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Old 05-30-2001, 03:08 PM  
NaptownChief NaptownChief is offline
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Vermeil Isn't Sure Holmes Is The Answer...

This is anything but a positive article about Holmes...I hate to say I told you so before they hit the field so I will hold off but this is starting to smell a lot like my earlier predictions about the Priest:


According to Adam Teicher of the Kansas City Star, after watching newly signed running back Priest Holmes go through the paces during last week's mini-camp, Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil and isn't convinced the 205-pounder is capable of carrying the entire load. And even though they'd love to see the former Raven to emerge as a legitimate feature back, the Chiefs are already planning on giving 235-pound fullback Tony Richardson a whole lot of carries.
"Tony will be a fullback and a halfback," Vermeil said, adding that Richardson is the likely candidate to play in the one-back formations his team is expected to rely on more than half the time. ...

The Chiefs are also said to be working on ways to get rookie Derrick Blaylock, Frank Moreau and Mike Cloud involved too, if need be.

Hmmm. ... Sounds suspiciously like a "committee" if you ask me. ...

And my guess says that ain't what the Chiefs had in mind when they handed Holmes a five-year, $8 million deal -- including a $2 million signing bonus -- last month.

It's certainly not what Vermeil had in mind.

"Anytime you have somebody you think is the best at his position, when you take him out of the game you shift into a second gear," the coach explained recently. "As I did with Wilbur Montgomery (in Philadelphia) and Marshall Faulk (in St. Louis), I leave them in the game and let them play. If they get tired, we take them out for a snap, then put them back in."

According to offensive coordinator Al Saunders, "The best teams that I have been associated with in the running game have had a marquee back who's been able to rush for 1,200 to 1,300 yards. ...

"Chuck Muncie rushed for over 1,000 yards (in San Diego) and Christian Okoye here in the early '90s was a tremendous rusher for us. When you look around the league, the teams that have been very successful have a back that they can count on to deliver the goods."

Yeah. ... Just like Holmes did as a Raven in 1998 when he rushed for 1,008 yards and seven touchdowns and caught 43 passes.

So. ... How long did it take the Chiefs to realize their expectations might be less-than-realistic?

I'd say Vermeil caught on right away.

"None of this will fully define itself until we get in full pads and go through training camp and get into the preseason games," he told reporters after the team's first workout last week. "If there's one clearly better, he'll carry the load. The other one gives him a breather if he needs it.

"I think we've added a high-quality football player. I think he brings a lot to the table and will be very tough to beat out. But if it happens, it happens. That will only make us a better football team."

Which is "coachspeak" for "Why did we give this guy a $2 million signing bonus?"

In fact, the only person who sounded more disappointed than Vermeil was Holmes. ... After all, he could have stayed in Baltimore and backed up Jamal Lewis as the Ravens defended their Super Bowl title this season. ... Or he could have gone to Philadelphia as well-paid insurance policy for Duce Staley.

But he went with the Chiefs -- in large part because he saw a gaping hole at running back in Kansas City.

"That's one reason I had my eye on this situation," Holmes said. "I wrote down goals on a piece of paper and matched them up to this situation. It wasn't a matter of me going out and just saying, `This is where I want to play.' I compared the teams to the goals, and KC came out on top.

"But it's not just that. This offense really complements the type of back I am. We're going inside, we're going outside. Right now, I'm just concentrating on running the ball, knowing the formations and getting the system down. Once that's done, I'll really get in the routine."

But that was then; this is now. ... And all the former University of Texas star can do now is put up a brave front. ...

"In the last couple years you've seen how successful teams have slowly switched the load as far as having two runners who can pull the load," Holmes explained. "As coach Vermeil stated, we'll have different types of attacks that we can come at teams with. The key is having a number of different players who can pull the load at any time.

"I think we can be hot because of what we call the three-headed monster. When you have a quarterback, some good receivers and running backs, you can kill (an opponent) slow or kill them fast. I think with the receivers and quarterback we have here, we can kill them fast. At the same time, we can kill them slow with Tony Richardson and myself."

