Lockout Potpourri … Morning Cup O’Chiefs

Friday is Day No. 64 of the NFL lockout, actually Day #64 since the owners first closed the doors to the players. It’s easy to forget those doors were open for a few days at the end of April when the players’ injunction was granted. The owners asked for a stay on that injunction with the Court of Appeals.

That stay was granted and has not changed through Thursday. There was a hearing in the Twin Cities on Thursday involving damages for the players after the owners decided to negotiate TV rights contracts that included payments even if there were no games to broadcast in 2011. No decision came down on that.

Mediation sessions between the owners and players begin again on Monday in Minneapolis in front of a federal judge. Those sessions will include real live owners and players, not just the legal beagles.

Makes your head hurt, doesn’t it? If you’ve ever wondered why there are big, tall buildings in every city that are filled with attorneys, it’s because of cases like this one. Both sides in this fight are being run by lawyers. It’s not players, it’s not owners, its lawyers that are competing against each other.

Sad, sad, sad …


At every NFL stadium has two cameras that are focused all game on the playing field. They are up high and record every play without close-ups. They are used to determine how many plays each player is on the field.

The totals are updated each week and sent privately to each member club during the season. The numbers are important in-season as a way for coaches to gauge how much time individual players are on the field. They are important after the season, as players sometimes have bonuses in their contracts based on playing time.

At the end of the year, the playing time is totaled and sent to each team. It’s also sent to what used to be the NFL Players Association, since they were/are the depository of any information involving players and their participation.

Kudos to The Kansas City Star for obtaining a playtime report for the 2010 Chiefs season. The source of the information according to the paper was the former NFL Players Association.

If the paper had all the numbers it did not publish them. They provided a few highlights which are worth noting for several reasons, including two cases that are among the most important factors in the team’s 10-6 season and a spot in the playoffs.

Offensive line – The Chiefs had 1,063 offensive plays during 16 games in the regular season. The starting O-line missed very few of those players. Here’s the percentage of those 1,063 snaps that each starter played: LT Branden Albert, 92%; LG Brian Waters, 95%; C Casey Wiegmann, 100%; RG Ryan Lilja, 93%; RT Barry Richardson, 94%.

Defense – Improved performance from the defenders was another big factor in the Chiefs successful ’10 season. A key part of that was the continuity the defense had because there were very few injuries. SS Eric Berry played all 1,028 plays on defense, 100 percent of the defensive snaps. CB Brandon Carr was on the field for 99 percent of the plays and ILB Derrick Johnson played 97 percent of the snaps. Combined, the defense was missing at least one of those three players on only 41 of 1,028 plays. That’s 4 percent. On top of that, OLB Tamba Hali was on the field for 94 percent of the snaps and CB Brandon Flowers was 90 percent

Every team in the league deals with injuries during the season. Any team hopes to keep those problems to a minimum, especially clubs that are rebuilding and have a shallow pool of talent. Last year, one of the major factors in the Chiefs season was the fact they lost so few snaps to injuries.

Over the ’10 season, there were 56 players that participated in a regular-season game. Of that number, 27 played in all 16 games and six more played in 15 games. That’s 33 players in 94 percent of the games.

Here are the 16-gamers: CB Javier Arenas, G Jon Asamoah, RB Jackie Battle, ILB Jovan Belcher, SS Eric Berry, WR Dwayne Bowe, CB Brandon Carr, RB Jamaal Charles, P Dustin Colquitt, WR Terrance Copper, DB Travis Daniels, DE Glenn Dorsey, NT Ron Edwards, LS Thomas Gafford, DE Wallace Gilberry, OLB Tamba Hali, ILB Derrick Johnson, RB Thomas Jones, TE Leonard Pope, OT Barry Richardson, DE Shaun Smith, OLB Andy Studebaker, K Ryan Succop, OLB Mike Vrabel, LG Brian Waters, C Casey Wiegmann, LB Demorrio Williams.

That group includes the team’s leader in rushing, receiving, tackling, sacking, interceptions, punt returns, punts and field goals.


There was a lot of conversation last season about the RB work load and how it was being divided between the starter Thomas Jones and the Chiefs best running threat Jamaal Charles. Led by the fantasy footballers, some fans wanted more plays for Charles and fewer for Jones.

According to the play-time documents from what used to be the NFL Players Association, Charles was on the field for 587 plays, Jones played 450 snaps.

