Tuesday, March 19, 2013

the 2013 chiefs: the first look ahead ...

"You play with words; you play with love.
You can twist it around, but that ain't enough
'Cause girl?  I'm gonna know
If you're letting me in, or letting me go --

Don't lie.  When you're hurting inside?
You can't escape my ...

Private eyes!  (clap clap!)  They're watching you!  (clap clap!)
They see your every move!
Private eyes!  (clap clap!)  They're watching you!  (clap clap!)
They're watching you, watching you, watching you ..."

-- "Private Eyes" by Hall and Oates.  

------------------------------------------------

Well, now that I've finally completed and posted the *cough fourteen week overdue cough* look back at the 2012 Chiefs season*, I suppose it's time to look ahead to 2013 -- what have the Chiefs done so far in the offseason, what work remains to be done, and as always, a preliminary look at the season via a mock schedule featuring our actual opponents, purposely mocked to ensure the best possible record for the Chiefs. 

(*: said 2012 season brought to you by Planned Parenthood.  Planned Parenthood: where the architects of the 2012 Chiefs should have taken their creation, six weeks or so after the roster was conceived.)

The Chiefs ended the 2012 season at two wins, meaning our moves, coupled with the donkeys decisions, have to bridge a gap of eleven wins, to take the AFC West next season (which should be the goal of every organization entering every season -- make sensible moves that maximize your ability to win the division.  It's football, not rocket science, people.  It's really not that tough to figure out.)

Let's take this one position at a time ... starting with the most important of them all:

* Quarterback.

Out: Matt Cassel (released), Brady Quinn (free agency).
In: Alex Smith (trade with 49ers); Chase Daniel (free agency).
Retained: Noone of note as of 3/19/13.

Analysis: I've already posted my feelings regarding Alex Smith's arrival, and needless to say, I have no complaints.  The Chase Daniel signing though, fascinates me.  On the one hand, handing $10 million to a dude who's thrown exactly nine passes in his career, is a little bit ... uum ... gee, how to put this ... stupid?  Idiotic?  Foolish? 

But on the other hand ... I actually love this signing.  Look it, what you want in a backup quarterback is someone you have faith in, someone who can step in for a month and at least split 2-2.  Can Chase Daniel do that?  I have no idea, but what's wrong with finding out?  What's wrong with having options available to you?  There is no question -- (allard baird voice) no question! -- that Chase Daniel, right now, is better than any option on the roster in 2012.  He's better than Cassel.  He's better than Quinn.  He's a helluva lot better than Stanzi, or that Youtube! sensation we stashed on the practice squad.  So in that regard, I'm really good with the move.

Plus, and maybe I just think differently than other people, but all the dude has done, is win -- and win big -- at every level he's ever played at!  You don't start at quarterback at Carroll High, unless you're damned good.  You don't lead your team to the number one ranking in the nation, thirty minutes away from playing for a national championship, like Mr. Daniel did at Mizzou, unless you are really damned good.  And I'm gonna go out on a limb and state that Sean Payton, arguably the finest offensive mind in the sport, he doesn't let you spend not one, not two, but three seasons as Drew Brees' backup, unless he believes you can win in the NFL.  And if "Fat" Andy Reid and John Dorsey, men who have coached and/or drafted and/or traded for Steve Young, Jeff Garcia, Donovan McNabb, Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Hasselbeck -- all pretty solid, Pro Bowl caliber quarterbacks -- there's no way "Fat" Andy Reid signs off on this, unless he thinks Chase Daniel can win in this league.

Grade(s): A+ for Smith; B+ for Daniel.

* Running Back.

Out: Peyton Hillis (released ... I think).
In: Noone of note as of 3/19/13.
Retained: Noone of note as of 3/19/13.

Analysis: addition by subtraction?  Peyton Hillis was a complete waste of time, money, and space in 2012.  Hey, I liked the signing, I liked the gamble, I thought he would be a clear improvement over Thomas Jones.  He wasn't.  Probably best for all parties involved that he moved on.

I would expect the Chiefs to target a running back with one of their third round picks.  (More on this when we get to what I'd focus on in the draft, farther down this post.)

Grade(s): C. 

* Wide Receiver.

Out: Steve Breaston (released).
In: Donnie Avery (free agency).
Retained: Dwayne Bowe (new contract).

Analysis: if you go to the Chiefs website and click on Mr. Avery's player profile, and look at his game by game stats from 2012, you'll notice something that, quite frankly, is damned refreshing to see.

Consistency.

