Chiefs: NSLU, On Any Given Sunday

 

 

 

Chiefs: No Stone Left Unturned — On Any Given Sunday — er, Game Day

 

The six and three Chiefs have given us reason to first believe that they were a top team in the NFL. Then a 1-3 stretch has many fans and pundits down in the gutter. Neither is the case as far as a realistic view of an NFL Season. Few teams go 13-3 or better. This season, the Chiefs are among the league elites and all teams in the NFL have “exposures”. If any team goes 13-3 it will be a great surprise.

 

This Sunday — er, well, the following one

To get to this game, I have to go back to the Dallas Game. The Chiefs trailed immediately and then went down by two scores. A miracle “Hial Mary” pulled them within 4 at the half. Then the Chiefs took the lead 17-14 and did nothing to add to their tally. Yes, they drove the ball. Yes they had numerous failings each time.

 

The finale came on a drive that showed up-tempo and it worked, then stalled. With 6 minutes left, Reid decided to go 4th and 8 trailing 17-28. Al Smith had some protection, tried to force the ball to Kelce with a hard throw and it ended up being his first interception of the 2017 season and that was all she wrote.

 

My point? The Chiefs had the lead in the 3rd Quarter and were competitive on the road against a good Dallas team (4-3), who had a lot more to lose with a loss than did the Chiefs (6-2).

 

Still, it was a game with many failings. Seth Keyser wrote an article on how the defense (Sutton), shifted players with lining up in the gaps. The run defense went from Awful to below standard. This is just an example. The other example is that the offense never was able to get into a flow. Was it the Dallas Defense or was it the play-calling. Or was it a combination of the two? So if you have followed me and my views, then you know I am not a big fan of Andy Reid’s play-calling. I will leave it there.

 

What Next? — Seven Exposures

This week, I listed Seven exposures.

 

1. Front three and run defense(is this due to Sutton’s scheme or #4?)

I don’t think the answer to this is going to be easy. Which is why I suggested signing Free Agent, Jaye Howard. He is tough against the run. He is a big body 34 DE who can stuff blockers, take on two and still disrupt run plays. He knows the defense and schemes.

 

 

Would Jaye Howard be a complete solution? Nope, but we need a big body type run stopper to team up with a traditional front 3 approach to defend against the Run. that is where Howard fits and did fit and he is available.  Logan, Bailey and Howard can do that.

 

There has been talk, but no action and it may just be rumor mill stuff. Brett Veach has not made this move.

 

2. Outside cornerback (i,e, Nelson goes inside).

Here, I knew Redmond was available. Couldn’t recall his name, I had to go find him, but I did. Low and behold, a couple of days later, Veach signed him, and moved him to the Practice Squad. If he can get ready to play in 10 days, they should move him to the active Roster and get him going. Which is what I believe is going on. It may take another week but he’s had more than a year to rehab for his knee injury.

 

 

 

If item 2 and Veach signing Redmond is the answer, then we have automatically solved the problem of number 3 below.

 

3. Slot corner (fixed if Nelson goes inside). This is one that we should fix. Bring in a F/A. For me this takes pressure off the safeties… and that makes it easier to react to run support.

The answer to this one is the Chiefs need to put Mitchell back in. Who ever is opposite Peters is going to be targeted over and over again. From what I have seen of Acker, I think this must happen until Will Redmond is ready to go. And yes, I believe this is why Redmond is exactly what the Chiefs need — someone who can cover, mirror and has the speed necessary — and that is Redmond. I think Veach understood the exposures for both 2 and 3 and this was the solution. Which means that if we can get Redmond ready to go quickly, both 2 and 3 problems are solved.

 

 

4. ILB — Is there anyone to add that would solve the 2nd level run defense? (ie, DJ’s ability to cut and/or lost Speed is a problem).

It could be that DJ came back too soon. But it is obvious to the “somewhat educated viewer that DJ has lost something and is no longer the dominating force he has been. Is part of this the defense scheme? Yes, I believe it is and we saw Sutton shift out to play the gaps and be aggressive in attacking rather than the wait and read type play. But as Seth noted, it went from awful to mediocre.