With 1,063 offensive plays, that had Charles getting 55.2 percent of the snaps and 42.3 percent for Jones.

In reality, Charles may have gotten too many snaps. With his type of body and the pounding he’s willing to take by running inside, he shouldn’t be on the field for more than 50 percent of the snaps.

One mitigating factor is this – of those 587 plays, Charles ran or caught the ball 275 times. That’s means 53.2 percent of the time that he was on the field he did not touch the ball.


Chuck Cook spent 25 years with the Chiefs personnel department, rising from area scout, to regional scout, to director of college scouting. Like just about everyone else in the personnel department that current GM Scott Pioli inherited, he was shoved out the door.

Cook landed for two years in Miami as an area scout with the Dolphins, but he was named this week as the new director of college scouting for the Buffalo Bills.

GM Buddy Nix hired Cook in a revamp of the Bills personnel department. Vice-President of college scouting Tom Modrak was fired and assistant GM Doug Whaley was given the title of player personnel director.

Cook and Nix go way back. Nix worked as an assistant coach with Cook’s father Hamp at Southern Mississ ippi in 1972. Coming out of high school, Nix tried to recruit Cook to play at Auburn. Instead, Cook went to Southern Mississippi. Hamp Cook was a long-time scout in the league with the New Orleans Saints.

Nix spent time with the Bills and Chargers before rising to the GM job in Buffalo, and he was always impressed by the Chiefs teams that Cook helped build.

“We worked hard there and got some good football players,” Cook told the Buffalo media. “Working with Carl (Peterson) and Marty (Schottenheimer) and Bill Kuharich over the years. It was a great run in Kansas City. I learned a lot.”

6 Responses to “Lockout Potpourri … Morning Cup O’Chiefs”

  • May 13, 2011  - RW says:

    Using or including playing time stats to build a story speaks volumes about the dearth of usual NFL news this time of year. I commend Bob for finding story building material that keeps the NFL story flame flickering in spite of this numbing impasse.

    It would be nice to be reading about mini-camps, who is impressing or who isn’t, free agent visits, signings and stories of that ilk which now only exist in some parallel universe. This is a time that will cause NFL historians, many years from now, to ask in unison: WHO let that happen?

  • May 13, 2011  - Tenand6 says:

    I don’t understand why players want fewer OTA’s. The Chiefs seem to make the point that their methods of intense physical training keep players healthier, on the field more, improved play and in a position to make more money based upon production.

    More games is a terrible idea and so are fewer OTA’s.

  • May 13, 2011  - ChuckP says:

    When I read this story carefully and look at how “few” injuries we really had last year I can’t help but wonder how did we get so dominated in a few of those games???? Ex: Ravens, Raiders, Broncos on the road. The Raiders games (both of them) were ESPECIALLY PAINFULL.

  • May 13, 2011  - Martin says:

    Bob, making lawyers the bogeymen behind the whole fiasco that is the lockout is a bunch of crap. This isn’t about lawyers. It is about greed. It is about the inability of a group of megamillionaires/billionaires (the owners) to agree how they should split billions of dollars, and further about the inability of those same owners to agree with millionaire players on how to split billions of dollars. The lawyers are just the tool chosen by both sides to further their greedy efforts to maximize their own claims to the bounty of the golden goose. Lawyers don’t make the decisions here….their clients do. The fact is that neither side has found itself sufficiently in legal doo doo to be swayed to “give” significantly from their entrenched position. Absent a change in the greed status (don’t hold your breath on that one), it will take a court ruling to show one side or the other they are likely to lose before we see any resolution here.

  • May 13, 2011  - el cid says:

    NFL football was a special part of our lives and its history will fill with feel good stories but this new chapter is all about our current society and how we view everything. The “game” does not matter, no it is all about greed and envy, “i want mine now and yours had better be smaller than what i got”.

    As this extends on and sides become more defined, at least by ourselves, what will be left?? I can see where football shoots itself over how to divide 8 billion. NBA is all about tv ratings and the important cities in the playoffs, MLB just is not worth it unless you like the NY or BOS teams, big money and the rest hold their hands out and gratefully take the leftover. cities like KC can “claim” to be major league but never about to anything against the teams with money the owners willing to spend.

    I guess it is the old childs tale about the golden goose. That sucks for KC and their loyal fans…..go chiefs.

Get the Flash Player to see the slideshow.


Other News