Thursday, July 30, 2015

Eric Berry

I couldn't think of a title for this post except those two words.

I never post in this blog during the off-season except for an occasional remark about what little I learned from the draft in April (which I didn't even bother with this year). I only post in August to make some pithy season preview remarks, and I'll surely put that together sometime soon.

But damn.

Eric Berry.

The news from the previous month was about how the Chiefs would have to work out his contract if he was put on the year-long injury list, but this past couple of days Berry, his doctors, the trainers, and the Chiefs have been sharing that as far as right now, he has not only beaten his cancer, but that he's ready to play again this year.

Yesterday press conference, today workouts on the field with the team, tomorrow the -- the -- well, I guess let's just worry about the Texans September 13th.

That, friends, is nothing short of a miracle.

And with the greatest humility and wisdom and courage, the man deliberately kept us all from his progress because he simply wanted to beat the thing before he could even say a word about anything.

Yeah, whatever the case, whatever happens from this point forward -- I mean an asteroid could hit the earth, whatever -- This is something to behold.

The pride of a man and his devotion to his family -- a big part of which is the Kansas City Chiefs -- just something to take tremendous pride in.

For decades we Chiefs fans have been longing for even a shot at the Super Bowl --  yeah, we've gone out of our minds yearning for that. But definitely --

This is better than that -- by light years.

Thank you Eric Berry for allowing us to revel in your fortitude and faith, your strength and trust, your wisdom and devotion.

And yeah, a very small added bonus -- to watch you run-sack some shifty back forcing a demoralizing 3rd-and-14.

Life is good.
__

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Kansas City Chiefs and the Month of January, Part III

Winning is a curse.

I think I've discovered a major component of that thing we've reviled for decades.

Indeed.

A critical part of the curse is winning.

May I?

I've shared before that being a Bay Area transplant from Kansas, my favorite teams are commensurate with that geographic identity. Here's how the curse has affected those teams.

San Francisco Giants. None other than the major league baseball champions three of the last five years. I don't think my feet have touched the ground in any even-numbered year this decade. The crazy thing is that in the last World Series this team played the...

Kansas City Royals. That this team would play one of the my other favorite baseball teams in the fall classic was just insane. 29 years of complete and utter baseball destitution, and suddenly a well-deserved American League pennant. Thing is, the Royals were arguably the best team in all of baseball, consistently, from the mid-70's to the late-80's. Because I now live in southern California, and have mostly since the late 70's, I grew to appreciate the...

California Angels. Sorry, no "Los Angeles" for you, or Anaheim, or any of that. I still like the team a lot, one that won it all in 2002 (against the Giants, how crazy is that) and this year had the best record in the majors with 98 wins. They haven't quite had the success of the...

San Francisco 49ers. Talk about winning. Five Super Bowl titles. Three years in a row previous to 2014 making it to the NFC Championship game. Reputation as one of the greatest teams ever. I watched a documentary on the NFL channel last night about Bill Walsh, not just a genius coach but a genius leader. Funny thing is, during that broadcast something was happening, live, with my only favorite NBA team, the...

Golden State Warriors. Damn. For years upon years upon years the Warriors have been the most tread-upon doormat in the NBA. It seems like this year all the pent up frustration of never being better than mildly mediocre has just exploded like a thermonuclear bomb. This team has an average point differential in its 41 games so far of +11.7 -- the next highest is +7.1. It is on track to do as well as probably the greatest team in NBA history, the 72-win 1995 Chicago Bulls team. And do you know who was a part owner of that team? The man who started the...

Kansas City Chiefs.

As I get to what this is all about, major, intense, very fun Chiefs things, that big-time Warriors thing that happened last night? In their game against the Sacramento Kings, guard Klay Thompson scored 37 points in one quarter, setting an NBA record. I mean, how could this Warriors team get any more dominant?

How could any of this be a curse?

It is simply because of the Then what? factor. The simple truth that when you've won, what are you going to do now? After you've won, what happens when you don't win? How do you feel then? It's almost like you are the first loser. It's not the second place guy who's the first loser, it's the team that won last year and couldn't keep it up. Why? How? Were you for real or not? Guess not or you wouldn't've lost. You were winners, now you're just the most disgraced losers. That's nice.

What if you're such a dominant team no one cares? Especially if you're not in a major media market. Wow is it great to be a Warriors fan right now -- it is so much fun. But the Warriors are crushing every opponent they see, and while Steph Curry is extraordinarily popular because he is so skilled, what if every game is a blowout? And you're a team like, oh, the Charlotte Hornets or the Jacksonville Jaguars -- small market, smearing the New York's and Los Angeles's. (In fact the NBA is probably going apoplectic right now because the Knicks and Lakers are so thoroughly crappy this year. There's a planetload of money going right out the window. But don't worry, they'll mess with something to get them back to winning very soon...)

Then there's the pursuit. In a very perverse way, I admit, it is good to not win. It is good because you can keep thinking about what it takes to win. The coaches and players work harder at it all, we fans and bloggers get to keep talking and writing about it, and there is great anticipation about what's to come.

When you've won, tha's it. You did it. Now don't get me wrong. Again, the Giants winning World Series crowns every other year is extraordinarily exhilarating, and carries through the whole following year. Every devout fan of a winning team knows that well. But when you think about it, what good is it if you win it all every year? "Oh, yeah, forgot, this is our 57th title in a row. Whoop. Pass the peanuts would you?"

It means something when your team has worked like crazy and done what it takes to reach that final pinnacle. In fact, it only means something when that happens, and you'd done a bunch of losing before, and now, now -- you actually have a shot.

The curse is not in the losing, but in the winning.

Which makes me think, maybe all that crappy stuff that has happened to the Chiefs, all that playoff ugliness, is for something better, something greater. Maybe not, yeah, and yeah, the curse is wretched, it really is. But I do want to emphasize, when I speak of the curse in spiritual terms, as a supernatural element -- I am serious about that, but I also know that overcoming it requires all the facets of leadership and talent and coaching and heart and camaraderie and desire and incisiveness and pride and teamwork to come together to make any title worth it.

I must also add this important point. It's just a game. It's for fun. Yes it's brutal when we lose. Yes there is a dynamic that the sport reflects real life when reaching for success in any endeavor we must employ the finest leadership and talent and [see paragraph just above]. I don't mean to dismiss the meaning, because it is splendid when we win. But damn, we do tend to treat it all far too seriously.

