Posted by Adam Kaplan on Friday, March 4, 2011
Oh boy, now we're in playoff team territory!
I give Kansas City all the props in the world for making it to the playoffs last season. They have a great core defense and Jamaal Charles, Matt Cassel, and Dwayne Bowe were just outstanding and I'm happy all three were Pro Bowlers. I'm also a big fan of their young tight end Tony Moeaki and I think they bailed on the Tony Gonzalez bandwagon just in time. But with all that being said, this division is still one for the Chargers to lose.
Not turning over the ball is a fantastic quality in a quarterback, but at some point you have to be able to lead you're team down the field to score a touchdown. Matt Cassel has the skill set to not turnover the ball which gives him a great TD/INT ratio but like the Baltimore/ Kansas City playoff game showed, to stop the Chiefs, you just have to stop the run. Screw the pass. I'm not sure if Cassel has that elite charge-down-the-field-to-score ability yet. Now I don't mean for that to be a huge knock on the guy but as we'll see later, this will become problematic when Cassel's talents aren't paired with the correct defense.
Both Cassel and Bowe benefited from an incredibly easy schedule in 2010. They played Denver twice (8th worst passing defense), Houston (worst passing defense), Seattle (7th worst), Tennessee (4th worst), Jacksonville (5th worst), San Francisco (9th worst), Arizona (10th worst), and St. Louis (14th worst). Seven out of the sixteen games the Chiefs played were against a bottom ten passing defense.
I have always liked the talent of Cassel and Bowe but these players need to prove to me that they can perform at a Pro Bowl level year after year. And frankly, with a tougher schedule next year (most likely), I don't think either player can rise to the challenge.
I'd like to point out at this juncture that Jamaal Charles has a career yards per carry of over 6.0. The guy is fantastic and was a third round draft pick. As much as I think the Chiefs overpaid for Thomas Jones, the Chiefs are still a runnings team and there's no reason that Charles can't get 20 carries a game while Jones gets an effective ten. This offensive model is perfectly acceptable but you need an elite caliber defense to sustain this offensive model to win playoffs games.
And Kansas City is far away from an elite defense.
According to Football Outsiders, the Chiefs had the 21st best defense (28th weighted defense), the 18th best pass defense, and the 26th best rush defense. Maybe trading away a 26 year old Jared Allen wasn't the greatest move in the world, huh? This team does has a very good (almost almost almost elite) corner in Brandon Flowers and a damn good rookie (in 2010) in safety Eric Berry. Linebacker Tambi Hall was ranked by Advanced NFL Stats as being the 18th best linebacker and Derrick Johnson as the 13th best in the game but this team has Mike Vrabel playing the LB position as well. (I mean this team *is* run by Scott Pioli and has a defensive coordinator in Romeo Crennel).
This team is still lacking that "blue chip" pass rusher. First round pick Glenn Dorsey hasn't panned out quite as well as this team had hoped, no linebacker in this 3-4 scheme as really stepped up as a pass rusher, and the entire defensive line as a whole is pretty bad. It's no surprise that both Mel Kiper's and Todd McShay's top five defensive ends are all projected first rounders. Maybe teams are finally getting smart on what they need to win football games.
Therefore, the Chiefs select Adrian Clayborn, defensive end from University of Iowa
Game Of Inches Mock Draft (so far):
1) Carolina Panthers- DT Nick Fairley (Auburn)
2) Denver Broncos- DE Da'Quan Bowers (Clemson)
3) Buffalo Bills- CB Patrick Peterson (LSU)
4) Cincinnati Bengals- WR A.J. Green (Georgia)
5) Arizona Cardinals- QB Blaine Gabbert (Missouri)
6) Cleveland Browns- OLB Von Miller (Texas A&M)
7) San Fransisco 49ers- CB Prince Amukamara (Nebraska)
8) Tennessee Titans- QB Cam Newton (Auburn)
9) Dallas Cowboys- DT Marcell Dareus (Alabama)
10) Washington Redskins- DE Robert Quinn (North Carolina)
11) Houston Texans- CB Jimmy Smith (Colorado)
12) Minnesota Vikings- OT Nate Solder (Colorado)
13) Detriot Lions- OLB Akeem Ayers (UCLA)
14) St. Louis Rams- WR Julio Jones (Alabama)
15) Miami Dolphins- DE/OLB Aldon Smith (Missouri)
16) Jacksonville Jaguars- DE J.J. Watt (Wisconsin)
17) New England Patriots- OT Tyron Smith (USC)
18) San Diego Chargers- G/C Mike Pouncey (Florida)
19) New York Giants- DT Corey Luiget (Illinois)
20) Tampa Bay Buccaneers- DE Cameron Jordan (California)