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2bikemike
12-19-2004, 01:33 AM
WHO SHOULD GET THE HOOK?

Defense might make you want to start over

By ADAM TEICHER The Kansas City Star


I n their innermost thoughts, far away from the inquisitive public, the Chiefs might be thinking just like you are when it comes to their defensive players.

Fire them all. Start over from scratch.

Clearly, the plan to bring everyone back and ask a miracle of new coordinator Gunther Cunningham was a failure. All that did was ruin another potentially promising season.

But the Chiefs would never admit to that, and here's why: Dumping everybody is not going to happen. In their world, one filled with salary caps and long-term contracts complicated by fat signing bonuses, dreams must be tempered with reason.

They are going to have to pick and choose the players who are keepers and those who are trash. They also must hope their decisions are wiser than those of last year, when they re-signed five key defensive players.

The backdrop is this cautionary note from president/general manager Carl Peterson, who indicated last week that there will be no massive personnel overhaul once this disappointing season is finished.

Change, Peterson said, will involve scheme more than players.

“We can't step away from our collective decision last year to re-sign those players,” Peterson said. “Those signings included signing and option bonuses. When you do that, then you've got to coach them and make them better. In re-signing them, we weren't just looking at this year. We were looking at a two-year window.

“When you make decisions in free agency, whether it's with your own players or other players, you can't just wash them out in the first year. It's too expensive, cap-wise and cash-wise. It's at least a two-year decision and sometimes three years, depending on what type of investment you make in the player.

“We have to coach them in a way that accentuates their pluses and doesn't accentuate their negatives. That's what coaching and personnel is all about, making the pieces fit.”But the Chiefs also harbor no illusions that next year's defensive lineup will be identical to the one they use in today's game against Denver at Arrowhead Stadium. That thought could make more people cry than just coach Dick Vermeil.

No, there will be some changes. Here's how the Chiefs might — or at least should — go about it.

Defensive line

Thanks to a massive investment of recent draft picks and the nice free-agent addition of Lional Dalton, this is the Chiefs' deepest defensive position group. All the key players could return.

There isn't a line position where the Chiefs couldn't use an upgrade, but they have played far better up front this season than last. They don't get whipped physically nearly as frequently.

Peterson, at least, believes that the line is good enough for the Chiefs to win with it. Rookie Jared Allen, the team leader in sacks, has been a find and should continue to improve as he gets stronger.

John Browning and Eric Hicks are solid, if not spectacular, players. Dalton, from down to down, may be their best defensive player.

Ryan Sims clearly hasn't been worth the Chiefs' investment in him, the sixth pick in the 2002 draft. Many times, he hasn't been worth anything close to it.

“The guy on that defense that jumps out as disappointing is Sims,” said former Browns and Rams scout Russ Lande, who now runs an Internet scouting site at gmjr.com.

“I just don't see him impacting any games. He's probably not playing well enough to where you want him to be a starter.”

The Chiefs are still better off sticking with Sims. Their chance is slim of finding a tackle more potentially disruptive.

“He's clearly a good enough athlete, and you don't want to give up on him too quickly because, physically, it's all there,” Lande said.

Overall, it's probably best for the Chiefs to leave their line alone. More pressing problems lie beyond.

Linebackers

From poor tackling to questionable instincts, the Chiefs suffered dearly with their play from this group.

“I can't tell you right now whether that's because of a lack of skill or a change in scheme and philosophy,” Peterson said.

Either way, the Chiefs will need at least one new starter, possibly more, depending on how quickly Shawn Barber heals from last month's knee injury that ended his season. The Chiefs hope Barber will be ready for next season.

Barber hasn't been worth the massive investment the Chiefs made in him last year, but he's certainly worth salvaging.

“He's their only game-changer at linebacker,” Lande said. “He's their best defensive player when he's healthy.”

The Chiefs paid for Kawika Mitchell's slow rate of development at middle linebacker. Mitchell, last year's second-round draft pick, showed little instinct and an inability to shed blockers. He also missed too many tackles.

They can't afford to wait for Mitchell any longer.

The Chiefs are planning on Mike Maslowski's return next year after he missed a season and a half because of knee ailments. They missed Maslowski last year. Their defensive play went from acceptable to horrible after his injury.

But Cunningham's system puts a premium on speed and range. Maslowski has good instincts and is a hard hitter and sure tackler, but he has neither speed nor range. There is no guarantee he will succeed in Cunningham's system.

