Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thoughts on Steve Breaston

The Chiefs may have just pulled off the unthinkable. They may have signed a stud receiver in his prime, off the free agent market, and didn't break the bank in the process.

Or he may be a complete bust. You never really know with wide receivers, the weirdest position in football. Take Randy Moss for example. Two years removed from being arguably the best player in the NFL, he was traded from team to team last year, and ended up serving no impact whatsoever. Why? Because he was that out of shape? Did his play fall off that much due to aging? I'm chalking it up the immeasurable peculiarity of receivers.

The unpredictable nature of receivers stems from the chemistry between he and the quarterback. If they ain't got it, fuhgeddaboutit. And there's almost no way to determine if they'll have it or not. It's simply a comfort thing, and that's true with every new quarterback-wide receiver relationship.

However, with that disclaimer out of the way, lets move on to the more tangible parts of his game.

Breaston's numbers are a lot better than I first assumed them to be. Admittedly, I didn't study his numbers before I declared myself off the bandwagon. All I had heard was how he had a monster season in 2008 with Kurt Warner as QB, followed by 2 down seasons (sounds like red flags to me). However, upon examining his stats, I wouldn't agree with that assessment one bit.

Lets break it down year by year:

*2008 - After a nothing season as a rookie in 2007 (outside of returning), Breaston capitalized on an Anquan Boldin injury (4 games missed), going off for 1,006 receiving yards on 77 receptions. Awesome numbers for a 2nd year wideout, put up in a good system from a Hall of Fame quarterback.

*2009 - With both Fitzgerald and Boldin healthy all season, Breaston's production dropped down to 55 receptions and 712 yards. Not a bad year at all from a 3rd receiver, but still in a good system and catching passes from a Hall of Fame quarterback.

*2010 - With Boldin moving on to the Ravens, Breaston was pushed into the starting lineup full time. He caught 47 balls for 718 yards (an impressive 15.3 yard average). However, the key is that he was catching the majority of his passes from Derek Anderson and the ambiguously gay trio of John Skelton, Max Hall, and Richard Bartel. It should be noted that Breaston missed 3 games due to injury (3 of only 4 games missed in his career). It should also be noted that Breaston averaged 70.2 yards per game with Anderson (the only true NFL QB) at quarterback (with a significant drop in his numbers with the youngsters). That 70.2 yards per game amounts to 1,123 yards over a full 16 game season.

My question is - What's a bigger accomplishment, 1,000 receiving yards with Kurt Warner or 700 yards with the pu-pu platter from 2010? I'd say 2010, especially when his averages from his 3 games missed takes him to 876 yards on the season (let alone the 1,123 number equated above). It's very possible that, despite what his numbers indicate, Breaston has been improving greatly from year to year.

So how will he fit in with the Chiefs? Well, first of all, if he adds 700-900 receiving yards to our offense, then he will be a very successful acquisition. That's exactly what we need out of him. He will asked to play the slot reciever (a point he has already admitted) with Baldwin and Bowe putting the wide in wide receiver (and please no more Killer B's nickname suggestions, I'm already tired of it - and yes, already working on something better). I envision Breaston working a lot of underneath routes, asked to pick up those 3rd and 4's, 3rd and 5's, and then to do some damage after the catch with the ball in his hands. Think of him as a Wes Welker lite (or dark, for that matter).

The happiest people over the signing of Breaston should be the other Chiefs' skill position players (a grouping that is suddenly very formidable). This is great news for Bowe (who is no longer options 1, 2, and 3 in the passing game), Baldwin (pressure taken off of him to perform this season), Moeaki (not alone over the middle anymore), and perhaps most of all, Jamaal Charles (who could see Priest-like openings on draw plays now).

Here's a fun exercise for you. Try and guess the order that those 5 players will finish up in receiving yards for the 2011 season. Here's mine...

