Thursday, December 30, 2010

Top 10 Reasons the Chiefs Made the Playoffs

The Kansas City Chiefs magical 2010 season has concluded where few thought it would: The playoffs. But, how did the Chiefs go from one of the league's laughingstocks to winners of the AFC West? Lets examine the top ten reasons ri now....

1. Scott Pioli- The man with the best long-term vision in the NFL. It's becoming more and more apparent that he played a huge part in building the New England Patriots into what they are today (or even more so, what they were yesterday). I believe his biggest and best move to date was overloading Todd Haley's plate with responsibilities (head coach, offensive coordinator, QB coach) in his first year. Although the move may have cost the team a few wins that season because Haley was stretched too thin, it gave him a better understanding of the proper aspects of the game to focus on as a head coach, while shrinking his head in the process, proving to Haley that he couldn't handle everything by himself. I believe it is also Pioli who is masterminding the under-usage of NBA Jam Charles, thus keeping him fresh for the entirety of the season, in hopes that he'll avoid the Chris Johnson drop off next season (pure brilliance). On top of that, Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weis would not be here if it wasn't for Pioli. So, you could say he is getting the job done. He could be the face of Kansas City sports when it's all said and done.

2. Their schedule- Some of my favorite radio of the year is when KC haters call Nick Wright and continually state that the Chiefs have yet to beat anybody, believing that fact somehow takes away from the Chiefs' accomplishments. Wright handles it the wright way by responding with silence, and then berates them, asking what their point is. The fact of the matter is that the Chiefs were very beneficial in who they played this year, drawing the worst division of all time as their interconference pairing. On top of that, their own division was relatively weak, and their AFC South draw had an uncharacteristically down year to boot. Pair that with their flexible games coming against the Bills and Browns, and you could make the argument that the Chiefs avoided the 10 best teams in the NFL (Colts rank 10th in ESPN's Power Rankings). But what IS the point? The Chiefs don't owe the other teams in the league any favors. Sometimes you get lucky, and sometimes you don't (I believe the 2005 Chiefs were one of the five best teams in the league, but had an impossibly tough schedule). When you get a break like that, the best thing you can do is take advantage of it. The Chiefs took advantage.

3. Matt Cassel- When I'm in my ultimate zen-state of mind inside the friendly confines of Arrowhead Stadium, and the Chiefs get rolling on offense, I can't help myself but yell Tom Brady following every completed pass by Icy Matt. They just strike me as very comparable. I'm sure the reason being that Cassel studied Brady's each and every move for 4 years (just wait til he grows out his hair in about 3 years). Cassel is putting together a top-5 quarterbacking performance this season. I'm not saying he is (although I'm not saying he isn't) one of the 5 best QB's, he has just played at that level. (The QB's from around the league I would take over Cassel at this point read like this: Definitely- Brady, Brees, Rodgers, Manning, Roethlisberger, Rivers. Maybe- Ryan, Bradford, Freeman, Vick, Seneca.) I won't soon forget the heartbreak I felt when he came down with the appendectomy, and how I thought that might derail our season, only for him to come back 10 days later and play terrifically against the St. Louis Rams in the biggest game of the season. Nobody has ever doubted this dude's heart, nor his haircut.

4. Todd Haley- He came in a young hot shot Offensive Coordinator fresh off a Super Bowl trip. He clashed with his reigning Offensive Coordinator and wanted control of his offense. He took his lumps in his first year, but he learned from it, mostly via the hard way, which can often prove to be the best way. He responded by relegating power to incoming coordinators Weis and Crennel. Haley withstood criticism all year about his unconventional wisdom applied to this year's team, especially when it came to 4th downs. But, he didn't waver all year. I'm still a firm believer that it was a tone setter for the team. His players absolutely loved him for it. He gave Shaun Smith a carry on the goalline. He wore a skull cap to the NBA preseason game in Kansas City. He displayed true emotion aimed at our rival's head coach. He gets mad (not Bo Pelini mad, but mad) at silly pass interference calls on his defensive backs. He offends people by not shaving. He calls for onside kicks at crazy times. But, above all else, he wins.

5. Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel- They are impossible to separate. It was easier to say Crennel was doing a better job throughout much of the season, but Cassel's turnaround has to be accredited to Weis. While Weis's job was singularly focused, Crennel had the task of turning around one of the NFL's worst defenses from top to bottom. And he did so without much of a talent upgrade from last year. The biggest turnaround was seen in the team's ability to rush the passer, racking up 34 sacks through 15 games thus far, good enough for 12th in the NFL. This after only accumulating 22 in 2009 (31st in the NFL), and an NFL-record low 10 in 2008. I would argue the two most surprising teams in the league this year (KC and Chicago) have the best assistant coaches in the NFL (Mike Martz and Rod Marinelli for the Bears). This isn't a coincidence. You have to wander with so many head coaching jobs opening up around the league, if either of these two names will be mentioned for them.

6. Herm Edwards- It's awfully easy to bash on Herm after his downward spiral of a tenure with the team. However, one aspect of his that cannot be disputed was his knack for evaluating talent (aside from Crodie), specifically the 2008 Draft class he oversaw. That one class produced a potential future Pro Bowl Left Tackle, the best pair of young Cornerbacks in the league, the team's best defensive lineman not named Wallace, and another starting offensive lineman. Wow! Thanks Herm, enjoy your ESPN gig. Oh, and there was one more guy in that class you may have heard of....

7. JamaAL (pronounced Juh-ma-ALL) Charles- The Chiefs are solid in a lot of areas, but their one big difference maker, which every great team needs, is The Swivluh. From the team's first touchdown of the season, his 56 yard gallop on Monday Night against the Chargers, to his 80 yard statement run to put away the Rams game, he is the best unknown player in the NFL. If people WERE paying attention, they'd realize that God Jam Charles is better than Chris Johnson now, who was run into the ground trying to prove a point by getting to 2,000 yards last year. Good thing we got #1 in charge.

8. Monday Night Football Win- This was THE game. Without this victory, the team probably doesn't get off to the hot start. Without this victory, the Chargers might not get off to their slow start. Without this victory, the Chargers most likely sweep the season series, and are most likely representing the AFC West in the playoffs. There was so much to love about this game from the rain which befuddled the Chargers, leading to Phil Rivers yelling at his teammates every chance he got, to the highest blood alcohol level in NFL history, to Dave throwing up anywhere and everywhere, to cuddling with my closest friends in the very top row, to the heart the team showed holding on to the lead at the end. The best part was that everybody knew the season was on the line going into the game, which produced the loudest crowd I've ever heard for an NFL game. And I was there.

9. The Arrowhead Stadium crowd- The magic has returned! A year after breaking the consecutive sellout streak that Chiefs fans could always point to when making their claim as the best fans in the NFL, Arrowhead made a comeback at just the right time. The Chiefs are well on their way to an undefeated season at home, a feat they also accomplished back in 2003. Without just one of those wins, the playoffs would not be a reality today. It's ironic that the Chiefs road problems might stem from their monstrous homefield advantage. With a lesser advantage at home, the difference between home and road would be much less, which would make it much easier for the team to adjust. Should we change a thing? Um, no.

10. Tamba Hali- Wanted to give my man a special shout out after he got hosed out of the Pro Bowl. I've been Muhammad Hali's biggest supporter for the past couple years, telling anyone that would listen that he was playing at a higher level than his sack numbers would lead you to believe. My faith, which stemmed from the belief that he would make a better 3-4 OLB than he did a 4-3 DE, paid off this year, where he was basically doing the work of two men (while Vrabel is slowly being transferred over to the coaching staff). I will never forget the bloodied up Tambahawk screaming in Peyton Manning's face "You don't know where I've been!!!" earlier this season. Below was my forecast for TambaHawk's 2010 season, written while the team was still in training camp...

~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.
That's it! That's the list!

Take it with you,
His Dirkness

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

CHIEFS are in the Playoffs?!?!

The Christmas season just keeps on giving. As excited as I was to wake up on Christmas morning (and I do celebrate the holiday like a joyous little girl), waking up on Chiefs gameday morning the very next day was much more exciting. And as much as I needed to nap following the Chiefs thrashing of the mentally wounded Titans, watching the Chargers throw away their season against the hapless Bengals may have been just as pleasing to the eyes.

Before celebrating the Chiefs unforeseen accomplishments, lets first bash on those Chargers for bit. With their playoff hopes on the line, the deciding play totally summed up the overrated, underachieving, heartless San Diegites. Down 7 with 6:30 left in the most important game of the season, the Charger defense breaks the huddle late, and while the cornerback is still peeking into the backfield to decipher the huddle, boom the receiver has blown past him for an easy touchdown. Unprepared, undisciplined, lazy. An absolutely Norvelous effort. Oh, and if that wasn't enough for you Chiefs fans, the Chargers announced Norvin will be returning for 2011. It's almost as if a Chiefs fan was running the Chargers. Or maybe a chimpanzee.

(Here is that play for those who missed it)

Now lets soak in the Chiefs glory for a bit with some stats. The Chiefs are going to the playoffs for the first time since 2006. It is their first AFC West division crown since 2003. The Chiefs have won the same amount of games in 2010 as they had in 2007, 2008, and 2009 combined (and have a chance to surpass that total next week). It was the biggest one season turnaround in team history, going from 4-12 in 2009, to 10 wins so far in 2010. His Dirkness attended 5 games this season, and witnessed the Chiefs go 4-1 in those games (only loss was in Houston).

So the Chiefs are in the playoffs. And they will be hosting a wildcard game on January 8th or 9th. But who will they be playing? Well.......

If the Chiefs win: They will get the #3 seed in the AFC and would most likely host the New York Jets. Unless the Steelers lose and the Ravens win, at which point we would host the Steelers. That wouldn't be good, although we'd be facing a team fresh off a loss to the Browns, so when in Rome.

