Tuesday, May 02, 2017

The 2017 Season Foremath (or, if you must, The Draft Aftermath)

It's easy to progress through the Chiefs draft ramifications with a post titled "The Draft Aftermath", but really, since this blog enterprise is only about game day activities, it really should be "The Season Foremath". It could even be "The Draft Foremath" because what transpired for the Kansas City Chiefs over the course of the draft was already established.

Long before last week's developments, Clark Hunt got serious about Chiefs winning by plugging in John Dorsey and Andy Reid to run things.

Those two in turn have been fastidiously building a stout, reputable organization of winning professional football in a number of ways. It has paid off with four straight winning seasons and a roster that is considered one of the deepest in the game. This has enabled Dorsey and Company to prosecute this draft like no other Chiefs brain trust ever has. A plethora of draft picks were deftly parlayed into higher picks to get stronger talent available at the top.

Now I didn't watch any of it, I never do. Again, I can't handle listening to the television commentators speak about how splendid some guy taken by another team is going to be, and then speak about how neato our guy is going to be, getting our hopes all up and later discovering he's a bust. Percy Snow, anybody?

But that was then, this is now.

John Dorsey knows what he's got, both in his coaching staff and in his own ability to find guys who can play. And while I didn't watch any of it or volitionally look at any of it except for a few peeks at Patrick Mahomes -- I couldn't help it! -- my radar picked up some and my friends and family told me about some.

Here's who I know we got, in the order of being drafted. Sorry, I don't know names, except for that first guy. A couple of them I saw were delightfully unusual, but let's just say I'm looking forward to them becoming households names, then all of us can really know them. And sorry, I don't even know who else we may have gotten last week, not even sure we had any other picks left after these guys. But these guys alone are just fine. So yeah, here they are.

QB, DE, RB, WR, LB.

That first one is that Texas Tech guy my brother said we should avoid, but I had to peek at what they said is so great about him. (Hey, a Chiefs quarterback first-round pick, yowza!) Great arm, great mobility, great confidence. Thing is aside from any of the other things that may be not-so-good, the big question is is he a good decision-maker? That's the most important thing of all, and every Chiefs fan is eager to see what Reid can do with him and trust that John did enough of his homework to trade up to No. 10 overall to get him.

Whatever the case, I trust John. Don't give a rip about the expense (a 3rd this year and our ::gulp:: No. 1 next year), if this guy will take us to the promised land this deal was pretty cheap actually.

I think I saw that the DE is 6'7", something like that? To firm up the D-line with a pick that high -- I like it. (Update: my brother just texted me saying he saw this guy play in person when Villanova played his team, James Madison. Said he was freakishly athletic. We'll take it.)

We traded up to get the running back too, and I've been getting the idea running backs are too costly in the first couple rounds, but are at a premium there in the 3rd. If this rule holds, we scored big here too. The WR we got had a terrific year in 2015 but not in 2016 -- those guys can be real finds because I'd always heard if you can see a guy do something amazing once he can do it again. A work colleague told me about this LB -- he said he is a big, fast, phenomenally relentless guy who comes from a small college, a factor that may have scared away other takers.

I don't know about you, but John and these five guys, all of them not only solid but filling needs -- add them to the team we already have -- I'm great with that.

I was also informed a little while ago that the Chiefs open the NFL season against the Patriots in Foxboro on national television, Thursday Night Football. I'd been told that we should be afraid, be very afraid. Eh, no doubt the Patriots are a historically great team, but I really like John and Andy.

And that we're picked to play in the inaugural showcase game of the season, against the Super Bowl champs? Some people must be noticing too.

There is no question every Chiefs fan is thrilled beyond ecstasy that a Chiefs GM would actually have not only the ferocious ganas to trade up so brazenly on draft days, but to back it up with a record of getting the best players in the draft and outside of it.

All of the culminates in another of the most important items in "The Season Foremath". I happened to catch that getting Mahomes to run the offense over the course of the next several years may be a major indicator that Dorsey and Reid are here to stay for a while.

Oh that that would happen.

That means this not only comprises "The Season Foremath", but the "The Chiefs Dynasty Foremath".

I can't wait until September 7th.
__

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Draft

As I've shared a million times before, I don't pay attention to anything Chiefs, at least not right now. Um, ahem, why then do I not only have a Chiefs blog, but actually squeeze in some time to write down a few things about what's going on with the Chiefs right now?

I do this blog because I really like the Chiefs. I don't pay any attention to anything except game action stuff because no matter what, all the outside stuff just drives me crazy. I am writing now because I'm presently going to write about future game action, naturally related to what's happening tomorrow.

