I know it is a lengthy piece. For this, you have an opening apology. The Chiefs regular season finale bids us pay attention to it as “Something Happened” and do that simple review. This is my version of it
Game time at 3:35 Central provides a time to prepare for Sunday’s article.
Reflecting on Week 17
There is something that is truly beneficial to the starting players of any team who get to take advantage of a two week lay-off.
The Chiefs held out players from week 17 play where they could which gives the players who could be held out, 2 weeks to recoup from the nagging bumps, bruises, sprains that all players fight through.
I was extremely pleased to take a look at two of our rookies and see the result: OLB Tanoh Kpassagnon hit the field running and didn’t stop. He had 4 solo tackles, 3 for a loss plus 2 sacks. That’s good stuff.
Ukeme Eligwe also came on with much to contribute: 6 tackles, 3 for a loss and 2 sacks. Having added Reggie Ragland, a former bottom round 1, or low round 2 player via the Veach trade, the Chiefs should be looking to have filled the exposure for ILB as they have DJ, presuming he is back in 2018 (not sure on that one), but add Ramik Wilson, whose game v. the Broncos was at a very high level. His contribution was 7 solo tackles and he scored on a fumble recovery. Kevin Pierre-Louis had many highly contributing snaps during the season.
If you recall I was pretty high on Terrance Smith (injured and unable to play for a period of time) and he had 6 tackles, 5 solo and defended 2 passes and tallied an interception.
Key Questions from the
Results of Week 17
Overall? I really liked to see what the LB corp did both inside and out show success with young players whose play was admirable. I think the questions are:
- Considering what we saw of Ramik Wilson, why is he being held out of games?
- It appeared from the Game Cast that Terrance Smith played a huge game. How do the coaches perceive that?
- Can Tanoh Kpassagnon take over opposite Justin Houston? His contribution in this game was very good.
- Is Eligwe a future starter at ILB?
- Is DJ done as a player?
- If Ragland is a starter MIKE, then who will set the defenses if DJ is not there.
Total Recall Required
Recall all the conversations leading up to the draft? I stated that the exposures below need to be addressed.
- The 2017 draft was laden with good defensive players; It’s a defense draft.
- DJ might not overcome 2 Achilles tears
- DJ was at a retirement point/Wants to play thru 2018/Chiefs need to look for his replacement
- The Chiefs did not have a counterpart to Justin Houston that worked.
- Hali’s age showed up in 2016 and I personally witnessed him hobbling with pain during the game with the Titans which the Chiefs lost.
- The Chiefs need a feature RB.
- The Chiefs need a #2 Corner for the outside, opposite Peters.
- Ford isn’t going to cut it and I and the Chiefs have to face that fact.
- The Chiefs need to resolve who the starter will be at the slot or nickel CB roles.
In a defensive heavy draft, we did obtain two futures players in Kpass and Eliqwe. Week 17 gave us a glimpse of their level of play and ability. It looks very good.
In defense of the Mahomes Pick? Week 17 showed why he was the right choice for the Chiefs in their acquisition of the QB of the future. So I have been saying that Dorsey controlled the draft and this draft was not characteristic of him. But lets give him the credit and he was fired due to internal problems, which have been his bluntness, his management of the cap or the inability to get along with Clark Hunt. So it was the man who was fired that brought Mahomes to the Kingdom and about whom many fans are totally giddy.
Critics of Dorsey should give him credit for the positive contribution of players to the Chiefs Roster highlighted by trading down to obtain the #10 pick in the draft–Patrick Mahomes. His picks across the 4 seasons have yielded pro bowl talent and beyond. -NSLU Dispatch
Then the man they brought forward to replace John Dorsey, Brett Veach acquired two players who were high draft picks in their draft season. One of those proved out the other hasn’t panned yet.
I am referring to Reggie Ragland who was on my to draft list in his Draft Year. I was pleased to bring Ragland in to the fold. He was predicted to be a round 1 or early round 2 pick. My point? The Chiefs obtained him in a trade for a much lower draft pick. Excellent move by Brett Veach.