This past weekend Green Bay lost when a furious comeback by Seattle included a dropped on-sides kick by a Packers receiver. I'd heard that many were excoriating the guy, like in social media and such, and I'm thinking, are you kidding me? Sure I wear it all over my sleeve in this blog whenever there's a bad Chiefs thing that happens, sometimes I wear it all over my clothes. But please, if I ever did that to any player regarding any Chiefs thing, somebody pull me aside and yell loudly to me that this whole thing no matter what happens is supposed to be a fun thing.

With all that in mind, let's do the thing that's fun no matter what, let's get into those Chiefs, let's talk about them during this time when it's a lot of fun to think deeply about our team's prospects for next year. And I will tell you, I am very encouraged about what we've got going. In earlier posts I addressed the impact of Clark Hunt and John Dorsey, but we can't go without making mention of the third key guy in that triumvirate, our coach.

There's no question having Andy Reid with a couple Chiefs years already is tremendously advantageous. His coaching staff seems to be firmly in place, so tuned in to the program, and having a sense that the organization is tremendously stable -- what joy to be writing that! It seems, it seems none of these guys are angling to take off, messing with the steady building of a truly contending team. 

Let's go through each level of the Chiefs team shaping up for next year, and do the intense analysis, shall we?

De'Anthony Thomas
Special teams. I want to start there because we do have a pretty dang great group here. Knile Davis ran back a kick for a touchdown, De'Anthony Thomas was scintillating running back kicks. Dustin Colquitt is still the best punter in the game. We have solid coverage guys. The one liability is our kicker, Cairo Santos. Until he becomes confidently reliable, he'll fray nerves every time he comes in. Interesting though, he did kick eight field goals in the last two games of the season. Of course, why was he always kicking FG's when we should've had touchdowns? Okay, sorry, that's rip-job stuff for the past.

Running backs. Jamaal. Knile. We're set. I must also give major kudos to De'Anthony Thomas, who exceeded expectations -- this guy just looked spectacular. Think of what an imaginative Andy Reid could do with him for next year and beyond. The one concern, Jamaal's health and stamina. Again this year he took some real cringe-making shots. Um, I have to ask again, does he still have to play in the Pro Bowl tomorrow? Can he please not, please?

Quarterback. I'm sorry, but I'm not on the rip-Alex Smith-a-new-aye-hole crew every time we talk about him. I'd like to think most Chiefs fans do give him the benefit of the doubt. Yes he is too conservative -- but as I said, a lot of correcting that is the coaching staff setting him up for success. Yes we all think the issue with our passing game may be as much Alex as much as it is his receivers -- I'm hoping him being here with Reid for another year will get quite a bit more got-it pumped into him. And let's all face it, think about it, Smith has led us to winning seasons both of his years as our QB. I for one am hoping this is the year he makes the jump into the higher levels of top echelon NFL quarterbacking.

Offensive line. Yep Eric Fisher needs to get to the level of a No. 1 overall pick. Yes we need Jeff Allen to be back and playing well. Yes we need to re-sign Rodney Hudson. And yes yes yes this is a severe needs area for us. We'll see.

Travis Kelce
Tight ends. Travis Kelce. Anthony Fasano. We're set here too, especially with Kelce looking like an elite tight end with a year of experience now under his belt.

Wide receivers. Oh. Ngg. Errp. Nngkn. Well, since this is a mostly positive look at the 2015 Chiefs, let's just say that any team can have a year when no receiver scores a touchdown, come on, it can happen to anyone! Well, yeah, this is definitely one area that needs the most rigorous attention, but we all know that. In the mean time Dwayne Bowe is still good, and we saw flashes of fine play from people like Albert Wilson and Jason Avant. Having Donnie Avery and A.J. Jenkins injured for most of the season did not help.

Defensive line. Dontari Poe's already established himself as one of the best nose tackles in the league. We got very nice play from Allen Bailey and respectable results from a handful of others, some filling in well for injured Mike DeVito. The run defense needed work, but these guys were part of a top-notch pass defense.

Linebackers. Losing Derrick Johnson hurt a lot, but we still had All Pro pass rushers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston wreaking havoc in the opponent's backfield. Houston was half-a-sack shy of setting an NFL record last year. Here's to getting him re-signed. I'd like to think Dee Ford is a keeper, he looked good in the limited amount we saw him this season. We still need to get that guy who can shut down the run in a big way. D.J. should be back and ready to go, but I still have to ask: Will the next Luke Kuechly be available for us when we our pick comes up in the draft? I hope so!

Sean Smith
Defensive backs. This was really the pride and joy of the Chiefs this year, it really was. Taking nothing away from anyone else, these guys were clutch. And surprising! I remember in my preseason take I thought this would be a weak area, especially after losing Brandon Flowers! But hey, let's give it up for them. Sean Smith, just smothering corner work. Ron Parker, clutch play when we needed it. Jamell Fleming, solid every play out there. Husain Abdullah, very aggressive. Philip Gaines, rookie who did what they said he would do when he was drafted, thoroughly blanket receivers. Kurt Coleman, always around the ball. And of course, Eric Berry, always being prayed for -- looking forward to the day when he's back!

This defense only allowed 18 points a game this year, one of the best in the NFL. It had the consistently top-ranked pass defense all year long. And yeah, we were the only NFL team to beat both participants in this year's Super Bowl, the Patriots and Seahawks. Thing is, we didn't just beat them, we really beat them. We blasted the Patriots 41-14, and while the Seahawks game was closer we grinded out a hard-fought, well-deserved win.

To me this kind of stuff just means we're poised for greatness next year. We don't have to win right now to enjoy Chiefs success, it is clear we have personnel at every level who know what it takes and are working hard towards the goal.

The beauty of winning is in the getting there. Yeah when we finally get there it'll be glorious, but it's glorious right now. You know, I confess I do think about the Warriors this year blowing it to some team that gets hot in the playoffs, but why worry about that? Why not have fun right now? It's a blast!

It's fun seeing that the Chiefs are moving steadily towards that level of respectability in the NFL as a genuinely quality organization.

I have to add that the Pro Bowl is tomorrow. I may or may not watch it, don't much care a whole lot about it. But the other day the NFL channel replayed last year's Pro Bowl, the first one in which the each conference's players were split up, last year it was "Team Rice" against "Team Sanders." To be honest, the only thing I remember from that game last year was watching, with the most gargantuous mortification you can imagine, Derrick Johnson just plow into Jamaal Charles. It looked like he killed him, right there on the football field. The announcers were saying things like, "Whulp, that's what you get with this, teammates playing hard against other teammates. How exciting!" How harrowing!