I'm not so dense to fail to recognize that the first round of the draft is tomorrow. This is the first time I've blogged about it before the event itself. Some years in the past I've posted about this or that guy we got. This time I'm posting before, for one simple reason.

I trust John.

So far John Dorsey has killed it in the draft. This is why I'm great with whatever John decides to do. I'm thrilled we have someone there who's going to make whatever decisions that need to be made to ensure our team will win playoff games.

See, that's the key.

Look, as it is I confess I have been nervous about hoping one of those fine QB's or RB's is there for us to snatch at our, what, 25th pick? Again, I don't know, but the pick is down there somewhere.

I know there's the Clemson QB, the Notre Dame QB, and some other QB's they've talked about. I don't know much about any of them except that I saw them play a bit in college a couple times, and my radar has picked up that these guys are highly considered. My brother mentioned that we should not get that Texas Tech QB, he says he's not as good as they say. That makes me nervous, but if we end up with him -- again, I'm great with what John thinks Andy can do with him.

I know there's the Louisiana State RB, the Stanford RB, and the Florida State RB, and if we can't get that QB, I'd love to pick up one of those guys.

We really really really need that QB, though -- oh that for once that guy would land in our laps -- 

For ----- fuh-reekin' ----- once.

But then I think, what if all those guys are taken by the time our pick comes around.

Disconsolation. Mnffnmph.

But then again...

I trust John.

If all those guys are gone, he'll do what he needs to. Everyone debates obsessively about whether or not the selection should be fill-a-need or take-the-best. If we don't get that world-beater QB or RB, then I think it should be take-the-best, but you know? John knows best.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter who we get.

There's only one thing that counts.

I can't deny that it'd be really really really nice to enjoy, for once in a Chiefs fan's lifetime, there on that crisp Sunday late afternoon, first, second week of January, the Chiefs methodically driving down the field, under two minutes left and behind in the score, but within range and yes, our incisively confident QB

Just takes care of business.

Yeah, it'd be nice if we could enjoy a few of those days, over the course of the next few years or so. With the quarterback we get tomorrow gettin' it done. Or the running back setting things up so whichever quarterback we have can get it done. Or whoever it is that was a take-the-best guy we got in that great 2017 Chiefs draft doing something extraordinary to add to the dramatic proceedings and protracted exuberance of postseason game conquest. Yeah, that's our vision.

But no matter what, it is nice to know John'll get it done now.

So it'll get done then.
___

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Kansas City Blessing, Part III

My cousin, the die-hardest of die-hard Chiefs fans, sent out a Facebook notice shortly after the Chiefs latest playoff debacle, a simple but impassioned declaration that it didn't much matter any more. Yes there was much more depth to the message than that, but the thrust was something every Chiefs fan feels every time after time after time after time after time we refuse to win a playoff game that is ours for the taking.

Oh believe me I feel the same way. In my last post I'd spoken about the galaxy of hope we have if and when John Dorsey waves his wonderful wonder wand and does what he must this year -- however dramatically disruptive it may be -- to get the Chiefs to put a playoff team on the field that will nfncknking win a playoff game for once. But I do realize that in my exuberance I may have been a bit hard on some of our better players.

Don't get me wrong, the essence of what I said still holds. I'm hearing that the Chiefs are going full-throttle to ink Eric Berry, and that's perfectly fine, really -- but let's face it, arguably the best safety in the NFL still loses to good quarterbacks in the playoffs. Berry's been the lesser player four times -- Flacco, Luck, Brady, and Roethlisberger have all schooled him. He did beat Brian Hoyer (yay!)

But to Berry's credit, a ton of other factors weigh on the Chiefs. The NFL/media/business/officiating/Norse-god military-industrial complex is still consistently destroying the Chiefs chances to advance to games that'll lose too much money should the Chiefs appear in them. And the evidence is clear from one thread raging through the rumor mill I happened to see when one time this past week I peeked at Chiefs stuff.

Yeah, I peeked for just a moment to see if my work colleague's rumor threads had some veracity...

Big mistake.

Right after I'd posted about how splendidly awesome it was to have John Dorsey at the wheel driving an organization that is scorching up the player personnel development highway, I see that everyone is convinced he's slipping off to Green Bay after this year.

You are nfcknghfcncghkcking kidding me.

This is precisely the kind of thing that verifies everything I've said about how much the complex is crushing Chiefs fans hopes to enjoy some decent measure of postseason joyfulness. You know, I like looking (when I do which is rarely) at Arrowhead Pride and Arrowhead Addict and any number of other Chiefs sites and blogs, because the articles are indeed for the most part optimistic. That's a nice thing, an encouraging thing -- really, not being facetious at all, it is good to read good things about good Chiefs things happening often enough. There's a place for that.

