Sunday, February 14, 2016

2015 chiefs in review, part dos ...

“What a spoiled boy I’ve been!
My mouth?  Full.  Mess?  My arms outstretched!
I’ve got palm sweat!  I’m smiling like I’m competition –
Well, maybe I’m yours?

I know you –
You’re a salesman’s son,
And you’re pimping pretty junk!

And I said, what am I supposed to do?
I built the scenes around you,
And I need?  More than this!

And she said, what am I supposed to do?
Look at what’s become of you!
And I need?  More than this! …”


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More than this.

If any three words so perfectly apply to how I feel as this Chiefs season has drawn to a close, it is those three.  “More than this”.

The first playoff win in twenty two years?  Awesome.  A day I will NEVER forget for as long as I live.

But am I satisfied with giving the Patriots about all they could handle, before falling yet again well short of the sport’s ultimate prize?

No.

“More Than This”.  If “Forever Royal” defines what it means to be a Royals fan these last couple seasons?  Then “More Than This” should define how every Chiefs fan feels entering this offseason.

Here then is Part Dos of Stevo’s Season in Review: Professor Stevo’s Grades.

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The Offense:

* QB Chase Daniel: A.  Anytime you have a playoff-bound season that sees the backup only contribute pointless garbage-time snaps, it is a successful season on the field.  A backup QB should be like a mother-in-law: acknowledged, but never heard from.

Oh, and given that Mr. Daniel is highly likely to move on via free agency, allow me to say thanks for three pretty cool years dude.  All the best.

* QB Tyler Bray: Inc.  What the Chiefs see in this guy, I have no idea.  Spent the season on the NFI list.

* QB Aaron Murray: B+.  If he’s the future, he’ll win the backup job this offseason.  If he’s a bust, he’ll be looking for a landing spot come late August.  He showed promise in his preseason showcase against the Titans.  And I really like this kid.  A lot.

* QB Alex Smith: B.  This was my opinion when the trade went down three years ago.  The timetable I envisioned might be off by a year or two … but it’s trending in the right direction. 

Having said that …

2016 is Mr. Smith’s “put up or shut up” season.  Year Four as the starter in Green Bay, Brett Favre led the Packers to the NFC Title Game (a loss to the Cowboys), before making the Super Bowl the following two seasons (winning it in Year Five).  Year Four in Philadelphia, Donovan McNabb and the Eagles hosted the NFC Title Game (and lost it for the second straight year, this time to the Bucs).  One more NFC Title Game defeat later, Mr. McNabb led the Eagles to the Super Bowl in Year Six.

Why do I mention those breakthroughs?  Because they all were under the coaching of “Fat” Andy entering Year Four.

Let’s all hope history repeats itself.

* RB “Fury Of The” Knile Davis: D.  One play saved this from being an F – the opening kickoff in Houston.  God, I wish I’d had the iPhone 6 rolling for that play.

* RB Charcandrick West; A.  The Chiefs have a ridiculous embarrassment of riches at the running back position.

* RB Spencer Ware: A.  I think this kid has Emmitt Smith like potential in him.  I think he’s your starter the next five years, if 25 can’t come back from his second ACL rupture.  I really, really like Mr. Ware.

* RB Jamaal Charles: F.  I know – he missed 80% of the season.  It’s the 1/16th of the season he factored most heavily into, that “earned” him this grade – against denver Week Two.  You can make a compelling argument Mr. Charles single-handedly cost the Chiefs home-field advantage in the postseason, with his two costly and indefensible fumbles against those people that Thursday night in mid-September.

I hope 25 comes back good as new.  I also hope he’s had a football all but surgically attached to his carry arm every day he’s been out with his (al michaels voice) knee.

Oh, and hang in there – lest you think I blame Jamaal Charles solely and completely for what is arguably the most costly regular season defeat in franchise history?

Just wait until we get to the grades for the secondary.  One player in particular.

* RB / FB Anthony Sherman: B+.  True story – did you know the Chiefs acquired him for the corpse of Javier Arenas?  Sweet Jesus!  Of every incredible roster decision Mr. Dorsey has made in three years, this one might be his masterpiece.  To trade a corpse of a corner who can’t play man coverage into (arguably) the best blocking back in the league?  (john davidson voice) That’s incredible!

