Commentary: A Long Road Ahead

From Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia

The Eagles did not have their starting quarterback. They did not have their starting running back and the engine of their offense. They were without one of their starting wide receivers.

None of that mattered on Sunday. They were playing the Chiefs.

If you want an idea of how far the Hunt Family franchise must go to become a contender again then simply refer to what happened here when they came to Pennsylvania to play a hurting Eagles team.

Over the last decade, the Eagles have been a lot like the Chiefs were in the 1990s. They are always contenders, they win a lot of games and they are still searching for a championship to validate everything that they’ve done. They have kept themselves among the league’s best teams with judicious use of free agency and heavy reliance on the NFL Draft.

QB Donovan McNabb couldn’t go because of his cracked ribs, so Kevin Kolb started; he’s a second-round pick from 2007. RB Brian Westbrook’s ankle was too sore in warm-ups to play, so rookie LeSean McCoy stepped into the starting lineup for him. McCoy was a second-round choice in this year’s Draft.

Curtis has a knee problem that kept him off the field. Starting for him was Jeremy Maclin, a first-round selection in this year’s Draft out of Missouri.

Now maybe the baby-faced Eagles would have struggled on Sunday if they were playing the New York Giants, or even the Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings or other NFC powers. But they weren’t. They were playing the Chiefs, and right now the Philadelphia youngsters are better than the best players that Pioli/Haley can put on the field, no matter their age.

“I had high hopes coming into this game that we had a good chance to win the game,” Todd Haley said afterwards.

Head coaches are supposed to be optimistic, especially in front of the public and his players, so we shouldn’t expect Haley to say anything else. But after watching what went down in Sunday’s game, there’s no way he can believe that he has the talent to match with a team like the Eagles. Andy Reid had one hand tied behind his back and still his team was able to dominate the action.

Yes, the Chiefs were without WR Dwayne Bowe and ILB Derrick Johnson. That hurt because in the first two games they were two of the few guys in red and gold who actually made plays. But their absence would have made little difference in this game on this day.

If you’ve been under the delusion that the problems the Chiefs have had in the last two seasons was due to something other than a serious lack of talent, then get a tape of this game and watch closely. You will see a team in white with talented starters off the field, replaced by talented if unproven youngsters. And you will see a team in red that can’t match the Eagles on offense, defense or special teams.

Take Philly LB Omar Gaither. Ever heard of him? Me either. But he was all over the Chiefs offense over the afternoon. He made tackles, he pressured Matt Cassel, he ran Jamaal Charles down from behind and he shut down a sweep by taking out the blocker and still making the tackle. Post-game press box statistics had him for nine total tackles and one sack. It seemed like so much more.

Gaither is a fifth-round pick from the 2006 Draft out of Tennessee. He’s 6-2, 235 pounds, just 25 years old with four years in the league and he would easily be the best linebacker in the Chiefs defense.

Starting free safety Macho Harris is a fifth-round rookie out of Virginia Tech. He’s moved right into the starting lineup this season and had four tackles.

Check out their offensive line. With the exception of LT Jason Peters who they picked up in a trade with Buffalo back in the spring, this is a fairly non-descript group. LG Nick Cole and C Jamaal Jackson were signed as free agents. RG Max Jean-Gilles is a fourth-round pick and RT Winston Justice is a second-rounder. The oldest guy among the five is Jackson at 29. Cole, Jean-Gilles and Justice are all 25.

Match the Chiefs and Eagles up position-by-position, player-by-player and I’m don’t think there’s a single spot where the Chiefs would have the edge.

The way that will change is through the NFL Draft. Scott Pioli and his personnel operation have but one draft under their belt, so the sample size is not enough to make firm judgments. But they should still be getting more out of their ’09 draft class than the Eagles are getting out of theirs.