If the Chiefs lose: Would be the #4 seed unless the Colts lose to the Titans. But, if the Colts win, we would most likely host the Baltimore Ravens. Unless the Steelers lose and the Ravens win, and then we'd be back on the Jets. UNLESS the Jets lost too, at which point we'd draw the Pittsburgh Steelers.

You still with me? If not, play with this thing for a while. If you have an iota of geek in you it can be quite fun (that's known as a playoff perk). Basically, what these projections tell you is that if we win we'll play the Jets, and if we lose we'll play the Ravens. I, along with most other people, would prefer to play the Jets, but would be cool with kickin either of their asses.

What most people don't realize is that we could be a dangerous team in this tournament. They say the playoffs are all about running the ball and defense. We know we do one of those things very well, and we think we do the other thing pretty well. Plus, we will have the added motivational advantage the week of the game with every NFL talking head babbling about how lucky Team A is that they'll be playing the Chiefs instead of the Chargers. Don't underestimate things like that. Every time you hear the Chargers mentioned the week of the game it helps us a little bit more.

And while this may sound silly to some of you reading, what if the Chiefs make the Super Bowl this year? I'm not saying it's likely, but we find ourselves in a single elimination tournament where any team can get hot and win four straight games. In a year where everybody thought they would lose their first playoff game for sure, the Arizona Cardinals held a lead in the Super Bowl with under 2 minutes to play. I'm not predicting it, nor saying you should expect it, but at least consider the possibility of your Kansas City Chiefs playing in the Super Bowl. That's what the playoffs are all about baby!

His Chiefness

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Josh Selby: The Exception or The Rule?

Can Josh Selby singlehandedly lead H'dirkness to change his beliefs on the one-and-done player?

Mmmm not so fast my friends! Atleast, not yet. I've been very public about my distaste for one-and-done players coming to KU. I don't believe it's the best way to build the foundation of a program (hard to replace players every year), nor do I believe it's the best way to win National Championships, which is what it's all about. I base most of my beliefs around what it takes to win it all around the 2008 Kansas team, the most successful team I've ever followed from day 1. That team wasn't the only team void of a one-and-done type player, but rather every College Basketball team that has won a championship in the past 20 years, with one very large exception, the 2003 Syracuse team led by Carmelo Anthony (next closest contributor may have been Marvin Williams to the 2005 North Carolina team, who didn't even start).

I believe that it takes a certain desire, a willingness to lay it all on the line, to win in March. One-and-dones treat the NCAA Tournament like it's a showcase for them to get noticed by NBA scouts. Xavier Henry was the perfect example of this last year. As the ship was going down, and it was time to see what the Jayhawks were made of deep down, I think I spotted Henrization X in the stands getting a hot dog. "Oh, sorry guys, did you need me?"

Now maybe my distaste for Xavier is too fresh on my mind for me to see the big picture. After all, The Selbinator will probably have a shot at going #1 in the NBA Draft, so he might actually care about what happens to the team (hard to go #1 if you get bounced early). But, with my full disclosure of predetermined beliefs now out in the open, let me get to what happened on Saturday against USC.

Selby's huge 3-pointer that he hit with just under 30 seconds left in the game, putting KU up by 1, may have created a stigma for himself. And it may be just what these Jayhawks needed. Already stacked with a National Championship caliber frontcourt (no, frequent commenter Rickaaay, that does not include ChenoWithey), Selby may provide the final piece to the puzzle. Tyshawn Taylor, Eli'Jah Rule Johnson, Travis Bobbleheadeford, and the Whitey Tighties are all nice complimentary pieces, but none of them really inspire confidence in taking a big shot (I'd actually trust Tyrel the most).

That 2008 Kansas team's calling card was balance. A team that could attack you with any player on the floor, from any spot on the floor. This 2011 team is very similar in that aspect. However, with the '08 team, everybody knew who would take the big shot (except the Calipari Monster I guess). Who is that man on this team? Mar-Mo would probably be the answer as of now, but you'd prefer a guard that could create his own shot. Selby might have to be that guy. Fortunately, he looks like he's up for the challenge. He did not hesitate to shoot it in his very first game in a KU uniform. This is a very good thing. He is young enough to believe what people are saying about him, and people had to be slob-knobbing him after his performance on Saturday.

However, Selby was far from perfect. He was a bit of a chucker, but that might not be the worst thing for these Jayhawks, who have yet to develop a true identity. He also showed some rust with a couple of Ty-Tay-like turnovers that had you scratching your head. Hopefully, those kinks get worked out with a few more games under his belt though (just like Tyshawn right?).

So, while I was hesitant to embrace the arrival of Josh Selby, I can't deny that the Kansas Jayhawks just became a whole lot more interesting. While merely trudging along through the winter sludgery (their beginning to the season has been rather boring), they were being forgotten by Ze Dirkness due to the playoff push by the Chiefs (GO CHIIIIIIIIIIIEFFSSSSS!). And while the Chiefs are dominating 95% of my brain right now, the Jayhawks are now atleast on the radar, which is good news for all my KU Crodies out there.

(P.S. The lack of Chiefs writing can be attested to my approach to these last three games as more of a fan than a writer. Writing about the Chiefs is fun, but my passion doesn't run as high with an eye on the big picture at all times. I want both eyes on the here and now, with all perspective thrown out the window. That being said, I'll try and pump out some thoughts before next week's game against the Titans, which I will say, scares the dickens outta me.)


Monday, December 13, 2010

The Worst QB of All-Time?

It was painfully obvious to me what happened to the Kansas City Chiefs in San Diego on Sunday. The players went into the game with little belief that they could win. You can blame Todd Haley and company if you want, but it's very difficult to go into war led by a bonafide, gen-u-wine loser. A reeeeeeal Munson.

Crodie freakin' Broyle.

People that read my quasi-preview from Saturday night will know that I wasn't surprised at what we all were forced to watch on Sunday. What is surprising, shocking, and even astonishing, is the number of people that believed Crodie wasn't a big drop off from Matt Cassel. Shockingly, I haven't heard much of the same sentiments thrown around today.

However, there they were there during the game, offering up all the excuses that will eventually be engraved into Crodie Broyle's tombstone. "His receivers are dropping balls." "The offensive line isn't blocking." "It's the defense's fault." "His hair was in his eyes." "His man-pon fell out." These excuses may have once been valid, but now lack any credibility (I can tell you 10 reasons why). These will now be referred to as 'Crodieisms.'

So all of this got me to thinking...could Brodie Croyle (I'll use his real name for record's purposes) be the worst NFL Quarterback of all time?

This got me scouring the Internet in search of who people are calling the worst QB of all time. Almost every list included the names Ryan Leaf, JaMarcus Russell, and Rick Mirer. These QB's were admittedly terrible, but are all making the lists because of expectations placed on them due to where they were drafted. Also, while most of them possess worse overall stats than Crodie, they all managed to at least win an NFL game, something Cruddie cannot claim. And while stats are easy to use for this type of designation, they don't tell the whole story with Cruds. His extreme absence of toughness wouldn't inspire an ADHD-diagnosed 10-year-old-on-crack, which isn't an official stat. Yet. The stat that does shed some truth would be 0-10. That's oh and ten.

In fact, the record for most losses to start an NFL career is held by Troy Aikman, with 11 straight losses (don't think anybody will argue he's worse than Crodie). Yes, Crodie is one more loss away from immortality. I can't deny that I want to see him earn that record, I just pray that it doesn't come in a Chiefs uniform. I can't take anymore of him to be honest. He's so hard to root for that I created a word describing my feelings while watching him: Sporture. It's sports torture. Definition: Being forced to root for someone you hate. I wouldn't say I was rooting against the Chiefs on Sunday (although I never thought we stood a chance), but Crodie pushes me closer to that unfortunate reality than any Chiefs player ever has. It's complete and utter sporture.

Now for the good news. While drinking away my sorrows last night, my buddy Cook Andopolis presented an interesting theory to me. This was the best game of the final four for Matt Cassel to miss. There was a good chance we were going to lose it anyways, but losing another game is when the division lead is lost. So now, hopefully, we'll have Cassel for the easier games left on the schedule. Also, in that process, we all have a scapegoat for what was a total team lay down in San Diego. We can all pretend the game never happened, which is exactly how the Chiefs are treating it apparently (my sources tell me the Chiefs didn't even send out a press release following the game- my theory is that not enough yards were gained to change anything in the record books).

My optimistic take on the game will not survive another poor effort next week against the Rams, which is shaping up to be the biggest Chiefs game in some time. We'll either have Cassel, suddenly with the entire city behind his back, or Crodie, going for the record in futility. So eat your wheaties, do your homework, and say your prayers to heal the most relevant useless organ in the body this city has ever seen.

His Dirkness

Saturday, December 11, 2010

NFL Week 14 PicksAndThought's and CHIEFS!!

Well, the biggest game of the year is upon us, which the Chiefs were all set for until God stepped in said, "You will not win this game, ya jackass!"

As most of you know, Matt Cassel is out with an appendix, so in steps Crodie Broyle (he can shake that nickname forever if he wins on Sunday. Or if he just ever wins a game period.) Crodie is my least favorite Chief on the team, and in my eyes was born a genuine loser. The Chiefs only chance in this game is to rally around Cassel, who didn't even make the trip out to San Diego. I have an interesting dividing line between close friends who I watch the games with (who all think Crodie is cruddy), and trusted sports personalities who I swap insights with (all seem to think Crodie is credible). If he leads the Chiefs to a victory, I might just head to the local barber shop and demand the Brodie haircut.

Hopefully, we attack the game with a nothing-to-lose type mentality, muster up some big plays, and rely heavily on our running game. However, I expect 9 men to be stacked in the box with the intention of shutting down God Jam Charles (who should be showing up to the game in an Armani suit). Although I will say, there is a chance the Chargers blow it somehow. After all, we are talking about the most undisciplined team in the league, a team that doesn't like to start trying until they're down 17-0.