But then there are my cousin's sentiments, and frankly, how many other Chiefs fans not only feel this way but know why they do?

How many Chiefs fans look at this gathering storm projecting Dorsey going the Packers and know that this is precisely the kind of thing that justifies the abject despair Chiefs fans feel all the time? That there is no reason in the world Dorsey should be going there except that the complex is loathe to see him continue to do great things for a team they simply do not tolerate being successful?

The best that happens is Dorsey likes the stability and purpose of the Chiefs organization right now and wants to see his work to its end -- a Super Bowl championship by 2023. Really, this is the way it should be. There is no reason in the universe the Chiefs are any worse than the Packers organization-wise -- at least that I've seen, no reason. So yeah, maybe Dorsey will see that the Chiefs Kingdom at every level appreciates everything he does here and he'd make no more money and have no more accoutrements in Green Bay than in Kansas City.

The second best is that after Dorsey is gone to the Packers, we can pray his replacement will take what he's done and do almost as well, hoping what we'll have from Dorsey's work and his successor's will propel us to that success we've all been so longing for.

Thing is the precariousness of that latter scenario, oh how familiar are we with that, is precisely why smarter Chiefs fans like my cousin legitimately, justifiably, and teleologically feel the way they do.

This is why in the face of knowing exactly what we're up against, seeing it, beholding it, being honest about it -- one of the main elements of the Kansas City Blessing is simply the fortitude any Chiefs fan has in the face of the impediments. I mean, what if the blessing at this exact moment in time is that being so sought-after means John Dorsey is as good as we all know he is? Maybe Dorsey stays after all, or if he's gone his replacement will be even better?

There is always that one thing I've shared a few times before -- that the horror of all the playoff horrors gets Chiefs people to do that much more they know they must do to win championship football, and that when they do it will be that much sweeter.

So yeah, I'll still blog about each game, however much that is. I'll still be one of the faithful -- through the pains and thrills and likely even more pains, but knowing there are those like me, that's cool.

The best of the Kansas City Blessing, however, is really in that image of the Chiefs fans at the top of this blog post. A random image from an event the Chiefs had at an elementary school --

Those kids are the Kansas City Blessing.

Hopeful still, enjoying the delights and wonders and beauties of the Chiefs Kingdom which is much more than football -- that's awesome.
__

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Kansas City Blessing, Part II

I wasn't planning on putting up a new post. I'd figured the most recent one would be the last for the 2016-2017 pro football episode, but I felt compelled to write about a few more specific things, for a few more quite significant reasons. There had been a number of other things on my mind that I didn't get to last time and I won't be revisiting them here, though a thread that ran through this latest postmortem to the Chiefs season is still quite prominent.

Yesterday a colleague of mine came in to my work area, someone with whom I converse about sports items at times, and while he knows I am a bit of a sports celibate, as it were, I indulge him and we have moderately engaging discussions. I don't contribute much except for whatever my sports-attuned radar has picked up from news or other sources.

He is, by the way, the gentlemen who mentioned a number of weeks ago that he felt the Chiefs are the only team with five game-changing players on the team, five of them (Hill, Kelce, Berry, Peters, Houston), and that he could think of no other NFL team with any more than two or three. Game-changers mind you, players who can almost single-handedly win games merely by their extraordinary talent and persistent will.

Which is why what he shared with me on Friday afternoon is something I felt I simply must address here in this blog. It starts with this still resounding truth every Chiefs fan knows so well and is so painfully familiar.

There is no way this team should have lost yet another playoff game, this one to a far less talented Steelers team.

This truth simply cannot be lost on wise insightful Chiefs management, it simply cannot be.

Here is what my colleague told me, and again, I know nothing about any of this, I have not in any way pursued discovering more about these possibilities, I haven't the faintest idea the veracity of the things my colleague divulged. I know nothing other than what he said, except that I do know

What these things mean for the Chiefs Kingdom.

He said the Chiefs are jettisoning a lot of high-priced guys, in surprising fashion. Any of us can think of anyone the Chiefs could do without, but some of the names were surprising. He mentioned Albert Wilson, but that's not a surprise because he simply could not run open routes underneath coverage and he dropped far too many passes he should've been able to grab.

He mentioned Jamaal Charles, but that's not really a surprise either except that Jamaal was such a valiant Chiefs player for so long, and really, so damn good. But you know? When you think about it, how well did Jamaal do for us in getting us to promised-land glory? You know, when you think about it, really very little.

