Twitter Tuesday: finding FOUR Chiefs wins despite their overrated defense, Royals contending, Klein's Heisman chances, and Mizzou
The Kansas City Star
We’re all (at least pretending to be) adults here, so I don’t need to explain the term “beer goggles.” Normally this has to do with late-night, um, decision making but it’s also now applicable to otherwise right-minded Chiefs fans.
At least the ones who keep talking about how good the defense is.
Look at the yards-per-play the Chiefs have given up this season, and for a reference point, just know the Steelers are the league’s best at 4.5, the Saints are the worst at 6.5, and the Dolphins rank 16th at 5.3. The numbers:
vs. Falcons 7.0
at Bills 6.9
at Saints 5.2
vs Chargers 5.1
vs Ravens 5.8
at Bucs 9.3 (!)
vs Raiders 5.5
at Chargers 7.4
at Steelers 4.1
vs Bengals 6.1
vs Broncos 6.0
So at least by this measurement, the Chiefs defense has been better than the league average three times out of 11. Two opponents (Denver and San Diego the first time) have hit their season average against the Chiefs. Two others (Pittsburgh and New Orleans) have been short.
Everyone else — including the Ravens in that 9-6 game that always gets blamed on the offense — has beaten their season average.
Right now, the Chiefs rank 29th in points given up, 17th in yards, and 30th in yards per play.
I understand the offense is dragging the defense down a bit, but at least statistically, that will show up more in yards (giving up fewer yards because the defense is playing so many short fields) and points (giving up more points because of the same reason). It’s hard to make a reasonable argument that a defense ranked 30th in yards per play is good.
The defense is better than the offense, but the gap isn’t as big as the team’s ultra-conservative, shorten-the-game strategy makes it look. In that way, Romeo Crennel is doing a good job hiding some flaws.
So, please. Pump the brakes on the narrative about the defense being good.
Anyway, that out of the way, this week’s reading recommendation is Charles Siebert’s story on his nephew’s life as an NFL long shot. The eating recommendation is the enchiladas at El Salvadoreno, and a hat tip to reader Tom for that one.
Let’s get to it. As always, thanks for your help.
@kelwill9 #TT I miss Elvis Grbac
I’m telling you: these Chiefs have made Kansas City crazy.
@patronaut0709 #TwitterTuesday If I were to stop shaving/trimming my beard until a team in KC won a game, when in April could I shave?
Here’s an incomplete list of things that have happened since the Chiefs last won a game: a man went sky diving from outer space, Hurricane Sandy killed more than 200 people, David Stern announced his planned retirement, Lincoln opened (awesome movie, by the way, you should see it), Barack Obama got re-elected, two states legalized marijuana, we’ve taken out a wall and painted five rooms at the Mellinger mansion, the Lakers fired their coach five games into a season, Gene Chizik got fired two years after winning a national title, K-State went from 15th in the country to the brink of the national championship to disappointment, Dorial Green-Beckham got arrested, KU’s football season peaked with a loss at Texas Tech, college basketball started and — we saved the best for last — the Royals won.
@thillsman If the #Chiefs lose on Sunday, Arrowhead will go a full year without a home team win. No question, just throwing it out there.
And then there’s that. Gross.
Let’s talk about something happier.
@Speck60 How was your Thanksgiving, Sam? #TwitterTuesday
So glad you asked! Thanksgiving was awesome, which it always is, because Thanksgiving is the best holiday of the year. Love the weather, love the food, love the football, love the mandate to have a laid-back day of gluttony with family, really, love it all.
I’m thinking of making up a holiday just like Thanksgiving for the spring, calling it Halfmas or something, and blocking off a Thursday in May where we just sit around and pig out.
Anybody with me?
@KevinJW1 Trying a positive KC sports question—better thrill: Charles in the open field, or Alcides ranging for a web gem?
The play of the Chiefs season, to me, is still Charles’ 91-yard sprint down the left sideline that jumpstarted that comeback in New Orleans. Happened so fast, a flash, and it completely changed that game. If the Chiefs didn’t completely blow, it’s the kind of play that can change an entire season.
Escobar is terrific. He’s one of the reasons — Butler with a bat, Perez behind the plate, Gordon everywhere are some others — to watch and hope for the Royals. His and Perez’s contracts might be the two most valuable assets the Royals have.
But to me, it’s still Charles. And a close contender is another one in football: Justin Houston rushing around the end.