But that’s hardly the case. Pioli’s No. 1 pick LDE Tyson Jackson started and the post-game stats credited him with nothing: not a tackle, not an assisted tackle, not a QB hurry, or pressure. It’s like he didn’t play. But he did; he played a lot. Third-round pick Alex Magee was not on the field as often as he’s been in the past, when he usually comes in with the nickel defense. Fourth-rounder Donald Washington got some playing time as the nickel back and his contribution was a 15-yard facemask penalty that wiped out the only sack the Chiefs had all day. Fifth-rounder Colin Brown is on injured reserve, sixth-rounder WR Quinten Lawrence was inactive and of the trio of seventh rounders, only K Ryan Succop was on the field.

Now we wouldn’t expect all those draft choices to be tearing up the league after just three games. Hopefully maybe one of them breaks through early and creates an impression. That hasn’t happened.

Now, let’s look at the Eagles draft class. There’s Maclin in the first round; he caught four passes for 33 yards. There was McCoy in the second round; he ran for 84 yards on 20 carries. There was fifth-rounder Harris, who finished with those four tackles.

Again, that’s with a team that last year went to the NFC Championship Game.

The Chiefs like to believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel they are in. That might be the case. But Sunday, that light was a train being run by the most baby-faced Philadelphia Eagles you could imagine.


29 Responses to “Commentary: A Long Road Ahead”

  • September 27, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    Regular Season only, up to the moment -

    ‘Brand New’ & ‘Interim New’ Head Coaches

    NYJ Ryan 3-0
    DEN McDaniels 2-0 & on the way to 3-0 appears
    IND Caldwell 2-0
    SF Singletary 2-1
    DET Schwartz 1-2
    SEATT Mora 1-1
    STL Spagnuolo 0-3
    KC Haley 0-3

    Even last year’s worst team the DET Lions are now with Schwartz and Gun Cunningham ‘better than the chiefs’.

    Also…

    Former NE Patriot/Pioli cohort Mangini 0-2 CLEV;
    STL’ Spagnuolo who was rumored to be of interest to Pioli is 0-3.

    KC Haley 0-3 & 0-7 overall on the season – he and Pioli remain THE ONLY WINLESS NEW GM & HEAD COACH DUO IN THE ENTIRE NFL ALL GAMES PLAYED IN 2009.

    Last year’s coaching ‘hit’ Head Coach Sparano in MIA a Parcells man like KC Hailme is 0-2 in ’09.

    Upshot being…despite having “the best GM AND Head Coach candidates the entire NFL according to many are officially THE WORST IN THE LEAGUE BASED ON THE IRREFUTABLE FACTS.

    Sad… :cry: … and it’s only going to get worse.


  • September 27, 2009  - Marc says:

    Gretz…you sound about as disappointed in this team as I am. I kept thinking to myself watching the game, we make everyone look like superstars.

    We keep beating ourselves. Until we play games consistenly smarter, we won’t have a chance.

    I’m ready for Haley to start yanking players when they commit penalaties, regardless of who it is What is going to get their attention? Nothing has worked yet.


  • September 27, 2009  - Jason says:

    Nice insight here Bob. Good article.

    I feel like I’m forced to hold out hope that we’ll improve our team through the draft (which obviously takes years), but I really have no faith in the players we will draft. The glaring reason is that our defensive line remains absolutely horrendous, and we have a #5 and #3 OVERALL pick among that group. Success for this team feels like it is at least 3 years away, which has me on the verge of being apathetic until there are signs of hope.


  • September 27, 2009  - larry says:

    I have to agree with you Rin. Pioli and Haley have been huge BUSTS to date and the Chiefs reflect that.


  • September 27, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    I have to agree with you Larry. Herm was a horrible coach and the current state of the Chiefs reflect that.


  • September 27, 2009  - I'mRedGoldTrue says:

    Bob you really need to stop these imposters like the guy who posted just above me. Such children.

    To the actual Rin Tin Tin, I don’t always agree with what you say though I often do, but you’re never boring or at a loss for words.


  • September 27, 2009  - richard says:

    still f’in hate rins guts though he ruined a good chiefs website..so u just stay down in your basement as a fat hairy old man with glasses lookin up gay porn..so f’U rin!


