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Raised On Riots
07-07-2009, 10:58 AM
Haley, Chiefs will rebuild around rising Cassel
CAMP COUNTDOWN : KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
SPORTING NEWS TODAY www.sportingnews.com (http://www.sportingnews.com/)
New Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli is not afraid to make the bold move. Virtually everything Pioli did in his first few months with the Chiefs rocked to life what had been a stale organization.

Pioli hired Todd Haley as head coach even though Haley didnít have any previous experience at that position. He traded with New England for young quarterback Matt Cassel. He signed several 30-something veterans and made an unpopular trade that sent tight end Tony Gonzalez to Atlanta .

Thatís a lot for one offseason, but the Chiefs needed a breath of life. Pioli and Haley, the offensive coordinator the past two seasons with Arizona, are learning on the job so itís difficult to know what to expect from the Chiefs, who are trying to rebound from the worst season (2-14) in franchise history.

A lot of young players received valuable experience last season and some promise, so Pioli and Haley have a talented bunch to work with.

WHATíS NEW
Offense: Though the Chiefs will run a scheme similar to the one used by Haley with the Cardinals, the Chiefs wonít be as pass-happy as Arizona . Coordinator Chan Gailey believes in the running game, and the Chiefs have the ability to wear down opponents with liberal use of Larry Johnson. Protection willing, the Chiefs will take their shots downfield with Cassel .

The Chiefs hope years of instability at this important position came to an end when they sent their 2009 second-round draft pick to New England for Cassel , 27.

After replacing the injured Tom Brady last year, Cassel showed the skills and leadership to be a franchise quarterback. Cassel improved as the season progressed, sparking hopes for the Chiefs that he wasnít merely a one-year wonder.

Johnson still has value as a power runner capable of wearing down defenses, but he lacks ability as a pass blocker and receiver. Pioli and Haley value versatile players with diverse skills, so the Chiefs wonít design their offense around Johnson.

Defense: The Chiefs plan to use a hybrid system incorporating both the 4-3 and 3-4 schemes. Thatís what new coordinator Clancy Pendergast did last season when he directed Arizona ís defense. Ideally, the Chiefs will use more of the 3-4 look but might have to play more 4-3 than Pendergast would prefer because of personnel.

The Chiefs found help for their line by drafting LSUís Tyson Jackson in the first round and Purdueís Alex Magee in the third. Jackson should start immediately at left end, and the Chiefs expect him to be a middle rusher in passing situations.

Kansas City needed a significant upgrade at linebacker and added five hopefuls in the offseason. Two of those, Zach Thomas and Mike Vrabel, are decorated players whose careers are winding down. Vrabel will be 34 and Thomas 36 by the time the regular season begins.

OPPONENTíS VIEW
(Anonymous opponent breaks down the Chiefs)

ďWith so many new things going on there, itís difficult to know what to expect from the Chiefs. I like the trade they made for Cassel . He has good physical skills and seems to have all the intangibles teams need from a quarterback, so with experience he should continue to improve. Playing for a team coached by Todd Haley and with Chan Gailey calling the plays, I think heíll do very well.

ďI also like that they brought in some veteran players to help show the way to their many young players. I just donít know whether they did enough to significantly improve that defense, which was horrible last year.Ē

ďTheyíve got some good players and maybe guys like (Glenn) Dorsey and (Tamba) Hali and Derrick Johnson will improve under the new coaching staff, but I still donít see a lot of playmakers on that front seven. The pass rush was basically nonexistent last year, and Iím having a hard time seeing how it will be significantly better this year.Ē

BOTTOM LINE

The Chiefs are in position to climb back into a competitive mode because so many of their good young players received valuable experience last season. Much depends on how quickly the new coaching staff can fit all the pieces together.

If Cassel builds on his impressive 2008 season, the Chiefs should make strides toward the .500 mark. But even in a best-case scenario, Kansas City appears another season away from being playoff contenders. A lot of things need to fall into place if the Chiefs are to accelerate that schedule.

