View Full Version : Maslowski isn't done knocking down goals

08-09-2001, 03:01 AM

Maslowski isn't done knocking down goals
The Kansas City linebacker, who started in NCAA Division III, is determined to start.

Associated Press

RIVER FALLS, Wis. --Mike Maslowski is good at beating the odds.

The 6-foot-1, 243-pound linebacker fought his way through the Arena Football League and NFL Europe before arriving on the scene as a standout special teams player for the Kansas City Chiefs in 1999.

Now the former NCAA Division III All-American from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse is trying to earn a job as a starter with Kansas City.

"I always knew that I could come and play in the NFL," he said. "And once I did, I just kept up with my goals, and my goal is never to be just a special teams player, it's always been to be a starting linebacker."

Maslowski did it all as a high school player in Thorp, Wis., located about 90 miles east of the Chiefs training camp. He played quarterback, running back and linebacker while also handling the team's punt, kickoff and place-kicking duties.

When no Division I schools knocked on his door following high school, he stayed close to home and helped UW-La Crosse win a NCAA Division III national championship his junior season in 1995.

Now, Maslowski finds himself trying to beat the odds once again. But in order to do that, he'll have to unseat Marvcus Patton as the Chiefs' starting middle linebacker. That's no easy task considering Patton was named the team's MVP in 1999, and was second on the team in total tackles last year with 143.

But Maslowski is used to defying the odds. After he was cut as a rookie free agent by the San Diego Chargers before the start of the 1997 regular season, he went to the Arena Football League, where he played both linebacker and fullback for the San Jose Sabercats. He played well enough there to eventually catch the eye of the Chiefs, who sent him off to NFL Europe to play with the Barcelona Dragons.

It was in Barcelona where Maslowski started to emerge as a candidate for the NFL. He set a single season record for tackles in the spring of 1999 with 105 while helping the Dragons reach the World Bowl. Following 11 games in the European League that spring, he reported to Chiefs training camp and played in 19 preseason and regular season games for the Chiefs.

He finished the season with 23 tackles on special teams and was the landslide winner of the club's Mack Lee Hill award, presented annually to the Chiefs top rookie.

Maslowski made five starts at outside linebacker for the Chiefs last season, but he can't shake off the desire to return to his natural position in the middle. Despite trying to learn a new defensive scheme, he feels he is doing all he can to earn the job.

"That first week it was tough because it was a new scheme and we were trying to get all the new techniques down," he said. "I'm in there battling and we'll see what happens. I don't know where I stand right now but I'm starting to pick it up and I feel pretty good about the way I'm playing."

Coach Dick Vermeil said Maslowski will see some action with the Chiefs first-team defense in the preseason opener against the Washington Redskins on Sunday. He also said Maslowski has the same type of attributes that have made Patton an anchor on the Chiefs' defense.

"There's a lot of competition at that middle linebacker position between Patton and Maslowski," Vermeil said. "And it's going to be interesting to see what happens. If Maslowski takes the position, it will be because Maz (Maslowski) has been intense in his competition and preparation."

Battle for No. 2 QB spot -- Vermeil said Bubby Brister and Todd Collins will see extensive action in Sunday's exhibition opener against the Redskins. He said he'll wait to make a final decision on the backup quarterback situation at the end of the pre-season.

"Both of them are going to suit up every ballgame anyway," Vermeil said. "Which guy is going to be the designated second guy or not will be dependent on how they do in these pre-season games and what we've watched as they've matured in the program."

Brister's biggest obstacle so far in training camp has been taking the snap from center. He had trouble during Tuesday's practice handling snaps from backup centers Brian Waters and Brad Kubik and stayed late after practice to work on the exchange.

keg in kc
08-09-2001, 03:04 AM
We have several guys with this sort of attitude on the team, and I really think it will help us as a unit. I like warriors, and I like guys who refuse to quit.

Bob Dole
08-09-2001, 06:31 AM
Bob Dole gets pumped just <i>watching</i> Maz on the field and sideline--he's got to have a positive impact on his teammates.

As for Bubby and the snap... He's probably just so used to having his hands on his walker that it's hard for him to bend over enough to get under center...

08-09-2001, 09:38 AM
I know Maz is a favorite for many on this board. I think Patton is a force on the inside. My personal preference is to have Patton start. We should be able to get two years max out of Marvcus, and then we have our next great linebacker in the wings with Maz. Although Patton has been pretty stable, with injuries, Maz could easily start a couple games at MLB anyway. With Cadrez here I would think his days of starting OLB are over. Our linebacking corp looks pretty darn good, especially if Bush's game improves tremendously... and last year was the abberation, not the norm.

RLB - Donnie Edwards - could be pro-bowl material in this defense.

MLB - Marvcus Patton. Backup: Maz.

LLB - Lew Bush and Cadrez

And we still have untested Stills and O'Neal.

Definitely one of our strong points.

Hoping the DLine turns out to be one too...

KC Jones
08-09-2001, 10:15 AM
I know Marvcus is a good and reliable MLB, besides being a physical specimen. However, Maz makes big plays. I don't think I've ever seen Patton get there early or make a home run type play. I see Maz make them. I don't know if it's quickness, luck, reckless abandon, or sheer relentless determination, but Maz has it in spades. I'd be more than willing to gamble that with the starting opportunity Maz would blossom into a really special LB.