* WR Jason Avant: A-.  Grade earned solely and completely because of his heroic effort in the playoff loss to the Patriots.

* WR Chris Conley: B.  I thought he was a disappointment, but there’s no way to underestimate how huge his touchdown catch in the Wild Card win at Houston was.  I was there, and I can assure you, that catch literally ended that game for not just the participants, but for the Texans fans.  Because they knew their squad wasn’t scoring three touchdowns.  The “University of Kansas Memorial Third Quarter Shuffle” was started with that catch.  And it was damned fun to witness.

* WR Frankie Hammond Jr: D.  Dude.  My blood pressure is already into severe hypertension range *.  You aren’t helping it.

* WR Jeremy Maclin: A+.  Was everything he was advertised to be, and then some.

* WR Albert Wilson: C-.  He passes … barely.  If he continues to be a chicken sh*t coward in diving for a catch, he’ll be drawing an unemployment check by September 30th.

* WR DeAnthony Thomas: Inc.  I’m not going to downgrade a dude for dealing with serious and credible mental health issues.  I prefer to praise him.  As someone who suffers from depression, I kind of admire the fact he stepped away from what he’s always known (football), risked the wrath of an entire fanbase, and did it to find himself.  I wish him the best – whether he ever plays another snap on this team or not.  That takes (dan rather voice) courage.  The kind too few people have anymore.

* TE Demetrius Harris: C.  Don’t recall any reason to praise him; don’t recall any reason to trash him.  That’s a solid middle of the road effort.

* TE Travis Kelce: B+.  At least he didn’t cost us a playoff berth this year.  Unlike last year.  *Cough fumble at Arizona cough*.  And no – I won’t be tuned in for a second of his new reality dating show.  If I wanted to watch fifty desperate and delusional ho’s throw themselves at a man in a desperate gravy-train effort, I’d take a trip up to a plowed corn field in unincorporated Douglas County and watch it in person.

* TE Brian Parker: Inc.  Who?  I have literally never heard of this guy.

* TE James O’Shaughnessy: Inc.  Spent most of the season on the IR list.

* G Jeff Allen: A+.  By far and away the only stable unit on the O-Line this year.  The Chiefs will have to overpay to resign him.  I strongly suggest they do just that.

* T Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff: B.  Pressed into an unwinnable situation, and did a decent job of making the best of it.  Could be a sneaky good lineman in the Wade Smith / Marcus Spears tradition.

* T Eric Fisher: B.  Look it, he’s never going to live up to Numero Uno Overall status.  Neither did Russell Maryland.  I have never heard Jimmy Johnson or Jerry Jones b*tch even once about that selection.  And I’m not going to b*tch about this one.  He’s a decent and improving tackle.  I’m fine with it.

* G Zach Fulton: A.  Overachieved big time.

* C Mitch Morse: B+.  I like this kid a lot.  Has a lot of Tim Grunhard in him.  Hopefully it’s the good side of Mr. Grunhard.

* C Daniel Munyer: Inc.  Never heard of him.

* G Jarrod Pughsley: Inc.  Ditto.

* T Jah Reid: A.  What in the world were the Ravens thinking in cutting this guy right before the season began?  A rare brain fart by Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome.  Easily the biggest positive surprise of the season, and he more than earned the contract extension.

* T Donald Stephenson: F.  I honestly have no idea if there is an I-79 in this great country … but if Jordan Black was I-65 in his tenure with the Red and Gold, then Mr. Stephenson is not only I-79, he gets the HOV lanes on said I-79, named after him to boot.  

* G Paul Fanakia: Inc.  Curious to see what, if anything, he brings to the table when healthy.

* G Ben Grubbs: F.  Easily the worst move of the John Dorsey era so far.  If he’s as solid in 2016 as he was sh*ttacular pre-injury in 2015, that previous sentence can be deleted.

