First Quarter Awards … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

So here we are at Todd Haley’s quarter pole. The first of the 2009 season’s four quarters is over and the Chiefs are among six teams that have yet to drink from the cup of victory.

But, we do have some awards to pass out, some for good things, some for bad things.

The Chiefs First Quarter Awards

PLAYER OF THE 1ST QUARTER – None. There isn’t a player on the roster that deserves this kind of recognition at this point, not with a 0-4 record and the fact the Chiefs have shown little or no improvement from week one to week four. Comeback and see us at mid-season.

OFFENSIVE PLAYER – TE Sean Ryan. OK, the pickings here are pretty slim, but after four games Ryan is leading the team in catches with 11 and he’s got two touchdown passes. He’s no Tony Gonzalez, but he’s been a far better receiver than anyone thought since he was signed more as a blocker than a catcher. It will be interesting to see if he can beat back the presence of recently signed Leonard Pope. Others considered: WR Bobby Wade.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER – OLB Tamba Hali (right). There were concerns going into the season about whether Hali could make the transition from playing with his hand on the ground to standing up and seeing the whole field. It’s early, but so far Hali has been the most explosive Chiefs defender.

He’s been involved in 14 total tackles and two sacks, with two forced fumbles and two other pass rush pressures. Those are not Pro Bowl numbers, but Hali has played hard and so far the Chiefs have been able to limit his time in pass coverage. Others considered: ILB Demorrio Williams and OLB Mike Vrabel.

SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER – P Dustin Colquitt. The league is going through a period of super punting and Colquitt is right at the top of the list. Coming off an injury-plagued season, he’s kicking the ball well and generally with good results. Last week’s game was not his best, but his net punting average leads the league and nobody has been able to return his punts for much in the way of yardage. Others considered: RB Jackie Battle and K Ryan Succop.

NEWCOMER – OLB Mike Vrabel (left). There’s no question that his move to Kansas City was not something that Vrabel wanted and his unwillingness to join in the off-season program hurt the development of the team. But since he’s arrived, Vrabel has been a very good addition to the team and especially the defense. How much of a role he’s taken in the locker room remains unknown, but on the field he’s playing hard, he’s involved and although he’s coming down to the end of his career, he can still contribute to the defense. Others considered: ILB Corey Mays and SS Mike Brown.

ROOKIE – K Ryan Succop and ILB Jovan Belcher. Four games does not a career make, so it’s way too early for anyone to throw the Chiefs ’09 Draft class under the bus. But to say it’s been less than productive is an understatement. DEs Tyson Jackson and Alex Magee have combined for seven tackles. CB Donald Washington doesn’t even turn up on the stat sheet on defense or special teams. WR Quinten Lawrence has one end-around run for 16 yards. Succop gets half of the award almost by default. But he’s been solid so far, making all 10 of his kicks (3 FGs/7 PATs) and his kickoffs have been very good. Belcher has been the surprise, as an undrafted free agent out of Maine. He has six tackles on defense and three in the kicking game and his playing time increases each week. Others considered: none.

OFFENSIVE DISAPPOINTMENT – LT Branden Albert. In his rookie season, Albert showed he has the physical skills to play the left tackle spot for a decade. So far in his sophomore year, Albert is having trouble exhibiting those talents. He’s struggling and that makes life pretty miserable for the Chiefs quarterback. Others considered: RB Larry Johnson and RG Mike Goff.

DEFENSIVE DISAPPOINTMENT – NT Tank Tyler
(right). In a season where it’s important that Tyler step up his game, it’s not happened. He’s lost his starting job to veteran Ron Edwards and although he is the fifth leading tackler on the team, his playing time is decreasing on a weekly basis. Others considered: DE Glenn Dorsey and ILB Derrick Johnson.