In 2009 the Chiefs were poor. In 2010 Charles did well to get us the playoffs, but the rest of the team was not up to his ability, so that was really not on him. He was injured for the year in 2011, and 2012 was a catastrophe for everyone. There was 2013, but he got injured early in the Colts playoff game so that wasn't really on him either. In 2014 he was again spectacular but you know? He simply was not spectacular enough, because we inexplicably lost games to Tennessee, San Francisco, Arizona, and Pittsburgh we had no business losing. And then in 2015 there was the second ACL tear -- worse than the first because even today he has still not fully recovered from it, so yeah, not on him, but if he's not out there on the field, then he can't be employed as we need him to win postseason football games. Thing is, everyone has been pretty certain Jamaal, as great a Chiefs player as he will always be, is gone. Not much of a surprise.

The real surprise was who my colleague also mentioned, Eric Berry. Yeah.

Eric Berry.

I'd thought we'd surely be keeping Berry and likely letting Dontari Poe go, but ya know? As I think about it, if Berry is going to ask for the moon, I'd say good-bye too. How come?! Well, here's the thing, and this will give you a hint of what I think is going on within the inner workings of the Chiefs Kingdom.

Those playoff games.

In 2010 we got smoked by Baltimore. Berry was a rookie, and the team just wasn't as good as the Ravens, so that's fine. But Berry wasn't a world-beater in that game either. Then there was 2013 when Andrew Luck torched us in the last quarter-and-a-half of that nightmare game. Even though our D-backs were hurting, Berry was still back there letting the Colts get quick huge plays when stopping any two or three of them would've won us the game. That's a big one on Berry.

Then there was 2015 when Berry blew key coverages that allowed the Patriots, a team with absolutely no running game, to beat a better Chiefs team. And then there was this year, when Berry again blew critical coverages allowing the Steelers to get into field goal range one too many times.

Yes, Eric Berry is a hero, to everybody, always will be, always will be one of my favorite players no matter what. But I'm sure John Dorsey is going to go to Berry and say, "Look, it's about dubyas, and you didn't get it done when we needed it -- a number of times when we really needed it, in a big way. We still like you and would like for you to be a Chiefs player forever. Here's our offer, we'd love to have you return to play for us." Again, if he doesn't, then you know what?

I trust John.

My colleague mentioned there were other guys with their heads on the chopping block, he couldn't recall any, but he said one might be Eric Fisher. Eric Fisher?! Well, you know, Fisher is a fine offensive lineman, and last year we did sign him to a long term deal, but you know what? He still could've easily not held that Steelers guy when we really needed him to just play even modestly like a No. 1 overall pick.

The first item my colleague brought up, however, was about quarterback. He said that the Chiefs are going hard after Tony Romo. Now my first thought is, oh no, yet again we're going after some veteran who'll be around for maybe three years -- it's the Chiefs standard practice ::sigh:: But then I thought, good, the Chiefs are finally wanting to really take care of business.

Sorry, but Alex Smith, let's face it, you haven't done the job. You've actually played okay in the playoffs, really, you have, but please -- you haven't won us playoff games. You're good, but not winning-playoff-games good.

So if the Chiefs get Romo, cut loose Smith and all these other high or overpriced players, draft a fine quarterback for the future and stockpile a slough of other selections (some with compensatory picks -- oh do I like John Dorsey more and more), and with a ton of saved cap space snatch an undervalued free agent here and there...

We're in business.

Thinking about these things my colleague shared actually gave me a glimmer of hope. No, actually, it is giving me a galaxy of hope.

John Dorsey wants a team that will win playoff games and he'll do what he does really well to get it.

I like it a lot.

The strategy is simple, and he's got the skills to pull it off. We already have the game-changer pieces in place. I'd like to believe Dorsey has already told Andy Reid, we like you, you're a fine play-maker and strong team-leader, let me get the guys you need. Now some may wonder why Dorsey doesn't consider getting rid of Reid too, but please, finding good, solid coaches is much harder. Yes we can justifiably blister Reid about his inability to adjust or failure to be much more organic or refusal to manage late-game clocks or whatever, but he's still a terrific coach.

I'd also like to believe that Dorsey's gone to players like Tyreek Hill and Chris Jones and told them, look, you are the future, we really like you, and we will put a winning team around you.

And I know he's going to go to those players like Romo et al and share with them the vision for winning Chiefs football by bringing them on board to do the great things the Chiefs can do. Regarding someone like Romo, Dorsey's got a feather in his cap and something the Chiefs have really never had: a core of three terrific wide receivers in Maclin, Hill, and Conley, as well as the best tight end in football.

And I know he's going to run the table on draft day because he's already shown he's got the eye for nabbing talented players where he can get them.