1. Dwayne Bowe - 1,100 yard range
2. JamaAL Charles - 700 yard range
3. Steve Breaston - 600 yard range
4. Tony Moeaki - 500 yard range
5. Jonathan Baldwin - 500 yard range

That's all for now folks - Happy Free Agencying,
His dirkness

Monday, July 25, 2011

What Chiefs Should Do in Free Agency

Me and Matt Cassel bout to fuck this Dirkness hiatus up!

This NFL season could be completely insane. Nobody, including the teams themselves, has any idea who's been staying in shape all offseason and who's been doing bong rips and making 4 am trips to Whataburger (order the His Dirkness special next time). I think it might lead to the weirdest season yet, with players we're accustomed to playing at an elite level having down years, and relatively unknown players stepping into the limelight. Without a doubt, the teams with the highest level of dedication and character will benefit the most from the NFL Lockout.

This NFL "offseason" WILL be completely insane. We're about to see 6 months worth of transactions all rolled up into one week. There will be undrafted free agent signings, teams signing their draft picks (will be much easier than in year's past - thanks to this lockout), teams trying to retain their own free agents, the pursuit of other teams' free agents, trades, the peak of tickets sales, and the opening of training camps all in the next 5 days or so. I almost feel like we should go ahead and redo the NFL Draft (just throw it in there on Saturday). This week was the reason Twitter was created.

Now we get to the Chiefs. They're gonna have a ton of money to spend, but don't have a choice whether to spend it or not. They HAVE to spend somewhere from 30-40 million this offseason to reach the NFL's salary floor. While some of that money will go towards keeping what they've got (Tamba Hali and 2012 FA's Flowers, Carr, and Bowe), they'll have the chance to be very active in free agency. I don't expect them to target any of the "elite" free agents (a. because that's not Scott Pioli's style and b. only the Raiders and Redskins are foolish enough to do so), but I would expect a collection of solid, B-grade type players.

I fully expect the Chiefs to dominate this week. This was the reason we hired Scott Pioli.

I'm gonna offer up what I would like to see the Chiefs do over the next week (although, this is bound to change throughout the week as the options become clearer). Lets start with a little Roman style thumbs up/thumbs down with the Chiefs own free agents (thumbs up is a move to resign, thumbs down is cut off their head):

Ron Edwards - Thumbs up
Shaun Smith - Thumbs down
Casey Wiegmann - Thumbs up
Rudy Niswanger - Thumbs down
Jon McGraw - Thumbs down
Leonard Pope - Thumbs down
Ryan O'Callaghan - Thumbs up
Corey Mays - Thumbs up
Crodie Broyle - Thumbs up
Terrance Copper - Thumbs up
Jackie Battle - Thumbs up
Travis Daniels - Thumbs down
Tim Castille - Thumbs down
Charlie Anderson - never heard of him
Kevin Curtis - does he count?

**Obviously, I'm lying about keeping Brodie Croyle. I wouldn't let him quarterback my flag football team if he were the last quarterback on the face of the earth and we were playing 8 year old girls (I'd take the forfeit). But I wanted to see if you were paying attention.**

Now we get to the meat of this post (Mmm mmm yeah, lets make it a sheboygan sausage too). Here are 10 free agents (in a particularly random order) that I'd like to see the Chiefs pursue this offseason (sorry Tiki Barber fans):

1. Stephen Tulloch, ILB, Titans - Often referred to as a "thumper", he would make an ideal compliment to Derrick Johnson's athleticism on the inside. Finishing 2nd in tackles in the NFL last season, he's basically a rich man's Jovan Belcher, the man he'd be replacing.

2. Paul Posluszny, ILB, Bills - While Tulloch finished 2nd in tackles last season, Poz finished 3rd. This team needs a run stuffing inside linebacker, and while I'm a big Belcher fan, he's more suited for backup duties. Poz might make a better defensive leader than Tulloch, so I think he would be my #1 choice.