Now for the bad news. If the following scenario were to happen, the Chargers would make the playoffs over the Chiefs:

  • Chiefs: Lose to SD, lose to STL, win over Tenn, win over Oak
  • Chargers: Win out (KC, SF, @Cin, @Den)

This would leave both teams at 10-6, while Oakland would be 9-7 at best. The teams would have split their two meetings, and would share equal 3-3 records from within the division. The next tiebreaker is common games. The Chargers would hold a one game edge in that department and would be the division winner.

This makes the game at St. Louis loom large. I am already kinda looking past this game in San Diego (yes, I'm allowed to because I'm a fan, not a player, however I do crush alot). I leave it to all of you Chiefs fans to wish upon every birthday, shooting star, blown eyelash, and 11:11 clock reading that comes your way this week for Cassel's health. Some of you owe it to the team after questioning Cassel all season long, leading to his stress-induced injury. This is your chance to make up for it. We need Matt Cassel for St. Louis.

Now for the very good news. His Dirkness' season goal was to stand at 6-6 at this exact point in the season. My reasoning was that we'd have a good chance at making the playoffs at 10-6, which means we'd still be playing relevant games at this point in the season. The Chiefs have greatly surpassed mine and probably your greatest expectations. Do you realize what we, as fans, were worrying about at this point last year? Draft positioning, draft prospects, and waiting for an unknown player to stand out (thank you JamaAL). Essentially, they were preseason games. Now, we're essentially playing playoff games. What a difference a year can make.

Now on to some picks.......

Didn't get week 13 picks up, but I went 10-6.

  • Indianapolis over TENNESSEE (Anybody who said Randy Moss wasn't a risk - Nick Wright - needs to watch the Titans post-Randy)
  • Cleveland over BUFFALO (I'd take the Browns over any non-playoff team right now)
  • Green Bay over DETROIT (If I had a shot at the World Tag Team Championships, I'd pick The Ndominant One as my partner)
  • NY Giants over MINNESOTA (I just hung out with Ahmad Bradshaw and Kevin Boss at the KCI airport. Nice guys. An event like this can unite a team - remember I said that)
  • PITTSBURGH over Cincinnati (The first home team I've picked, which could be a recipe for disaster)
  • Tampa Bay over WASHINGTON (Josh Freeman got fined for his late hit following the game-ending INT - I've really come around on him)
  • Atlanta over CAROLINA (Will be cheering for the Falcons out of the NFC for Tony Gonzalez)
  • JACKSONVILLE over Oakland (The big game that you won't hear about because of Brett Favre tomorrow)
  • SAN FRANCISCO over Seattle (Love that Troy Smith rocks the #1 jersey, not sure why)
  • NEW ORLEANS over St. Louis (I just wrote 'Can't cheer for a Sam Bradford injury' 500 times on a chalk board)
  • CHICAGO over New England (Pats due for a letdown and the Bears are surprisingly frisky)
  • Miami over NY JETS (J-E-T-S could be O-V-E-R.....rated)
  • Denver over ARIZONA (The Cardinals may be starting the most unknown QB of all-time: John Skelton from Fordham- same school as Tony Reali)
  • SAN DIEGO over Kansas City (Prediction: 31-14)
  • Philadelphia over DALLAS (Faced a difficult decision in fantasy with Vick or Rodgers to start- I went with Vick)
  • HOUSTON over Baltimore (Do we know anything about Joe Flacco?)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Kansas City Chiefs (8-4) Thoughts

(This post was somewhat inspired by Sports Illustrated's Peter King who writes the Monday Morning Quarterback, which is so epic I need to devote an entire night to read, comprehend, and properly analyze it. Tis incredible.)

My Arrowhead experience was filled with a little bit of everything on Sunday. We were wrongfully directed away from fancy-boy parking towards common-folk parking, which was tough for our pinky-extending carload to accept, until some nice Kansas City tailgating folk filled our bellies with baked potato soup. Then, we cut it too close to game time by trying to pound the last of our Red Dogs, forcing me to sprint through the concourses with juke moves that JamaAL would envy, while listening to this. Then while trying to ignore the "F-you Mays" and "F-you club level" chants being hurled from over my shoulder, my Chiks-appeal took full effect with a Denver fan sitting next to me offering to take me home in his suitcase. Not so fast my friend, you're gonna have to wait in line behind this Chiefs fan next to me, who's making moves I tend to only accept from Asian philly's. Luckily, I was wearing multiple layers of protection.

I was not surprised to see Josh McDingleberry (not to be confused with Wallace Dean Gilberry, who has been too busy playing peacekeeper to get after the QB - he will get a sack against San Diego) fired after the game on Sunday. His inexcusable decision to punt on a 4th and 5 with under 3 minutes to play reeked of McDude giving up on his team. It almost makes me wonder if he knew of his fate prior to the game. They faced a 4th and 4 and their own 39 yard line with the score at 10-6. Even if you don't convert, a Chiefs field goal doesn't end the game. However, one Chiefs first down DOES end the game. This was the single worst in-game coaching decision I've seen this season. Gary Pinkel was screaming at his TV.

On the other end, Todd Haley really has his hand on the pulse of this team. His players love him. When Mike Vrabel and Shaun Smith enter the game on offense, the entire Chiefs sideline gets invigorated, while the Arrowhead crowd goes from diesel truck loud to rock concert loud (I'm picturing a Gwar concert). The same goes for his 4th down decisions. Young NFL players love going for it on 4th downs. Harvard educators love going for it on 4th downs. Old conservative people dislike going for it on 4th downs. Well I say put down the Kentucky Gentlemen old man, and get yourself a Four Loko, because this is a new generation of Kansas City Chiefs football.

This leads me to the Barry Richardson situation. He threw a Dirkness-like (Taylor Martinez-induced) tantrum on the sidelines. He even pushed special teams coach Steve Hoffman (wait, I know Steve Hoffman! You bastard!). Instead of villainizing Richardson after the game, Todd Haley stuck up for him. He spoke about how he loved the passion he was seeing from his players in the middle of a playoff race. It was pretty special to listen to. Again, Kansas City's players love him.

Jack Harry didn't think so though, nah-unh! He makes a ridiculous analogy in the following video that I can't make any sense of. Go to the 1:00 mark of this video and tell me if you understand....

Yea Jack Harry! Way to set sports journalism back another 10 years! Moving on....

Matt Cassel is starting to look more and more like Tom Brady. No, it's not the awesome haircut. And no, it's not the game winning drive that we're going to see from him in the Super Bowl this year. It's the way he's perfecting the art of the checkdown. Brady is the checkdown master, oftentimes converting 3rd and 7-10's by way of accurately swinging the ball to a running back (used to ALWAYS be Kevin Faulk, now it's more the rich man's Rex Burkhead- Danny Woodhead). This play is wildly effective if you hit your running back in stride, who should have a decided speed advantage on a linebacker in man coverage. These can be the easiest yards in football to gain.

To conclude my Chiefs thoughts, the best two players on the field on Sunday were Champ Bailey and Brandon Carr. It was hyped as a game between two top-flight receivers Dwayne Bowe and Brandon Lloyd. Cha(u)mp Bailey shut down the NFL's hottest player, holding Bowe to 0 catches (should have had one that was called back due to a ridiculous offensive pass interference call). Carr helped limit Lloyd to only 2 catches, while tallying 5 pass breakups, an incredible number. Big props to Carr, who's worst games of his career have come against the Denver Broncos. Well, he made up for it on Sunday, turning in the best game of his career.

For those of you clamoring for my thoughts on Nebraska's defeat in the Big 12 Championship, read this.

His Dirtyness

Friday, December 3, 2010

NFL Parity and Power Rankings

It's the return (the turn, turn). The return (turn, turn). It's the return. It's. The. Return. You're welcome OutKast fans. Thankfully, the aspect that the NFL strives to promote so greatly has returned to the league for the 2010 season: Parity.

After watching the Patriots and Colts dominate the AFC for the last ten years, and lasting through the undefeated stints of the Saints (13-0) and Colts (14-0) in 2009, the 2010 NFL season is void of any true favorite (Yes, the Patriots, Colts, and Saints are still around, but not in the same dominating ways of the past). This is when the NFL thrives. It's a league that depends on the names on the front of the jersey. And it's a league that's designed to give every team a chance at the Super Bowl. We remember the 1999 Rams as fondly as the 49ers/Cowboys/Patriots dynasties.

Despite promoting parity, there has been a certain disparity in the league the last ten years. It seems nobody was ready to handle the salary cap upon its inception in the mid 90's. Teams didn't understand how to build around the cap, which ensured that great teams didn't last more than a handful of years. Then the Patriots and Colts figured things out, got star QB's, and broke the NFL mold by contending for championships every year. Since then, teams have slowly caught up (although, still not all the way), and their franchise QB's have grown older. Suddenly new quarterbacks are mentioned in the same breath (Brees, Rivers, Rodgers, Thigpen - still nobody mentions Ben Roth Biglisberger).

This will inevitably lead to an exciting finish to the season with all the close division races, and a playoffs that's wide open to all 12 teams (well, 11, minus the NFC West winner). So when all you young'in's are ordering rounds of shots this weekend, make sure you toast to parity, the most underrated aspect in all of sports, and the difference between a good NFL season and a great NFL season (there are no bad NFL seasons, although 2009 was as close as it gets).

