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Answer Bob/Pre-Free Agency – Part #1

Thanks for your questions about the Chiefs and free agency. It all begins Tuesday afternoon and we’ll bring you analysis and commentary for moves by the Chiefs and the rest of the NFL.

Here are the first questions and answers.

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R W says: Excellent! Great to have “Ask Bob” back again. My question: Is Dorsey/Reid basking in the glow, treading water, or embarrassed from 2013 free agent/draft picks . . . and WHY once you assign a status on the mentioned choices?

Bob says: R W, it’s nice to be back. As for Dorsey/Reid and how they reacted to their 2013 acquisitions, I would say their emotion was simply, “We’ve got to get back to work.” I can guarantee you that the personnel and coaching staffs are not resting on any laurels from last season. In the NFL, every team starts new again every season – it’s impossible for a team to stay intact in the locker room.

Looking back at 2013, the roster additions were less than scintillating and would fall into your category of treading water. In unrestricted free agency, they hit on defensive end Mike DeVito and guard Geoff Schwartz. Some of the other signees made contributions but they were inconsistent and not always reliable: wide receiver Donnie Avery, cornerback Sean Smith, inside linebacker Akeem Jordan and safety-returner Quintin Demps would be the best examples. On a grading scale of one (horrible) to 10 (outstanding), the UFA class was a four.

The quality of the Chiefs class from the 2013 NFL Draft remains very much in doubt. Offensive tackle Eric Fisher improved as the season went on, but overall did not perform above mediocre. Running back Knile Davis was a nice addition once he got his feet wet. The rest of the group was injured or simply did not play enough to make a judgment on their futures. On a scale of one to 10, the draft class was a three.

It’s the trade/waiver wire/street free agents where Dorsey/Reid scored, with the additions of quarterback Alex Smith and fullback Anthony Sherman (trades), cornerback Marcus Cooper, tight end Sean McGrath and cornerback Ron Parker (special teams) all from waivers, outside linebacker Josh Martin (undrafted free agent) and even wide receiver A.J. Jenkins (trade). On the grading scale, that group deserves a grade of six.

Overall, Dorsey/Reid must do better when it comes to finding the right pieces for their roster.

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Randall Webb says: Bob, with holes in the roster at wide receiver, cornerback, safety and O-line, will the Chiefs be able to fill one or two of those with free agency? I know that most improvement must come from within the current roster. Give me the most likely candidates for improvement next season. Keep your head up my friend. Our prayers are with you.

Bob says: Thanks Randall. I think they will attempt to fill several of those holes with second-level veteran free agents, probably at safety and offensive line. You are right about the idea that improvement must come from within. Here are player(s) at each position that need to grow into more of a contributing role in the 2014 season:

  • Offensive line – Rishaw Johnson & Eric Kush.
  • Wide receiver – A.J. Jenkins.
  • Tight end – Travis Kelce & Demetrius Harris.
  • Running back – Joe McKnight.
  • Quarterback – Tyler Bray.
  • Defensive line – Jaye Howard.
  • Linebacker – Nico Johnson.
  • Secondary – Malcolm Bronson.

Johnson, Jenkins, Kelce and Howard will have opportunities and that would be most welcome on the ’14 active roster.

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cychief24 says: My personal focus is on the Dex jersey I bought my daughter as one of her college graduation presents. Do you think I’ll have to buy an Alex jersey (her 2nd fave) or will the Dex jersey work out?

Bob says: cy, I would have the Alex jersey ready to go. I can’t see them inking Dexter McCluster before the start of free agency and once he’s on the market, McCluster will likely draw an offer bigger than the Chiefs are willing to pay. No question he was a big influence on the team’s performance last season. But he’s a specialist as punt returner and slot receiver, and that’s not a ticket to a big payday. I wouldn’t count out McCluster with the Chiefs just yet, but it doesn’t look good right now for him to be on the Chiefs 2014 roster.

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milkman says: Bob, assuming reports are correct and Brandon Albert is heading out; do you think the Chiefs will put Stephenson on the left side and leave Fisher on the right? It sure seemed like Fisher was dinged up a lot last year, or was that a smokescreen to mask their disappointment with the progress of their first over-all pick? I think a lot of us were underwhelmed by his performance, but with only one season of watching him, what are your thoughts of his future?