The other outside linebacker, Scott Fujita, hasn't made enough plays to keep his job if a better alternative comes along.

Secondary

The play of safeties Jerome Woods and Greg Wesley might be the most puzzling of any individuals. Woods was a Pro Bowler last season, and Wesley could have been.

Neither resembles a Pro Bowler this season. From blown coverages to a lack of range, it's been a lost year for both.

That doesn't necessarily mean the Chiefs should be in the market for new safeties. Each player was a star for Cunningham during his previous time with the Chiefs. Each is fully capable of bouncing back next season.

“They haven't played that way this year, but I've always liked Woods and Wesley,” Lande said. “I always thought you could win with them if you had the proper talent around them.”

Vermeil last week indicated that the Chiefs were asking cornerbacks Eric Warfield, Dexter McCleon and William Bartee to play a bump-and-run, press coverage style they can't play well.

Warfield was penalized too often this season for holding and illegal contact and is still inconsistent. But he's worth keeping. McCleon was better suited to Greg Robinson's system, which featured more zone coverage. Bartee should be out of chances by now.

To reach Adam Teicher,

Chiefs reporter for The Star,

:cuss: :banghead: :cuss:

Don't look for any big changes.

:banghead: :cuss: :banghead:

FloridaChief
12-19-2004, 01:34 AM
This looks familiar...

:)

2bikemike
12-19-2004, 01:40 AM
This looks familiar...

:)

Yeah a quality piece like this gets buried in another thread. Its a good thing I thought it would be better viewed in its own thread. :)

Logical
12-19-2004, 01:52 AM
Yeah a quality piece like this gets buried in another thread. Its a good thing I thought it would be better viewed in its own thread. :)

When you say quality, I assume you mean bullshit quality. Horrible, pathetic article that must have been bought and paid for by Lamar and Carl to begin lowering expectations of the fans to help keep season ticket sales up. Yes lets castrate Gun by making him run a scheme that he would never dream of instead of getting him the players to make his scheme work.

2bikemike
12-19-2004, 01:57 AM
When you say quality, I assume you mean bullshit quality. Horrible, pathetic article that must have been bought and paid for by Lamar and Carl to begin lowering expectations of the fans to help keep season ticket sales up. Yes lets castrate Gun by making him run a scheme that he would never dream of instead of getting him the players to make his scheme work.

I just mean it should generate a lot of bitching and moaning and well just piss off a lot of people.

I know I am pissed that CP takes this attitude. Of course I was pissed off last year and got limited satisfaction when Grob left.

Chiefs Pantalones
12-19-2004, 02:04 AM
“We can't step away from our collective decision last year to re-sign those players,” Peterson said. “Those signings included signing and option bonuses. When you do that, then you've got to coach them and make them better. In re-signing them, we weren't just looking at this year. We were looking at a two-year window.

“When you make decisions in free agency, whether it's with your own players or other players, you can't just wash them out in the first year. It's too expensive, cap-wise and cash-wise. It's at least a two-year decision and sometimes three years, depending on what type of investment you make in the player.

“We have to coach them in a way that accentuates their pluses and doesn't accentuate their negatives. That's what coaching and personnel is all about, making the pieces fit.”


Translation: They won't admit that they were wrong and don't care if that means another bad season in 2005 because they'll (DV and Carl) be laughing to the bank in retirement at the end of the 2005 season.

Rausch
12-19-2004, 02:12 AM
Bla bla bla, bla bal...

Win it all next year, please.

If you don't, go. That's it. Both of you.


I want you to, I really do, but Jesus tits enough is enough. Win, or leave. This is make or break year, and if you don't feel any urgency, well, **** off...

Ari Chi3fs
12-19-2004, 02:37 AM
If this transpires as it sounds like it could... we need a public execution of Mr Peterson... may I suggest a guillotine, with a light chiante and fava beans?

Chiefs Pantalones
12-19-2004, 03:32 AM
So far Carl and DV (correct me if he didn't say this, IIRC) are doing exactly what Whitlock said they would do if they stunk this season with the so-called talent on D: They'd blame the scheme and Gunther. He's their scapegoat. Did anyone hear DV this past week? "Too much pressure, it's the scheme, it's because of this, it's because of that, etc, etc." And in the article above, Carl is doing the same thing. Why in the hell won't they admit for the past 4 years that it wasn't anyone's scheme, it's the talent. Or are they too lazy or cheap to go out and get talent, because it cost money.

