Merlin’s Chiefs Mid-Season Review

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Merlin’s Midseason Report

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Look out NFL, the Chiefs post a 4-0 quarter and, at 6-2 are in a nice position for a playoff run. A lot went right for the Chiefs, but some things went wrong. Concerns abound, but let’s highlight a few positives.

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Wide Receivers

Chris Conley has been developing nicely. The real surprise is the ascendance of Tyreek Hill. I assumed that Hill would be a return guy and gadget player as a rookie. He clearly has vaulted himself past that. We are looking at a WR corps going forward of Maclin, Conley, and Hill. Past that point, Conley and Hill have the talent to be the #1 and #2 receivers for the Chiefs for years to come. A word about Hill’s speed. NFL athletes are elite athletes. There are few players in the NFL that have an athletic attribute that gives them an elite advantage over other NFL players. Hill’s speed is such an attribute. Teams are avoiding him like the plague in the return game. As a WR, Hill can blow the top off a defense. A threat like that can give valuable room to operate for the other players. What really surprises me about Hill is his strength and toughness. He reminds me of Jamaal Charles in that respect. Both play bigger and tougher than their size would lead you to believe.

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Dee Ford!!??

I have been defending Ford for two years, but this last pre-season had me very concerned that he might not make the team. I wasn’t seeing the development I expected from him. Wow, I was wrong and happily so. A couple of games ago, it seemed like the game finally clicked for him. He has developed enough pass rushing moves to be one of the leading sack artists in the game this year. His pass defense and run defense have improved. He can be a good pass defender. However, run-defense will always be his weakness. He just doesn’t have the frame and strength to hold up well there. As long as he doesn’t get washed out of plays, the Chiefs can live with him on the field. Where will Ford go when Houston returns? It’s not a hard decision. He will start at ROLB and Hali will be a rotational player. Houston is better suited for the left side of the defense. You will see them flip sides on occasion, but I believe that Ford right, Houston left will be the base defense.

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Chiefs Identity

A common adage is that it takes close to ½ a season to figure out a team’s identity. We know the Chiefs are a tough, close group that does not give up on games. But, who are the 2016 Chiefs? A running team? A passing team? A lock down defense team? After the Jaguars game, it clicked for me.

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The 2016 Chiefs, More Lucky Than Good

Getting turnovers has been the key for the Chiefs this year. Without a major advantage there, the Chiefs could easily be 2-6. It’s not hyperbole, it’s the truth. Google the 1980 Kardiac Kids and what happened to the Browns the next year for an example of the fickle mistress called luck. Game after game, we watch the Chiefs get outplayed, yet win the game. I expect Drew Brees to move the ball against any defense. When Ryan Fitzpatrick and Blake Bortles rack up huge yardage, it’s a cause for concern. Luck eventually runs out. The Chiefs better tighten up or this team is not going to go far in the playoffs, if they make it. A big factor is if/when Justin Houston is on the field and the Justin Houston of old.

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The Third Quarter

As friendly as the second quarter was, the third quarter isn’t nice at all. The Chiefs face three road games. The first one in Charlotte against a Panthers team that seems to have gotten their act together. A home date against the Bucs is followed by two away games, one against the Broncos and the last game against a Falcons team that is playing better than expected. A 2-2 quarter would set the Chiefs up well. A 3-1 quarter would put the Chiefs in a very good position, especially if one of those wins was a division win against the Broncos.

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Sound Off!

A1’ers, that’s my guide to the Kingdom. Sound off in the comments. What do you think? Where did I go wrong?

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  • berttheclock

    Where did I go wrong, you say? Well, let me tell you, fella. Oops, I may have a problem with that as I can’t find any.

  • berttheclock

    With both Bailey and Howard out with injuries, I wonder if Dorsey did not make a huge mistake in not trying to acquire Wallace Gilberry when he was eligible to sign with any new team on November 3rd? He had been released by the Lions on October 11th with an injury settlement concerning his abdomen. But, he was free to sign and many thought Detroit would bring him back at a reduced salary. However, he opted to rejoin the Bengals, a team he had played for after leaving the Chiefs. Now, he does play DE in a 4-3, but, he could have fit the 3-4 mode and he can still pass rush even though he is, now, 31 years old. Well, we’ll never know. But, at this juncture throughout the league, you can see many different moves by teams to replace the injured from their rosters. In the past two weeks, the NFL transactions sites, such as Rotoworld, have been loaded with personnel changes.

