Friday, November 15, 2013

The Blueprint: Defending Peyton Mannning

The Chiefs won't have to go far to find tape on how to defend Peyton Manning. For 3 of the last 4 seasons, the Chiefs' defense has been responsible for his lowest scoring outputs. When facing the Chiefs last year, Manning only scored 17 points. And he only lead the Colts to 19 points in 2010. Today, I'll give 4 reasons why the Chiefs were so successful in defending against Peyton Manning: 1) Avoid constant blitzing 2)  Disrupt the timing of the receivers' routes. 3) Selective blitzing. 4) Force field goals in the red zone.

Only Rush Four

When breaking down what the Chiefs did against Manning last yr, one of the biggest things that stood out was that they only rushed four defenders. Let's go through a couple of plays to show what the Chiefs did to disrupt routes by rushing only four.


In the play above, the Chiefs are in a 2 deep zone with DJ playing a zone in middle of the field taking away anything that comes his way. The whole goal of this formation is to force Manning to throw the ball down the field, which is something he really doesn't like to do. On this play, Manning makes a good throw down field in between the corner & safety. But this tight window throw leads to an interception. Arenas did an excellent job of taking the ball away from Stokley for the interception. The concept of dropping 7 into coverage and rushing only four defenders is to take away the underneath throws. Manning loves to feast off of short throws. So forcing him to take some shots down field will take him out of his comfort zone.

The presence of Hali and Houston makes this concept work even better. Here's a good example of how the rush of four defenders caused this incompletion.


If you look at the play, Hali does a good job of getting pressure from Manning's blindside forcing him off his spot into a bad throw. The advantage of having two great pass rushers coming off the edge is that you don't have to rely on blitzing to get pressure on the Qb.  Let's view this same play from the coaches' tape.

via nfl .com

Because of the pressure by Hali, it forces Manning to miss this throw to Decker near the 10 yard line. The pressure also doesn't allow him the time to survey the right side of the field where he had two open receivers. With the emergence of Poe also as a pass rusher in the middle of the defensive line, expect the Chiefs to do an even better job this year rushing only four defenders.

Press the Receivers

While breaking down Chiefs games over the last 3 seasons against Manning, I've notice how often they press the receivers at the line of scrimmage.  Let's look at how the timing of the press coverage affects Manning in the pass game.


In reviewing the play, its clear Manning wanted Thomas on the out route. In this game, Jalil Brown was the guy Manning targeted the most. On this particular play, Jalil did a good job of jamming Thomas on the route causing an incompletion and forcing the Broncos to settle for a field goal.

Now let's look at another play where press coverage affected Manning's ability to execute the offense. This was a play action fake and Manning wanted to throw a slant route to Decker. Once again, Manning is trying to go after Jalil Brown, but again Brown does an excellent job of getting a good jam on the receiver.


As you can see, Brown is doing an excellent job of disrupting Decker's route. This leads to Manning climbing the pocket and getting tackled by Tyson Jackson after only a 1 yard gain. If the Chiefs can do an excellent job of winning at the line of scrimmage, this should lead to alot of Broncos 3 and outs.

Selective blitzing

The thing about Manning is that you don't want to blitz him too much because he's smart enough to identify where the pressure is coming from. His unique ability to recognize coverages and blitz schemes at the line gives him an advantage on where he needs to go with the ball. So you want to be very selective about when you blitz him. Let's look at this clip on how the Chiefs got after Manning.


On the play, the down and distance was 3rd and 12. The Chiefs rush 6 defenders collasping the pocket so fast that Manning had no time to plant his feet and survey the field. The key to the selectivity in blitzing Manning is understanding the down and distance. You can come after Manning but understanding situational football is the key.

This is another one of the only eight blitzes Romeo dialed up during the entire game.  The down and distance is 1st and 10.


As you can see, the Chiefs did a great job of dialing up a six man pass rush that lead to a sack by Houston. Having the extra defenders in the pocket took away lanes for Manning to slide causing him to take a sack on the play. The key to the Chiefs' blitzes was their randomness. The Chiefs did good job of showing blitz most of the game but only rushing four defenders. That strategy kept the Broncos off balance as to when extra defenders would actually come. Its a unique approach that the Chiefs would need to follow in order to be successful on Sunday.  My last point is simple.

Dominate in the Red Zone

In both games that the Chiefs held Manning to below 20 points, they dominated him in the red zone. When Manning was the quarterback for the Colts in 2010, he was 1 of 3 in red zone conversions. Then last yr, he was only 1 of 4 in red zone opportunities.  So let's face reality. The Chiefs are going to give up yards against one of the better Qbs of our generation. So what they must do is force field goals and prevent the big plays that lead to touchdowns.

