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Answer Bob – Part #3

Here’s the last batch of questions from the weekend. Again, thanks to everybody who submitted something.

GeorgeT said: OK, Bob I just got finished reading Jason Whitlock’s latest diatribe against the Chiefs and Pioli and I don’t get it. This guy campaigned for change and to get rid of King Carl and now less than 18 months after the change, he’s bashing the new guys, calling him Fidel Castro (left)? Is it really as bad as he portrays things? Does the media really have to ask to use the bathroom?

Bob says: Yes, the media has to ask for access to a restroom. That’s true. Big deal.

Access to players and coaches is very limited. That’s true as well and it’s a bit bigger of a deal. For a team trying to sell tickets, suites and sponsorships, it shows us that different parts of the franchise are operating with very different agendas. Any publicity the Chiefs can help foster right now would be helpful for sales and generating more attention. Instead the Chiefs have gone in the opposite direction and made it tougher for those types of stories to appear by shielding the rookies with a closed locker room during the mini-camp and making the coaching staff off limits for interviews at this time. All of that comes down from the very top of the organization.

And all that being said, is it like Fidel Castro’s Cuba? I’ve never been to Havana, although I’d love to see the place and smoke a stogie or three. I doubt Whitlock’s been anywhere near Cuba, so how he would know is beyond me. I will tell you that it’s very interesting that Whitlock decided to write his piece on the day Todd Haley allowed the media to watch the entire afternoon practice at mini-camp; at the other workouts we got about 25 minutes. It’s also interesting that Whitlock complained about the rookies and what they had to say in front of the media when he did not even attend the sessions; he stayed in the press room. It’s typical Whitlock: lazy reporting, lazy writing, the entire process wrapped around his insecurities that he projects on others.

Here is why that approach is so sad: the Pioli Regime is worthy of criticism. But when it comes to this form of commentary and taking personal shots at those in charge, it devalues the on-target critiques about football. It becomes a Chicken Little, the sky is falling type of deal; how do you know when it’s just another witless tantrum or real, on the mark criticism? If this approach is supposed to sell newspapers, no small wonder that the Kansas City Star is struggling to remain relevant in a world that has moved beyond the printed page of day-old news and views.

There’s also a case of unrequited love here: Whitlock campaigned for Pioli to be hired and knowing his ego, feels like he got him hired. But the GM hasn’t made him an advisor in any fashion and doesn’t make himself accessible at Whitlock’s whim, showing that Pioli is a pretty smart guy. He knows he couldn’t trust Whitlock any further than he can throw him, and that’s not very far at his size. Like everything else he writes, the Chiefs-Castro column was more about Whitlock than it was about the Chiefs.

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Danny W said: About the Draft, about how many scouts do most organizations have? Can one organization have more scouts than others? How many scouts do the Chiefs employ? Since we didn’t draft any one to plug the middle in the draft, do you think Shaun Smith, Ron Edwards, and Glenn Dorsey will be the rotation at nose now with Magee, and Gilberry playing at end? What do you think the chances are that Kendrick Lewis will start in front of Jarrad Page, or was Lewis picked up to add depth? With Mike Vrabel recording all of two sacks last year will Cameron Sheffield or Andy Studebaker be the starters this year or is that a respect thing? Do you think the Chiefs should pick up Adalius Thomas?

Bob says: The number of scouts a team has varies greatly from team to team, as the decision on how large their personnel department might be is a club call. There are no limits, either minimum or maximum. The Cincinnati Bengals are famous for using their assistant coaches as their scouting staff, so they actually only have about three scouts. There are also real gray areas as many people in an organization can scout, but don’t carry that title. Most teams also have a number of former coaches or scouts who are retired that do scouting work. According to the Chiefs 2009 media guide, the Chiefs had 10 men who would be considered scouts, and that does not include Pioli.

I think it will be Shaun Smith, Ron Edwards and somebody else at nose tackle. I think Dorsey will stay at defensive end with Tyson Jackson, Alex Magee and Wallace Gilberry. There’s a very good chance that Kendrick Lewis has a better opportunity to make the ’10 Chiefs roster than Page. Lewis wasn’t drafted for depth; he was drafted to play. At outside linebacker, forget Sheffield, because he won’t be a factor for defensive playing time in the ’10 season. If it’s an open competition, it should be quite a battle. Vrabel still brings skills, along with his knowledge. Studebaker is physically more skilled, but doesn’t have the experience. It should be quite a competition. As for Adalius Thomas, if I were the Chiefs I would take a pass. I don’t think he has the physical skills anymore to really help them.