Every week, he's good for 4 catches and 60 yards of offense.  Isn't that what you want from a slot receiver?  Basically, he's Dante Hall 2.0 when it comes to the receiving game.  Isn't that a good thing?  I mean, am I the only one who remembered how automatic, how freaking automatic, Dante Hall was on the "quick throw at the line" play?  Good for 13-15 yards and a first, every time.  And at least once or twice a year, he'd break one (remember the Bills Sunday nighter in 2003, when he took a simple go pattern for 93 yards and the six)?  Isn't that EXACTLY what this team needs, opposite it's big playmaker in Dwayne Bowe?

Furthermore, with one exception (2011), he's healthy and available for action.  Consistently playing 15, 16 games a season throughout his career.  Again, isn't that EXACTLY what this team needs, a wide receiver that can get on the field, and stay there?

Smart, sensible, thoughtful signing.  When was the last time we could say that, about a free agent acquisition by this team?  I love this signing.  Hell, I've loved everything this team has done this offseason so far, if we're being honest.

Grade(s): A+ for Bowe; A- for Avery.

* Tight End.

Out: Steve Maneri (free agency).
In: Anthony Fasano (free agency).
Retained: Noone of note as of 3/19/13.

Analysis: you know, I really shouldn't call this "analysis"; it's really more like "Stevo flinging sh*t against the wall and seeing what sticks".  I might have to go back, and change this section to "Sh*t That Sticks" or something.  (joe biden voice) Folks!  That is a great idea!  A three letter word -- idea!  (Pause).  Yes, I know I'm running the Joe Biden voice into the ground.  (Pause).  No, I don't care what my readers think about it!  If they don't like me having some fun with a guy who my sole purpose in life for a month, was to have a beer with, I like the guy that much, then they can go read something else!  Deal with it!

Anyways, I liked the Fasano signing.  Like with Avery, click on his player profile, and you'll notice two very good things: he stays healthy, and he puts up consistent numbers.  There aren't a ton of swing performances -- meaning, one week he grabs 11 for 150 and 2 TDs, then the next three weeks, he combines for 2 catches for 5 yards.  Just yet another smart, sensible, thoughtful signing by the Chiefs that I wholeheartedly approve of.

Grade(s): B.

* Offensive Line.

Out: Eric Winston (arrogant f*cking prick getting what he not just deserved, but earned); Ryan Lilja (retirement).
In: Geoff Schwartz (free agency).
Retained: Branden Albert (franchise tag).

Analysis: another area the Chiefs have clearly chosen to focus on in the draft.  Which I have no problems with ... provided number one overall, is not whizzed away on an offensive lineman.  Geoff Schwartz was a decent signing for depth (which the Chiefs have little of at the position).  Right tackle and depth at center are two glaring holes right now -- the interior of Jeff Allen / Rodney Hudson / Jon Asomoah is solid, and Branden Albert looks good to go at left tackle, having signed his one year tender earlier today. 

The Chiefs did what they had to do, and retained Branden Albert.  At this point, guys?  Doesn't it feel damned good to use the phrase "the Chiefs did what they had to do", as often as we have so far this offseason?

Grade(s): A for Albert; B+ for Schwartz.

* Defensive Line.

Out: Glenn Dorsey (free agency); Shaun Smith (free agency ... I think).
In: Mike DeVito (free agency).
Retained: Tyson Jackson (restructured contract).

Analysis: DeVito is a really solid signing, one of those under-the-radar deals that you don't recognize for it's brilliance, until you can't ignore it anymore.  No, he's not making a Pro Bowl anytime soon, but like Donnie Avery, like Anthony Fasano, it's yet another depth-building signing of a proven commodity.  You know what you're getting with DeVito -- 15 games, 65-70 tackles, and effective effort in occupying the other team's tackle, to free up the lane(s) for Hali and Houston.

Of all the offseason moves the Chiefs have made though, none may prove to be bigger, than in convincing Tyson Jackson to redo his deal.  The restructure freed up nearly $11 million in cap room, allowed Jackson to continue his development (again, as I tried to note in the Season in Review, Mr. Jackson had a really solid season last year; this team sucked so much, you just didn't notice it), and meant that we didn't have to fill two line slots, freeing up resources elsewhere.  God above, you'd think I was on my knees or something -- I'm giving the Dorsey / Reid offseason a complete and total verbal fellation at this point.  (joe biden voice) Folks!  He's giving them a verbal blow job!  A three letter word -- blow!

(Yes, at this point, the Joe Biden voice is being used solely and totally because it's making me laugh out loud as I type.  What can I say.  Other than "it's my site, and you cannot argue you aren't getting your money's worth out of this bad boy ... considering you haven't paid anything, to read this".  You'll read this and thank me for it!)

Grade(s): B for Jackson; B for DeVito.

* Linebacker.

Out: Jovan Belcher (death); Brandon Siler (free agency ... I think).
In: Noone of note as of 3/19/13.
Retained: position coach Gary Gibbs.