 They're going to need a little better production from the offense than what they've had in the past. However, it's no doubt the defense is more than capable of slowing down the Broncos high octane offense. History has already proven that.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Chiefs vs Texans: 3 Keys To Victory

If there was ever a definition of a trap game, this would be it. The 2-4 Texans come into Arrowhead Sunday looking to save their season. A season that had them being picked by many, including yours truly, to be the AFC representative in the Super Bowl. Six games into the season, the Texans are only a couple of losses away from beginning plans for the off season. The Chiefs have to be very mindful not to allow the record of the Texans to fool them. Despite the record, the Texans are still a very talented team, capable of coming into Arrowhead and getting a win. Today I'll breakdown three keys for a Chiefs' victory on Sunday.

Stopping the Texans Run Game

I would rate this as the most important factor to stopping the Texans offense. Arian Foster and Ben Tate maybe one of the best running back duos in the NFL. Currently, the Texans rank 6th in the NFL in rushing yards.This season Foster is averaging 4.5 yards per carry and Tate is averaging 5.3 YPC.  So let's go to the tape and see why these two backs are so effective.

Now what makes Foster so special is his vision and ability to go off schedule on run plays. Let's look at this big run by Foster last week. The Texans come out in a simple I-formation. The play is designed to get Foster to run the ball behind the full-back into the A-gap.



 Foster begins to run this ball behind the full-back to the left side, but then he `sees an opening to his right. He cuts the run back toward the right side for a 23 yard gain. If the Chiefs are going to have any success against the Texans offense, they're going to have to be careful not to over pursue. On running plays, the Chiefs defense must maintain backside pursuit. The key to slowing down Foster in the run game is taking away the cutback lane.

Now let's look at the other dynamic running back the Texans have in Ben Tate. Now with Tate you have a running back that is a very patient runner with good speed and power to get chunk yards in the run game. Check out this video of Tate on a simple run play up the B-gap.


As you can see, the play was designed for Tate to run this ball behind the full back in the B-gap. Instead, Tate cuts the run back into the A-gap. Tate shows the patience to allow the blocks to setup and then does an excellent job of cutting it back. Tate also displays the speed to explode through the hole, and then shows the power to run through the defender for a first down. Both running backs are similar in their ability to cut the run play opposite the direction of its original design. The key for the Chiefs' defense is to be gap disciplined. As shown in both videos, both Foster and Tate have the vision to cut runs back for big yardage.

Take Away the Underneath Routes

The Texans much like the Chiefs run a West Coast offense. So by design, the offense is built to attack the field horizontally. What the Chiefs' defense must do in this game is force the Texans to beat them throwing the ball down field. One of the reasons for the Texans alarming turnover rate is due to defenses sitting on the underneath routes. Here's an example of what I'm talking about.


The Texans lined up in a bunch set to the left. The tight end Daniels runs a trail route. As you can see, Smith sits on the route forcing a pick 6. Part of the reason for the Texans struggles is play design. Their offense rarely features any double moves, and the quarterbacks forces balls into tight underneath coverage.

Let's take a look at this next video which features backup quarterback TJ Yates.

The pass is a force throw to the tight end Graham on an out route toward the end zone. The Rams' defense does a good job of understanding what the Texans like to do in goal-line situations. The Texans' Qbs have a tendency to throw to the tight end in goal-line situations. The Rams had a bracket coverage on Graham on the play. The Rams' defense had a safety over the top with Olgetree taking away the underneath throw. Olgetree did a great job of undercutting the ball for a pick 6. The Chiefs' defense ranks #1 in the league with 18 takeaways. They have a chance on Sunday to push that number even higher by undercutting a lot of these underneath routes the Texans like to run.
Stay away from J.J. Watt
The Rams layed out an excellent blueprint on how to slow down J.J. Watt. They spent most of the game doubling him on pass plays and running from him on run plays. More than likely the Texans are going to try to line him up over on Fisher's side of the field. So it's going to be imperative for the Chiefs' coaching staff to give Fisher help by leaving a guard, back, or tight end on his side of the field. Pro Football Focus had Watt with his lowest rating all season, which was a negative 0.8. Pro Football  Focus writer, Sam Monson, did an excellent job  of breaking down how the Rams neutralized Watt.

I expect this game to be a dog fight early. You have a Texans team trying to keep their season alive and are on their last leg. So the Chiefs are going to have to come out ready to play early in this game. If they can follow the 3 keys I've layed out for them today, they should be able to continue on undefeated.