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(*: the Lisinopril is working most of the time … but last week, we had this “health fair” at work, and as I was finishing up lunch with my co-workers Heather and Diana, they encouraged me to get my blood pressure checked in the moment.  I resisted because I knew it would be bad; the morning was that awful.  But I am a sucker for a cute chica who asks me to do something.  So I submitted to it.  The result?  160/110.  And that’s with medication.  I didn’t stay in a Holiday Inn last night, and I didn’t graduate from Hollywood Upstairs Medical College … but even I know that ain’t good.)

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The Defense:

* DE Allen Bailey: A.  What a find this kid has been!  

* DE Mike DeVito: B+.  After missing all but a few snaps of last season, Mr. DeVito returned as the clogging force along the line that frees up Puff Puff Pass Rush to do their thing.  I hope Mr. DeVito returns.  My guess is, another club throws an offer we can’t afford to match at him.  Still a solid lineman, and you can never have enough of those on either side of the ball.

* NT Jaye Howard: A.  A pickup off the street mere moments before the 2013 season, Mr. Howard has played himself into one sweet payday awaiting him this offseason.  He’s earned every penny of it. 

* DE David King: Inc.  I can’t grade a dude who I couldn’t recognize on a program lineup.

* DE Rakeem Nunez-Roches: B-.  There’s potential there.  If both Mr’s. DeVito and Howard leave in free agency, he’ll be thrown into the deep end of the pool.  I think he’s up to the challenge of swimming to the proverbial shore.

* NT Dontari Poe: A+.  The clock is ticking before the bomb known as “2017 Free Agency” explodes.  The good news for the Chiefs is that John Dorsey has a proven track record of taking care of his own, at reasonable deals for the club.  (See Smith, Alex; Houston, Justin; Bailey, Allen.)  You could not have wished or hoped for a better season out of Mr. Poe than we got – up to and including becoming the biggest man to ever score a touchdown in the National … Football League.

* DE Nick Williams: B.  Was solid in spot / relief duty.

* LB DJ Alexander: C.  Did you realize this dude played in every game this year?  Because I didn’t until looking at the stats.

* OLB Dee Ford: B+.  The first half of the season was an utter debacle, and led many to conclude he would be the latest in a long line of Chiefs busts in the first round.  Then Justin Houston was injured in the win over Buffalo, and Dee Ford had to step up.  He did – very, very impressively.  In five weeks of action – all five without Mr. Houston  – he posted four sacks, twenty plus tackles, and most importantly, literally saved the season (at least in the moment) by somehow dislodging the pass from Danny Woodhead’s hands, on the final play in the Chargers home game, to preserve a 10-3 victory.  That was two mere plays after he knocked Phyllis Rivers loopy for a moment on 2nd and goal.

With a couple resignings that should be more than doable, you’re looking at a front seven next year of Poe / Bailey / DeVito or Howard; DJ, Houston, Mauga, and Hali / Ford.  Good God Almighty.  Good luck defending that pass rush, AFC.

* OLB Tamba Hali: B+.  2015 showed he has at least one more solid season in him.  I for one think it would be damned awesome if he’s our first credible Hall of Fame candidate to spend his entire career in the Red and Gold since Will Shields.

* OLB Justin Houston: B+.  No sane person expected him to replicate or surpass his 2014 season.  Only drawback is that for the second time in three years, he missed significant playing time in December with an injury.

* OLB Derrick Johnson: A+.  See previous comments about Mr. Hali, and throw in “oh – and he did it a year after suffering what for many, is a career ending injury”.  I hope the Chiefs resign DJ.

* ILB Josh Mauga: B+.  A tremendous free agent pickup due to yet another personnel brain fart by Chip Kelly.  Turned in arguably the biggest defensive play of the year, the interception in oakland that opened the fourth quarter floodgates, as well.

* ILB Dezman Moses: B-.  Solid special teamer.  Probably won’t be more than that.

* ILB Ramik Wilson: B.  Forced into spot start duty twice, he held his own as a rookie.  The Chiefs might have a late round steal in this kid.

* OLB Frank Zombo: A+.  One of the best special teams tacklers in franchise history.  Also had to be pressed into a couple spot starts, and holy sh*t did he deliver, with three sacks, eight tackles, and a forced fumble.  I’d argue in many regards, Mr. Zombo is our second biggest free agent decision this offseason.