Previous NFL Power Rankings:

Week 13 NFL Power Rankings:

1. Atlanta Falcons
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
3. New Orleans Saints
4. New York Jets
5. New England Patriots
6. Philadelphia Eagles
7. Green Bay Packers
8. Baltimore Ravens
9. San Diego Chargers
10. Chicago Bears
11. New York Giants
12. Kansas City Chiefs
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
14. Indianapolis Colts
15. Miami Dolphins
16. Jacksonville Jaguars
17. Cleveland Browns
18. Oakland Raiders
19. Washington Redskins
20. St. Louis Rams
21. Houston Texans
22. Buffalo Bills
23. Tennessee Titans
24. Minnesota Vikings
25. Seattle Seabags
26. Detroit Lions
27. Dallas Cowboys
28. San Francisco 49ers
29. Denver Broncos
30. Arizona Cardinals
31. Cincinnati Bengals
32. Carolina Panthas

Power Ranking Statistical Analysis:

Biggest Risers (compared to my Week 7 Rankings):
1. San Diego Chargers +14
2. Cleveland Browns +12
2. Oakland Raiders +12
4. Jacksonville Jaguars +11
5. Buffalo Bills +10
5. Chicago Bears +10

Biggest Fallers:
1. Tennessee Titans -14
2. Cincinnati Bengals -12
3. Minnesota Vikings -10
4. Seattle Seahawks -8
5. Indianapolis Colts -7

Most Overrated Teams (compared against ESPN's Power Rankings):
1. Baltimore Ravens -4
2. Tennessee Titans -4
3. Houston Texans -4

Most Underrated Teams:
1. Cleveland Browns +7
2. Detroit Lions +5
2. Buffalo Bills +5


Monday, November 29, 2010

2010 Kansas Basketball Open Forum

There has been such persistent clamoring for a write-up concerning some Kansas Basketball, that I am opening it up to you, the folks (that means you Brock and Zeets) to share some insight on what you've seen so far.

Dirkness has been so immersed in his Huskers becoming the evil villain of College Football (loving it), and the Chiefs contending for the playoffs for the first time in what seems like decades (loving it more).

But the Dirkness cupboard has been noticably empty on KU sticky notes. So help me out here, let me know what you've seen, what you think we'll see, or any other humorous interjections you might have on Kansas basketball (opposing K-State thoughts welcomed).....

His Dirkness

Sunday, November 28, 2010

NFL Week 13 PaT's (Picks and Thoughts)

The best addition of the 2010 NFL season has been FOX's decision to add Mike Pereira to their telecast. Pereira held the title of Vice President of Officiating for the NFL from 2001-09. I was first introduced to him through weekly installments on NFL Network where he'd review the biggest calls from the previous week of NFL games. But, it was always the same calls that had been digested throughout the week, and although it was fascinating, not much was learned.

But now, I believe Pereira is a part of every single broadcast on FOX. I got my first dose of him during the Chiefs-Cardinals game last week, where he quickly dismissed an official's ruling on the field by describing it as "a waste of 3 minutes" because "the pass should have been ruled incomplete on the field." It was awesome. Pereira has shed his label with the NFL, and is able to subjectively share his opinion on the officiating almost immediately. Not only in this incredibly insightful, but it eases the frustration of fans watching at home in a weird way. The instant justification of the correctness of the calls on the field, can be very comforting. And isn't that what we're all seeking in this cruel, cruel world?

The bigger issue at hand might be that Fox is finally making moves to catch up with CBS, which has been pumping out better broadcasts for years now. Better game choice, better pump up intro videos to the games, and I much prefer the ice of CBS to Fox's robot guy. I'm the kinda guy that believes this could swing the balance of power from the AFC, where it's been for the last 15 years, back to the NFC.

Week 12 picks: 11-5
Overall Record: 99-61 (62%)

Week 13 picks....

  • New England over DETROIT (The Rock tells me the Lions are better than their record. I agree)
  • New Orleans over DALLAS (Is Jon Kitna the worst-good-QB of all time or the best-bad-QB?)
  • NY JETS over Cincinnati (Carson Palmer might be the worst QB of right now)
  • Green Bay over ATLANTA (Home field advantage for NFC could be on the line)
  • Pittsburgh over BUFFALO (If Buffalo wins, I won't pick against them the rest of 2010)
  • CLEVELAND over Carolina (Peyton Hillis moved up to #1 in my Favorite White Running Back Rankings)
  • NY GIANTS over Jacksonville (Records don't match perceptions in this 6-4 battle)
  • Minnesota over WASHINGTON (Didn't hear a damn thing about the Vikings all week. That's what I'm thankful for)
  • HOUSTON over Tennessee (Randy Moss meet Rusty Smith, our new starting QB)
  • KANSAS CITY over Seattle- This game is a toss up. Both teams are duplicates of each other. Leading the worst divisions in the NFL (NFC version WAY worse), both teams win at home, and both teams employ mediocre QB's named Matt, who are less attractive then they should be because of their haircuts. Seems like a 50/50 game tilted towards Seattle because they're at home. I'll even say 60/40 in Seattle's favor. But, I feel like the Chiefs are due for a day of execution. They turned momentum around in their favor after sleepknocking the Cardinals last week, and haven't put together a complete 60 minutes since early in the season (I'd say Indianapolis). I think Tamba gets 2 sacks. I think the Chiefs break a 60 yard screen pass. And I think the Chiefs win 23-19.
  • Miami over OAKLAND (Thigpen loves Black Hole)
  • Philadelphia over CHICAGO (I'll take Mike Vick, while watching him host dog fights, over Jay Cutler in a better human being contest)
  • BALTIMORE over Tampa Bay (REALLY wanted to take Tampa. Raheem Morris should be runaway winner of Coach of the Year)
  • St. Louis over DENVER (...because of spite)
  • INDIANAPOLIS over San Diego (Almost a must win here for the Chiefs. Go ahead and look at the rest of San Diego's schedule)
  • San Francisco over ARIZONA (Final score: 6-3)

His Dirkness

Friday, November 26, 2010

Defending the BCS

Sorry DirkNation, I've been slacking in the write-ups, especially for this time of year. Dirkness likes to get out and boogie though, and this Thanksgiving week was the perfect opportunity to do so. Combine that with the fact there was little to say about the Chiefs beatdown of Arizona and here we are. In the meantime, enjoy this article I wrote over at Husker Corner defending the BCS. Yes, you heard that right.

A Sonic-Sized Defense of the BCS (yes, I sold out)

I'm about to take a very unpopular stance on a very prevalent topic in today's world of sports. This activity, unconventional wisdom if you will, is one of my favorite pastimes. I call it my fight against "mothoughtony." After all, conformity is for the weak. But, here goes…

I think the BCS is great. Yep, go ahead and let that soak in for a minute.

We live in a society of discontentment that believes constant complaining is the best way to improve our existence. I'm here to set everybody straight.

I'll start with the most common argument against the BCS, which doubles as the biggest fallacy against the much-maligned system: The BCS is unfair.

First off, an example of what's truly unfair: A team that goes 32-2 in the regular season, yet whose season is ultimately considered a disappointment and a failure, because of one loss. This is exactly what happened to the 2009-10 University of Kansas Basketball team.

Yet, nobody complains about how "unfair" College Basketball is. Sorry Jayhawks fans, but nothing you accomplished during the regular season mattered because your entire season is judged by what you do in the NCAA Tournament.

I've never understood why College Football receives so much ridicule on this topic, while other league's structures are, at best, equally as inept. It's been widely accepted that going all out in the NBA regular season actually hurts your chances in the playoffs, while the College Basketball regular season is even more meaningless. Your team's season can go down in three games after playing a 162 game marathon of a season in the MLB. The NFL? Well, they got some things figured out.

College Football boasts the best regular season of any sport. The implementation of a playoff, which is what most BCS haters want, takes that fact away. Suddenly, big games lack meaning, because a loss wouldn't kill a team's chances at winning it all, a fact that I believe to be underrated in most people's minds. A big upset, while fun for the day, might not have a lasting impact on the season. These are points that shortsighted BCS-haters fail to realize.

I'm not saying a playoff wouldn't be incredibly entertaining because it most definitely would, but it would have just as many problems as the BCS. Include too few teams and someone would be wrongfully excluded just as they are now. Include too many teams and the regular season loses its zest. You will never satisfy everybody.

The absolute beauty of College Football is that you cannot take a week off. Your season could go up in smoke on any given Saturday. Every week is do or die.

For this reason, I cannot ever support putting a Boise St, TCU, or Utah in the National Championship game. They cannot possibly face the same rigors week in and week out as a BCS conference team, making it unfair to the teams that have to face that. And if they want an invite to the big party, they need to do everything in their power to join a BCS conference. I'm sure they'd be happy to have them (after all, the Pac-10 wanted Colorado).

Structurally speaking, College Football is built very differently from all other sports, and is the polar opposite of College Basketball. And that's great. Why do we need all of our sports to be constructed the same way? Variety creates balance.

Now I want to make it very clear that I don't believe College Football, or the BCS, is flawless by any means. There are many problems within the game, but the BCS shouldn't top that list.

Preseason polls are based off nothing more than expectations, yet can easily shape the season's outcome. If a BCS team goes undefeated, they will get to the National Championship Game, with one notable exception (more on that in a bit).

However, if it comes down to numerous teams with one loss, the team starting out the season ranked highest in the preseason polls is the most likely to be selected.

This becomes an even bigger problem when voters use what they call "slotting," which basically means they will not drop a team in the rankings for winning. This makes the preseason polls overly critical. While the problems with the BCS are discussed insurmountably more, the incompetence of the human voting process is a much larger problem in College Football.

Other problems that I would aim to fix before taking down the whole BCS system: The amount of time off from regular season to the BCS bowl games (makes games very sloppy, kills momentum), the inconsistency of conference championship games across the nation (an extra game that is oftentimes the toughest of the season creates an unfair advantage for conferences with the extra affair), and too many bowl games (which encourages teams to schedule soft non-conference games).

The one black eye with the BCS that I cannot justifiably defend occurred in the 2004 season. The Auburn Tigers went undefeated but were left out of the National Championship Game for undefeated Oklahoma and USC teams. This is a very rare feat, and has yet to repeat itself (excluding Cincinnati from the ultra-weak Big East in 2009). Auburn remains the one team to be truly jobbed by the BCS.