Follow me on twitter @pulseofdachiefs

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Defending Tony Romo

The Chiefs' defense put on a masterful performance last Sunday against the Jaguars. Now they face a very talented Cowboys team and are going to be tested in this game a lot more than they were last week. The Cowboys are led by starting quarterback Tony Romo. Romo represents one of the most prolific passers in today's NFL. Today I'll break down how the Chiefs defense can build on last week's performance against Blaine Gabbart and make life just as hard on Tony Romo. The keys to defending Romo are a coupleof things. First, you must be able to do is stop the Cowboys' run game. Secondly, you must create pressure up the middle of the pocket and not give Romo time to diagnose the defense.

The number one thing the Chiefs must do in defending Tony Romo is stopping the run. The Cowboys have a 4-0 record when Murray rushes for at least 100 yards. Romo's average QB rating in those victories is a whopping 127%. During that span, he also has completed 69% of his passes. But the biggest stat that stands out to me is margin of victory. The Cowboys average margin of victory during that time span was 20 points. The problem Murray presents is his impact on the run game, which allows the Cowboys offense to stay balanced. Romo has a tendency to force the issue when he feels like the game is on his shoulders. That feeling causes Romo to throw interceptions. If Murray is providing balance in the run game, that takes pressure off of  Romo and alleviates the feeling to make big plays on every throw. Another issue Murray causes when running the ball is that it opens up the play-action pass. If Murray is dominating on the ground, that opens up a host of downfield throws to Dez Bryant or Miles Austin. So keeping Murray in check is no doubt one of the key points in defending Tony Romo.

During my research on defending Romo, I've learned the most important key is creating pressure. So Chiefs must find a way to accomplish this. The Chiefs must not give Romo time to sit back in the pocket and pick them apart. When Romo is given time to diagnose the defense, he has repeatedly shown the ability to make big plays. Let's look at this clip of Romo against Giants last Sunday.

As you can see in the video, if you give Romo that kind of time, he's going to find the open man.  In the clip,  Romo had all day to throw this football. Because of the Giants inability to get pressure on Romo, he found Witten in the endzone for a touchdown.
Now let's look at the best ways to defend Romo. In this next clip, I'm going to show you how the Chiefs can force Romo into making some mistakes. The biggest thing I've notice when studying Romo is most of his interceptions come from two things: 1) miscommunication with the receivers and 2) handling pressure up the middle. In a lot of the Cowboys plays, they have built in routes that change based on what Romo sees in the defensive coverage. Most of the time it seems that Romo and his receivers aren't on the same page. Let's breakdown this next clip

As you can see in this clip, Romo gets pressure up the middle and from the outside. The pressure causes him to check into a quick hitch route. The problem is Bryant keeps running up the field. Tillman, who hasn't even opened his hips, waits on the throw for an easy pick six. In this play, the pressure up the middle causes Romo to want the receiver to change his route. However, in this case,Bryant continues to run the original route. You can expect plays like this in Sunday's game. Chiefs defensive backs must come away with these interceptions, because I'm expecting them to have a few balls thrown their way.
Now let's dive into how Romo does a good job at avoiding outside pass rush. In this video, let's take a look at how Osi Umenyiora beats his man on an outside rush.

As you can see, Romo does an excellent job at evading the rush. The main thing I've noticed about Romo is when he's getting pressure from the outside rush, he knows how to slide well within the pocket. This allows him to buy time to get the ball downfield. Romo does an excellent job of keeping his eyes downfield when evading the outside rush, which leads to big plays in the pass game.
This brings me to my next point about getting pressure up the middle. Another thing that shows up on tape with Romo is that when you're able to get pressure in his face, he has a tendency of forcing throws. Romo doesn't take a lot of sacks because of his unique ability to avoid the outside pass rush . However, when you're able to generate a pass rush right in his face, he'll force a ball where he shouldn't. Let's take look at a clip where Romo is getting pressure right up the middle.

If you break down this play, Melton beats the guard inside and does a great job of causing pressure up the middle of the pocket. Instead of taking the sack, he tries to slide up in the pocket and flip the ball to Witten. However, because Melton is in process of sacking him, it causes the ball to be flipped right into Briggs hand for another pick six.
In this next video, from the Giants game last yr the Cowboys are in a 3rd and 8. Romo gets pressure up the middle by Pierre- Paul, which causes him to force this throw to Olgetree. The end result is an interception by Michael Boley, which leads to a 51 yard return.

