Charter Member of the Sub-Media

November 27, 2007

Facing the Truth about the 4-7 Chiefs « Kansas City Chiefs »

It is impossible to pin any of our losses on a single failure. It has required multiple failures of various aspects of the game to put us at 4-7. We've had inconsistent play from the QB while Huard was in, the O-line for the entire season, the D-line for the last 3 games, the pass defense in the 4th quarter against Green Bay, the run defense in the 4th quarter against Indy and Oakland, the WRs in the first 3 games, we're on our #3 RB, our CBs have been inconsistent most of the season, but Law gave up too many 3rd down completions against the Jags, playcalling at times, too many penalties in most of our games, strings of missed key field goals, lousy returns.

We've missed by inches in most of the above problems. Of all those problems, the O-line is the most clear culprit. They have not protected the QB, they have not opened lanes for the running game, and they've made stupid (unnecessary) motion and holding penalties that have put us 15-20 yards from a first down too many times. With a better O-line and kicker, we could be 11-0 right now. Sure, about half the teams in the NFL could say that...but half couldn't.

Solari is, at most, 10% of the problem (some bad play calls). Herm is, at most, 10% of the problem (I hold him responsible for our excessive penalties). On the other hand, most other coaches would not have put us in the situation where we were so close from being 8-3. I understand the frustration, but don't let it get in the way of insight and sense.

Bottom line: Despite all the whining, CP and Herm have us very close to being a contender. More experience for our key youngsters (Croyle, K. Smith, Page, Pollard, Brackenridge, Bowe, Webb, Niswanger, McBride, Tyler... and maybe G. Harris? H. Taylor? Nate Harris? Dmitri Patterson? Michael Allan? Boomer Grigsby?) and another strong draft will get us there. Patience.

Show Comments »

Posted by Nathan at 09:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
New Hobby (sort of) « Music/Guitar »

I've been trying to be smarter about life, i.e. not wasting as much time in pointless/useless activities. I stil play Jagged Alliance 2, but nowhere near as much. I still surf the web, but nowhere near as much. I still write on this blog, but I've focused down onto music and KC Chiefs. (although I haven't demonstrated the music much, yet).

I have a "master class"-built Carvin strat that I love. I also have a JB Player Professional that I like a lot. It has a beautiful Cherry Burst finish, 24 frets, Wilkinson Tremelo system. But it has a few problems. The neck has a fret that won't articulate needs to be refretted. The Wilkinson doesn't stay in tune well enough to use. And despite EMG Select pickups, the sound doesn't (can't!) compare to my Carvin.

So I purchased some used Carvin pickups on eBay 2 weeks ago, and installed them two days ago. At the same time, I finally got around to installing the tremsetter.

I put a C22T in the bridge position, an AP-11 in the middle position, and an SH-1 in the neck position. It is now a hot guitar...maybe almost too hot, to tell the truth. I have to be careful about the amount of gain I use, and there's quite a bit of attack hiss. But I'm learning how to use it, and it has a nice crunch even when the amp is set fairly clean (which I like), it has a decent quack in the 2/4 positions (though more noise...I may have to try to rewire it...or maybe just find a way to lock down the middle position pickup more), and a beautiful double-coil sound in the neck position for soloing. It has such a sweet sound around fret 12, it almost makes me cry.

The tremsetter makes the tremelo useful, too. I can now play "Barracuda" without going out of tune. Big "divebombs" can knock it slightly out of tune, but only for chordal could still solo without much problem. I have purchased Sperzel locking tuners (still on the way), and that should improve the situation even more.

At this point, I think I'm going to make the leap to start working on guitars, rather than buying them. I found lots of wiring schematics online before I rewired the JB Player, and even tried out an alternative (DiMarzio) method before going with the standard wiring (I didn't really like the sound of the 2/4 positions, and the 1 and 5 positions were nowhere near as good as when I rewired it for the standard just didn't work with the pickups I had, I guess). I found ReRanch, a great site for refinishing guitars. That gives me the confidence to buy a chipped/scratched guitar body that has good wood and try to refinish with a different color. I'm looking at a pretty quilted maple Fernandez on eBay right now. It's yellow burst right now, but with ReRanch products and advice, I think I could do a really nice Ruby Burst or Sapphire Burst (like those seen on Carvin's site), and with a couple of Carvin humbuckers, I should be able to have a guitar that looks new and sounds/plays like a low-end PRS or high-end Carvin for less than $200.

