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Old 07-10-2008, 10:15 AM  
Otter Otter is offline
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Chiefs' burning question: Smart to rebuild now?

If it was already posted, I couldn't find it.

http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn...c.php?t=432562

Chiefs' burning question: Smart to rebuild now?

The problem with many teams in the NFL is they get caught between contending and pretending to the extent that they are consistently average, making an occasional trip to the playoffs. The pressure to turn things around quickly mounts, so there's no time to be patient in developing a young team into one that can consistently play with the NFL's elite.

The Kansas City Chiefs fit that category in coach Herman Edwards' first season in 2006. They made the playoffs as a wild card, but it was merely a cameo appearance, as they lost to eventual the eventual Super Bowl champion, Indianapolis.

Last season, the Chiefs' record plummeted from 9-7 to 4-12, tied for the second-worst record in the AFC. So their collective true identity over the past two years has been one of mediocrity.

Going into the '08 season, the Chiefs are still looking for stability at quarterback and trying to reconstruct a solid line in front of their QB. They also traded their best player, defensive end Jared Allen, to the Minnesota Vikings.

The Chiefs didn't have the look of an AFC playoff contender with Allen, so by moving Allen, it's clear they are committed to looking beyond this year. Considering the San Diego Chargers are entrenched as the division's best team, the powers who be in Kansas City are smart to set up the Chiefs for something big for the time when the Bolts' window is bolted shut.

Although there will be reduced heat on Edwards to make the playoffs with what he's got this season, there are a couple menu items that need to get slow-cooked in K.C. in preparation for the Chiefs' steady rise out of the pit:

The passing game needs to show chemistry -- and promise. On a rebuilding team, it makes sense to go with 25-year-old Brodie Croyle, 25, over Damon Huard, who just turned 35. Croyle hasn't dazzled through 11 games in his first two seasons, so he has plenty to prove in Year 3.

One key for Croyle is getting into a rhythm with the most important players around him. Second-year man Dwayne Bowe looks like the league's next elite receiver, and Croyle needs to develop a great downfield rapport with him.

Then Croyle must find a No. 2 possession-type receiver he trusts, whether it's third-year man Jeff Webb, rookie Will Franklin or newcomer Devard Darling, signed from the Baltimore Ravens. Croyle needs to get out of situations where he's always forcing the ball to Bowe.

He also needs to trust his pass protection and help his linemen by making quicker decisions with the ball. He's getting a big, new blind-side blocker in left tackle Branden Albert, and needs to take advantage of the rookie's presence.

Of course, this all means venerable tight end Tony Gonzalez, 32, will be busier than ever as the elder statesman of the passing game. It's a good thing Gonzalez hasn't lost much over the years, because he can still bring plenty of playmaking energy along with his savvy.

If the Chiefs discover they can rely on Croyle to be their starter beyond this season, it will be the biggest step toward consistently contending.

The younger defensive players need to get help from their elders -- and respect them. The Allen trade leaves second-year man Tamba Hali as the team's primary edge pass rusher. He'll be joined by two rookies, tackle Glenn Dorsey and cornerback Brandon Flowers, in the starting lineup. The Chiefs also have third-year man Derrick Johnson, who still hasn't quite hit on his immense potential at outside linebacker.

That quartet needs to emerge as the foundation for what the Chiefs want to accomplish down the line. In the process, they need four older players - Donnie Edwards, Patrick Surtain, Alfonso Boone and Ron Edwards -- to help create some cohesion.

Edwards, the team's 35-year-old middle linebacker, will be especially important. Ideally, Edwards' wisdom will rub off on Johnson and help him to grab the torch as the primary playmaking linebacker.

Flowers, who was drafted to replace Ty Law, must draw on the experience of Surtain, a 10-year veteran, at the other cornerback spot. Hali and Dorsey should lean on the other half of the line's starting four, Boone and Edwards (both entering their eighth NFL seasons) to make the unit as a whole more disruptive.

Good rebuilding in the NFL starts with being totally committed to the cause, which the Chiefs are. There still is plenty of teaching and learning to be done to get them where they want to be. Herman Edwards is the right coach with the right demeanor to pull it off sooner than later, and the Chiefs are off to a great start with the very young talent they've started to assemble.
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Old 07-10-2008, 10:19 AM   #2
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Well when do we get a middle line backer. One that will make FB's and RB's blow snot bubbles because edwards won't do that
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Old 07-10-2008, 10:21 AM   #3
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props to SportingNews at least a real assessment. really didn't say much about OL though.
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Old 07-10-2008, 10:23 AM   #4
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Old 07-10-2008, 10:26 AM   #5
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Old 07-10-2008, 10:28 AM   #6
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I second that we want that magula from usc
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Old 07-10-2008, 10:30 AM   #7
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I second that we want that magula from usc
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Old 07-10-2008, 10:36 AM   #8
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I truly fear that the problem with this franchise isn't the players but the coaches and management. Just don't see Carl, Herm, Chan and Gunther all of sudden coming together and gelling at their age or point in their careers to form a team that can compete with the elite.

