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.
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.