View Full Version : Posnanski sez Chiefs recievers too slow...

08-06-2001, 10:50 PM

Receivers will show how quick the Chiefs can improve

By JOE POSNANSKI - Columnist
Date: 08/06/01 22:15

RIVER FALLS, Wis. -- Watch the receivers. They will tell the whole Chiefs story this season. Everybody wonders whether this is a lousy rebuilding year for this team or a break-even year or a year when they might eke into the playoffs or a shocking turnaround miracle type of year.

Watch the receivers. See whether they can get open. That will tell the whole story. That will make or break the 2001 Chiefs.

"This offense," Chiefs offensive coordinator Al Saunders says, "is all about getting open quick. You have to get open in the first 5 yards. The play depends on it."

Actually, the season depends on it. The Chiefs are going absolutely nowhere this season if these receivers can't get open. And, well, here's a little secret about these Chiefs receivers. Come a little closer. You ready?

They are really slow.

How slow? Remember that scene in "Forrest Gump" when the high school in Greenbow, Ala., is having football practice, and the wide receiver catches the ball, and he runs as fast he can, and then Forest Gump runs on the field and passes the guy as if he's a fire hydrant? That slow.

How slow? Donnie Edwards is faster than any of the Chiefs receivers except maybe Tony Horne, and Edwards is a linebacker. How slow? At the beginning of training camp, two coaches were walking off the field and one muttered, "I can outrun half our receivers." How slow? A week ago, the Chiefs semidesperately tried out sprinter John Capel (Why not Maurice Greene?).

We are not talking about a fast group here.

Then again, the Chiefs will tell you that you don't have to be fast to get open, and for proof, look no further than the team's new wide-receivers coach Charlie Joiner. Talk about the Saint of Slowpokes. This guy was slower than health-care reform. But as a receiver, he also made more catches for more yards than any player before him. He's in the Hall of Fame. Nobody on earth could cover Charlie Joiner. He was a miracle, really.

"It's about brains," Joiner says, and he points to his head to underline the point. "It has nothing to do with speed. You've got to think fast. You've got to adjust fast. That's how you get open."

Joiner is trying to teach the Chiefs receivers how to do it slow. But it takes some adjustments. Take Derrick Alexander. He's used to taking a step or two, then juking the defensive back, shaking and faking, until the defender commits one way, then Alexander goes the other way. All that has made him pretty successful in the past.

But, in this system, all that takes too long. You've got to get open instantly. This offense has no time for stutter-steps or hard cuts they taught back in high school. In this offense, you run as fast as you can, and you don't slow down when you cut, and you get to the spot where the ball will be thrown before the defensive back can get there.

"There's so much timing in this offense," Chiefs quarterback Trent Green says. "It's my job to get the ball to them in a position to make plays. Then it's their job to make the plays."

Can the Chiefs receivers do that? Well, there are 11 of them in camp, though only Alexander is an accomplished NFL receiver. Some have looked solid (Chris Thomas, for instance) and some have shown great bursts of quickness (J.J. Moses) and some catch everything thrown their way (Derrick Mayes) and some keep injuring themselves (Alexander).

None, though, has the breakaway speed that make the St. Louis Rams offense so devastating. Are they fast enough? That's the biggest question the Chiefs will have to answer this season. This team has its strengths and weaknesses. They have some Pro Bowl players (Donnie Edwards, Tony Gonzalez, Will Shields, Eric Hicks), and they have some holes (cornerback, lack of depth everywhere). They have a new quarterback, new running back, new coaching staff. They are like a lot of other teams out there. They are trying to find an identity.

And if the receivers can get open quick -- pull out all the old Charlie Joiner tricks -- then this team has a chance. Trent Green can really throw, and the running game looks better, and the defensive line has a chance to be special, and so on.

But if not, see the encyclopedia entry Long season.

"They're learning," Joiner says. "It takes time. And it takes a willingness to run all out all the time. That's how you make up for a lack of speed. You never stop running. You never stop working. You can make up for a lack of speed. They're learning that."

The Chiefs receivers better learn that. And fast.

Chiefs Pantalones
08-06-2001, 10:55 PM
God I hope our WRs can get open.