ó Adam Teicher & Vinnie Iyer

BURNING QUESTION
What will the team get out of Matt Cassel at quarterback?
ďItís clear itís hard to outwork this guy. Youíre seeing the complete package. I think heís got some unique leadership qualities. I think his teammates like him and have respect for him. I think heís doing a pretty good job on the field, too.Ē
óChiefs coach Todd Haley

DEPTH CHART

OFFENSE
QB
Matt Cassel
Tyler Thigpen
RB
Larry Johnson
Jamaal Charles
FB
Mike Cox
WR
Mark Bradley
Devard Darling
WR
Dwayne Bowe
Bobby Engram
TE
Brad Cottam
Sean Ryan
LT
Branden Albert
Herb Taylor
LG
Brian Waters
Wade Smith
C
Rudy Niswanger
Wade Smith
RG
Mike Goff
Edwin Harrison
RT
Damion McIntosh
Colin Brown

DEFENSE
LE
Tyson Jackson
Alfonso Boone
NT
Ron Edwards
Tank Tyler
RE
Glenn Dorsey
Alex Magee
OLB
Mike Vrabel
Turk McBride
ILB
Derrick Johnson
Demorrio Williams
ILB
Zach Thomas
Monty Beisel
OLB
Tamba Hali
Andy Studebaker
CB
Brandon Flowers
Donald Washington
CB
Brandon Carr
Travis Daniels
SS
Bernard Pollard
DaJuan Morgan
FS
Jarrad Page
Jon McGraw

SPECIALISTS
K Connor Barth
P Dustin Colquitt
PR Quinten Lawrence
KR Quinten Lawrence
LS Tanner Purdum

JD10367
07-07-2009, 11:02 AM
Seems about right, like the rest of the prognosticators.

The easy question marks are: 1) is Cassel for real (and I think so), and 2) how well and how quickly will the Chiefs defense adjust to the 3-4.

With the weakness of the Raiders and Broncos, there's always hope to snag that division. The Chargers are one hit on Rivers or a few bad Norm coaching-decisions away from losing their grip on it.

KCtotheSB
07-07-2009, 11:06 AM
We need a leader.

I don't care if it's the goddamn ballboy. We need someone to be the voice of this team who won't: bitch about his contract status, lessening of his role on the team or produce off the field antics.

From everything I've read regarding OTA's, Matt Cassell wants to be that leader.

KCtotheSB
07-07-2009, 11:07 AM
Seems about right, like the rest of the prognosticators.

The easy question marks are: 1) is Cassel for real (and I think so), and 2) how well and how quickly will the Chiefs defense adjust to the 3-4.

With the weakness of the Raiders and Broncos, there's always hope to snag that division. The Chargers are one hit on Rivers or a few bad Norm coaching-decisions away from losing their grip on it.

Oakland and Denver are in the same boat as us. With San Diego, Norv coaching them always helps, but with Volek backing up Rivers...I don't think they're quite THAT fragile.

King_Chief_Fan
07-07-2009, 11:13 AM
OLB
Mike Vrabel
Turk McBride
ILB
Zach Thomas
Monty Beisel
OLB
Tamba Hali
Andy Studebaker

I don't think this looks too good. McBride and Hali? They should get ready to be cut. I don't see how either of them make a LB

chiefzilla1501
07-07-2009, 11:15 AM
OLB
Mike Vrabel
Turk McBride
ILB
Zach Thomas
Monty Beisel
OLB
Tamba Hali
Andy Studebaker

I don't think this looks too good. McBride and Hali? They should get ready to be cut. I don't see how either of them make a LB

I'm still confused about why McBride isn't in the rotation for DE/DT. I would have thought that with his experience at DT at the college level, that this was a natural position for him.

Just Passin' By
07-07-2009, 12:18 PM
A lot of young players received valuable experience last season and some promise, so Pioli and Haley have a talented bunch to work with.


It's never a good sign for an article when the author confuses experience and talent.

Blick
07-07-2009, 12:28 PM
OLB
Mike Vrabel
Turk McBride
ILB
Zach Thomas
Monty Beisel
OLB
Tamba Hali
Andy Studebaker

I don't think this looks too good. McBride and Hali? They should get ready to be cut. I don't see how either of them make a LB

Who plays OLB if they don't?

At first, I thought McBride at OLB seemed like a dumb move as well. But, I'm willing to see what it looks like.

I like the idea of having bigger, D-end type guys as OLB's because it should help us hold up better at the line of scrimmage and the run defense should be improved.

Also, with the confusing looks we're going to give on defense, OLB's won't always be going up against a tackle while pass rushing. In the 3-4, a lot of OLB's get sacks by defeating TE's or backs that stayed in to block. So, having size and power to overwhelm TE's and backs are valuable attributes.

Jethopper
07-07-2009, 12:38 PM
Where is Mike Brown on the chart??? This is obviously incorrect.

Chocolate Hog
07-07-2009, 12:42 PM
No Derrick Johnson? He'll be good in the 3-4