Positives?

Here's the best I can do: Holmes racked up his 1,000 yards in 1998 on an average of 15 carries per game. ...

In the meantime, Vermeil continues to talk up Richardson, whose 5.7-yard per touch average ranked third in the league behind Faulk and Tiki Barber.

"He's a different-style runner and a very good football player," the former UCLA boss noted. "I don't think people hold Tony in as high esteem as they should. I think the combination of these two guys in the same backfield, or any one of these guys in the backfield, makes our running game better."

Bottom line?

"We'll be in a lot of one-back," Vermeil said.

What about the other guys?

According to SportsLine.com senior writer Len Pasquarelli, Blaylock, a fifth-round pick from Stephen F. Austin, posted the fastest 40 time at this year's scouting combine in Indianapolis (he was clocked at a blistering 4.34 second).

The 5-10, 190-pounder catches the ball well and could make an excellent change-of-pace back. Blaylock could also contribute as a punt returner.

Assessing the youngster's first mini-camp, Vermeil told reporters: "They're not wearing pads this weekend, so we won't learn anything we don't already know about Blaylock. ... We know he can run and has good hands. We'll see that again. But we don't know how his running instincts will be. You can't see those kinds of things in this environment."

Teicher wrote last week that the new staff is impressed with Moreau; but the second-year man will have to prove he's capable of protecting the ball before they give him many carries. ... After opening camp as the starting halfback last season, spot duty appears to be the best Cloud can hope for. ...

One last note out of Kansas City tonight. ...

According to Pro Football Weekly, Trent Green says he would like to be ready to go by the teamís June 11 mini-camp, but nothing has been etched in stone.

The fact is, Green continues to experience pain and swelling in his left knee after undergoing surgery earlier this year to remove scar tissue left over from reconstructive surgery performed in 1999. His failure to bounce back from this latest procedure kept him from working out for team officials in Kansas City prior to the trade from the Rams.

But Vermeil says he knows what he has in Green after coaching him in St. Louis, and heís prepared to give him as long as he needs to get back to 100 percent. ... Green figures to assume an advisory role during mini-camps in an attempt to pick up the intricacies of the system and his new teammates.
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Old 05-30-2001, 03:18 PM   #2
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I've been saying all along, also, that I didn't think Holmes was all that he was advertised to be when signed, and that I expected that he and T-Rich will share the load.
I just hope that the committe will not become what it has been for years under Marty and Goonther.
Let's keep it a small committe and give those guys a chance to perform before we add to it.
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Old 05-30-2001, 03:18 PM   #3
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I don't see anything in here that indicates that they don't think Priest can carry the load.

Saying that Tony will get carries does not equal "Priest can't hack it."

[i]"I think we've added a high-quality football player. I think he brings a lot to the table and will be very tough to beat out. But if it happens, it happens. That will only make us a better football team."[/i] That sounds an awful lot like he's gonna be the starter to me. It most certainly doesn't mean what you said...

Right now, they're exploring they're options and figuring out what is best for the team. Much of the most negative comments aren't in quotes, and I'm trying to figure out if they came from you or Teicher.

Gather what you want from DV's quotes, it's entirely speculation. The heading said "Vermeil isn't sure Holmes is the answer..."

"I think Vermeil isn't sure Holmes is the answer" would be entirely more accurate...
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Old 05-30-2001, 03:20 PM   #4
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I'm betting that TRich ends up the primary back and Holmes will be given the 3rd down back role in attempt to feel better about blowing a 2 million dollar signing bonus on a back up RB...

We should have coughed up slightly more money and signed Garner....
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Old 05-30-2001, 03:21 PM   #5
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Link please?