* OLB Justin March: Inc.  Spent the season on IR.

* FS Husain Abdullah: B-.  Had injury issues in 2015, but more than proved when healthy that 2014 (including the wildcard game that ended 2013) was no fluke.  I hope the Chiefs resign him this offseason.  But if not, at least I'll always have the one moment in time where I literally left "The Voice of Reason" speechless:

(some tailgate in 2013)
(mr. reason) Oh come on, of course (Mr. Abdullah) is a Muslim!
(stevo) You don't know that!
(mr. reason) Really?  Name one person named (Husain) that isn't a Muslim!
(stevo) (no hesitation) Barack Hussein Obama!
(mr. reason) (has no comeback)

* FS Eric Berry: A+.  Look it, he could have literally taken a whiz on midfield, re-enacted "The Chuck Mincy Move" in every game, and failed to defend a single pass successfully, and so long as he walked out of that tunnel during the introductions against those people, he'd still have gotten at least an A.  Mr. Berry wasn't the only one feeling (linda richman voice) a lil' verklempt during the NFL Honors on Saturday night. 

The Chiefs have a gigantic decision to make on Mr. Berry.  And it won't be an easy one to make -- they're damned if they do (cap wise, signing a health risk long term) and damned if they don't (a fanbase that three short years ago was ready to lynch every member of the organization might not take letting Mr. Berry walk very well).

* SS Tyvon Branch: B+.  Had some huge plays down the stretch (especially against his former team), and filled in admirably in Mr. Abdullah's absence.  A rock solid third safety.

* CB Marcus Cooper: D.  At least we’ll always have the first half of 2013.

* CB jamell fleming: F.  I feel like channeling my inner Carl D. Peterson here for a moment, so let me indulge myself.

(deep, deep, deep sigh of disgust)
(mean carl peterson voice) Who we talking to here?

Who we talking to -- or about -- here, is jamell fleming.  A few years ago, I did a post on the Twenty Worst Kansas City Chiefs of All Time (From My Conscious Lifetime).  And despite the age of that post, until the evening of September 17, 2015, there really wasn't a need to update the rankings -- let alone boot bill bartee out of the top spot.  Then came the game against those people, that gorgeous Thursday evening in mid-September. 

Hard to believe it's been ten years since he first used this reference, but back in 2006, after the Steelers blew out the Chiefs 45-7, at the time kcchiefs.com writer Clark Judge opined that "the Steelers used the Chiefs as their own personal urinal".  Peoples and peepettes?  emanuel sanders did more than use mr. fleming as his own personal urinal that evening.  He treated mr. fleming like ... well, like you'd treat a loo, a commode, a "water closet", after an all-you-can-eat fest at Don Chilito's.  I mean, it was not only bad, it stunk to the heavens.  It was a performance so awful, so pathetic, so embarrassing, that you couldn't even feel sorry for mr. fleming -- you just felt rage. 

My way of saying: as much as the turnovers (particularly the two fumbles by Mr. Charles) gave that game to denver?  If jamell fleming isn't on the roster, the Chiefs still probably find a way to squeeze that victory out, despite the turnovers.  And had the Chiefs won that game?  They'd have had home field advantage throughout the playoffs in the AFC.  It's amazing how small the margin of variance was between the Chiefs and those people this season.  Literally one horrific series in the home opener, cost the Chiefs their best chance in twenty two years, to bring Lamar's Trophy home.  And grab that Lombardi guy's Trophy too while we're at it.

If jamell fleming is on the roster come September 11th, you will read words on this site that I rarely if ever stoop to saying.  Because if jamell fleming is on the opening day roster, I'm going to be furious.

* CB Steven Nelson: Inc.  Hard for a rookie to get playing time in a secondary this good.

* SS Ron Parker: A.  Tied with Sean Smith for second most passes defended (12), second in interceptions (3), started every game, posted five sacks, and recorded 78 tackles (67 solo).  Oh, and scored a long term deal that will keep him in the Red and Gold until Mrs. Clinton faces re-election four years from now.  Now THAT’S what I can a successful year!

