Showing posts with label eric berry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label eric berry. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Observations at Camp 8-10-10

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~We are so used to only seeing our team compete once a week, and judging everything by their long term results, that it's easy to forget that its a day-to-day molding that shapes a team. It's 53 men trying to come together as one, all under a few higher-ups' watch (makes you wander just how tough it is to be an NFL head coach). It makes viewing the team in a strictly short term basis very interesting. These guys are out there every day practicing, while we're left to reserve judgment until we see them play a game. This has to be absolutely maddening for a player that thrives in practice, but cannot get it done in game situations. They are seeing them do well every day of the week but one.

~On the same subject, I find it fascinating observing Haley walk around the players while they stretch. Do they like seeing him? Does he say different motivating things to individual players? Do they push harder only while in his sights? It's weird watching them stretch, because you give one direction, but they're doing it in all different kinds of ways. Some want to show off how dedicated they are, while others are clearly exercising characteristics of laziness.

~I think we may have created a monster in Derrick Johnson simply by benching him the entirety of last season. It seems to have ignited his boosters today. He had a sack on Croyle, a pick of Croyle, and two big hits (one of which was a beautiful catch by Jake O'Connell). I can't imagine any possible way that D.J. isn't starting Week 1.

~The first play that we ran (and continued to run throughout practice) was a play designed to draw the defense offsides. Starts in goalline formation, the players shift out to 5 wide, then Pope in motion, finishing with Cassel giving a hard snap count. There was also a QB sneak option after shifting out to 5 wide.

~Another play to be seen was a fake field goal play that saw Dustin Colquitt roll out and throw right handed. He looked as confident as he does punting the ball.

~I'm starting to wander if Tamba Hali could be a true leader of this defense. I noticed him leading the team in sprints down the field a few times, and then turning back to slap hands with his arriving teammates. If his play improves, the way that I think it might this year, we could be looking at a true takeover player. I have a hunch.

~It's hilarious how the crowd just doesn't understand that the defense isn't tackling the offensive players. There were two or three times that big cheers were heard after Dexter McCluster "broke free" after realistically being tackled.

~Standout players (keep an eye on them this Friday): Derrick Johnson, Corey Greenwood (outside LB from Canada), Dion Gales (NT posted a sack), and Shaun Smith (playing both NT & DE, seems nasty).

~Disappointing players: Brodie Croyle (sacked twice, INT, hair out of place), Rudy Niswanger (bad shotgun snap), Javier Arenas (muffed a punt, good defensive play though).

~Quick Hittas:
>Error Bearer got in a bit of a scuffle. Couldn't quite make it out, but I heard it was with Jake O'Connell. It was underneath a large pile, but Berry got up feelin feisty.
>Jamaal Charles was running with the third team offense
>Dexter McCluster lined up at straight running back quite a bit
>Mike Vrabel lined up at Inside Linebacker in the nickel defense
>Brian Waters took a few snaps at Center with no other linemen present
>Leonard Pope is tall. He seemed to stick up a good three to four inches above everybody else.
>Nick Wright's post up at Uncle D's in St. Joseph was completely empty. People should go visit him.

He-Dirkness

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Kansas City Chiefs Thought Conglomeration 8-4-10

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***EDIT: Click on the Post title for a deeper look***

With the Chiefs a few days into training camp, thoughts have been percolating and circulating throughout my dome. I have yet to make it up to St. Joseph, but plan on doing so very soon, and will let everybody know of my observations while up there, as long as Pioli and Haley's Third Reich team allows it.

~I'll start off with my overall goal of the year for this Chiefs team: I want a realistic shot at the playoffs going into the last quarter of the season. I want to play games that matter come December of this year. We don't even have to win those games, I just want them to exist. I almost can't even remember what it's like to watch meaningful games, and that's not a good thing. This goal is brought upon by the lack of meaningful football played the last two seasons (both seasons lost meaning after Week 2 home losses to the Raiders). Defiant numbers on this goal would depend on the conference's well being, but if I must declare, I'd say 6-6.

~I think this goal is very attainable due to how easy our schedule is. I spy only three games that it's hard to imagine us winning (@Indy, @SD, @Hous). And my Houston pick should prove my objectivity in that process. Our matchup with the NFC West brings very little to the table, and we get the best two teams at home (SF, Ariz). This easy path might lead to us sneaking into the playoffs. It might also lead to us getting slobberknockered in the playoffs. I'll take it!

