First off before the “Next” —
a New Offensive Lineman
The Chiefs signed Andrew Wylie to the Practice Squad. He is 6-5, 310, a 2016 UDFA. In 2017 he joined the Ravens in May 2017. From there, he went to the Colts and then the Browns PS. His collegiate experience was at Eastern Michigan, 46 of 47 games, 3rd team All-American Conference his Sr. yr, 2016.
Next: 2018 — Go or No-Go?
A lot of hype is going round the various circuits, including Arrowheadone. What’s it about? Excitement over starting Patrick Mahomes at Denver in Week 17. In 2018, almost everyone believes he will take over the reins and Al Smith’s time as a Chief will have ended before June First.
I am not a fan of this approach and I will give examples of why this is so: Rodgers/Favre, Brady/Garappolo, Montana/Young, Al Smith/Kaepernick, to name just a few. How about we add in 1st round QB picks that were thrown to a starting role? Bortles, Mariotta and Lynch are good examples, but there are more.
Successful Handoffs Favor a 2-year wait or even more
There are several exceptions to this, but the first two on my list provide glaring examples as to why waiting and giving 2 years growth time to new QBs before his first full season under center. The exceptions you can list but how many of those new QBs as new Starters out of the gate got to the playoffs?
Questions About Year Two?
Here I want to give notice related to the performance fall-off in the 2nd year, notably Dak and Carr. After Defensive Coordinators have a full season of film to study, they “Figure it out” at NFL Speed. Carr may be the better example than you are willing to admit. Bortles struggled mightily in his first season and didn’t appear to have it all improved gradually. Marietta is a lot more questionable. Right now? Trubisky had a mighty strong test which likely will see some negatives Sunday as will Goff.
You might even select Cam Newton as another…big bang, first year, but his second and third have been full of ups and downs and some of this is largely due to his decision making on the field. Newton has a ton of talent. I think he thinks too much of himself. My judgement about this is one of maturity and he often demonstrates the lack of it. All the more reason to delay the starting role for QBs with talent.
Let’s take Al Smith. Here he is at 33 having his best season ever(despite the losing skid). His numbers are extremely comparable to those of Tom Brady, which makes him the #2 QB in the NFL in my view for 2017. He is and has been a candidate for MVP.
Yes, he has had perhaps 3 games where he was “off”. But then, so has Brady; think back to week 1 as an example. That is part of the game and it’s part of the “Parity” Program which the NFL is has been pushing for 20 years. When Al Smith was given a true #1 WR in Hill(meaning, not Dwayne Bowe, a possession receiver not a #1 deep threat), look at what he has accomplished. This without his #2(Conley) though Bert Wilson officially occupied that spot.
It then, for a starting QB, takes time and experience to learn how to adjust, when to do so and why. This has applicability and effect when viewing the QB coach and especially being in sync with the offensive Coordinator and play-caller. When the defenses make adjustments, the QB and staff need to shift away from what the defense is now doing on the fly, exploiting the skill set in making appropriate adjustments to what defenses are taking away requires a special foundation. You don’t get that type of “read” from most young QBs. On the thread today, Laddie posted to the topic, a comparison of numbers, Smith to Brady. I think that is a superb example.
So as not to attempt to obscure the fact that I have been an Al Smith promoter since his arrival, I am plainly stating that this is the case. Mahomes, in his rookie contract is set under the $4m level. Al Smith will make a $20m this year and has, according to PM himself, and coaches on the staff, a perfect mentor for Mahomes. If Smith garnered what he was worth with an extension it would, after this seasons numbers, approach the $25m mark for 2018. Mahomes will still be under $5m. That is too large a load but as noted, I would really like to see PM #2 for another season because when he breaks into the starting role, I would love to see him excel beyond all expectations.
There are a lot of nuances to this topic and it is a good discussion piece. If you comment about this, please note your own observations on successes and failures of young QBs and why this or that occurred. It is a worthy topic and one that needs a deeper examination than Hyping Patrick Mahomes, or being an Al Smith Detractor.
Smith and the Reality
I am going to go with Smith remaining the Chiefs starter in 2018. Why? Above what was covered in my view of things — the exposure of having a rookie in real NFL games start without having time to understudy. I provided a couple of major players who came to their team and were highly successful as they matured and gained knowledge, Playbook expertise and the understudy with a successful quarterback as a mentor. Too, it matters who the QB coach is and the offensive coordinator.
In KC, swapping out Andy Reid play-calling has been a resounding success and it has mattered in the results with the current win streak. This allowed Andy Reid to be “head coach” in the game without being distracted play after play with his cheat sheet.