As you can see in the video, the Giants drop their coverage into a Cover 2 sink. This means their linebackers will move into the middle of the field. Romo's progression should have led him to throw the ball outside the numbers. However, he panics from the interior rush and throws the ball where you shouldn't against this type of defensive coverage.
Dontari Poe is going to play a vital role in making life miserable for Tony Romo on Sunday. He'll be going up against a very weak interior offensive line. The Cowboys offensive line is so weak that they have brought former Chiefs Brian Waters out of retirement to try to help improve it . Waters hasn't played football in over a year. So the expect Chiefs to send a lot of heat between in the A-gaps (space between the center and guard) to try to rattle Romo into some early interceptions.
The Chiefs have all the ingredients to defend one of NFL's most prolific passers in Tony Romo. Now it's just a matter of going out there and executing.

Follow me on twitter @pulseofdachiefs

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Closer Look at Alex Smith

We got a glimpse last Friday night of what Alex Smith can do as a QB. In today's blog, I breakdown Smith's strengths and weaknesses as a starting quarterback. I show how his accuracy, athleticism, and ability to take care of the football helps the Chiefs' offense be more productive this season. However, I will also highlight Smith's limitations as a passer, and how the Chiefs will not be a high scoring offense because of them.

On this play the 49ers line up in a two tight end set. The down and distance is 2nd and 6. Alex Smith is going to throw a beautiful pass to Mario Manningham, who is lined up as the outside receiver at the top of the screen.


As you can see, the throw is very accurate. It is also thrown where the receiver can catch the ball and get yards after the catch. It was a very good route by Manningham, and he did an excellent job by running his route in front of the 1st down marker. However, it is the throw that puts him in a position where he doesn't have to adjust to the ball and is able to pick up the 1st down.


Now let's take a look at the next play. On this next illustration, the 49ers line up in a 4 wide receiver set.  Moss is lined up as the outside receiver at the top of the screen. The down and distance is 3rd & 8. Moss will run an arrow route. The design of the route is for Moss to begin to run inside and then reverse the route to the outside.


As you can see, Alex Smith lays out a beautiful throw, which Moss takes for a 47 yard touchdown.  Moss runs a very crisp route, but the throw that Alex Smith makes allows for Moss to get yards after the catch.


Smith excels at making very accurate short to intermidate throws. In the offense that Reid has him in now with the Chiefs, there is no doubt it will be a huge asset to have a quarterback that can make throws where  the receivers can get yards after the catch.

On this next play, Smith shows off his athleticism and ability to throw on the run. As you can see, he rolls to his right as Davis motions across the offensive line on a tight end screen.


Smith delivers a very accurate pass, which is perfectly thrown in stride. Davis then takes a 3 yard throw and turns it into a 9 yard gain. This play was possible thanks to the excellent ball placement by Alex Smith.


Accuracy from the quarterback position is something this team has lacked since Trent Green. There is no doubt in my mind Alex Smith will be very accurate as a passer. His completion percentage in this game alone was an outstanding 94.7 % and 70% for the season. The Chiefs now have a QB capable of running an NFL offense, and Smith will give his receivers a chance to get yards after the catch. However, I have a growing list of concerns about Smith's game, and why I don't think this will be a high octane offense similar to the one you've seen ran by Trent Green in the early to mid '00s.

On this play, the 49ers line up in a 3 wide set. Manningham gets a step on the cornerback, but the throw just isn't there. By NFL standards, this is open. The ball needs be thrown to the outside shoulder (what nfl scouts call dropping the ball in a bucket).


As you look at this next image, you see this is a very poorly thrown football which leads to an incompletion. This is one of the things I see routinely show up on film when watching Alex Smith. Smith just seems to lack the touch on throwing, what NFL coaches calls, 9 routes.


On this play, you'll see Crabtree gets a couple steps on the defensive back. He runs a 9 route. Once again, the ball needs to be thrown over his left shoulder.


Crabtree has the corner beat; however, look at where this ball ends up. As you can see, it's thrown to the outside a little too far.


The Chiefs won't be getting big plays in the passing game unless its yards after the catch or broken coverage by the defense. If it requires Smith to execute throwing 9 routes, you're not going to get the same accuracy he displays in throwing short to intermediate passes. Can you still win games with this limitation? Sure. But can you go deep in the playoffs with this style?  I'm not so sure.

Let's take a look at the next image. In this image, the 49ers line up in a run formation. Smith is going to run a play-action fake.


Smith eventually rolls outs and takes a sack. The question is: was it because of good coverage or because of Smith's inability to make throws in tight windows?


In this next image, it wasn't a smart play for Smith to take the sack. Moss was open on the play. It just required Smith to make a stick throw, which means Smith needs to fit this ball into a tight window. I  often see Smith's unwillingness to make these types of throws down the field.