A key takeaway in all this is we know he means business because he's going to toss anyone who isn't going to be serious about winning Chiefs football. He summarily did it to his third-round pick, Keivarae Russell, right in the middle of the season, and everyone was stunned he did that. Why though? Why so surprised? If he's no good or doing nothing to show he'll get better, get rid of him.

Oh my do we need bosses who are serious about lighting a fire under the ass of guys when it counts the most. No more spells, curses, deer-in-the-headlights looks from Chiefs players on the playoff football field. We're so sick of seeing that, every Chiefs fan wants to puke.

Get the job done, dammit.

Who cares who anybody is, who cares how much money someone's making or how special anyone thinks anyone is or what anybody thinks one way or the other?

We need a winning Chiefs football team, and that means winning postseason football.

Period.

This is the delightfully wonderful thing about hearing what my colleague shared with me yesterday.

John Dorsey means business. He's going to get guys who will win and if you're not one of those guys, you're outta there.

Wow. Wow, how many times have you felt the way you do now about this?

Now again, I can't say whether or not any of this is veritable or the extent to which things will change or whether we even have a legitimate shot at Romo or not. The veracity of any particular thing one way or the other is not even what really matters.

You know what matters.

I can't wait until next January.
__

Thursday, February 02, 2017

The Kansas City Blessing

September 30, 2014.

That was the day the Shuttlecock Curse silliness was finally put to rest.

You remember, being a Kansas City sports fan. Apparently in 1986 or something, shortly after the Royals won their first World Series title, the Nelson Gallery put a big honkin' shuttlecock on the front lawn. The thinking was since it was there, the Chiefs and Royals have stunk in postseason play, or worse, not even been there at all.

Seemed like eons. It was all the fault of that stinkin' shuttlecock.

Well, on that brisk September day, the Royals annihilated that sucker.

As every red-blooded Kansas Citian knows so well, the Royals defeated the A's in the American League Wild Card Game in one of the craziest fashions imaginable. Then they dispatched the Angels who only led the majors in wins that season. Then they disposed of the Orioles who some said were better than the Angels. Then they were 90 feet away from putting it to Madison Bumgarner -- who was only having the greatest pitching performance in World Series history -- and damn well winning the World Series outright.

Never you mind. For the Royals came back with a vengeance in 2015, first storming to the AL Central title, then taking down the Astros, then the Blue Jays, then the Mets to finally win it all with the greatest display of clutch hitting in major league postseason history tallying seven wins across that span in games they trailed by two or more runs.

Kansas City major professional sports team, World Champions.

Now yeah, it wasn't the Chiefs. And while there are likely a few Kansas Citians who care little about baseball, it was still a sign.

It was a major sign that a team with exceptional on-field talent, strong front office leadership, and the heart of a champion could overcome the gargantuan non-$$$-generating non-media-darling impediments and not only win it all but

Win it all being real and true and courageous.

You just saw it all over the Royals for two straight years. And if you are someone who likes the baseball Kansas City team and followed them through that delightful run, you know how phenomenally exhilarating it was. And everyone knows that much of that joy came from the what-seemed-like-an-eternity feeling of excruciating despair when the Royals were the absolute dregs of major league baseball.

I share this because I think this is a key component to what is happening with all this Chiefs stuff. I don't think there is any question there is something, something beyond anything we can explain that is keeping the Chiefs and their fine team from winning anything meaningful once they get into the playoffs. The Chiefs have been too talented far too often for there to be any other reason.

But that's where the Kansas City Blessing comes in. I shared a couple years ago that "Winning is a curse." For a number of reasons, it really can be. One of the things that makes losing a blessing is that when your team does win, it is that much sweeter. I am looking forward to the day when the Chiefs win the Super Bowl again.

For one, it will be that they deserved it. They certainly aren't getting any help from the officiating or the NFL business/media interests or any of that, but that's the way it should be. I don't even want there to be any charmed plays or any of that going our way. I'm looking forward to the postseason games the Chiefs gut out, battle to the end, get the clutch win, and captivate the nation by their merits both in their talent and their character.

And for two, it will be overwhelmingly joyous because we've been faithful to the team. My heart breaks for all the fans who took on the ice storm effects and got to Arrowhead early this year only to have their hopes crushed yet again. I feel it when I think about the Charlie's Saloon patrons in Philadelphia who are so devoted for no reason other than the owner one time looked at the Chiefs and thought, "Yeah, that's a team worth rooting for."

What is so encouraging is that none of them will give up on the Chiefs. And right now, in spite of this season's woeful turn in the playoffs yet again -- right now is the best time to be a fan. It can't be said enough, Clark has brought stability and purpose, John has brought wisdom and insight, Andy has brought inspiration and industry, and the players know it, feel it, and consider their teammates as family.