BTW if we really are deep at LB and short at DT we should consider using a 3-4 some of the time. I know most people here hate it ever since the 'Falcon' experiment and I myself prefer a base 4-3, but you work with what you have.

keg in kc
08-09-2001, 10:37 AM
I like Patton for this year, but when his salary increases to 2 million next season, he's gotta go...

08-09-2001, 11:35 AM

Interesting idea. I'm not an expert here (so maybe someone can better enlighten me), but I think with a 3-4 defense the DLine will be called on to hold the point of attack more. I always hear a Dlineman is "well suited for a 3-4" or not. Not sure what that means. But, since our deficiency is on big physical, veteran tackles, I think we might have a problem in the 3-4. I think neither Hicks nor Clemons fit that mold. Maybe Williams. Not sure about Browning.

Hoping to be enlightened.

08-09-2001, 11:46 AM
We do not have the dominant Nose Tackle to play the 3-4. A properly-motivated McGlockton might have served that purpose. And a properly-trained Sands might yet fill that role. But right now, we don't have a bull to put in that closet.

We have the LBs, but we lack the DLs.

Putting the 3-4 away for another day.

KC Jones
08-09-2001, 11:56 AM
Gaz and Sunshine,

Excellent point. We don't have the DL for the 3-4. I was just focusing on how good I think our DEs and LBs are. I guess our DEs wouldn't be so effective in a 3-4 and as you mentioned we lack the requisite nosetackle.

08-09-2001, 05:10 PM
I agree with KC Jones. Maz has that extra something special that you can't really define. He has Dick Butkus type abandon (that's the all-time greatest MLB for all you gameboy/nintendo Gen X folks).


krazy karl
08-09-2001, 11:21 PM
Love this guy. His intensity is awesome, i would love to see him in the middle with patton on the outside where he played for so long. then in a 3-4, you could have patton and maz in the middle, bush and edwards on the outside. But you have to have maz out there, he is an animal. my opinions. tell me what you think. guess we'll find out sunday who's where, etc.


08-09-2001, 11:30 PM
The Chiefs don't have the personnel at DL to be able to play a 3-4

08-10-2001, 01:03 AM
Our linebacking corp looks pretty darn good, especially if Bush's game improves tremendously... and last year was the abberation, not the norm.

I know I will probably get ripped for this but I do not like Bush at all and feel that we will be lucky if he plays as well as last season. I say put Maz in the middle and Patton on the outside.


NOT Impressed with Bush.

keg in kc
08-10-2001, 01:09 AM
I won't rip you for it, but I have a feeling you're going to be pleasantly surprised by Bush (hmm, that could be taken soooo many different ways couldn't it...:eek: ).

Could go either way, though. Kinda hard to make any real predictions at this point...

08-10-2001, 01:18 AM

What makes you think that he will be any different this season? Is he finally taking some aggression pills or something?


Must be missing something.


08-10-2001, 01:20 AM
Don't get me wrong though. I hope I am.


Not holding his breath though.

keg in kc
08-10-2001, 01:29 AM
I've heard more times than I can count in the last few months from a variety of sources that the most likely reason he sucked last season was because he was distracted by a variety of pretty serious off-field problems. I have also heard, again more times than I can count, that he was both embarrased and p!ssed off by the way he played last season. He has since had a lot of help from friends as well as from the organization to take care of these off-field problems, whatever they were, and for the entirety of the summer he has worked his @ss off for this team. I've heard from several folks on the radio in the last two weeks, including several folks who don't work of the Chiefs (nor have any love for them) or even follow KC exclusively that the guy may even look better now than he did at any time while he played in San Diego. I don't know how many times I've heard people list the safeties and the linebackers as the strongest part of our defense (by a longshot) and more often than not Bush is mentioned.

Maybe it's a smokescreen - I certainly can't actually watch the team every day, but I've heard enough evidence -- just since the start of camp -- that this guy is out for blood and out to prove that he can play.

Like I said, we'll see how it plays out. We've heard these sorts of things about other players in the past only to find out we've had smoke blown up our @sses, but right now I don't have any reason to doubt that the guy looks good, and he's one of the people I'm going to keep a close (skeptical...) eye on during the preseason...

08-10-2001, 01:39 AM

I hope they are right. We sure could use all the hitting on defense we can get this year. If we put Maz in the middle and Patton on the outside though, I would bet 3 or 4 paychecks we would be better off. I am going to call it a night on that note as this has been a long day. Take care.


keg in kc
08-10-2001, 01:41 AM
I don't particularly care who's where as long as there's been competition and the guys on the field are the guys who won the jobs. I don't play favorites...

08-10-2001, 04:53 AM
What is it that coaches see that prevents Maz from being a starter?
Is it size, speed, smarts? The guy gives it all on every play. Maybe it's the "reckless abandon" that scares the coaches. I just don't get it.
Regardless, I am glad to see he is at the middle position where he belongs.

ken man

allways roots for the underdog