Chiefs Go “Thin” On O-Line … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

Ordinarily, the movements of a back-up offensive tackle from the active roster and the promotion of a rookie from the practice squad to take his place would pass with little fanfare during an average NFL season.

But then, this has been no ordinary season for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Coming off a division championship and a 10-7 record last year, the team has put together a disappointing 4-7 mark that now includes a four-game losing streak. As much as head coach Todd Haley wants to believe his team still has post-season opportunities, reality tells us there is little chance this team will reach the .500 mark, let alone win each of its remaining five games.

That makes every move past, present and even future eligible for plenty of second guessing, or in the case of the future moves, first guessing. That’s especially true when it comes to player personnel decisions, because the Chiefs problems this year are tied directly to a lack of talent, stemming from some key injuries and a poor job of roster building by GM Scott Pioli.

Thus, it makes us stop and wonder what’s up when the team’s lack of experience depth ends up being made even thinner by the release of OT Jared Gaither and the promotion of rookie David Mims (above right) from the practice squad.

Gaither left the team on Tuesday with 43 games of NFL playing experiences and 28 starts. Mims joins the roster with no pro playing experience and no playing time at the major college level.

And now with five games to play in the 2011 season, the Chiefs have these three players as depth on their roster for the offensive line:

  • OT David Mims – no NFL experience.
  • OT Steve Maneri – one-game of NFL playing experience, coming last Sunday night.
  • C/G Rodney Hudson – 11 games played and one start just last Sunday night.

Unless there are more moves on the way to add a veteran blocker, the decision to dump Gaither and leave the team without any veteran backup help along the offensive line is highly questionable. It’s darn hard to understand the risk.

Nobody should have a better handle on the roster than Pioli, so the fact that Gaither was sent packing tell us the GM felt the big man no longer fit into the Chiefs roster picture. Whether that was because of continuing back problems, which kept him out of the regular season last year, we don’t know. Whether it was his false start penalty suffered in the closing minute of Sunday night’s loss to Pittsburgh does not seem possible. If roster decisions were made on making obvious mistakes, there would be guys jettisoned off the list after every game.

This is one of those times when secrecy and the Patriots Way approach of hiding behind closed doors and providing no information does the Chiefs no favors. With the type of season they are having, the Hunt Family should be thrilled that anyone cares about an on-the-edge roster move like this one.

There has been from his first day in the building, a feeling of entitlement by Pioli that he does not have to explain himself to anyone. But there is little Pioli has done in three years that gives him that sort of standing. There is no history of successful personnel decisions that provides any reason for trust in his judgment. There is probably a very good explanation for the release of Gaither and it should be explained. Just as it should be explained why the decision makers feel they can survive the season with a completely inexperienced bench backing up the offensive line.

What of Mims? Coming out of Virginia Union University in Richmond, the 6-8, 335-pound native of Charlotte, North Carolina drew attention because of his sheer size. He was a four-year starter for the Panthers, but his level of competition at the Division II level kept him out of the Draft.

In training camp and the pre-season, Mims showed promise. He has exceptionally long arms and with his athletic ability, it allows him to keep defensive players away from his body and thus he can control them. But he is raw, very raw and extended playing time at this point would be disastrous for Chiefs quarterbacks.

His promotion from the practice squad may have come because of interest in him by another team that was willing to sign him to the active roster. To keep him, the Chiefs would have had to promote him to their active roster.

In the big scheme of the 2011 season and its history, Jared Gaither and David Mims are names that will barely make the radar screen. What will be remembered is if one of the starting offensive linemen goes down in Chicago, and no one with experience is there to step in.

18 Responses to “Chiefs Go “Thin” On O-Line … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • November 30, 2011  - James says:

    I believe they brought Mims up to protect him. They must think he has a future with the Chiefs. The secrecy around the team sucks but it is what it is. It’s tough being a fan of this team these days.

  • November 30, 2011  - bhive01 says:

    Maybe they’re moving on for the year without saying as much. What are our chances of winning out and getting a playoff spot? Pretty low I’d say and you might as well start testing some of these guys out.

  • November 30, 2011  - Chuck says:

    I would like to see him play a series or two. But it probably won’t happen.

  • November 30, 2011  - ED J says:

    I can care less about secreacy. Seriously I don’t care. They more than likely cut Gaither because he never was healthy. I mean how many times do you see Raiders of all teams pass on a guy. To me that was the red flag for me and then to watch Chiefs sign him makes me think they had false hope he would become healthy. It obvious he never did because he couldn’t never overtake Ricardson who is one of the worst right tackles in the league. I think they felt with all injuries around league to tackles it made more sense to move Mims up to protect him and he probably at this point better player and long term solution than Gaither.

  • November 30, 2011  - Tim says:

    I understand the protection of Mims argument, but it rings hollow. Its not seeing the forest through the trees. Gaither is talented. He’s not old. He could’ve been a key person to be able to get bigger & better on the OL allowing a move to RT by someone or sliding Albert inside to his natural position which is LG. There has to something more here than saying you’re going to jettison a talented OT w/ experience for a guy who’s not played a down & is very raw. Sorry, not buying that. If that’s the reason, Hunt needs to address BOTH Pioli & Haley.

  • November 30, 2011  - el cid says:

    Gaither still has an admirer it seems.

    I do not have all that fondness for the big P or Haley but they have to have the players they think fit what they want to do. I cannot believe I am saying this but Tony G did not want to be part of the “work in progress” and wanted a chance at a ring – he did not fit for P and H and he was gone.

    For whatever reason, Gaither was a guy who never fit, apparently.

    As for Mims, who else would they put on the roster? It is not like if he sets foot on the field all hopes of a superbowl win go out the door. Besides they are already paying him a salary.

