And ‘ow to Run an ‘otel (Solving the Defense Woes in a Single Off-Season)




“And ‘ow to Run an ‘otel”

There is that mystical thing that John Cleese brought to comedy. Maybe it applies here when Penelope makes a snide remark to Fawlty about running a hotel.
Things are not as bleak as folks are making it out. I came up with two or three ways to get about 35-40 million in cap space. That still stands. If we can get that cushion, the Chiefs can resolve most of their exposures in a single off-season. I think it ends up with 5 player exposures but the Chiefs can resolve 4 of the 5 or already have with returning players from the injured but not dead list (namely Eric Berry).
If they do what is expected, they will use a high draft pick to obtain a likely player who will start at Cornerback opposite Peters. I think that pick is going to be a second second round pick, or even a first round pick (even better). Why is this going to happen? Because trading Al Smith is going to give the Chiefs 2 current draft picks though it could be one 2018 high choice and another the following year (2019).


There are Non-Believers
Sure. There are exposures that seem to be unresolvable with the Chiefs few draft picks and Free Agency. There has been a true lack of a special ingredient on Defense the past two seasons. My own view is selfishly obtained and has it’s own aura of superiority I suppose. However, it is my belief that a change which doesn’t involve a player, will go a long way towards resolving the problems and exposures on Defense for 2018. I think it can be accomplished for the most part in one off season. Pay special attention to the number six.


Think on the Defensive Trench First!
When I think about what is missing from the team the past two seasons on defense, it is the force that Dontari Poe brought to the table. In 2016, he wasn’t himself. In 2017? He was gone. So, looking at the over all situation, on Defense, which was a weakness the past 2 seasons, what is lacking? Or perhaps, what is missing from the talent set of the various players to be utilized in a 3-4 as opposed to a 4-3? How badly did we miss what Poe did for us? Allen Bailey is really an above average DE. Chris Jones has the opportunity to be very good. Logan may be too costly for what he brings us. But as a piece to the front 3 puzzle he is an excellent addition. RNR? Okay, but we are still lacking on the front 3 — that Nose Tackle that can push the pocket into the Quarterbacks lap.


Make 1 addition there and…

what difference would that make?

The Chiefs dragged a foot for two seasons, but everyone knew, for 2 seasons running, that we needed another top CB and we didn’t get one. At least I knew this. It is one of the major reasons that I believe that drafting Patrick Mahomes was a mistake, or, at least, too costly because we did not resolve the problems that became apparent in the play of the defense in 2016.


This is water under the bridge. Patrick Mahomes is going to be the starter in 2018. A trade of Alex Smith should garner strength from the draft that won’t exist until such a trade is made. Is this a foregone conclusion? Probably. With a trade for current picks, the Chiefs can make a huge step forward in adding personnel (Player pieces on the NFL Chess Board). For Defense, it means using at least one high draft pick. We could not have anticipated that Eric Berry would suffer a season ending injury and be lost for almost a complete year. In 2018, presuming he is healed, that will not be the problem. He factors three times for the Chiefs: first as leader and secondary captain. Second as a pass-defense player and third in his ability to read plays and make stops in support of the run game.

Most fans liked the idea of bringing in Darryle Revis. We can recall how tough he played and his ability to shut down one side of th field. But Revis is now a role playing corner, not an island. We need a perfect compliment to Peters, and Darryle is not he. at $5 mil, is that money well spent? How much did joining the Chiefs so late in the season affect his ability to fill the role and how much of that was age? I just cannot judge that but there was something missing. Maybe it was only the mix and having Berry backing things up would have made a huge difference.


Without Eric Berry, the Secondary

lost it’s table setter
Berry will be back. I am not going to jump on or off his bandwagon. He made such a dramatic impact on run support and reading the aerial game. I believe he will be back to form. I worry as much about the why on this rash of Achilles injuries as anything … and how to prevent them. Ron Parker, next to Berry, is very under rated. I do have him on my trade list but with those 2, the Chiefs secondary is solid. I like Dirty Dan a lot. I like his fire. I greatly appreciate his constant pursuit and willingness to give and take a hit. Dan Sorensen does a lot of fill roles playing up, or playing deep and few players can do that adjusting in flight — but he does. Eric Murray has come a bit into his own which gives the Chiefs 4 solid players at safety.
Slot/Nickel Corner? Stephen Nelson. When he played the slot, he was solid. If we had been able to leave him with that role, he would have been solid and this is where we know that if we had that “CB” for the outside, the defense would be set again, at least that is my view(presuming Eric Berry is back and back to form).
I can even see Darryle Revis as a solid addition due to what Berry brings to the table. Just not at $5m.


Setting the Table for Free Agency and the Draft
The following is an example of how the Chiefs can solve most of the problems experienced the past 2 seasons on defense with a draft pick and a free agent signing.

1. One player acquisition for the Front Three, Free Agent or the draft). Must have the strength and bulk to shove the pocket backwards and be able to tie up two offensive linemen at the same time. That is a tough job but it is what is needed at NT, but it doesn’t have to be a player who is a three down defensive lineman as Poe was. It would be great if we could fill that position for the latter though. It makes Bailey, Jones, RN-R and Logan a far more potent group of players for the men with their hands in the dirt at the snap. I see this as hiring a free agent because running up and down the list of defensive linemen I don’t see that player who can ge out of the gate and solve the problem at nose tackle on passing downs at the very least.