Every other year the BCS has accomplished exactly what it was designed to do.

The BCS was implemented to unite the elite conferences, and to take human bias out of the equation in deciding who plays for the National Championship. When humans didn't want to decide between two contending teams, the BCS would. Wrongly considered failure, that is the BCS's sole purpose.

Before the BCS, the top two teams weren't even guaranteed to meet in a National Championship Game. In fact, with conference bowl ties, the top two teams rarely squared off in bowl games. This led to #1 teams playing teams outside the top 10 to conclude their season and wrap up a National Championship. Talk about unfair. There were also multiple years that saw the National Champion designation split between two teams (occurring in 1990, 91, and 97).

So remember the next time you're watching a big game in October, about how the circumstances would change with a playoff system in place. Think about how the loser of that game wouldn't be out of the race for the prize. Think about how that stunning upset earlier in the day did little to change the final outcome of the season. Think about how dominant the NFL would become over College Football, and whether it would remain as relevant, or if it would be relegated to little-brother-status instead. And then ask yourself….

Do you still hate the BCS?

His Dirkness

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Fine Line Between Emotion and Irrationality

This article was posted on my HuskerCorner page, where it received a lot of traffic and comments. It was one of most emotional writings to date, and wanted it in my archives here on His Dirkness. Here goes...

Tonight’s game went above and beyond wins and losses.

The anger I feel right now is not because of the fact that Nebraska lost to Texas A&M. I can handle losing. I cannot handle when losing becomes secondary to outside forces affecting the outcome of the game.

I would be just as infuriated if Nebraska had pulled out the game in the end (although, I’m sure my vulgarity would have been expressed in a more positive manner).

My bigger concern is the credibility of the conference which the Huskers still call home for at least one more game. The Big 12 no longer has credibility, and I’m not sure if I can support any future athletic competitions staged by the conference.

The Big 12 no longer gets the benefit of the doubt from me, with a clear vendetta aimed against Nebraska for jettisoning the conference following the 2010 season (understandably so). Nebraska winning the Big 12 Championship in their swan song is Commissioner Dan Beebe’s worst nightmare (and Husker fans biggest fantasy).

It’s still a step above the WWF/E (but a step below the NBA) because the Huskers weren’t made aware of the outcome prior to the game. By all other accounts, the two organizations now occupy the same level of authenticity as athletic competitions. There to entertain, but not to be taken seriously.

I want to make it clear that I am not making the argument that Nebraska deserved to win this game. They didn’t play particularly well, especially on offense, and were held hostage by a reoccurring ankle injury to QB Taylor Martinez the entire game. I’m fine with that.

Again, let me reiterate: I’m not pissed that Nebraska lost (Don’t worry, I don’t expect you to believe me). I felt robbed of a spectacular sporting event with two teams going into battle to determine a victor. The true outcome of the game will forever remain unknown to me.

Preparation, hard work, and energy were the true losers of tonight. If you’re feeling distraught as a fan right now, try and imagine how the players/coaches are feeling.

Or maybe you caught Bo Pelini running after the refs following the game. I was literally bracing for Bo to fight an official, an act that he most likely would’ve been fired for (took me 15 minutes to feel thankful for that not happening).

Or maybe you caught his postgame press conference. He has the look of somebody who just committed a serious crime. I dare you to ask him about the officiating!

I feel the best thing I can do at this juncture is use my platform to draw attention to the problem. People need to be made aware of this.

Perspective will set in soon enough, but now is not the time for that. My thoughts don’t extend beyond winning the final Big 12 Championship before heading for the greener pastures of the Big Ten. So I leave you with nothing but facts…

  • The roughing the passer call on Courtney Osborne was THE worst call of the College Football season (oh, it’s a fact!), seen here.
  • Nebraska had 16 penalties for 145 yards, both school records.
  • Texas A&M had 2 penalties for 10 yards.
  • Texas A&M came into the game ranking 111th in the country in penalties, averaging 8.7 penalties per game for 68.8 yards per game.
  • Nebraska received two personal fouls for this play.
  • Coming into the game, Nebraska opponents had been flagged a conference-low 46 times. Second lowest was 57. That team? The Colorado Buffaloes. What similarity do those two teams share?
  • A crucial third down flag on Texas A&M was waived off with no explanation (wasn’t deserving of a flag. Still fishy).

His Dirkness

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Quick NFL Picks: Week 11

Check out how fast this happens....

  • Biffalo Buffs over CINCINNATI (Buffalo finishes 8-8)
  • Detroit over DALLAS (Suh is pissed at the Big 12's refs)
  • Baltimore over CAROLINA (Brian St. Pierre was pretty crafty at Boston College)
  • Cleveland over JACKSONVILLE (The Browns might be the best team in the NFL)
  • PITTSBURGH over Oakland (Seriously, Oakland will be irrelevant in 2 weeks)
  • TENNESSEE over Washington (What's the deal with the Kerry Collins/Vince Young rotation?)
  • KANSAS CITY over Arizona (Season's on the line)
  • Green Bay over MINNESOTA (Tavaris Jackson is Willie Beaman)
  • NEW YORK JETS over Houston (money on NYJ -6.5)
  • Atlanta over ST. LOUIS (toughest game to pick)
  • Tampa Bay over SAN FRANCISCO (most unpredictable game-could be blowout either way)
  • NEW ORLEANS over Seattle (Seahawks should bring back Shaun Alexander)
  • Indianapolis over NEW ENGLAND (Colts need it more. Happiness level rises if either of these teams misses the playoffs)
  • PHILADELPHIA over NY Giants (Blew it by not visiting Vick in Leavenworth more)
  • SAN DIEGO over Denver (predicted score: 41-9)

GO CHIEFS!!!!!!!!!!

his dirkness

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Guest Article #2: Royals Trade David Dejesus

There once was a young lad who grew up in Kansas City and wanted nothing more than a good baseball team. This fella, lets call him Zeets, saw his dreams come true the magical summer of 2003. The kid was hooked from that moment on. He can't get enough of one of the worst franchises in professional sports, the kind of dedication that you have to admire.

This is guest article number two, written by one of my friends and left completely untouched by me (first one can be found here). I always tell my friends if they write something I'll put it up. It works best on topics that I don't cover, like the terrible sport of baseball. Without further ado, here's my man's thoughts on the Royals trade of David Dejesus.

Written by Matt Zeets:

Thank God we finally got rid of David Dejesus. I was drained from watching his gold-glove caliber defense go wasted in the corners, and his hustle go wasted on such a long season and such a poor team. Sure, he was able to squeeze out a .318 average last year, but after dealing with a .289 average for his career, he owed us for all the grief. I was also sick of watching him get put in the leadoff spot simply because of his career .360 on-base percentage. Finally I was tired of his fa├žade of being a good guy that got along with all the players and fans as well as anyone. He may have had most of Kansas City tricked, but a true Royals fan would will be happy to see #9 leaving KC for good. The only downside to this trade is that he is still in the AL and we will have to see him on occasion.

So I’m not that good of a mock-serious writer. I tried. In all seriousness though, trading David Dejesus is the right move on paper. We have had an abundance of outfielders in the past few years and as much as I hate to admit it, we need more pop at the corner outfield positions than Mr. Dejesus provides. Furthermore, with plenty of 1st and 3rd baseman coming through our system, I would not be surprised to see the Royals try out more than just Alex Gordon in the outfield. Dejesus is due $6 million this year, and will be up for free agency after that. If he had not gotten injured shortly before the trade deadline last year, he probably would have been moved then. While not a prototypical corner outfielder, Dejesus offers a balance in all areas of the game that is still valued more than the Royals can afford. As we’ve learned too many times in the past, the Royals cannot pay every player we bring up through the system. You have to pick your battles and sign the guys that you can build championship teams around like Greinke and Soria and let the well-rounded, lovable, center-fielder made corner outfielder, leadoff man that averages less than 7 steals a year go.

The Royals also got good value for Dejesus. While I stole this stat from another article, the Royals had an American League worst 4.97 ERA, so obviously they need to worry more about finding pitching wherever they can, rather than hanging onto another good, but not great, outfielder. Justin Marks, a starting pitcher in (single) A, was a third round draft pick in 2009, but has not looked that good yet. He was the throw in pickup, so if he does not ever get out of A ball, then it will not matter too much. Vin Mazzaro, a starting pitcher that has seen time in the majors both of the past two years, has not been great yet, but is projected as middle or late rotation starter. While neither player may ever turn out, they are both pitching prospects in their lower 20s, and are well worth the shot at better pitching they offer instead of the year more we would have been able to keep Dejesus, before having to give him up anyway.

While I think Dayton Moore probably made the right move for the team, I truly hate to see Dejesus go. He represents everything that is right about baseball and one of the last pieces of the 2003 team (if only 9 AB’s in 12 games) that made me love the Royals in the first place. I will miss his genuine smile. I will miss his post game ritual with Soria. I will miss his post-injury RBI tear he went on each year. I lament the fact that Dejejols will no longer make sense. David Dejesus, KC loves you and this one is to you .

Dragon Ball Zeets

Monday, November 15, 2010

Kansas City Chiefs: Wha Ha Happen Was....

Damn I fell asleep and totally missed the Chiefs game yesterday.....what happened?

This game was a direct result of blowing the game in Oakland last week. Part of the reason I was so pissed after that Raiders loss is that I thought we might see a hangover effect from it. And while I wasn't that angry about yesterday's loss (every team has a few bad games in a season), I grew more irritated about the blown opportunities in Houston and Oakland.

The real story of the game was the undeniable force that momentum plays in football. If you don't stop the bleeding, the result of the Broncos-Chiefs game is always a possibility. One stop of the Broncos offense, or one score out of the Chiefs, and the outcome of that game could've been greatly altered. But, they didn't. In fact, the Chiefs have played their three worst games of the year the past three weeks (luckily they escaped with one win out of the three). The Cardinals visiting Arrowhead next week is exactly what this team needs to turn it around. It's a must win if the Chiefs have any playoff aspirations in 2010 (or any hopes of winning another game). Lose? And well, this season is over.

