Answer Bob – 9/5

Here’s the first batch of answers for Ask Bob post-cutdown day. The box remains open, so if you’d like to throw in any questions, do it by midnight on Monday and we’ll have our answers on Tuesday.

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Slide says: Hey Bob, I see Moeaki’s injury as being a huge one for the Chiefs. Last year he exhibited athletic receiving skills and blocking skills that let us disguise our play calling a little bit more. My questions are: Do you think the Chiefs are going to utilize more 4 receiver sub packages, spreading the field a little more, and a shift in a run dominant (sometimes even on 3rd and 6 last year) philosophy to one similar to Indy and New England? If so, do you see the Matt Cassel having the decision making skills or accuracy to succeed especially given the offensive line being slightly questionable and with only two extra players for depth at 5 starting positions? Do you see O’Connell as being able to make an impact, I think we know what were getting in Becht and Pope (blocking and maybe a 4-9 yard catch every once in a while)?

Bob says: Moeaki’s injury is huge and changes the face of what the Chiefs want to do on offense. He was a big factor in the running game that few people talked about. Moeaki was a much better blocker than anticipated. Haley is going to have a problem with Moeaki out, because he doesn’t much believe in having four wide receivers on the field. He thinks there needs to be a tight end, to at least introduce the element that the play could be a run. The only guy who can catch consistently among the three tight ends is Anthony Becht and can we really expect him to catch 50 passes. The best season of his career was 40 catches for 356 yards and that was in 2003. The Chiefs are going to run the football; that’s what Haley believes in and they aren’t going to run away from that, pun intended. They may not have a choice because quarterback and protection issues, plus the lack of Moeaki leaves the passing game in a state of limbo. I don’t see O’Connell making much of an impact; he’s always been inconsistent catching the ball.

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bhive01 says – I also view Moeaki’s injury and IR placement as a massive blow. His catching ability seemed very similar to another Tony that we are more familiar with. I’d also like to know how you think this will impact the team’s playing style or if they will bring in a passing down TE from outside? Do you think they have someone in mind? Why release Slate if not? I’ve seen hardly anything from Colbert… did he really deserve a spot over Tucker? I’m also unsure about Sabby sticking around. What did he do for us in this off-season?

Bob says – There will probably be a tight end by committee when it comes to catching passes. That’s not going to match anything that Moeaki could have provided. I think his absence changes a lot of things in the offense because he was a key contributor in both the running and passing game. It’s an injury that really hurts. I have to agree with you on Slate; he’s as near to Moeaki as a receiver as anybody they had on the roster. He wasn’t as good a blocker but he would have been a nice addition in two tights, with Pope, O’Connell or Becht blocking. Colbert had a much better pre-season than Tucker. As a veteran, he picked up the offense quickly and has the complete trust of Cassel because their relationship goes back to college. Tucker was a better special teams player, no question. Not sure what Sabby did to earn his roster spot; there wasn’t anything that really stood out. I would say the same for Donald Washington as well.

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Ben Armstrong says: Bob, do you see any players cut from other teams that might help the Chiefs as there were very few notables cut? What are the concern areas? I see OT, TE, BU QB, FS.

Bob says: Ben, I haven’t had a chance to really dig into the cuts list yet, but concern areas right now would be QB (a veteran needed), TE (a receiver first needed), veteran offensive lineman, either inside or outside. They need more experienced depth.

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RW says: Any plan to upgrade the QB position, either the starter or the backups or is it hope for the best from the Pioli/Haley strategy?

Bob says: If this doesn’t have them adding a veteran QB in some fashion, I’m not sure what will. Pioli/Haley are pretty smart guys and I can’t believe they would have “hope for the best” and then no backup plan. They tried to go without the veteran, now if we are to believe Cassel is a candidate to miss the opener then I can’t imagine they go with only Palko and Ricky Stanzi. Stay tuned.

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Tenand6 says: 1. Does Allen Bailey have the talent/skill set to unseat Tyson Jackson at LDE? 2. What are Brandon Bair’s strengths? And besides his inexperience, what are his weaknesses? 3. Who’s calling the plays?

Bob says: I think it would be early to think Bailey can unseat Jackson on first down at LDE. He’s a very raw talent – not that Jackson is a polished product – but he needs snaps, game action, practice and a good off-season and he’ll be ready to play full-time. Bair is a very good athlete, smart and has a top-level work ethic. He’s a poor man’s Jared Allen – he doesn’t yet have Allen’s explosion, or Allen’s background as a pass rusher. He’s a project, but that type of size, with ability doesn’t come along all the time. As for the play calling, I think Bill Muir has done most of it, but I also believe that Haley has injected himself into the mix at times. There’s no way he’s not going to be part of the equation.

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TDKC says: I re-watched the last pre-season game on NFL network last night. (Green Bay TV is much better than CTV) The announcer said Haley calls the plays but Jim Zorn relays them to the QB. Is this true? Do you think this is a smart way to call in plays?

Bob says: I think through four pre-season games the Chiefs have tried several different ways to call plays. I think it’s been Bill Muir, I think it’s been Muir and Carthon, I think it’s been Muir and Zorn, and Haley has been involved in all of them. How it will come down for the opener, I can’t say. But there’s a good chance whatever is done in the opener, may not be done in the second game. This is a fluid situation and Haley will not be afraid to change if he doesn’t like the way things are going.

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Kenny Low says: The mental mistakes really hurt the Chiefs during the pre-season and it seemed to be spread around with different players. How much patience will Todd Haley have with this group if he is putting so much of an emphasis on technique and eliminating mental mistakes? What else can he do to make this team more disciplined? After a timeout was called in the GB Game, Haley went nuts. Do you think he is going to have to exercise some emotional intelligence/restraint in order to get through to this young group?

