Grading the Chiefs through the 1st half of 2010

The first half of the season started off with the highest of highs as the Kansas City Chiefs beat the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football to open the season at the New Arrowhead Stadium. Now, the first half ended on the lowest of lows, with the Chiefs losing in overtime in a game where the Oakland Raiders tried their hardest to give the Chiefs the easy win.

Time for Professor McGannon to hand out his mid-term grades. I’ll assess all of the starters and a few second stringers, but if you’re looking for an in-depth breakdown of Travis Daniels, you’re in the wrong place.


QB Matt Cassel- C. He’s par for the course. He’s had some good games, some not so good games and a lot in between. I’m starting to lean towards us drafting a QB in this next draft. I like what I see with Cassel’s ball protection skills, but other than that, he just doesn’t seem to be very good.

RB Thomas Jones- B+. May be the best free agent acquisition of the offseason in all the NFL. Jones has combined with Jamaal Charles to create the best running back tandem in football. Also some extra credit to Jones for being a stabilizing force in a young locker room.

RB Jamaal Charles- A+. I dare anyone to tell me he deserves a worse grade…

WR Dwayne Bowe- B-. This is a make-or-break season for Bowe. He’s made some great catches and been a phenomenal red zone weapon, with six TD recepts already this year. Still, the drops remain to be a gigantic red check mark on Mr. Bowe’s report card.

WR Chris Chambers- D+. Not much to go on here, but he has had little impact on the offense.

WR/RB Dexter McCluster- B+. He’s the offensive weapon we’ve been looking for since Dante Hall left. Dexter is much more versatile than Dante though. He can run the ball. The Chiefs have missed him dearly in the past couple of weeks. McCluster is a player that MUST be accounted for by opposing defenses at all times.

Offensive Line- A-. You don’t become the top rushing team in the NFL without some mean S.O.B.’s on the O-Line. The Chiefs are also the 2nd least sacked team in the NFL. Barry Richardson has been a pleasant surprise and it seems Branden Albert is developing very well. Jon Asamoah has done a great job filling in at the guard spot as well.

TE Tony Moeaki- B+. This offense has some serious weapons, and Moeaki is maybe my pick for best weapon. He blocks like an All Pro lineman and has hall of fame hands. He hasn’t gotten hurt yet, so extra credit to him for doing everything he can to stay off the sidelines. Tony Mo has made it pretty easy to forget Tony G.

Overall- B-. Matt Cassel obviously drags this group down. There is so much talent on our offensive side of the football, yet mind boggling game planning by Chiefs’ coaches and indecision by Cassel weighs this team down considerably.

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    DE Glenn Dorsey- B. He’s been a boss this year. Linemen in the 3-4 defense don’t need to rack up the sacks. Their job is to plug up holes and Dorsey has done that this year. He is constantly stopping runners at the line of scrimmage. Good to see him developing. I think he would be even better if he was a bit taller, but he isn’t and he’s doing a fine job.

    DE Tyson Jackson- D-. I wouldn’t hate it if we just straight up released this clown.

    DE Wallace Gilberry- B-. Gilberry is a great pass rusher, but he seems to struggle when asked to stop the run. But I’m glad he’s on our team. He’s probably our next best pass rusher outside of Tamba Hali.

    DE/DT Shaun Smith- B. He’s awesome. A fiery guy with some talent. He’s perfectly suited for the 3-4 defense and has thrived in KC. I really enjoy watching him play…and tweet.

    DT Ron Edwards- C+. Big Ron has gone unnoticed this year, but he’s been good for a few big sacks from time to time.

    DT Anthony Toribio- Incomplete. I don’t know much about this guy except that he maybe plays 5-10 snaps per game and I never hear anything about him.

    OLB Mike Vrabel- C+. The game may have passed Vrabel by. He’s one of the “locker room” guys that Todd Haley references every press conference. Vrabel isn’t being outplayed on every snap, but he certainly isn’t making plays.

    OLB Tamba Hali- A-. Could be on pace for a Pro Bowl year as he’s leading the team in sacks and absolutely terrorizing quarterbacks. He gets held on nearly every single play, but still manages at least one or two sacks every game. He’s in my top three for NFL defensive MVP.