But with my attention on other things while the game progressed, I happened to catch these few items. It was weird how they just showed up when my attention went to the game. Yes, we did have eight players there, so it was likely these things might happen. It was still fun:

- Eric Berry intercepting a pass.

- Eric Berry recovering a fumble.

- Dontari Poe intercepting a pass. (Yes, Dontari Poe. Interception. And he rumbled some 40 yards afterwards.)

- Jamaal Charles getting the last good running play for his team towards the end of the game.

- Derrick Johnson talking to a sideline reporter about how proud he was of the Chiefs turnaround (remember: 1-15 in 2012, 11-5 in 2013).

- Derrick Johnson being in the mix of everything on defense on the way to winning the defensive MVP award.

- Derrick Johnson speaking to everyone from the dais after the game about how proud he was to represent the Chiefs.

- Alex Smith throwing the game-winning touchdown. (Perhaps a portend for the Chiefs 2014 season: the pass was to a running back.)

This team does have players who have got-it. The Chiefs have a lot of them. I see they have an owner, a general manager, and a coach with got-it. A lot of it.

I can't wait to see it on the field next year!
_

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Kansas City Chiefs and the Month of January, Part II

Last week I'd touched on the curse against the Chiefs in terms of the Scorecasting premise, that the officiating is at least some significant part of making it so the NFL has enough media-darling teams featured in postseason action. The plain truths about how these teams are showcased is evidence enough of that. There are indeed other factors that enter into the elements of that thing, that thing that is the curse -- notice I've stopped capitalizing it, why give it that strength. It is a mean mnfkngnkknfer, yes, but hey...

There are a lot of things the Chiefs can do themselves to rise above it.

We'll get into that momentarily.

The interesting thing is that as much as the curse is one against the Chiefs, it is as much against the entire set of teams once comprising the AFL, something I've addressed several times before. Just for review, there were ten teams, now present in the AFC alive and well and -- um, maybe not well but certainly trying to play winning football -- they are the Chiefs Raiders Broncos Chargers Titans Bengals Patriots Jets Bills Dolphins.

And they all suck at winning Super Bowls.

This year the beat went on as three non-AFL teams again qualified for the playoffs, the Steelers Ravens Colts. Remember there are only six non-former-AFL teams in the AFC: the aforementioned and the Texans Jaguars Browns. The Colts are still in it ready to face the Patriots tomorrow to see who goes to the Super Bowl. Just to see, I looked back to try to find the last AFC Championship matchup that had two AFL teams not the Broncos or Patriots. As I scanned through the list of AFC title game matchups, it was actually pretty amazing. The Colts were there all the time. The Steelers were there all the time. The Ravens were there often enough. Of course the Broncos and Patriots appeared for their requisite share.

Last time?

2002 season, Raiders vs. Titans. I looked further back to see when the last one was before that. Do you know what it was? Sure enough...

1993. Chiefs vs. Bills.

Yeah.

I noticed the common thread among the three things related to the curse here, see if you can divine what that is: Super Bowl, the AFL, and the Chiefs.

Yee-ehp. They all have a very profound connection to Lamar Hunt.

I went back to read Michael MacCambridge's terrific biography of Hunt just to see if I can mine for anything Hunt did to put this crap in motion. I thought I'd go through MacCambridge's account of Hunt's involvement in the silver-cornering scandal just to see how much of an impact that may have had. It started in the early 1970's when they had an interest in silver investing, and it reached a head in the early 1980's when they got tapped out -- in a big way. For those who are just not well-versed in what happened, Lamar's brothers spearheaded a campaign to corner the silver market, and after prices shot up they came crashing down, severely damaging the Hunt fortune and destroying the reputation of the Hunt family. They took many investors down with them, and the profound severity of it all cannot be misunderstood.

While Lamar was not a major player in it, he was still meaningfully involved. It is my contention that this terrible event was so distracting and so infectious that the Chiefs were dragged in with it. And yes, at the cost of being dismissed by more materialistically minded readers, I believe this whole thing does have a spiritual dimension to it.

When people do rotten things that ruin the lives of others, there are spiritual consequences. Lamar Hunt did pay the price with comprehensive resolutions of restitution claims and prosecution requirements, all fulfilled by a man who did have a sincere desire to clear his name, honor his family's legacy, and yes, to his credit, protect the integrity of his greatest pride, the Kansas City Chiefs and his contribution to the NFL.

Yes, I do firmly believe Hunt deeply cherished the Chiefs and the NFL to the extent that he clearly did -- demonstrated in a number of different wonderful things he did for both. I'm not denying that, and no one would say Hunt wasn't exceptionally dedicated in that commitment.

But again, I truly think Hunt's involvement in those financial crimes, as well as his attention to those other leagues -- that soccer thing and that tennis thing, both horribly debilitating distractions -- set in motion a long string of Chiefs failures that have carried over all the way to this day. I'm sorry, but the two failures -- Hunt's silver/sports leagues involvement and the Chiefs woeful play on the field -- both starting in the 1970's, cannot be merely coincidental.

Just so you know, much of this is detailed in Chapter 14 of MacCambridge's book. Read it yourself, it is frightening. One of the things that particularly struck me was what Hunt did after the Levy firing and failure to draft one of those better quarterbacks in 1983. Suffering through more Chiefs losing, instability, and dissension, Hunt had a press conference to announce that he was going to take care of business, that the Chiefs were first and foremost, that he was committed to making things better, and all that stuff. At first I thought, hmm, that sounds great. But then I thought, damn. That's exactly it.

It sounds great.

Owners just don't do that kind of thing. They don't announce, "I'm on the job dang it I'm really trying hard." Who does that? No, the best owners just take care of business. The NFL is just too damn competitive to not have and hold and nourish that one thing that gives you the edge -- whatever it is. And if things at the top are a mess, then you've lost the game already.

Look at a team like the Patriots. There are two things they have that give them the edge every single time they take the field. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. I don't think I know of anyone in the NFL who are as brilliantly persistent at their craft than they are. Neither is a genius, really. Some will use words like "genius" I know, but they really aren't. What they are is good -- so very good. And you can see it in their eyes, relentlessly driven all the time, take no prisoners, the whole 100 yards.