Jeff Rosen made this observation about Al Smith: “Chiefs QB Alex Smith will become the first player in NFL HISTORY to have 5 straight seasons of 3,000+ yards and 10 or fewer interceptions. Has 4,042, yds, 26 TDs, 5 INTs in 2017.”
Sunday at Mile High
There was no meaning to this game at all. The Chiefs gain nothing win or lose and the Broncos will not make the playoffs. Someone might very well be injured and that is something the Chiefs need to avoid at all cost. I still want them to roll out the end of the season with 10 wins and I desired to see Patrick Mahomes be highly successful… And he was. In the end, he engineered a game winning drive at the end of the game. This was really superb stuff.
Purely and simply, getting a win it is a matter of pride and it is the honor of playing in the historical AFL West. Of course, Denver was not and cannot be the dastardly Oakland Raiders. Nothing, absolutely nothing can replace that old rivalry with a dreaded and hated foe.
What we saw Sunday though, is Patrick Mahomes at the helm for the first time and it appeared to me that he was a huge success. How about you? One bad throw and an INT and the rest? Big thumbs up.
Reid put Bray in the game who immediately erred. He was not successful and I see no reason for him to get a 5th year deal. See that topic below.
We were witness to many starters sitting out a good portion of the game and still winning, to finish 2017 as a 10-6 record division winner. That 2 games less than I predicted. On the day? It came down to the Titans getting a win 15-10 over the Jaguars.
Players I Looked forward to Seeing Play
Tanoh Kpassagnon at OLB, for me, acquitted himself very well. In the end result, with Ford a non-pereformer at a level we can accept, and Tamba Hali a no-show tells me a lot about 2018.
Ukeme Eligwe too. He was not as smooth and as intrusively reactive for the game, but played at NFL speed… I think that translates to a lot of ILB competition come OTA’s and Spring Training. Perhaps what I am saying is that for Inside and Outside, my big worries that led into the 2017 draft may be solved, especially since Brett Veach brought in Reggie Ragland.
Think on this — Kevin Pierre-Louis(KP-L) wasn’t going to go, DJ sat and for me, that is good stuff.
At RB we should have seen West but he is out with illness and we all witnessed Anthony Sherman getting a lot of snaps and playing RB. He is a very solid player and runs over people. Andy Reid? Pay attention.
Kevin Acker was out due to illness. Also Charcandrick West was ruled out for the same reason and Hill being out gave Robinson an opportunity to get targets. Unfortunately for him, he dropped a couple of TDs. But consider this? He has been timing with Al Smith and hasn’t played with Mahomes at QB since Pre-season. It does take timing and familiarity. I will give this one a pass until 2018 and see where we are.
Due to West being out, we should saw a lot of Sherman and I liked that.
The secondary will saw guys who are not starters as much as possible. Gaines, Murray, Sorensen, etc. The latter two though, play an important role for the defense. Gaines was again hurt in this game and this makes me wondre at his future as a slot CB. Well, to be truthful? I questioned his return in 2018 anyway, during the season and mentioned it a couple of times.
So okay, Bert Wilson made an impression in this game. See my comments though, below.
When we needed to see Cam Erving in the front 5, it turned out not to be possible as he was not available for this game, also with illness.
As far as I know, the Chiefs had no major injuries. Let’s just hope that none of our starters are injured.
Auld Lang Syne for 2018
I think this is a logical subject because we are going to see some young guys play at Denver. One thing that bodes well for the Chiefs is the LB corp. I really believed in Ragland at the time of the draft and for me, Ukeme Eligwe proved my point about himself inside. Outside? Tanoh Kpassagnon also proved he can play at NFL speed, had a sack and played very well. This for me, as noted is part of the solution for 2018 – Brett Veach(GM) made a move and brought Ragland in which has turned out to give us a “MIKE” for the foreseeable future. On top of that, we have KP-L, Ramik Wilson and the yet to be proven Terrance Smith.
So for whom will the song apply? I am venturing into future territory here but my list for who won’t be suiting up in Red and Gold follows.
Bennie Logan — will command too much money
Dustin Colquitt — would be in his 14th season and it is a Free Agent year as well, and that is big money for him in a contract year as well. The Chiefs brought in 2 punters for trials over the past 2 weeks — that is tea leaves for me and someone else I saw today wrote about it. In truth, thought he might be gone before this season but that turned out not to be the case.
