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Old 06-14-2009, 02:10 AM  
Tribal Warfare Tribal Warfare is offline
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Gretz:Offensive Problems? … Weekend Cup O’Chiefs

Offensive Problems? … Weekend Cup O’Chiefs

June 13, 2009 - Bob Gretz |

With four OTA practice sessions to go, many things could change around the Chiefs before they head off to start their summer vacation late next week.

But who would have believed back in early February that come the middle of June the Chiefs defense would be ahead of the offense in its development under Todd Haley and the team’s new coaching staff?

Wasn’t offense the strongest of the three phases of the game for the Chiefs last year? Obviously the biggest weapon in that attack is gone: TE Tony Gonzalez. But everybody else that mattered in the offense last year returned, including coordinator Chan Gailey. Because of that, the playbook was altered only slightly. It seemed like the offense was set to welcome its big new addition in QB Matt Cassel (right, with WR Bobby Engram) and was ready to roll.

That hasn’t been the case, or at least it hasn’t been in the practices that have been open to the media. Right now the defense is ahead of the offense. Haley has talked about the problems of his passing game in the last week. Obviously, those four remaining practices allow the offense time to catch up. And let’s remember we are still three months away from the regular season opener.

I provide that note of caution because from e-mails and comments that have come in, I sense grave concern among some in the Chiefs Nation about what’s been coming out of mini-camp and these OTAs when it comes to the offense.

Folks, it’s way too early to push the panic button. Remember, these sessions are barely football. These are guys running around in their underwear and there’s no contact allowed. Now, the linemen butt heads during practice, but it’s not with the ferocity of real football since they are not wearing pads.

And that makes perfecting the running game very difficult. Working the run game requires blockers blocking and defensive players pushing back and going after the ball carrier. That work will not begin until training camp.

So, one hand of the offense is tied behind its back. That leaves only the passing game to work on, something the defense knows from play to play in these sessions. The other guys are working on their own situations over there, but it’s always easier when they know the ball is going to be thrown, rather than run. That gives the defense an edge and they are able to take more chances in coverage.

Right now Tyler Thigpen seems to be throwing the ball with more efficiency than Cassel and that should not come as a surprise. He’s spent all of last year working with these same guys. Thigpen knows their speed, their quickness and how soon they will get to a certain point on the field. Cassel is still learning those traits and 10 OTAs and five mini-camp practices hasn’t been enough time to make things click flawlessly in June.

Should there be concern? It’s way too early for concern. Is it something to watch? Absolutely.

Haley wants to win as many games as he can in the 2009 season. There are no delusions of a rebuilding season coming from him. He saw what happened with Herm Edwards, who believed he had a year to rebuild from Clark Hunt. That proved to be incorrect. Haley is looking for victories and that’s not going to happen if the passing game isn’t successful.

An NFL season is a series of postcards that are strung together creating a movie. What we see in June is one part of the plot, a chapter so to speak. It should not be taken out of that context and blown up bigger than what it really is.

Come November, if the Chiefs are still struggling on offense, we’ll know where it started. If they are getting the job done, we’ll know June was just part of the growing pains.

TRENT GREEN DECIDES TO HANG’EM UP

The decision wasn’t so much his, as it was made for him. Nobody in the NFL was very interested in signing Trent Green to play for the 2009 season.

So Green has decided to retire, ending a 15-year career that started poorly and ended poorly, but in the middle he had great success as the starting quarterback of the Chiefs.

“I feel this is finally the right time,” Green told FoxSports.com. “I’ve talked about it with (the family) for a while, especially with the concussions over the last few years. We all felt it was the time to do it.

“The way I approached the game the amount of work I put into my preparation and being someone guys can turn to in the locker room, I don’t want to be a guy who waits for someone to get hurt to get a job.”

Green entered the NFL in 1993 as an eighth-round draft choice of the San Diego Chargers out of Indiana. He spent that season as the No. 3 quarterback with the Chargers and never saw the field. He was out of the NFL the next year, but landed in Washington for the 1995 season. Green spent four seasons with the Redskins, finally getting to play in 1998, starting 14 games.

He signed as a free agent with the St. Louis Rams in 1999, but then suffered a season ending knee injury in the pre-season. Green came back the next season and served as a backup to Kurt Warner.

In 2001, he was traded to the Chiefs and for five years he never left the lineup, starting 80 consecutive games and had three consecutive seasons throwing for more than 4,000 yards (2003-05).

By the time he left Kansas City in a trade with Miami, Green was second only to Len Dawson in the club record book for the major passing categories: attempts, completions, yards and TD passes. Green hit 1,720 out of 2,777 attempts for 21,459 yards and 118 scoring throws.

