How to fix the Chiefs (revised)
This is my revised checklist of how to fix the Chiefs, given everything we've seen over the first half of the season. I've incorporated the (regrettable) fact that Herm Edwards and Carl Peterson will probably not be fired.
1. Draft offense, not defense.
Chan Gailey has the offense vastly overachieving. However, they are tiring out, especially on the o-line, in the second half. Our defense is underachieving, and is miserably coached. We need to draft young talent for an improving offense and sign in free agency established talent on a crumbling defense.
Draft, assuming no trades:
We need to draft a QB high. We need to sit him behind Thigpen for a year or two. If Thigpen turns out to be a great QB, then we have a wonderful problem of QB competition in 2009-2010. If Thigpen turns out not to be the guy, then we don't have to start from scratch in 2009-2010.
As for the LG, Waters won't play much longer, so draft his replacement now. The RT, RG, and C we draft should start immediately. We'll need a big RB in the later rounds as Charles isn't an every down back, Kolby's an injury risk, and LJ is as good as gone. Whatever WR we get in the last round will probably be better than Darling, Webb, Franklin, or the other WRs we've tried to start.
Let's fix what's fixable (the offense) through the draft. Don't waste those picks on defense.
2. Be very active in FA on defense.
With the exception of Brandon Flowers, there is not a single starting player on the defense that shouldn't be replaced. Carr is probably better served as a slot CB. I'll agree to wait and see on Pollard (SS) and DJ (LOLB). Dorsey is too high priced to do anything by wait and see. The rest need to go or be placed squarely in the backup positions.
Sign the following under-30 free agents:
LDE - Terrell Suggs
1DT - Albert Haynesworth
RDE - Julius Peppers
MLB - Jonathan Vilma
ROLB - Karlos Dansby
1CB - Nnamdi Asomugha
FS - Dawan Landry
We could make all of these the highest paid at their positions, and we'd still be under the cap next year, especially after step 3.
3. Cut people who need to be cut.
Boone, Surtain, Donnie Edwards, Page (who's a FA), MacIntosh, Albai Jones, Darling, Webb, Croyle, Huard (who will probably retire) and others who just haven't worked out need to be let go and chalked up to bad picks.
Which leads me to one guy seemingly left out for step 4.
4. Cut or trade LJ
I've come full circle on this. He's doing us no good either on or off the field. I don't think anyone will trade for his contract, so we'll probably have to cut him.
Blame Herm for running him into the ground.
5. Sign Thigpen and Bradley to extensions
Thigpen's better to tutor our draft pick QB than any free agency QB this year (it's a thin crop).
If he's a good enough QB to start (his second half malaises worry me), then we have a open competition between he and our draft pick in 2009 or 2010. If Thigpen's just a good backup, then we keep him as a backup and use him for gadget plays.
Either way, make sure everyone knows he's going to be a Chief long term.
As for Bradley, he's been a catalyst for this offense. Sign him long term and hope he and Bowe can remain a formidable tandem.
6. Convince Gonzalez and Waters not to retire.
Same as at the beginning of the season.
7. Fire Gunther
He was a good DC once upon a time. He's a liability now, and he and Herm don't mesh at all.
8. Abandon the Cover 2
We don't have the personnel or coaches for it.
I think if we follow these steps, we finally will be rebuilding, and not just deconstructing.
Fire hermie, would be the best fix.
i think its still too early to tell whether we need to waste a top 3 round pick on a QB...Thigpen is playing as well as Herm can ask from a QB...he loves to run it. So dont expect Herm to think QB is such a pressing need if Thigpen continues to play like this (not turning the ball over, throwing for 200-250 yards and a TD or two)
I still think we should go MLB or OL with our first pick, depending on the player. Pat Thomas and whoever plays opposite of DJ just wont cut it anymore...there are some good lb's coming out that should go high (Maualuga from USC whom i think would be a fantastic Chief and Laurinitis from Ohio St.)...and THEN, once our Defense finally has a leader, we can focus on rebuilding the offense and most notably the "offensive" (because thats what it is) line...i think a high 2nd round pick for a G or RT, he should be able to step in and play from Day 1....And ofcourse it would also be nice to trade LJ for another 1st rounder (possibly a QB, or another lineman) but i dont think anyone will give a 1st rounder for LJ...maybe a 2nd.