Either way, I'm giving Carl and DV 2005. If it doesn't work out, I want both gone. They need to admit their mistakes and overhaul this defense, or we will be in the exact same spot this time next year.

Chiefs Pantalones
12-19-2004, 03:37 AM
And no, they aren't putting too much pressure on the defensive personnel. If they can't take the pressure, then they shouldn't be in the NFL.

I'm sick of this crap. This team is soft, because DV is soft. And he doesn't know shit about defense. Either that, or he doesn't care. He's too soft, I think. He's softer than he was with the Rams. Sure, he has long practices, but give me a break. The only reason why players want to play for him is because they can get away with anything when on his teams. They don't have to play well because they know DV will stick with them no matter what. Kind of like a kid wanting to go to one set of Grandparents house more than the other because they let them get away with shit the other Grandparents won't let happen. I think it's some of it.

SBK
12-19-2004, 04:43 AM
And no, they aren't putting too much pressure on the defensive personnel. If they can't take the pressure, then they shouldn't be in the NFL.

I'm sick of this crap. This team is soft, because DV is soft. And he doesn't know shit about defense. Either that, or he doesn't care. He's too soft, I think. He's softer than he was with the Rams. Sure, he has long practices, but give me a break. The only reason why players want to play for him is because they can get away with anything when on his teams. They don't have to play well because they know DV will stick with them no matter what. Kind of like a kid wanting to go to one set of Grandparents house more than the other because they let them get away with shit the other Grandparents won't let happen. I think it's some of it.

The pressure is on the offense, they have to score a td every possession or the Chiefs lose. Dang this article pisses me off.

Deberg_1990
12-19-2004, 05:32 AM
Damnit!!! Same old song and dance from Carl....Well guys, I guess we should continue to root for guys like Hicks, Barber, Woods, Warfield and Wesley to "develop". hahhahaha....I guess 4-8 years isnt long enough?? It doesnt appear they are going anywhere this offseason. DAMNIT CARL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DaWolf
12-19-2004, 05:47 AM
“We have to coach them in a way that accentuates their pluses and doesn't accentuate their negatives. That's what coaching and personnel is all about, making the pieces fit.”

Sounds to me like Carl is kinda rethinking his decision to hire Gunther vs someone else who would have used a different kind of scheme that may have fit the personnel better.

All I know is that whoever coaches the DB's needs to be canned. Guinta has been here since 2001 and the DB's have never gotten much better, Bartee has never developed, and Battle is heading down the same path. I'd fire the LB coach too but he came over just this year and was one of the guys Gun wanted apparently.

Frankly if it were me in charge, I'd get rid of all the coaches AND do an overhaul on the personnel. We don't have much great talent on D but there are better ways to maximize what little we do have than trying to force this uber aggressive and overpersuing scheme, IMO just as bad as the overly soft GRob scheme we had been using. This defense has not been coached well this year.

Gun will be back of course, so I'd like to see him step up to the plate and bring in some new assistants and go into the offseason with a solid plan on how they plan on whipping these guys into shape and scheme to maximize the abilities of who they have. Sometimes it takes a while to figure out what your players can and can't do.

But we just have to get some playmakers in the secondary, get improved play in the middle from someone like Sims (and Siavvi better start producing next year, otherwise thare's another player who wasn't "coached" well enough) and for goodness sakes, if Carl can't recognize that we need to improve the talent at LB, he needs to be taken out back and shot. MaSLOWski is a great guy but I do not want that guy as my middle linebacker. I want a GOOD or above middle linebacker, not an average to mediocre one who is slow. That's an embarrasment if they're just waiting for him to return like that'll fix things. We were crap even when he was healthy...

whoman69
12-19-2004, 07:52 AM
So essentially what Teicher is saying that despite what crap the defense played like this year, there is noone that should lose their jobs over it again. That is the thinking that lost us this year. We spent too much time dinking around with Tait and got nothing in return excepts a provisional pick for this year. It cost us cap flexibility until after the signing season was essentially over. Dalton was a gem, but we are still waiting for Sims. I think Downing played better than Sims. McCleon has shown he cannot play in this system and once again our top priority is a CB. Depending on a player that was out an entire year is foolhardy so another solution needs be found at MLB. Barber has not shown he is anything of the playmaker that Teicher describes. New talent needs to be found at that position as well.

suds79
12-19-2004, 08:44 AM
Change, Peterson said, will involve scheme more than players.