BEST DECISION – Trading a second-round draft choice to the Patriots for QB Matt Cassel and OLB Mike Vrabel. So far the results of this deal do not show themselves in the team’s record. But Vrabel has brought a steady hand to the defense and Cassel has shown that he can play the position. OK, he can play it if he gets time to throw and the blocking improves. Right now it’s hard to really evaluate Cassel, but he’s shown good mobility and for the most part he’s made good decisions. He must become more accurate and continue to not turn the ball over. Other considerations: the hiring of Steve Hoffman as special teams coach

WORST DECISION – The hiring and then firing of offensive coordinator Chan Gailey. Now that we know more about Todd Haley, it’s obvious that having Gailey in charge of the offense wasn’t going to work. These guys have different philosophies and that should have been easy for everyone involved to figure out before Gailey was asked to stay. Then, the firing of Gailey three games into the pre-season schedule and the total change of the scheme and playbook afterwards, set back the development of the offense. Other considerations: signing Cassel to a six-year, $63 million deal before he played a down.

SIGNINGS, INJURIES & MOVEMENT IN THE LEAGUE

  • BROWNS – traded WR Braylon Edwards to the Jets for WR Chansi Stuckey, LB Jason Trusnik and a third and fifth-round picks in the 2010 NFL Draft; released OT Paul Trautwein.
  • BUCCANEERS – league suspension of S Tanard Jackson lifted.
  • 49ERS – signed first-round draft choice Michael Crabtree to a six-year contract, $32 million with $17 million guaranteed.
  • JETS – acquired WR Braylon Edwards in a trade from the Browns for WR Chansi Stuckey, LB Jason Trusnik and a pair of 2010 draft picks; league suspension of LB Calvin Pace lifted.
  • LIONS – league suspension of DT Shaun Smith lifted.
  • RAIDERS – signed RB Gary Russell.
  • SAINTS – league suspension of K Garrett Hartley lifted.

FROM THE PAGES OF CHIEFS HISTORY

On October 8, 1961, the Dallas Texans beat the Broncos 19-12 in front of 14,500 fans at Bears Stadium in Denver. The Texans rolled off 19 straight points and kept the Broncos off the scoreboard until the fourth quarter. FB Bo Dickinson ran for a one-yard TD, while QB Cotton Davidson and WR Chris Burford hooked up on a 24-yard scoring pass. Jack Spikes kicked a pair of short FGs. The Texans defense forced six Denver turnovers, including interceptions by CB Duane Wood, LB Smokey Stover and CB Don Flynn. Dallas RB Abner Haynes ran for 139 yards on 26 carries.

On October 8, 1966, the Chiefs beat the Denver Broncos 37-10 on a Saturday night game in front of 33,929 fans at Municipal Stadium. The Chiefs jumped out to a 21-0 first-quarter lead and then cruised to the victory. TE Fred Arbanas caught a three-yard TD pass from QB Len Dawson. WR Chris Burford caught an 18-yard scoring pass from RB Bert Coan. RB Mike Garrett had a seven-yard touchdown run. Garrett later added a 61-yard scoring run, while K Mike Mercer had three field goals. WR Otis Taylor caught five passes for 103 yards, while Coan ran 10 times for 96 yards. Bobby Hunt and Bobby Ply each had an interception for the KC defense and LB Bobby Bell blocked a FG. Playing against his old team, Denver RB Abner Haynes had 206 all-purpose yards.

On October 8, 1967, the Chiefs beat the Miami Dolphins 41-0 in front of a crowd of 45,291 at Municipal Stadium. At that time it was the largest crowd for a sporting event in Kansas City history. The KC offense scored touchdowns in every quarter, and they were led by QB Len Dawson who threw five TD passes. He hit WR Otis Taylor for 71 yards, and then eight yards, and connected with TE Fred Arbanas for 17 and 25-yard scoring tosses. Late in the game, Dawson and WR Gloster Richardson hit on a 56-yard TD. The Chiefs defense had five interceptions with two each for S Johnny Robinson and CB Willie Mitchell, and S Bobby Hunt had the other INT. Taylor caught four passes for 97 yards.