    OLB Andy Studebaker- C+. I picked him as my “surprise” player of the year in my preseason predictions, but Studie hasn’t really done much to impress me this year. A handful of miscues on special teams and a lack of consistency in the pass rush has me wondering if he really is the long term answer after Vrabel leaves.

    MLB Derrick Johnson- A+. I love what he’s doing this year. He’s having the best season of his career and is becoming a turnover machine. Glad the Chiefs locked him up for the next five seasons. DJ is a player that will help the Chiefs win a Super Bowl. Also encouraging to see Scott Pioli lock up a player that was not drafted by his regime.

    MLB Jovan Belcher- B+. He’s all over the field on every play. One of our best run stoppers on defense, he has been playing sideline-to-sideline every week.

    CB Brandon Flowers- A. He’s putting himself in the conversation with Nnamdi Asamugha and Darrelle Revis. In my mind, he’s surpassed Champ Bailey as the best corner in the AFC West.

    CB Brandon Carr- B. I branded him as a “Tampa 2-only” corner before this season, but it seems that he is much more than that. He’s been beat on a couple of plays, but he is tackling much better this year, a trend that seems to be consistent with the rest of the Chiefs’ defense.

    CB Javier Arenas- B. He’s been good on defense in nickel packages and has broken big plays on kick returns. He would probably have two or three return TDs if it weren’t for a few poorly timed penalties.

    SS Eric Berry- C+. He’s been good in stopping the run and pass rush, but he has really struggled in pass coverage and on special teams. He will get better though…I hope.

    FS Jon McGraw- C-. Slow, old white dude who has no business being a starter on an NFL team. He’s a special teams guy, no more, no less.

    FS Kendrick Lewis- B-. In my mind, he’s been better overall than Eric Berry. Plays the pass well enough and is good at stopping the run as well. He and Berry are going to be nightmares for opposing quarterbacks in the near future.

    Special Teams

    P Dustin Colquitt- A-. Season after season, he is among the NFL elite when it comes to punters.

    K Ryan Succop- B. His development continues. Missed a few big FGs already, but he’s the best kicker we’ve had in KC in a long, long time.


    Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel- B+. He’s turned this defense from terrible to good. The “bend-don’t-break” term has been worn to the bone, so I won’t insult your intelligence by using it. This defense might allow some yards, but they make plays. The Chiefs are at the top of the league in turnover differential.

    Offensive coordinator Charlie Weis- C-. He hasn’t done crap. He said his job was to “fix the quarterback” but it seems what he meant to say was “get cute with game plans and not attack opponent’s weaknesses”. Jamaal “6.5 YPC” Charles seems to owe Weis an exorbitant amount of money as Thomas “3.9 YPC” Jones gets the ball almost twice as much as Charles. Weis’s need to throw the ball on third and short situations is perhaps the most frustrating thing we’ve seen in KC since Chan Gailey was running the wishbone/spread/triple option offense with Tyler Thigpen.

    Head Coach Todd Haley- A. When you take whatever this team was last year and turn it into a division contender, you did something right. I believe in Todd Haley and I’m hoping that he is the guy who will lead us back to the promised land. He’s boring as hell in his press conferences, but watch any of his  NFL Films “mic’d up” features and you’ll instantly like the guy. He’s my choice for NFL Coach of the Year right now, and I think Haley runs away with it in the second half of the season.

    15 Comments Say Something
    • absolutely no reason for Charles to not be an A+. isn’t he still leading the NFL in YPC?

    • That is actually a typo. Supposed to be an A+

    • it is? because you said the only reason he didnt get an A+ is…haha

    • Haha, caught red handed. I can’t give him an A+. Part of that is because he hasn’t been given enough carries, which sucks. But I’m sticking by my reasoning of “he hasn’t broken a big TD run since week one”.

    • that doesn’t make any sense at all

    • nice edit. the others are fun except idk what tyson did to deserve such a low grade.. he’s played alright when he’s been in he was just injured for a while

    • Brian, nice article…. Funny that you let Tom talk you into the A+ on Charles!

      I’m rating Bowe lower, C at best. Consistent solid play is a MUST for a team’s #1 WR.

      Although I have been VERY impressed with Derrick Johnson, I’m giving him an A-. Dropped “easy” INTs which could/would/should have changed the game are HUGE. Yes, I know he’s a LB and not a TE, but he was touted as a game changer… Not there yet.