  • berttheclock

    One player for the Panthers I am going to watch today is Daryl Worley, the CB from West Virginia. The Chiefs could have had him, but, took KeiVarae Russell instead. Another corner to watch is James Bradberry, of whom I, also, wanted to see wearing Red and Gold. The Chiefs could not have selected him.

    Worley was taken at 79 after Dorsey took Russell at 74. That 74 position came about due to Tampa Bay falling in love with a FG kicker, so, they moved up to 59 to take him and gave Dorsey both the 74 slot and the 106 slot which was used fo take Eric Murray. Perhaps, you might say one out of two isn’t that bad, but, Dorsey could have taken Worley and given the Chiefs even more secondary depth.

    • berttheclock

      BTW, the Panthers craved Worley, being a tough six one corner, to the point they traded up with the Browns and gave up an extra pick for him.

    • Chiefs-Kings-A’s

      Draft selection is tricky business……some guys look so phenomenal in College but can’t quite handle the Pros and yet, we see the same thing Visa Versa.

      • berttheclock

        Speaking of which, look no further than the FG kicker the Bucs craved and that started the trade.

  • berttheclock

    Hey Merlin, Pat is still working on putting up a photo of Benny the Bengal for my personal avatar here. She said the problem she had trying to put up my photo was she could only find ones of me snarling.

    • Chiefs-Kings-A’s

      Our dog is named Nippers…..people ask me all the time, why the name? Then they turn their back to him and they find out why–lol

      • berttheclock

        Oh, I have heard tell of that Stealth breed.

        • freshmeat62

          Actually I believe those are all trained down at Lackland.

          Got a funny story.

          When I was stationed at Randolph AFB down by San Antonio, my roommate and I were going home on leave, me to Maryville, him to Columbus, NE, and were going to drive. He had heard that the dogs that ‘flunked’ out as not being aggressive enough down at Lackland AFB on the other side of San Antonio, were given away to people. My roomy decided he wanted to get one for his brother and take it w/ us on our drive north. He goes down to Lackland and gets this beautiful German Shepard. He comes back parks beside the back steps, leaves the car running, runs in the barracks to get me and his bags. We run out, open the doors to throw our bags in, and the dog goes psycho…won’t let us in the car. Every time he tried to get in the car the dog would lunge at him. Me, I’m standing on the steps laughing my head off. I’m not getting near that thing. Finally he had to call the AP’s to come get the dog out and take it, so that we could leave.

    • Merlin

      Looking forward to seeing it! I am a bit surprised you haven;t commented on my comparison with the 1908 Kardiac Kids. It’s a slightly different area of luck, but you have a great deal of knowledge of football history.

      • berttheclock

        Laddie will recall that 1980 team as Charles White, RB from USC, was their first draft choice. They even beat the Chiefs by seven, although most of their wins were by 3 or less. Too bad the swirling winds cost a TD by Ozzie Newsome because had he caught the ball, the Browns would have advanced after beating the Raiders in the playoffs. As you say, the 1981 year turned out to be opposite as injuries and bad bounces took their toll. But, those were still the days the local crowd loved Art Modell, whereas today, he is only known as the man whose name will live in infamy for all time.

        • Merlin

          Now that’s the bert I remember, a font of NFL history. I always wonder what other information isn’t in your head so you can retain all this NFL knowledge.

  • Chiefs-Kings-A’s

    I’m not sure I would call the Chiefs lucky because of the amount of turnover they have generated….in my minds eye, I’m looking back and I see Parker punching the ball loose, Sorenson ball hunting, Ramik reading the eyes of the QB, Ford breaking through the line and knocking it down, QBs throwing off their heels and coming up short for guys like Peters and Gaines to ball hawk etc…….
    Our guys haven’t been lucky in my humble opinion, they have been forceful.

    • berttheclock

      KC leads the NFL at this time with a plus 13 give/take turnovers. The Vikings are 2nd with 12 followed by Oakland with 9 and Buffalo with 7.