On October 8, 1972, the Chiefs beat the Browns 31-7 at Cleveland Stadium. QB Mike Livingston threw a trio of TD passes, throwing 34 yards to WR Otis Taylor, 8 yards to WR Morris Stroud and 3 yards to TE Willie Frazier. RB Mike Adamle had a 1-yard TD run as well and he led all runners with 88 yards on 20 carries. The Chiefs defense picked off four of Cleveland QB Mike Phipps passes, including two by S Mike Sensibaugh. CB Jim Marsalis and LB Willie Lanier had the other picks.

On October 8, 1989, the Chiefs beat the Seahawks 20-16 at the Kingdome in Seattle. This game started poorly for the Chiefs as Seattle’s Jefferson returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. At half-time the Seahawks led 16-3. But in the second half, Ron Jaworski brought the Chiefs back. RB Christian Okoye had a 13-yard TD run in the third quarter, Nick Lowery kicked a 25-yard FG and then Jaworski hit TE Alfredo Roberts with a 2-yard TD pass that proved to be the winning points. Okoye finished with 156 yards on 30 carries. Both LB Derrick Thomas and DE Neil Smith had sacks and FS Deron Cherry had a pair of interceptions.

SAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY …

Born on October 8, 1953 in Galveston, Texas was LB Whitney Paul. He was selected in the 10th-round of the 1976 NFL Draft out of Colorado. Paul played seven seasons with the Chiefs in two different segments (1976-81 and in 1986.) He ended up playing in 100 games with 71 starts. Paul had eight interceptions. Between his two stints with the Chiefs, he played four seasons with the Saints, including one year when he had 9.5 sacks.

Boron on October 8, 1966 in Shreveport was S Charles Washington. He joined the Chiefs in 1990 after playing one season with the Colts. Washington played in two seasons (1990-91), appearing in 22 games, with one start. He had one interception and did most of his work on special teams. He went on to play three seasons with the Falcons.


28 Responses to “First Quarter Awards … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • October 8, 2009  - mdchief says:

    I disagree with your assessment of Cassell’s decision making. It still needs plenty of work. I wonder if Haley is having second thoughts about having Albert lose all that weight. I know they measure strength as well, but he certainly does not appear as strong as he was last year.


  • October 8, 2009  - Jon from Dayton says:

    Losing weight has nothing to do with your timing. All of Albert’s false starts this year just seem to indicate that he is out of sync with the offense … or lack thereof.


  • October 8, 2009  - ThunderChief says:

    In no particular order, it looks as if LJ is about done, having lost the speed and explosiveness he used to have. Those 400 carry seasons from ’05 and ’06 are tolling loudly.

    Albert must have lost muscle in those 35 lbs he shed in the off-season. Right now, he just looks like some guy trying to survive out there at LT.

    Waters and Goff are looking to join the over the hill gang as OGs. The Oline at present is horrid.

    It might make some sense to draft a LT in 2010, move Albert to OG, Nudukwe to OG and find an upgrade for Niswanger at OC in free agency. Not a complete team solution but a good start. O’Callaghan looked fairly good against the G-Men so maybe he can stabilize the Right OT position as the season wears on.


  • October 8, 2009  - True Red & Gold says:

    Bob, good article and fairly accurate in my opinion. One of the items I would add is in the Bad Decision category, Not drafting one of the top OTs available with their first draft pick.


  • October 8, 2009  - Seth says:

    I think you are crazy on giving D. Johnson a consideration for most disppointing on Defense. When he has played he has shown an impact – then he was out week 3 and barely played week 4 (10 plays). Give him time to get back out on the field and *possibly* (who knows) get back into Haley’s good graces.


  • October 8, 2009  - Mad Chief says:

    Great article, Bob. I agree on most of it. Unfortunately, there have been very few bight spots for the Chiefs so far.