It'll happen soon, I believe it will.

But you know? I don't care if it's 2039 when Joe Montana's grandson, five-year Chiefs veteran and original D&D! quarterback Jedidiah Montana leads the team to their first Super Bowl win since IV, I'm good with that, really.

As long as I know they're on the right track as they are now.

It's a blessing to be a Chiefs fan, it really is.

You may know I am a Christian man, and after our season ended I had read from the 51st chapter of Isaiah in my devotional time. It was good to be assured there is a God who restores, who honors those who seek righteousness as it says there in the first verse of the chapter. The third verse is the one that is most meaningful for now, and I'd like to share it with you here.

Yes, there will be a time when Chiefs success will be deliriously glorious. It's great to talk about Chiefs things anytime, whenever, about whatever, but I've said everything about this season for now. There'll be much more for next year, certainly.

To conclude this one, a promise from God. Yes, this particular message was for the Israelites, I know, but He cares about Chiefs fans too.

"The Lord will surely comfort Zion, and will look with compassion on all her ruins; He will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing."
___

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Quarterback Project 2017

I must confess, I peeked at Chiefs stuff. I peeked in complete violation of my vow to be sports celibate. Tonight I looked around at some Chiefs stuff, including the discovery that Alex Smith, Dustin Colquitt, and DJ Alexander were added to the Pro Bowl team (to join Berry, Peters, Hill, and Kelce). Nice to see them there. Of course it'd be better if we saw them in the Super Bowl, but, well... next year...

(Ahem, I just noticed in the photo to the right, the AFC is in all Chiefs colors. Hmm. Maybe it's a sign...)

I also looked at Arrowhead Pride, the best Chiefs blog there is (except, of course, The Chiefs Game Today, of course) and noted two key articles that relate to the subject of this post. One that I still did not read much of -- not that it wasn't quite thorough -- was about Alex Smith's responsibilities for the playoff loss to the Steelers. The other that I read none of at all -- at least not right now anyway -- was about the Chiefs very very very real possibility that they finally select that fine available quarterback high in the draft.

It is nice to see some people treating seriously the importance of having that thing I think I've emphasized no fewer than 57,209 times over the entirety of the blog effort --

Getting that drafted and developed winning quarterback.

What I've argued is something I'm seeing confirmed in more and more sources, such as this one that popped up in a somewhat unusual place, but it is still quite veritable. Without an elite quarterback, you're not going to the promised land.

I started this effort with a blog post I made right in the middle of an abjectly abominable stretch of Chiefs history known as the "2007-2009 Abjectly Abominable Stretch of Chiefs History". I did much more with this thread starting with this post, and detailed the horrific history of quarterback selecting in the draft. In fact I'd say that's being kind because calling it "horrific" implies that there was actually any real quarterback selecting at all.

Needless to say, the hypothesis that teams have long stretches of Super Bowl absences explicitly because they do not have strong long-term drafted and developed quarterbacks is being proven each year the Chiefs don't make it. This year they should have, they really should have, they had the team to do so, and yet -- and yet.

There are indeed a number of solid reasons the Chiefs simply cannot get past the first stages of post-season play. Those reasons have been bled to death in the blog. There're the charms-curses-lucky-bounces that always go against the Chiefs. There're the NFL/business/media/whoever-doesn't-get-a-dime-because-of-Chiefs-success machinations making the burden on the Chiefs much greater whenever they're fielding a fine team. There're the inexplicable ways Chiefs' weaknesses expand and strengths dissolve every time we put our feet on a playoff-game field.

But one of the most stunningly profound aggravations related to all of the supernatural -- as I've been calling it, and I think appropriately so -- is the Chiefs situation with drafting quarterbacks. Their "luck" -- shall we say -- at being at that right spot to snatch that guy who'll be our drafted and developed winning quarterback for many years has been the absolute worst in all of any professional football across the universe in every dimension of existence. Let's face it, we all know it is true.

And we all know how that "failure" -- shall we say -- has resulted in the absolute worst record in the NFL for reaching the AFC Championship Game since the merger. As I pointed out in the first post-Divisional-Game post, the Chiefs have a "record" of 1-13 for times making the AFC Championship Game and times in the playoffs not making it.

And a major major major component of that non-success is -- now for the 57,210th time -- our not having that D&D guy at the helm.