As seen on this same play, Smith's head is turned toward Moss. Smith sees Moss open, but it is a tight window throw. Instead of making the throw, Smith pulls the ball down, scrambles to the left, and takes a sack.


Lets diagnose another play in which Smith refuses to take his shots when they are there. The 49ers come out in a 12 man personnel formation ( two tight ends set).


As you can see, Smith will once again take a sack. Was this really good coverage by the Cardinals secondary, or is this just another example of how Smith is unwilling to make throws that requires him to anticipate the route?


As you can see, Smith has good protection. Both tight ends run a corner route and are open. It just requires Smith to anticipate a deep throw versus throwing to a guy who is running wide open. Smith's eye level looks toward both tight ends. Instead of making a big boy throw, he hesitates, pulls the ball down, and takes a sack.


One thing that will endlessly frustrate Chiefs fans this season is the fact that Smith will not make these types of throws. I don't anticipate a lot of downfield throws just because the Chiefs have a guy like Donny Avery on the team. Smith isn't the type of quarterback that will take chances with the ball, and that's a good thing. It also explains his low interception number he's had over the last 2 years. However, it also is a huge weakness because he will miss big plays through the air because he lacks a willingness to make throws in tight windows. If the Chiefs are going to be a pass first offense, they're going to have a lot  of 12 to 15 play drives. It's very tough to score a ton of points relying on long drives for 4 quarters.

I think Smith is the type of quarterback you can win with. Nevertheless, he isn't the type of quarterback that will engineer a high-powered pass offense. In this league, all the great quarterbacks generate big plays through the air. It's why the 49ers pass offense last yr avg 174 ypg (yards per game) when Smith was the starting quarterback, but spiked to 242ypg when Kaepernick took over. Kaepernick not only made big plays with his legs but was willing to make the deep stick throws that Alex Smith wouldn't.

I personally think the Chiefs can win games with Alex Smith as the starting quarterback, but the formula for success needs to be a similar blueprint to the one the 49ers implemented with him over the last 2 years: a strong run first offense, a defense that can take the ball away, and a strong return unit that can change field position. Hopefully, Reid also understands this as well. If so, I think the Chiefs will be in store for a winning season.

Follow me on twitter @pulseofdachiefs

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sutton's Version of the 3-4 defense

In today's blog, I'm going to break down the key differences in Bob Sutton's version of the 3-4 defensive scheme compared to Romeo Crennel. One thing that has been suggested about Sutton's new defense is how defensive linemen are going to be allowed to get penetration. The second thing most media members and even players talk about is how aggressive the new defense will be.

Let's start with how the Chiefs defensive lineman are going to be free to shoot the gaps. In Romeo's 3-4 defense, the defensive lineman's responsibility was to just control the line of scrimmage. Guys like Tyson Jackson were asked to not shoot the gaps; instead, they were asked to hold the point of attack to allow the linebackers' opportunities to shoot the gaps and make plays. Sutton spent the better part of 12 years on the Jets defensive coaching staff. The defenses ran in NY during that time allowed the defensive lineman to one gap, or in other words, get penetration up the field. This philosophy is totally different from the one ran by Romeo the last 3 years.

I'm going to use film on the Jets defense from last year to illustrate this change in philosophy for the Chiefs defensive lineman. I'm sure most of  the concepts Sutton will be using will be based on the teachings he learned while working with Rex Ryan.

Let's take a peek at how the Jets use their defensive line in a 3-4 scheme.

Here is a play where you have number 93 Kenrick Ellis lined up as a nose tackle in the Jets base 3-4.

In this next image showing a run play, watch how Ellis penetrates the A-gap. He beats the guard to the spot as the offensive line shifts to the left. Look how Ellis has the Steelers guard number 73 out of position.


In the next image,  you can see how Ellis bullies the guard out of the way to stuff the run for a 3 yard loss. Can you just imagine how Poe, with his speed and athleticism, will be able to beat offensive  lineman on a consistent basis?


In this next image, I'll highlight Wilkerson playing the defensive end position in the 3-4.
On this play, Wilkerson will shoot the C-gap (space between the offensive tackle & tight end). Watch how Wilkerson gets up field; whereas, in a Romeo style 3-4, he would just sit on the blocks and wait for the running back to come towards him. 


Look how Wilkerson beats the offensive tackle Starks for a run stuff in the backfield.


With Jackson playing the same position, you can only hope he will have similar production as Wilkerson under this new scheme. While at LSU, Jackson was at his best penetrating gaps versus  just controlling the line of scrimmage.