Again, I don't think Lamar Hunt was a lousy owner, I really don't. I think he was a pretty good one, in fact. I am firmly convinced, however, that he did things that put a world of hurt on the Chiefs in whatever way that happened, and you can't deny that two 21-year playoff winless droughts in a 45-year history of being in the NFL is plain evidence of that.

It's funny, the trophy awarded to the winner of the AFC Championship game is, yes, as you well know, the Lamar Hunt trophy. There are, as you probably know, only two teams from the AFL that have never won the Lamar Hunt trophy, officially awarded starting in 1984. Those teams are the Chiefs and the Jets. And the Jets have at least had three shots at it (they were in the AFC title game in 1983 but again, the trophy wasn't named after Lamar Hunt then).

The Chiefs have only had one shot, back in 1993. They're dead last among the ten in NFL success since the merger in 1970. Dead last. The Chiefs, huh, never ever in 30 years have won the trophy named after their founder and owner. There have to be reasons why. I think I know some of them.

Many will inevitably and quite firmly say, "Well what about now? How about just focusing on the here and now, let's see what we've got for next year. Why whine about the past?"

I'm with you, I truly am. All I'm doing is looking at what is happening so I can see that maybe, just maybe we'll have some of that got-it I wrote a ton about in this post, so we can enjoy some Chiefs winning for once. And please, let's not mince words. When I say that word, winning, I mean we're such a good team with the abundance of got-it confidence and not-just-a-few of those critical intangible advantages that we actually have major playoff success. Every Chiefs fan knows what this means.

I have to say that the deeply thinking part of me starts with looking at the ownership, at Clark Hunt. He is Lamar's son, but from my perspective carries little if any of the old Lamar Hunt baggage already mentioned. In fact the things MacCambridge writes about Clark's early years are pretty encouraging. The kid was a spot-on college student, gifted in athletics, committed to academic excellence, later industriously groomed with great devotion to proudly carry on the Hunt family legacy, especially with respect to the Chiefs.

I have heard criticism of Clark's initial refusal to do things for Arrowhead and other things considered detrimental to Chiefs success. It seems like he's learned and grown as an owner, his commitment to the "New" Arrowhead and other Chiefs improvement projects have demonstrated that. I mean come on, summarily jettisoning the whole Scott Pioli ugliness with all due haste and bringing in the Dorsey-Reid regime was a bold and refreshing display of the kind of leadership we've been looking for.

I will confess I don't know everything about what's going on that maybe Kansas Citians have a real feel for regarding Clark's ownership. We have to face the fact in having any discussion of future Chiefs success, it must start with Clark. And as far as I know, again, whatever limited perspective that is, I do see him being a top-notch owner, I really do. If on the other hand, he's doing things somewhere, somehow that are anything like the things Lamar did, then you can't dismiss the impact of those things, you just can't.

As long as Clark is doing right by ownership, however, where do the Chiefs stand now? What exactly is it about the entity Kansas City Chiefs and what they do on the football field that is meaningful?

I must say that there is genuine hope for this franchise. John Dorsey has had a couple of decent drafts under his belt. In fact every draft class the Chiefs have had since the 2009 catastrophe has been solid, so we have a foundation to continue to build upon. Dorsey's drafting abilities are tantamount to our success, but Dorsey must show skill in keeping or signing the right free agents. I really think losing Houston or Hudson would be crushing blows. I firmly believe losing Albert and Asamoah last year did significantly contribute to our weakness on the O-line, something that truly hurt us especially late in the season. During last year's off-season Dorsey did sign some key guys like Josh Mauga and Jamell Fleming -- not amazing players but ones who played admirably enough. We'll have to see if he can dexterously do that again.

Speaking of late in the season, one area we need to improve is the ability to finish. The Chiefs have had a winning record over the final six games of a season only once since 2005 (in 2010). We started 9-1 last year, 7-3 this year, and piddled out each time at 2-4. That won't get it done. We also have to do better against the AFC West, and I know Dorsey has that forefront in his approach to building this team. We have not had a winning record against the six teams in the AFC West since 2006. In that time we've been 2-4 against the Raiders Broncos Chargers six times.

I'd like to see a bit more of the one thing Todd Haley did really well -- get us in shape. After a horrific start, the Chiefs actually played reasonably well through the 2011 season, much of it because of our physical resilience. We weren't going anywhere being hamstrung by the brutality of Pioli-Haley, but wouldn't it be nice to see that resilience back as one of those edges we have over the other team.

Don't know if that'll help with injuries -- sure enough, injuries clobbered us in 2014. I wonder, though, knowing that other teams also have tremendously debilitating injuries, how bad it was for us. I wonder if there is a metric for how much injuries hurt a given team? I do believe not having D.J. and E.B. (among others!) in there did hurt our run defense, and again, in the NFL any one given play that goes against you in any one crucial game could be a back-breaker.

Thing is, as I've shared many times in this blog, I valiantly try to maintain my sanity to some extent and stay away from seeing who we draft, who we sign, who we trade or trade for, pretty much throughout the offseason. I catch some of it when watching games because they talk about it -- an example last year was acquiring Jason Avant mid-season.

I'd like to continue with that thread, write more about that key thing in all of this of course... the players, who do we have, who must we get, all that. I've simply put in too much for this post, I will just have to do that next time for Part III.

Next week, we'll know, in the Super Bowl will it be New England and Seattle, two teams the Chiefs beat this year? ::Whimper:: Indeed, the Chiefs were the only team to beat both of them this year, that's nice.

Even more important, will they let Jamaal Charles not play in the Pro Bowl next week so he can recover and not get smashed up any more than he has to? Okay, wait, let me see, I'll look it up, just a sec. Let's see, I'm typing, "Is Jamaal Charles playing in the Pro Bowl," wait a sec, wait a sec...

Nope. Crap. Looks like he's not on the "unable to play because of injury" list. Looks like he's still on the roster of running backs. Errgh. Not that I want him injured! That's not the point. Again, I just don't want him playing and going through more grueling football stuff that is not the Chiefs!

Whatever. More on him and other Chiefs next week!
_

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Kansas City Chiefs and the Month of January, Part 1

A metaphor for this weekend's non-event.

I live near a municipal airport, and once a year -- scheduled on this weekend every year -- is the air show. All sorts of planes fly about, including stunt planes and the like. One kind of plane, my favorite, is the World War II fighter plane. There are four of them that fly in formation, and they zoom close over our house as they prepare to pass the airfield nearby for all the spectators there. It is really fun to watch them.