* CB Marcus Peters: A+.  The first play this kid saw action on this year, was an interception return for a touchdown against the Texans on Opening Day.  His first meaningful snap against satan manning?  TaINT Numero Dos of the season.  Mr. Peters wound up winning the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, and deservedly so.  He started every game.  He had eight interceptions, one forced fumble, two touchdown returns, a mind-blowing TWENTY SIX passes successfully defended, to go along with 60 tackles (53 solo).  The only thing missing was a sack.  He is without question – without question! – the most talented rookie defensive player the Chiefs have drafted in round one since Dale Carter.  (With all due apologies to DJ, Hali, and Eric Berry.)  And he’s only going to get better.

* CB Sean Smith: C+.  His suspension killed this team, especially in Week Two (when mr. fleming had to play in his absence).  It took another three weeks to get up to speed.  But after the bye, he was his unquestioned Pro Bowl caliber self.  The second biggest decision the Chiefs have to make this offseason, in my opinion.  (I’d let him walk if he demands Top Five Corner money, but that’s just me.)  I hope he’s back at a non-cap-crippling figure.

* FS Daniel Sorenson: B+.  Rock solid special teamer who also had a huge game in the Wild Card win over Houston.

* CB Phillip Gaines: Inc.  Missed the last three months of the season due to injury.  I have high hopes for this kid.  If Mr. Smith leaves this offseason, we’ll find out soon enough if I’m right.

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The Specialists:

* P Dustin Colquitt: C-.  Not his finest season.  And given his ridiculous cap figure for 2016, is a decent bet to receive a “restructure or don’t let the door hit you in the ass” offer sometime in the next month.  I think he’s one of the upper third punters in the league.  But in a division with his brother and Mike Scifres and Marquette King?  Upper third in the league?  At best?

Ranks you third in the division.

* K Cairo Santos: A.  “Pedro”, as the peanut gallery in 132 so affectionately calls him, missed two extra points all year – both in the slop and sh*t muddied field of whatever the hell they call oakland’s stadium nowadays.  Made 30 of 37 field goals, and only one of the misses was from inside of 40.  (4 of the 7 misses were from 50 plus, including the “Worst Play Call of the Year” to end the Bears debacle.)  Was beyond clutch down the stretch, nailing critical field goal after critical extra point.  Should only continue to get better.

* S James Winchester: B.  I’m not a fan, but I can’t recall a single kick that was missed due to a horrific snap.  That’s all you can ask for out of your long snapper.

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The Offensive Coaching Staff:

* OC Doug Pederson: A.  If you saw denver’s defense in this postseason – and for most of the regular season – you know how epically great those people’s D was this year.  Folks?  The Chiefs dropped 53 on the donkeys in their two matchups, scoring 24 in a Week Two defeat, and 29 in a Week Ten victory.

Twenty four (plus) in each matchup.  Here is a complete listing of every other team to meet or top 24 against “Son O’ Bum”’s defense this year:

* Colts (Week Eight): 27.
* Patriots (Week Twelve): 24.
* Steelers (Week Fifteen): 34.

Anyone who questions whether the Chiefs can score enough to win a lot, or whether Alex Smith is capable of leading this team to a greatness I’ve never seen in my lifetime out of this franchise, re-read the previous three paragraphs. 

Also, Stevo’s Site Numero Dos wishes Mr. Pederson all the best in his endeavors as the Eagles new head coach.

* QB Matt Nagy: B+.  Either Alex Smith is better than his critics think … or Matt Nagy made chicken soup out of total chicken sh*t for the third year in a row.  Either way?  Aren’t we all winners here?

* Assistant QB Corey Matthaei: Inc.  I have no clue who this tito is.

* RB Eric “Sleeping With” Bieniemy: A+.  Like Mr. Nagy – either Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware are better than even the Chiefs scouting team thought they were … or Mr. Bieniemy made Garozzo’s style chicken spedieni out of Go Chicken Go style chicken sh*t.

I wanted Mr. Bieniemy to get the OC position.  It would not surprise me in the least if come 2022, he is the Chiefs head coach, succeeding “Fat” Andy sometime near the end of the decade.