It has been painful the past few years where there were weeks in which we were just not even competitive. Is this team better than they were last year at this time and did we improved talent wise or stay pretty much the same?

Bob says: There’s no doubt Kenny that the mental mistakes have been killing the Chiefs. I think that’s a product of no off-season program. That’s one part in this equation that I think really hurts the Chiefs – they are not a veteran, established team. They aren’t necessarily young anymore, but they aren’t old, they don’t have grizzled veterans and they haven’t been through the football wars together enough times to handle mistakes and adversity. That’s why they need so many things to go right – no penalties, no turnovers, not big plays allowed – if they are going to consistently win. There were two timeouts in Green Bay that came because players did not know where to line up on a certain play. There was one of those timeouts called in the St. Louis game as well. Those are mental turnovers that drive all coaches crazy.

As far as the talent level goes, I think in the big picture they are a better team. In the little picture of 2011, I’m not so sure. For that to be the case, they will need big, big contributions of solid, winning football from Rodney Hudson, Justin Houston, Steve Breaston, Le’Ron McClain and Kelly Gregg. All those are at positions of need from last year.

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Blake says: Bob thanks for everything you do! I have a lot of questions for you. What are your thoughts on Stanzi? Do you think he looks like he could be the QB of the future? Is Studebaker an upgrade or downgrade over Vrabel?
What aspect of the team do you think will see the biggest change from last year? (run, pass, pass D, or run D) How many wins do you think KC will get this year? Playoffs? Have you found out anything on Lilja’s injury? Do you think Gaither will overtake Richardson’s spot at RT during the season? Who do you think has been the most impressive rookie? What players do you see KC trying to bring in? Meriweather? Thanks again!!!

Bob says: We didn’t really get to see enough of Stanzi, especially with good players around him. He has a chance, but it’s not something that’s going to happen very soon. QB of the future? Too early to tell. Studebaker has more athletic skills than Vrabel did in his last year on the field, but he’s not as knowledgeable. Overall, it’s a step down. But the fast closing rookie Justin Houston could make all that irrelevant. He doesn’t have the knowledge, but he’s a better athlete than Vrabel or Studebaker in their primes. Biggest change is too early to tell, but losing TE Tony Moeaki is not going to help the passing game. I think the Chiefs go 8-8, as long as they do not lose any more starters like Moeaki. No on the playoffs. Lilja’s injury – no idea, really don’t. No clues or anything. I think Gaither will take Richardson’s spot eventually, especially if Richardson keeps having his problems with holding. Among the rookies, the most impressive has probably been DL Allen Bailey, just the fact he could work his way into the starting sub-defense as a rookie. Meriweather wasn’t going to fit; at his age if Belichick is giving up on him, it’s hard to see how he could come in and beat out Kendrick Lewis.

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Nick says: Hey Bob thanks for doing these, always enjoy reading your answers. Any idea on the status of Baldwin? If he was to be placed on the PUP list would that have already happened? Do you really think that the Chiefs will only keep 7 O-lineman active, with one being a rookie and another having missed all of 2010 with a back injury? Something I have wondered for awhile. Are you a fan of the Chiefs or do you cover them with a totally unbiased opinion? If not do you have a favorite NFL team? Thanks again.

Bob says: Baldwin can’t go on PUP; the only list he could go on is the injured-reserve list. Don’t think he’ll be ready for the opener, but he could surprise. Should be ready for game No. 2 or 3. There were times last year when the Chiefs only had seven offensive linemen active for a game. It’s always a dangerous deal, but it’s not unusual in the league. Having only eight on the active roster is a bit scary, especially when two of the eight did not play in the NFL last year. I enjoy the Chiefs; I’ve been around them for 31 seasons now. I do not live or die with their winning or losing, but life is always better in my business if they win. My favorite team would be the one I grew up with, the Pittsburgh Steelers. But I must admit that I don’t live or die with their outcomes either. I just enjoy good football, no matter the teams.

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cychief24 says: My surprises are: Lewis on the PS when he can play G and T. Plus he looked good in pre-season. Keeping Copper when he can’t catch but Tucker can and play specials as well. Bair kept. We need to find a pass catching TE to go with Pope and a back-up QB?

Bob says: I agree with your comment on Lewis; based on the early play time he was receiving I figure he was going to make the 53. I still think he’ll find his way to the big roster. Copper is a coach’s favorite and is generally the guy who is the kicking game leader. His catching skills were not very good in that Green Bay game. Tucker struggled in the offense this year; he may have achieved his upside. Bair has a great upside, very athletic, smart and real pass rushing skills. No doubt they need to find a pass catcher at TE for Moeaki.


4 Responses to “Answer Bob – 9/5”

  • September 5, 2011  - KC_Guy says:

    Any news on Baldwin? When do you think he’s ready to play (NOT: when do you think he’s healthy!)??

    Why not put him on Reserve/PUP for the first six weeks if it takes a while (what I think it will)??


  • September 5, 2011  - Niblick says:

    I don’t think he’s eligible for PUP because his injury took place in training camp, not before. He passed his physical, so he is not eligible. I could be wrong, but Bob can verify it.


  • September 5, 2011  - slingblade says:

    What about Carson Palmer as a veteran QB? Is he eligible to play? Could he be too pricey? Was he the headache with the Bengals or was it Mike Brown? Any insight as to what caused Palmer to dig in his heals?


  • September 5, 2011  - Tim says:

    What about the TE from Denver that was cut…Gronkowski? Didn’t seem like he was that bad. Is he a realistic possibility for signing?




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