      • The fact of the front 9 games is that a lot of the news guys got a lot of time on the field, real time. Houston, Ford and Hali the rest of the way? That’s a shot a constant lock down on the defense. Chris Jones added in? I’d say the pass rush is going to be really good the rest of the way, especially if Sutton dials up the blitz now and then(which he did). On the defense side of the ball(and special teams), The Chiefs are showing the championship caliber play, even without Josh Mauga. Even without Justin Houston so far. Even with Jay Howard sitting out due to injury. Even with Alan Bailey out for the season.

        The offense took a hit on the front 5 with Parker Ehinger going out for the season. JMac having a bad game, then a couple of plays in one game with a gamey leg, the out for the next game. Even with Foles leading the squad for the first time as a Chief. Even with Al Smiths poor game early, getting knocked out of a game(twice so to speak), missing the next start and being off on his throws this past week. That is not characteristic Al Smith. What else? Jamaal Charles contributed nothing when he was back and then he had a second surgery so he is basically a non-factor for 17 weeks maybe. How many other teams could suffer these losses and lead the division, and be one of the top teams in the NFL?

        I suggest to you that the reason they have survived the attrition is due to the players that are present on the roster. There is a lot of character there. With the exception of the blow out and with poor play by the offense in particular, The Chiefs have won. Bert’s point on his very short comment cannot be taken lightly.

        Emerging players that are a factor: Ramik Wilson, Dee Ford, Of course Peters, Chris Jones, but Gaines has stepped up, so has Nelson and don’t forget Dan Sorensen(this man is a schooled football player). I like and have liked Conley. Hill, good heavens, he as come up big time in two sequential games. No doubt in my mind that a 1-2-3 WR group makes Wilson Superfluous, despite his knowledge of the playbook. Give me Robinson, who will make plays as your #4 WR.

        And we still have players who are not in the rotation but who can or have contributed, either on S/T’s or in spot plays.

        I have a great deal of respect for the players on the Chiefs Roster. When all is going poorly, they have found a game in the win column and not the other side of the ledger.

        Now for my favorite topic: Andy Reid and his play calling? Go fish.

    • Merlin

      I understand where you are coming from. However, do you think there is something special about this year? Did the Chiefs first try to “forceful” this year or does luck enter into it?

      • KCMikeG

        This is business as usual for us because 1) Sutton/Toub teach the players and put them into positions to make plays.2) AR/AS11 do not turn the ball over to put our defense in bad field position or worse yet give up points! This has been why we have been one of the top teams for turn over differential – the most important stat of them all.

  • Chiefly Bacon

    This team reminds me a lot of the Chiefs 2013 team. The offense has some struggles, but, when the RBs are healthy, they’re getting crazy production there. The defense doesn’t lock people down, but they force a lot of turnovers, I think this is the kind of defense Sutton likes to run. If Chiefs can get healthy on offense, they can beat anyone in the league, but that RB position is critical. This team is not the same without Spencer Ware or Jamaal Charles. West is a nice guy, and not a bad RB, but he’s nowhere near as good as Ware. Hopefully, Bishop Sankey gets up to speed quickly and proves to be another Dorsey gem or Ware avoids injury the rest of the way. Otherwise, I think Chiefs will really struggle against the Broncos defense. Raiders showed how to beat them. Gotta go run heavy with extra OL. Chiefs can do that well, but it doesn’t matter if they don’t have RB who can take advantage.

    • berttheclock

      What will interesting today, among other things, is to see who Andy Reid decided to include on his travel squad.

      • Chiefly Bacon

        With so many injuries, some guys have been on the active Roster who weren’t before. Bishop Sankey is the guy I’m most curious about.

    • berttheclock

      Yesterday, I spoke with three guys I love to kibbitz with at a local market. One is a diehard Broncos fan, one is a died in the wool Eagles guy and the third cheers for the Giants. All of us kept saying the same thing – INJURIES.

      • Chiefly Bacon

        Some NFL player was saying that the only guys who are 100% this time of year are kickers, unless you’re the Bills.

        • berttheclock

          or even the mental state of the Vikings kicker.