* WR / Assistant Head Coach David Culley: B.  Outside of Jeremy Maclin and a one-off game here or there out of Jason Avant, the wide receivers didn’t do much.  Then again, they didn’t have to.

* TE Tom Melvin: A.  Anyone complaining about the play of this unit over the last three seasons?  Had better focus said complaining solely and completely on Mr. Kelce’s incredible ability to turn over the football at the worst of times.

* OL Andy Heck: B.  I’m being generous here, because he doesn’t have much to work with, and that’s on the front office.  This line is a shell of the greatness that was Weigmann / Waters / Shields / Roaf  / Tait in the early to mid 2000s.  A mobile Alex Smith probably inflated this grade a solid letter.

* Assistant OL Eugene Chung: B.  (craig kilborn voice) What are you doing tonight?  (maury povich voice) Everybody Wang Chung tonight!

* Special Projects / Spread Game Analyst Brad Childress: B+.  I can’t stand the guy, I think hiring him as offensive coordinator (or co-coordinator) is the biggest mistake of the “Fat” Andy era so far, and frankly, he looks like a child molester Chris Hanson would have a field day with on “Dateline: To Catch a Predator”.  But somebody’s looking at the game film, finding the paths for Mr. Smith to bolt through, and teaching him how to take advantage of said holes.  (Pause).  On second thought, “take advantage of those holes” definitely makes him a candidate to appear on your television screen next to Mr. Hanson, trying to convince that dude that the six pack of Miller Lite in one hand, and the Lifestyles Ultra Sensitive condom** in the other, are all one big misunderstanding.

(I kid, I kid.

I just don’t like the guy as a coach.  Never have.  I hope someday I will.)

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(**: Lifestyles Ultra Sensitive: the official condom of Stevo’s Site Numero Dos!  (Pause).  Dear God, I just named an “official condom” of the site.  I’d like to think that’s a new low, and we’ve finally hit rock bottom … but who am I kidding.)

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The Defensive Coaching Staff:

* DC “Bulldog” Bob Sutton: B.  The game plan in New England was a fireable offense.  Other than that, no real complaints.  And the dude did craft a game plan that shut out the Texans in the postseason – the first postseason shutout since the Panthers stunned the Giants in the 2005 Divisional Round.

* DL Tommy Brasher: A+.  Has developed Dontari Poe, Jaye Howard, and Allen Bailey.  Enough said.

* Assistant DL Britt Reid: F.  I despise nepotism of all kinds.

* LB Gary Gibbs: A+.  One of only two holdovers from Coach Baffoon’s staff … and I’m damned glad he is still here.  One of the most underrated defensive minds in football, whose career in many regards was (stewie griffin voice) roo-eened by being “the guy who followed the man” at OU.

Don’t believe me?  This track record got Mr. Gibbs fired after the 1994 season:

1989: 7-4-0 (5-2), no postseason (ineligible for postseason; probation from the Switzer Era).
1990: 8-3-0 (5-2), no postseason (ineligible for postseason; probation from the Switzer Era).
1991: 9-3-0 (5-2), W Gator Bowl.
1992: 5-4-2 (3-2-2), no postseason.
1993: 9-3-0 (4-3), W John Hancock (now Sun) Bowl.
1994: 6-6-0 (4-3), L Copper (now Cactus) Bowl.

Overall: 44-23-2, Conference 26-14-2, Bowls 2-1-0.

And he did that while not one, not two, but THREE rivals were legitimate national title contenders most of those six years (UT, Colorado, and Nebraska), and those three rivals won two national titles in that six season stretch (Colorado 1990, Nebraska 1994), and played for a third (Nebraska 1993).

The man can coach for my team anytime.

Oh, and look at the development of Justin Houston, Josh Mauga, Ramik Wilson … I could go on, but why continue to state the Captain Oats in the room – the man can coach.

* Assistant LB Mark DeLeone: A.  The linebacking corps the Chiefs had in 2015 is amongst the best in franchise history … and would at least make the Field of 68, in a “Best LB Corps in a Season Ever” tournament.