3. Aubrayo Franklin, NT, 49ers - Don't know much about him, but he is the only notable nose tackle available in free agency. He would appear to be an upgrade over Ron Edwards, but you'll almost assuredly have to overpay to get him. (NOTE: 38 year old Pat Williams named the Chiefs as one of his preferred destinations today. He weighs 400 pounds. Seriously.)

4. Santana Moss, WR, Redskins - I'm not too crazy about the list of available wide receivers. The Chiefs are already equipped with two big, physical, possession style WR's, so what they're in need of is a smart, quick WR to find holes over the middle of the field (not sold on McCluster being that guy). Also, I like the idea of bringing in a veteran mentor for both Bowe and Baldwin.

5. Steve Smith, WR, Giants - This is the other WR I like on the open market. Fits the mold of a potential crafty slot receiver. Look, the time is now for Matt Cassel. Adding yet another option at WR gives him all the necessary weapons to succeed RIGHT NOW. We must determine if he is our long term answer at QB. An additional WR would turn a big weakness from last season into a potential strength this season.

6. Matt Roth, OLB, Browns - His numbers won't wow you, but he's more adept in the running game than he is getting after the QB. He won't provide the Chiefs with a stud opposite Muhammad Hali, but he would provide some serious depth at the position. Wanna know more? Read this.

7. Le'Ron McClain, FB, Ravens - The most likely Chiefs signee from this list. McClain is the beloved fat back that could shine opposite God Jam Char, and could potentially solve the Chiefs 3rd and 1 issues from last season. However, we wouldn't get to hear Charles say "Cox all up in there" anymore.

8. Willie Colon, RT, Steelers - I'm a Barry Richardson kinda guy. If you give him another year to develop, I think he'll figure things out. Howevvvvvvva, if Pioli is ready to move on, then so am I! Colon missed all of 2010 (a bad thing) and the Steelers severely struggled protecting Lil' Ben (good thing).

9. Vince Young, QB, Titans - Nope, he's not a free agent yet, but he will be. The Chiefs can either sign a backup QB or take their chances with Ricky Stanzi this year (better than Cruddie). People say VY is a head case, but damn can he win some football games. 30-17 career record in the NFL. If nobody else is interested in him, I'd love taking a chance with him.

10. Steve Smith, WR, Panthers - Not a free agent, and not even considered available really, but a man can dream! I was struck with a premonition soon after the Chiefs bowed out of last year's playoffs that Smith would be the perfect compliment to D-Bowe. Since then, he has demanded a trade, making it somewhat realistic. Would I be willing to give up a draft pick to get him? Yes, yes i would.

Happy Holidays everybody,
his dirkness

Friday, July 8, 2011

Dissecting the NFL's Top 100 Players List

The NFL Network recently concluded their best efforts to hide the fact that their league is comprised of a bunch of greedy robots, or as they called it, the NFL's Top 100 Players list.

The list was voted on by players (supposedly - Brandon Carr admitted on Nick Wright's show that he, nor any player he knows, actually voted on the list), which makes some of the more egregious errors somewhat more comprehendible, even if the Top 5 of the list is more reflective of 2004 than 2011.

For those of you in the dark - Here's the list.

The Chiefs had 5 players on the list:

33. God Jam Charles
45. Dwayne (Pro) Bowe
64. Tamba Hali
67. Brian Waters
93. Eric Berry

I have a few lists of my own, inspired by this list, to throw your way. Let me start by saying that while this list gets a lot wrong, that doesn't make this list a failure. The whole goal of a list like this is to spark debate and create discussion. Mission accomplished.

The first list will be my personal Top 25 Players of 2011 in the NFL. My list is right.

(Note: When making a list like this you have to make a distinction of whether importance of position matters. This isn't a list saying I'd trade Player A for Player B because, ultimately, I'd trade the best non-QB in the league for any one of the top 10 quarterbacks. Therefore, the top 10 list would consist of 8, 9, or 10 QB's. Mine isn't like that.)