 

I think it is time for the Ramik and Reggie show. They are both young and can be the aggressive LBs vs the run. They did this a bit in the Dallas game but they used Pierre-Louis. I think the R&R path is the answer.

 

But? Do you bench a player like DJ? Nope. He now has 2 weeks essentially to continue to recover from his second achilles tendon tear. Remember: It used to be that if a player suffered such an injury it was career ending, or, at least it was a career lost due to inability to play the same as prior to suffering the tear. Now? Sports medicine has done wonders in the last 40 years. DJ at 80% is a “good ILB”. I will leave it there.

 

5. Andy Reid (impossible task–game plan, play-calling, adjusting).

I just don’t think that Andy listens to Nagy. Nor do I think that Andy will give up play calling. What I think is obvious is that Reid thinks too much of his offense and his ability and what shows up on the field first is lost rhythm and blues. Then late in games he goes conservative. There is no answer for this, Reid is Reid.

 

6. OLB — Houston is putting notches on the pistole butt, but  it’s not enough.

JH has 7.5 sacks and trails the leader in the game by 1 or 1 1/2 sacks. That is not the problem. But opposite him Ford is hurt, Hali is okay but about the same level now as Ford until we see different. If there is a solution for this is to get Hali in on aerial downs and turn him loose. He either gets it done or not. Which means you have to mix and match with Ford and Zombo. Zombo is Zombo. This also may be due to run defense and ILB play, or even not having bulk up front. The Chiefs DL could be called “Light”. Sutton’s defense set up, with 2 down linemen and using Sorensen as a LB isn’t working.

 

I have no answer for this other than to sign Howard and use a more basic 34 front 3. That’s my answer.

 

7. Replacing the the loss of Berry’s talent… (no can do)… but… which of the above solved would help out on this exposure?

Solutions? Sign a F/A talent enough to do real duty outside CB (Redmond has signed and I applaud Veach for this). But we have to get him on the field of play, not the PS. If this move goes active, it solves the next problem which is the slot. Nelson can move inside and he is showing he can shut things down. I believe that Redmond is a huge missing piece in this puzzle.

 

Sign Jaye Howard for run defense or, there is Hageman but he was cut by the Falcons du to Domestic abuse. The NFL has lifted their restriction on him and he would b a far better solution to the front 3 overall… but…but…but.

 

 

 

Reid has got to take the cuffs off and go aggressive play after play withy the offense.

 

ILB/OLB? I think we have to go with our own players and that means there is no other solution than figure that out.

 

To get the signings done, I think the Chiefs have to let go a couple of players. Devey, Gaines, Acker. Or whomever is necessary. One more signing on the front three would go a long way to relieving the pass defense behind them and toughen up at the same time, the run defense.

 

My view. My solutions. Veach did one of them already.

 

Where to Go From Here? 

Again: The Chiefs are a good football team. The 5-0 run was as misleading as it was disappointing to go 1-3. They are a good football team. In a “league with “parity”, there is no dominant outfit among the teams which will contend–even Philly, Pederson’s team which has that sole loss as Laddie was noting. Many surprising downtrends have occurred. For example, the Falcons. Green Bay looks to be out, etc.

 

Teams that will make the playoffs besides the Chiefs:

Seattle, Pittsburgh, New England, Philly, Dallas, Minnesota, New Orleans, Carolina, LA. If I had to guess, the Falcons will make their run now with a lot of room to get to the playoffs and maybe the Bills or Jags. We’ll see.

 

Now I can swap in and out many teams in this view. If I swap in Atlanta or the Jags, I don’t add a team that the Chiefs wouldn’t or couldn’t beat. The Patriots and Steelers are the two that I would see as the most difficult among that group. Or the Seahawks. Maybe, as someone chimed in, the Bills — and that is a valid point.

What is Going to Happen Next?

In a season that is characterized by “parity”, the Chiefs have a bit less intense schedule the rest of they way. They are getting more healthy as we speak and have 10 more days to improve on that. Nothing can be done about the loss of Chris Conley and Eric Berry for the season.