Next youth movement - coaches and management please.
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Old 07-10-2008, 10:40 AM   #9
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Old 07-11-2008, 07:22 PM   #10
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By Eric Edholm (eedholm@pfwmedia.com)
July 8, 2008

If the NFL draft is a crapshoot, then picking in the first round might as well be a coin flip. As in, half the picks end up doing well, half don’t.

Historically, that is how it has been. And though none of the players has taken anything close to a meaningful snap in the NFL, I have an idea who I think ultimately will be worth a first-round selection, and who won’t.

Don’t believe me on the 50-50 notion? If it does indeed take three years to evaluate a draft, let’s take a look back at the 2005 edition.

In the “boom” category, I have: Braylon Edwards, DeMarcus Ware, Shawne "roidman" Merriman, Jammal Brown, Derrick Johnson, Jason Campbell, Roddy White, Luis Castillo, Marlin Jackson, Heath Miller, Mike Patterson and Logan Mankins. It’s probably too early to make a call on guys like Ronnie Brown or Pacman — er, Adam — Jones or Aaron Rodgers, so for sake of argument, let’s call them potential booms.

That’s 16. The other 16 guys drafted that year, for whatever reason, haven’t panned out as expected. Some, such as David Pollack, we never could have anticipated his career-ending injury. Others, like Cedric Benson, have been flops on and off the field.

Inexact science? You bet. Just look at who I called would-be busts from last year — among them, Joe Thomas, Amobi Okoye, Marshawn Lynch, Leon Hall, Aaron Ross and Dwayne Bowe. Some of my booms weren’t too much better, though there’s lots of time for things to change.

But I am at it again, casting sweeping judgments on players who have yet to take an NFL snap. Hey, it’s fun, and you guys seem to like to razz me when I am wrong. I probably got more responses last year for my “50-50” column than I did for any two others combined that I have written at PFW. Some liked it, but many did not. I can take it.

On with the list — and with one fewer first-rounder this year, I chose 16 booms and 15 busts, revealing my soft side:

1. OT Jake Long — Dolphins
Prediction: Boom
After meeting him in May, I felt as though this was a very confident, down-to-earth and professional young man. The tape shows how good he has been. He might not be as good as Joe Thomas one day could, or as Tony Boselli was, but Long could be Jon Jansen or Levi Jones good. That’s good enough for me.

2. DE Chris Long — Rams
Prediction: Boom
I struggled with this one, as I think Long might be Grant Wistrom — no better, no worse. Is that good enough for the No. 2 spot in the draft? I’ll say yes, reluctantly. Long is a tireless worker who has good but not elite skills, and there will be guys who erase his pass rush. But as a leader, run stopper and all-out hustler, he’ll be a pro’s pro and a coach’s dream.

3. QB Matt Ryan — Falcons
Prediction: Boom
The Falcons’ franchise has put its hopes in this young man, and it’s not going to happen this season. In fact, I think he’ll struggle for the most part. But watch him improve. He’ll work and study and keep working, and he has the tools to one day be great. He has a lot working against him now, but Mike Smith appears to have a winner who one day should be very good at what he does.

4. RB Darren McFadden — Raiders
Prediction: Boom
I say boom with a caveat — he might never be the back his talent suggests he can be. That said, as long as McFadden can stay focused, work harder, avoid off-field distractions and learn to hang on to the ball, he’s the mold of back who almost always is productive in some phase of the game. This is not Lawrence Phillips.

5. DT Glenn Dorsey — Chiefs
Prediction: Boom
How good do I think he is? I think the Dolphins and Rams might seriously regret not having taken him. Dorsey will be freed up to penetrate in this defense, and there is some talent around him, despite the Chiefs’ youth. This was one of their more inspired high draft picks in recent memory.

6. OLB Vernon Gholston — Jets
Prediction: Bust
Yeah, I finally found my first real bust. There are few better athletes than Gholston — in this class, or in the NFL for that matter — who possess his size and raw ability. But I have serious reservations about the hot-and-cold nature of his play in college (especially the cold against lesser competition) and whether he can be a cerebral, instinctive linebacker. He came off as being very intelligent in talking to him before the draft, but I don’t think he’ll ever put it together as a complete player with the sixth pick.