So that's what I'm doing now.

Show Comments »

Posted by Nathan at 09:40 AM | Comments (32) | TrackBack (0)

November 25, 2007

Chiefs Lose to the Raiders (I just threw up in my mouth a little bit) « Kansas City Chiefs »

Well, there was one bright spot:
Kolby Smith.

More commentary soon.

Show Comments »

Posted by Nathan at 10:47 PM | Comments (20) | TrackBack (0)

November 19, 2007

Chiefs at this Point « Kansas City Chiefs »

Some people look at what this team achieved and assume it is the baseline, using that as justification to call our coaches "idiots". Another way to look at it is that the team has already achieved more than the pessimists predicted, and that it took excellent coaching to even reach this level. The same conservative, tactical/strategic planning that people complain about got us wins against San Diego, Minnesota, Oakland, and Cincinnati. We simply don't have the talent and experience to be 6-4 right now...although we are getting it by how we played the last few games.

Good things take time/patience. Despite the instant gratification society we now have, "Quick/Now" does not always mean good. Some wisecracker will say we've been waiting for decades...but there have been peaks and valleys...and right now we are dealing with the aftermath of Dick Vermeil's not thinking about tomorrow. We are rebuilding the team the [i]right[/i] way for the first time since 1989.

Bottom line: Go look at an incomplete won't look good, either. Go look at uncooked's not that appetizing: yet. This team is being taught how to play as a team, not just as individuals. Every criticism leveled at Herm last year and this year was leveled at Tony Dungy his first two years at Indy...but it worked there, and it will work here. Just not as fast as some might petulantly demand.

Show Comments »

Posted by Nathan at 08:27 AM | Comments (34) | TrackBack (0)

November 18, 2007

Chiefs Lose To the Colts « Kansas City Chiefs »

A few points:

1) We have an awesome defense. I think we can hold any team under 20 points, even the New England Patriots. And every time we hold a team under 20 points going into the 4th quarter, we can win the game.

1a) Yes, even with this offense.

2) Barring some sort of set-back and/or injury, Brodie Croyle is our starting Quarterback for the next 12-15 years. He went up against an angry, Super Bowl-winning, lost-two-games-in-a-row-and-not-willing-to-lose-a-third, #5-in-the-NFL defense, and did a great job. Good completion percentage, no INTs, several 3rd down completions, avoided pressure to complete the pass, and a touchdown pass that was (in the words of the announcer) "in a shoebox", it was so accurate. And luckily it was to the only guy on the team skilled enough to catch it and get his feet down in bounds...who should be our #1 WR for the next 12-15 years.

3) Chris Terry is a joke at RT. When the ref said, "Holding. Offense.", I guessed the next words would be, "#60." I was right. When a Colt sacked Brodie and stripped the ball, I guessed the replay would show Chris Terry let the defender through too easily. ...sure enough, it was. Our 2008 first-round pick, plus a third or fourth round pick, should go to getting a few Tackles. If we get a starting LT, McIntosh can slide to the RT. If the 1st rounder needs some seasoning, he can start at RT for a year or two, and then by the time he's ready to shift over to the left, we should have another RT ready to go. Our CBs are old, but we've got some young guys that will work fine as long as we continue to get pressure from our D-line.

4) McBride is playing like a vet, not a rookie. He doesn't have many tackles, but he already has a sack, a tipped pass, 2 or 3 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, and a handful of QB pressures. And this has all been in the last 5-6 games; before that, he stood out more for his miscues. (although his sack was in the 2nd game, I think). Tank Tyler is not making an impact yet...but he's young, so there's time.

5) Napoleon Harris really hasn't done much this season. He had a few good plays in the first few games, and has been forgettable since. He's been injured a few times, I think...I remember seeing Nate Harris in a few games (looking panicky and rookie-ish). At this point, Nap looks like a bad FA pickup. Here's hoping Nate Harris progresses enough to bench Napoleon before the start of next season.