Over his entire career, Green was 2,266 out of 3,740 attempts, for 28,475 yards, 162 TD passes, 114 interceptions and an 86.0 career passer rating. He’s 39th in the all-time passing yardage list and 13th in the all-time passer rating list.

MICHAEL VICK IS A FREE MAN … IN THE NFL

Several teams were interested, but nobody in the NFL was willing to make a deal with the Atlanta Falcons for the rights to QB Michael Vick.

So the Falcons released him on Friday. Vick is now a free agent, free to negotiate with any NFL, Canadian Football League or United Football League team.

“It’s a situation that we have been thinking about for quite some time,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff told the Atlanta media. “We did our due diligence. We’ve been searching around the league and were looking for some interest as far as a trade. In the very end, we came to a conclusion that it was time. It was best for both us and Michael Vick to move on, to turn the chapter.”

Dimitroff said teams were interested in Vick, but felt the timing wasn’t right. The Atlanta GM delivered the news to Vick with a phone call.

“He was accepting of it,” Dimitroff said. “He was expecting it, I’m sure. We respect him as an individual and as an athlete in this profession. It was the right thing to do.”

Vick remains suspended by the NFL.

SIGNINGS & MOVEMENT AROUND THE LEAGUE

BRONCOS – signed seventh-round choice C Blake Schlueter.

REDSKINS – signed sixth-round draft choice LB Robert Henson and seventh-round WR Marko Mitchell; released WR James Trash, LS Jeremy Cain and LB Tyson Smith.

STEELERS – signed third-round draft choice CB Keenan Lewis and fifth-round picks CB Joe Barnett and FB Frank Summers; waived P Dirk Johnson.

SAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY …

June 14

Born on June 14, 1962 in Pittsburgh was LB Scott Radecic
(right). He was the team’s second-round pick in the 1984 NFL Draft out of Penn State. Radecic played in 48 games with the Chiefs, starting 31 times and had four career INTs, including one he returned for a TD. He currently still lives in Kansas City and works for the stadium-arena design firm formerly known as HOK.

Born on June 14, 1962 in Whittier, California was C Mark Cannon. He played 11 games with the Chiefs during the 1989 season.

Born on June 14, 1966 in Albuquerque was OT Ricky Siglar. He played in five different seasons with the Chiefs (1993-96, 98.) He appeared in a total of 68 games with 50 starts in the Kansas City offense.

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Old 06-14-2009, 02:27 AM   #2
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I hate that we don't have a visual( practice film) to prove Gretz's point, and see if it's correctable mistake or a damning error.
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Old 06-14-2009, 06:42 AM   #3
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This contradicts everything I've heard coming out of OTAs about how Cassel is clearly the best and most accurate QB on the team.
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Old 06-14-2009, 06:47 AM   #4
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It is going to take some time as timing is a critical part of the passing game. You can't really expect Cassel to start hitting his recievers in stride and have everyone be on the same page this early in the offseason.
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Old 06-14-2009, 07:00 AM   #5
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So, one hand of the offense is tied behind its back.

We're used to it. It's been that way since Herm first arrived. It's gonna take awhile to get rid of the stench.

Also I don't know why Gretz says that Herm thought he had another year to rebuild when Clark clearly stated going in to the season that he wanted to see IMPROVEMENT. There wasn't. The team was clearly headed in the wrong direction umder Herm. Shoot, the moron thought the Chiefs were 85% complete at years end. Time to turn the page. Clark did. Now we're starting over. It's gonna take time.
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Old 06-14-2009, 08:48 AM   #6
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I liked that he pointed out that it is not time to freak out. Gretz is improving as a journalist.
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Old 06-14-2009, 08:55 AM   #7
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Dungy was suppose to be an defensive guru in Tampa. The Colts were far more offense than defense. Billick was tagged an offense master, but the Ravens were all D. Perhaps good coaches, hell people, work on their weaknesses.

~It's far too early for the Chiefs to much of anything right now.
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Old 06-14-2009, 09:07 AM   #8
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"Haley wants to win as many games as he can in the 2009 season. There are no delusions of a rebuilding season coming from him. He saw what happened with Herm Edwards, who believed he had a year to rebuild from Clark Hunt. That proved to be incorrect. Haley is looking for victories and that’s not going to happen if the passing game isn’t successful."