And as far as the article goes, sounds to me more like a lot of subjective interpreting and guessing than actual facts. Brave front? Coachspeak? Disappointed? I didn't get any of that from any of those quotes when they were actually made. We won't know a thing about how this thing will take shape until we are well into the preseason. Besides, they didn't go through the entire offseason claiming that Holmes was the best back available only to change their minds after one minicamp without pads. I don't buy it. Sounds like the writer is just pulling stuff out of nowhere...

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Old 05-30-2001, 03:22 PM   #6
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I think this is old news from Teicher.

Yes Holmes is undersized, but how could Vermeil know what he can fully do until they throw pads on and go at it in River Falls?

I don't think he is backtracking, or even insisting that RBBC could happen. He is gonna look at every back we got, and make his decision on what to do after that.

We knew Richardson would get some carries, but I guarantee Holmes will get his share.

[QUOTE]"I think we've added a high-quality football player. I think he brings a lot to the table and will be very tough to beat out. But if it happens, it happens. That will only make us a better football team."[/QUOTE]

That says it all. The best guy will win the job. Whether it is Holmes, Blaylock, Cloud or Richardson.

But as it stands right now Holmes enters training camp as the #1 guy, and I'm willing to bet he leaves camp as the #1 guy as well.
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Old 05-30-2001, 03:23 PM   #7
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I agree with htmis - nowhere does Vermeil make any allusion to Priest NOT starting at HB. He says Priest is a fine player and will be given the chance to compete. ADAM TEICHER(WHB cronie) translates this as: "he's not what we're looking for". "Put up a brave front..."? WTF are you babbling about, Teicher?

To me, this article resembles more of a 'TRich for starting RB' rant on some opinion forum(such as this one), than it does a serious journalistic piece. Of course, he <i>is</i> a sportswriter after all...
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Old 05-30-2001, 03:25 PM   #8
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I didn't write any of that. Here is the article:

[url]http://www.fspnet.com/headlines/news_story.cfm?ID=538[/url]

When we went out into the FA market they went out to get a feature back...The fact that Vermeil is on the record multiple times that he prefers a feature back over a committee proves that he is disappointed with Holmes ability to step up and become that "feature back" because he is now singing a different tune about the fact that we will be splitting up the carries...
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Old 05-30-2001, 03:32 PM   #9
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That's just making an interpretation. Perception is not always reality. Maybe it says less about "disappointment" in Holmes and more about the quality of a guy like Richardson and Blaylock whose talents should also be used. Take Garner for example. He's playing behind Wheatley. You have to use the talent you have on your team, that is more important sometimes than having "the man."

But again, we won't have a difinitive answer until the pads are on...

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Old 05-30-2001, 03:33 PM   #10
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nap - I respectfully disagree. Teicher is trying to paint that picture, but I'm not buying it. BEFORE KC even started speaking with Holmes and his agent, Vermeil was talking about giving TRich the ball. As a matter of fact, I remember Vermeil commenting on TRich in his very first news conference as the Chiefs' HC.
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Old 05-30-2001, 03:37 PM   #11
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Just to be fair, Teicher didn't write the article. The author takes Teicher's articles and the quotes in his article and draws his interpretations from them. I don't even know if the guy has been to training camp himself to see what he is talking about. I don't believe Teicher has ever made those comments in any article...
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Old 05-30-2001, 03:40 PM   #12
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That article is a month old, nap, based completely on one of the weekly short pieces Teicher does for The Sporting News:

[quote]Questions linger about Holmes' ability to carry load

MAY 4, 2001

The days of running back by committee at Arrowhead Stadium may not be finished despite the signing of free agent Priest Holmes. The Chiefs like what Holmes brings to the mix but since he's only 205 pounds, they wonder whether he's too small to carry the entire load.

Coach Dick Vermeil and offensive coordinator Al Saunders would prefer to have one featured back but also want to use 235-pound fullback Tony Richardson as a battering ram to wear out a defense. Richardson also could get the majority of work in the one-back formations the Chiefs plan to use more than half of the time. The Chiefs may also look for situations in which to feature rookie Derrick Blaylock and perhaps even Mike Cloud or Frank Moreau. The Chiefs haven't had a back with a majority of the team's carries since Christian Okoye in 1989. [/quote]

Some more recent stuff includes:

[quote]Impressions of (RB) Priest Holmes ?