 

Some are going to pooh-pooh my suggested approach. What has Will Redmond done? H was a top 30 type CB. He can be the next plumb that Veach has pulled off. Worst comes to worst, he is a one season contract and that is not expensive. Redmond was going in the top 60 before he was drafted. But we need his ability to cover–right damned now.

 

Howard was released and released again. But we do know this: He is good against the run. He doesn’t have to be and won’t be, a 3 down Front three man. He is a temporary hire…for the rest of the season. So, yes, it could be the answer on first or the first two downs. He would mix well with Chris Jones and RN-R for example.

 

Can the Chiefs pull it off? Sure. The question for me is, will they make the next acquisition and as someone queried, who will go? I gave two players but there are more possibilities.

 

I think the Chiefs situation is very good considering the attrition other teams are facing. For example, in the win v the Cards, the Seahawks lost Richard Sherman for the season and then their recently signed lineman at the same time. Two more men were knocked out of the picture that night.

 

The picture will change but the above list, including the Chiefs stand as the top of the parity picture at this time. With what I regard as a Packer group, packing it in to next season? The NFC group is not that tough. What is surprising are the 4-4 teams that have taken it on the chin. Here again are the Falcons, Cards, Lions and the like.

 

Doom and Gloom is not valid. Having a critique based on that is wrong. Will the Chiefs right the boat, win the division and make a meaningful run? I think that is this first question and my answer is yes.

 

Can they improve where there exposures exist? Yes, but they will have exposures the same as any other team in this list. We are not in the same NFL game as we were 40 years ago. Ain’t that the truth.

 

Can the Chiefs win the Superbowl with the teams aligned as they are and as highlighted above? Yes.

 

Discussing what they are and how they can be overcome is a valid discussion. The same is going on internally at Chiefs HQ.

 

We have a good football team. Let’s the rest of us Stick with them that brung us, well, with some adjustments, additions such as Redmond… and all the rest. So, if I am right about Redmond, then you can call me “Genius” and if I am wrong, I can accept your criticisms. After all, I have linebacker shoulders. But then again, Even “Atlas Shrugged.”

David Bell – Avery, ID

 

 

 

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  • berttheclock

    One question to ponder this day has to do with the rapid developments happening in Indy. Vontae Davis had a groin injury. There had been a rumor prior to the trade deadline that the Colts might try to shop him. However, his groin issue stopped anyone from risking a trade. Then, Davis opted to undergo surgery for his groin. Suddenly, the Colts have released him. However, there is still a chance he could recover in time for the playoffs.

    This AM, reports over at ESPN Sports say several teams have shown a interest in trying to sign him for the playoffs. So, the question before us is whether Veach is one of the GMs looking at him?

  • berttheclock

    As to trying to find a corner back replacement at this time look at the problems facing the Seahawks. They lost Richard Sherman to a torn Achilles. (Also, take a look at that situation from the standpoint of a player trying to play through pain. Sherman had complained for sometime about feeling a weakness in his Achilles. But, he tried to play. Yet, you always hear fans and coaches scream for players to just gut it up and get out there). However, his loss has led to the Seahawks reaching out to Byron Maxwell for an audition in Renton. Plus, they have had Trovon Reed come back to re-audition. Now, who is Reed? He is a six foot DB from Auburn, who has been with 4 teams since going undrafted in 2015. The Seahawks have had him twice. All that has happened is he would make a team’s PS, only to be cut a few days later.

    • ladner morse

      Bruised muscles, light ankle sprains are one thing… but an Achilles injury is serious. You only need to Google Achilles surgery and you will be astonished at what has to take place to “repair” one of those snapped Achilles injuries. It’s still hard for me to believe that Sherman was actually playing with an Achilles injury. Usually, they either snap completely… or not at all.

  • berttheclock

    As the Chiefs play the Giants next week, I have been checking various issues concerning that team. Some reports have said should they lose to the Niners this afternoon, McAdoo could be fired. However, other reports from their Fansided site, say this goes against the grain of ownership as no HC has been fired during the season since 1976.