* DB Emmitt Thomas: B+.  The other holdover from Coach Baffoon.  An all-time Chiefs legend, enshrined in the Ring of Honor as well as the Pro Football Hall of Fame (and deservedly so).  Odds are we get maybe one, two more years out of Mr. Thomas before he retires, if we’re lucky. 

* Assistant DB Al Harris: B.  No complaints.

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The Special Teams Coaching Staff:

* ST Dave Toub: B-.  Dude – why Frankie Hammond Junior?  Why didn’t you turn to “Fury of the” Knile sooner?  Coverage units were rock solid.  Return units -- especially on punts -- left a lot to be desired.

* Assistant ST Brock Olivo: C+.  If you graded on a “Company I Work For” curve?  He’s the guy who always gets a 3.  Never dips to 2 or (gulp!) 1 range; never excels into 4 or (sweet!) 5 range.

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The Strength and Conditioning Coaching Staff:

* SC Barry Rubin: B-.  You can’t fault the training staff for Mr. Charles injury, or Mr. Abdullah’s concussion, or even Mr. Houston’s injury.  But this was not exactly the training staff’s finest season.

* Assistant SC Travis Crittendon: B+.  If he’s related to Javaris, I’ll happily reconsider the grade to avoid having a cap in my ass in retaliation for anything less than an A.

* Assistant SC Brent Salazar: C.  Jesus, how long has this dude been around?  Fifteen years?  He was on the Vermeil staffs if I remember right.  He must be the millenials’ Carlton Gray.

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The Head Coach:

* “Fat” Andy Reid: B.  If you’re going to praise him for the eleven game (counting playoffs) winning streak?  Then you have to rip him for coaching a team so emotionally f*cked up, they’d allow one play to nearly destroy the season … and said play occurred in Week Two (the Charles fumble that gave denver their golden ticket).

He’s without question – (allard baird voice) without question! – the best head coach the Chiefs have employed since Marty walked away after the 1998 season.  (For you Richard A. Vermeil fans out there?  As I will point out every chance I get?  Herm Edwards accomplished EVERYTHING Richard A. Vermeil did as a Chiefs head coach?  In one season – make the playoffs, and get embarrassed by the Colts once you got there.  Herm did in four months, what Richard did in five years.  “Fat” Andy, Richard A. Vermeil is not.)

I certainly cannot envision many coaches in this league who would look at 1-5 and not give up.  I certainly cannot envision many coaches who would win ten straight after losing five straight, in the same season.  Only three teams won at least ten straight games this year in the NFL: Carolina, Arizona, and Kansas City.

The Patriots didn’t do it.  The Steelers didn’t.  those people didn’t.  The Packers, Vikings, Seahawks, Bengals, Texans, and Redskins didn’t do it.  No non-playoff squad did it.

Hell, “Fat” Andy did what had only been done once before: start 1-5 (or worse) and make the playoffs. 

He led this team to those ten straight wins through awe-inspiring dominance (at donkeys, at Chargers, at Ravens, “vs” Lions).  He did it in total coin flip performances (vs Steelers).  He did it via dramatic final drive stands (vs Chargers, vs Browns).  He did it with epic comebacks (vs Bills, at raiders).  And he did it to keep hope alive for a division championship against a very feisty divisional rival (vs raiders).

Having said that …

He also clearly lost control of this team after the denver debacle.  This team was not properly prepped for the Packers game, was more ineptly prepped for the Bengals disaster, and “Fat” Andy called for arguably the most indefensible brain fart of his career against the Bears, opting to try a 65 yard field goal over a Hail Mary as time expired against the Bears.  (A loss that, in the interest of fairness, I thought doomed this season.)

His clock management skills remain atrocious, never more so than in the playoff defeat to New England.  He did improve on what and when to challenge, but still isn’t nearly good enough at it, to justify not employing a Mike White type assistant, to control the clock and challenge aspects of the game.

I guess it’s my way of saying, “Fat” Andy is like Joe Biden.  No matter how much he infuriates you with his idiotic comments, his (brian griffin voice) “what the hell?” choices at times?  It somehow not only all works out in the end, but his presence all but ensures the Chiefs will be a (vice president biden voice) “big f*cking deal” for a few years to come.