And this folks is why ultimately what kind of moves we make wether it be in free agency or draft, doesn't matter.

We will lose and continue to lose because it all starts from the top. We have p!ss poor management.

Just imagine how handicapped a team is when they have management who can't identify talent and rely on FA scraps to build teams simply because they can't draft.

We have a guy who is more concerned with saving money and keeping players he knows who can't play... Then again maybe he doesnt' know it.??? Either way it's unacceptable.

I'd rather just have a GM who takes out the trash, takes the cap hit next year while at the same time almost assuring the team a top 5 pick and reloads for two years down the road.

Sometimes I just don't think he gets it. You cannot win with those players on defense. There's seriously only about 3 or 4 at most who should be kept.

Deberg_1990
12-19-2004, 08:51 AM
Change, Peterson said, will involve scheme more than players.


And this folks is why ultimately what kind of moves we make wether it be in free agency or draft, doesn't matter.

We will lose and continue to lose because it all starts from the top. We have p!ss poor management.

Just imagine how handicapped a team is when they have management who can't identify talent and rely on FA scraps to build teams simply because they can't draft.

We have a guy who is more concerned with saving money and keeping players he knows who can't play... Then again maybe he doesnt' know it.??? Either way it's unacceptable.

I'd rather just have a GM who takes out the trash, takes the cap hit next year while at the same time almost assuring the team a top 5 pick and reloads for two years down the road.

Sometimes I just don't think he gets it. You cannot win with those players on defense. There's seriously only about 3 or 4 at most who should be kept.

BINGO! Couldnt have said it better myself. I pray what Carl said here was just some PR bullsh8t, but i fear he really meant it! If he cant see that this defense needs at least 5 or 6 new starters he is truly the dumbest GM in football. Honestly they should have retooled the secondary after the 2002 season, and he didnt do it then, so why would he think differently now??

Bowser
12-19-2004, 09:27 AM
So either drop the turds we resigned and be stuck in cap hell for two or three years, or stick with them, make your newly hired coordinator be the goat, and lose for two to three years until it's feasible to release them? Jesus, if any one of us ran a business like this, we would be out of business!

dirk digler
12-19-2004, 09:41 AM
If they keep the same players and just adjust the scheme go ahead and kill me now.

penchief
12-19-2004, 09:43 AM
Sounds to me like Carl is kinda rethinking his decision to hire Gunther vs someone else who would have used a different kind of scheme that may have fit the personnel better.

Even though I like Gunther I lobbied for Greg Williams.

Deberg_1990
12-19-2004, 09:45 AM
Even though I like Gunther I lobbied for Greg Williams.


Oh brother...I think its fair to say now thats its the players NOT the scheme! We have had two radically different schemes here now and they both have failed.

dirk digler
12-19-2004, 09:47 AM
Oh brother...I think its fair to say now thats its the players NOT the scheme! We have had two radically different schemes here now and they both have failed.


Yep. 2 different D-coordinators and 4 yrs later and they still suck. Get a clue CP.

penchief
12-19-2004, 09:58 AM
I think the problem is that we have a bad drafting philosophy when drafting defensive players.

Let's see. What do these guys have in common? Greg Wesley, William Bartee, Eric Warfield, Junior Siavii, Julian Battle, and Kawika Mitchell. How is Jared Allen different?

I think when it comes to offense, drafting a guy based on potential upside is often a gamble worth taking. However, when drafting defense I think that time and time again it is proven that guys who put up numbers in college, guys that have a track record of producing are they type of players that make it in the NFL. Defense is all about being there to put an end to the play. Those guys who have proven to be play-enders are those who have the tools to play defense.

Annually, we seem to somehow spend a second rounder on someone with no real track record but, boy, are they "physically gifted with a great upside." I think physically gifted is for offense, I think relentless and gritty is for defense. I'll take a Chris Spielman (or even a Dino Hackett) in the second round before I'll take a William Bartee. Projects like Bartee, Battle, and Mitchell are for the later rounds. Not the second round when you can still grab guys who have consistently produced the numbers relevant to stopping offenses.