If we draft a couple solid OL in the first few rounds, and a MLB that can be a leader on this defense, we could really see this team be pretty good (wow!)....thats assuming Thigpen keeps the turnovers to a minimum and manages the offense...which is a BIG question..
Overall, I'd like to keep Thigpen and commit to him as our QB for next season. Don't sign a FA QB. Don't draft a QB. Let him know he's the guy next season and for the foreseeable future if earns the job. If we take a high pick QB, then no matter WHAT Thigpen does from here on, it's never going to be enough to secure the starting spot for this team because that draft pick will be sitting there with his high contract and massive potential.
Again, just look at the Browns. Anderson made the Pro Bowl last season and it wasn't enough to keep his job this year. Doesn't matter that the whole team is awful and isn't playing like it did last year, Anderson still took the blame and now the Browns are losing with Quinn as well. Whoever the QB is, needs to feel secure in his position as the leader of the team and not be put in the position where he's looking over his shoulder after every play. If he can't earn the spot next season, then move in another direction. But, before you commit to Thigpen for next season, you have to watch him the rest of the year and decide if he's the guy you want to move forward with in 2009.
I wouldn't mind spending some money on fringe positions like WR. Bringing in Colston (25) or Henderson (26) from the Saints would be a good investment to be the #2 guy, pushing Bradley to #3. That wouldn't be awful.
There aren't too many offensive linemen in free agency worth signing. Jordan Gross would be nice, but he's a left tackle and i'm not sure if his game would translate well to RT because I haven't watched him much. Marc Colombo is a good guard for the Cowboys, but at 29, he'd be iffy as far as a building block. I think the Chiefs are stuck building the right side through the draft.
On defense, our core group is Dorsey, Tank, Hali, Johnson, Flowers, Pollard and perhaps Carr. That leaves the FS, OLB, DE, MLB and maybe a corner spot to fill. The OLB spot would be best filled with Vilma. The DE spot would be best filled with a high draft choice. The FS spot could be filled in the draft. There really just isn't a FS in Free Agency worth signing whose better than the guy we've got. The MLB spot looked solid at least for the next year with Thomas, but if his injury makes him lose significant time, it may hurt his long-term future here. I'd love to sign Asomugha. I just don't know how possible that is. I think Carr could play well enough to lock down that other CB spot at least for another season.
After we come out of the first phase of personnel moves, a best case scenario has the Chiefs looking like this going into the draft:
QB-Thigpen, Croyle, Gray
RB-Johnson, Charles, Smith, Savage, Battle
WR-Bowe, Colston/Henderson, Bradley
CB-Asomugha, Flowers, Carr
So, best case scenario heading into the draft, we're going to need a DE, FS, RT, RG and maybe a MLB. So, knowing that, here's how the draft should go:
Then, the rest of the draft should be best available player or guys you've scouted who you think would be steals.
I honestly don't think the defense is in bad a condition as you think they are. There's no reason to go all "Al Davis" and buy another losing record. Let these players develop.
I agree with texaschief on everything except I would push hard for Asomougha and move Carr to NB(NB are important too!).
Normally I don't like to prioritize a position like CB, as it can easily be disguised by a great d-line, but living in the bay area and watching Raider games every sunday(my GF has season tickets), this guy is as shut down as you will EVER get from a cornerback. He does it while playing man-to-man almost 100% of the snaps. Today I just saw him work steve smith like fiddle(he wasn't covering smith on his only reception). The only pass attempted his way today he intercepted. As far as big money FA go, I would focus on just Asomougha and Haynesworth and nobody else.