The offense will be fine come August. And this coach, staff, and team can win win. They can, and they will.
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Old 06-14-2009, 10:48 AM   #9
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Herm did have a year to rebuild. He took Vermeil's team apart almost from the beginning. The notion that Herm was given only one year to rebuild is a fantasy and an excuse.
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Old 06-14-2009, 10:54 AM   #10
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This contradicts everything I've heard coming out of OTAs about how Cassel is clearly the best and most accurate QB on the team.
I think you need new sources, because I haven't heard that at all. Except maybe the very first day.
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Old 06-14-2009, 11:01 AM   #11
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Practice. We talkin' 'bout... practice.

It's not only too early for concern, it's not even something to watch yet. It's not preaseson games. It's not even training camp. It's frigging mid-June.

Onoz! A team that won 2 games doesn't look so hot in mid-June!!

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Old 06-14-2009, 11:04 AM   #12
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Practice. We talkin' 'bout... practice.

It's not only too early for concern, it's not even something to watch yet. It's not preaseson games. It's not even training camp. It's frigging mid-June.

Onoz! A team that won 2 games doesn't look so hot in mid-June!!

Yep.

There's no way this team can ever overcome the setbacks in June practice.
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Old 06-14-2009, 11:14 AM   #13
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Okay, maybe it's too early to freak out; but, I'm concerned as a whole. While I support the Cassel/Vrabel trade, I sense a lack of urgency to do anything to this team, other than plug some holes with players of questionable value, add a few veterans, and roll the dice, hoping to win 4 or more games.

The trade of TG, IMO, was a clear statement by Pioli that he has no intention of really competing in 2010. It was done in the hope that we could compete in 2011 or 2012 maybe. Yeah, maybe it takes a kool-aid drinker to think that this team could have competed in 2010, but if you kept TG, picked a good RT, and traded for a decent WR, Cassel (or Thigpen) could have been expected to keep the Chiefs in the upper third of the NFL teams in offensive statistics.

Instead, we draft a Mizzou lineman that way too early apparently. Sign Goff (a good move at RG), pick up a WR discarded from Pats practice squads, a blocking TE that has been out of football, but once made an impression on Haley in Dallas several years ago (but no other team wanted).

On the defensive side, maybe there was a greater urgency displayed (judging by the focus of our draft this year) , which was warranted, but; the one way to make sure you will not compete soon is to change the scheme in a major way. Take a bunch of guys that have talent in a 4-3 scheme and switch to a 3-4, or vice versa. Again, it is like forfeiting 2010, and maybe 2011, until you can draft enough guys.

There is nothing wrong with a 3-4 or a 4-3. I'm no expert on which is better. I defer to the coaches. Yet, I do think one of life's maxims is that when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade ... rather than try and convert the lemons to oranges. Marty was a big believer in making orange juice, for example. He took over a competitive Redskins team and tried to transform them into the Chiefs. It destroyed them, especially the first half of the season. When he took over the Chargers, he destroyed them for a year or two. There is something to be said for finding the talent you have and designing a defense to capitalize on those skills. That has been Haley's mantra since joining, so it's not my words.

Yet, the selection of Tyson Jackson and Magee prove the opposite. Though what talent exists on the defense seems to be geared towards 4-3, the coaches ignore that, and draft 3-4 players regardless. This seems to be inconsistent with their own mantra of designing a defense that best showcases the talent you have. So, the defense is neither fish nor fowl. We don't thave the personnel now for a good 4-3 or a 3-4 it seems, setting us up to use a hybrid and to likely embarrass us.

I've given up on the hope that Pioli had a secret plan to trade for Julius Peppers and get us competitive now. There is no reason. He has decided that he wants a mediocre offense and a transitioning defense. Might as well keep Clark's money. No need to spend all the cap money available. It is an excellent plan for 2012. Cassel struggles this year and Pioli can sign him to a cheap long-term contract. The age 32+ veterans will be gone by 2012, so that the young guys will be in position. Since he had no intention to win until 2012, he could let TG go. LJ could be kept around to amuse fans for a year or two, if he works cheaply enough.

So, the plan is to hope that the former Cardinals coaches can win 4 games in 2010 and convince the fans that we are getting better. Then, we win 6 games in 2011. Fans will be restless, but the media will play along.

So, maybe this forfeit of two seasons is a good long term move, but speaking as a fan that was 12 years old when the Chiefs won Superbowl IV in 1970, and nothing much since, I've getting too old to write off two years of my favorite pastime so that we might make the wild card in year 3. I wanted to drink the Kool-aid and hope that we could have gotten a pass rush from Peppers, strengthened our offense a bit, and focused our defensive picks on good 4-3 defenders that would compliment our existing talent. I was foolish enough to believe that we could have competed in 2010. Now, that's not possible. Many of you believe that was never possible, even with all the cap room to spare, but you are most likely too jaded by the Herm years to ever hope again.