 Under Romeo Crennel, the Chiefs were more of a bend but don't break defense. With Sutton taking over as defensive coordinator, he's been on record saying, "this is going to be a more attacking style defense that will play a lot of man coverage." Now lets take a look at how Sutton's defense is going to attack.

In the image below you can see Jets line up in a 3-2-6 nickel defense. As you can see, you have 3 down lineman, 2 linebackers, and 6 defensive backs. Pre-snap, the Jets defense gives the appearance as if they're going to rush 6 defenders. However, they're only going to rush 5 defenders on this play. The safety, number 37 Jaiquawn Jarrett, fakes the rush and falls back out into the flat at the top of the screen. David Harris, circled at the bottom of the screen, fakes an immediate rush but its a delayed blitz. The defensive end next to Harris will be the one who will actually tea off and get pressure on Luck.

via nfl .com

This pressure on Luck forced him off his spot which led to a Antonio Cromartie pick six. The touchdown was eventually called back due to a penalty on the play, but the pressure and deception of where the pressure was coming from is what led to the turnover.


Over the last 2 seasons, the Jets have 54 total takeaways. Comparatively, the Chiefs have a pedestrian 39 takeaways. With more creative blitzes being called by Sutton, this should lead to more turnovers.

In the next image below, the Jets will line up out of their nickel defense giving an appearance that they're rushing all 6 defenders. However, the safety( circled at the top of the screen), picks up the tight end in man coverage; thus, the Jets only rush 5 defenders.


In the next image, notice how defensive tackle Muhammad, and defensive end McIntyre, are going to perform a stunt on this play.  The play leads to a sack on Rotheisburger. Muhammad will shoot the B-gap from the defensive tackle position, whereas, McIntyre is going to shoot the A-gap from defensive end position.

The Jets cause so much confusion on the blitz that the Steelers offensive lineman don't pick up anyone on this play. Literally, all 5 defenders get in the backfield, but McIntyre is credited with the sack on this play.


Over the last two seasons, the Jets have racked up a total of 65 sacks. The Chiefs, on the other hand, had only 56. Despite the Chiefs having two pro bowl pass rushers, they still trail the Jets in sack totals.

Sutton's new scheme most definitely should boost the Chiefs sacks and takeaway totals this year. Sutton comes to a team that is far more talented at key positions in the 3-4 defense than the one he left in NY. Tamba Hali is widely considered as one of the top pass rushers in the AFC. Justin Houston is seen as an up and coming young star– being ranked in the top 50 of the NFL '13 Top 100 players. In addition, guys like Berry, Smith, and Flowers are playing in the secondary. With all these things combined this should lead to a Chiefs defense that is ranked in the top 10 this season.

Follow me on twitter @pulseofdachiefs

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mocking the 2013 NFL Draft

Pick No. 1 Chiefs: Luke Joeckel 

This pick has been discussed at nauseam. However, with Albert still not signed to a long term contract, I don't see the Chiefs risking losing out on addressing the left tackle position long term.

Pick No. 2 Jaguars: Geno Smith

With two head coaches fired primarily due to Gabbart's performance, I don't see the new regime sticking with him through another underperforming season. Geno comes in with better college production and just as much talent. I see the Jags going with a new face of the franchise here.

Pick No. 3 Raiders: Dion Jordan

Most are predicting Shariff Floyd here. I don't see it. Defensive tackles take time (usually 2 to 3 years) to make an impact. Jordan gives Oakland this immediate impact. In a division against Rivers, Manning, and pass happy offense ran by Andy Reid, it only makes sense for them to get a pass rusher here.

Pick No. 4 Eagles: Dee Milliner

With the free agency losses of Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie along with Jason Peters being a full participant in mini camps, I don't see how Eagles pass over an opportunity to address the corner position. This is even more significant in a division with Eli, Romo, and RG3.

Pick No. 5 Lions: Ziggy Ansah

Lions are in desperate need for a edge rusher with losing Avril to free agency. I don't see how Detroit can pass over a potentially dominant pass rusher playing in a division with the best Qb in the game in Aaron Rodgers.

Pick No. 6 Browns: Barkevious Mingo

With the acquisition of  Kruger in free agency, they still need to pair him with another edge rusher. Kruger is more known for his ability to set the edge against the run than his ability to rush the passer. This is an obvious choice here for Cleveland.

Pick No. 7 Cardinals: Eric Fisher

Cardinals offensive line was one of the worst in the league last yr. If Carson Palmer is going to revive this organization out of the cellar of the NFC west, they must keep him upright.  No brainer here.