Bob says: milkman, Albert is gone, quite likely to the Dolphins who have chased him for two years now. I think Reid will start on-field work with Fisher on the left side and Stephenson on the right. It’s going to be Fisher’s job at left tackle; that’s why he was drafted in the No. 1 spot last year. Fisher was dinged up last season and that was no smokescreen. The major injury was his shoulder and that happened in training camp and was re-injured several times during the season. There has not been news or rumors that Fisher had surgery on the shoulder, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he had an operation/procedure sometime after the playoffs. Underwhelmed is a good overall description of Fisher’s rookie season. He did show his athletic ability and improved the level of his performance towards the end of the schedule. That creates hope with Dorsey/Reid that he can fill the hole vacated by Albert’s departure. Those are big shoes to fill; Albert was a good to very good left tackle in the last few seasons.

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Russell Kelley says: Bob, I feel for you and your family. I have been a subscriber since the beginning but I never posted anything . . . one of the annual articles I enjoy was the evaluation of the roster and the ranking of the players. Will you be doing this again? Good luck to you.

Bob says: Thanks Russell for your consideration. I had the rankings on my to-do list in the days after the loss to Indy in the playoffs. I hope to get that done once the smoke clears on free agency and we all know the players from last year’s team that are coming back. Stay tuned.

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ChuckXX says: Hi Bob, my prayers are with you. Who do you see us going after in free agency, if anyone at all?

Bob says: Chuck thanks for your prayers; they are needed right now. Let’s start with their free agents – they need to re-sign Schwartz, safety Husain Abdullah and possibly defensive end Tyson Jackson. Rounding up a list of suspects the Chiefs may go after on the open market is a bit tough to do; we don’t have enough evidence of how Dorsey/Reid approach building the roster. I would think they would kick the tires on a pair of familiar wide receivers: Jason Avant from Philadelphia and James Jones from Green Bay. Both are in the 30-year old range. Reid drafted Avant in the fourth round and he’s been a solid No. 3 receiver. Over seven seasons, Jones was very productive for the Packers after being a third-round selection by the Packers where Dorsey was part of the evaluation process. He has 310 catches and 37 went for touchdowns. Dorsey was also part of the drafting of tight end Jermichael Finley with the Packers. Finley has had injury problems (knee in 2010, back/spinal cord in 2013), but when he’s healthy, he’s a talented receiver and he’ll only be 27 later this month. He has 223 catches for 2,785 yards and 20 TDs. Lamarr Houston from Oakland deserves a look as a defensive end in the 3-4 scheme. In four seasons with the Raiders, he had 16.5 sacks and 227 tackles.

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jimbo says: Do you think Alex Smith is our guy for the next 3-7 years? If so, do you think we will draft a late-round QB? I like Chase Daniel and think he is a good solid back-up. Then we have seemingly immature, cannon-armed Tyler Bray. What I like best about him is his fearless ability to throw strikes that Smith or Daniel would not even attempt. My real question is: do you think the Chiefs, at least for now are set (content) at the QB position?

Bob says: jimbo, I think that the Chiefs are intrigued by Bray and what they’ve seen from him on the practice field, in meetings and coaching sessions. Daniel’s performance in the last game of the regular season against San Diego ended all doubts on his ability to step in and run the Chiefs offense. I guess it would not be a surprise if they used a late choice on a quarterback, but it’s not imperative for them right now in a big-picture sense. Anytime there’s an undrafted free agent in the No. 3 spot, you want to bring in somebody that can provide some competition and challenge the holdover.

More of your questions and my answers coming on Monday.


One Response to “Answer Bob/Pre-Free Agency – Part #1”

  • March 10, 2014  - R W says:

    Man alive! Excellent answers all over the spectrum. Well done, Bob, and with a heavy heart but maybe this is a healing of sorts?

    I think a key state for Dorsey/Reid to keep in mind for free agency is twofold: 1) 30 is not the new 25. Skills diminish in this league rapidly past the trusted age.
    2) Making key big splashes early in free agency don’t equate, necessarily, to on field success. Look at last year and the Dolphins who finished 6-10 after paying big$$ for Mike Wallace..among others.

    Come on Dorsey!




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