Analysis: I hold out hope that Brandon Siler will be resigned, if for nothing else, then for depth, given his solid play last season.  The four starters are pretty much set -- Hali and Houston on the edges, Johnson and Greenwood in the middle.  This unit has two openings to fill.  I'd expect one to be via the draft, and one via a waiver wire cut in camp, or a free agent signing as camp approaches.

And as for Gibbs -- this guy can flat out coach the position.  I'm glad "Fat" Andy Reid recognized the dude's talent, and kept him around.

Grade(s): D for player signing / retention; A for Gibbs.

* Secondary.

Out: Stanford Routt (released).
In: Sean Smith (free agency); Dunta Robinson (free agency).
Retained: position coach Emmitt Thomas.

Analysis: other than quarterback and the braintrust on the sideline, no position on this team has upgraded as rapidly, completely, and totally as the secondary.  Emmitt Thomas worked nothing short of a miracle last year, given the depth and injury issues this unit faced.  I mean, I don't have many rules of life*, but I'm pretty sure one of them is "if Neiko Thorpe is starting at corner for you, you are (ween voice) up sh*ts creek with a turd for a paddle".

(*: Good God, I need to seriously update this list.  It's been 30 months.  I'm sure I've added at least one rule since then ... and discarded a few.  (Pause). Yes, it does sound like a brilliant way to whiz away eight hours in the office tomorrow!  Or to spend the evening tonight, if "NCIS" is a rerun, and "Smash" continues to be eight layers of unwatchable.)

Signing Dunta Robinson by itself would have improved this unit drastically.  Signing both Sean Smith (who will start) AND Dunta Robinson (who will play quite a bit)?  Is about as dramatic of an improvement to this unit, that is humanly possible.

Again, go back to the beginning of this post.  EVERY move you make, should have as its primary focus, its primary goal, to bridge the gap between where you were (two wins), and where the leader is (thirteen wins).  Like it or not, we play in a division where we have to face eric decker, demaryius thomas, and wes welker twice a year, and God willing, a third time in January.  The Chiefs must have at least five competent cover guys -- three to cover denver's wideouts, one for the tight end, one for the safety valve.  We now do.  A corner unit of Brandon Flowers / Sean Smith / Dunta Robinson, with Javier Arenas as the nickel / dime option, combined with a safety unit of Eric Berry / Kendrick Lewis with the (surprisingly) effective Tysyn Hartman, is a really, really good unit.  We're talking "amongst the best in the NFL" good.  (joe biden voice) Folks!  He thinks this is a damned good secondary!  A three letter word -- good!

This is one position I will be stunned, to see the Chiefs use one of their eight picks on.  Unless it's round seven, and they're taking a flyer on a sleeper they like, and don't want to risk not signing when the free agent madhouse after the draft begins.

Grade(s): A+ for Smith; A for Robinson; B+ for Thomas.

* Special Teams.

Out: Noone of note as of 3/19/13.
In: Noone of note as of 3/19/13.
Retained: Dustin Colquitt (free agency).

Analysis: the Chiefs had to keep Colquitt, and they managed to do it.  Did we overpay?  Of course!  But did we have a choice?  Hell no! 

Like with the secondary, and having to have both quality AND quantity to simply deal with what the donkeys have in place, when you're in a division with three punters as terrific at their job as baby brother britton, shane lechler, and Mike Scifres, when you know you're going to be facing them six times a year, you've gotta at least match what they've got, to not allow the enemy to have a position of strength against you, that you can't counter balance. 

I expect the Chiefs to bring in either a free agent (draft eligible) kicker, or to sign a veteran, to compete in camp for the place kicking gig.  And I expect Ryan Succup to retain his job, through a solid training camp and preseason effort.  He had a bad year.  It happens.  Let's just all be thankful that his worst season to date (and his first three have been phenomenally good), occurred during the worst season in franchise history.

Grade(s): A+ for Colquitt.

* Coaching.

Out: Head Coach Romeo Crennel (fired); Assistant Head Coach / Running Backs Coach Maurice Carthon (fired); Offensive Coordinator Brian Daboll (fired); Offensive Line Coach Jack Bicknell Jr. (fired); Quarterbacks Coach Jim Zorn (fired); Wide Receivers Coach Nick Sirianni (fired); Tight Ends Coach Bernie Parmelee (fired); Offensive Quality Control Coach Jim Bob Cooter (tragically fired); Defensive Line Coach Anthony Pleasant (fired); Defensive Quality Control Coach Otis Smith (fired); Defensive Assistant / Linebackers Coach Anthony Zimmer (fired); Special Teams Coordinator Tom McMahon (fired); Strength and Conditioning Coach Mike Clark (fired).