Did you know he has 14 1/2 sacks in his last 16 games?
Here’s the list of players with more: Aldon Smith, J.J. Watt, Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, and Jared Allen.
@Speck60 Do you write imaginary columns about good teams? You know, just in case one day you might have to do it again. #TwitterTuesday
By now, I do wonder if my computer would auto-correct it, like, “Chiefs beat Broncos 34-23 to clinch the AFC title” into “Scott Pioli is terrible at his job and should be fired.”
I would remind you, though, we’ve had another conference title for Sporting KC, KU’s run to the national basketball final last year, a good regular season by Mizzou hoops, and what can still be perhaps the best season in K-State football history.
So it’s not all gloom.
Just feels like that sometimes.
@jaysondemar can we all now agree that Matt Cassel is bad, but Brady Quinn is terrible? #TT
If Posnanski was still here, he’d say that distinctions at that level are not worth making. And he’d be right.
@bmjkc when is Clark going to come out of his hole and say something?
I think I’ve said this before, but my read is that he’s not talking again until he’s ready to say Pioli will be back next year or he’s holding a press conference about the search for a new GM.
My guess would be shortly after the season is over, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it happened before that.
@kent_swanson Are you running out of jokes yet?
It’s becoming harder, yeah. For a lot of reasons, I’ve sort of made a deal with myself that there won’t be any more columns just straight-up putting Pioli on blast. Points have been made, and firings will too, so let’s try to find other things to talk about.
Also: I reserve the right to change my mind at a moment’s notice.
@jsublette should the chiefs draft a qb in this years draft or wait? I say build the defense get qb in free agency
Good quarterbacks don’t come through free agency. Not anymore.
Of the top 25 quarterbacks in passer rating — flawed stat, I know, but still… — these guys have only played for their current team: Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, RG3, Alex Smith, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan, Josh Freeman, Andy Dalton, Russell Wilson, Philip Rivers, Joe Flacco, Tony Romo, Jake Locker, Eli Manning, Sam Bradford, Matt Stafford, and Christian Ponder.
Here are the guys who’ve played for multiple teams: Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Kevin Kolb, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Carson Palmer, Jay Cutler, Matt Schaub and Matt Hasselbeck.
Beyond the obvious — which group is stronger — look at the specifics. Peyton Manning was perhaps the most sought-after free agent of all-time, and the Chiefs tried to get in on that, and we know how it worked out. Drew Brees was an anomaly, for a lot of reasons, including the shoulder surgery, but wake me up when another talent with his best years still coming hits the open market again.
Kevin Kolb sucks. Ryan Fitzpatrick is OK, I suppose. The Raiders had to way overpay — even by Raiders standards — to trade for Palmer, who was “retired.” Cutler brought back Kyle Orton, two first-round picks and a third-rouder in a trade. Schaub^ is good, but also surrounded by one of the NFL’s best rosters. And Matt Hasselbeck sucks.
^ I originally had him in the other group, but as reader Nate points out, Schaub was drafted by Atlanta and started two games there over three seasons.
So, yeah. I vote that you draft your quarterback. And high.
@gthe3rd What do u think of mel kipers’ idea of taking Teo with the 1st pick and then drafting a qb?
Enormous gamble. That’s fine if you’re sure you can still get your guy in the second round. But of today’s good quarterbacks, the only ones drafted in the second round or later are Brady, Brees, Schaub and, depending on how desperate you are, Romo and Dalton.
Quarterback is enough of a priority — if we know NOTHING else — that if you have to overdraft to get the right guy, getting the right guy is what’s important.
@fancypantsbeer What are your thoughts about keeping Romeo as a DC next season? He’s actually pretty good in that role. #TT
Well, I’m not sure he’d do it. I’m not sure the next coach would want him to. I’m not sure the next GM would want him to. I’m not sure Romeo wants to go all Gunther Cunningham on it, in other words.
My thought has always been the GM should hire the coach, and the coach should hire the assistants. Whatever they think will work best.
@grackers Which will be greater: attendance at the Chiefs-Panthers game or the home opener for the new women’s soccer team? #TT
This is the game that people inside the Chiefs offices have worried about all season. I haven’t talked to anyone out there this week, but I expect them to be scrambling. This might be one where the TV station has to eat some tickets to get it on air, though the NFL relaxed the blackout restrictions so much it might not be an issue. It really might be the most apathetic crowd of the season.