VERMEIL: "Priest Holmes is a player. The best way to evaluate Priest Holmes is with the ball in his hand on game-day. He's a game-day-type guy. He is best evaluated in his contribution during the game both as a player in contribution to the scheme and also in his leadership.

"I keep hearing about (RB/FB) Tony Richardson's limitations but I just don't see them."

(from a May 14 Q&A session)[/quote]

This is a copy from my earlier thread detailing what Greg Robinson had to say on the radio a week or two ago:

[quote]There will be times where we'll have two backs in the backfield. Sometimes three backs and sometimes no backs depending on how we attack a particular defense.

Priest Holmes is playing well, has picked-up the offense quickly and we think he is going to be a very good player for us. As is Tony Richardson. And Frank Moreau has had a real nice offseason. Mike Cloud has impressed us with his quickness and change of direction. We think we're going to have a very, very good group of running back.

But, out of that group there will be one primary runner and the other guys will fill in roles that they need to fill in.

Our backs will, number one, have to be able to run the ball. Second quality is to be able to catch the ball and make something happen after. Third is being a pass-blocker. [/quote]


I wouldn't put much stock in the month-old fantasy football report. From what it looks like where I'm sitting, every indication is that Priest will have the opportunity to earn the job in training camp (as will T-Rich, Moreau and maybe even Cloud), which is the way it should be anyway, IMHO. And I don't see anything in any comments that would indicate that the staff is disappointed with his performance so far.
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Old 05-30-2001, 03:46 PM   #13
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Sorry, I left out the link to the TSN article I quoted: [url]http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/teams/chiefs/20010504.html[/url]

And I meant to say one last thing: the staff has stated repeatedly to the media here (on TV, radio, etc.) over the last month that we're going to have a single featured runner, and I see no reason why we won't.
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Old 05-30-2001, 03:50 PM   #14
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I don't have a clue how it will all shake out...But I do know this. When Vermiel got to KC he said the committee approach was over and that he prefers to have a feature back carrying the load. He is on record as saying that TRich will most likely be the back used in our 1 back sets...

That much is fact...

As for drawing conclusions, it is pretty easy to say that since how TRich is going to be our guy in the 1 back sets and that Saunders offense will have us in the 1 back set the majority of the time then TRich will be our primary back...

With Vermeil being on the record saying that he prefers having a feature back means that if we have anything less than a feature back then Vermeil didn't end up with the type of talent he wanted.

So the scenarios that I see playing out is TRich will be our feature back, thus making the Holmes signing an expense mistake or the two of them will end up running a committee thus meaning we don't have the talent Vermeil wanted in order to avoid a committee.
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Old 05-30-2001, 04:06 PM   #15
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Nap, where is Vermeil on record saying that T-Rich will be the primary back in singleback sets?

It's not in the TSN article from which your link took Teicher's information and I don't recall reading anything like that in any of his articles in the Star in the last month. There's also no indication of it anywhere on the Chiefs website.

In any case, we should find out some more in a couple of weeks at the second mini-camp, and eventually when these guys actually do some work in pads. The way it look right now, everything points to a position where the best guy earns the job, regardless of whether it's Holmes or Richardson, or Moreau or me. Well, me if I could run more than 6 feet without hyper-ventilating. ;)

Like I said before, that's the way it should be...

Holmes wasn't wasted money unless he doesn't pan out, so that's a moot discussion at this point. Garner was never a real option, at least the way it looks to me. I doubt he would have been willing to move to the midwest without more $$$$ being involved: this ain't the bay area, Gruden doesn't coach here and we're sure as heck not coming off a trip to the AFC Championship.

Let's see what we have before we waste time lamenting what could'a been...
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