~As far as individual players go, I'm predicting that Tamba Hali makes the Pro Bowl this year. Last year was his first year at a new position, and while 8.5 sacks isn't too shabby, a handful of others slipped out of his hands, and he drew numerous holding penalties that were leading to obvious sacks. Comfort in the position, the addition of Romeo Crennel, and capitalizing on last year's missed opportunities will lead to 13 sacks and the Pro Bowl this year.

~We have amazing youth in the secondary right now. Flowers and Carr are the staples (and both are only in their 3rd years!), with an incoming rookie class of Error Bearer, Kendrick Lewis, and Javier Arenas. These could be our top five players making up the secondary this year. There will be some growing pains in the immediate future, but if they reach their full potential, we could be looking at one of the league's best in a few years.

~I don't understand Jarrad Page's holdout. He's not good enough to hold out, nor is he good enough to be traded. A continued hold out from him will be a career ender. Could he possibly be thinking baseball?

~The idea of Glenn Dorsey not being good was greatly over-reported. People were so down on Dorsey for a couple of reasons. First, the lingering memories of past defensive line busts like Ryan Sims, Eddie Freeman, and Junior Siavii are too fresh in the mind. It felt as if everybody was just waiting for Dorsey to flop. Secondly, all the talking heads saying how NFL-ready he was coming out of college made his rookie struggles shine brighter. Then he had to endure a position change. He was vastly improved last year, and I look for the same improvement this year.

~I feel like our defense is one player away from becoming potentially dominant. Unfortunately, it is a huge hole that needs filling, and the difference between having it and not having it could be average and dominant. I am talking, of course, of the rush linebacker position opposite of Hali. I believe the other aspects of our defense are filled with the necessary components to begin striking fear in the minds of opposing offenses. Our biggest hope on our current roster to fill that position is Andy Studebaker, making him a very important player going into this year.

Boom, this concludes the conglomeration of thought attained through the first week or so of training camp. More thoughts are sure to come over the next few weeks, and cannot wait to see our team take the field for the first preseason game on August 14th at Atlanta.

Ze Dirkness

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Kansas City Chiefs 2010 Madden-ness Ratings

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Since so much of my football knowledge has been attained from simply playing the video game, Madden, deep into the hours of the night, I thought I'd take a stab at playing Jesus (Spanish dialect) and rating the Chiefs assets going into the 2010 NFL season.

A quick tangent on the Madden series of football games: Once upon a time I always prided myself on the fact that no matter how old I grew, I would never stop playing video games, especially Madden (and to a lesser extent NCAA Football). Painstakingly, I am now one of these yaps that just can't find the time to sit down and enjoy an hour of scheming and exercising my instincts to the fullest en route to a Madden victory. Where have I gone wrong? What is this phenomenon that separates adults from video games? Is it an imagination drought? I find myself missing it, but don't reach near the same level of satisfaction as I once did. In spite of this, I still find little John Maddens coursing through my veins. In fact, a good majority of my football knowledge (mostly random and useless), whether it be play design, name recognition around the league, or specific players' Alma Maters, comes from my Madden anthology, ranging from 1999 to 2009.

The results of this exercise are two-fold: a. A quick action judgment on all of the Chiefs players and playettes, b. My prognostication on what the final 53 man roster will look like after training camp has subsided. The ratings are based on a 1-100 scale ranging from Jamarcus Russell's work ethic to Ndamukong Suh's barbarity.