6) Lots of people complained about the offensive play-calling. I don't know. It looked okay to me. I think if we executed better, the play calling would have been fine. And it's not like we were facing the #32-ranked defense, we were facing the #5 defense in the NFL at their home. I think we called it well, and nearly pulled it off. If the sack/fumble had bounced into the Chiefs hands, we would have won the game easily. If Raynor's doink had bounced through like the Broncos' did last week, we would have won the game, because I don't think Dungy would have done his end-game strategy the same way.

But I don't know. I'd be willing to take a new O Coordinator next year, but I'd be willing to let Solari stay one more year. I've seen far worse O Coordinators have several years of ineffectiveness with the Chiefs (Jimmy Raye and Paul Hackett come to mind), and still be considered good enough to run other teams' offenses afterward. I'm not convinced there are that many good O Coordinators out there. And I think Solari has had some tough handicaps to labor under, like the expected and unexpected retirements of All-Pros, and devastating injuries to key players like Trent Green, LJ, and various O-line players (even Tony G for more than 1 game last year). At the very worst, I'd let Solari have the rest of the season to audition for his job next year. We've got Bowe and Croyle established as players now; let's see what they can do with an offense built around their abilities.

Show Comments »

Posted by Nathan at 09:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 15, 2007

Drought, of a Sort, Ends « Kansas City Chiefs »

And pundits over-react.

After reading this article, I had two thoughts:
1) Gretz isn't quite the KC mouthpiece some people try to accuse him of being
2) This article may play well to the casual fan, but contains inexcusable mistakes for someone who has been watching/analyzing football as long as Gretz.

Here's the quote that irritates me:

This is how unusual this drafted starting quarterback drought has been. Below are the dates and quarterbacks for each of the 32 NFL franchises and the most recent start by a quarterback drafted by that team. Its an overwhelming indictment of how poor the Chiefs draft and development process with quarterbacks has been for the last 20 years.

This is a ridiculous statement because:
Did Denver have a poor draft and development process with QBs because they had Elway starting for so many years? Last time I checked, 5 Super Bowl appearances with 2 wins should not be considered bad.
Did Green Bay have a poor draft and development process with QBs because they started Favre for so many years?
Exactly how many 1st-round QBs did Cleveland and Cincinnati have to cycle through to get a decent starting QB? How many QBs overall? Doesn't that mean their draft and development process is poor, because so many drafted QBs couldn't stick? Can Washington be satisfied with their QB draft process over the last 20 years? I don't think so.
How many drafted QBs have been top performers for the Raiders over the last 20 years? Who was their best? Journeyman/career backup Rich Gannon, absolutely not drafted by Oakland.
Gretz singled out the Chiefs draft and developmental process for QBs...yet excluded Seattle becaues they had Seneca Wallace start a game. Is he the starter now? Did he bring them to a Super Bowl? No. In their entire existence, the only QB to take them to the Super Bowl was Matt Hasselback...whom Green Bay drafted.

By my quick count, there have been 101 QBs drafted since 2000. There are only 32 teams. Something like 10 teams are starting QBs either undrafted or not drafted since 2000. That means only about 1/5th of the drafted QBs are starting.

We drafted 6 QBs that should have been available to start during the 90s:
Danny McManus (11th-round 88), Mike Elkins (2nd-89), Matt Blundin (2nd-92), Steve Matthews (7th-94), Steve Stenstrom (4th-95), Pat Barnes (4th-97).

...and yet, even though none of these QBs caught on, or even started, we still were one of the most winning teams of the 90s. Notable Super Bowl winning teams of the 90s:
Green Bay, did not draft the starting QB
Denver (2x), did not draft the starting QB
San Franciscio, did not draft the starting QB
St. Louis Rams, did not draft the strating QB

That means half the Super Bowls won during the 90s were by QBs not drafted by their team.

Drafting a good QB or trading for a good young player is the best way to have stability at your QB position. The problem is knowing if the QB is a keeper or not. The question is not whether or not you drafted the QB, but whether you are satisfied with him or not. We did not miss out on a Super Bowl appearance because Trent wasn't drafted by KC, I can guarantee you.