2. One player acquisition for the secondary — that CB that locks down on opposite Peters.This player is the Chiefs top Draft pick.  I think now of Sean Smith and what he meant to the Chiefs. I think, seeing his play elsewhere, how he was complimented by the Chiefs players at the time he was here and his skill set and length were what made it work. We don’t have that guy now but in so many ways, if we had that player opposite Peters, it would have been a huge boost — but of course, missing Berry would have shifted that view at the same time.

This problem needs to be the high-draft pick resolution. Add a young player from the draft who can take over the #2 outside CB Duty opposite Marcus Peters.

3. Internal ILB for the WIL ILB is the WIL’ful’ Solution. It is my view that the Chiefs have this problem solved internally. Either DJ is good to go or we have the right player in place. The Chiefs have it solved with In-House Personnel at ILB? I am less worried now about the ILB corp due to Veach getting Reggie Ragland to the Kingdom. It was a cost, but the cost was a low draft pick to obtain a player who was a high pick in his rookie season. That was a big win for Brett Veach as he opened his tenure as the Chiefs GM.


Yes, we have DJ AND who doesn’t love the guy? My worry? I am thinking, having watched the play of DJ in 2017, that now it is time for him to hang up the cleats and begin to take on his next role as a coach. I truly want him to be a KC LB coach but he needs to apprentice, maybe go elsewhere for seasoning, then come back. I don’t want him to play at the lesser level of play than his whole career beginning in his year 3 to the point of his return in 2017. I want DJ to go out as the top ILB and defensive Captain that he was. 2017’s play was not characteristic of that level of play.


At least these are my thoughts at this moment. No matter what, DJ or not, the Chiefs need to add that LB who can set the table on defense and use Ragland’s aggressiveness as the MIKE! Whether it is filled from players already on the Roster or not, is a huge question.


At one point, Ramik Wilson filled that role as a beginner and did well. He set the table and played very well. It was my thought at the time that here we go, we are going to be okay at ILB. Something happened internally to the Chiefs. Reid? Sutton? Behavior? I don’t know. Wilson’s snaps on defense declined drastically.


The next thing I know is that we are playing a meaningless game against Denver and Wilson had a pass defense, 7 tackles and a fumble recovery. For me, this is the telling of tales outside the clubhouse. I may not know what is behind the lack of play, but it is quite obvious that Wilson can play at a high level in the NFL. What does that mean? It spells Bob Sutton and Wilson having problems and Wilson payed the price. But that is just my guess.


4. Stephen Nelson to the Slot — I think this is solid. This solution solidifies the position in a single player, not a committee and not Phillip Gaines.


5. OLB. Oh Heavens! EXCEPT: Justin Houston has no opposite, Tamba Hali is done and Dee Ford is a basic journeyman starter at OLB. We have no one in the wings. We do have Frank Zombo, a very solid, multi-role player who means a big bunch to S/T, like Sherman. But he is not the guy who is going to be a starter at OLB. If he is around another season or two? He is solid enough to fulfill the reserve role, get spot snaps and do heavy carrying on S/T.
But where do we and how do we get that OLB that we need?


Consider that John Dorsey was right. It takes 3-4 seasons for most players to be able to be that OLB that everyone says is solid, both in setting the edge and pass rush. Ford is not that player but at least he is a starter. Tanoh Kpassagnon is a special player but very raw. I doubt he will be ready to replace Dee Ford outside. Would that he could.


6. A New Defensive Coordinator is brought to the Organization. Is there bad news? The good news? Bob Sutton is gone news? More good news — it doesn’t require a draft pick or affect the cap!. It is my view that it needs to be a young guy, someone who has the experience on the defensive side of coaching. There are several DCs at the college level and moving one of them up would be what I would hope occurs. Bring some fire to the defense that was missing the past 2 seasons.


A Belief System for the Defense Returning to a Dominate Level of Play
No doubt, the Chiefs defense was far more potent prior to 2016 than it has been since that time. For all appearances, the Chiefs can solve almost every question on Defense. As players began to be utilized to replace the injured, Dave Toub’s Special Teams suffered.


It does mean, for me, that Bob Sutton will be seeking employment elsewhere and the Chiefs hire up a Defensive Coordinator who can light a fire in the hearts of the players, someone who is aggressive and kindles a response from defensive component of the teamp (item 6).


This Leaves 5 Areas of Concern

⦁ It means that they hire a Free Agent monster type player in Free Agency for NT or at least a bully who can take the snaps when it is a sure passing down. I don’t see that player out there in the college ranks for the draft in 2018. This likelihood is set by the market, the players in the draft and the Chiefs need for the position for the sure passing downs at the very least. It doesn’t need to be a long term solution.
⦁ It means that the Chiefs acquire current draft picks with a trade of Al Smith and that those draft picks resolve one of the 5 exposures provided in the list above.
⦁ It means that at ILB, the successor to DJ is already on the roster.
⦁ It means that the Chiefs use the draft to obtain that outside Cornerback who can start out of the gate.
⦁ I hate to write this one so it is written with a hope and prayer… that KPass moves up a couple of notches in playability ASAP! But I am not counting on it.


Dang it. It may mean that Dee Ford get’s a prove-it-contract so we have a starter for 2018 opposite Houston.


David Bell – Avery, ID




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