(joe biden voice) My God, Folks!  No wonder Barack America and I's plan to grow the economy isn't working!  Because the Chiefs clearly don't believe in that three letter word: jobs!  J O B S, jobs*!

In: Head Coach "Fat" Andy Reid (hired); Offensive Coordinator Doug Pederson (hired); Assistant Head Coach / Wide Receivers Coach David Culley (hired); Running Backs Coach Eric "Sleeping With" Bieniemy (hired); Quarterbacks Coach Matt Nagy (hired); Offensive Line Coach Andy Heck (hired); Tight End Coach Tom Melvin (hired); Assistant Offensive Line Coach Eugene "Like Maury Povich, Everyone Wang Connie" Chung "Tonight" (hired); Strength and Conditioning Coach Barry Rubin (hired); Defensive Coordinator Bob Sutton (hired); Defensive Line Coach Tommy Brasher (hired); Assistant Secondary Coach Al Harris (hired); Special Teams Coordinator Dave Toub (hired); Quality Control Coach Britt Reid (hired); Quality Control Coach Cory Matthaei (hired); Quality Control Coach Mark DeLeone (hired).

(joe biden voice) Folks!  That's change we can believe in!

Retained: Linebackers Coach Gary Gibbs; Secondary Coach Emmitt Thomas.

(*: my favorite, bar none, part of the clip, is the last two seconds, when not only Mr. Biden realizes his incredibly idiotic (and hysterical) gaffe ... you hear the audience start laughing hysterically.  Mr. Biden brought the house down with that one.  And it's why I can't help but love the guy.  He doesn't duck or dodge or clam up after a gaffe (like every damned Republican in the nation); he just rolls with the punches, and somehow salvages the situation.  He's the undisputed king of thinking on his feet.  I admire that in people.  And we all know, I also love people who don't take themselves seriously.  I hate arrogant f*cking pricks with a passion.  Mr. Biden, is certainly not arrogant, and he ain't a prick.  Hell -- he can make people with no legs, stand up!**  (joe biden voice) Thanks, pal!)

(**: and no, no political speech gaffe will EVER, top Vice President Biden telling a guy with no legs to "stand up", and then, after THIRTY SIX YEARS in the Senate, noting "you can tell I'm new".  I will never stop laughing at the utter stupidity on display ... and how incredibly well Mr. Biden adjusted on the fly.  THAT takes talent.  Which, to be fair, he should have -- God knows he botches sh*t enough, to get plenty of practice at recovering on the fly.)

Analysis: wow.  Just ... wow.  And I left about five coaches OFF the "in" listing, that are listed on the Chiefs website as being a part of "Fat" Andy Reid's coaching staff.

So let's start at the top.  "Fat" Andy Reid, at a bare minimum, is a three game improvement over Romeo Crennel by himself.  At a BARE minimum.  Yes, he has clock management issues, but what head coach not named "Mike Shanahan" or "Bill Belichick" doesn't?  Yes, he is atrocious at challenges ... but what makes you think he won't learn from his mistakes, like another former Eagles head coach who took over the Chiefs, and hire someone* specifically to let him know when to challenge, so that he doesn't have to think about it?  

(*: yo, "Fat" Andy!  Mike White is sitting on the couch with nothing to do.  Throw a couple hundred grand at him, to return to the sideline, and do what he did so brilliantly during the last three Vermeil years here.  Just a suggestion.  Your amigo, Stevo.)

Likewise, I think the upgrade at offensive coordinator is worth a win or two.  One thing I hate, and I mean HATE, about people's criticisms (fair or not) about "Fat" Andy Reid, is the ludacris suggestion that he doesn't believe in the running game.  (dierks bentley voice) Am I the only one who wants to have fun tonight?  No, wait -- I mean, am I the only one who does statistical research?

It is a FACT that prior to 2009 (a decade's worth of data for Reid), that the Eagles ran the ball 52.4% of the time.  Starting in 2009, the number started to flip, resulting in the league high nearly 62 / 38 pass run ratio last year.

Guys?  What two things happened in 2009, that would lead a coach who for a f*cking decade, leaned run over pass, to suddenly embrace the pass over the run?  The Eagles didn't lose their featured running back to free agency, or sign a mobile quarterback, did they?  They didn't lose Brian Westbrook to the 49ers, and sign (and eventually start) Michael Vick, did they?  Oh wait -- they did!

I mean, sweet merciful Jesus, if you don't have a running back that is healthy and capable (LeSean McCoy doesn't count ... at least for the healthy part; he is pretty capable), and your quarterback's best strength is throwing on the run, throwing outside the pocket, wouldn't you ADAPT your offense to fit your players skill sets?  I mean, it's not like the Eagles' emphasis on the pass crippled them -- they reached the NFC Title Game in 2009, won the damned division in 2010, and went .500 in 2011.  (We'll ignore 2012, when injuries, and the players quitting on "Fat" Andy, turned the season into a debacle.)