Show Comments »

Posted by Nathan at 08:34 AM | Comments (29) | TrackBack (0)

November 14, 2007

Post of the Year « GWOT »

I'm breaking my self-imposed shift away from political posting to bring you this gem from Grayhawk.

Read the whole thing. I mean it.

Show Comments »

Posted by Nathan at 07:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 13, 2007

Chiefs Lose to Broncos, Pt II « Kansas City Chiefs »

Good analysis here, by David J.

Posted by Nathan at 08:29 AM | TrackBack (0)
Chiefs Lose to Broncos; Croyle Era Starts « Kansas City Chiefs »

Man, that was an embarrassing loss. We shouldn't lose at home to the Broncos under any circumstances (last loss to the Broncos at Arrowhead was 2002), but to lose 27-11 is ridiculous. Especially with as banged up as Denver was coming into the game.

But it all starts up front, and our O-line let the Broncos get too much pressure on Huard, while Denver's O-line pretty much shut down KC's D-line (except for one coverage sack to Jared Allen early in the game), and gave Denver's undrafted rookie RB pretty good cutback lanes (20 carries for 109 yards).

So with Huard getting hammered by the Bronco's D-line, the Chiefs gave up two big turnovers deep in KC's side of the field, leading directly and indirectly to two Bronco TDs in the 3rd quarter. That blew the game wide open and gave the Broncos an (with our offense) insurmountable lead.

If there is an upside, it's that Croyle has now been given the starting job, and unless he looks like the second coming of Ryan Leaf, he'll finish out the season. He looked pretty good against the Broncos, doing pretty well despite the highly-ranked Broncos pass defense knowing he had to pass to try to catch up. He did throw 1 INT and couldn't lead the Chiefs to more than a single FG.

But he looked pretty good. At least twice, I saw Brodie elude a pass rush by throwing a quick pass that Huard would not have been able to get off. Huard would have thrown it away or taken the sack, but Croyle threaded the ball past a defender to put the ball where the receiver could get it and get positive yardage.

I like Huard, and thought he was one of the mentally toughest QBs I've seen in recent history. But I've been ready for Croyle to take over since the beginning of the season, and even more after we went 0-2, and even more after Huard followed up the victory over San Diego with another really slow start against the Bengals. So I'm absolutely excited about Croyle starting the rest of the season, and I think he'll do well. I think he won't lose any games for us, and could quite possibly win several on his arm strength and ability.

But we'll see.

Our back-to-back losses nearly eliminate us from post-season play. I figure we'll need to end up 10-6 to have a chance, and I think there is little chance of us only losing one more game the rest of the season.

We still have to play Detroit, which is no slouch. We still have to go to Denver and try to win back the game we lost this week. San Diego is coming back, and they will want to take the game at Arrowhead to avenge our beating them on their home turf. And, of course, we travel to Indianapolis to take on the Colts this week. We will lose more than one of those games, and so we are now likely to end up 8-8 or 9-7.

We could have beaten both the Packers and the Broncos. We needed to win at least one of them to be able to say we are a good enough team to make the playoffs. We are still alive, so we'd better not give up, but hope is fading.

Show Comments »

Posted by Nathan at 08:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 09, 2007

Chiefs and Broncos Recent Draft Suckage « Kansas City Chiefs »

Good analysis by the Chief's Gretz:

The Chiefs and Broncos, and also to a certain extent the Chargers and Raiders are in their current predicaments because of poor drafting. Right now, the guts of any NFL team should be players taken in the 2000 through 2004 drafts. The oldest of that group would be an eight-year veteran and the youngest would be in his fourth season. Because of free agency, there is natural attrition the league goes through each and every season, as the older players are left behind. But those five seasons should dominate at least half the teams roster, with more recent drafts (2005-07) taking up most of the other half.

Thats not the case in the AFC West. Among the four teams there is not a single player remaining from on their rosters this week from their 2001 drafts. There are only two players from the 2002 draft still playing for the team that drafted them: cornerback Quentin Jammer in San Diego and often-injured wide receiver Ronald Curry in Oakland.

