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DaWolf
05-04-2009, 01:49 PM
Didn't see it posted...

Bricks In The Wall (http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1155064/1/index.htm)
For new regimes, the draft was a chance to put their blueprints to work. Case in point: Kansas City, whose Super Bowl--tested management set about building Patriots West
PETER KING

Midway through the second round of the NFL draft last Saturday, the brain trust of the Chiefs, from owner to general manager to coach to scouts, was getting antsy from inactivity. Kansas City had selected LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson with the No. 3 pick just 25 minutes into the draft, and then, lacking a second-round choice or a trade partner with whom they could swing a deal that would allow the Chiefs to move up, they spent five hours at the team's Arrowhead Stadium headquarters watching the selection process slowly play out on television. "Hey," new G.M. Scott Pioli said to his colleagues, "we have to remind ourselves: We did get Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel for our second [pick]."

Indeed, that trade, plus one other major deal Pioli made after being lured from the Patriots' front office in January, has changed the makeup of a once-proud team that had become undisciplined in stumbling to a 6--26 record over the past two seasons. Pioli dealt K.C.'s second-round pick to his former club for a presumptive quarterback of the future, Cassel, and a positive tone-setter in the locker room, veteran linebacker Vrabel. Then, two days before the draft, Pioli sent All-Pro tight end Tony Gonzalez to the Falcons for a 2010 second-round pick. If Cassel proves over the long haul to be as good as he showed in New England last year—when, despite not having started a game since high school, he led the Pats to an 11--5 season in place of the injured Tom Brady—Pioli will have in effect given up an elite tight end with a good year or two left and gotten offensive and defensive leaders who can kick-start the program that Pioli and his hand-picked rookie coach, Todd Haley, are putting in place.

Instead of going for a headliner to replace the juice lost with Gonzalez's departure, Pioli drafted blue-collar starting with the 6'5", 295-pound Jackson, who through most of the predraft process had not been projected to go in the top 10. He and Glenn Dorsey, the team's first-round pick last year and another LSU product, should wind up the starting ends in the 3--4. "I can play all three downs, sir, and I can play inside and outside," Jackson told SI, in a tone more befitting a job interview. "They want a mean and physical player at the point of attack on all three downs, and that's what they'll get." One of the reasons Pioli wanted Jackson: his love of the game.

The youthful rotation up front figures to include the Chiefs' third-round pick on Sunday, defensive tackle Alex Magee of Purdue. Fourth-round corner Donald Washington of Ohio State is a 6-foot battler who was a scouting-combine star and is expected to be a special teams standout. Fifth-rounder Colin Brown of Missouri will compete for the No. 3 tackle spot.

Kansas City hungers for the sort of organizational success with which Pioli made his name during eight years in New England, when he and Bill Belichick built a three-time Super Bowl champion. "Scott Pioli can own this town if the Chiefs win," restaurateur Michael Garozzo said last Friday night. "There's nothing the fans of this city want more than for the Chiefs to matter again. The people who come in here like what they see so far."

All around the league, new regimes put their stamps on teams through the draft.

• Lions G.M. Martin Mayhew, on the job for eight months, and rookie coach Jim Schwartz took Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford with the No. 1 pick, then did him two favors: They overpaid Stafford with a six-year, $72 million contract, including a rookie-record $41.7 million guaranteed; and handed him the best blocking-receiving tight end to come out in several years, Oklahoma State's Brandon Pettigrew, the 20th pick.

• New Broncos coach Josh McDaniels, already under fire for trading franchise passer Jay Cutler, broke with team tradition by drafting a running back, Georgia's Knowshon Moreno, high (No. 12) in the first round. Six picks later he selected Tennessee's Robert Ayers, a one-year starter at defensive end, then traded up to No. 37 to grab a 5'9" corner, Alphonso Smith of Wake Forest.

• The Browns saved probably $8 million in cap room by trading down 12 spots with the Jets, from No. 5 to 17, and picking up some of new coach Eric Mangini's favorites from his old team in New York, including safety Abram Elam, who will start immediately.

