming to town Chan Gailey needs to use many of them if they expect Brodie to stay upright for more than a quarter on October 19th. Haynesworth and the Titans are coming into town and it could be very ugly very fast if they don't.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Suicide Watch Is Over for Chiefs Fans

Time ticked off the clock in Arrowhead Stadium and the Chiefs were on the right side of a 33-19 score against the hated Broncos. Thousands of Chiefs fans and myself slowly backed off the ledge. In my last post I compared rooting for bad sports teams to being in a bad relationship. The Chiefs of late had made me pondering crazy thoughts like divorce. Well the Chiefs sent me balloons, one of those cute teddy bears that says "I'm Beary Sorry" and a dozen roses. To beat the loathsome Broncos to break the 12 game losing streak is even sweeter.

I have been smiling since 3 p.m. yesterday and it would take something pretty catastrophic to wipe it from my face. The Chiefs played with heart. They were fired up and responded everytime Denver mounted a comeback. I'm not sure what Cutler was thinking throwing across the field when he could have tucked the ball and ran for ten or more yards on the bootleg but we (Chiefs, Chiefs fans, coaches) will take it. Heart and desire to win can overcome talent deficiencies. Throw in some great individual performances from young players and this is the kind of growth everyone in Chiefs Nation wanted to see. It is one thing to lose, it is another thing to lose to awful teams and look lifeless doing so. The past two weeks the Chiefs looked lifeless. I'm not sure if it was Herm's long interviews and motivational talk this week, Larry Johnson meeting Jim Brown and being reminded why he's in the NFL or a good game plan by Gunther and Chan Gailey but we'll take it.

Return of the Play-Action Pass
Play-action passes work. They draw linebackers up and create separation for a receiving corps in need of whatever advantage they can get. What play-action also does is puts doubt in the defender's minds. I think this was a main component in the game that helped decide the outcome. When Huard would fake the handoff to LJ or Charles it was almost always a completion. I think Chan had been hesitant to use it earlier in the year because the downside of play-action is it takes an extra second to get a pass off. The inclusion of play-action passing was a much needed boost to help the offense.

Defensively the team flew to the football. A young fast team finally looked young and fast instead of just young. Brandon Carr is a stud. Even on the touchdown to Brandon Marshall, Carr had perfect technique and coverage. I maintain that no corner in the NFL could have stopped that play. It was perfectly thrown by Cutler to a leaping 6'4" receiver and despite under-cutting the route like Carr did and leaping he just couldn't do much about it. Flowers on the other side also had his moments but to me Carr covering Marshall was a key difference in the game. He reminds me a bit of James Hasty. I know it's a bit "hasty" (bad pun I know) to crown him a Pro Bowl cornerback but he has great instincts and is a big fast corner. Gunther Cunningham for all of this "Cover-2" talk from Herm is a man-to-man, in your face, rush the passer kind of defensive coordinator. He and Jim Johnson of the Eagles are from the same mold. They are gamblers and big play creators. I never get the feeling that Gunther is comfortable sitting in soft zones hoping his defense doesn't make a mistake. I prefer watching blitzing, attacking defenses. I think it plays well with a young fast defense to just attack and dont think. It seemed that KC had that mentality today.

My biggest question is will these young kids let down in Carolina in front of a hostile crowd against an all-world receiver in Steve Smith and a powerful running back in rookie Jonathan Stewart? The Chiefs will have to play with just as much fire as they showed yesterday to have a chance against a good Carolina team and this Sunday could go a long way in deciding just where this season is headed. Win or lose Chiefs Nation wants heart out of its players and the Panthers will provide a stern test.

I've backed off the ledge and the doctors say I'm not a danger to myself or others. That is good news and if the Chiefs could somehow sneak out of Carolina with a win I might be forever cured.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Devotion to Bad Teams Borders on Enabling a Bad Relationship

The Attraction
My love affair with the Chiefs began in 1989 when our high school football coach took us to a game in Arrowhead stadium. It was October 22nd, 1989 against the Dallas Cowboys. Coach Potts and one of his assistants were Cowboys fans so we heard all about the Cowboys on the way up. I had a passing interest in the Chiefs in the 80s but up to this point they didn't really ever stand out. Well the Chiefs under first year coach Marty Schottenheimer won that game 36-28 and my love for the Chiefs was born.