Quarterbacks:
Matt Cassel- 81
Brodie Croyle- 71
Tyler Palko- 57

Running Backs:
Jamaal Charles- 88
Thomas Jones- 85
Jackie Battle- 73

Fullbacks:
Mike Cox- 64
Tim Castille- 62

Wide Receivers:
Chris Chambers- 83
Dwayne Bowe- 82
Dexter McCluster- 74
Jerheme Urban- 73
Quentin Lawrence- 60

Tight Ends:
Leonard Pope- 77
Tony Moeaki- 73
Jake O'Connell- 41

Offensive Line:
Brian Waters- 88
Branden Albert- 84
Ryan Lilja- 80
Ryan O'Callaghan- 76
Casey Wiegmann- 72
Rudy Niswanger- 69
Colin Brown- 68
Barry Richardson- 64
Jon Asamoah- 64
Ikechuku Ndukwe- 61

Defensive Line:
Glenn Dorsey- 86
Ron Edwards- 75
Wallace Gilberry- 74
Tyson Jackson- 71
Shaun Smith- 68
Alex Magee- 65
Garrett Brown- 62

Linebackers:
Tamba Hali- 90
Demorrio Williams- 78
Derrick Johnson- 76
Andy Studebaker- 75
Mike Vrabel- 72
Jovan Belcher- 69
Corey Mays- 69
Cameron Sheffield- 67

Cornerbacks:
Brandon Flowers- 91
Brandon Carr- 85
Javier Arenas- 74
Maurice Leggett- 70
Donald Washington- 64

Safeties:
Eric Berry- 80
Jarrad Page- 75
Kendrick Lewis- 71
Jon McGraw- 70
Dajuan Morgan- 62

Specialists:
Dustin Colquitt- 93
Ryan Succop- 90

Thy Dirkness

Chiefs' 5 Biggest Questions Pre-Training Camp

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1. Does Matt Cassel have any Trent Green in him?

Cassel went through his share of struggles last year, but was consistently guided along with the understanding that he didn't have much help. That will not save him this year. I don't think the offense, or maybe I should say the passing game, was improved upon a whole lot from last year, but continuity and cohesiveness should be elevated. Trent Green went through the same struggles his first year with the Chiefs, leading the league in interceptions, before coming into his own his sophomore season. The team's success, as well as Cassel's future in the league, will hinge on his performance this season. Pairing Thomas Jones with Jamaal Charles should provide an astute running game to help keep the pressure off of him, while it remains unclear how much immediate help Jerhame Urban, Tony Moeaki, and Dexter McCluster will provide in the passing game this year. The weight of the offense will come down to Cassel, offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, and head coach Todd Haley, with Cassel being the leader in the clubhouse for scapegoat if things falter.


2. Is Branden Albert a legitimate NFL Left Tackle?

Albert's struggles seemed to have stemmed from his enforced diet plan handed down by authority last training camp (which is starting to seem like more of a tone-setting message from Haley with long term implications with a few accepted short term pitfalls- Albert being one of them). His performance improved as the season went on (and as Grandma Larry got further away) along with the rest of the offensive line. Most pundits had the Chiefs selecting an offensive lineman, presumably a Left Tackle, with their first pick in this year's draft. They put a lot of faith in Albert by ignoring the supposed best Left Tackle prospect in Oklahoma State's Russell Okung. Interior help was added in free agents Ryan Lilja (projected starting RG) and Casey Weigmann (I envision him in a backup role), which puts the pressure on the outside pair of Albert and Ryan O'Callaghan. Best case scenario is that Albert was playing below preferred weight, which Haley figured out and now knows how to use him best (remember he was ahead of schedule as a rookie). Worst case scenario is that he is playing out of position and they waited one year too long to pull the trigger (which might seal Cassel's fate in the process).


3. How quickly can Eric Berry develop?

Look, I think Berry is going to eventually become a stud (most highly drafted safeties do, plus the fact of working with defensive guru Monte Kiffin at Tennessee last year), the only question in my mind is when. The defense is undeniably void of playmakers. Tamba Hali is probably one, and well, lets just leave it at that. The success of our defense may be dependent on his development rate (due to the inexplicable decision to not target another rush Linebacker). The other hope is that defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel will implant more exotic schemes to help hide the lack of talent in the front seven. Otherwise, it may be up to Error Bear, which is an awful lot to ask out of a rookie, no matter how promising he may appear to be.