Now you can take into account the play of Eligwe, Wilson, and Smith. Add to this list, Kevin Pierre-Louis and you can see Kansas City has a lot of future competition for a starting role and don’t forget that Dadi Nicolas is on the PuP.
Cameron Erving was the second high pick that Veach acquired via a trade. Like Ragland, Erving was a high pick, round 1 or 2 at the time of the draft. He doesn’t have the number of snaps in games to judge one way or the other and he was out with a contusion of the shoulder in week 17. He is full practice as of this dispatch.
Veach thus far has brought two round 1 picks to the roster for low round future picks.
What Hurt the Most in
Injuries for 2017?
I think that the loss of Chris Conley, who had been succeeding as the season opened, giving Al Smith another target, fulfilling so to speak, the #2 WR. When Conley absented himself, Robinson stepped in and he provided some relief. What was important perhaps more than that was that Bert Wilson came up with a huge contribution and surprised me to no end having watched his play be less than stellar the previous 2 seasons.
If Alex Smith had that dependable possession guy who can get over the middle and win at contested balls, high or low, this would put the offensive tools that Smith has at a league honors contesting group.
Certainly, you could not doubt that if Smith has an offensive line that gives him the time to throw, they are successful. So here, I want to note the success of players on the OL, especially since they made the blocking adjustments.
So we should note that the loss of Mitch Morse and also taking into account his foot injury cost him several games. When he came back it wasn’t rehabbed enough and he hobbled lasting only a short time before hitting the IR.
(this is a literary allusion for the antient, or fans of antiquity)
What happened with the Chiefs and their lack of production during their losing streak? I think it was the offensive line play and play-calling.
I have been harping on this for two seasons and in the midst of this one, the offensive coordinator came into his own. Reid did a better job at fulfilling his duties as HC and the play-calling was able to get the offense into a flow from play to play that really worked.
As Nagy took over the play-calling, the Chiefs simultaneously made an adjustment in the blocking scheme. The blocking assignment adjustments meant a heck of a lot for the offensive line play with Fulton at Center not being called on to move more than one player space left or right. This change used the guards to pull and LDT and Bryan Witzmann did very well in this adjustment. Witzmann, who took over for Parker Ehinger due to the latter’s injury and rehab from 2016 took time to fit his play to NFL speed, the Chiefs playbook and the blocking scheme which in Reid’s version of the WCO is complicated.
The change mean that the front 5 found it easier to make blocks and proper players were getting to the 2nd level to make blocks down field, reigniting the ground game. LDT returned to form after his injury, Mitch Schwartz excelled and Eric Fisher held up his end with solid play across the last 5 games. It began in week 13’s loss 31-38 to the Jets but the offense came out of it’s slumber for the reasons observed above. This game highlighted several problems on Defense. But the offense is my focus and the adjustment of the line play yielded 31 points.
The Chiefs reeled of the next four games to the win column to finish with a 10-6 record.
Though Fish struggled things still worked very well. Geoff Schwartz stated that the Chiefs went away from cute. I get it. Big Time. What happened? It worked. You should review Geoff’s comments –> here:
Now what is the difference?
Weapon #1 Finally Personified
Tyreek Hill has given the Chiefs a true #1 WR deep threat. No team in the NFL can ignore him or take him for granted. I can tell you this is crucially important to Patrick Mahomes as the future QB. Hill’s contribution: 1,183 yards, 75 catches and 15.8 Yards per catch and 7 TDs.
Weapon #2 – Travis Kelce
To that we can add Travis Kelce who, like Hill exceed 1,000 receiving yards. Kelce who had youth problems off and on exposed with moments of going “Stupid”, including an early season faux pas, appears to have settled in. It is a great year when your tight end has top receiving numbers himself. Kelce is perhaps the best Tight End in the NFL. Kelce had 83 catches, 1,038 yards, 12.5 Yards per catch and 8 TDs.
Weapon 3 the #2 WR
Emerging as a #2 WR, Chris Conley had come on with what looked to be very positive numbers for a #2 WR and he was making first downs, moving the chains with important catches. 11/175/15.9 YPC. take a look at the YPC — Al Smith was finding him.