I share this because I thought about why this pro football thing is so important, why it holds a special place in the heart of so many. Why do we care so much? Why do we have this deeply innate, rabidly visceral, thoroughly compelling desire to conquer the other guy? I don't really know, I kind of do, but only a bit.

I thought about this as I watched those fighter planes scorch the sky directly overhead a number of times, and each time I made note of what it said underneath the wing of a couple of them. It said, "Marines." I thought, yeah. That's the feeling. That feeling when your unit is under enemy fire and you're up against it, you're going down, you're facing a hopeless situation... and...

Here come the Marines.

And sure enough, that feeling overtakes you. That feeling that now you're just going to kick ass. That you're going to come out of it not just victorious, but with great pride, inspired by the tremendous accomplishment of your tribe, your nation, your family, your brothers and sisters joined together in the common cause of righteousness and justice and all that stirring stuff. Or, in terms of the metaphor, the great uplifting achievement of your

Team.

Yes, pro football does help with those needs, particularly in a society that is so advanced that rigorous crusading has lost much of its impact, a society where so many in it reject the melodramatic enthusiasm of sports "fanciers" or "fanatics" as such Neanderthal behavior.

This weekend is yet again a sad one for Kansas City Chiefs fans because yet again, we are not playing in any playoff games. This is usually the case, as we all know. In the team's history it has only played in seven games past the first week of January. It has won a scant three of them, one of them Super Bowl IV (the 11th), the other two the games they won after the 1993 season (the 8th & the 16th). Two years in 55 we've been able to enjoy success after January 7. Yes, lots of crying done, but we're so used to it there's just not much left to cry about.

I do, however, think deeply about things, and will never stop doing that. And one of the things I think deeply about is the expanse of the forces at work to keep the Chiefs from winning. I've said before there are a number of those things, and I admit, much of it the wretched luck and miserable ineptitude devastating the Chiefs through the years. (See my last post about Chiefs wide receivers to behold that ugliness.)

I can't help but mention something about last week's games that I think is a powerful contributing factor.

I watched none of the games last week except for a bit of the Cardinals-Panthers game because my wife and son happened to have it on the television. I've watched none of today's game, and I imagine there's a game tonight -- don't even know which teams are playing in that one. Not planning to watch it. Yes there is that very profound ::sigh:: factor, I confess. I so long for the Chiefs to be playing past January 7 -- to watch our Marines fly in for the victory of all good things all around.

But last Monday or Tuesday, or whatever day it was, I'd seen a news item about an incident in the Lions-Cowboys game. A pass interference call that wasn't. I'd continued to read a bit about it, that an official threw his flag then pocketed it again with a "no penalty on the play" result. Mind you I hadn't seen the play at all, knew nothing about it. I had seen that the Cowboys won the game.

Later I watched the video. My goodness. I can't for the world see how that play was not pass interference. Not only that, but the guy held the Lions receiver before the pass interference. Not only that but a Cowboys player came out on the field without his helmet, a clear unsportsmanlike violation. Not only that but there were other penalties by the Cowboys mentioned that were not called.

The pass interference play was clearly a turning point.

What is particularly interesting is that even though all these things were brought up, even though it was broadcast exceedingly that the non-pass-interference was very controversial, even though there were the standard rationalizations and mea culpas and some mish-mash of the two -- while all that was happening, it started to turn into just part of the show. It was almost as if the ivory tower dwellers of the NFL said to themselves, "Let's take this controversy and run with it, make it part of the great NFL mythology, keep people talking about it..."

The sinister part about all this is that, yes...

The Lions still lost the game.

The Lions are probably the one team cursed as much as the Chiefs are. Lions fans, welcome to our world. We have a game that sticks like a craw in our psyche, Denver at Kansas City, January 4, 1998. Same thing. It was a game we won, but didn't because...

It is because there is that influence that guides the direction of playoff results so that the teams that make the NFL the most money get farther. Whether direct or indirect, whether explicit or implicit, whether actively arranged or just pushed along, there is that influence.

Yes, I know what I just wrote there is very controversial. A lot of people shrug it off, sneer that we're just whiners, or gleefully lap up the light-hearted mythology -- or all of that. But the fact is there are just too many fans who know it. This was evident enough with the considerations of what happened in that Lions-Cowboys game.

Let's just face it. The NFL really wants Cowboys-Packers. In 1997 the NFL really wanted John Elway to win -- "John Elway finally gets his Super Bowl ring!" is a bazillion times more of a cash cow than trying futilely to generate any interest in Elvis Grbac.

Now. Let's just get to it, let's be honest. I could go to the mat to justify this. I could regale you with the proof from things like Scorecasting in which the seminal part of the book is about how home teams have the advantage and it is almost exclusively because officials do make calls that benefit the home team, or in some instances the team that is the one the league favors. I could get into all the facets of favored teams and the advantages they have, how teams in larger markets with popular players engendering media darling sentiments simply have an inordinate amount of success.

I could do all of that, but I won't.

I will again say this, however.

I am not the only one.

How many do believe the fix is in, in some way, some how? I'd say there are a good number of Lions fans who do. I'd even venture to say some Bengals and Browns fans do, because they've been shafted a few times, also. My mom is a Cardinals fan, and the Cardinals too have a dismal history of playoff action. Now we know this year Arizona really wasn't going to go anywhere with a third string quarterback, let's be fair. But when I talked to her she still spoke stridently about the calls that went against the Cardinals.

I happened to come across a blog piece, I think it was the one of the SBNation Lions blogger, who was remarking about it all, and he said something pretty profound. How about just getting full-time officials and have more expanded use of technology? In my mind that means getting a couple more on the field officials, but it also means having officials at monitors focused on every aspect of the game, and when a call doesn't go the right way, any given official looking at a monitor with a play 157 million people are watching can just break in and make the right call we all see should be made.

Thing is, that's great, I like that. But is that going to keep the NFL from working it working it working it somehow to make sure that we get enough Cowboys-Packers, Patriots-Broncos, whatever-darling-team-versus-whatever-other-darling-team-there-is matchups? And what's worse is every time these other teams win it just means less of a chance for newer successful teams to break in because the "legendary games" keep being about those darling teams, lending itself to working it for more of those kinds of matchups. Do you know how many times I see on the television schedule a replay of the 1967 Ice Bowl? I'm sick of it! Yes, that was a great game, but it really wasn't the greatest -- I tend to think the '82 Chargers-Dolphins playoff game was the greatest. But hey, this is Dallas-Green Bay! Woo-hoo!