4. What position will Glen Dorsey play?

Rumblings in the offseason revolved around a potential position switch moving Dorsey to the Nose Tackle position of the three down linemen. It doesn't make sense to me. I get that they might be trying to make room for 2009 draftee Alex Magee (remember him?) at Defensive End, but Dorsey simply isn't big enough. We have a position to fill at the Nose, and this move might maximize our talent on the field, but I think the negatives still outweigh the positives. We were pushed around enough with much bigger Ron 'The Dawn' Edwards squatting up the gut. The fact of the matter, is that everybody at One Arrowhead Drive is praying that Dorsey and fellow first round disappointee, Tyson Jackson, make significant improvements this year, or changes will have to be made. There is entirely too much money tied up in the two of them for what little production they are providing. It's tough to tell whether the rumors of the switch were a media creation or actual thinkings of the Chiefs brass, but there is little question that improvements along the defensive front are essential to the Chiefs' chances of fielding a defense worthy of contention.


5. How much of an impact will Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel make?

Championship experience. That's what General Weis and Colonel Crennel bring to the table. They have designed schemes, made gameplans, and called plays in the biggest game of them all (multiple times). If there was one thing the Chiefs were missing last year, it was an ignorance of what it took to win games. The team is/was young, the coaching staff new, and the veterans that have been around haven't seen many games go their way. Weis and Crennel could bring a sense of culture shock to the team. There is absolutely zero question that these two will be an upgrade from who we had dialing up plays in 2009, but how quickly will we see the results? I almost wander if Pioli threw Haley into the fire by overfilling his plate with responsibilities to show him exactly what it took to be successful, and to shrink his head in the process. It's entirely possible that 2009 was completely thrown away to lay a foundation for the future, which I'm totally cool with since last year is long gone, and we're on to 2010. I'll put it this way- If I were a casual observer of the NFL as a whole, Weis and Crennel would be the line of reasoning for projecting the Chiefs to be a surprise team this year.

El Jeffeness

Friday, February 19, 2010

Kansas City Chiefs 2010 Offseason Priority List

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Now that Owner Clark Hunt and General Manager Scott Pioli have taken care of two of the biggest offseason needs- General Weis and Colonel Crennel- I think it's time to take a look at what else the Kansas City Chiefs need to address in the about-to-begin offseason.


The Chiefs grabbed some headlines by filling both coordinator positions with high-profile coaches, adding to the momentum gained from the beatdown handed to the Denver Broncos in the last game of the 2009 season. This is important as sometimes late season/offseason momentum can lead directly into positive early season results. This will be a unique offseason due to the bigwigs trying to ruin the game we love by arguing over the viable owners of millions of dollars. This will result in the least active free agency in many years because of the fact that players will need six years of experience to become unrestricted free agents instead of the normal four. What does this mean? Teams will need to either sign free agents that are 29 years or older or give up draft picks as compensation to sign players that are in the prime of their careers. I believe this leads to free agency becoming almost inconsequential while we will see a big jump in the number of trades. This is good news for the good teams and bad news for teams needing to improve a lot, which means the Chiefs will have to act swiftly and precisely to make the necessary upgrades to compete next year.

First off, the list needs a few guidelines to follow for legitimacy purposes. It is based on the individual position most in need of an effort to upgrade before the start of next season. Importance of position is a factor, meaning even though Tight End may be the team's worst position in terms of talent, it's not as important as another position in terms of winning. I tried to imagine my feelings going into the start of next season with the exact same personnel of that position from last year. This paragraph was extremely difficult to find the correct wording, so lets just pretend we're all on the same page and get on to the list...


Chiefs Top 10 Positions of Need:

1. Outside Linebacker- Defense will become legitimate once Tamba Hali is the second best outside linebacker/pass rusher, it is THAT important of a position to a 3-4 defense. Mike Vrabel and Andy Studebaker would make a great pair of backup OLB's. Julius Peppers could fill the position, but I can't imagine the Chiefs spending the necessary money for the prize of free agency. Shawne Merriman's freedom gets costly due to the new restrictions, but could be available for the right draft picks. Joey Porter might be the most likely free agent to fill the hole and would provide great leadership to a defense lacking in that area. A few potential early round prospects who I like are Jerry Hughes (TCU-2nd-mean-proved by picture) and Eric Norwood (South Carolina-3rd-quick). I would make a play for Joey Porter and draft Norwood in the third or wait until next year and go after one with a first round pick.