Here in KC, with a more traditional passer and a dynamic back who perfectly fits the Reid offense, does anyone honestly believe Reid and Pederson are going to have Alex Smith throwing the rock 55 times a game?  Does anyone believe that two people who have had this modified West Coast offense humming along as one of the league's best for fifteen f*cking years, is NOT going to coach to his strengths, and away from his weaknesses?  If you honestly believe that, if you honestly believe that a coach who over the last 15 years, has won 140 games, 9 division titles, reached 5 conference title games, and won the conference once, if you honestly believe that a man that successful is going to look at the weapons at his disposal, and coach AGAINST what they do best?  Then (george strait voice) I've got some oceanfront property in Arizona for ya.

And if you'll buy that?  I'll throw the damned Golden Gate Bridge in for free.

I mean, this is just absolutely ridiculous!  What kind of a buffoon coaches AGAINST his strengths?  Other than Romeo Crennel, of course?  Good grief.

On defense, I'll be honest -- I'm not thrilled with the Bob Sutton hire.  He is, at best, a middle of the road, average, perfectly mediocre hire.  (Pause).  Which isn't that OK?  I mean, be honest -- who amongst us that loves this team WOULDN'T take a 13th ranked defense (which Sutton's Jets have been the last two years)?  If you get that side of the ball to simply be mediocre, to simply not yield 40 (vs Falcons), 35 (at Bills), 37 (vs Chargers), 38 (at Bucs), 31 (at Chargers), 28 (vs Bengals), 30 (at raiders), and 38 (at broncos)? 

You're looking at at least one more win than you had, if not two.

As for special teams?  Given how solid his units almost always were in Philadelphia, if this is the dude "Fat" Andy Reid wants for the job?  Then he's the right dude for the job.  (joe biden voice) Folks!  He's the right dude for the job!  A three letter word -- dude!

Grade(s): A for "Fat" Andy Reid; B+ for retaining Gibbs and Thomas; B for rest of the hires save for one; F for Britt Reid hire.  (Pause).  What?  I hate nepotism of any kind!  (Pause).  Oh for God's sake, like "Fat" Andy Reid is ever going to read this!  Besides, if he ever did, I guarantee you he'd be more upset about me nicknaming him "Fat" Andy Reid, than for suggesting his son is a no-talent (alleged) drug dealer who has no business being on a NFL coaching staff!

* Front Office.

Out: General Manager Scott Pioli (arrogant f*cking prick who got not just what he deserved, but earned); Director of Player Personnel Ray "Bring Your Playbook" Farmer (resigned / accepted same job with Browns).
In: General Manager John Dorsey (hired); Assorted Regional and Area Scouts (hired).
Retained: President Mark Donovan.

Analysis: I have said it before, and I mean it more every single time I say it.  Hell, I love it so much, I'm going to bold face the entire statement.

I love, and I mean LOVE, when arrogant f*cking pricks who treat other people with a total, complete, and utter lack of respect, get what they deserve.  It CANNOT happen early -- or often -- enough.

(joe biden voice) Folks!  Stevo's saying he felt nothing but hate for Scott Pioli!  A three letter word -- hate!

God bless it, I feel SO STRONGLY about this ... I'm typing it in bold face, one more time.

I love, and I mean LOVE, when arrogant f*cking pricks who treat other people with a total, complete, and utter lack of respect, get what they deserve.  It CANNOT happen early -- or often -- enough.

Grade(s): A+ for Dorsey; Incomplete for Assorted Scouts; C for Donovan.

* The Draft.

The Chiefs 2013 Picks:

Round One, Pick One (1)
Round Three, Pick One (63)
Round Three, Pick Thirty Four (96)*
Round Four, Pick Two (99)
Round Five, Pick One (134)
Round Six, Pick Two (170)
Round Six, Pick Thirty Six (202)*
Round Seven, Pick One (203)

* -- compensatory pick, cannot be traded.

The Chiefs have three major areas they need to address in the draft: offensive line, depth at linebacker, depth / potential starter on the defensive line.  In addition, I expect the Chiefs to draft at least one quarterback, probably with one of the two third rounders.  Depth at running back, offensive line, and possibly a wide receiver figure to be taken as well.

Here's what I'd like to see.

1. Trade out of the first pick in the draft, if possible.

Who knows how possible this is?  Usually, barely a month out from the draft, if the top pick is getting shopped, it's major news.  Unless I've lost my hearing and ability to read various draft related sites, I've heard nothing about either the Chiefs trying to trade down, or of any other team trying to trade up.