    • berttheclock

      Murray ran roughshod over them, but, did you see how the Bolts have used Antonio Gates to become a major blocker for Gordon. Gordon put up two good games against the Donkies. Gates, either, lines up next to the OT or comes down as a type of single wing blocker to open holes in the middle of the line.

  • freshmeat62

    Anybody else see the Iowa/Michigan game? An Iowa Senior RB, Wadley? I didn’t see the whole game, but what I did this Wadley kid looked impressive. Wadley has some moves. About the same size as Jamaal Charles, 5’11”, 191#. Neither CBS nor DrafTek have him on their Big Boards and I’m wondering why not? Is he a fumbler? a 5.00sec 40? I wonder what’s the deal?

    • Chiefly Bacon

      RB depth is UNREAL this upcoming draft, but I believe Wadley also has an additional year of eligibility. nfldraftscout.com has him as a 2018 prospect.

      • berttheclock

        RBs will go much higher over all this coming draft as it is the deepest position outside of both corner and safety. But, there will still be quality at RB in the middle to lower rounds.

      • berttheclock

        Did you check out Walter Football’s list of 25 RBs. Included are both McCaffery from Stanford and a wide out/RB from Ohio State. Both of them could end up playing more wide out in the NFL than RB.

    • berttheclock

      I am very sure it will be the first subject discussed at D’s Bar in Portland as it is both a Chiefs and Hawkeyes bar. Dennis told me that his largest crowds have been Iowa fans for games.

    • berttheclock

      Akrum Wadley is only a junior and I don’t know if he will try to enter the draft. Walter Football lists 25 RBs and he is not included.

      • freshmeat62

        According to the Hawkeye roster I saw he’s listed as a senior. Anyway I was thinking maybe he could sneak thru to a later rd gem, kind of like Charles did.

  • ladner morse

    All we know right now is he's "questionable." @ChiefsReporter will have your official inactives later this morning. https://t.co/0mSIq28UC7— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) November 13, 2016

    • ladner morse

      (continuation of previous tweet) Chiefs DL Dontari Poe and Chris Jones become obvious players to watch.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) November 13, 2016

  • berttheclock

    Hey Laddie, in this thread Merlin mentions the 1980 Kardiac Kids (Cleveland Browns). You remember their first pick in that draft was Charles White of whom you have discussed before. He never was able to match the running of Pruitt from Oklahoma though.

    • berttheclock

      BTW, Laddie, Pat has sent you an e-mail requesting a photo of our Benny the Bengal be used as my new avatar for this site.

      • ladner morse

        Yes, thank you so much for that. What an incredibly beautiful cat… and the coloring is rare. Be sure and relate to Pat that it was a brings spot in my morning. 🙂

    • ladner morse

      Charles White… sure brings back memories… USC memories because he never really did match his output from college in the pros. One year over 1,000 yards but all others under 500. When he came out people thought he was the next coming of….. an infamous USC back we shall not name here.

      • Merlin

        Mike Garrett?

  • Laurels and limitations

    Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson just told me he's "good to go" after warming up. He's dealing with hamstring injury. #ChiefsvsPanthers— Tiffany Blackmon (@tiffblackmon) November 13, 2016

  • Laurels and limitations

    #Chiefs inactives vs #Panthers:WR – J. MaclinCB – D. WhiteDL – J. HowardQB – T. BrayLB – J. HoustonRB – B. SankeyOL – M. Person— BJ Kissel (@ChiefsReporter) November 13, 2016

    • berttheclock

      Thanks. I wish they would list the 46 who will suit up for the game.

      • Laurels and limitations

        here’s a link to today’s active roster Bert, http://www.chiefs.com/team/roster.html

        • berttheclock

          Thanks, but, I thought from that full roster a team only took 46 for games. If the inactive of seven is included, that would mean Travis could possibly play today. I believe it will be essential to attack the safeties of the Panthers with TEs and I would like to see multiple sets used.

  • berttheclock

    Well, best to the Chiefs today and best to all here at LaddieVille. Off to D’s Bar where I hope my hand will end becoming very red from all of the High Five slapping following great plays by the Chiefs.

    • freshmeat62

      Did you see my story about the ‘watch dog’ down below?

  • 816KillaCityRoyalChief816

    Where’s Brandon? He deleted his responses on addict.