2. Slot Wide Receiver/Returner- I might be suffering from a severe case of Lance Longitis to have this position so high. The receiving corps is set with Chambers (if we resign him) and Bowe (if we don't trade him) on the outside, but has a huge hole to fill with a quick slot receiver to work underneath. I think the draft is the right place to find one and would love to hear any of the following names called: Mardy Gilyard (Cincinnati-2nd), Jordan Shipley (Texas-3rd), or Jacoby Ford (Clemson-4th). The only other option might be to work out a trade for Steve Breaston, who Todd Haley knows well from Arizona.

3. Safety- The first position on the list that will be possible to address with the Chiefs current first round positioning. Eric Berry will most likely be the selection if he is still available, but there is a very good chance that he goes third to the Redskins. The draft is definitely the way to go because of the need to get younger at the position. Chad Jones (LSU-2nd/3rd) is someone I'm really high on. Mike Brown might look better paired with a more talented safety, and would serve as the perfect tutor for either Berry or Jones.

4. Center- Rudy Niswanger does a decent job, but is just too small and gets pushed around too much, especially when matched up against a 3-4 Nose Tackle. This became the weakest spot on the offensive line once Wade Smith solidified the Right Guard position in the second half of 2009. This is a position that I would address through free agency, because it is smart to have an experienced center to deal with all of the line calls.

5. Middle Linebacker- Demorrio Williams and Derrick Johnson would make a mediocre pair of starting Linebackers going into next year. It would be better to have them split time and get actual NFL talent at the position (sorry Corey Mays and Javon Belcher). This brings me to who I would take with the first round pick--Rolando McClain (Alabama-pictured). I feel like he would immediately step in as the defensive leader at the position best designed for leadership. This defense has not had a strong leader since the Mike Maslowski days. Other options include Brandon Spikes (2nd round slide) or a pair of veterans in Antonio Pierce or Keith Bulluck.

6. Nose Tackle- Ron Edwards does an unheralded job playing a little undersized at the nose. He would be a fantastic rotation guy, but doesn't quite cut it full time. Look for the top two tackles to get franchised out of consideration (Vince Wilfork and Casey Hampton). An interesting option could be Ryan Pickett, who will most likely be let go after the Packers drafted B.J. Raji in the first round last year. Draft options would include Terrance "Mount" Cody (Alabama-2nd-Man Boobs) or Cam Thomas (North Carolina-3rd). I'd be very giddy to snag McClain and Cody in the first two rounds of the draft.

7. Offensive Tackle- This is all dependant on if Branden Albert stays at Left Tackle or makes a switch to either Right Tackle or a guard position. We cannot continue to have this conversation every offseason, so a final decision needs to be made once and for all. The most popular prediction for the Chiefs first round pick is an offensive tackle (Okung-Okla St, Davis-'Gers, Baluga-Iowa), which isn't what I'd do per say, but I'm not totally against it. I would keep him at Left Tackle and make him put the weight back on that limited him last year. Ryan O'Callaghan even looked good the second half of the season at Right Tackle (funny how the whole line's play improved once JamaAl replaced L.J.). This will be the most important decision regarding the current personnel of the team to be made this offseason.

8. Big Running Back- Big drop off from the top 7 biggest needs this offseason. The draft is definitely the way to address a viable backup to JamaAl, who's role will be to log 10 carries a game, including 3rd and 1's and goal line carries. He should come from the later rounds and a few names I would like to see include Toby Gerhart (Stanford-3rd), LaGarrette Blount (Oregon-5th), or Stafon Johnson (USC-6th/7th). And I don't want to hear any Ladainian Tomlinson chatter, our team is already classy enough, and he sucks now.

9. Tight End- Very little currently on the roster, but neither Haley's Arizona teams nor Weis' New England teams had star tight ends. Leonard Pope is good enough for now with how many needs there are. I would not be surprised at all to see us go after free agent Ben Watson out of New England. I just don't want to see us draft one in the 2nd or 3rd round (unless Jermaine Gresham slides big time), but Kris Wilson and Brad Cottam have ruined me.

10. Offensive Guard- It will be very interesting to see what the Chiefs do with Brian Waters this offseason. There was some definite turmoil between Waters and the new regime that could end up with him being traded for a draft pick. If that happens, than this position shoots way up the list. Wade Smith did a fairly good job last year but is a free agent himself. This position is a circumstantial need. Getting Mike Iupati in the 2nd round would be great value and would be a rock for a decade at guard.
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