    However, the Giants began this season with the top ranked secondary (by PFF) in the NFL. Now, that unit is mired in the muck of being the 4th worst pass defense in the NFL and has allowed the 2nd most TDs barely beating out the Jets. Part of this is due with their best corner, Janoris Jenkins, missing two games. With him out, the passing ratings of opposing QBs has risen from 89.6 to 129.9. However, even with him both Winston and Russell Wilson threw for over 300 yards and 3 TDs.

    Like the Chiefs, part of their secondary problem has to do with a mediocre pass rush for most games. A solid pass rush is still the best friend of any secondary.

    • ladner morse

      The Giants situation is completely surprising to me. I thought they were ready to make another Super Bowl run with their roster… not only on the defensive side but at the beginning of the year they had Beckham and signed Brandon Marshall and drafted TE/WR Evan Engram (who I was very high on coming out in the draft)… but they have been a disaster on the field of play. At 1-7, only the Browns and 9ers have worse records. Both are winless. Not the kind of company you want to keep.

      • berttheclock

        Also, at their Fansided major site, some of the writers are suggesting a new QB should try to lead the team.

        • ladner morse

          Until Eli Manning… DECIDES… to retire, it will be very difficult to dump a QB who had led you to the promised land twice.

          • berttheclock

            Hey, any thoughts concerning Veach trying to get in line to sign Vontae Davis? Schneider might be in a bidding war for him.

          • ladner morse

            I’m pretty sure, if this was the offseason, that Veach would make a play for him… hoping he’d recover from his groin injury. However, unless they can determine that the groin injury is not the lingering kind, then he’s not likely to be pursued. The other issue has to be the cap… and where Veach and Clark stand in regards to the cap… agreement wise. If Veach was hired with certain cap-caveats… then stretching the cap further may be a tough tonsillectomy. IOW… a hard pill for Clark to swallow, even if Veach comes up with a great cap-de-soliel scenario.

          • if not a high quality situation, it might be an even up type deal but in some cases, it might end up being a cirque du Soleil. 🙂

      • PaulFromNorthMo

        The injuries, especially to the WR group, has hurt them tremendously. And I think Eli has been on a down trend for the past couple seasons, even though no one really wants to mention it out loud.

    • the giants fall is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. As Ladner observes, this is a complete, blow-your-mind result. No one would have anticipated what has happened.

  • freshmeat62

    One thing I’d do for the CB situation is move Murray from S to CB. He bounces off TE’s like Wolowitz bounces off doors (you ‘Big Bang Theory’ fans will know what I’m talking about). Murray is not a S, but I think he may have some cover skills that would be better against smaller WR’s. I’d be concentrating on finding the best S out there.

    Why has Howard not made another team? Has he not recovered from his injury? Is he satisfied w/ the millions he’s making for doing nothing, an has his attitude gone into the dumpster? He was a pretty good DLman w/ the Chiefs. So much so that Dorsey gave him that big contract. But I agree the Chiefs need to find some talent for that d-line. Especially now that Miller is probably going to be gone.

    I too would like to see more of Ragland. I doubt we’ll ever have another ILB like DJ, but maybe they could let him rest for a few more weeks to allow that Achilles to heal more, he may be better for the playoffs.

    • 1. don’t know but I have heard nothing about problems with rehab. Miller’s situation is awful in timing. Chiefs will look at the facts and make a decision to release or not.
      2. Hageman has the same problem more than a year ago. I truly doubt he is a CHiefs candidate. He is proly the best DL out there.
      3. I admired Howard’s motor. I think he could be a 1 year signing with trial type stuff in the deal. We could use him v the run and he is a big body player.
      4. Murray — I can see that.
      5. Redmond – I think Redmond was in the Chiefs focus in the 2016 draft — his only
      drawback is length so outside is a question and you know that Dorsey eyed length as a big draft point. Now we are seeing a bit of a problem with that, witness the TE scores in the Seahawks/Cards game this last week.