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Fansince93 said:
Was there any pick that got away that the Chiefs wanted the most? Who do you believe is the better athlete coming out of Tennessee, Eric Berry or Dale Carter? Were any guys on the current roster being shopped around for picks on draft day?

Bob says: We know that there was somebody in the in the second round that they were considering drafting along with McCluster and Arenas. That would have been a player in spots No. 37 to 49. I have no idea who that might have been, but there were certainly names they should have been considering, especially at linebacker and wide receiver. As for Berry and Carter, I think Carter was the better overall athlete – the Chiefs have had very few players over the years that were as physically gifted as Carter. As for shopping current players for picks, I could not tell you for sure, but there was not a lot of rumbling on the NFL grapevine during the draft about the Chiefs offering current players in a trade.

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Tenand6 said:
Haley seemed impressed with how hard the guys are working in the weight room. Do you have any insight as to who isn’t in great shape, who is taking more of a leadership role, what young guys seem to be stepping up in this year’s off season workouts? And, based upon what you know now, what players do you have your eye on from last year’s team to surprise or make good progress? Thanks for all the outstanding information and great writing. Fantastic.

Bob says: Thanks for your kind words. I’ll let you in on part of the story I’m writing for Tuesday about the team’s off-season program. According to Haley, other than Mike Vrabel and Brian Waters attendance and participation is 100 percent in the strength and conditioning program. I’ll have a few other details on Tuesday but as far as who is coming back that is making good progress, Haley took the time during the rookie camp to praise the efforts of last year’s fourth-round pick Donald Washington.

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bigvess said:
The Chiefs did upgrade their speed on both sides with McCluster and Arenas but the need of the key positions kind of has me baffled. During the second round and third rounds why didn’t the Chiefs consider taking Terrence Cody or Ben Tate or Charles Brown the USC left tackle: all three were there in the second round?

Bob says: Pioli/Haley showed us they felt the need for an explosive offensive weapon and a top-flight kick returner was more important to them than a nose tackle or offensive tackle. They had to take McCluster where they did because he would not have been available on their next choice in the second round. I think they could have gotten Arenas in the third round, but they felt they had to take him then. I think they picked good players at the wrong positions.

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Michael said: My first question has to do with how many NFL teams, the Chiefs in particular, handle college free agents. Many times you’ll see a player get put on the practice squad and stay there for two, three years, and seemingly sometimes more. After being on the team for a couple seasons, you’d think the guys would be able to make the team. Why invest two to three years in developing a guy, and then just cut him? Sometimes these guys get cut during the first cut of training camp. Does it take that long to tell if the guy is worth developing? A couple of guys currently on the roster are good examples: NT Derek Lokey and OG Darryl Harris. If those two get cut early in camp this summer, I’ll be left scratching my head again. The Chiefs have been working with them for over two years, and that just gets tossed. That’s a puzzle to me. Any insight?

Bob says: Good questions Michael. The best answer I can give you is each player is different and each situation they are in is different. It is all about opportunity. Many times a high draft choice and a college free agent will join the team at the same time. After each one has finished his career, hindsight tells us that the free agent was a better player than the draft pick. But in that rookie season, it’s going to be the draft choice that gets the better opportunities than the free agent. Players also mature and learn at different rates of speed. A player may have some remarkable athletic trait, while being diminished in another area. Teams will allow a player time to get up to speed. But the clock is always ticking on undrafted free agents.

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Michael said: Aside from DL John Henderson, who was supposed to visit the Chiefs but didn’t, are there any other NFL vets you’ve heard of the Chiefs being interested in bringing in for a look? I’m interested in how the players coming back for their second season under Haley are doing as far as being in shape and getting bigger and stronger.

A number of players seemed to be underweight for their position, or not quite as strong as they need to be. I know a lot of players got in much better shape last year under Haley. Is that continuing? How about players like DL Bobby Greenwood, Wallace Gilberry and Dion Gales? Gales is listed at 259; no way he can play NT or DE in a 3-4 at that weight. Are there players, young or veteran, you know of who the team wants to get much bigger? Which players will have the hardest time passing Haley’s famous conditioning test?