    And Tribal Warfare,

    Hindsight is 20/20 when it comes to the draft. Nobody knew Sanchez would develop this quickly. I’m betting that most of the Chiefs fanbase would have crapped their pants if we had taken a QB that high in the draft. Our bigger needs were elsewhere.


  • October 8, 2009  - Chiefsfan_62 says:

    I don’t agree with Dorsey being a disappointment, has he played great no, but a big improvment from last season. And he had a great game against the Giants, at least when applying pressure to Manning


  • October 8, 2009  - Nathan says:

    Sanchez would’ve looked like Ryan Leaf behind our O-line.


  • October 8, 2009  - Mad Chief says:

    Tribal Warfare,

    I’ve argued the Cassel thing to death. Yes, he had great success with a good New England team last year. That’s my whole point. If he had some talent here, he’d be having success here too. He wasn’t brought here to BE the Offense…he’s just a piece of the puzzle. Our O-line sucks, our running game is basically non-existant, the play calling stinks, and our receivers are not very good. I have no problem admitting Cassel is not playing all that well right now. NOBODY is. You want to talk “delusional”? Blaming all the Offensive woes on Cassel is “delusional”.


  • October 8, 2009  - Jim Lloyd+ says:

    Seth–D. Johnson is great when he feels like it ,but that is not all the time .
    All the teacher’s know this and they are trying to decide what to do .
    He can be the best player on the team one min. and then goes to outer space on the field next ?


  • October 8, 2009  - Mad Chief says:

    Tribal Warfare,

    It’s difficult to “throw the ball down field” when you have half a second to do it in.

    End of the Cassel debate from me. I’m not blaming you…I’m just tired of the subject. I’ve done it to death here lately. I think Cassel will start playing better when the whole Offense starts playing better.


  • October 8, 2009  - colby says:

    Let’s see, Sanchez is playing behind an excellent offensive line that has two first round picks at the two most important spots: LT (Ferguson) and C (Mangold). His protection was bad for the first time against the Saints and he threw three INTs. Give Cassel a break! This guy has star QB written all over him. He just needs better protection and a WR corps that can catch the ball!

    In the last two games, our players have dropped 11 passes and Cassel has been sacked 8 times. I’ll say it again; give Cassel a freaking break people! Sanchez would be even worse if he were our guy!


  • October 8, 2009  - Mad Chief says:

    Someone who agrees with me! Thanks, Colby.


  • October 8, 2009  - arrowhead1978 says:

    I think the offense will start playing better when Brodie Croyle starts the games!! Then maybe the running game will open up, 2.4 yards per pass, come on you have got to be kidding me, he is worse in that respect then Jamarcus Russell who has a 3.4 yard per pass average and his offense definately is worse then the chiefs!

    How long are you going to wait for the chiefs team to become the Patriots for Cassell to be good??


  • October 8, 2009  - Mad Chief says:

    arrowhead1978,

    So let me get this stright. It’s not the line’s inability to pass protect or run block. It’s not the lack of a running game. It’s not our below average receivers, and their dropped balls. It’s not the “wtf” play calling. It’s all Matt Cassel. Start Croyle and the whole Chiefs Offense will roar to life? That’s what you’re saying?

    LMAO!!! Thanks for the laugh.


  • October 8, 2009  - Anonymous says:

    albert is not as good because we arent running a spread offense, it messed him up, and he really is a guard and should be moved inside at some point.

    cassel is fine, hes a heck of a QB, lay off a guy that in the past two games is 4/0 Td/INT with an awful offense


  • October 8, 2009  - arrowhead1978 says:

    Thigpen had an awful offense and produced more, yes he ran out of the pistol, but Cassel is running out of the shotgun alot also.

    Why would you only count his two past games? How about in his 3 last games? 59.6 completion percentage, 5tds/2ints, 10 sacks for a passer rating of 82.5.