      Length with speed is a huge factor and few and far in between players match up with both qualities. But then, the same is true
      for Murray or Nelson. I had Redmond on my to draft list in 2016. There are a couple more CBs out there. What I am suffering with are Gaines and Acker. But I must state that Sutton’s defense is not doing the back end any good, especially with our defense using 2 men with hands in the dirt and not much traditional 34 after 1st down.

    • ladner morse

      I’m not sure whats going on with Jaye Howard either. A couple of years back… when Poe was out for the season… he came in and had the best year of any DL in KC in the past ten years. Even better than Poe’s best year here.

      I’d be much in favor of having him back on the team.

      • berttheclock

        I did not think Howard had a bad camp, but, the Bears had younger players and Fox wanted to go younger.

  • tm1946

    Good read for a Sunday morning. If I may – #4 DJ has not made that transition to cagey veteran…. he sees the play but instead of making adjustments, he ends up getting there a step to late. Not sure that is correctable. #5 Reid is perfect for Clark. Reid is into offense play calling, winning while nice is just that nice…. Clark is the same with a SB trophy, it is nice but just that nice. In both cases, not going to change… both will end up in the HOF.

    Lastly the Chiefs can save the ship…. just not sure they look at a team with 6 win as in dire straits? More like a bump in the road with those losses and we can still have a good year with 4 wins…. trying (poorly) to say if anyone thinks HQ is worried about a SB trophy…. they are hiding it real well.

    • I didn’t think I implied they were in dire straights. But the exposures are the exposures. This year, there is no dominant team as in prior seasons. It is really about “parity” it appears to me. Not even the Patriots. 8-1 Philly is the tops and they are not a great team. Or they will have to prove it with a 14-2 season and a deep playoff run. I am pleased with the success of Doug P though.

      I think DJ had arrived at “cagey” as you note. I think his ability to plant and cut is where the problem is, and that, I fear, is due to two Achilles tears back to back.

      Reid is Reid and Clark got him, so you may be right. I can say this: I much prefer winning seasons to strings of inept and losing seasons for which Chiefs nuts have suffered for decades now.

      • tm1946

        We agree…. I am just uncomfortable whenever I read something like “prefer winning seasons to strings of inept & losing season” or similar comments…. I am with the concept losing seasons are no fun or acceptable but to just be “satisfied” with winning seasons (NO, I did not say you were satisfied or said anything of the sort) is an un acceptable also…. to me. I guess I have always been about achieving the gold ring not just “being on the team”.

  • berttheclock

    Getting to the point I hate to read the sports obit pages anymore. In 1963, the Chicago Bears had a fierce defensive team. Their DC was George Allen. Now, I had major issues with his work as a HC, especially, with the LA Rams, but, he knew how to coach defenses. He had a trio of very tough LBs, led by Bill George. But, Joe Fortunato was fierce as well. Mr Fortunato was from Mississippi and played for Mississippi State. He, later, became a top assistant coach of the Bears.

    Sadly, he has passed away. So, R. I. P. Joe Fortunato.

  • berttheclock

    Recommended reading for today. Tom Pelissero of NFL.com has an interesting thread up and he even mentions Andy Reid near the end. His thread is about how keeping offenses simpler has helped Ryan last year in Atlanta and both Wentz and Goff this year.

    It is in regards to a trend in the NFL to run more “11” personnel schemes. This means a backfield of one back, one TE and 3 wideouts. He said that 10 years ago, teams only used such about one third of the time. In 2013, that rose to 50 percent. Last year, it went up to 58.3 % and this season it is at 57.3%. Peyton Manning preferred this system. Manning thought using motion with this allowed him to be able to read defenses better. Plus, it is system which goes well with both veteran QBs and the young guys such as Wentz and Goff.

