I kind of like what the Chiefs are doing

2005 NFL headshot at photo day.  (Photo by Getty Images)The Kansas City Chiefs are coming together as a team with some curious components that may just end up working out. Lets run through some of the elements that will be coming together in Kansas City for the 2013 season.

The Chiefs have a pretty strong ground game with Jamaal Charles, and with Eric Berry leading the way, a decent enough secondary. They have struggled with leadership and line play, both on offense and defense. This as much as anything is what dragged the Chiefs to the bottom of the league.

They are getting someone in Aex Smith who has proved, if nothing else, to be a leader in the locker room and someone who has worked well with a good running game, something that can’t be said for all quarterbacks. He was able to win with short passes and Frank Gore, which is essentially all he will be able to do in KC.

Andy Reid is the new coach for Kansas City. He is known for two things. He is an offensive guy, who was able to work with Donovan McNabb for the course of his career with the Eagles. The thing that Reid showed a talent for was developing offensive and defensive lines, usually through the draft. After a couple of busts on the defensive line, and with the Chiefs losing Brandon Albert, their offensive line has more holes to patch.

Then there is that first pick in this draft, which happens to be a fairly deep draft for the line, on both sides of the ball. The Chiefs could look at left tackle Luke Joeckel on offense, or Sharrif Floyd on defense with their first pick, or they could trade down and use multiple picks to bolster both lines with premium talent.

Obviously, Reid and Smith and the Chiefs aren’t perfect for each other, because nothing ever is. Reid prefers to run a pass first offense, which isn’t a great idea with the talent in place in Kansas City. If Reid lets the Chiefs play to their strengths, however, good things might come out of Arrowhead Stadium this year.

 

A quick look at the stories surrounding the Super Bowl

SuperBowl

I don’t know if you noticed, but I generally avoided discussing all the little storylines associated with the Super Bowl this year. In my mind, many of them are irrelevant, and a lot of them are annoying, Let’s cut through all of them from least pertinent/most annoying to the most pertinent/least annoying.

- Ray Lewis is retiring: He is still playing in this game, right? Right. All this means is that the Ravens are going to rely on an old ILB to help defend against a run-first offense.

- Ray Lewis may have used deer antler spray: Who hasn’t? But seriously, see above.

- The Harbaughs are brothers! – As annoying and beaten into the ground as this angle is, it may be relevant to the game and not from a human interest aspect. Both guys have similar teams, with some subtle differences. The teams are defense first with strong ground games. The difference is that the Ravens have a better vertical game and a better secondary. The 49ers are better on the ground, and their front 7 is more dominant. The Ravens are more experienced, while the Niners are fresher. The Harbaughs will likely know each other’s tendencies, and will obviously know the other teams quite well. This is a potential chess match the likes of which we haven’t seen.

- The 49ers are going for ring #6 – Not at all relevant, but it has been brought up several times, but not to the point of annoyance!

- Both cities have baseball teams that wear orange and black – Again, not at all relevant, but the factoid I’ve found most interesting.

- Beyonce is at half time and Alicia Keyes is singing the National Anthem – For a lot of people, the Super Bowl is not about the football. I cater to all audiences. Alicia Keyes is one of the best voices of the age we live in.

- Colin Kaepernick has started only 9 games in his career – How will the biggest stage in sports affect the youngster? He has seemed oblivious to criticism and pressure so far, but is a lot of his luster do to the fact that he is still so new, rather than the fact that he is extremely talented? I mean, there are several other running QBs in the league, and I can think of 3 off hand that are better than Kaepernick. Only not higher on the list because the topic is at this point a dead horse.

- Alex Smith got completely hosed – Kaepernick was put in place for Alex Smith not because Smith was particularly bad this year. In fact, he led the 49ers to the NFC Championship game last year. Harbaugh just liked Kaepernick, and when Smith missed a week, he had a window to throw him in there. Are the 49ers so good that they can win with any QB, or are the Niners lucky to have a fallback should things deteriorate for Kaepernick?

- Joe Flacco has been a stud this post season – Nobody has been more poised and more successful in these playoffs than Joe Flacco. Everything about this game screams “easy win for the 49ers” but if Joe Flacco can keep it together for the Ravens, I wouldn’t be surprised if Baltimore is able to pull off a victory. Like I said, they have the better vertical game, and could win on the back of that.

So who wins it? Well, at the beginning of the season, I picked the Ravens, so I can’t change my mind now. Of course, Steve had this exact Super Bowl pegged in week 1, and picked the 49ers. Either way this game turns out, the staff at the Rhino and Compass looks pretty smart.

Mothers, don’t let your sons be running backs

I was talking to someone today about the make up of the Vikings roster, and our relative age compared to those players.I did a little research on the topic (reflection, really). I graduated in 2005, so theoretically, I would have entered the draft that year, if I was a professional athlete.

The top player in the draft was Alex Smith, and the debate was between him and Aaron Rodgers. Both are in the primes of their career right now, though they each took somewhat circuitous routes to get there. Other QBs still in the league, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Dan Orlovsky, and Kyle Orton are all still almost contributing.

Wide receivers and tight ends, if they were good enough to stick, are still doing all right. Take a look at these names: Heath Miller, Roddy White, Vincent Jackson and even Braylon Edwards, who is talented enough still to be disappointing.

Basically, if you were good enough to get in the league and stick at a skill position, you are in your prime around year 7. That is, unless you are a running back. Ah yes, the running backs. Remember them? This was a running back heavy draft. Take a look at these names: Ronnie Brown, Cedric Benson, Cadillac Williams, Frank Gore, Marion Barber and Darren Sproles. 2 of them have retired, 2 of them are likely in their final days and only one of them, Sproles, looks as spry as he has ever looked.

This is a good lesson for all you little kids. Let someone else try out for running back. There’s no shame in being the tight end.