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Nick’s Chiefs Briefs: Week 8

My preseason prediction of 4-12 for the Kansas City Chiefs is now officially wrong, and I couldn’t be happier about it.  I’m still completely flabbergasted that the Chiefs have won this many games and it feels pretty good.  Last week’s game was one of the crazier ones I can remember watching and I can’t say whether it makes me more or less optimistic regarding the team.  I’ve scoured all of the tubes that make up the internets to find interesting Chiefs notes and of course some of my patent pending takes.  So sit back, relax and let’s get into our Briefs.
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  • Todd Haley is still being aggressive with his 4th down calls, and I continue to love it.  Lots of fans and commentators who seem to get their panties in a bunch because they want their three points and they want them NOW!  However, going for it on 4th and short is an amazingly effective tactic, and anyway why do you even show up to the game if you don’t think you can get 1 or 2 yards when you need them?
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  • How about some completely unrelated music go go along with these Briefs?  Frank Zappa – Watermelon in Easter Hay
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  • Having Gus Johnson call that game on Sunday was awesome.  In my mind he is an elite announcer who brings energy, enthusiasm and knowledge to the table.  I think that the networks should have him in a studio somewhere, where he can be inserted into any exciting game at any time.  Let him remotely call only the most exciting games.  Who wouldn’t be for that?  Oh yeah, the same people who hate going for it on 4th down probably.
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    • Regarding the aggressive play calling, it was interesting to hear that Todd Haley tells Charlie Weis before 1st down he plans on going for it.  It shows that it’s all a part of the offensive plan and isn’t some willy nilly gut call.  It’s structured, thought out and takes advantage of their opportunities.  (wow, did I suddenly become a Todd Haley fan?)
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    • I am hereby laying off of Matt Happy Feet Cassel until he throws an interception.  I even started him on my fantasy team this week, yeah that didn’t work out very well.
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    • I really liked the Buffalo Bills uniforms this week.  The blue shoulders and striping just work for that team and that color scheme.  In the NFL, good looking uniforms and clothing are a real rarity, so I have to give credit where credit is due.
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    • My main man Ryan Lilja was out of the game this week and it was pretty obvious, are you disbelievers ready to crown him offensive player of the year yet?
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    • I still can’t figure out what the Chiefs identity is, and the Bills game made it more difficult.  Are they a solid possession team?  Are they ok, but lucky?  Are they disciplined and smart?  Are they scrappy and young?  Is it dumb to look for a team identity? Yeah, it probably is.
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    • Lots of ink has been spilled on the Thomas Jones/Jamaal Charles split.  I’ve been fine with it from day one, and I’ll use a baseball analogy to show why.  Let’s say a pitchers best pitch is his fastball.  If he throws that pitch every single time, it’s going to get clobbered regardless of how good it is.  But if he can mix in a decent off-speed pitch, he can leave the batter off balance and use his dominating fastball even more effectively.  Even though Jamaal Charles is the best running back, utilizing Thomas Jones makes them both better.
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    • Randy Moss was placed on waivers and the Chiefs need a wide receiver.  You can’t convince me he doesn’t make this team better.  If the only thing keeping this Chiefs team from being 2-5 instead of 5-2 is how great of buddies everyone is in the locker room, then I’ve got some magic beans for you.  Matt Connor at Arrowhead Pride agrees with me, he clearly is very smart.  Joel Thorman even gives some video evidence.
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    • I haven’t heard much blame being placed on Ryan Succop for missing that field goal, and I think that’s right.  That wind was vicious and he couldn’t have predicted it would have moved the ball as much as it did.  On his game winner, he compensated correctly.
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    • You can vote for Eric Berry for the NFL Rookie of the Week at NFL.com.  I feel like there is a new internet thing to vote on every five seconds these days, but I still vote.
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    • Sam Mellinger wrote a great piece on Haley and the Chiefs, its well worth a read.
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    • Am I the only one who gets annoyed at the term bend-don’t-break defense?  Doesn’t it just mean: we aren’t very good on defense most of the time but somehow we get lucky when the other team gets to our side of the field?  It always seems like something fans tell themselves to convince them that the defense isn’t as bad as it looks.  Now I don’t think the Chiefs have a bad defense, in fact it is quite good.  However when you are in the middle you get tabbed bend-don’t-break.  Let’s call a spade a spade, they have an ok defense.
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    • The Football Outsiders ask “Is it time to take the Chiefs for real?” and then answer it with tons of numbers.  Right in my wheelhouse.
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    • I know that the Oakland Raiders are the Chiefs “rivals”, but I don’t really buy into professional sports rivalries.  Most of them seem to be media hype with very little thought paid to them by the players.  It’s fine to dislike the Raiders, I mean who doesn’t, but I don’t think it’s really a rivalry.  Rivalries are the domain of college athletics in my opinion.
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    • Chiefs historical stat of the week: Most Pro Bowl selections as a Chief:  Will Shields with 12: 1995,96,97,98,99,00,01,02,03,04,05,06
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    15 Comments Say Something
    • I somewhat agree with you on your pro sports “rivalries” take. I would take Mizzou-KU over Chiefs-Raiders, Yankees-Red Sox, Lakers-Celtics, Blackhawks-Red Wings any day of the week. But the Chiefs and Raiders are undoubtedly rivals. I hate the Raiders almost as much as I hate Kansas (Sorry, Tom).