Bob says: I think if the Chiefs were interested in anybody on the street they would have already had him in for a look and talks. In today’s league, those veteran guys become available at different times, and the Chiefs will eye-ball all of them when they hit the waiver wire. Haley is very happy with his off-season program and near perfect attendance by his veterans. They are counting on all of those players to be better. Also, Gales is not 259, unless he’s been sick for a month or more. He’s more north of 280 pounds.

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Donovan said: What do you think is realistic for the Chiefs this year, 8-8, 9-7 or another losing season? Also, what is the minimum start-up cost for an NFL franchise? Can you do figures with stadium cost and one without? Great job on the site!

Bob says: I think it’s too early to make a prediction on the Chiefs; I want to wait and see who else they add to the roster. Put a gun to my head and I would say 6-10, maybe 7-9. A few more additions at important areas and I might say 8-8. Given where this team is coming from, an 8-8 season would be huge in the development of the Chiefs.

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Rick said: Good work Bob, I like hearing your well thought-out opinions and it is more meaningful to me knowing that you are real close to this team. My question concerns the middle of our offensive line. There is some real interesting competition going on there. I feel confident Lilja has one spot, Waters the other, but that third spot between Niswanger, Wiegmann and now Asamoah could be VERY interesting seeing the reports on Jon. What are your thoughts on this situation and could Waters still move to center? Thanks.

Bob says: I think that Asamoah will give Lilja a run for his money at right guard in the pre-season; I’m not sold that Lilja’s knees are going to holdout. I don’t think Asamoah will be a factor a center in his rookie season, as I’m betting they’ll be looking for a guy with some experience to handle the line calls and snapping. I think the guy there will eventually be Niswanger.

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Michael said: During and right after the draft, I counted myself among fans who were baffled by the Chiefs draft after round No. 1. I figured along with some pundits I read, knew what the team needed and who they should get. After some reflection, though, I really believe the answer to why they drafted as they did is self-evident.

First, the team believes it has numerous young players who are about to really take it to the next level; players such as Cassel, Charles, Bowe, Albert, O’ Callaghan, Dorsey, T. Jackson, Magee, D.Johnson, Studebaker, Flowers, Carr, Morgan. Second, they went after players who fit their profile of the type of players they want, and who have a chance to fulfill the top priorities they had for the team: playmaking ability, leadership and team speed. And bringing in these players gave them a chance to improve all three units: offense, defense, and especially special teams.

Third, post-draft and moving ahead, they will still have opportunities to improve the team via trades or free agent signings. To me, the alternate points of view that Pioli, Haley, Hunt, etc. either don’t care if the team improves this year , or just don’t know what they’re doing, are not really plausible.

From your point of view, Bob, what seems to be closer to the truth?

Bob says: Michael you are living inside the heads of Pioli/Haley. That’s exactly what they are counting on: development from within and the possibility of still adding players and talent.

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Mad Chief says: Bob, I’ve been meaning to ask you this for some time now…and this is my chance. Just exactly, how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Come on now…you’re a Punxsutawney native. Fess up! Your insight would be appreciated. Ha ha!

Seriously…good questions from all. Can’t really think of anything to add. I’m at a loss for anything to say, which is unusual…as the “regulars” here should know. Bob, thanks for continuing to do these Q&A’s. It’s good stuff. Looking forward to your answers on these great questions.

Bob says: First of all, I’m impressed you were able to spell Punxsutawney correctly. When you first enter elementary school there, they teach you how to spell Punxsutawney and then after that everything seems easy.

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Tenand6 says:
A few more if you have time: 1.) In the games where Brian Waters was healthy, what grade/evaluation would you give him this past year? 2.) It appeared to me that Branden Albert’s mental mistakes led to more QB sacks/pressures than getting beat physically. True? Do you have an evaluation of Albert’s strength’s/weaknesses? 3.) It appears Cassel has difficulty finding the most open receiver in the least amount of time. Assuming the O line plays like it did in the second half of the ’09 season or better, what do you think Cassel needs to improve on to be the right guy to lead the Chiefs?

Bob says: 1.) There was not a single game in ’09 where Waters was 100 percent physically; his ankle-foot injury from the first day of training camp was a problem every day after that. 2.) One of Albert’s biggest problems is this: he tries to play exactly as he was coached. He’s very conscientious when it comes to doing things the right way. That leaves him thinking at times, instead of just playing and getting it done however it gets done. 3.) Cassel needs more help from his receivers (meaning fewer dropped passes) and he needs to raise his completion percentage. If he’s good enough, that improvement will begin to show itself this season. It’s year No. 3 where QBs reach the tipping point of being able to handle the job, or not. With Cassel, the ’10 season will be his third as a starter.