2. If you have to pick first overall, select Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama.

It's simple: take the best skill position player available.  I would argue you never use the first pick in the draft -- or a top fifteen pick for that matter -- on anything other than a quarterback, cornerback, linebacker, or safety.  Running back is overvalued.  Wide receiver is overvalued.  You can always find a serviceable lineman, on either side of the ball.

The odds are, however, you will NOT find a franchise quarterback, cornerback, linebacker, or safety.  (And for the record, that is the order of importance of the selection, in my rarely humble opinion.)

If we're being honest with ourselves, there is no quarterback worth taking first overall.  So go to the next position, and take the best available player at corner.

3. If still available to open round three, select Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse.

Nassib is the quarterback I like the best in this draft.  Better than Geno Smith, better than Mike Glennon, better than Matt Barkley, better than EJ Manuel, better than Landry Jones, better than Tyler Wilson, better than Tyler Bray.  Love this kid.

4. If Ryan Nassib is off the board, strongly consider selecting Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin.

Hey, if the best back in the draft, who happens to be a perfect compliment to Jamaal Charles, and happens to solve your "who the hell carries it on 4th and 1" glaring need you have, is sitting there at 63 ... and the guy you wanted there, is already off the board?  You can do worse than selecting the best back in the draft.

5. With the six remaining picks, draft for depth.

You can find a serviceable linebacker, a serviceable defensive lineman, and a serviceable offensive lineman, with these six picks.  If you look at John Dorsey's draft history in Green Bay, you'll notice the Packers consistently hit on Day Three picks.  They didn't find their stars there, but they found their depth, the guys you need who just get the job done.  All you have to do, is hit on 50% of the six picks.  I believe John Dorsey is more than capable, of doing that.

* Remaining Free Agency.

Honestly, at this point, you're signing depth.  There's only one true gaping opening in the starting unit, and that's right tackle.  (Or left tackle, if you move Branden Albert, which is something I would not do.)  This is something that both prior administrations, have done a decent job of doing -- acquiring veterans for cheap who get the job done for a year or two. 

I know the elephant in the room, is whether the Chiefs should go after Elvis Dumervil, who thanks to an incredible brain fart by his agent, finds himself unemployed as of 3/19/13.  I would not.  I'd rather use the money (and cap space) a credible contract for Dumervil will eat up, on a couple backup linemen on either side of the ball.

* The Dream Schedule.

Well, let's take a stab at this.

Preseason:

Week One: Saturday, August 10, at Vikings, 7pm (Channel 5).
Week Two: Saturday, August 17, vs Bears, 7pm (Channel 5).
Week Three: Saturday, August 24, vs Rams, 7pm (Channel 5).
Week Four: Thursday, August 29, at Cowboys, 7pm (Channel 5).

Analysis: Royals are home August 10th (vs Red Sox) and 24th (vs Nationals).  Give us a double header day, guys.  Please.  There is little that is more fun, than to start tailgating at 10am, catch a Royals game at noon, tailgate for another 3 hours afterwards, then catch the Chiefs game at 7pm.

Regular Season:

Just for the record, here are the Chiefs opponents for 2013:

Home: broncos, raiders, Chargers; Colts, Texans; Cowboys, Giants; Browns.
Road: broncos, raiders, Chargers; Jaguars, Titans; Eagles, Redskins; Bills.

Week One: Monday, September 9, vs denver broncos (9:15pm CT, ESPN).
Week Two: Sunday, September 15, at Buffalo Bills (noon CT, CBS).
Week Three: Sunday, September 22, at Jacksonville Jaguars (noon CT, CBS).
Week Four: Sunday, September 29, vs Houston Texans (noon CT, CBS).
Week Five: bye.
Week Six: Thursday, October 10, at Philadelphia Eagles (7pm, NFLN).
Week Seven: Sunday, October 20, vs San Diego "Super" Chargers (noon CT, CBS).
Week Eight: Sunday, October 27, at oakland raiders (3pm or 3:25pm CT, CBS).
Week Nine: Sunday, November 3, at Tennessee Titans (noon CT, CBS).
Week Ten: Sunday, November 10, vs Dallas Cowboys (noon CT, FOX).
Week Eleven: Sunday, November 17, vs New York Giants (noon CT, FOX)*.
Week Twelve: Sunday, November 24, at denver broncos (3 or 3:25pm CT, CBS)*.
Week Thirteen: Sunday, December 1, at San Diego "Super" Chargers (3 or 3:25pm CT, CBS)*.
Week Fourteen: Sunday, December 8, vs Indianapolis Colts (noon CT, CBS)*.
Week Fifteen: Sunday, December 15, at Washington Redskins (noon CT, CBS)*.
Week Sixteen: Sunday, December 22, vs Cleveland Browns (noon CT, CBS)*.
Week Seventeen: Sunday, December 29, vs oakland raiders (noon CT, CBS)*.