His Top 25ness

1. Troy Polamalu, S, Pittsburgh Steelers
2. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
3. Darrelle Revis, CB, New York Jets
4. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals
5. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
6. DeMarcus Ware, OLB, Dallas Cowboys
7. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
8. Haloti Ngata, NT, Baltimore Ravens
9. Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings
10. Nnamdi Asomugha, CB, Oakland Raiders
11. Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis Colts
12. James Harrison, OLB, Pittsburgh Steelers
13. Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans
14. JamaAL Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
15. Nick Mangold, C, New York Jets
16. Clay Matthews, OLB, Green Bay Packers
17. Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans
18. Julius Peppers, DE, Chicago Bears
19. Ndamukong Suh, DT, Detroit Lions
20. DeSean Jackson, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
21. Patrick Willis, LB, San Francisco 49ers
22. Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego Chargers
23. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers
24. Richard Seymour, DE, Oakland Raiders
25. Dwight Freeney, DE, Indianapolis Colts

That's it, that's the list. Problem with it? Let me know in the 'ments...

*Best fact of the NFL's Top 100 list: Kent State landed 3 players on the list (Gates, Harrison Cribbs), while neither Florida nor Florida St. landed a single player. HA!*

The next list of mine will be The 10 Most Overrated Players on the NFL's Top 100 List (in order of they're ranking). Here go...

1. Ray Lewis (4) - The better debate is if he even belongs in the Top 100 at all
2. Mike Vick (20) - Only had 1 year in him, won't ever play a full 16 game season again
3. Arian Foster (25) - He won't make the Top 100 list in 2012 - Book it
4. Jason Witten (36) - He's solid, but shouldn't be sniffing Top 50
5. Steven Jackson (38) - 3.8 yards per carry anyone? Remember Larry Johnson would've made this list once upon a time as well
6. Tony Gonzalez (46) - Sorry Tony!
7. Brian Waters (67) - Unfortunately, I'm in the know
8. Santonio Holmes (76) - More hype than he's worth
9. Jason Babin (85) - I know he put up numbers, but it was a 1 year thing
10. Joe Flacco (90) - As average as they get
11. Donovan McNabb (100) - Are you kidding me?

As I sit back and look at my list, I can't help but notice that I picked mostly aging veterans that aren't what they used to be. This makes sense because they'd still be highly respected by their peers, but nevertheless is an oversight of the list. The second thing I notice is that the Top 10 list is 11 players long, but I forgot how much I hated Michael Vick the first time through.

My final list entails snubs from the NFL's Top 100 list (in order of snubbery). This was harder to make, and I'm sure I'll forget some players who I would fully endorse making the list, but it's all Jesus.

10 Players Who Should Have Made the List:

1. Tramon Williams, CB, Green Bay Packers - Best defensive player of the 2011 playoffs, almost made my Top 25
2. Hakeem Nicks, WR, New York Giants - 1,052 yards, 11 TD in 12 games as a sophomore
3. Maurkice Pouncey, C, Pittsburgh Steelers - Hard to imagine him not becoming an All-Pro center
4. Peyton Hillis, RB, Cleveland Browns - Are there really 10 better running backs in the NFL?
5. Ryan Clady, LT, Denver Broncos - Is he no longer considered elite or something?
6. Osi Umenyiora, DE, New York Giants - Most surprising omission from the list - household name
7. Brandon Flowers, CB, Kansas City Chiefs - Narrowly edges Wallace Gilberry for my token Chiefs selection
8. Mike Wallace, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers - Finished 5th in receiving yards last season. Seriously.
9. David Harris, LB, New York Jets - The quintessential underrated player in the NFL
10. Kevin Williams, DT, Minnesota Vikings - He was the consensus best DT in the NFL at one point, no?
AND 1. Shaun Hill, QB, Detroit Lions - You'll understand someday...

The end.

The word 'list' was written 32 times in this post,
His Dirkness