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moe said: Is josh McDaniels as dumb as he seems? Who is on the roster bubble in your mind? Kolby Smith? Page?

Bob says: I don’t think Josh McDaniels is dumb at all. I think he might be a bit full of himself, but he’s a pretty smart guy. He knows it’s his butt if it doesn’t work. Roster bubblers at this point are hard to judge, but here’s a few guesses: Kolby Smith, Javarris Williams, Lance Long, Jake O’Connell, Barry Richardson, Travis Daniels, Reshard Langford, DaJuan Morgan and Jarrad Page.

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Kenny said: We always hear that you really can’t judge how good a draft was until a few years later. Can you give us your grades on the drafts during the Edwards/Vermeil era? What do you think was the cause of the quick crumble from 12-4 to 4-12? Cheers.

Bob says: Yes, the Chiefs tumble down the AFC standings can be tied directly to poor drafting and the inability to develop players into contributing and eventually Pro Bowl quality players. Here’s my eval of the draft classes from 2001 through 2008:

  • 2001 – They used first and second-round picks to get Trent Green and Vermeil. The best pick was fifth-round RB Derrick Blaylock. The rest were role players at best.
  • 2002 – With the exception of fifth-round LB Scott Fujita, this was a disaster and had a domino effect on so many future drafts because of failure of Ryan Sims and Eddie Freeman.
  • 2003 – Larry Jonson, Kawika Mitchell and Jimmy Wilkerson were good picks.
  • 2004 – With the exception of DE Jared Allen, this was a wasted draft for the Chiefs with Siavii, Wilson, Fox and Parker unable to successfully hold a roster spot. Siavii, Wilson and Fox are still playing in the league.
  • 2005 – A so-so draft class with Derrick Johnson and Dustin Colquitt, but misses on WR Craphonso Thorpe and CB Alphonso Hodge. They traded second and third-round picks for Patrick Surtain and John Welbourn.
  • 2006 – Hali, Pollard, Croyle and Page in this draft.
  • 2007 – Only Bowe and Kolby Smith are left from this group.
  • 2008 – After two seasons, it looks like a good class with Dorsey, Albert, Flowers, Charles and Carr.

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johnfromfairfax said: Thanks always for the great work and insight. In your opinion what are our greatest needs (in order) going forward between now and the start of the season?

Bob says: Thanks John. As for the Chiefs greatest needs before the start of the regular season are not really that different than their needs back in February. In order I think they need: a nose tackle, a veteran tackle to push Albert/O’Callaghan and provide experienced depth, a thumper at inside linebacker and a pass rusher, whether defensive end or outside linebacker.

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Paul said: Is there any possibility that Jon Asamoah (the 3rd-round pick, guard from Illinois) may be moved to the tackle position? Might Coach Haley and his crew try him at that position? Branden Albert was once a guard and he is playing tackle now.

Bob says: Pioli and Haley indicated during the draft that Asamoah can play guard and center, but not tackle in their view. The opinion on that may change once they are around him and see him practice and play, but it seems right now he’s an interior player.

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Don in Wichita said: Bob great work as always! Only a few sites do I visit daily and yours is always one of them. Your pre draft coverage was on track as all of your coverage always is. No real insightful questions from me but just a few things I’ve wondered. First, who do you think in your opinion improved most during the course of last season? What do you think contributed most to the improvement of the team from the start to the end of last season? Lastly, were you as shocked as I to see us go in to Invesco/Mile High and come out with a win? Was it as good a feeling as all of us die-hard Chiefs fans dream it would be? Once again, thanks for all you do 365 24/7 for us long suffering Chiefs fans!!

Bob says: Thanks for your kind words. I would say that the improved player last year on the Chiefs would come from the group of RB Jamaal Charles, LB Andy Studebaker and LT Branden Albert. Charles for obvious reasons, Studebaker came out of nowhere and Albert started poorly but improved in the season’s second half. The final game of the ’09 season told us a lot about both the Chiefs and Broncos. Haley still had the Chiefs playing hard and improving, while McDaniels lost his team at the end, evidenced by his benching of Brandon Marshall and Tony Scheffler for that game.