Bert Wilson — despite showing that he can play, is again and will always be on my cut list. Not that I don’t like him, it’s just for 2 seasons he did little and in his contract year, he showed up. I will not count on him playing with a new contract. Maybe they have to keep him but with Conley and Robinson? I don’t see the point and yes he finally lived up to what we expct. His skill set has speed but he doesn”t have length, nor the upside of Chris Conley, Demarcuss Robinson nor Jehu Chesson. I color him in another uni in 2018.
DJ — as mentioned oft times this season — he has lost speed and his ability to stop on a dime and cut back to the ball. If a miracle happens? Different story but with two Achilles tears in 3 years? I think he is done. This one for me is hard to swallow as is Hali Below.
Tamba Hali — offered nothing this season and little last. Another Chiefs we love to love but it is time to read ’em an weep.
Dee Ford — a big disappointment for me, really. I kept holding out in hope but the truth is, the only way we should keep him is if we can’t figure an alternative including the 43 defense).
Darrelle Revis — brought in as a stop gap but his 2018 money is hard to swallow.
DAT — just doesn’t offer enough to make it worth the while.
Tyler Bray — I just don’t see his value. Maybe it’s there and he is #3 but he is getting monies if retained for a 5 year Pro. I color him gone and Veach will need to find a young replacement in the spring.
So is 2018 Sans Al Smith? ???? — This view is “Contrarian” to Many
This is going to be hard to ignore and the reason follows below. Besides, Patrick Mahomes played very well vs. the Broncos and all the proponents are going bonkers. The Al Smith Detractors continue their spiel and it is plain wrong.
It is my view that Al Smith is the starter in 2018. You don’t replace the QB who is probably the #2 BY THE STATS QB IN THE 2017 NFL. Most NFL teams try to stay under the $20m-25m and the Chiefs can do that with Smith/Mahomes. Previous NSLU articles provided a view of how Cheap Smith’s contract was as time passed and other QBs of his stature were getting upwards of $25m, and then add the numbers for the #2 and #3 QB on top of that. The Chiefs are in a good situation with both players with Al Smith’s cap number at $20m and Patrick Mahomes at $3.7m. That is a lot less for the 1/2 Combo than many teams with a top QB and backup of a lot of talent. Even though many don’t see this, it gives the Chiefs a chance to have a solid #2 while totally grooming him for taking over. You have a #2 that is skilled but is too much of a slinger, still learning the ropes and who needs to mature. Another season with Smith as Mentor? I think would be a boon to PM’s career. Of course, this is counter to a lot of fans who are constant critics of Smith, but for that matter, constant critics of this or that player, which I am as well of an opposing view.
Here I would point to the Patriots in 2018, sans Garappolo. I have not covered Dead Money in my “Cut” list but when I compare the situation to NE, the Chiefs are would have double that depending on who they release and Al Smith’s dead money would be a large figure compared to New England’s $7m+dead money number.
I am also not favor of chancing a missed playoff spot and would hate to see a losing season due to an unseasoned QB. and the situation appears to dictate that Smith is gone. We can color it green, or we can color it not winning the big game or whatever you choose. Smith brought winning back to KC and has extremely good numbers by the stats as noted above. . But I am not wholly a by-the-numbers type author, fan or observer.
True, I have supported Smith all along and time after time in discussion, went with the top stat for QBs: The W-L stat. I have countered the critiques made regarding his passing and game management label and noted the Philly QB who is now and NFL announcer who viewed being a game manager as a compliment. This QB won a Super Bowl by the way.
In no way is this a view that is detrimental to the arrival of Patrick Mahomes. The decision to trade picks to move up to #10 in the 2017 draft was extremely costly. It behooves the Chiefs not to toss him to the wolves and ensure his readiness for taking over the reins under center. But the needs of the Chiefs on defense were glaringly obvious in the 2016 season and they couldn’t be resolved with the draft if the trade of Picks to get Patrick Mahomes into the fold.What’s done is done.
It is my view that the drafting Mahomes came from the top and Andy Reid. I do not think that the 2017 draft was approached as John Dorsey has demonstrated. That draft was Defense Heavy with players who would surely have fit the bill to cover the exposures that were present.
Too, there was a cap problem at the same time so I can see Dorsey trading up to use picks to select players who were tops on his draft board and getting at least 2 starters out of the deal. But that is just my speculation.
It is my hope that Patrick Mahomes lives up to expectation and succeeds beyond my wildest dreams — As one of our members is wont to exclaim, Viva la Mahomes. Okay. So we go with it. But it is my view that it will be 2019 and we are seeing PM get his NFL feet wet in week 17.
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