08-06-2001, 11:03 PM
I'm glad someone has said something about this. It has long been a concern of mine. Still, I'm CONFIDENT that this COACHING STAFF will find a way to get the MOST out of the talent that's there. :cool:

08-06-2001, 11:15 PM
Well if I read Trent right here, he's saying it's not as big a deal as people want to make it out to be because this isn't St Louis and with different personnel they are going to be using a different emphasis, in effect making this a Chiefs brand offense, not just a straight attempt to clone the Rams even if all the pieces the Rams have aren't here, like the media insists we are trying to do:

GREEN: "I wouldn't place it solely on the quarterback and the tailback. A lot of this offense is personnel match-ups. I think the thing that people get caught up in, especially in comparisons with St. Louis, was the four wide receiver set was so successful over there. When you have a tight end that is like Tony Gonzalez we're not going to do as much as that because we can utilize match-ups that we have with him. Also, we've done some experimenting with Mikahel Ricks at tight end who's a former wide receiver. That gives us an advantage in terms of a personnel match-up. We don't have the straight downfield speed that they do in St. Louis so a lot of what's going to happen for us is finding those mismatches. We're going to have to do the shifts and the movement that is done in St. Louis. Then, when you find a match-up that's to our advantage, take advantage of it. That's up to me to find that as the shifts and movements are going on. Guys have to win when they have a one-on-one opportunity."

keg in kc
08-06-2001, 11:25 PM
Several points here:

1) JoPo knows this as well as everyone, but maybe he needs to be reminded: the players dictate the system, not vice versa. If our guys really are too slow, then we find another way to succeed, it's that simple. Since we've already heard a lot about how much both Tony Gonzalez and Tony Richardson are going to be used, I feel safe in saying that I believe adjustments have already been made. Smart men don't force the square peg into the round hole against all logic.

2) I think he's exaggerating a little about the speed problem, and I believe he's speaking about the wrong kind of "speed" in the first place. He does talk about track speed, but he's talking about it in terms of footspeed (DE is fast, etc.) when he needs to be talking about it in terms of break off the line and acceleration. "Playing fast" in the way we need doesn't require 4.3 speed, it requires quickness and burst off the line.

3) We aren't St. Louis. People need to stop comparing us to the Rams in every single frikkin' article. Stop beating that dead horse already for goodness' sake. This offense does not start or end with the Rams. Dallas did pretty well without any burners on their roster in the 90's as did the Redskins. Once again, the players dictate the system, and we'll do just fine with what we have (although I do believe we'll be bringing in another vet receiver before camp ends).

Keep your chins up, folks, it's too early in the preseason to start worrying. Bad karma...

Bob Dole
08-07-2001, 02:28 AM
Bob Dole agrees, Kyle.

Bob Dole is already tired of reading "Rams this...Rams that..." In one article you read that Mike Martz is entirely responsible for the St. Louis offense that won the SB, then you turn the page and you're reading about Vermeil installing the St. Louis offense in KC.


Bob Dole doesn't believe for one second that Dick Vermeil and his coaching staff intend to hand the KC players an exact copy of the 1999 Rams Playbook and expect them to use it. (Hel!, even the 2000 Rams had trouble executing the 1999 Rams playbook...)

Bob Dole has enough confidence in this staff to belive that they can adequately evaluate the talent we <i>do</i> have and design plays and schemes accordingly. Bob Dole also believes that this staff can focus on more than one thing at a time and carry that focus from week-to-week. Bob Dole also thinks they have some imagination. Any one of those 3 will be an improvement over last season.

You pick and choose plays and schemes that have been proven to work and combine them with innovative ideas that utilize the strengths of your existing personnel. You evaluate tendencies of your upcoming opponent and install certain plays that target their weaknesses. You adjust your tendencies as your opponents make adjustments. You coach, and Bob Dole thinks Vermeil has proven he can do that.

Bob Dole doesn't expect the weekly article this year where the head coach says things like, "I want a bigger team--a tougher team." Who gives a rat fart what you <b>want</b>. You've got a multi-million dollar roster there and you;re stuck with it for this season, so effing <b>use</b> the d@mned thing.