* -- eligible for flexible scheduling.

Let's take this piece by piece.

Week One: the Royals are home on September 8, meaning the Chiefs will either (a) open on the road ... or it's 2010 all over again, with Tuesday morning football!  You want to get the new era off to a potentially amazing start?  Why not take on the bully right off the bat!  Just like the Monday Nighter against the Chargers in 2010 jump-started that season, why not try to replicate history again?  It'd be a great start to the season.

Prediction Five Months Too Early: at Chiefs 27, broncos 24.  Chiefs 1-0 (overall), 1-0 (conference), 1-0 (division).

Week Two: the Royals are on the road on September 15, but I didn't want to open with two straight home games, so instead, I sent us on our first roadie of the season ... to our personal house of horrors.  Do you know the last time the Chiefs won at the Ralph?  (Here's a hint: some of you who regularly read this site, were NOT EVEN BORN YET, the last time a Chiefs team won in Buffalo).  The answer?  Week Four ... 1986, a 20-17 overtime win.  Since then, the Chiefs have played at the Ralph six times, and are not only 0-6 ... they haven't even been competitive:

1991 Playoffs: Bills 37, Chiefs 14.
1993 Playoffs: Bills 30, Chiefs 13.
1994 Week 9: Bills 44, Chiefs 10.
1996 Week 17: Bills 22, Chiefs 9.
2005 Week 11: Bills 13, Chiefs 3.
2012 Week 2: Bills 35, Chiefs 17.

Average: Bills 30, Chiefs 11.

Time to snap that streak, fellas.

Prediction Five Months Too Early: Chiefs 24, at Bills 14.  Chiefs 2-0, 2-0, 1-0.

Week Three: without question -- (allard baird voice) without question! -- THE easiest game on the 2013 schedule.  If the Chiefs cannot beat the worst team in the NFL, it's going to be a long, long, long, long, long season.

Prediction Five Months Too Early: Chiefs 31, at Jaguars 13.  Chiefs 3-0, 3-0, 1-0.

Week Four: without question -- (allard baird voice) without question!  -- THE hardest game on the 2013 schedule.  If the Chiefs can just hang within a couple scores, it bodes well for the rest of the season.

Prediction Five Months Too Early: Texans 34, at Chiefs 24.  Chiefs 3-1, 3-1, 1-0.

Week Five: hang on, let me check something ... and whew, we're good.  "Sur" William Callahan is not on the Chiefs coaching staff.  Thank God -- bye would have hung 50 on us, if "Sur" William was on the Chiefs staff.

(And as a public service for those of you who don't get why I refer to the worst coach in Cornhuskers ... if not Big 6, Big 7, Big 8, Big XII and Big Ten (plus four)'s combined histories ... as "Sur" William Callahan?  Here's your answer.)

Week Six: we all know that “Fat” Andy Reid’s return to Philly is destined for either a Monday or Thursday night slot.  Every team must make one Thursday night appearance; the NFL can get rid of two “bad” teams with one stone here in a non-sweeps / networks in reruns time of the season (aka “makes for better ratings when it counts”).

Prediction Five Months Too Early: at Eagles 23, Chiefs 10.  Chiefs 3-2, 3-1, 1-0.

Week Seven: A big divisional game.  The Chiefs have dropped their last five divisional home games, and it should be seven – the one win at home over the last two years against the division, was one of the biggest “what are the f*cking odds” victories against the “Super” Chargers on Halloween Night 2011.

Prediction Five Months Too Early: at Chiefs 28, Chargers 17.  Chiefs 4-2, 4-1, 2-0.

Week Eight: if the Chiefs are going to catch the broncos?  They MUST win this game.  Chiefs have won 9 of 11 by the Bay.  They MUST make that 10 of 12.  A huge statement game – divisional champions win this game comfortably; the raiders are atrocious.  A wildcard team?  Finds a way to get the job done as well.

Prediction Five Months Too Early: Chiefs 20, at raiders 9.  Chiefs 5-2, 5-1, 3-0.

Week Nine: another extremely winnable road game against a mediocre, average opponent.  Playoff teams find a way to sweep the road trip against two teams likely to be picking in the top five in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Prediction Five Months Too Early: Chiefs 24, at Titans 21 (OT).  Chiefs 6-2, 6-1, 3-0.

Week Ten: ooh boy.  This?  Is a phenomenal measuring stick to open the second half of the season.  Yes, I have the Chiefs at 6-2, but other than denver (via an emotional prime time home game), the Chiefs haven’t beaten any team that figures to win more than five games this season (Bills, Jaguars, Chargers, raiders, Titans).  This is winnable, against a credible playoff threat ... as is the next week.  I say the Chiefs split.