This is why as a Chiefs fan all of this is just so heartbreaking. Yeah, I know, why keep hoping, why keep rooting for them, why stay in the mix of it all, why keep writing writing writing about it all for the therapy? Why why why? Well, see the thing about the Marines fighter planes above.

But the thing that makes it so grim is that in light of all this, just being the Chiefs means it is much harder for them than it is for other teams. The Chiefs not only have to be very good to overcome what's against them, but they have to find a way to get players who the media will want to showcase. And even then, they'll never be able to compete against the Dallases and Green Bays and New Englands because of the media market disadvantage.

Many will say, "Nah, you can't say it isn't all on the up-and-up. It's just the way it goes, it has just happened to be some of those teams have been more successful that the lesser media markets. What are you going to do when a Chiefs or a Lions does start winning? What will you say then? And what about a tiny market like Green Bay? And what about big markets like Chicago or New York? The Bears and Jets stink. What about your argument then?"

For one thing, Green Bay is a complete media darling concoction. Green Bay is held up as the paragon of pro football virtue because of its tradition, its history, and its wholesome "the fans own the team" situation. The Jets are always showcased more than any other team because they are New York, it is just they have had the suckiest management -- as any Jets fan will attest. Even so, the Jets went to two straight AFC Championship games just a few years ago.

The NFL also must allow some competitive parity to exist. I admit the NFL is better at it than major league baseball or NBA basketball. The NFL's system does allow some non-media darlings to win sometimes, they have to or the whole thing would collapse. It's a critical part of the exploitation.

The major point to all of this is this. What I think is of no matter except to the extent that what I point out is true. You may dismiss it all, but you cannot deny that there are many others who feel the same way. It may not be a majority, but they are there. The Scorecasting conclusion is still pretty compelling, and that's just the soft, charitable interpretation of those advantages. Yet that is still a pretty major evidence.

The Chiefs having only three playoff wins in 45 years? The NFL is just fine with that. This past year baseball's World Series featured the San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals. I was ecstatic because those are two of my favorite teams.

The majors sure wasn't, nor were its sponsors. The television ratings were abysmal, because even though both teams had tremendously compelling stories regarding their success, even though they were both extraordinarily talented in a number of different areas, even though each had engaging colorful players to showcase, even though they played fine competitive baseball for the full seven games of the series...

It was still the Giants (boring -- they're in it again?) and the Royals (they're from Kansas City -- who gives a shit about them?)

And don't get me wrong. You could plug in just about any teams there in the World Series and you'd get close to the same, severe teeth-grinding by the money-generating powers-that-be -- unless it is the Yankees and the Dodgers. It's true and you know it.

Same thing with the NFL. Right now it is salivating because there could be another Peyton Manning-Tom Brady matchup zowwie!!! There may be an Ice Bowl II in Green Bay yippie!!!

Are there any stories about the Chiefs worth crowing about? Mm-nnn-mm-nnnnnnn-- no.

I think there are, but, well, I'm just a Chiefs fan who likes my team. That's not enough.

Meanwhile, I do actually think there are some things about the Chiefs that don't have to do with conspiracies or supernatural forces -- things that do merely have to do with the team itself and its abilities and its future. Yes, ahem, I do still think whether or not you can put a competitive team on the field with the requisite talent and coaching is still a factor.

Thing is, I'll have to get to that part of it in another blog post.

More Chiefs therapy in the standard month for it, January, next time.
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Saturday, January 03, 2015

The Wide Receiver Project

You know what today is. If you're a Chiefs fan, you should know. Of course, many Chiefs fans have the will power to forget, to let it go -- next year is coming up soon enough and we'll always have another shot at it. That's fine, that's cool.

But is was a year ago today, Saturday -- it was actually the 4th, but still -- it was a Saturday early afternoon. I had gone paintballing with my son for my nephew's birthday, and at sporadic intervals I'd check on the game and was thrilled to hear that the Chiefs were comfortably ahead of the Colts. Finally, I thought, finally finally finally. Driving away from the paintball park we'd heard on the radio Alex Smith's touchdown pass to Knile Davis making the score 38-10.

I'm not going to write any more. Just not going to. Yeah the acceptance is there but the scars are still there too. Yeah that can seem a bit melodramatic, I know, but it's still the way I feel.

What an opportunity then to start the next blog "project" elucidating exactly why the Chiefs have not won a playoff game in 21 years, and won only three in 45 years. A lot of it is the curse, got that, not going to cover that much except to the extent that it somehow -- and I think most certainly -- contributes to the two "projects." One is The Quarterback Project, already started up and going -- and which I know could use some updating.

The latest is The Wide Receiver Project, and as I've ruminated on this over the past few months I've discovered it is just as gruesomely grotesquely gargantuously nasty as the results of The Quarterback Project.

Let's get into it, shall we? I like a good horror movie. If you do too, you'll enjoy reading further.

First of all, let me introduce you to the rating system I'm using for this. I'm using a scale of 0-10 to denote the "goodness" of a given player. If you get a "10", you are one of the greats -- in the Hall and all that. If you're a "0", you're just no one who really did anything to contribute. You could be far lousier than other zeros, but we're not going negative for these purposes. This means if you manage to get a "1", that means you were actually good at least a little, means you had some contribution. If you get up into the "5", "6", "7" range, you were actually very good.

Next, I have to say this right up front. It is not as if I'm cherry-picking the little baaad things about the Chiefs and trying to make excuses for them. No, these issues are mind-numbingly huge and heart-crushingly wretched. To the point, let's be perfectly fair. Let's look at other areas of Chiefs play and skill and you'll note that we don't have any issues there. In fact, in some of those areas the Chiefs have a history of having some of the best units ever in the NFL.

Running back. Damn. It's a near Hall-of-Fame all by itself. Abner Haynes, Curtis McClinton, Mike Garrett, Ed Podolak, Joe Delaney, Christian Okoye, Marcus Allen, Priest Holmes, Larry Johnson, Jamaal Charles. Knile Davis. All scoring very high in the "goodness" value rating.