Sorry for such a long post.

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Old 06-14-2009, 11:20 AM   #14
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The trade of TG, IMO, was a clear statement by Pioli that he has no intention of really competing in 2010.
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Old 06-14-2009, 11:39 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by KCDC View Post
Okay, maybe it's too early to freak out; but, I'm concerned as a whole. While I support the Cassel/Vrabel trade, I sense a lack of urgency to do anything to this team, other than plug some holes with players of questionable value, add a few veterans, and roll the dice, hoping to win 4 or more games.

The trade of TG, IMO, was a clear statement by Pioli that he has no intention of really competing in 2010. It was done in the hope that we could compete in 2011 or 2012 maybe. Yeah, maybe it takes a kool-aid drinker to think that this team could have competed in 2010, but if you kept TG, picked a good RT, and traded for a decent WR, Cassel (or Thigpen) could have been expected to keep the Chiefs in the upper third of the NFL teams in offensive statistics.

Instead, we draft a Mizzou lineman that way too early apparently. Sign Goff (a good move at RG), pick up a WR discarded from Pats practice squads, a blocking TE that has been out of football, but once made an impression on Haley in Dallas several years ago (but no other team wanted).

On the defensive side, maybe there was a greater urgency displayed (judging by the focus of our draft this year) , which was warranted, but; the one way to make sure you will not compete soon is to change the scheme in a major way. Take a bunch of guys that have talent in a 4-3 scheme and switch to a 3-4, or vice versa. Again, it is like forfeiting 2010, and maybe 2011, until you can draft enough guys.

There is nothing wrong with a 3-4 or a 4-3. I'm no expert on which is better. I defer to the coaches. Yet, I do think one of life's maxims is that when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade ... rather than try and convert the lemons to oranges. Marty was a big believer in making orange juice, for example. He took over a competitive Redskins team and tried to transform them into the Chiefs. It destroyed them, especially the first half of the season. When he took over the Chargers, he destroyed them for a year or two. There is something to be said for finding the talent you have and designing a defense to capitalize on those skills. That has been Haley's mantra since joining, so it's not my words.

Yet, the selection of Tyson Jackson and Magee prove the opposite. Though what talent exists on the defense seems to be geared towards 4-3, the coaches ignore that, and draft 3-4 players regardless. This seems to be inconsistent with their own mantra of designing a defense that best showcases the talent you have. So, the defense is neither fish nor fowl. We don't thave the personnel now for a good 4-3 or a 3-4 it seems, setting us up to use a hybrid and to likely embarrass us.

I've given up on the hope that Pioli had a secret plan to trade for Julius Peppers and get us competitive now. There is no reason. He has decided that he wants a mediocre offense and a transitioning defense. Might as well keep Clark's money. No need to spend all the cap money available. It is an excellent plan for 2012. Cassel struggles this year and Pioli can sign him to a cheap long-term contract. The age 32+ veterans will be gone by 2012, so that the young guys will be in position. Since he had no intention to win until 2012, he could let TG go. LJ could be kept around to amuse fans for a year or two, if he works cheaply enough.

So, the plan is to hope that the former Cardinals coaches can win 4 games in 2010 and convince the fans that we are getting better. Then, we win 6 games in 2011. Fans will be restless, but the media will play along.

So, maybe this forfeit of two seasons is a good long term move, but speaking as a fan that was 12 years old when the Chiefs won Superbowl IV in 1970, and nothing much since, I've getting too old to write off two years of my favorite pastime so that we might make the wild card in year 3. I wanted to drink the Kool-aid and hope that we could have gotten a pass rush from Peppers, strengthened our offense a bit, and focused our defensive picks on good 4-3 defenders that would compliment our existing talent. I was foolish enough to believe that we could have competed in 2010. Now, that's not possible. Many of you believe that was never possible, even with all the cap room to spare, but you are most likely too jaded by the Herm years to ever hope again.

Sorry for such a long post.
There's a lot of holes in this post.

First, trading Tony isn't any kind of indication of the desire to win right away.

It's a desire to do whatever is necessary to improve this team now, and in the future.

Sending Tony to Atlanta sends a message to the rest of the team that no one is untouchable, and was the first move to eliminate the country club atmosphere in the clubhouse.

And while I am no fan of Marty, the assertion that he destroyed the Redskins and then the Chargers is about as myopic as one can possibly get.

As for forcing the switch in scheme, how do you suppose the quickest way to find out if players fit and what positions need to be addressed?
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