  • September 27, 2009  - ED says:

    Thanks to Herm/Peterson we just don’t have enough talent to win. The offensive line especially. These guys can’t protect Cassell and most of the time Larry was getting hit in the backfield. Pioli needs to make returning the offensive line into one of the top lines in the league a top priority in the offseason. Whether its by free agency or draft.


  • September 27, 2009  - Anonymous says:

    No mystery to success in the NFL. Good offensive and defensive lines improve the play of the rest of the team. The Chiefs suck on both sides of the line right now. The Chiefs will take years to make it better


  • September 27, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    “years…”

    :lol:


  • September 27, 2009  - SG says:

    “so we shouldn’t expect Haley to say anything else.”

    Perhaps Haley should resume secrecy…perhaps until he wins a game, maybe we shouldn’t expect Haley to say anything.


  • September 27, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    Josh “Belichick/Patriot Way” McDaniels now 3-0 on the season – so much for ‘most’ all NE associates being :shock: failures.

    Tony “Parcells/Patriot Way” in MIA now 0-3 on the season; so much for the faux improvement of 2008.

    :-)


  • September 27, 2009  - Curly says:

    What would make you happy?


  • September 27, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    To see Moe poke do that eye poke thing to you…but right now he’s busy ‘coaching’ the chiefs… down

    :lol:


  • September 27, 2009  - Ratso says:

    You know I don’t think the Chief’s could beat some college teams … boy do we stink! I don’t expecy Haley to fix things in 1 yr. but I do expect him to field a Team that has discipline and is tough. These are players who have played for years but they look like they just got out of Pop Warner … heck there maybe some Pop Warner Teams that could beat the Chief’s … that’s a joke but it does reflect my low opinion of this years Chief’s. Let’s hope they get their stuff together and play football like pros. I don’t think most of them are going to have a very long career in the NFL.


  • September 27, 2009  - Alexthe"GREAT" says:

    U know its sad when u r the only Chiefs fan at a sports bar and every1 is ridiculing u b/c they all know something u dont…………..that we will be 0-16 this year!


  • September 27, 2009  - Curly says:

    what would make you happy regarding the chiefs?


  • September 27, 2009  - ILChiefsFan says:

    “Scott Pioli and his personnel operation have but one draft under their belt, so the sample size is not enough to make firm judgments. But they should still be getting more out of their ‘09 draft class than the Eagles are getting out of theirs.”

    Is this necessarily true?

    Bob holds up a 1st-round WR and a 2nd-round RB as proof of this statement. Few positions are more NFL-ready than running back; rookie running backs play all the time in this league. First-round wide receivers are expected to have an impact as well. The Eagles have rarely drafted multiple skill position players this early, and the last time they drafted one in the first round was 2001, but all the high picks they’ve invested in linemen over Andy Reid’s tenure gave them the luxury to go out and get high-impact skill players this year.

    Pioli drafted defensive linemen in the 1st and 3rd rounds; we Chiefs fans know all too well that most rookie defensive linemen don’t have an immediate impact. The Eagles themselves have drafted several defensive linemen in rounds 1-3 who have either been flat-out busts (Jerome McDougle, 2003 1st-rounder) or are just now starting to contribute (Victor Abiamiri, 2007 2nd-rounder).

    BTW, the other player Bob holds up as an example of the Eagles’ drafting savvy is Macho Harris, a 5th-round draft pick playing FS. It takes a little luster off that comparison to know that Harris, a converted CB, is the surprise starter over Quintin Demps, a 2008 4th-rounder who had a total of 18 tackles in 16 games last season.


  • September 27, 2009  - MARIO BARTEE says:

    IF YOU CAN’T DRAFT WELL YOU WONT WIN IN SPORTS. THE BAD DRAFTS FROM VERMEIL TO HERM ARE HURTING US. OFFENSIVE LINE HAS BEEN GROSSLY NEGLECTED BY THIS TEAM. STILL HAVE NOT FOUND A LONG TERM REPLACEMENT FOR WILL SHIELDS.THEY HAVE OVER DRAFTED AT D-LINE AND HAVE NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT.COULD YOU IMAGINE CLADY & ALBERT ON THE LEFT SIDE TOGETHER ? THEY ALSO HAVE TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT SOME OF THE GOOD PLAYERS THEY PAST ON IN THIS YEARS DRAFT.IF SANCHEZ ENDS UP HAVING A BETTER CAREER THAN CASSELL THAT WOULD BE VERY DAMAGING, OR IF TYSON JACKSON FLAMES OUT.