I've thought about updating the posts from 2012, the ones in which I do detail the horrors of our interminably painful quarterback situation, but I'm just not going to. No need to. The only thing that has happened since was we picked up Alex Smith (more on him in a minute that's not a whole lot different than what we know about related to The Quarterback Project) and that after the horrific 2012 season when we amazingly had a No. 1 pick there was, yep, no No. 1 quality quarterback for us. Oh there was one in in 2012 (after the 2011 season), and in 2011, annnd in 2010, annnnnnnnnnd in 2009 -- all exceptionally good quarterbacks for their teams, all still around playing well. (Just FYI they were, respectively, Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Sam Bradford, and Matthew Stafford.)

So, what the situation for now? What has to happen?

Please, because I actually do practice my sports celibacy with some stalwart rigor, I do not know any college quarterback coming out. Actually, forgive me, I do know of a couple, but only because I saw stuff about them long ago when watching some small bits of college football. I know about Chad Kelly, is he any good NFL-wise? All I know is they said good things about him on the television broadcast back then. I think I'd heard Deshone Kizer from Notre Dame was okay, but again, I know nothing about their prospects for the NFL because it is too painful to flail about trying to project any of this.

A long time ago I did pay rabid attention to it all, every year, got all excited -- "Brodie Croyle! Wonderful! We're going to the Super Bowl now for sure!" -- and was only crushed every single time these guys failed. So why go through the agony, why put yourself through that.

No more. Please don't get me wrong. I'm hoping this year we do get that good guy where we're at in the draft. Notice too I didn't mention Deshaun Watson, because while some thought he'd drop as far as the Chiefs draft spot, I'm sure he got catapulted up in the upper regions of the draft with his performance in the college football championship game where he had the exact kind of clutch super-important post-season game type of play the Chiefs desperately need.

And please know I'm great with Alex Smith having his career-year next season when he plays great enough to win post-season games too.

Now notice I said great enough. Much of the thread of that Arrowhead Pride piece Alex Smith vs. the Steelers was a reiteration of what I'd been sharing, that Smith was pretty damn good actually. Several of our players were pretty damn good. It's just that it was so typically not good enough, in the most perverse way imaginable, as usual.

When will it get to a point when the Chiefs play a string of post-season games with that vigorous confidence that tells you, that slams you with the truth that -- for a switch -- we're going to win this game no matter what. Yes we've got the talent, but when will it be for that good, slugged-out, close playoff game, against an opponent with a very good quarterback themselves, with several clutch plays going our way because we willed it to happen.

Again I'm very great with Alex Smith winning Super Bowls in each of the next two years he'll be running things for us. That is, should the Chiefs make that happen because again, I'm not sure where he stands with his contract and all. My presumption is he's got two years left.

But then, that's why this draft thing is so critical right now. I will always hope the very best for the Chiefs, as always, but I'm not sold we'll get to the Big Dance simply because, yes, we don't have that D&D guy which is so undeniably essential. Alex Smith? I like him! I want him to have rings, I really do!

But I'm not holding my breath.

I will hold my breath, however, if we can get that guy. Watson, Kizer, Kelly, whoever else there is who the absolute perfect fit at No. 26 or wherever it is we draft, and then -- hey, here's a thought --

Watch Andy Reid to use his skills with quarterbacks to mold and shape him into The Drafted and Developed Guy.

I've said many times before in this blog effort, "This is the time". And while indeed it may have been the time way back then, each and every time it hasn't been. That's The Quarterback Project for you, in bright living color. So yeah, now it's about looking forward to 2022, 2023, when the guy we get this year will be fully ready and able to get Chiefs rich, wholesome Promised Land delightfulness.

You know what's also great about that, and this is a good note to end this post on. It is that John Dorsey and his personnel team have shown they really do know what they're doing out there, making great calls on players. Damn, if we can have a draft like this last one where we snatched two first-rounders way out in the 2nd round (Chris Jones) and 5th (Tyreek Hill), then we're well on our way to complement that D&D QB.

It's also very encouraging that Clark Hunt has gone a long way to establish a secure, stable, and strong organization -- fully willing to scour it clean of any of the toxicities of the Scott Pioli incompetencies and the Carl Peterson abrasions and even, yes, with the greatest deepest respect, the Lamar Hunt ineptitudes.

There is great hope for the Kansas City Chiefs -- truly fully authentically so, and we all know it.

Now we just need to enjoy seeing that fine QB drop into our draft selection spot...
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Monday, January 23, 2017

The Achilles Team of the NFL, Part III

I know I can pound out a blog post and save it in case I can't get the vast smattering of Chiefs thoughts down here right now. I really don't think I'll be able to get much down here but I feel like hammering away on the keyboard a bit more on Chiefs things. I actually have a moment.

We had an in-service day at work, which means we have meetings all day and my afternoon obligations are dispensed. In and around the meetings I'd gotten in the midst of some football conversations, ones in which I'd like to allow you to partake right now.