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Tracy said: I realize that your invitation was for queries about the Chiefs, but here goes anyway.
It looks like the Jets are setting themselves up for a sophomore slump. They will have lots of talent in the defensive backfield but they disrupted the chemistry of their offensive line by cutting Alan Faneca, in addition to cutting years of experience and talent in their offensive backfield. What do you think?

Bob says: The one thing you can say about the Jets is they don’t stand still and they are not averse to taking chances. That approach means a team will have some hit and misses when it comes to the top talent added to the team, whether through the draft or free agency. The Jets are counting on Rex Ryan taking care of the chemistry questions that come with this approach. It’s a bit of a surprise that the Jets did not keep Faneca and Thomas Jones for one more year, but their actions indicate they think both players are done.


16 Responses to “Answer Bob – Part #3”

  • May 4, 2010  - gorillafan says:

    Bob,

    awesome response to the Whitlock question. I live a few hrs from kc, so I dont get the paper and read his column. I could read them online through the star, but everything I have heard about him, I never cared to look….

    And as for you, Im hear reading your articles everyday!!


  • May 4, 2010  - SG says:

    More awesome q&a responses BobGretz – thanks again!


  • May 4, 2010  - Mad Chief says:

    Good reading, Bob. Thanks again for doing these…and I look forward to more in the future.


  • May 4, 2010  - JD says:

    Absolutely spot on with the Whitlock response. Unfortunately, Whitlock is merely a reflection of the people who support him. Fortunately, I know very few Chiefs fans that do.


  • May 4, 2010  - Old Chief in PA says:

    Bob, I like many ,many others enjoy your insights and honesty. When I first moved to the Lehigh Valley in 1978, I had the Sunday KC Star as my main source of info even though it was a week late. Now I have you daily.

    Thanks


  • May 4, 2010  - Eric says:

    I started reading your column when Whitlock blasted you in one of his. I now barely read the Star. Great work!


  • May 4, 2010  - MarylandChief says:

    The right answer to Whitlock is to ignore him. Unfortunately, if we read it and get outraged, he gets what he wants. The only way the Star will dump him is if his readership drops into the toilet, which is pretty much where his opinions beolong, in my opinion.


  • May 4, 2010  - Michael says:

    Bob, can’t say enough about your work and this site. It’s obvious you have a passion for it, and we are the beneficiaries. I ,like many others, visit your site daily. Thanks!


  • May 4, 2010  - Adam says:

    Do you think it is possible that Whitlock and Herm’s the Man are one in the same? Just saying…


  • May 4, 2010  - Tim R says:

    Great questions & answers! Thanks to all.


  • May 4, 2010  - Liontamer says:

    Bob has stones! Way to expose Whitlock!


  • May 5, 2010  - Justin D says:

    Bob, I appreciate your thoughtful responses to the queries. I am an everyday reader and really appreciate the insider info. BTW, the inaugural year of camp at St. Joe’s is coming any reflections on that?


  • May 5, 2010  - True Red & Gold says:

    Wow Bob’s most detailed answer had nothing to do with the Draft.

    Bob, I hope you can take some comfort in knowing that few if any take Whitless serious. We only listen/read for a laugh.

    Now you are the man that we all take very serious and I want to thank you for your honest reporting and evaluation of the Chiefs.


  • May 5, 2010  - boomer1110 says:

    Well done, Bob! I think a lot of people are looking forward to 2010. I also believe, although it’s a topic for another post, how surprised I am that Clark Hunt is allowing Pioli and Haley to control the media the way they are. Those of us with PR experience just shake our heads. Tip of the hat to Pete Moris, whose job can’t really be all that easy these days! Again, thanks for the great work keeping us up to date. Look forward to the OTA’s. Hopefully they’ll let you interview someone who actually takes part. wh


  • May 6, 2010  - jimmeDK says:

    Hey Bob.
    I just want to express my deep gratitude to you for you coverage of all things Chiefs. It’s been a pleasure to visit your site in the months leading up to the draft and even more so after the draft. Your insight into the draft and you deep analysis of the Chiefs new players and old and the Chiefs as a whole.
    These ask Bob segments in particular have really made my off season. It’s amazing that you take the time to answer all these questions, and I just hope it doesn’t feel like work to you but that you are actuelly having a bit of fun doing it.
    In any case I hope you gain something from running this site except the pleasure of providing Chiefs fans with the best coverage of the chiefs in the world.

    Thank you so much,
    Jeremiah from Denmark




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