• Mangini's successor with the Jets, Rex Ryan, and G.M. Mike Tannenbaum dealt their two first-day picks (Nos. 17 and 29) to take USC quarterback Mark Sanchez at No. 5. On Sunday they moved up again to draft Iowa running back Shonn Greene with the first pick of the third round.

• Tampa Bay's first-year tandem of G.M. Mark Dominik and coach Raheem Morris preferred Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman to Stafford and traded up two spots from No. 19 to grab him.

Last year Kansas City had a 12-player draft haul, including four picks—Dorsey, left tackle Branden Albert and cornerbacks Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr—who started as rookies. But with Haley changing the defense to a 3--4 and going with a more vertical offense than 2008's, some incumbents no longer are great fits because of either the new schemes or their attitude. "This team sort of got comfortable with losing," one player said last Saturday. As good as Gonzalez is at playing his position—he's the alltime NFL leader among tight ends in receptions, yards and touchdowns—K.C. was five games under .500 and never won a playoff game during his 12 seasons with the club.

Pioli and Haley, on the other hand, bring winning pedigrees to a franchise that has gone 39 seasons without a trip to the Super Bowl. Pioli served under Bill Parcells with the Jets (even married his daughter Dallas) and teamed with Belichick for 15 with the Browns, Jets and Patriots. Haley's father, Dick, was director of player personnel for the great Steelers teams of the '70s, and Todd worked for Parcells as an assistant with the Giants and the Cowboys before turning around the Cardinals offense as coordinator.

So last Thursday night, during a predraft feast at Jack Stack Barbecue, it figured that there would be talk of Super Bowls past. And it's the losses in XLII (Pats to the Giants) and XLIII (Cardinals to the Steelers) that motivate Pioli and Haley, respectively, the most. In a strange coincidence both of their teams were beaten in those Super Bowls on touchdown passes with 35 seconds left.

"Not a day goes by that I don't think about it," said Haley, whose offense played conservatively for most of three quarters because he wanted to keep Pittsburgh's pass rush from abusing Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner. "It still bothers me. Did I wait too long to open up the offense?"

"You did what you had to do at the time," said Pioli, "what gave your team the best chance to win."

Then the G.M. wadded up a napkin and flicked it onto the dinner table. "I still think about our game, and I can't believe it," Pioli said, recalling with disgust David Tyree's miraculous grab for the Giants. "We lose when a guy catches the ball with his helmet."

Super Bowls are a long way off for the Chiefs. Pioli and Haley are trying to build a winner one brick at a time, and they're counting on veteran newcomers like Vrabel to provide the mortar. Another is 35-year-old linebacker Zach Thomas. "We signed Zach, and he flew in on Easter, and he was one of the first guys at the facility [the following] Monday morning," said Pioli. "When we ran the running test we'll have in training camp just to show the players what it is [three 315-yard runs, each meant to be finished in under 58 seconds], Zach won the first two sprints in his group. Here he comes, off the street, and he's in top shape. That's called being a pro. That's what we want."

On Saturday, Thomas was still trying to find his way around Kansas City, looking for a place to live. He was told the Chiefs had drafted Jackson at No. 3. "What do you think?" he was asked.

"I don't know him," Thomas said, "but I know Scott and Todd. So I know he'll work hard. And I know he'll love football."

MoreLemonPledge
05-04-2009, 01:59 PM
I hate Peter King, but this is a rare occurrence of Haley and Pioli acting like real people. It's actually kind of nice to hear that they are so fueled by their respective Superbowl losses.

bobbything
05-04-2009, 02:00 PM
IMO, when SI comes a-knockin' wanting hard-hitting football insight, the first name that comes to mind is Michael Garozzo.

tomahawk kid
05-04-2009, 02:03 PM
IMO, when SI comes a-knockin' wanting hard-hitting football insight, the first name that comes to mind is Michael Garozzo.

If I didn't know better, I'd say Peter King likes to eat.........

Chiefnj2
05-04-2009, 02:11 PM
"three 315-yard runs, each meant to be finished in under 58 seconds"

315 yards, under 58 seconds, three separate times? Is that right? I'd love to see the OL and DL running that.