Pick No. 8 Bills: Cordarelle Patterson

In a prank tape recording by Deadspin,  I distinctly remember Bills GM Buddy Nix mentioning to Bucs Gm Mark Dominik that if he could pair a franchise QB with an explosive wide receiver, then the rest would be easy. Nix said this strategy would mirror what the Bengals did with AJ Green & Andy Dalton. I see the Bills getting their explosive receiver first and getting QB latter 1st or 2nd round much like the Bengals did.

Pick No. 9 Jets: Tavon Austin

Jets lack playmakers on offense. If they want to make Sanchez look like a decent starting Qb, then adding a playmaker like Austin only makes sense for an offense that ranked 28th in the league in points and 30th in yards. This team needs an immediate boost on offense.  Austin gives them that.

Pick No. 10 Titans: Chance Warmack

Titans desperately need to get more consistency out of its offensive line. If they want to get back to their winning ways, its starts with better blocking upfront for CJ2k.  Warmack gives them best chance to do that.

Pick No. 11 Chargers: Lane Johnson

Rivers numbers have declined due to inconsistency from the offensive line and receiving core. This pick does address one of those issues early on in the draft.

Pick No. 12 Dolphins: Xavier Rhodes

With Chargers taking the last top left tackle in the draft, this shifts the Phins draft board to address their secondary. With both starting corners being lost via trade and free agency, Rhodes makes sense here with the option to trade for Albert from the Chiefs to address the left tackle spot.

Pick No. 13 Jets: Sheldon Richardson
The Jets add one of the most underrated defensive lineman in the draft. Richardson gives them a playmaker at the defensive end position in a 3-4 defense. Also gives them a guy who can generate a pass rush with the two top outside rushers already been taken off the board.

Pick No. 14  Panthers: Shariff Floyd

With the a need to continuously build on that front 7 in Carolina, the draft value at this point is just too high to pass on a guy most predict as a top 10 player.

Pick No. 15 Saints: Star Lotuleilei

With Saints switching to a 3-4 defense, it only makes sense to not pass over a top 5 talent and build their defense around Star.

Pick No. 16 Rams: Kenny Vaccaro

Rams are solid at the corner position, but have a huge hole at safety. I don't see them passing on this year's draft top safety out of Texas.

Pick No. 17 Steelers: Jarvis Jones

Its just so Steeler like for them to get a guy who isn't the fastest or strongest edge rusher in the draft but who is just a playmaker. With Harrison gone, this pick only makes sense for the Steel Curtain.

Pick No. 18 Cowboys: DJ Fluker

With the Cowboys giving Romo 55 million guaranteed, he can't be scrambling behind an average offensive line anymore. JJ has to find a way to protect his investment. With Fluker and Smith at right and left tackle, that is the making of a pretty solid offensive line in big D.

Pick No. 19 Giants: Arthur Brown

Giants are in a desperate need of a playmaker at linebacker. They haven't drafted one in the 1st rd since Carl Banks. Brown gives them a guy who is versatile enough to play middle linebacker or play the will linebacker position. In a division with mobile Qbs like RG3, Vick, and Romo,  Brown gives them an every down linebacker that never has to come off the field. He is versatile enough to be effective in the pass or run game.

Pick No. 20 Bears: Alec Olgetree

Bears have a huge whole at middle linebacker. Olgetree gives them a guy in the same mold of another college safety turned pro middle linebacker Brian Urlacher. This a perfect pickup for the Bears here at pick number 20.

Pick No. 21 Bengals: Eric Reid

Bengals have a very solid roster. If there is one hole in their defense, it's at the safety position. Eric Reid gives them a younger more talented option with good range here.

Pick No. 22 Rams: Jonathan Cooper

With the top receivers in the draft gone at this point, the Rams can wait till the 2nd round to add a receiver. The value on Cooper is too high, especially with an offensive line that struggled to keep Bradford upright the last 4 seasons. With the addition of Long through free agency, Cooper now gives the Rams a really good offensive line.

Pick No. 23 Vikings: Bjoern Werner

In a division with some of the top passers in  the NFC, it only makes sense for the Vikings get someone opposite Allen to help get after the QB. It also gives them a long term replacement once Allen is gone.

Pick No. 24 Colts: Cornellius Carradine

With the loss of Freeney to free agency, Carradine provides a very young talented pass rusher for this team opposite Mathis.

Pick No. 25 Vikings: Desmond Trufant

In a pass happy division, I don't see how Vikings avoid not addressing pieces to defend against Stafford, Rodgers & Cutler. Trufant gives Minnesota something they've been missing for quite sometime: a number 1 corner.