The Marriage
All through high school I followed the Kansas City Chiefs led by Derrick Thomas, Neil Smith, Dale Carter, Joe Montana, and Marcus Allen. I remember the game in Houston and the playoff win and the subsequent heart-breaking loss in Buffalo the following week. I have watched nearly every game since 1989 the Chiefs have played. Through great wins and heart-breaking playoff losses I watched. I started to assume with Marty at the helm that the playoffs were just something the Chiefs did every year. I took it for granted in the same way I'm sure Atlanta Braves or Yankees fans did when their team went to the playoffs year after year. They were commonly the bridesmaids but never the bride, but I was passionate about them all the same.

Now twenty years after Marty Schottenheimer's first season coaching the Chiefs we are sitting on a twelve consecutive game losing streak. It's the kind of losing I just don't remember from the Chiefs. They were one of the winningest teams in the 90s. They were at least respectable in parts of the 2000s but here we are back to Jack Steadman's Chiefs. Part of me wants it to hit 16 games so that it's a nice even full season.

Everyone knows someone or was/is personally involved in a terrible relationship. The relationship started well but you could always see problems. It's like that significant other that turned out to be an alcoholic or an insecure control freak. When you first met them they were cute, had a good laugh and looked like they were going somewhere. You hooked up and then realized they only have a good laugh when they were drinking. They had serious character flaws like a nasty temper or a penchant for being irreresponsible. You stayed faithful hoping that if you loved them enough they would reward you in turn. You constantly wanted to write them off but then you would convince yourself that it's being unfaithful and they really weren't 'that" bad. I mean there were worse people (teams) out there right? You start coming up with the good things about them trying to convince yourself you see progress.

Jealousy and Anger
There is jealousy in the relationship as you looked around and saw other happy relationships. "Why can't we be happy like that?" you think to yourself. You see long suffering Patriots fans strike it rich with Tom Brady and lucky calls in the snow known as the "tuck" rule. Why can't we get those lucky breaks? I mean instead we get offensive pass interference called on Tony Gonzalez in a playoff game. We get Priest Holmes fumbling in that same Colts game after breaking off a 40 yard run. You see flash in the pan teams like the Falcons do the Dirty Bird and go to the Super Bowl with Jamal Anderson.

You start to question the decisions of your affection. Why didn't they ever develop a quarterback? Why don't they pick up some good defensive players? Why don't they ever do the dishes or keep the hair off the soap?

The Reconciliation
Inevitably you take them back hoping for better days. As a sports fan I get angry at fair weather fans for constantly switching their favorite teams with the direction of the wind. But sometimes I envy them. How do they let go of something so easily? How do they do that and have no remorse? If I give up on the relationship and they go on and win the Super Bowl after I've denounced them then I'll feel like a foolish traitor. However, if I stick with them and watch them I'm rewarding the team with good TV ratings for bad behavior. It's like your significant other does something bad and you tell them they are sleeping on the couch only to let them back in the bed after an hour or two. Will they ever learn that way?

I know, I know I'm being over-dramatic but keep in mind as a Kansas City Chiefs and Royals fan I haven't seen a win in the playoffs since 1993. I was a senior in high school. I haven't seen the Royals GO to the playoffs since 1985. The Chiefs were the one part of the Kansas City sports scene that I looked forward to. Now my weekend is filled with dread of not if we are going to lose but by how much.

Someone tell me when it is healthy to let go of the relationship and move on.

Royals Displaying Gamesmanship With WhiteSox

I find it a bit suspect that Royals ace Zack Greinke won't be making his final scheduled start on the last game of the season against the Twins. The reason out of the Royals front office is they want to save his arm wear and tear. While Zack has indeed thrown over 200 innings this season I find it strange they didn't make this decision two or even three starts prior to this. Is one start and six to seven innings really going to be the difference in an arm injury?

Unless Greinke is complaining of arm or shoulder troubles and I can't find any reports that he is I have to assume there is more to this. There is no love loss between the WhiteSox and KC. There have been bench clearing brawls in the past few seasons and words exchanged. Chicago is where our first base coach was attacked by a fan and his son out of the stands a few years back.