However, I go back to my stated goal for the Kansas City Chiefs 2010 season, said prior to the first preseason game.....

~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.
Sure, the game sucked yesterday. But, get a perspective look at this Chiefs team. They've already surpassed last year's win total, and are playing meaningful games for the first time since 2007. Every time you complain about the Chiefs this year, remember that fact. Don't lose sight of it.

Alright, and now for some comments on the handshake (or lackethereof) after the game. Here it is......

I liked it. I enjoy seeing my head coach pissed off just like I am. I don't think it plays a big effect on the team. What it does is take the attention away from the blowout that just occurred. Less people are talking about how poorly the Chiefs played, and are instead focusing on how classless their head coach is. But isn't that disrespectful towards the other team? Yea. So what? It's a rivalry. I don't want our head coach to be chums with their head coach. You think I like Missouri's Mike Anderson being cool? No, not really. I'd much rather hate him. Plus, who could like Josh McDaniels? Aren't you aware of what he did to those kids? Oh, that story hasn't come out yet....

It's surprising to me that nobody is making a connection between Haley's actions and the cheap shot on Tony Moeaki, seen here.....

And before you call my a hypocrite for calling that a cheap shot, let me stop you. It was a cheap shot. But, no, I didn't have a problem with it. It's a rivalry!!! Plus, it's not my job to play morality police. It is incredibly arrogant to inflict your views of what is right and wrong on somebody else. Everybody is entitled to their own opinions. My belief is that things happen, and public opinion of it's morality is irrelevant. There are no regulations. Damn, is that an anarchist's point of view?

Other thoughts from the game yesterday (too lazy to organize structurally):

  • I don't blame Matt Cassel for the loss. Yes, he has to get rid of the football (his #1 problem from last year), but in order to "stop the bleeding" I look to the best players on the team. Well, after taking a look at my midseason grades, I expect Tamba Hali, JamaAL Charles, or Brandon Flowers to be the player to step up and make a play. You hope your QB is "The Guy" on your team, but that's not what Cassel is. You can want to get rid of him if you want, but you can't blame him for yesterday.
  • The most disturbing part of the game came from Brandon Flowers and Dwayne Bowe. They came off incredibly ignorant, selfish, and down right stupid for celebrating individual plays while getting annihilated in the game. It angers me because I prefer to like my Chiefs, and these kind of actions make it difficult.
  • It's amazing how important Jon McGraw has become to this team. Both Kendrick Lewis (he's still on the team right?) and McGraw missed this game due to injury. It was the worst possible time for it, with how much the Broncos throw the ball. Donald Washington and Ricky Price aren't capable safeties. I didn't know it was possible to miss Jon McGraw so much....
  • How bout that replay malfunction? It obviously cost us the game. What if that had been an important play? What if the play obviously needed to be overturned? Does the NFL not have a backup for such malfunctions? I will be cheering for this on every challenge of a positive Chiefs play from now on.
  • What are the Chiefs going to do when teams start double-teaming Tamba Hali every week? The Mike Vrabel sucking situation needs to be addressed. This was my biggest need for the Chiefs the entire offseason, but is just now starting to poke through.
  • The 3rd down play call from the Broncos' 1-yard line was the worst thing to come from the Chiefs all season. My friends and I dropped every slur stemming from a part of the female's anatomy (Delores!) that we could think of. The quick slant to Bowe from the 1-inch line is what I'm referring to.
  • I conclude by drawing more attention to the black eye of the NFL: Pass Interference. Blast! I can't find a video. Here's a link.....Seen at the 1:30 mark. Death to Pass Interference! How many games do horrible pass interference calls have to decide before the NFL addresses the rule? Read my full thoughts here.
His Dirkness

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

2010 Kansas City Chiefs Midseason Report

We are halfway through the season, which means it's time for some midseason reporting on this Kansas City Chiefs team. Yes, this would've been 20x funner (it's a word) if the Chiefs had made a play to win the game at five different junctures against the Raiders on Sunday. But whatdyagonnado? Fuhgeddaboutit!

But everybody, please quit pretending like the Raiders are good. Did you see how bad they looked on Sunday? I have zero fear in losing the division to them. Only the Chargers. People picking the Raiders to win the division is obsurd. Talk to me after the Chiefs stomp that ass at Arrowhead.

So how's this gonna work? I'm going to grade each and every player's contribution to the team so far, followed by the lasting thought of them from the first half of the 2010 season. Expectation is somewhat of a factor, so if you see a good player who is struggling low on the list, do not freak out. I will be listing them in order of performance, starting with who I consider the Chiefs' best player to be on the year.

Without further ado, lets boogie....


  • Jamaal Charles (96)- Gets nod at #1 because running game has carried us this year. Been the best player since his 56-yard touchdown run against Chargers in the opener.
  • Tamba Hali (94)- I've been telling everybody since the 2009 preseason that he would thrive at the Outside Linebacker position. He's making me look good. Earning his Muhammad Hali nickname.
  • Brandon Flowers (93)- The team's best player for 7 weeks may have been the worst player on the field in the 8th game.
  • Ryan Lilja (92)- Selected as All-Pro by both ESPN and Sports Illustrated. Hadn't caught my eye that much, but there must be something there.
  • Glenn Dorsey (91)- Chiefs' most improved player will be our very own Richard Seymour in two years.
  • Branden Albert (90)- Will be the Chiefs' left tackle for the next 10 years.


  • Derrick Johnson (89)- Must have finally learned his vocabulary word handed to him before every season: Consistency.
  • Wallace Gilberry (88)- Officially launching my campaign to get noticed by Gilberry, my favorite Chief. Would love chance to interview or just hang out with him. If you know him, tell him I'm his #1 fan.
  • Tony Moeaki (88-not an accident)- Shocking that he has been the best rookie on the Chiefs team.
  • Casey Wiegmann (87)- I thought he was the biggest difference maker on the Chiefs' line until Lilja's accolades started rolling in.
  • Ryan Succop (87)- The missed kick in OT against the Bills was entirely not his fault. Trust him in the clutch.
  • Thomas Jones (86)- Love everything he's done except for inability to pick up 3rd-and-1, which is starting to become a real problem for this team.
  • Shaun Smith (86)- Crotch-grabbing stats are down, production is down. Coincidence?
  • Brian Waters (85)- Still the man despite being owned by Richard Seymour on Sunday.
  • Dwayne Bowe (84)- Take away two drops and Chiefs fans are calling him D-Pro-Bowe.
  • Jovan Belcher (84)- Been spectacularly solid this year. Big time upgrade over Mays from last year.
  • Brandon Carr (83)- Some good games, some bad games. Gets a ton of balls thrown his way because of Flowers on the opposite side. Still only in his third year. Still worthy of starting.
  • Dexter McCluster (82)- Offense has sputtered since The Ole Missile was injured two weeks ago. Alright Seinfeld fans, "Get well, get well soon, we wish you to get well!"
  • Jon McGraw (81)- A surprisingly big factor on the Chiefs' defense this year.  Tied for the team lead in INT's. Needs to pitch it to Berry after his next pick though. Seriously.
  • Eric Berry (81)- Chiefs' most improved player throughout the year. Shuts down outside sweeps like he is shot out of a cannon. Still vulnerable to playaction though.
  • Barry Richardson (80)- Thought to be a weak link on the line before the season, may come out of the season as a big part of the Chiefs future.


  • Andy Studebaker (79)- Would like to see him on the field more the latter part of this year. I think we will.
  • Ron Edwards (79)- Better than last year probably due to playing less snaps. Crucial part of solid run defense.
  • Mike Cox (78)- Running game seems to flow better with him at fullback. Unsure why he was replaced by Castille for the Raiders game, but our running game seemed to suffer.
  • Matt Cassel (77)- Read this.
  • Jon Asamoah (77)- Had a funny dream that Asamoah got pulled over and was performing offensive line drills in full pads as part of a sobriety test, which I was watching on ESPN. Thought this was true for the better part of a week.
  • Javier Arenas (76)- With his punt return for a TD leaving my conscious mind, his mistakes in the return game are piling up. May have cost us the Raiders game with flubbed kick return. Made some plays at cornerback though.
  • Tyson Jackson (75)- How he responds to being benched this year will foreshadow how the rest of his career in Kansas City will go. Dorsey's development gives me faith in Tyson.
  • Terrance Copper (75)- Made a hell of a catch against Jacksonville for a crucial 3rd down conversion. Could he be the best blocking receiver in the NFL? I'm secretly a big Terrance Copper fan.
  • Thomas Gafford (75)- Don't remember a single bad snap this year. Kendall Gammon Jr.
  • Mike Vrabel (73)- Should maybe be listed under coaches. Love his intangibles, but a better pass rusher is too crucial for his position. 0 sacks.
  • Kendrick Lewis (73)- Has disappeared since the first few games. I think he's been injured. Bright future though.
  • Dustin Colquitt (72)- Is tied with his brother (Britton-Denver) in net punt average this year, unfortunately they're tied for 21st in the league.
  • Verran Tucker (72)- One play. One catch. One foot?
  • Demorrio Williams (71)- Seems to get a lot of special teams penalties, no? Would be solid filling in for injury's sake. Love his passion.
  • Brodie Croyle (70)- Sure does make a much better backup QB than starting QB.


  • Anthony Toribio (69)- I questioned who #98 was three weeks in a row in my notebook. Then I learned.
  • Donald Washington (68)- Victim of god awful defensive holding call on final drive against the Raiders. Also, had his ankles broken against the Texans. Better than our last #27 though.
  • Jackie Battle (66)- Keep seeing his highlight of reaching the ball over the goal-line. Could he be a potential solution to our 3rd-and-1 problems?
  • Leonard Pope (63)- He's tall.
  • Jake O'Connell (62)- He got popped by Bernard Pollard, which was followed by Pollard staring down the Chiefs' sideline.