Anyone remember the Deberg years when every week our coaching staff seemed to design a new play or plays that took advantage of an opponent's tendencies? Steve wasn't the most talented guy on earth, but they found a way to utilize what we had. Bob Dole expects to see similar things this season.

08-07-2001, 07:20 AM
I think everyone is forgetting what Alexander did last year for numbers, with E.G. tossing the ball I might add. From what I have been reading about T.G., he sounds like a much more solid QB. It may be hype, but at least I like to hear it.

Granted we are missing SlyMo, but it sounds like Mayes will step up.

The only thing that scares me is D.A.'s injuries right now.

too early to tell and get all bent out of shape over it. Monday morning might be a different story tho...

KC Jones
08-07-2001, 08:22 AM
It's no surprise to anyone who follows the NFL that our biggest ? on offense is our receivers. This article does surprise me a little because I thought Minnis was quick and fast. Anyway, if we have to toss the ball to Holmes, Richardson, and Gonzalez more frequently - so what?!?! First downs are first downs, TDs are TDs. You use what you have, then in the offseason you try to improve what you have.

For me this is simply a growing season and any wins are bonuses. What I'm more worried about, is improving next offseason. If we have admitted holes in our WR corps, we also have some very important guys looking at FA. I think Donnie Edwards and Tony Gonzalez are both in the last year of their contracts.

California Injun
08-07-2001, 08:23 AM
Listen close now.....

Were the receivers catching the passes?

They were?

Then who gives a flying frick how "fast" they are!!!!!

Is TonyG one of the best TEs in the game because of his "speed"?

Did the Raiders pick up Rice because of his "speed"

Is Wille Gault in the HOF?

How about Renaldo Neamiah?

WR speed ain't chit if you cannot run a crisp pattern and catch a spiral.

The only thing "slow" is the synapses running through JoPo's brain.:mad:

Ugly Duck
08-07-2001, 08:53 AM
No worries, ye folks that dress in Red. Oakland will have to cut a handful of WR's real soon. Brown, Rice, & Porter are set....but there are too many guys vying for the last 2 spots. Ken-Yon Rambo and Alex Van Dyke are impressing big-time in preseason. But James Jett has speed and experience, Barlow and Dunn can play solid ball. Some Raider WR's will be looking for a job soon....maybe they will sign a pact with the Devils in Red... (yecchh!).

08-07-2001, 09:39 AM
Minnis IS quick. So is Moses. So is Chris Thomas, apparently.

JoPo is confusing physical "track" speed, with mental awareness and execution.

No, Minnis doesn't run a stellar 40, but he does get to the ball. So do some of the other guys.

That's all this offense needs.

I think JoPo's just trying to stir things up. I wouldn't be too worried about this...

08-07-2001, 09:41 AM
California Squaw good to hear from you. I think what the reporter was saying is that if the Offense that the new coaching staff is trying to put in has to have WR who have speed. End of story. Apparently they don't have that. However, if they want speed why is'nt Tony Horn a #1 or #2 reciever.

08-07-2001, 09:47 AM

Because Horne still has the problems that plagued him in St. Louis. He runs undisciplined routes and his hands aren't the greatest. I hope he comes around, but I'm only anticipating ST play and spot duty with the offense to stretch the field.

08-07-2001, 09:49 AM
I have my concerns here as well. There is no substitute for speed. This whole offense style is built around speed. Even if we had not lost the cat for the season it still would have been tough. It's not like he was burning up the turf either.


Missing Joe Horn about now.

08-07-2001, 10:11 AM

I think you're talking about track speed, like JoPo was...track speed ISN'T that important.

Quickness and the ability to separate BEFORE the ball gets there IS.

I don't think we're in that bad of shape, I just think people are messed up in their definition of the word "speed"...

08-07-2001, 10:14 AM
This may have already been said but downfield speed and separation speed are two different things....

We don't have the downfield speed the Lambs have...all we need though is the separation speed or better, quickness...I think we have that...

Let's face it, we are not going to see 70 yard bombs and TD on every other play like it seemed the Lambs did a couple of years ago....but I hope to see those 8 and 10 yard completions with 10 to 15 yard RAC...and if the running game comes along like I expect then we'll still see our occasional 70 yard bomb off a play action...