Prediction Five Months Too Early: Cowboys 31, at Chiefs 20.  Chiefs 6-3, 6-1, 3-0.

Week Eleven: see week ten.

Prediction Five Months Too Early: at Chiefs 27, Giants 23.  Chiefs 7-3, 6-1, 3-0.

Week Twelve: in the words of the late, great Randall Carlyle Wakefield: “I may be stupid, but I’m not that stupid.  (Pause).  Well …”

Prediction Five Months Too Early: at broncos 38, Chiefs 17.  Chiefs 7-4, 6-2, 3-1.

Week Thirteen: the Chiefs house of horrors … and my guess is, this one might be the difference between catching the broncos … or falling short, and being dumped in the clusterf*ck of 10-6 squads fighting for the right to get rolled at Houston or Pittsburgh or Baltimore or Cincinnati to open the playoffs.  The Chiefs are 5-15 in their last 20 at Qualcomm, with the only wins since 1991 coming in 1992 (season opener; Bob Ross’ first game), 1995 (Chiefs went 8-0 in division), 1997 (barely; San Diego was up for this one), 2003 (barely, 28-24), and 2007 (total and complete fluke).  In this stretch, the Chiefs also have blown a 17 point lead with 3:20 to play to lose (1998), have blown a 13 point lead with 4 minutes to play to lose (2002), and of their last five trips to the Q, have finished within three touchdowns of victory only once (2011; Chargers won 20-17 after leading 17-0 at half).

Prediction Five Months Too Early: at Chargers 35, Chiefs 31.  Chiefs 7-5, 6-3, 3-2.

Week Fourteen: absolutely critical, must-win game that will have hu-yuge wildcard ramifications for both teams.

Prediction Five Months Too Early: at Chiefs 28, Colts 21.  Chiefs 8-5, 7-3, 3-2.

Week Fifteen: given what remains, Chiefs can lose this tough roadie, and still be in decent shape to at least be a wildcard.  If they want to win the division, they’ll have to steal this one against the defending NFC East champions – on the road.  Fun little stat?  Chiefs are 2-0 all time at FedEx, winning in a rout in 2001, and barely squeaking one out in 2009.

Prediction Five Months Too Early: at Redskins 24, Chiefs 21.  Chiefs 8-6, 7-3, 3-2.

Week Sixteen: the second easiest game on the schedule, and without question, the easiest home game.  Chiefs likely have to sweep the final homestand against two horrible, rebuilding teams, to reach the postseason.

Prediction Five Months Too Early: at Chiefs 28, Browns 6.  Chiefs 9-6, 8-3, 3-2.

Week Seventeen: given the Chiefs conference record, they’d likely have tiebreaker over nearly any of the teams likely to be in the 10-6 clusterf*ck for the sixth seed (and I’d say those teams are likely to be (2 of the 3) Ravens, Steelers, Bengals … and the Colts, who Chiefs would hold tiebreaker over via head-to-head result).

Prediction Five Months Too Early: at Chiefs 31, raiders 14.  Chiefs 10-6, 9-3, 4-2.

* The Ending Thought.

Based on the off-season changes so far – both player personnel, as well as coaching and the front office – as well as our opponents, I have the Chiefs eight wins better than they were three and a half months ago, when the season ended in one of the worst defeats in franchise history at fake mile high.  That’s good.

But I don’t think it’s good enough.  Here are denver’s opponents:

Home: Chiefs, Chargers, raiders; Eagles, Redskins; Jaguars, Titans; Ravens.
Road: Chiefs, Chargers, raiders; Cowboys*, Giants; Texans, Colts; Patriots.

(*: you can bet everything you own, that broncos at Cowboys, will be the CBS 3pm Thanksgiving Day game.  Put it this way: it ain’t gonna be the raiders at Cowboys, the only other option for the slot.)

Looking at that?  I’d say denver goes 7-1 at home (and 8-0 is extremely doable), and 5-3 on the road (although 4-4 is probably more likely).  That’s 12-4 (I’ll  say they lose to the Ravens, Cowboys, Texans, and Patriots). 

As things stand, we have two games we need to make up.  Obviously, winning a game I have us losing (I’m looking at you, at San Diego) would help, as would denver losing a game I have them winning (hello at Indianapolis or the Giants).  But that only get us tied with them at 11. 

There’s still more work to do.  The breakdown isn’t lying.  We have to find two more wins.  It’s like that scene in “Apollo 13”, when Ken Mattingly keeps coming up four amps short, to get the mission back to earth. 

The Chiefs need those four amps, those two wins, to come from somewhere.  (bert blyleven voice) Circle me biased, but I got faith in John Dorsey, “Fat” Andy Reid, and the new scouting department, to find them …

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