Among the four teams there are nine players from the 2003 draft and a dozen players from the 2004 draft.

The team struggling most because of poor results in the draft is Denver. Mike Shanahans track record in the draft is exceedingly bad. He had more draft picks in those five seasons than any other team in the division and has only two current players to show for it: linebacker Ian Gold (2000) and D.J. Williams (2004.) On the 53-man roster this week are only 15 players drafted by Denver in any season.

To make up for those deficiencies the Broncos have had to remain a big player in the free agent market and through trades. Right now half of Denvers 22 starters have come from trades or free agency. Theres at least another dozen in backup positions, including defensive end Simeon Rice who the Broncos have paid big money for and hes not gotten on the field in eight games.

While the Chiefs were more productive in the draft during those seasons, they have the same numbers as the Broncos: 11 of their 22 starters came through free agency or trades.

Show Comments »

Posted by Nathan at 05:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 05, 2007

We are 4-4 now. We play 4 of 5 against division rivals...but 3 of those 4 Division games are at home. We've beaten the Chargers and Raiders on the road, so we should win those. And Denver is, if anything, worse off than KC, and worse than San Diego, and worse than last year. We should be able to beat them both in KC and Denver.

We will likely lose to the Colts in Indy, but ya never know...

Still. We are going undefeated in the AFC West this year.

Show Comments »

Posted by Nathan at 09:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Chiefs Lose to Green Bay « Kansas City Chiefs »

Yeah, the defense let us down on this one.

The caliber of our defense isn't supposed to give up that many big plays, even to Favre.

On a day that Huard had a 4th-quarter come-from-behind score and when his performance was statistically identical to Brett Favre's (as in 2 TDs and 2 INTs), it wasn't Huard who lost the game for us. Especially since he did as well as Favre despite being hit a heck of a lot more, and also faced one of the best CB tandems in the league in Harris and Woodson.

But that's good news, because our defense will step it up to make sure this doesn't happen again.

Show Comments »

Posted by Nathan at 12:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 04, 2007

Quit the Whining, Chiefs Fans! « Kansas City Chiefs »

I'm looking around, and it seems like all there is out there these days is negativity.

I'm not negative. I think we're doing fine.

We aren't great, no. We aren't at the level of the Colts and Patriots...but who is?

We've got some good things going right now. I believe, in no particular order:
1) Herm Edwards is one of the best coaches in the league, and is showing it now that he is with one of the better front offices in the league. To be 4-4 and be able to say you missed opportunities to be 6-2 or 7-1 is amazing, considering the problems we've had with injuries, youth, and our O-line.

(...and maybe that's the point. In a vacuum, we aren't all that good, just 4-4. But considering where people expected us to be, we are still in great shape to win the division and win one or two playoff games).

2) Our defense may be the best in the league. They constantly deal with bad field position from our sub-par offense, but still keep us in every game.

3) Damon Huard is winning games for us, even if not with scintillating stats. He can win playoff games for us, too, with this defense.

4) We've got an excellent D-line. Allen, Hali, Edwards, Boone, and McBride all had at least 2 good plays in the last game. Allen is the biggest sack threat in the NFL this season.

5) Page has learned how to tackle. DJ is hitting well...he just needs to start forcing turnovers to be a pro-bowler and help us win more games/playoff games.

6) We are 2 O-linemen, 1 WR, and maybe 1 CB away from having a Super Bowl contender. We are 5-6 players away from being a Super Bowl favorite. 2-3 of those may already be on the roster, and the other 3-4 can come in free agency and the draft next season.

7) For us to be 4-4 and tied for 1st in the division (with the inside track due to tiebreaking advantage over SD) with the state of our offense in general, and our running game in specific, is truly amazing...which goes back to the excellence of Herm Edwards as a coach.

All I want to see is for us to improve over last year. 10-6 and a playoff win will tickle me pink and set us up well for next season. 11-5, 2 playoff wins, or winning the division should qualify Herm for Coach of the Year honors.

Show Comments »

Posted by Nathan at 11:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)