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The General Manager:

* GM John Dorsey: A.  Let’s review his offseason, shall we, to explain why I feel he deserves not just a solid A grade … but should have garnered votes for Executive of the Year.

* He resigned Tamba Hali.  Few thought this possible eleven months ago.  Mr. Dorsey made it happen at a cap friendly figure.

* He resigned Justin Houston to a long term contract.

* He resigned Ron Parker to a long term contract.

* He got Allen Bailey under contract for a few more years.

* He was savvy enough to resign Josh Mauga, who turned into an absolute stud at ILB this season.

* He signed Tyvon Branch, providing much needed secondary depth down the stretch run.

* He rid the team of the cancer known as Dwayne Bowe, and

* Replaced Mr. Bowe by signing Jeremy Maclin to a contract that makes him a Chief through the prime of his career.

* For the third straight year, he fleeced the final cuts market, signing not just Spencer Ware, but Jah Reid.  (Two years ago, his signing of Marcus Cooper was vital to the playoff berth.  Last year’s waiver wire signing?  Charcandrick West.)

* He absolutely NAILED the first round pick, taking Marcus Peters at 18.  He grabbed the next great Chiefs center in round two, taking Mitch Morse at 49.  He might have drafted the Alvin Harper to Mr. Maclin’s Michael Irvin by taking Chris Conley in round three at 76.  Ramik Wilson in round four could be a steal.  Steven Nelson with a compensatory round three pick was vital on special teams.

* He got Alex Smith signed long term, and created the contract to give the Chiefs an obvious restructure candidate if cap space is an issue.  Don’t underestimate this – Carl failed to do it with Elvis Grbac, and it crippled the late 90s Chiefs as a result.

Really, when the only knock you can find on his season is that he spent a late round pick taking a flyer on Ben Grubbs?  There’s nothing there to complain about.

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The Owner:

* Owner Clark Hunt: A.  He was the only owner on the relocation committee to vote yes on screwing our “good friends” across the state over by letting LA steal back the team St. Louis whored themselves out to steal twenty years ago.  That alone guarantees him a B+.

Throw in the fact that like his father, he hires people he trusts, and then steps out of the way and lets the professionals work as, uuh, professionals, coupled with the fact that every single thing demanded of him by the fanbase three years ago, he has given us?  How can any Chiefs fan complain?

(Also, yes – if you didn’t hear the rumor, it is true.  At the Chiefs official pre-party in Houston the night before the the playoff game, Mr. Hunt did pick up the tab for every person in attendance.  I guarantee you there’s at most two, maybe three owners in professional sports, who would do that … and we all know Mark Cuban is one of those very select few.)

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This Post’s Final Thoughts:

Finally, to my teammate, an amazing former co-worker, and a perfect friend:

My bowling league teammate Penny lost her father Wednesday night.  While not necessarily unexpected, it was sudden. 

She was there for me every day – whether in person, via phone call or text or email, via Facebook encouragement, or just in spirit – every day as my family dealt with my dad’s death and miraculous recovery two and a half years ago.  I will never forget that.

Please know you’re in my thoughts and prayers, as well as in those of every person reading this who knows you.  (And you’d be surprised, to see the stats of how many people actually read what is posted here.  It never fails to stun me, that I have people who, like, actually read this!)  And please know if there is anything I – or anyone in “our” department – can do to help, please ask. 

You can never go wrong by leaning on your true friends, when life makes no sense, when life punches you in the throat, when life takes a tire iron to your family jewels.

My dad has a saying (that I’m sure he stole from someone) that “you never know who your true friends are, until you’re in a bar fight.  Your true friends?  Are the ones still throwing punches for you, after you’ve been knocked out”.

“Massa”?***  You’ve got so many true friends, ready to throw down for as long as needed, to get you through this b*tch slap life has thrown at you, that you can't even begin to count all of them.  You own my, and so many other friends, prayers for as long as you need them.

OK?

(penny voice) Right!

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(***: our team’s name in our bowling league is Penny’s Slaves.  You can use your imagination to think of the one-liners that get zinged off every week, with a team name like that.  And trust me -- if you can think of it?  It's been said.  Or texted.  Or Facebooked.  And definitely laughed out loud at.)

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