    Ed about secrecy, ok by me if you are talking about the football product. But after 3 games every other team and most fans have an idea what you are going to do with the “packages” of todays football. Secrecy about injuries, within NFL rules, are fine. But to gag players other than the usual papp we hear is silly. If you want the HC to be the “face” of the team, coachspeak seems a bit arrogant in dealings with media on to the fans. But win 10 games every year, and never say anything, fine by me.

  • November 30, 2011  - Tim says:

    el cid…not necessarily a Gaither admirer. The move just doesn’t make sense for the protection of Mims at the expense of maybe having whoever is the QB run for his life more than he’s already had to. There’s got to be more of a reason because if this was the concern, you’d release Manieri (sp?), play out the season then get the long look in a normal off season & make the decision in training camp next year. Too much upside, assuming health isn’t an on-going issue.

  • November 30, 2011  - Nathan says:

    My God! If I hear one more thing about Brandon Albert moving to his ‘natural’ position I think my head is going to explode.
    Brandon Albert played guard at UVA because the coaching staff believed in putting the 5 best players out there. They happened to have D’Brickashaw Ferguson who they put at LT. They put Albert out there at LG because they wanted all their best lineman on the field. Otherwise he would’ve played LT at UVA.
    Al Groh, the head coach at UVA at the time, said this in an interview when he was asked if Albert would make a good NFL LT.

  • November 30, 2011  - Tenand6 says:

    Pioli better find a franchise QB fast. His flaws are being exposed. Firing his head coach won’t help the roster unless Pioli intends to hire the next Bill Belichick and that guy is over Pioli on the organizational chart.

  • November 30, 2011  - napahank says:

    No problem with secrecy as far as status of current players. Every angle you can work the better. Now for players released or put on IR, etc., let us know what happened as the fans who pay Pioli’s salary are always going to be “down on” what they are not “up on”.

    As for Gaither in particular, it had to be something serious that could not be fixed and health must be the culprit. Everyone, including Pioli, Haley and even Gaither was “excited” about him coming over to us. If that is the case (Bob) then he would be no help, veteran or not, as a backup for an entire game replacement.

    Finally, there is no better time to give Mims experience than in the last third of a season where you are not playoff bound. In fact, you could put him in at RT (with Orton at QB) and he may prove an instant upgrade. You won’t know till you try.

  • November 30, 2011  - Johnfromwichita says:

    We need more quarterbacks.

  • November 30, 2011  - johnfromfairfax says:

    I think the way Pioli operates has a lot to do with his background. He’s a product of the Parcells/Belichick school of management. Neither of those two have ever been accused of being cuddly and particularly with regard to the press. The fact that they’ve both been successful have allowed them to do things “their” way. The ultimate arbiter of how to build a dynasty is producing the desired outcome. I have no problem with their approach if they are successful. it grows old when we keep helping other teams set team and league records against us. That was a regular occurrence a few years ago, less lately but still too frequent for my liking. Keep in mind Pioli and Haley (as well as Hunt) are all still relatively young. Remember Belichick wasn’t always held up as a model of HOF credentials (see Cleveland). Hopefully the triumvarite will continue to develop their own blueprint for success. The jury is still out at this point but the clock is ticking.

  • November 30, 2011  - Kenneth says:

    The old healthy Gaither could have beaten Alberts up one side of the field and down the other for the starting OT job.

    Maybe he never liked playing RT or maybe he never got fully healthy and the fact that the Raiders say he failed thier physical after he had already agreed to a contract offer with them says they actually saw something.

    Whether it was some of the above or to protect Mims is IMO uninportant, I suspect it was the right call and its Pioli’s job to make those decisions no matter how much we second guess him.

  • November 30, 2011  - ED J says:

    Heard Mims will be getting ready for more possibly featured role on this team. Hope to see him out there getting some reps Sunday in Richardson place. He can’t do any worse. Ricardson been horrible all yr even dating back to last yr. He’s been even worst this season. Mims 6’8 300 pounds he’s huge guy would love to see what he can do. I mean how can you not think a guy 6’8 300 pounds can’t become a monster.

  • November 30, 2011  - ED J says:

    Yeah I also agree with most of you about firing head coach. It isn’t answer. Most of time you’re setting team back with new systems and coaches. Haley doing best he can with roster he has to work with which isn’t much in the trenches. We need to bolster Qb, oline, and IMO just move Gordon to starting nose tackle with Powe to compete for the job. Both guys shown flashes. Houston played best game of season last Sunday night I think he’s going to be pro bowl level outside linebacker and pass rushing monster next season to complement Bowe. If Bailey can develop into every down defensive end then with Berry coming back next season we might be building one of best defense in the league forget AFC west or even AFC but the league.

  • November 30, 2011  - ED J says:

    I said Houston compliment to Hali not Bowe. Hopefully Sheffield continues to develop as well which would add some depth

  • November 30, 2011  - cychief24 says:

    Edj your dvr must be working well with all of your tv judgements.

    Which Pro Bowl QB do you think we have a shot at acquiring?

  • December 1, 2011  - Milkman says:

    It all goes back to doing things the “Patriot Way”. While it does make sense to have secrets concerning personel to remain competitive, it is another thing to have secrets just to be secretive. This is what’s so frustrating for some of us. They want to tell us they are trying to create a “family atmosphere” here in Kansas City. It just seems they really don’t think they need us diehards to be part of that family. And again, please tell me why we have to have a Patriot way, or Steelers way. It would be nice to see ownership take a stand and create the “Chiefs way” for winning games. Maybe that involves a little of all the other winning franchises, or just maybe a few original ideas of our own. And it would also be nice once in a while if we could all feel like we mattered enough to them to know what they’re thinking, instead of feeling like all we are is a butt in a seat.

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