One gentleman was regaling us with his appreciation of the 1986 New York Giants, pointing out that the team really got it in gear when Bill Parcells allowed quarterback Phil Simms to call his own plays. I'd never heard about this and don't even know about its veracity, but I wouldn't doubt it. Parcells had a phenomenal feel for the game and how to win it with the best that he had, and Simms was good, and very smart.

Kind of like Alex Smith.

See, that's what I thought when he said that. Hmm, why the heck doesn't Andy Reid just do that. Let Alex Smith and his versatility and athleticism and smarts go out and take care of business.

The other conversation involved the news that the Steelers have about had it with Mike Tomlin.

Guhhh?

I'd just seen Tomlin school Reid -- well, not exactly, really, Tomlin was helped by the idiotic things that always happen to the Chiefs in the playoffs, but still. I'd made the point in this blog thread that Tomlin's organic approach allowed him to get his team matching up well against the Chiefs throughout the game, while Reid's cerebral obsession unnecessarily constricted us.

Turns out, apparently, the Steelers were upset that Tomlin's rigidity against the Patriots cost them yet another playoff game to those guys. Um, no, I can't see how anyone would not know the Patriots are a lot better than the Steelers -- I know nothing about the game but I'd have to say the Patriots just flat-out beat them. Yeah, I did think the Chiefs were the better team and should have been there anyway, giving the Patriots a better game on the face of it.

But then, there ya go.

Against any team the organic approach wins. Yeah, you need the cerebral too, but I'm sorry, I've been told over and over and over again that Alex Smith is probably the smartest quarterback in the NFL.

Um.

Okay.

Now what are you going to do with that, Kansas City Chiefs brass?

Sorry, but I'm going to belabor the point.

The Chiefs had no business not being in the AFC Championship Game.

They did make several fine plays to show they should've. We screech about Smith not hitting Tyreek Hill when he was wide open, but Smith also did things like hit Jeremy Maclin on a rope to get a 1st down on 3rd and 20.

Thing is, is Smith getting the clutch pass to Maclin merely a fine result of the exceptional Reid proficiency, or is he simply unable to best utilize his best weapons like Hill, Maclin, Kelce, Ware -- these guys are terrific players -- simply because he's not allowed to let go?

Or, is it possible Smith just doesn't have it in him to do that?

I mean, why can't we see the Alex Smith we saw in New Orleans (with the Niners) in that amazing 2011 Divisional Game, or in Indianapolis in the 2013 Wild Card Game (yes, he had a terrific day in spite of the horror)? Indeed Smith has never had a really bad playoff game, except that we're 1-3 in playoff games in the Reid-Smith era. That's a .250 winning percentage in the playoffs, while at the same time we've been sporting a .672 in the regular season (43-21).

I mean, what would happen if our top on-field decision-makers genuinely combined the organic with the cerebral, with this talent -- really?

Last night I happened to turn on CBS to see if 60 Minutes was on, the time was 6:57. No 60 Minutes, instead I came in right as the television people were going to officially crown the AFC Champions, the Patriots, and sure enough, right then -- you know --

They were being awarded the trophy.

I literally watched two minutes of it, that's it, two minutes, and heard them mention the name of the trophy three or four times.

::Whimper::

You know the name of it. You know what it is...

The Lamar Hunt Trophy.

Ya know, I was thinking about that one stat, about the Chiefs, one of the several that shows how good we actually are -- the one about us beating Super Bowl teams in the regular season.

Five times.

Well, I was thinking, which Super Bowl teams have we not beaten in the Reid-Smith four-year tenure? I thought. And discovered...

None. There have been no others. Only five teams have even been in the Super Bowl over the past four years.

Yeah, the Chiefs have beaten them all. 

Just so you know, in 2013 it was Seattle beating Denver. We beat Seattle in 2014 and Denver in 2015. Yes, I know the Denver win was two years later, but it was still very much the same team, quarterbacked by Peyton Manning who did take his Broncos to the Super Bowl that year.

In 2014 it was New England beating Seattle. We blasted New England that same season.

In 2015 it was Denver beating Carolina. We took down Carolina this season.

And this year it's going to be New England playing against Atlanta, and of course we beat Atlanta on that 2-point conversion return by Eric Berry.

Oh, and three of those five wins were on the road.

Did you catch that? Did you see that just there? It is just another evidence that

There - is - no - way - we - should - be - losing - a - single - playoff - game.

Don't worry. I'm good. There're very good reasons why I'm good, and I'm going to get to them as we continue this endeavor. There is more, look forward to joining you for it.

Very good Chiefs things, too, coming up...
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