Pick No. 26 Packers: Jonathan Cyprien

With a hole at safety created by the release of Woodson, I don't see how the Packers pass on a versatile safety in Cyprien here.  The 49ers shredded that secondary in the divisional round of the playoffs. It only makes sense to add a playmaker in the secondary here.

Pick No. 27 Texans: Robert Woods

Texans need to add  some weapons opposite Andre Johnson. Woods gives Schaub another play maker opposite Johnson with good size and good enough speed to make big plays in the passing game.

Pick No. 28 Broncos:  Manti Teo

Broncos have a huge hole in middle of that defense. I don't see defensive minded head coach John Fox passing on a guy in Teo to solidify the middle linebacker position

Pick No. 29 Patriots: Justin Hunter

Pats need a vertical threat. Brady hasn't had that since Randy Moss. Hunter gives them a big, fast, and explosive receiver that needs time to develop.  However, he can run 7 and 9 routes, which is something that will give Gronk, Hernandez, and newly acquired Amendola  an opportunity to work the underneath routes.

Pick No. 30 Falcons: Damontre Moore

Falcons need another edge rusher opposite Osi. With Umenyiora being on a 2yr deal, it only makes sense to get a long term option here at a premier position on defense. Falcons could also bring Abraham back which could buy more time while Moore develops.

Pick No. 31 49ers:  DJ Hayden
49ers add a ball hawking corner opposite Asomugha, that can help bolster that secondary.


Pick No. 32 Ravens: Justin Pugh

With the loss of Mckinnie to free agency, I think the Ravens make Pugh play left tackle until he shows them he can't. Otherwise, they can always move Micheal Oher back to left. Either way I see the Ravens trying to keep their new $120 million dollar man upright with this pick.

If you want to debate about the selections made to your favorite team you're welcome to follow me at on twitter at @ pulseofdachiefs

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Why the Reid hire makes so much sense?

A lot has been written about why the Reid hire as the Chiefs new head coach made sense. Some would point to Reid being an offensive coach, and how that background could help improve an offense that has been ranked near bottom of the league the last 2 years. Also, the pass offense hasn't ranked above 25th in the league during the last 4 seasons. During Reid's tenure with the Eagles, they were always among the top 10 teams in the league in both offense and pass offense. Others would suggest Clark Hunt wanted a coach with a proven track record. This theory could also be valid since Reid took the Eagles to 5 NFC Championship games and a Super Bowl appearance. Another theory suggests that Reid's background of developing quarterbacks was a valid reason for his hire.Here are a few examples of why this theory holds true. Donovan McNabb enjoyed the best years of his career in Philly. Michael Vick put up a career best in completion percentage, touchdowns, and passing yards while in an Eagles uniform under Reid's watch. Kolb is another quarterback who only had a few starts in Philly, but was able to parlay that into a starting job and a 60 million dollar contract in Arizona. All are good points of why Reid made sense in coming to Kansas City. However, I'm here to point out a reason most media and fans may have overlooked.

Reid is a guy who is going to do things his way. He isn't a guy who will be pressured into making decisions based on national perception. When I think back to 1999, it was a time when the  run game was still dominant in the NFL. At the time, a lot of fan and media pressure was for Reid to take what was thought of as the next great running back: Heisman trophy winner, Ricky Williams. Reid never wavered in his decision. In the midst of a booing fan base, he drafted Syracuse quarterback Donovan McNabb. It wasn't a popular choice but in the end it was the right decision. Williams went on to have a inconsistent career, while Mcnabb went on to lead Philly to 5 NFC championships games and a Super Bowl appearance.

Now with a little over 3 months left before the 2013 NFL draft, Reid faces another tough decision here in Kansas City: What to do with the #1 overall pick? A lot of national media and analysts feel that this is a weak QB class with no Quarterback being worthy of the number one overall pick. They have suggested  the Chiefs should take a left tackle or defensive lineman number one overall. Well I don't feel Reid is the type of coach to be swayed by what people think on the outside, which is why this hire to the Chiefs makes sense to me. Sometimes as head coach you have to make controversial  decisions (i.e., drafting a quarterback #1 overall even though the media may not feel one is worthy).The fact that Reid isn't afraid to go against the grain and draft who is best for this organization is why I favor this hire. He isn't going to be worried about criticism by the media for taking a Geno Smith #1 overall just because he's ranked 25th overall on Mel Kiper's draft board. If Reid feels Geno is the type of quarterback that can execute the West Coast offense at a high level, you can trust he is going to draft him. That is why I love the hire because over the next few months there is going be national pressure against taking a quarterback with the #1 overall pick. We needed a head coach who is going do what is best for the Chiefs regardless of public opinion. Reid fits that bill.

Follow me on twitter at pulseofdachiefs