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Old 07-27-2013, 06:55 PM  
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Mellinger:Amnesia alone won’t help Chiefs

Amnesia alone won’t help Chiefs
By SAM MELLINGER
The Kansas City Star
Eric Berry is a thoughtful man, conscientious about both football and life, but at the moment he might as well be closing his eyes and covering his ears and yelling NA-NA-NA-I’M-NOT-LISTENING-NA-NA-NA!!!

Go ahead, try the Chiefs’ star safety. A reporter did this the other day at training camp. Asked a question which included the words “last year” and, well, those are the last words of the question.

“We ain’t talking about last year,” Berry interrupts.

The reporter tries to clarify.

“Yeah, I’m not talking about last year,” Berry interrupts again. “We’re excited about this year, where we’re going and the direction we’re headed, so I don’t want to compare the two.”

A second reporter jumps in for the save. Tells Berry the question is about his surgically repaired knee a year ago, and whether it feels stronger now — not about what turned out to be his embarrassingly bad team a year ago.

“Oh,” Berry says. “It’s a total difference.”

There are as many ways of moving on as there are things we want to move on from. And as far as things worth moving on from, the 2012 Chiefs are toward the top of the list, even above skinny jeans, the word “swag” and Justin Bieber.

For Kansas City, last year’s Chiefs are like that gas station sushi you tried a few years back. You regretted it immediately and wanted desperately to forget about it, except that it made you intensely sick.

So we can all understand what the Chiefs are doing here — can all see the motivation in what is obviously an organization directive to pretend that last year never happened. Who wants to talk about their worst moment? How often does your friend from college bring up the night he slept in the yard?

“For me, as well as everyone else, last year is last year,” Dexter McCluster says. “It’s in the past. Don’t want to think about it.”

This is, very clearly, a talking point for the 2013 Chiefs. As far as they’re concerned, there was a break in the time continuum, basically. The 2-14 record, the league’s worst offense, the angry letters to Clark Hunt, the banners flying over Arrowhead Stadium on game days, Jovan Belcher’s unthinkable murder-suicide. None of it ever happened, if you believe the company talking points.

Berry and McCluster won’t ever forget the misery, no matter what they say, but for a lot of their teammates last year actually didn’t happen.

The Chiefs have a new head coach, a new quarterback, a new general manager, new coordinators, new cornerbacks, new linemen, new receivers, new perspective. Fifty-five of the 90 players in camp weren’t part of the 2012 disaster. That’s one of the highest turnover rates in the league.

This is a good thing, for purposes of both football and otherwise. The team clearly stunk, and the stink was bad enough to require evacuation for many and fumigation for the rest.

The Chiefs have good players. Too good to go 2-14, anyway. They all understand this, and have apparently decided that not talking about last year is part of the best plan to make sure last year doesn’t happen again.

That’s fine. Their choice. These are just words.

But aside from quarterback Alex Smith, an overwhelming majority of the Chiefs’ most important players have vivid, personal memories of last year’s misery — the one that anyone who would answer calls the worst year of their professional lives.

The difference between the 2012 Chiefs and this year’s version isn’t limited to the names on the back of the jerseys.

Besides the new players and coaches there is also a new pace. Quicker. Constant. No sitting. We are still in the embryonic stage of training camp, and the Chiefs have already installed completely new playbooks and schemes on both offense and defense.

In that way, what coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey are attempting isn’t just a rehab — it’s more like a complete tear-down and buildup, all in the time it takes for the Men In Black guys to use those awesome memory erasers.

There is no way to know whether this will work until the games start, of course. Today marks the first day of pads, and there aren’t many things football men put less stock into than what players look like in shorts.

What we can do, for now, is judge how the Chiefs made it from the end of last year’s shame to the beginning of this year’s hope. Chairman Clark Hunt made it clear that the failure of 2012 was unacceptable, and moved quickly.

Fired Romeo Crennel, hired Reid. Fired Scott Pioli, hired Dorsey. Together, they fired Matt Cassel and traded for Smith. There is too much talent on defense for last year’s 13 takeaways to be acceptable, so Reid brought in former Jets assistant Bob Sutton to attack. If the company line in training camp is for guys to pretend last year didn’t happen, it comes after an offseason with the men in charge changing everything but the uniforms.