How about offensive line? Jim Tyrer? Ed Budde? Jack Rudnay? John Alt? Tim Grunhard? Will Shields? Brian Waters? Willie Roaf? In fact, forgive me, I know we've had so many terrific offensive linemen and yeah, someday I'll look at them and feel the pride about our Chiefs. I'm just not remembering them all for this right now. Point is, we've had some dang great O-linemen.

Over on the defense. Pass rushers. Get outta here. Derrick Thomas says it all. But then you've got Buck Buchanan, Jerry Mays, Curly Culp, Bobby Bell, Art Still, Mike Bell, Bill Maas, Neil Smith, and now Justin Houston and Tamba Hali. There's more, I'm sure, but again. Damn.

Defensive backs. Oh, don't get me started. Johnny Robinson, Jim Marsalis, Emmitt Thomas, Gary Green, Gary Barbaro -- then, then one of the best D-backfields of all time ::deep breath:: Deron Cherry Albert Lewis Lloyd Burress Kevin Ross -- then there was Dale Carter, Mark Collins, Brandon Flowers and now you've got Eric Berry and a slough of fine cover guys who had the best pass defense in the NFL for 2014.

All those guys up there right there just noted all of them with goodness values 5 or better. Every single one.

Now, to the frightfest. It'll be hard not to avert your eyes, but here it is.

Along with the fact we've never had a drafted and developed quarterback, something already proven to have been a tremendous liability of the Chiefs, there's this.

Value
Player
Round
Overall
Year
0
Devon Wylie
4
107
12
0*
Junior Hemingway
7
238
12
0
Jonathan Baldwin
1
26
11
2
Dexter McCluster
2
36
10
0
Quinten Lawrence
6
175
09
0
Will Franklin
4
105
08
0
Kevin Robinson
6
182
08
6*
Dwayne Bowe
1
23
07
0
Jeff Webb
6
190
06
0
Craphanso Thorpe
4
116
05
1
Samie Parker
4
115
04
0
Jeris McIntyre
6
195
04
0
Snoop Minnis
3
77
01
1
Sylvester Morris
1
21
00
4
Dante Hall
5
153
00
0
Desmond Kitchings
7
208
00
0
Larry Parker
4
108
99
0
Kevin Lockett
2
47
97
0
Isaac Byrd
6
195
97
1
Joe Horn
5
135
96
0
Dietrich Jells
6
176
96
1
Tamarick Vanover
3
81
95
1
Lake Dawson
3
92
94
1
Chris Penn
3
96
94
0
Danan Hughes
7
186
93
0
Tony Smith
6
159
92
1
Tim Barnett
3
77
91
0
Fred Jones
4
96
90
0
Naz Worthen
3
60
89
0
Robb Thomas
6
143
89
0
Johnny Ray Ambrose
4
96
88
0
Kitrick Taylor
5
128
87
0
Chas Fox
4
90
86
0
Rufus Stevens
6
146
84
0
Anthony Hancock
1
11
82
0
Ron Washington
4
97
81
5
Carlos Carson
5
114
80
0
Bubba Garcia
6
147
80
Notable acquisitions
2
Johnnie Morton
FA 2
02
1
Marc Boerigter
FA 1
02
4
Eddie Kennison
FA 2
01
4
Derrick Alexander
FA 2
98
4
Andre Rison
FA 2
97
4
Willie Davis
FA 1
91
2
J.J. Birden
FA 1
90
5
Stephone Paige
FA 1
83
Other notable draftees & acquisitions before 1980
3
J.T. Smith
FA 1
78
5
Henry Marshall
3
79
76
2
Elmo Wright
1
16
71
8
Otis Taylor
4
29 (AFL)
65
6
Chris Burford
FA 1
60
Rest of current WR core as of 2014
1*
Donnie Avery
FA 2
13
0*
Albert Wilson
FA 1
14
0*
A.J. Jenkins
FA 2
14
0*
Frankie Hammond
FA 1
14
0*
Jason Avant
FA 2
14

Okay, take a minute. Take a breather. That's it, sit down for a minute, probably good for you at this moment. That's it, there you go. It'll be okay -- it'll be okay.

Just for the record, I tried to get on the list every single wide receiver drafted by the Chiefs since 1980, 7th round or higher. I didn't bother for the time before 1980 because it was so long ago, and most of those guys were zeros too. I did make note of the guys scoring "1" or better whom we signed as free agents or acquired in trades, but I just wasn't sure how we got some. I'm pretty sure we got Derrick Alexander by trade, but it's still not a lot different than a free agent signing (FA). The "1" next to the FA means the player started with the Chiefs, the "2" means he came after playing with another team. If I have misrepresented any of this or missed anything, please forgive me. I've tried to make this as accurate as I can, and to include any wide receiver of note who ever had any notoriety for the Chiefs. If I've overlooked one, again, my apologies. Also, the asterisk means they are still active as a Chief.

Now to the value assignments. ::Grimace:: I really tried to be as fair as I could with that. And a reminder, a value of "1" doesn't necessarily mean they were terrible, it actually means they were okay. A zero just means they were of absolutely no consequence even if they were worse.

Okay, okay, steel yourself, here we go.

Damn. Look at that list. The main thrust of this is that list of wide receiver draftees since 1980. With all due respect, nothing against any of them personally, but damn. What a list of pro football flunkies. I know this whole thing is way not lost on anyone with any length of service as a Chiefs fan.

Of the 38 wide receivers on this list drafted by the Chiefs in the past 35 years, a grand total of FOUR have any goodness value rating above "1". That sports fans, is - ay - TROASH - uss. Um, atrocious for those not quite getting the melifluosity there of the atrocitude of this situation. In fact, two of them were better as scatbacks or kick return guys -- Dexter McCluster and Dante Hall. That leaves ::gulp:: the scantiest of scant TWO pure down-for-down, real split-out-wide-on-every-play, solid, reliable D&D guys the Chiefs have had since 1980. Carlos Carson and Dwayne Bowe. Uhhhhhh-tha's it.

Some notes about some of them. For one, the values offered can certainly be debated, I got that. This is my own opinion, but I just don't think they'll vary from what's there too much. You may give McCluster a "3", okay. You may not want to give Samie Parker even a "1", I got that, that's all fine. Sylvester Morris gets a generous "1" because of the injuries. I could add remarks about a lot of them. But the sad fact is these ratings are still pretty close to what they should be, and no matter what, this is still a dismally awful showing. I mean it is worse than awful. Really.

