It's easy to forget how lucky we are.
It's easy to forget how far we've come.
It's hard to forget the man who's responsible.
Scott Pioli: What a Difference 3 Years can Make
The signing of Jared Gaither on Thursday marks, what I would consider, the conclusion of the Kansas City Chiefs 2011 offseason. It was a somewhat quiet, yet very effective 2 weeks for Kansas City that mostly flew under the national radar. Yet, the Chiefs were able to keep their own (Tamba Hali - really don't need Shaun Smith), while improving in most of their weak points (FB, WR, NT, OT, ILB - only OLB left unscathed). It almost resembled a Madden offseason where you can easily identify your weaknesses by overall ratings, and make your free agent acquisitions accordingly.
This all got me to thinking. Have the Chiefs filled all of their holes now? Now obviously they haven't with elite talent at every position, but it's hard to look at this team and say they have a definite need right now. Which brought me back to 2-3 years ago, when it was hard to find a position that you could say WASN'T a definite need And, well, that got me concluding...
Scott Pioli is the fuckin' man.
(To be completely fair, the turnaround began with that 2008 Draft class, which has the potential to go down as one of the best of all time.)
Lets take a look, position by position, at how this team has evolved from their 2-14 season in 2008 to where they stand heading into 2011...
2008 - Tyler Thigpen, Damon Huard, Crodie Broyle, Quinn Gray (!) - Pu pu extradionaire. I got love for Huard because of his magical 2006 season (yea I said it), and Thigpen because he atleast entertained me. The only inspiration I ever got from Cruddie was to write this.
2011 - Icy Matt Cassel, Rick Stanz, something called a Palko - While we may not know Cassel's ceiling, we know that, at worst, he is average. The big question is if can he be the QB on a Super Bowl caliber team?
2008 - Larry Johnson, infantile Jamaal, Kolby Train - I couldn't be happier that LJ is no longer the face of the organization. My lasting memory of him will forever be him sitting in his New York penthouse on Hard Knocks, in his holdout, wondering if Jay-Z really likes him or not. And hittin' bitches.
2011 - God Jam Chauls, Thomas Jones, LeRon McClain (4 capitals!) - What might be the best backfield in the NFL. I hope the Chiefs stick with the plan of limiting Jamaal's carries, keeping him healthy and prolonging his career.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends:
2008 - Tony Gonzalez, Dwayne Bowe, Mark Bradley (!), Devard Darling (!!) - Tight End is the only position I can see that was better in 2008 than what it is in 2011.
2011 - D-Pro Bowe Show, Jonny Baldwin, Steve Breaston, Tony Mohee-yahki - The Bee's Knees, B3PO, The B-Headed Monster, The B Musketeers > Killer B's. For real analysis read this.
2008 - Baby Branden Albert, Brian Waters, Rudy Niswanger, Wade Smith, Damion McIntosh - They got Brodie Croyle killed. He never stood a chance behind this line!!!
2011 - Grown man Branden Albert, Jon Asamoah, Casey Wiegmann, Ryan Lilja, Barry Richardson/Jared Gaither - The overachievers of last season got rid of their underachiever and added a potential monster at RT (literally - he's 6'9), and will rely on the potential shown by Asamoah. But leave Albert alone at Left Tackle, it annoys me to hear people discuss moving him to RT so much.
2008 - Tamba Hali, Jason Babin, Tank Tyler, Turk McBride, Glenn Dorsey, Alfonso Boone - This was the year the Chiefs registered an NFL all time low of 10 sacks. These are the men responsible. Funny looking back that Tamba was playing out of position then.
2011 - Glenn Dorsey, Kelly Gregg, Ty Jax, Wallace D. Gilberry, Allen Bailey, Tony Toribio, Jerrell POW! - Dorsey is solid, Gregg is a mentor, Jackson will improve, Gilberry is the man, my buddy Bill is gay for Bailey, Toribio has a cool name, and Powe is a house.
2008 - Derrick Johnson, Pat Thomas, Demorrio Williams, Rocky Boiman (!), Weston Dacus (!!), the corpse of Donnie Edwards - Possibly one of the worst linebacking units of all time? This is probably when DJ's depression began.
2011 - Muhammad Hali, Derrick Johnson, Jovan Belcher, Brandon Siler, Andy Studebakez, Justin Houston - The best positional battle this preseason should be between Jovan Belcher and Brandon Siler at the ILB position opposite DJ. Hopefully Houston develops anger management issues when he quits the ganja.
2008 - Brandon Flowers, Brandon Carr, Bernard Pollard, Jarrad Page, Patrick Surtain, Gavin McGraw, something called an Oliver Celestin - A phenomenal mixture of washed up vets, young promising corners, and overrated safeties.
2011 - Brandon Flowers, Brandon Carr, Errrrric Berrrrrrrry, Ken Lewis, Javier Bardenas, Jon McG, Italian Stallion Piscatelli - If Kendrick Lewis pans out, this might be the best secondary this side of the Philadelphia. Flowers, Carr, and Berry will all make visits to Hawaii in their career (or wherever the Pro Bowl is played now).