Unfortunately, Conley was struck down with injury and out for the season. For a #2 type player, Conley fits the bill and has the speed and length to be that player. Robinson is going to give him competition.
What comes next is how the Chiefs handled the loss of Conley — and you can see by the numbers that the Chiefs tossed Demarcus Robinson into the fray as Bert Wilson suddenly caught fire and played well unlike his previous 2 seasons.
We’ll use Albert Wilson’s numbers this season for the #2 WR even though he is not that “prototype” #2.
Wilson who surprised me: 42/664/13.2/3TD. I think that you are looking for bigger numbers for a #2 but these in themselves are very good. The Combination of the 3 yields the #2 yardage the Chiefs needed. 175+212 +664 and more; 1151.
Robinson’s number’s were: 21/212/10.1.
Weapon #4 – Kareem Hunt
Then we add Kareem Hunt who’s total yards exceeded 1,700. The import here is meaningful because it was adding the threat from the running back position that fulfilled what Jamaal Charles had given the Chiefs over his time at RB.
Hunt’s Rushing Numbers: 227 attempts, 4.9 YPC, 1327 Yards and 8 Rushing TDs. He led the NFL in Rushing yards for the 2017 season and will be RoY most likely.
Added to the rushing title, Akeem had the following numbers for the aerial game: 53 receptions, 455 yards, 8.6 Yards per Catch and 3 more TDs.
A Kareem Hunt Oddity?
He was a player known to protect the ball. His very first exchange resulted in a fumble recovered by the opposing team. Hunt finished the season with 1 fumble, 1 fumble lost.
Weapon #5 Alex Smith Himself
Having all the offensive tools available to him, Smith put up some big numbers himself.
Smith’s numbers: 26/5/4042. Those are damned good numbers. He protected the ball and had over 4,000 yards passing. Scrambling? He had 60 rushes, 455 yards, 5.9 YPC, 1 TD.
Essentially, during the 2017 season, the Chiefs had created the threat of a balanced attack with Hunt being a tremendous reason for this.
New News News News News
Well, the first two should be noted as having been done and acknowledged. The Chiefs added Darrylle Reevis, CB to the Roster. His experience alone should boost the aerial defense and he will make tackles in run support.
The Chiefs added CB Keith Reaser who acquitted himself well in week 17. Reaser has been on the 49’ers roster since his 2015 rookie season. He had playing time across 2015-2016 but had none in 2017, was released and picked up by the Chiefs after he cleared Waivers.
For the week, the Chiefs signed a new player, Stefan Charles. This man is from Canada so that gives the Chiefs 2 Canadians, both linemen but on opposite sides of the ball. Stefan is not new to football, UDFA from the 2013 draft. He checks in at 6’5″-320 but I have no idea where he fits or his ability. He certainly has had time to adjust to NFL play having spent time with 3 NFL teams 2013-2017. At 320 he has the weight and bulk to be a powerful nose tackle but we will have to wait and see. He was not available to the roster for week 17.
Last but not least? CJ Spiller rejoined the roster(5th time in 2017).
And Now… My Closing Remarks
Where the offensive line failed was partially due to in-season injuries. Too, there were losses that would have, should not have, occurred, for example, losing 9-12 v. the Giants. Or the very next week losing 10-16 to the Bills. If I add the loss by 1 to the Raiders, and had the Chiefs performed even moderately for one more drive, their record could very well have been 13-3. Oh well.
Since I have picked on the loss of two players on the OL for a period of time and then the loss of Mitch Morse for the season as one huge factor. The second was Reid’s play-calling and the complication of the offense.
I know I wrote this multiple times across 2 seasons. Nagy calling plays was far more successful than Reid’s. The fact that the blocking assignments in the playbook were complicated and could be simplified, was a big boon to the team. I know I wrote, multiple times, get the playbook condensed and simplified, stop the cutesy stuff, run the football and give up play-calling to Nagy.
David Bell – back in Texas with warm feet
*NSLU = no stone left unturned
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