This comes after what was, really, a very good crowd on Sunday. I know a lot of them were Broncos fans, and the Chiefs had most of the tickets sold before the season started. But if you closed your eyes, and somehow pushed the ugly reality of a 1-10 team out of your head, it looked like a real NFL game.
@clevnation If I get invited to an ugly X-mas sweater party…would a Chiefs’ sweater do the trick? #TT
Extra points if you tell the host his punch is sickening and disgusting.
@ClintT13 Say you can hire Chizik today & will be guaranteed exact same results he had at Auburn. Do you do it? Answer as MU/kU/K-State AD.
Is that a real question? For winning a national championship, they’d build a statue for him at any of those schools. And they wouldn’t have fired him this year, either.
@danedri Does Klein still have a shot at the Heisman against jail bird Johnny?
I’ve been a big Klein guy most of the year, and I have a vote, but at this point it’s really tough to see him winning. Manziel broke Cam Newton’s yardage record, has accounted for nine more touchdowns than Klein and has a (slightly) higher passer rating. He also had the moment, at Alabama, better than anything Klein has and backed it up with big numbers in a blowout over the quitting Tigers on Saturday.
Manti Te’o is the guy to watch at this point. If anyone besides Manziel is going to win it, it’s Te’o.
@rex3king is GP on the hot seat? What grade do you give Mizzou FB this season?
Well, no. He’s not on the hot seat, if by hot seat you mean being fired before next season.
But the season was a big, fat failure. Pinkel pushed for the change to the SEC as much as anyone, and they failed. I understand about the injuries, but injuries happen everywhere and there were a lot of fans calling for Berkstresser to play over Franklin anyway.
I expected 8-4, which was obviously too much, but 5-7 with home losses to Syracuse and Vanderbilt … it’s an F.
@brianhodgekc do you think the longer the Michael Dixon saga plays out the more distraction it becomes for this MU team?
Of course. The situation is as ugly as it is touchy. I don’t pretend to know what really happened, but I hear the same things everyone else does , and just hope the truth comes out.
But there’s no question it’s a distraction. The Tigers need what Dixon does on the floor, the ball-handling and scoring and gumption, and they certainly don’t need more drama off the floor.
I’ve said here before the Tigers are one of probably three teams — Kentucky and Florida being the others — with a real expectation of winning the SEC, but it’s hard to see that happening without Dixon.
Plus, Dixon is one of the few remaining college athletes I covered in high school so of course I’d like to see him playing soon.
@edgla This is the most I’ve ever read about Royals in Nov (thank you Chiefs). Pls tell me they will win more than 1 in their first 11.
I just hope Ned Yost doesn’t ask Dutton, “Would you rather us lose by nine runs or play a competitive game?”
@Thuettenmueller Are the #Royals really only one more established starting pitcher away from becoming legit playoff contenders?
Yes, I believe so. The Tigers took the division with 88 wins, by far the lowest win total of a division champion. So the Royals, and this has been the case for a few years, are in the right division.
Their position players are young, talented, and should only be getting better. The bullpen is stocked with power arms that can take on extra workload. The rotation is improved with Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie, but like your boy says here, they still need a little more to hope to keep their heads above water.
Trading Wil Myers is the most likely way to do it, and if David Glass really won’t push the payroll over $73 million or so, well, we’ll get into that in a column.
@TheFakeNed #TwitterTuesday If you could buy one thing for #BlackFriday or #CyberMonday, what would it be?
An outdoor kitchen.
@soraroks what’s the best chance for the Chiefs to win in the next 5 games? (assuming anyone wants them to win anymore)
You know, actually, I can make a case that they can win any of them. Looksee:
vs Carolina: the Panthers are 3-8 and will be coming off an emotional win on a short week.
at Cleveland: the Browns are terrible, might be starting Colt McCoy, and there are enough guys here now who might feel spurned by Cleveland (Romeo, Daboll, Quinn) to provide extra motivation. Unrelated: I’ve been dreading this road trip since the minute the schedule came out.
at Oakland: the Raiders are terrible, and this is the kind of game the Chiefs might sneak out.
vs Indianapolis: well, this one’s harder to make a case for.
at Denver: the Broncos will probably have clinched the division by then, and might be resting everyone for the playoffs.
So, hey, there’s four wins in the last five games and the momentum the Chiefs need to bring everybody back!
@evanrosell the chiefs’ problem may be that it’s really hard to psyche out the other team when your coach tucks his game plan into his pants
Can’t argue with that.