My personal opinion is that by starting journeyman AAAA pitcher Brandon Duckworth we are indicating to the small market Twins that it is their playoff berth to lose. The White Sox I'm sure won't forget this move by the Royals front office and I for one like some brush back pitches and drama in my baseball season. In a 162 game grind the game needs some excitement and the Royals pulling Greinke should make games against the White Sox in 2009 a bit more interesting.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dick Vermeil Must Be Smiling

Dick Vermeil must have been somewhere smiling watching the Eagles and Cowboys battle it out in Big D last night. Offensive firepower was in full display as each team traded homerun strikes down the field. Some good individual defensive plays were made on both sides. The Eagles recovered a Romo fumble in the endzone for a touchdown and the Cowboys stopped the Eagles final drive to seal the game. But individual defensive plays were sprinkles on the cupcake of offensive goodness. The defensive coordinators will be in full fury during film review after the exciting 41-37 shootout but bad tackling wasn't really the problem. It was great execution by two powerful offensive teams.

If the old adage that offense wins games but defense wins championships is true then both teams will need to step up their defensive efforts as the season wears on. However you must have the offense to win games to even worry about reaching a championship.

I don't get the sense either team will be hitting the panic button on their defensive efforts just yet. The fans in Dallas certainly got their money's worth and fantasy teams with Cowboys and Eagles players are rejoicing Tuesday morning.

I hope Herm Edwards and Chan Gailey were watching this game because if they ever want to elevate the Chiefs and excite the fanbase a healthy dose of play-action and opening up the vertical offense would go a long way. Perhaps they should sip some of Vermeil's wine and give him a quick phone call.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Who Is Ingle Freakin Martin? We Better Find Out

"Who is Ingle Freaking Martin?" I asked myself and anyone in earshot as I read the KC Chiefs had signed this unknown quarterback from the Tennessee Titans practice squad. I dug around the internet to find that Ingle Martin was a D-II quarterback from Fuhrman who also acted as their punter. He might have also been their waterboy supplying the team with high quality H2O. Ingle Martin transferred to Fuhrman from Florida when Chris Leak got all the playing time during their championship run.

The Titans have Kerry Collins as their back-up QB which isn't a bad guy to have behind Vince Young but the Titans thought so little of Martin that they decided to leave him unprotected rather than to bring him up behind Collins as the number two after Young's injury.

Within 48 hours the Chiefs were trying out the flying circus of Chris Simms and Tim Rattay when New England said thanks but "no thanks" to them. I started to envision Simms, Rattay and Daunte Culpepper driving around in a VW Bus between airports eating stale chips looking for odd jobs as they try out for backup QB jobs in the NFL. My mind does that sometimes.

So the Chiefs tried out Simms and Rattay and I looked at Simms career numbers. Even though they werent super impressive I do remember him being a bit mobile, left-handed, with a good arm and a good pedigree. He is only 28 so the Chiefs could have used him for a minimum of four to seven years given how long QBs are playing these days.

Instead the Chiefs said "no thanks" to Chris Simms and his pedigree and "yes please!" to Ingle Martin. The Titans the next day signed Chris Simms to back-up Kerry Collins. So in essence we and the Titans traded Simms for Martin in a weird waiver-wire deal.

Why you ask did KC do that? The answer is simple. Brodie Croyle is fragile. He is so fragile that "Fragile" Freddie Taylor calls him a sissy. But he isn't just physically fragile evidenced by three injuries in seven career starts but his psyche is crystal right now. He's never won a game in the NFL and he knows the Chiefs' brass are starting to question his toughness. To bring in Chris Simms would be a sure fire way to start a quarterback controversy. Simms would only need a somewhat decent showing for KC fans to be clamoring for him to remain the starter. Herm can't have that. Herm is stubborn beyond belief and once he claimed Croyle was his guy that's what he's sticking with. He can't have some guy like Chris Simms come in and upset this process. Ingle Martin is a nobody that no one is going to be clamoring for to start a game.

The Chiefs used Sunday's loss to the Raiders as a showcase of how bad their quarterbacks behind Croyle were. They even used Hagans off the practice squad to cement in everyone's mind "see and you thought Croyle was bad". Chris Simms would have represented a clear and present danger to that thought process. Chiefs fans wouldn't be clamoring for Brodie to return from injury like we are entering week 3 against the hapless Falcons if Simms were on the roster. On a side note, anyone with Michael Turner on their fantasy squad start him now! He might just break the single game rushing record against a Chiefs team that just allowed 300 yards to a Raiders team with no passing offense.

Well this week I expect Ingle Martin to be activated from the practice squad and to play at some point. Who is Ingle "Freaking" Martin? I dont know but we better find out soon because Tyler Thigpen and Hagans need to be selling insurance in Iowa not sitting behind center for an NFL franchise.

The sweet irony will be if Ingle Martin comes out and looks good the Chiefs will have a quarterback controversy anyway even if they didn't sign Chris Simms.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

KC Chiefs Rebuilding or Sinking the Franchise?