7. DT Sedrick Ellis — Saints
Prediction: Boom
Perhaps just a shade below Dorsey, but I think Ellis is the second-best defensive player in this draft. In fact, we could look back and say those two will be the best players in this draft. He’ll be an immediate contributor to a Saints defense that desperately needs a player who can collapse the pocket and stuff the run. Ellis can and will.

8. DE Derrick Harvey — Jaguars
Prediction: Bust
I admire the Jaguars for being aggressive in the draft, figuring they are a few impact players away from a Super Bowl, but I don’t think Harvey ever will amount to being the pass rusher the Jaguars think he’ll be. I think he’ll be an inconsistent rusher who provides average run defense.

9. LB Keith Rivers — Bengals
Prediction: Bust
When we look back, there might not be much difference between Rivers and guys such as Landon Johnson, Ahmad Brooks and other linebackers the Bengals have had recently. Rivers is a fine, rare athlete — probably the best pure specimen I saw at the Senior Bowl — but I don’t think he’ll ever be more than a solid tackler who lacks in the playmaking department.

10. LB Jerod Mayo — Patriots
Prediction: Boom
Bill Belichick handpicked this young man to make the transition from the Bruschi-Vrabel days to the next generation. Sure, Mayo was drafted as a junior and might need time to season — just as Carl Banks once did — but he could be something special in time. He’s an inside ’backer who can turn and run, rush the passer and make plays in the hole.

11. CB Leodis McKelvin — Bills
Prediction: Bust
The thing that scares me with him is his confidence. I saw him struggle at times in Mobile, and you could tell he didn’t like being the focus of attention. I don’t see him ever becoming the lockdown corner that Nate Clements became in Buffalo, but I do think McKelvin will be an excellent returner. That said, only Devin Hester is a good-enough returner to justify this high a pick.

12. OT Ryan Clady — Broncos
Prediction: Bust
I have heard enough concerns about the hefty Clady’s ability to keep his weight in check while gaining strength and handle the rigors of professional life and an NFL offense that I have to go against this pick. He might be a bad fit for the scheme they run in Denver.

13. RB Jonathan Stewart — Panthers
Prediction: Boom
John Fox wants to run the ball, and he has two very capable backs. Stewart reminds me of a young Jamal Lewis, but he might have a little more spring in his step. He has agility and power, making him an ideal fit in this offense. He’ll be hard to keep off the field and could be a Rookie of the Year candidate.

14. OT Chris Williams — Bears
Prediction: Bust
I didn’t like this pick the minute it was made, and I still don’t. The Bears’ front office appeared to settle for Williams, a player they targeted early in the draft process, and one day they’ll regret not taking Branden Albert. Williams doesn’t play with enough grit to be a star in Chicago, especially in the cold months, and his finesse skills likely will go to waste in this scheme.

15. OT Branden Albert — Chiefs
Prediction: Boom
Based on my comments for Williams above, you can guess that I like the kid. I think he’s this generation’s Will Shields — the soon-to-be leader of a reborn Chiefs offensive line. He’s athletic, assertive and only getting better.

16. CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie — Cardinals
Prediction: Boom
Unlike his fellow small-school cornerback, Leodis McKelvin, Rodgers-Cromartie appears to have good confidence and a great knack for reading the ball in the air. He closes extremely fast and won’t be thrown to the dogs right away, allowing him to work in the slot, put on weight and get a little tougher. Once he learns how to hit and tackle, his ball skills are too good for him not to become a playmaking corner.

17. OT Gosder Cherilus — Lions
Prediction: Bust
I watch a lot of Boston College football, and though I wasn’t convinced Mathias Kiwanuka wasn’t going to be special, I feel like I have a decent read on Cherilus. He’s a solid player who has shown some nasty streaks, but he too often looked like the wheels were spinning in his head when he played. Cherilus’ feet can get tangled up at times, and I think quicker guys will trouble him.

18. QB Joe Flacco — Ravens
Prediction: Bust
If Ozzie Newsome has a weakness, it has been evaluating quarterbacks, and I feel he has misread again. Flacco is a scary doppelganger of the man he ostensibly will replace, Kyle Boller. Like Boller, Flacco has tremendous skills, but he’s too wooden and mechanical and won’t be able to use his great arm strength if he doesn’t improve against the rush.

19. OT Jeff Otah — Panthers
Prediction: Boom
In the Jonathan Stewart entry, you see why I think he’ll be effective. Here’s another reason: Otah. He’s a bull who absolutely can steamroll single defenders head-on. Want to be entertained? Watch him ragdoll Chris Long when Pitt played Virginia. Otah might have some kinks in his technique he needs to work out, but Dave Magazu — an underrated OL coach — should help him improve enough to be very good right away.