Bob Dole
08-07-2001, 10:23 AM
Bob Dole just hopes our opponents subscribe to the "this offense is built on speed and the Chiefs don't have it" philosophy that keeps rearing its ugly head here.

I guess we've already seen "this offense" in a game situation and Bob Dole missed it.

Once again--Bob Dole does not think for one moment that this coaching staff is going to hand the current Chiefs roster the 1999 Rams' playbook and expect it to function like the 1999 Rams.

08-07-2001, 10:32 AM
Come on guys, don't get down about this...who are you REALLY going to trust?

JOURNALIST Joe Posnanski, who says They are really slow.

Or HALL OF FAME WIDE RECEIVER Charlie Joiner, who says It's about brains. It has nothing to do with speed. You've got to think fast. You've got to adjust fast. That's how you get open.

I trust Joiner, and he certainly doesn't feel too bad about it right now. He says they're "learning it". What more could you ask for in the 2nd week of training camp under a new coaching staff with a whole new offense?

08-07-2001, 10:40 AM

I agree that it is not nesessary for us to have a decent year but in order for us to thrive in this style offense we will need to continue recruiting speed.



08-07-2001, 10:45 AM
I think the truth is somewhere inbetween...

I am not worried about us being able to field a good offense, I am starting to question whether some of the names will be the same.

Specifically DA.

This offense is a different style than he's used to, and he's not getting a lot of practice at making the transition. I wouldn't be overly surprised to see him slide to a #3 receiving position (or worse).

No, it's not about flat out speed, but it is about the style of pass route execution.

it is about change...

08-07-2001, 10:46 AM
and a few pre-season games under our belt to further make adjustments/tweak the offense.

Tribal Warfare
08-07-2001, 11:15 AM
Originally posted by htismaqe
Come on guys, don't get down about this...who are you REALLY going to trust?

JOURNALIST Joe Posnanski, who says They are really slow.

Or HALL OF FAME WIDE RECEIVER Charlie Joiner, who says It's about brains. It has nothing to do with speed. You've got to think fast. You've got to adjust fast. That's how you get open.

I've been saying this all along. It's not the speed that kills, but precision and execution . perfect example- Jerry Rice

08-07-2001, 01:01 PM
We'll see how accurate all you DV fans are who postulated about DV being too smart to try and force the '01 Chiefs into the '99 Rams template.

ANY demotion of DA is idiocy, plain and simple. So WHAT if the guy looks lackadaisical in practice? So does Randy Moss! Alexander is one of the AFC's top WRs and own the team's single season record for yds. What about playing to the strength of the roster instead of the mirage of the '99 miracle Rams?

FACT: The Chiefs enetered the '00 season with ONE receiver who had ever started an NFL game and finished 5th inpassing the whole stinking league. And I bet this Charlie Joiner fella knows a bit about the WR position, as does Al Saunders.

Gosh, I hope some common sense prevails with this team. Power is not a bad thing! Speed is a luxury for those that have it, play on carpet, etc...

Derrick Alexander supporter

08-07-2001, 01:27 PM

Never mind...

08-07-2001, 01:28 PM
aright, well I dont post much (more like never), but this article kinda got me miffed. First off, I dont care what anybody says but Derrick Alexander is fast and plays fast. I remember a game against the Seahawks (cant remember if it was last year or the year before) where he straight up burned Shawn Springs twice in the same game. No moves, just speed. That being said, he's not the fastest guy around, but on the football field he is fast. Minnis is another guy who plays faster than he may be on track. Chris Thomas I saw in college and he also has good speed. Gonzo IS a fast TE. Mayes has proven he can get open without real speed and we already know about Horne and Moses, so I think there is no real cause for concern here. just my 2 cents.

08-07-2001, 03:17 PM
It's a good thing the old coaching staff couldn't find a spot for Joe Horn cause we sure wouldn't want to have a guy with excellent speed that could produce...And it is a good thing that this staff decided to pass on Kevin Kasper 6 times in this years draft cause we sure wouldn't want a receiver who was the 2nd fastest receiver and overall quickest athlete at the combine...;)