  • PaulFromNorthMo

    For whatever reason, this coaching staff has refused to play R Wilson except by necessity. I would like to see some extended playing time with a combo of P-Lewis and Ragland in our base 3-4.
    Howard had a good season for us a few years ago, but I doubt he would be a good answer to any of our problems. He might not even be in “playing shape”. IMO, the players we have (or had, depending on Miller’s situation) are capable if used correctly. Sutton spending so much time in the dime has handicapped the run D.
    Now, what if the reason Sutton runs sub sets so much is because the LB corp lacks pass coverage ability, and we have seen examples of this. Is that a poor D scheme or does that fall on the GM for not bringing in the right kind of players, either through the draft or FA?

    • they did use Pierre-Lewis v Dallas to stop the run. Seth Keyser did an analysis of this. It was “marginally”, shall we say, less than stellar but only marginally better than what they had been doing. Maybe I should use the term “margarine=ly.

      • PaulFromNorthMo

        Yes, I saw him in there, and he made a few plays. But what I meant was those two practicing and playing as the first team, not just spot duty.

        • berttheclock

          Heard some pundit recently speak of the problems placed on fellow team mates when, a player breaks from being disciplined to stay in his slot. A negative type of domino effect leads to breakdowns as other players try to make something happen. Noted also, how the loss of healthy Poe has hurt having a player eat up double teams. None of the present crew can handle double teams and Sutton up to the Dallas game was using 2 man fronts far too much. Add in the factor of such as DJ not lining up in the proper gap, thus, having to chase and the fact too often the LBs were waiting on the offense to come to them and you might as well have Prof.Hill crooning, “You have trouble right here in KC City”.

          • LBs… depends on their assigned task. If they are to hit the gap, and attack the run is one thing. If they are to play the ball is another. What I saw Sunday was the LBs hitting the gap and making some plays in the backfield. That’s a start. Questoin of personnel? I was one of those who saw the deterioration in Poe’s play and when it came to money, I said we had to let him go. I think now I erred. But that doesn’t mean Logan isn’t playing well… He is not the same as Poe. And we need a 3rd big body on the front 3, not the hybrid lightweight front 3. Nor the 2 down linemen as I see it.

          • you could sing: …right here in two rivers city.

          • berttheclock

            Ah yes, the mighty Kaw. Remember it well when it flooded Argentine and ended up a block down a hill from us.

          • I think this is the year that the water was up in the RR yard and we couldn’t get to the lumber yard. So maybe 55? I loved going to th RR yard… the trains in the yard working. I would go sit at the end of the dock and watch the trains. Once, a yard engine stopped and gave me a ride in the yard. I was so ‘joe cool’. About that same year.

          • berttheclock

            1951

          • before my time then. I was b jan 52. Now I remember someting about the road to the RR yard to the lumberyard being flooded, dimly recalled. Thought it was 55.

          • PaulFromNorthMo

            DJ is normally the only ILB on the field in Sutton’s nickel. It almost seems as if he is playing as the only ILB even when in the base D. I don’t know if that is a mental error or if he has no confidence in his teammate.

          • berttheclock

            Did you read my response to your question of his snap counts against the Cowboys. I believe it was 53 out of a possible 67.

          • PaulFromNorthMo

            Yes, I saw that. that might be a step in the right direction. Normally he is on the field 100% of the D snaps.

      • berttheclock

        One of the great points about Porsches was the fact their gear shifts seemed to operate like butter.. Never seemed to work very well with margarine. Remember those long ago days when your mother would have to put the red powder into margarine?

        • berttheclock

          The butter industry forged those dye restrictions. In fact, the last state to drop any dye laws was Wisconsin, which had protected their butter industry.

  • berttheclock

    Below, I mentioned the passing of a former great player with the Chicago Bears. One reason for this is prior to my enlisting in the US Army heading off to Ft Lost in the Woods, local TV in KC only showed games of, either, the Bears or the Chicago Cardinals prior to their leaving for St Louis. Of course, when, I returned to KCK in early November, the beloved Chiefs were entrenched. So, I stopped watching other teams as much.

    When, I left for West Germany, I still was a Bears’ fan. Came back to cheer for the Chiefs to beat those Papa Halas Bears.

  • ladner morse
  • moving on to the open thread