  • Tim Castille (58)- Wasn't his first name Quentin?
  • Rudy Niswanger (50)- More about his last year's play than this year's.
  • Ryan O'Callaghan (50)- See Niswanger, Rudy.
  • Corey Mays (50)- See O'Callaghan, Ryan.
  • Travis Daniels (42)- Played the Raiders kickoff return TD horribly. He was the guy on the edge backpedaling all the way up until Jacoby was way past him.
  • Chris Chambers (37)- Apparently doesn't care anymore.


  • Justin Cole- Leads the list of linebackers that I didn't know we had.
  • Cory Greenwood- Was watching the whole preseason under the assumption he was somebody else.
  • Mark Simoneau- Happy Veteran's Day.
  • Charlie Anderson- Isn't he part of the Dave Chapelle team?
  • Jackie Bates- Gotta be Jackie Battle's cousin.
  • Reshard Langford- Gotta be Keith Langford's cousin.

  • Todd Haley (91)- As previously stated, I love his 4th down gambles and the effect it will have on the team for the future. Since he is the long-term guy, it is impossible to give him a bad grade given where the team was last year, and where it is this year. But, run Jamaal Charles more.
  • Charlie Weis (79)- Gets all the credit for the progression of the offensive line this year. Gets all the blame for the disaster that 3rd-and-1's have become for the Chiefs. Shouldn't the best running team in football dominate 3rd-and-1's? I don't get it. Also, run Jamaal Charles more.
  • Romeo Crennel (97)- Would probably get my team MVP vote if possible. He should be in the running for NFL Assistant Coach of the Year. Somehow, he shored up our run defense and 3rd down defense (two favorite defensive statistics) into top-10 units. Now if we could just get them to run Jamaal Charles more.

Team Awards:
MVP: Tamba Hali
Offensive Player of the Year: JamaAL Charles
Defensive Player of the Year: Brandon Flowers
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Tony Moeaki
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Eric Berry
Most Improved Player: Glenn Dorsey
Most Surprising Player: Casey Wiegmann/Shaun Smith
Most Disappointing Player: Dustin Colquitt
Most Schizophrenic Player: Dwayne Bowe
Most Underrated Player: Wallace Dean Gilberry

His dirkness
Go Chiefs!!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

NFL Quick Picks ~ Week 8/9 + Chiefs/Raiders

Due to an overabundance of Halloween partying, my NFL picks didn't make their way through the information superhighway last week. Shame. Believe me, they were made though. Here's the proof.....

Cincinnati over Miami-L
Dallas over Jacksonville-L
Washington over Detroit-L
Kansas City over Buffalo-W
St. Louis over Carolina-W
New York Jets over Green Bay-L
Denver over San Francisco-L
San Diego over Tennessee-W
Tampa Bay over Arizona-W
New England over Minnesota-W
Seattle over Oakland-L
New Orleans over Pittsburgh-W
Indianapolis over Houston-W

Week 8 Record: 7-6
Overall Record: 70-47 (59%)

A few thoughts on the Chiefs/Raiders game......

The Raiders are receiving entirely too much publicity this week, and are sure to fall flat on their collective face. I'm feeling very confident about the Chiefs' chances in Oakland, a place they've won 7 in a row. A matchup between the two top running teams should favor the team with the better run defense:

Kansas City run defense: #7 (96.4 ypg)
Oakland Raiders run defense: #26 (127.4 ypg)

Boo yah! I think we see a game that the Chiefs dominate throughout, but somehow the score remains close. I think Jason Campbell makes a few mistakes and the Cable Man thinks about putting Bruce Gradkowski (who he was considering starting) into the game. If he does, I'll be sure to jot down 'Game over' into my special little notebook. The Nnamdi Asomugha injury is a big loss for the Raiders, a problem that D-Bowe should be able to expose (5 TD's in 3 games since his Indy dropsies). A controlled victory that isn't decided until late in the 4th quarter.....

Chiefs 20, Raiders 10

Other Week 9 picks......

Chiefs over RAIDERS-L
FALCONS over Buccaneers-W
Bears over BILLS-W
Patriots over BROWNS-L
LIONS over Jets-L
VIKINGS over Cardinals-W
Saints over PANTHAS-W
RAVENS over Dolphins-W
Chargers over TEXANS-W
Giants over SEAHAWKS-W
EAGLES over Colts-W
PACKERS over Cowboys-W
Steelers over BENGALS-W

GO CHIEFS!!!!!!!!

his dirkness

Friday, November 5, 2010

2010 Kansas Jayhawks Basketball Preview

This is the kinda team KU is more likely to win a championship with. Or maybe I should say, this team is more like the team that DID win the National Championship at the University of Kansas. That team was not filled with stars, but a collection of good players that all played together.

A humorous hindsight: The biggest worry from the 2007-08 Kansas Jayhawks team was a fear of who would take the big shot when the situation called for it. I'm still confident in my Brandon Rush pick.

When Bill Self spoke about this year's team at the media conference a few weeks ago, he had this to say, which I found very interesting....

Last year, Sherron needed to know he was responsible for everything...This year doesn't have anyone like that. This team is closer than last year's team.
This quote stuck with me. Were we catering to one player too much? Maybe a more balanced team leads to more success in the NCAA Tournament. Duke's National Championship team would definitely be evidence of that fact. The quality of that team that stuck out above all else was how well each of their players knew their role. They didn't step outside of their talents, played with a great chemistry, and probably ranked in the lower half of the Top 25 in terms of pure talent. Kansas may have had a more talented team last year, but this year's team may be better built for success when it matters most.

The leaders of this Jayhawks team begins, but doesn't end, with the Morrisi (oh, it's back baby!). Here's what Marcus Morris had to say after losing to Northern Iowa last year....

I know I’ll be back next year, and I’ll be a leader of this team next year. Summertime, I’ll work as hard as I’ve ever worked in my life and try to bring a national championship to KU before I go anywhere.
I can remember my head filling with confidence for the 2010-11 season immediately after hearing this. I felt like he was speaking on the entire team's behalf. A team that figured out that things aren't handed to you in the NCAA Tournament. You have to go out and earn it. Now they know.

Marcus Morris elevated his game from last year in the exhibition game on Tuesday, pouring in 28 points and 7 rebounds (and perhaps more importantly, 11-11 at the free throw line). Combine that with brotha man Markieff's 12 points and 8 rebounds, and there might be quite the brotherhood (eh eh?) building on the low block this year. I expect the Morrisi to thrive without Cole clogging up the lane (yea, I said it). Traditional centers aren't the way to win in College Basketball. I'd much rather have, ahem, athletic big men that can get out and run the floor as well as bang inside. Give me all the 6'8 power forwards you got! I'd start five of them if I were running things.

I have high expectations for Mario Little this year as well. Remember, he was the National JUCO Player of the Year before coming to KU in 2008. He had a few injury problems that year and was forced to play catch up the entire season. I also believed he was playing out of position and would be moving back to his more natural "3" spot on the wing this year. However, exhibition night, against them dang Ichabods, there he was down low again. Why? Put him out on the wing Bill! He reminds me of a Michigan State style wing player, which is a definite compliment. Little needs to become a major factor for this team to be something, and 18 minutes and 8 points (vs. Washburn) isn't going to get it done.

How about the freshman from last year? Thomas Robinson is very mobile down low, but still raw. He will be allowed to develop off the bench this year, and hopefully has things figured out come conference play. Elijah Johnson will most likely be starting alongside Tyshawn Taylor in the backcourt, at least until the Selbinator shows up. Eli-souljah Boy provides some much needed athleticism in the backcourt, offsetting the Tighty Whiteys' (it's backkkk) abilities. And seriously, Bill, it was cute and all starting both of them for the first game, but we've got to move on. I'm cool with lil' Tyrel chucking up 3's, but Cornbread hasn't been the same since this unfortunate, yet hysterical, incident....

Bill's pissed about something else and demands to know why everybody is laughing, Dooley is beside himself because he once hit 127 straight free throws, Cole doesn't want to be the first person to laugh because his Pa would yell at him, while Markieff can't find his brother to commence immediate cackling. What a great, great video. Go ahead and watch it again, with an eye on the players in the backcourt while it's happening. Fantastic! Oh yea, but Cornbread's career ended right there. Hey, more than most of us have ever accomplished.

I have yet to really comment on the Josh Selby situation, which I haven't really been following at all. I assume he is going to play at some point. I also assume that I'm the only person hoping that he doesn't. The Jayhawks don't need him. Let me remind you of my thoughts on one-and-done players, with an anecdote from my reaction to the Northern Iowa loss.....

I don't ever want a one-and-done player at Kansas EVER AGAIN! It is a set back for the program. It is a stepping stone for players that have very little-to-no interest in the college game. They play the Tournament with one eye on their stats and one eye on the signing bonus that is 2 months away. In the case of JR Giddens II (Henryzation X), he was so hyped coming into the year, that he never even had anything to prove. Show up, wait a year, get paid. I understand Self going after him for this year with the idea that he is the missing piece to an almost complete team. I hope he learned his lesson. The worst part is that they don't breed championships. Carmelo Anthony is the exception, not the rule. Now, if a player leaves after one year following a deep Tournament run that is fine, but no more players that are assured to leave after one year. Get 'em out!
Geez, Dirkness, tell me how you really feel. I have to stand by my beliefs, and have done so, voicing my displeasure to anybody that would listen since first hearing about Selby potentially signing with KU. I truly hope it doesn't cost KU again, but I do believe it was a major factor (in a bad way) on last year's team.