Basileus777
05-04-2009, 02:43 PM
Peter King isn't great for football analysis, but he is a pretty good writer and has excellent sources.

talastan
05-04-2009, 02:47 PM
"three 315-yard runs, each meant to be finished in under 58 seconds"

315 yards, under 58 seconds, three separate times? Is that right? I'd love to see the OL and DL running that.

Not horrible, about 19 secs per 105 yds. But that would wear down a big guy real fast.

Fruit Ninja
05-04-2009, 02:59 PM
"Scott Pioli can own this town if the Chiefs win," restaurateur Michael Garozzo said last Friday night. "There's nothing the fans of this city want more than for the Chiefs to matter again. The people who come in here like what they see so far."

Isnt that quote the fucking truth.

Fritz88
05-04-2009, 03:07 PM
I bet Peter King flew to KC to get free Jack Stack BBQ. He keeps mentioning food in his articles I am starting to think he is cheating on Brett Favre.

Micjones
05-04-2009, 03:08 PM
Leads me to believe that in time they'll both open up more to the local media.

Fruit Ninja
05-04-2009, 03:10 PM
I bet Peter King flew to KC to get free Jack Stack BBQ. He keeps mentioning food in his articles I am starting to think he is cheating on Brett Favre.

Matt Cassel has a chance to be his new Crush. Thats why he's been pushing on KC hardcore. Pioli, Haley and Cassel is what he's hoping for. lol

Goldmember
05-04-2009, 03:11 PM
"The people who come in here like what they see so far."

"Isnt that quote the ****ing truth."

-Except for some CP members

kysirsoze
05-04-2009, 03:20 PM
Leads me to believe that in time they'll both open up more to the local media.

Only if they will stroke him as completely as King.

talastan
05-04-2009, 03:51 PM
Only if they will stroke him as completely as King.

He starts winning games, and don't worry they will...

Cormac
05-04-2009, 03:53 PM
Neat article. Guys like Peter King struggle to entertain fans with tens of thousands of posts because he also has to cater to doctors office SI readers. This is a good article that struck that balance.

I like that we drafted Tyson Jackson. Especially on the lines, desire seems to be the biggest factor in success. That's why Jared Allen would have been worth the 6th overall pick, and Ryan Sims wasn't worth a 4th rounder.

bluehawkdoc
05-04-2009, 04:09 PM
"I don't know him," Thomas said, "but I know Scott and Todd. So I know he'll work hard. And I know he'll love football."

This is the statement that fires me up. Haley and Pioli are investing in players who love the game and aren't afraid of hard work. Seems painfully obvious that this is the make-up you would want for a team but it sounds like too many people have just been cashing their paycheck at Arrowhead for far too long.

Let's get it on.

htismaqe
05-04-2009, 04:48 PM
Neat article. Guys like Peter King struggle to entertain fans with tens of thousands of posts because he also has to cater to doctors office SI readers. This is a good article that struck that balance.

Excellent point.

the Talking Can
05-04-2009, 04:54 PM
i just like the fact that these guys would eat babies to win

i never got that feeling from Carl, Herm, or post burnout DV....


and so much rides on Cassel...if they flipped an aging TE for a top 10 QB, they'll look brilliant....if Cassel flops then passing on Sanchez will be their legacy...

The Bad Guy
05-04-2009, 05:11 PM
Anyone who defends Herm after reading the quote about getting used to losing should kill themselves immediately.

Marty Mac Ver 2.0
05-04-2009, 06:26 PM
What this article tells me is that Scott and Todd are football-hungry. When was the last time any GM/Coach in kansas city was football-hungry. Not football/business-hungry but actually hungry to win games? Past failures sometimes lead to the greatest success.

Just ask Ben Franklin.

But don't ask Will Franklin.

King_Chief_Fan
05-04-2009, 06:50 PM
"The people who come in here like what they see so far."

"Isnt that quote the ****ing truth."

-Except for some CP members

especially those who still whine about not picking Sanchez

Marcellus
05-04-2009, 06:52 PM
especially those who still whine about not picking Sanchez

They are just trying to get a quote in the next Babb article.