The recent history of teams coming off 2-14 seasons is short on major success stories. Last year’s Colts are the only ones in the last decade to make the playoffs or have a winning record. All together, the 10 teams averaged 5.7 wins.

The Chiefs have enough talent, and have made enough changes to believe this will be a much better season. Competitive, at least. Their first preseason game is in less than two weeks. Their first real game is four weeks after that. So the Chiefs can keep on pretending last year didn’t happen.

Soon enough, we’ll know whether this is just PR spin. Because what’s important isn’t if they can fool themselves into believing last year happened.

It’s whether doing so helps many who were key players in that awfulness avoid a sequel.
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:24 PM   #16
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No big deal but I bet the Raiders do beat out the Chiefs this year for 3rd with a record of 6-10
The Raiders are the most incomplete team in the league. Good luck with that.
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:25 PM   #17
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I'm guessing Jamaal Charles is the only one who doesn't want to forget about last year.
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:26 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by AussieChiefsFan View Post
The Raiders are the most incomplete team in the league. Good luck with that.
Per the media ... Raiders will be better this year than last year so will the Chiefs... 4-12 instead of 2-14
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:26 PM   #19
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I'm guessing Jamaal Charles is the only one who doesn't want to forget about last year.
Yeah, I feel sorry for him too. His incredible comeback from his ACL tear was overlooked because of AP's all-time MVP comeback.
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:28 PM   #20
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Per the media ... Raiders will be better this year than last year so will the Chiefs... 4-12 instead of 2-14
Explain to me how the Raiders have any chance of not coming 4th. I'd legitimately like to hear this. The Chiefs may not be amazing, but they have many more pieces (on both O and D) than the Raiders have, aswell as a better coaching staff.
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:28 PM   #21
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Mellinger is usually pretty reliable.

I think he lost people with a bad opening paragraph. The rest of it wasn't bad.
Depends on what you're into I guess. The entire article basically says "The Chiefs don't want to think about a shitty season, but that's not good enough to win games."

How enlightening.
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:30 PM   #22
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Explain to me how the Raiders have any chance of not coming 4th. I'd legitimately like to hear this. The Chiefs may not be amazing, but they have many more pieces (on both O and D) than the Raiders have, aswell as a better coaching staff.

The Raiders are a better team ... The Chiefs are not.. I think the Chiefs win 4 this year, Raiders win atleast 6
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:31 PM   #23
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The Raiders are a better team ... The Chiefs are not.. I think the Chiefs win 4 this year, Raiders win atleast 6
I mean comparing shit to shit is pretty stupid but who is your QB?
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:31 PM   #24
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The Raiders are a better team ... The Chiefs are not.. I think the Chiefs win 4 this year, Raiders win atleast 6
Simply saying it does not make it true. What pieces do the Raiders have to build on?
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:31 PM   #25
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I mean comparing shit to shit is pretty stupid but who is your QB?
Thats the ? mark ... I think it will be Flynn
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:33 PM   #26
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I think the Chiefs have lacked a QB for many years and that is why they have had no more success than they have had... I don't think Smith is the answer, I think he is Matt Cassell 2.0
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:33 PM   #27
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Thats the ? mark ... I think it will be Flynn
So there's your answer. We win 6-7, you guys win 3-5. But really, who gives a ****?
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:35 PM   #28
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So there's your answer. We win 6-7, you guys win 3-5. But really, who gives a ****?

I think the Chiefs will DOUBLE their win total from last year
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:35 PM   #29
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I think the Chiefs have lacked a QB for many years and that is why they have had no more success than they have had... I don't think Smith is the answer, I think he is Matt Cassell 2.0
I don't think he is the answer either, but I do believe he is better than Cassel. The two main problems last year were QB and coaching staff. Both have been addressed. Now I'm not saying Smith is the answer, but he's more of an answer than the Raiders have. And well, the coaching situation speaks for itself.
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:36 PM   #30
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I think the Chiefs will DOUBLE their win total from last year
Yeah, we know.
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