      Crennel – I’m willing to give him an A-. This defense is heads and shoulders above last year’s D… They simply need to ‘finish” the game and make the big play… Instead of coming up short by getting burned and dropping INTs.

      Weis – If it weren’t for the rushing game, Weis may not have a passing grade… He has COMPLETELY failed in his stated goal.

      Haley – I’m going with a B+. I LOVE aggressive play-calling, I hate not taking points early in the game when tied.

    • Charles is an A or A-, not an A+. A+ means there’s nothing you can do better. He had some costly ball-handling errors – particularly in the Indy game. I still give him an A or A-, but an A+ is way too high, sorry.

      Bowe is graded too highly as well. Bowe’s had a couple of good games, but when it’s crunch time, he’s nowhere to be found. Exhibit A: last ball thrown his way in regulation Sunday. Exhibit B: The Indy game. If Cassel is a C, Bowe has to be as well. The two are connected at the hip. As Bowe goes, Cassel goes.

      I give Moeaki a little bit higher of a grade. I honestly think right now he’s the Chiefs best weapon in the passing game. He’s consistent. He gets open. He runs good routes. And most importantly, he CATCHES THE BALL!

      Defensively, the only one I disagree with is Tyson Jackson. I think he gets an incomplete right now, considering he’s played what, two games? And since then, Shaun Smith has jumped into his role and he’s trying to find himself. He’s a second-year guy. Do yourself a favor and look up Neil Smith’s first-year stats as a 3-4 DE. He was horrible and called a bust. These guys take time.

      I give Weis a D. These last two weeks, his play-calling has become predictable, and it shows in the fact that the offense has been shut down. Throw more on first down. I mean, these last couple of weeks, it’s like Jimmy Raye has taken over. Run left, run right, run middle, punt or kick. He really needs to mix it up a bit.

      Also, B on Crennel. The improvement on the DL is huge. But I put the Houston loss on his lack of adjustments in the second half. So I can’t give him an A.

      Haley gets a B in my mind. Adjusting well to being the head coach finally. Making steps. I still don’t think he’s truly found himself or his “style” yet. He’s getting there though.

    • as far as how good a football player can play, Charles clearly gets an A+. If you can’t definitively say anyone else at his position has played better than him, how can you not give him an A+? leading NFL in yards per carry thats an A+ for me.

    • Tom: Part of the reason he’s leading the league in yards per carry is because they’re using him sparingly. I would still take Chris Johnson over Charles.

      McFadden averaged 0.1 YPC less than Charles yesterday on nearly twice as many carries and against a better defense.

      A+ means you are beyond 100 percent. It means there is NOTHING you can improve on. No one on a 5-3 team deserves an A+.

    • Then we have different interpretations. not the first time. haha

    • You’re grading on a curve, giving the perceived best player the top grade possible.

      Sometimes, the top grade in the class is a B and deservedly so. I gave him an A or an A-, I just think A+ is something that should be reserved for someone who has gone above and beyond what he has ever done before. The fact that he has that high of a YPC, but only two touchdowns is troubling.

      He’s not an every-down back just yet. If he were, the YPC would be down. Part of the reason it’s so high is because they give Jones the ball in more “running” situations, where the defense is looking for a running play.

    • @Jason – Re: Weis – “Throw more on first down.”

      Yesterday, the Chiefs called a passing play onfirst down 11 times (2 resulted in Cassel scrambles), including the first four possessions of the game, and they rushed the ball only 5 times on first down… The Chiefs will lose EVERY game with that ratio of first down play calls.

    • When I was watching it, it seemed like everything was a run. And it seemed that way last week too. Maybe it’s because of how wet it was, idk.

      Late in the game especially it seemed like it was run first and second down.

    • This is pretty good, Brian. I might give Berry a B but you’re spot on. I like your opinions on Jackson and Weis. With Jackson, I say he should get the rest of this year and training camp next year. Last year, they were calling Dorsey a bust but he’s doing well now. I know there isn’t much there and it was probably a bad pick but we should wait it out.

      Haley is boring on press conferences but that is how we know he is a head coach. He will put you to sleep before he tells you anything of import.

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