20. CB Aqib Talib — Buccaneers
Prediction: Bust
In college, Talib often was one of the three or four best athletes on the field when he played, but that no longer will be the case. He freelances too much and gives far too big a cushion to be a man corner. Sure, he’ll be playing in Monte Kiffin’s cover-2 scheme, which will cover some of that up, but Talib lacks strength, must overcome maturity issues (witness his fight with teammate Cory Boyd at the Rookie Symposium) and he might not be the toughest player.

21. OT Sam Baker — Falcons
Prediction: Bust
You might think that Baker’s success would be tied to that of Matt Ryan, but I think Baker would be best served inside. He’s technically solid and can pass-block fairly well, but I am not convinced he’s an eight- or 10-year starter at left tackle.

22. RB Felix Jones — Cowboys
Prediction: Boom
I tried not to get too excited by Jones’ athleticism or versatility, or by the team that picked him, but he appears to be coming into a perfect position. Jones has burn, and he won’t face the brunt of being a 15- or 20-carry back and the damage that comes with it. Instead, the Cowboys will get the most bang for their buck by using him in a variety of roles that will showcase his exceptional long speed and playmaking.

23. RB Rashard Mendenhall — Steelers
Prediction: Bust
Based on reports of the way he left Illinois and how he was only a one-year star, Mendenhall has the earmarks of a player who doesn’t ever become a special back. Willie Parker, the man he is supposed to replace, is a more complete back and will hold off the rookie’s challenge.

24. RB Chris Johnson — Titans
Prediction: Bust
One of the more curious first-round picks, Johnson might be faster than Felix Jones by a hair, but he’s nowhere near the same all-around performer. Johnson might fill a role as a specialist who makes a few eye-opening plays, but there is little chance he’ll be a bell-cow back with his size and fragility.

25. CB Mike Jenkins — Cowboys
Prediction: Boom
Like Felix Jones, Jenkins is blessed by being on a veteran team that doesn’t need him to be a star from Day One. Instead, he can work in nickel and dime defenses and hone his natural talent. Some scouts were concerned with Jenkins’ work ethic and freelancing on the field, but he’s a raw talent who might become this Cowboys generation’s Kevin Smith, who had a fine career with 19 picks in 93 starts.

26. OT Duane Brown — Texans
Prediction: Bust
Not one scout I talked to after the draft liked this pick, and I am apt to follow their lead. It seemed like a reach at the time, and though Brown has some athletic ability, he’s not a mushroom-club kind of guy, based on his college tape.

27. CB Antoine Cason — Chargers
Prediction: Bust
Cason has the look and feel of a cover-2 corner wedged into in a defense that wants to pressure and often play man defense. He played in a passing conference (Pac-10) in college and made his share of plays (15 interceptions), but Cason isn’t very physical and might not help in the run game. Cason will be the type of player who makes four interceptions in a season but doesn’t project to be the all-around player Antonio Cromartie is.

28. DE Lawrence Jackson — Seahawks
Prediction: Bust
I thought Jackson was a nice college player, but I have heard two scouts say he’s not special in any way and that a lot of his production in college came from the fact that he was surrounded by elite talent at USC. You didn’t often see him double-teamed, which is a good indication he didn’t warrant such treatment. In Seattle’s system, Jackson will rotate a lot. I suspect he’ll never be great, though he could be serviceable.

29. DE Kentwan Balmer — 49ers
Prediction: Boom
Although I am not in love in Balmer, I think he has a chance to be a Ty Warren-like player. He has enough flexibility to play end in a 3-4 defense or tackle in a 4-3, and the 49ers plan to change fronts, just as New England does. Balmer’s statistics — he’s not going to be a big tackler or sack guy — won’t adequately represent his value, but I think he’ll be a strong anchor.

30. TE Dustin Keller — Jets
Prediction: Boom
Keller might be the Jets’ answer to the Colts’ Dallas Clark. Though Keller isn’t a refined blocker yet, he is a truck once he has the ball in his hands and has a chance to be a fan favorite right away. I think he’ll be a 40- to 60-catch guy who gets in the endzone regularly.

31. S Kenny Phillips — Giants
Prediction: Boom
The Giants haven’t had a Pro Bowl safety since Terry Kinard in 1988, and though I am not sure Phillips ever will be that good, I think he’ll he a strong tackler, a decent playmaker and a rangy coverage guy. Maybe he'll never be special, but it's good enough to warrant the pick here.
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Old 07-11-2008, 07:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Otter View Post
I truly fear that the problem with this franchise isn't the players but the coaches and management. Just don't see Carl, Herm, Chan and Gunther all of sudden coming together and gelling at their age or point in their careers to form a team that can compete with the elite.

Next youth movement - coaches and management please.
And feel free to start any time.
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