I'll leave you all with some predictions for this year's Kansas team. I believe they will win the Big 12, because I see no reason to believe they won't. (This isn't a shot at K-State, who I think will be really good, but KU just seems to always win it. I will say if Curtis Kelly gets better and becomes an elite player, they have the potential to win it all). I'll say that KU earns a 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, makes the Final Four, but loses in the National semifinals. I'll take it. Final Four is my expectation/goal for the season.

Rockity Chalkity,
His Dirkness

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Triumvirate of Kansas City Chiefs Thoughts

Wanna know what it felt like to attend the exhausting, near-tie, ultimately-victorious Chiefs game against the Bills on Sunday?? Check it.......

For anybody who is unaware, I kinda like the Chiefs.

Before getting to the Triumvirate (which I believe means an old wooden ship), a few quips from what Football Outsiders had to say about the Chiefs (on Nick Wright on Wednesday). (Football Outsiders runs league trends and statistical analysis and knows way more about the NFL than any person you'll ever hear on ESPN. Fact). On to the highlights....

  • The Chiefs are the 2nd most likely team to make it to the Super Bowl right now (Giants are #1)
  • Ranked #1 in adjusted defensive rankings
  • Second best chances of any team to make the playoffs in 2010
  • A 50/50 chance that the Chiefs would earn a bye week in the 2010 playoffs


The DE-FENSE: I feel like I'm not hearing enough people shower praise upon the Chiefs defense for the victory over the Bills on Sunday. Yes, the Bills are terrible. No, there is no such thing as a "gimme" in the NFL. Yes, a win is a win. No, our team's confidence wouldn't have been high if we had lost to a winless team. And yes, this win could prove to be crucial come December/January.

Four different times the Bills moved the ball inside the Chiefs' 42 yard line with a chance to win the game. That is dangerous territory, and more often than not, a team scores at least a field goal once it has advanced that deep. Lets take a look at what happened on those four pivotal drives.....

  • End of 4th quarter: Quite possibly the worst pass in NFL history, courtesy of Ryan Fitzpatrick, finds its way into the Error Bearer's hands for an interception and end of regulation.
  • First drive of OT: After a facemask penalty, the Bills advanced to the Chiefs' 43 yard line, before idiotically throwing two incompletions (HAVE to run the ball there). They followed with a 3rd down run before punting.
  • Second drive of OT: Bills advance to Chiefs' 37 yard line, before (stop me if you've heard this already) idiotically throwing two incompletions (yea...). Forced with a 51 yard field goal attempt, Rian Lindell squibbed it off the uprights. Game continues....
  • Third drive of OT: Following Succop's crazy missed field goal (not his fault), the Bills drive to the Chiefs' 42, before the Bills not-so-idiotically (clock was winding down) throw three incompletions, with the third resulting in an intentional grounding (thank you Mohammad Hali!). Punt.
That is some seriously clutch defense. Didn't hear enough about it this week, and wanted to make sure they get the credit they deserved from this guy.

Haley's Strategery: Am I the only one that LOVES what Haley is doing on 4th downs? He is risking short-term results for a long-term mentality. He's setting a tone for the 2010 Kansas City Chiefs, which goes something like this: Don't fuck with us. We're gonna do what we want, when we want. The Chiefs are building a reputation of a borderline crazy team. People fear craziness. They fear not knowing what we're gonna do.

Yes, it might cost us a game in the regular season at some point, but it also might gain us a strong advantage in a playoff game, when a defense is on their toes not knowing what to expect. Plus, tons of people way smarter than myself (or anybody reading this blog) claim that going for it on 4th down is oftentimes the right decision. Kent Babb of the KC Star wrote an article that touched on it, but it was too much for him to handle, and has since backed down. I'm sticking with it. 

Our coach has balls, and could possibly be on the cutting edge of the new NFL. We should all live on the edge alongside him and embrace it.

Chiefs Offensive Line: The Kansas City Chiefs' offensive line is not getting enough credit. Much maligned after 2009, they have played at an outstanding level this year. The Chiefs are #1 in the NFL in running the ball. But, there not only the best this year. Take a look at the #1 rushing teams from the past 10 years.....

  • 2000- Oakland- 154 yards per game
  • 2001- Pittsburgh- 173 ypg
  • 2002- Minnesota- 157 ypg
  • 2003- Baltimore- 167 ypg
  • 2004- Atlanta- 167 ypg
  • 2005- Atlanta- 159 ypg
  • 2006- Atlanta (they had Mike Vick)- 183 ypg
  • 2007- Minnesota- 164 ypg
  • 2008- New York Giants- 157 ypg
  • 2009- New York Jets- 172 ypg
  • 2010- Kansas City- 190.4 yards per game!!!
They have the highest total of any team in the league from the past 10 years as of now! It wouldn't even be close except for the aberration that is Michael Vick with the Falcons. In fact, the all time record for team rushing yards in a season was set by the New England Patriots in 1978 with 3,165 yards (197.8 ypg). The Chiefs are on pace 3,046 yards as of right now. That is amazing!

And yet, I hear everybody praising JamaAL Charles and Thomas Jones, while the big uglies are doing thankless work up there.

That isn't all though. The Chiefs also rank #2 in the NFL in sacks allowed (after ranking 27th in 2009), only trailing the Indianapolis Colts by one measly sack. Credit goes all the way around for that statistic, from Todd Haley and Charlie Weis, to Matt Cassel, to the offensive line.

So remember when you're watching the Chiefs battle the Raiders on Sunday to praise Branden Albert (matured nicely into a solid LT), Brian Waters (The Godfather), Casey Weigmann (the difference maker?), Ryan Lilja (highly underrated pull blocker), Barry Richardson (we might have something here), and even Jon Asamoah (only adding to the 2010 Draft class).

His Dirkness

Friday, October 29, 2010

What do we have in Matt Cassel?

The Kansas City Chiefs' starting quarterback has been everything we've been asking for over the past month. In fact, no NFL quarterback has posted a higher QB rating since the calendar page flipped to October. Matt Cassel has given us two of his best performances of his career the past two weeks to silence the critics that were growing louder by the week. All you heard the first four weeks of the season was how good the Chiefs could be if they had a good QB. Cassel has quietly put together some solid stats though, and there has never been any question about his dedication to the team or his passion to win.

Tell me if this picture, combined with his recent behavior, reminds you of anyone?

The feistiness. The fire. The fist pumps. The over-exuberance. The dorkiness. It could only be one man: Jake Delhomme. Look, Delhomme was not the most talented quarterback to come along, but he inspired his teammates and they believed in him. They went to battle with him because they knew how much he wanted to win. Jake the Snake came into the league under similar circumstances as Cassel (Delhomme undrafted, Cassel a 7th round pick). Delhomme didn't get his first chance to lead a team until 28 (Cassel at 26). They were both counted out and have both shown an incredible amount of heart. Delhomme, paired with a strong running game and stout defense, led his Carolina Panther team to a Super Bowl. Can Matt Cassel be our Jake Delhomme?

The three main responsibilities of a quarterback are:

1. Be efficient on 3rd downs.
2. Avoid mistakes like interceptions, fumbles, and sacks
3. Be at your best in the 4th quarter.

So how is Cassel fairing in these three categories? Let's dive into it....

1. Third Downs:

  • Cassel's stats on 3rd downs: 25-47, 328 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, 89.7 QB rating.
  • Chiefs 3rd down conversion rate: 29-77, 37.7%, 21st in NFL.
  • Chiefs 3rd down conversion rate (last 2 games): 15-27, 55%, would be good enough for #1 in NFL.
  • Analysis: Cassel has shown improvement over the last two games. The third down stats are a bit skewed because of our inability to run for 3rd and short yardage (which is perplexing given our gaudy rushing game stats). This is, and will continue to be, the ultimate judgment stat on Cassel in my eyes.
  • Grade: C+ (would've been D two games ago)

2. Avoid Mistakes:

  • Cassel's fumbles: 1 fumble (you might remember this as the play he fumbled twice), 0 fumbles lost: Chiefs have fewest fumbles and fumbles lost in the NFL.
  • Cassel's INT's: 3 interceptions: Tied for 3rd best in NFL
  • Cassel's sacks: 5 sacks (fewest in the NFL!).
  • Analysis: Cassel's worst trait coming into this year was his affinity for getting sacked. Leading the league in that category is astonishing and speaks for both Cassel and the offensive line's improvement. The lack of interceptions and fumbles is just gravy on top. I had no idea the Chiefs were that effective in these categories until I looked them up.
  • Grade: A+

3. 4th Quarter:

  • Cassel's 4th quarter stats: 23-42, 225 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 78.0 QB rating.
  • Cassel's 2nd half stats: 43-72, 586 yards, 5 TD, 0 INT, 108.9 QB rating.
  • Cassel's stats in last 2 minutes of half: 15-25, 196 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 81.4 QB rating.
  • Analysis: Cassel has been good but not great in the 4th quarter. He played mistake free in the 4th against San Diego (partial credit). He put together somewhat of a game-winning drive in the 4th quarter against Cleveland (full credit). He couldn't come up with a play against Indianapolis (full blame). The Texans game came down to a called pass play on 3rd and 2, where I'm not sure how much choice Cassel had in the matter, with the primary receiver smothered (partial blame). Jacksonville and San Francisco games were already decided. Adding it up, it's a complete wash.
  • Grade: C

Other intriguing situation stats from Matty Ice (geek alert!):

  • When throwing "Wide Left" (2010): 11-30, 143 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT, 46.9 QB rating.
  • When throwing on 4th down (2010): 3-4, 31 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 136.5 QB rating.
  • When throwing on 4th down (career): 18-24, 186 yards, 7 TD, 2 INT, 101.7 QB rating.
  • When throwing with a lead in the game (2010): 108.0 QB rating.
  • When throwing when behind in the game (2010): 65.9 QB rating.
  • All 3 INT's of 2010 have happened in the 2nd quarter.
  • Cassel actually posts his lowest QB rating on 1st down (71.9), universally considered the friendliest QB down.

His Deyirknessssss