During the off-season I watched the Chiefs dismantle a geriatric team that finished 4-12 in 2007 and start "rebuilding" the team around young players. "Young teams are supposed to struggle" we were told by head coach Herm Edwards and GM Carl Peterson. They succeeded in lowering my expectations for this season from my usual 10 win prediction to 6-10.

Draft day rolled around and I watched all the pundits laud the franchise for their solid draft and remembered a very young Green Bay franchise went to the NFC Championship Game last season. Suddenly images of a 10-6 team started to come into view if I squinted hard enough at the easiest schedule the Chiefs have had in recent memory.

I was doing it again, I was hopeful when all the same pundits previewed the Chiefs at no better than third place in their own division. Somehow they were wrong and the Chiefs might be the AFC's Packers in 2008.

Two games later and boy do I feel foolish. After Week One's near miss in New England I had as good a taste in my mouth as you can have after a loss. Lots of 'coulda, shoulda' in week one that had me dreaming of a pasting of the pathetic Raiders.

Reality hit me around 12:30 central today. A hapless Raiders team that is the model franchise of what not to do with personnel and management came to town after getting their tails whipped 41-14 by a Broncos team most people thought wasn't much better than an 8-8 squad. With Huard behind center I felt confident that despite my desire to see the Chiefs develop a young QB with Croyle that he probably gave us the best chance to put more than 10 points on the board.

Sadly I forgot that the rebuilt offensive line is still a patchwork mess with a rookie left tackle and an immobile mess at right tackle and right guard. The same Raiders team that seemed so hapless a week ago was suddenly in our backfield like the old Tecmo Bowl game as if they picked our play. Larry Johnson still looked a step slow and lacked the vision he once had, but in his defense it's hard to find holes and cutback lanes when your linemen are shoved into your lap. The offensive game plan then took a turn for the worse when Damon Huard suffered a mild head injury (is there such a thing?). We used three different QBs in this mess of a football game. A practice squad WR/QB Haggans, a 35 year old 'never was' in Huard and a third stringer 'never will be' in Tyler Thigpen. It was an offensive disaster. The Chiefs couldn't run, couldn't pass, and couldn't fool them with trick plays.

What the Chiefs lacked in experience they made up for with a lack of discipline or talent. In the second half with the Chiefs surprisingly only down 6-0 we allowed a 95 yard drive of nothing but run plays. How does that happen in the NFL? What adjustments were made at halftime that the Raiders so confidently knew they could run the ball seven straight times from their own five yard line and score?

It was now 13-0 and I knew it was game over. How bad is your team when 13 points is too much to overcome with two quarters to play?

The Chiefs are supposed to be rebuilding and I know there are going to be rough games in this process but do they have to be so embarrassing? We have three Pro Bowl calibre players on this offense with Waters, Gonzalez and Larry Johnson and none of them did anything to make me think they deserved a spot in Hawaii. How does Herm go into that locker room and talk to his team after this mess? How do you possibly inspire any confidence in a team that was shellacked in a home opener to a hated rival and showed very little passion in doing so?

The Chiefs have drafted a lot of first and second round picks on that defensive unit that was gashed for 300 yards rushing despite no threat of a passing game. I don't care what scheme you are running you'd be hard pressed to give up three hundred yards to a team with no passing attack just based on sure talent and hustle. The Chiefs are either missing on their draft picks badly or they are badly coached. Young team or not this was inexcusable.

The Chiefs may be rebuilding in name but look like a sinking franchise destined to be mentioned in the same breath as the Lions, Cardinals and Raiders. The difference is the Raiders have three Super Bowl appearances since the Chiefs last saw one in 1969.

There are two things you need before anything else when you rebuild a team: an offensive line is number one and a quarterback is number two. The Chiefs are lacking both and yet continue to build a defense with draft picks. I understand defense is important, I just got finished watching the Greg Robinson/Dick Vermeil era Chiefs, but watching a team finish 9-7 with a punchers chance of putting 40 points on the board weekly is a hell of a lot more exciting as a fan than watching 8 points put on the board against a team that is likely going to only win 3 more games all season.

I am on board with rebuilding but after watching certain teams "rebuild" for two decades I'm starting to seriously wonder if we aren't headed down that slippery slope. The Chiefs are at a serious fork in the road of their franchise. Do they go the way of the Lions or the 2007 Green Bay Packers?

I am rooting for the latter but early evidence leans toward the former.