  • September 27, 2009  - MARIO BARTEE says:

    EVEN THOUGH PIOLI & HALEY HAVE ONLY HAD ONE YEAR THIS DRAFT LOOKS LIKE IT HAS BUST WRITTEN ALL OVER IT. JACKSON WAS A REACH NO DOUBT & MAGEE JUST LOOKS LIKE A GUY.THE REST OF THE DRAFT WILL BE USELESS. MATT CASSELL TRADE BETTER WORK.PIOLI & HALEY BETTER HAVE GOOD DECISION MAKING IN 2010 & THEY BETTER COME AWAY WITH A GOOD PLAYER FOR THE GONZALEZ TRADE.THEY CAN NOT AFFORD ANOTHER POOR DRAFT.CHIEFS GO 3-13 & OMG DRAFT ANOTHER D-LINEMEN. LOL


  • September 28, 2009  - ED says:

    First of all Bob your critcisms of the new regime are way out of line. Lets evaluate what you have to say about comparing Eagles draft class with ours. Everyone knows that running back is the easiest position to transition from college to pro. Comparing a 1st round pick Macklin to Lawerence isn’t fair at all. And every smart football fan knows that defensive lineman take 2 or 3 years to truly show what they can do. So kill the comparisons with the Eagles draft class because its really just shows how much you don’t support these guys.

    Pioli/Haley only have 3 games under their belt and one offseason that got started late because of length of time they had to hire a head coach and put a staff together. Bottom line will win about 4 to 6 games this year. Next year will be the best team in the division. Jackson and Dorsey will be even more improved. And once we add a good pass rushing OLB the defense will be much better. The main thing for Pioli/Haley next offseason is restoring the offensive line back to one of the best in the league. That has to be top priority for this organization. The o-line can’t give Cassell anytime to throw the ball down field and can’t even give LJ enough time to make it to the line of scrimmage.


  • September 28, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    “Bottom line will win about 4 to 6 games this year.”

    - :lol:


  • September 28, 2009  - Uncuffed says:

    Bob, if you’re going to compare draft picks, you need to be fair. Our second round pick produced Cassel and Vrabel, both of which produced on the field.


  • September 28, 2009  - Jody says:

    The Chiefs actually may be the worse team in the league. I know I must accept this now. The mocking jerk commentators may be right.


  • September 28, 2009  - Will says:

    “Scott Pioli and his personnel operation have but one draft under their belt, so the sample size is not enough to make firm judgments. But they should still be getting more out of their ‘09 draft class than the Eagles are getting out of theirs.”

    Actually, we haven’t seen Pioli’s personnel operation because they used Carl and Herm’s group to guide them through this draft. After the draft the former personnel group were all gone…so the first draft of Pioli’s personnel operation will be in April of 2010. Having said that, I do realize Haley and Pioli spent countless hours looking at tapes (they told us so). But hopefully, Pioli has made it clear exactly what the Chiefs are looking for in both free agency and the draft…because they have a lot of work to do…a lot.


  • September 28, 2009  - arrowhead1978 says:

    Cassell produced on the field?? I was at the game wearing my chiefs jersey, they didn’t look good at all… It’s sad when the eagles fan tell me they want to say something about the team but they can’t, because what exactly is there to say that I didnt know anyway??


  • September 28, 2009  - jonsey says:

    Some of you guys need to quit being such homers and see what is really going on here. We SUCK and will for a long time. I think the coach is in way over his head especially adding the OC duties. And the way we layed down in the 2nd half makes me wonder if he will make it thru the season. How many empty seats at Arrowhead next week? The only thing possibly worse than what is happening with this team is admitting that Rin was and is right.


  • September 28, 2009  - SG says:

    “what would make you happy regarding the chiefs?”

    a win would be a nice start.




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