For a football team, the bye week is typically used to rest and get healthy. For bloggers of a football team, there is no such thing. I mean, you should see me right now. I’m dripping with sweat. Tough gig, but somebody’s gotta entertain you people. Anyway, we here at Titan Sized have been working on some new things over the last week and the first of them is a Q&A style interview we did with Bankmeister over at House of Georges, a blog “where hated rivals gather to weep and cheer for sports-related phenomena”. Here are his thoughts on a few questions we had about this week’s game and the future of the two franchises. And if you like this, check out “Sleeping with the Enemy: Week 7, Titans @ Chiefs”, a much longer interview we did with him over at HoG. Team preview still to come. Enjoy…
Titan Sized: Kansas City TE Tony Gonzalez has been around forever, but his production is still there. We know now that he was not traded, but is that not a good thing for the team? I mean, isn’t there some value in having vets that are also stand-up guys around a young team (kind of like the Titans over the last few years)?
Bankmeister: I think it is a good thing for the team. Tony’s a great leader, role model, and still a great athlete in his prime. In today’s KC Star, there were a couple of mentionings of what Tony’s presence could mean for the development of Brodie Croyle, should he stay healthy and the starter. These mentionings were of course asterisked with the claim that such developmental contributions were not a part of the non-trade.
So yes, there is value in that, and I’d argue that it’s more than “some”; you have the everyday presence of teaching young guys things, but perhaps more powerful is the stuff the youngsters aren’t necessarily thinking about such as how Tony’s stayed in great shape throughout each calendar year of his career, and barely missed a game as a result.
TS: The Chiefs have been downright dreadful against the run this year (dead last). The running game has always been the bread-and-butter of the Tennessee offense (12th overall this season). It seems as though we have a huge advantage in this particular area. Should we assume that is mainly the fault of a bad Chiefs D-line, or is there something that we are missing and shouldn’t look over?
B: Dreadful indeed, and the Titans do and will have a huge advantage in this area. The D-line shares a fault, no doubt, but I would actually hang more blame on the defensive scheme, and the fact that — I’ve said this, perhaps ad nauseum on the HoG — Herm Edwards, defensive-minded as he is, is a good coach and a smart man, but he is not a smart coach. The Cover Two scheme either doesn’t gel with defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham’s personality, is outdated, or Edwards doesn’t know how to operate it. It’s probably the latter, given that he was never an actual coordinator.
Either way, we were much better against the run last year, but we still gave up the token huge plays both on the ground and in the air. To answer your question, it appears to me that the D-line’s assignment is applied pressure first, tackle the runner second. That kind of means the linebackers are the first line of defense, and Derrick Johnson is finally coming into a solid, consistent player, Donnie Edwards is getting old (and he’s hurt), and Demorrio Williams — for my money — had largely unimpressive numbers in a Falcons uniform, so why would he be any better in another crappy regime. Then there’s the secondary, which might be our strength. Our young safeties are playing tight football, and our even younger corners show a ton of potential. Shocker, that’s what Herm played. No wonder the rest of the unit is sub-par.
TS: Our secondary makes most of our tackles (3 of the top 4 on the team), and CB Nick Harper and SS Chris Hope like to creep up to the line of scrimmage and show blitz. Do you think the Chiefs could punish our D if we’re too aggressive? Do they have the personnel for misdirection, reverses, or gadget type plays?
B: With all due respect to your question and the Chiefs players, I doubt that the word “punish” could be used in any regard when speaking of the Chiefs’ offense. The only exceptions would be: a) the right side of the O-line punishing the quarterback with their ole style of blocking, b) Larry Johnson punishing women in KC night clubs, or c) offensive coordinator Chan Gailey punishing the fan base by pretending that his squad will one day find a legitimate balance between productive running and passing. And I’m certain the personnel is there, but conservative crew wearing the headphones would almost assuredly never call for any such shenanigans.
TS: Glen Dorsey was one of the top prospects coming out of college, even with the injury trouble that caused him to slip a bit in the draft. Have you see any development over the first five games to justify that “can’t miss” tag, or is that not enough of a sampling to even determine his progress (no sacks, 1FF, 11 solo tackles)? Do you see his development as similar to Mario Williams slow start his rookie year or even our own Albert Haynesworth, who didn’t really come into his own until his third year?
B: I believe that I am unfit to answer that question, and here’s why: In my eyes, actual, hard-core football fans watch the game very differently from one another. For example, my father-in-law watches almost nothing but the dirty work in the trenches from the start of each snap to its conclusion. He would be somebody that could tell you, assuming he’s seen each game. I don’t watch football like that, especially with my team playing as poorly as it has for far too long. I’m mostly focused on the sticks; achieving and preventing first downs is what keeps me energized.
I suppose that the best I could tell you is that any player is only as good as the players around him. Given that most of the players around Dorsey are either young, inexperienced, or in some cases, bad, I’d have to say those stats are pretty okay with me, especially considering our record. How that compares to Williams and Haynesworth is beyond me, as I’m a massive homer, but I will agree with you that Haynesworth became something of a beast in the last season and-a-half to two seasons.
TS: Keeping the last question in mind, if 2008 is pretty much lost for the Chiefs, what do you think some of the team’s goals are for the remainder of the season? They had a large and highly touted rookie class coming out of the 2008 draft. Which of them do you think will play on Sundays for a long time in this league? Do you expect a big overhaul in the off-season at quarterback, running back and maybe most importantly, head coach?
B: I don’t want to sound off with these run-of-the-mill answers, but when you’re real young and real bad, it’s all about the basics, and right now; it has to be about finding ways to win football games. Sure, every club does that every week, but this club is doing it at a primitive level. Right now I can’t say that I don’t see any of them playing. Dorsey, Branden, the two Brandons, Jamaal Charles, and even Brad Cottam to a lesser degree have shown flashes. DaJuan Morgan and Will Franklin will need to be patient for opportunities to play, and frankly, with those sixth- and seventh-rounders, I don’t know squat about them. But of those mentioned, I imagine they’ll be around for some time.
Finally, it’s like this: If the Brodie Croyle experiment fails, and the Chiefs don’t spend their first-rounder on a quarterback in April 2009, that head office had better be on a plane for Siberia before the first day of the draft is over, because there will be a beyond furious, clinically insane mob of fans looking to rape and pillage. Honest Injun’.
As far as Larry Johnson goes, who knows. I was glad we signed him to the big deal, then regretted being glad, and now I don’t even know where I stand with him. Between Charles and Kolby Smith, I think a 1200-yard back could emerge, and I don’t know if we’ll see that opportunity, because if the Chiefs want to trade Johnson, I doubt they’ll find anyone who will accept that fat contract.
And no, Edwards will not, much to my chagrin, be fired in the off-season. This good-ol-boys club is about as good ol’ boy as it gets. He gets ’til early November ’09 to figure it out. God bless us all.
TS: Got a prediction for us?
B: Aw, what the hell. The Chiefs make a game of it: Titans 27, Chiefs 21.
Topics: Albert Haynesworth, Atlanta Falcons, Brad Cottom, Brodie Croyle, Chan Gailey, Chris Hope, DaJaun Morgan, Derrick Johnson, Donnie Edwards, Glen Dorsey, Gunther Cunningham, Herm Edwards, House Of Georges, Houston Texans, Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs, Kolby Smith, Larry Johnson, Mario Williams, Nick Harper, Tennessee Titans, Titan Sized, Tony Gonzalez, Will Franklin