    Croyle looked better and had the offense moving against the Ravens, a way better defense then cassell has seen so far. The chiefs almost won that game, then come the raiders game where Cassell didn’t do much all game until the end and thats when the defense gave it up, not to say he could do anything about the defense, but he had the whole game to start getting the offense moving.


  • October 8, 2009  - Mad Chief says:

    arrowhead1978 says:

    “Croyle looked better and had the offense moving against the Ravens, a way better defense then cassell has seen so far.”

    Saying the Ravens have a “way better” Defense than Philly or the Giants is crazy talk.

    And your point on Thigpen is flawed, too. Thigpen had Gonzalez to throw to. What reliable receiver does Cassel have?


  • October 8, 2009  - Anonymous says:

    Thank You …To all that feel our 63 mil QB isn’t cutting the Bucks!!!!!!! That’s not to say he wont he just hasn’t showed it to date.I have said leave no stone unturned ……in finding a winning team!!!!!! That should include the OB/coaches/mascot/unis/band/cheerleaders/timezone/anything else you can think off. PnS


  • October 8, 2009  - Blake says:

    Bob I have to disagree with you. Demorrio Williams should be under disappointments, he consistenly gets ran over. Derrick Johnson is so much better than him. Also Bob how do you put Dorsey as a disappointment. He has been our best dlinemen and has been looking a lot better than he did last year. He is getting pressure, knocking down passes. Dorsey looks a lot better than last year. I think you need to have Brian Waters as offensive player. Ryan has looked pretty good receiving the ball but he is getting torched when “trying” to block. Waters is the only person on offense that has been consistent.


  • October 8, 2009  - Bakjon says:

    Arrowhead 1978 what have you been smoking. The Chiefs offense produced less than 200 total yards against the Ravens. And you can’t give Croyle credit for all the points as McGraw’s blocked punt resulted in the first touchdown and DJ’s long interception return inside the 10 resulted in the second touchdown. Brody’s long pass to Bradley which resulted in a FG and the drive that led to the tying TD were his only successes. When Brody had the chance to lead the Chiefs to the tying TD what happenned? KC turned the ball over on downs and he almost fumbled the ball on the first play when he was sacked. The running game improving? The Chiefs couldn’t even run the ball against Baltimore. So saying that Croyle is the answer is a joke because either the Eagles or the Giants with their rushes would have knocked him out the game and we would have the same Brokie Croyle responses. Cassell will be fine. Also, remember one thing how many games has Brody won as a starter? ZERO!


  • October 9, 2009  - SG says:

    Worst decision – Bob presents a strong contender for sure. There are a couple others that come close to it.

    My top 2 “Dis”honorable mention candidates for worst decision:

    a) Giving Cassel significant early-season worries by trading Tony Gonzalez to the Falcons for a 2nd round pick next year. Gonzalez may have got his wish to play for a contender…but the Dirty Birds? C’mon! Can anyone now say that the passing game and pass protection have not been exposed?

    b) Short-changing the franchise QB of achieving early success by trying to retool the offensive line with “less-than-top-flight” players.

    c) All this “my way or the highway” approach. SuperTodd may have taken actions to alienate certain players as well as shorten his tenure. If he goes 3-13, he might shortened his coaching grace period from 3 seasons to 2.


  • October 9, 2009  - SG says:

    Best decision – BobGretz hit the nail on the head. A couple of other good ones:

    A) Getting Mr. Irrelevant Succop coupled with the hire of Miami’s kicking coach. Much improved.

    B) Waiver wire moves such as Wade, Pope, and trying to get some O-line when it was obvious B-Rinch and Sackintosh couldn’t get it done. Too bad they didn’t make more decisive actions earlier – we might be closer to where Denver is than where we are now.


  • October 9, 2009  - Jody says:

    I think that’s very unfair to Dorsey, actually according to scheme he is playing well if not great–and in that he doesn’t fit the scheme what do you want?




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