      The Royals-Cardinals rivalry is silly. They aren’t “rivals”. They’re teams that play in the same state and the fans happen to hate each other because one team has seen more success than the other. I get it.

      But Chiefs/Raiders used to be special. Maybe we see it come back to life this week, but the past ten years, it’s been awful. Still hate em though.

    • If a rivalry can drop off, it isn’t a rivalry. College rivalries don’t die off, they don’t drop down. They are always there, which is what makes it a rivalry. But thats my opinion.

    • - I like being aggressive, but take the points… Regardless the Succop missed a field goal later in the game, not taking the points is directly leading to losses and overtime.

      - Except Gus Johnson mispronounced Belcher’s name and said Cassel and Weis worked together in New England.

      - It would still be nice to see Cassel take over a game when needed in the 4th quarter… looking more and more like a dream for that, though.

      - The most amazing part of that video on Arrowhead Pride is that Matt Cassel escaped a defender and made a play! Also, I think that is the ONLY think Joel Thorman has said positively about Moss to KC… And that wasn’t much…

      - Nice read from Mellinger.

      - I really hate the term “bend but don’t break.” The only think I hate worse is when a team is playing well overall all game, but switch to the soft or bend but don’t break down the stretch in the 4th quarter.

    • Gus didn’t say that about Cassel and Weis, that was the color guy. Tasker I believe. He was forgettable.

      And hey Travis, I thought you were going to lay off Cassel after he led the team down the field on not one, but two game-winning drives in overtime. haha.

      Moss isn’t coming here. I think Haley realized he wouldn’t be able to look his best linebacker in the eye if he brought Moss in here and would lose him immediately.

      As far as rivalries go, two things determine rivalries. Familiarity and consequence.

      What happens in those games and what is on the line? I think the Colts and Pats have a rivalry because there’s a lot on the line whenever those guys play. THOSE things make rivalries.

      Chiefs/Raiders isn’t a rivalry that matters, because their games haven’t. This week, it suddenly does again.

    • Wait, the colts and pats have a rivalry? I honestly had no idea.

    • Sorry, but teams can’t have a rivalry unless they play in the same division in the pros or same conference in college. Yes, this even includes Yankees/Royals from the 70s. I think the Mizzou/Illinois rivalry is cute. St. Louis folk trying to put it on the level of the Border War with cute names like the Arch Rivalry and Braggin Rights. Nope. I don’t consider Illinois a rival. I hate the Yankees, but that doesn’t make them the Royals rival.

      A true rival is a team that is an inconvenience. They annoy you. Pester you. Prevent eachother from reaching the next level and have history. Fuck, I don’t know. Someone who is smarter than I am should define who a true rival is.

    • Brian: I’ll disagree when it comes to Pats/Colts. They’re both in the AFC and have met in multiple AFC title games, in addition to key games in the regular season.

      Hell, there were times the regular season match up was a way to let us know where the AFC title game between the two was going to be played. In fact, they’d play twice a year – just like a division opponent.

      The sheer fact that they play every year – and that this has been going on for the better part of a decade – I think makes it a rivalry.

      Since 2001, the two teams have represented that AFC in the Super Bowl 6 times combined. And they usually have to go through each other to do that.

    • I’m with Jason… I easily consider the Pats/Colts a rivalry, and I never miss their matchup.

      I don;t have the NFL package at home, so I always make sure to go the bar or a firend’s house if/when they play in the regular season.

    • For a rivalry to exist, both teams have to be good. Perhaps this Raiders-Chiefs game will be the start of something but that rivalry is dead. It helps for both teams to be in the same geographical area or conference but, with the Pats and Colts, nearly the best example in football, it isn’t so. Brian, I agree with your sentiment that rivals aren’t worth getting caught up in. If the AFC West returns to strength, something may start up again. There hasn’t been a better time than now to talk back and forth with fans of other teams. A few key games played by the Chiefs and an AFC West opponent and a new rivalry could be stronger than ever.

    • I don’t mind Haley going for it on 4th and short. What I mind is the horrible play calls on 4th down. You don’t take the ball out of your playmakers hands on 4 and short. Essentially that is what Weis did by calling for a pass. I tried to find the stats on our 4th down attempts this season, but I would venture a guess they are heavy on pass attempts.

      Weis was the reason this game went into overtime. His play calling (not just on 4th down) was abhorrent. He had the worst mix of plays I’ve ever seen. They would run the ball to mid field and then call 3 pass plays in a row and punt or they would run the ball every time until they were forced to pass on a 3rd and long (and then punt).

      I tried to find a play by play break down to support my rant, but I can find one anywhere. Any good sites out there for that?

    • ESPN always has a play by play tab associated with their box scores. I go back and look at them all the time.

    • @Nick – I just noticed while I was adding the pre-season predictions to each author’s articles… Forgot to give you a little razzing now that the Chiefs have won 5 games!

      And everyone calls me the pessimistic hater…

    • @Adam C – I think you’re right about percentages, but football stats are so much more difficult to come by than baseball stats.

      And, I like taking points in the 1st quarter, I would rather be aggressive once my team has the lead.

    • Of course ESPN would have the play by play breakdown, because my office blocks that site. I guess they want me to work or something.

    • @Adam – NFL.com does as well

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