Individual player notes: These values are only for service with the Chiefs. Look at Joe Horn, who did stunningly little for the Chiefs but later was an All-Pro for the Saints. These values are also only for wide receiver play. Look at Tamarick Vanover, who was a great kick returner but just never got it going as a wide out.

The best wide receiver since Otis Taylor has been Bowe, but criminy, that's it? Yes you could put in a good word for Stephone Paige and Carson, very good receivers, but I still can't give them more than a "5", which is still pretty damn good, but then, how many playoff games did they win for us? How many times did they just carry the team? Paige gets a few of those "goodness" points for that one game when he set a record for receiving yards in a game, I think it was 309 in '85. That's great, but he never did anything close to that any other time.

Yes, I know that's a lot to expect, but how come just about every other team can claim some wide receiver to have come through some time for some major clutch scenario in the last 35 years? Tim Barnett did have that one big-time catch from Joe Montana's pass at the end of regulation in that playoff game against Pittsburgh in '93. Do you know how many TD catches Barnett had during the regular season that year? One

So yes, it's a lot to expect from Paige and Carson to be everything for all-Chiefs all-time receiver reputation. Give them a break. Where was Anthony Hancock (a 1st round pick)? Kevin Lockett (a 2nd rounder)? Jonathan Baldwin? (I could be laughing through the tears, but the trauma is too deep...) Yes, every Chiefs fan loved Henry Marshall and J.T. Smith, but who outside of Kansas City knows who these guys were? On the other hand how many in Kansas City definitely know, with the deepest jealousy, some wide receiver from every other team in their histories? How many wide receivers there have been on all the other NFL teams that we do know about, players who were not necessarily great but just caught meaningful passes for their teams at opportune times? Yeah. Yeah.

I just have to make special mention of Dante Hall, who gets a "4" (even though he was a "10" as a kick returner) because there were a few times he was phenomenal as a receiver. Probably the greatest juke anyone ever did on anyone, ever, was the one he made on a Broncos defender -- in fact, on half the Broncos defense, really -- in a game they lost in 2002. It was on a pass reception. That one play is worth two goodness value points right there. And let's face it, Dante Hall was one of the best natural leaders the Chiefs ever had.



What about other teams? Don't other teams have similar flunkies come from their drafted ranks? Of course they do, but come on, few other teams if any have had their histories look as ridiculous as this. I know I haven't done it, looked at all the other NFL teams, but please. Let's be honest. You really think there is any other team that is as bad as this? With The Quarterback Project I did compare drafted and developed quarterback histories from all the other NFL teams. For wide receivers that'd take much more time and effort.

But really, let's face this fact too. When have we ever had a strong and lasting passing game? When? Yeah, Bill Kenney put up a 4,000 yard season in '83, but that was it. Trent Green had three 4,000 yard seasons from 2003 to 2005, but wouldn't you know it, our defense was one of the schlurpiest in our history then, so, oh well. And, by the way, how much of that passing activity was to tight ends like Tony Gonzalez? And how long was Green going to last, even though he was one of the best quarterbacks we've ever had?

Point is, this chart demonstrates one of the brutal truths about Chiefs football. No D&D quarterback to run the system long-term + no D&D wide receivers with a good feel for the system + little coaching ability to get the most from these players whoever they are = the most sparse postseason play in 45 years.

Yeah we've had great backs, linemen, pass rushers, and cover guys.

But without a passing game, we're toast.

This is all in light of the NFL going waaay out of its way to incessantly expand expand EXPAND the passing game. It's almost as if the Chiefs have been living in the dark ages for, well, ages.

A key element in all of this is that third addend in the equation there just above. Coaching. I asked this question of myself as I put all of this together: How much of these guys' failures were the failure of the coaching staffs they worked with to incisively know how to effectively use them? I'm sure that is very much in the mix of all this.

How much of this was in the utter failure of our general managers to know how to draft wide receivers? It'd be another time-consuming task, to look at all the wide receivers drafted after we took ours. I did do this with one year, 1989, when we took Naz Worthen relatively high in the draft. Sure, I admit, before and after Worthen were a bunch of other wide receiver losers, but in the 5th round sure enough, there was Tony Martin, who went on to be really good with the Dolphins and Chargers. Yes much of it requires good coaching and a good quarterback and a good fit, I got that. Yes much of the draft is a crapshoot, I got that.

It is just -- the Chiefs. How can it possibly be this bad? I know some of how, bigtime.

What is funny (if you want to call it that) is the number of times we've tried to fill these positions with has-beens, just like we've done on a regular basis with quarterback. Remember these guys? Pete Mandley, Eric Martin, Brett Perriman, Mark Bradley, Steve Breaston? How many more? Sure we did pick up those decent players for a few years of fine service, you know, Andre Rison and Derrick Alexander and Eddie Kennison. Sure we got good quarterbacks for a time, like Joe Montana and Trent Green and -- yes, now, ::I hope I hope I hope:: Alex Smith.

But when when WHEN WHEN are we ever going to get that D&D the wide receiver -- hey: those wide receiverS -- we can count on for long periods of time. Yes, I like Dwayne Bowe, but again, that's it? He's all we've got in 45 years?

What is most tragic is that all of this has seemed to have reached a head for this past season, yeah, the one we just had. Remember that one? This past year, with a Chiefs team that even had a healthy Dwayne Bowe on it? Remember that?

The one in which the Chiefs had zero touchdown receptions by a wide receiver?

The last time any NFL team had zero touchdown receptions by a wide receiver for the entire season was 1950. It was a pathetically mediocre Steelers team that attempted only 200-something passes the entire year playing in an NFL that allowed the pass defenders to mug the receivers just about anywhere down the field. 

I mean, how on earth did this 2014 Chiefs team even finish with a winning record? This may just be the craziest thing of all. The answer is that we were just so good in so many other areas. You know what they are. We have a history of it. Fine running game. Strong pass rush. Smothering pass defense.

But then, there's that curse thing going too, a curse thing that has kept us from ever having a D&D quarterback and, for that matter, any D&D wide receivers worth a darn to throw to.

There it is. The start of The Wide Receiver Project. It may get more treatment, we'll see.

For now, next week I plan a much more comprehensive look at the entirety of the 2014 Chiefs and beyond. Until then, you can go back up there in this post and contemplate The Wide Receiver Project, perusing the draft list there. It'll be like again watching a horror movie you liked...

Or not...


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