Friday, February 25, 2011

Q&A with Sporting Kansas City's Kei Kamara

I got the opportunity to talk with Kei Kamara on the phone yesterday (from Arizona) and ask him some questions.  Very cool guy.  Enjoy!

KCSS: How is Arizona treating you?

Kei: Man its Warm, Its great!.  I hear Kansas City is freezing right now though..

KCSS: Yeah its actually snowing right now so you should feel lucky you are missing out.  How was your offseason?

Kei: It was really good.  I got to split time being here in the states and in Africa, where I’m from.

KCSS: What are your goals for the team in the upcoming season?

Kei: Be better than last year.  We just have to keep getting better every year.  The organization is doing everything they can to make us, the players, as comfortable and happy as they can and we want to go out there and win for them and fans, who are always coming out and showing us support.  If we just keep getting better and winning, we will eventually win the MLS cup

KCSS:  Last year you had your best season as a pro, what are your individual goals for this season?

Kei: I just want to build on last year, I had 10 goals last year, I want more than that this year.

KCSS: What was like not only playing against Manchester United last summer, but also scoring a goal?

Kei: It’s one of those things you dream about when you are little.  Everyone is Sierra Leone made a huge deal about it and were still talking about it last time I went back, they made it a kind of a big deal.  I had a shirt on under my jersey, so I was planning on scoring, and luckily I did.

KCSS:  What do you like to do when you are not playing soccer? Do you have any Hobbies most fans don’t know about?

Kei: Yeah I love video games, especially FIFA, but I like to play all kinds of different games.  Besides video games, I love to play volleyball.  There are some cool places in Kansas City that I have found to play at, but yeah definitely sand volleyball.

KCSS: Do you have a favorite restaurant in Kansas City?

Kei: I like going to the local Chipotle, but besides that I would have to say La Bodega

KCSS: I agree, La Bodega is pretty delicious, are you a fan of Tapas?

Kei: O for sure! You never think those little plates of things can full you up, but you always leave stuffed.

KCSS: What do you think of the new Sporting KC jerseys? Do they fit your style?

Kei: Man I have to say I really liked the Wizards jerseys… I looked good in the all white.  But you know, it’s a new team, new name, and its always good to wear new things.

KCSS:  Okay Kei last question and then I will let you go.  I talked to Coach Vermes and he said he wanted to try you at defense, how do you feel about that?

Kei: (starts laughing)

KCSS: I am just messing with you Kei, sorry I had to do it

Kei: (still laughing) Coach just walked by me and if you would have asked me that one minute sooner I would have put that on speaker phone.  He is always joking around about putting me on defense.  I told him maybe when I’m in my 30’s.

KCSS: Alright Kei I will let you get out of here, but thanks for your time and good luck this season!

Kei: Hey no problem man, and thank you!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Plaxico Burress an option for Chiefs?

Plaxico Burress gets out of jail on June 6, 2011.  That is less than four months away and before the Chiefs leave for training camp.  The Chiefs happen to be in need of a proven wide receiver that they could get at a fair price.  Do you see where this is going?  This is one of the most interesting stories that I see picking up steam the closer we get to summer.  The Chiefs will undoubtedly be looking for a wide receiver to complement Dwayne Bowe, and while they will probably target receivers like James Jones, Steve Breaston, Steve Smith (Giants), etc… they will all come at a price.  The three receivers I have mentioned have all been very productive in the NFL the past two seasons and are all at least relatively young and still getting better, which means they will be looking for pretty hefty contracts.  Now I would love for Kansas City to get any of the three receivers I have listed, even if it requires a good amount of money to do it, but what if we could get a receiver who has proven he can play at a Pro Bowl caliber level and has even won a Super Bowl, at a fraction of the price?

Burress will be 33 when he gets out of Jail, so he won’t be the wide receiver of the future for Kansas City, but for two or three seasons Burress could give the Chiefs very good production.  Can you imagine Dwayne Bowe, Tony Moeacki, Jamaal Charles, and Plaxico Burress running around the end zone on 3rd and 5? Plax has always been a goal line threat with his height (12 receiving TD’s in 2007), which you can never have too much of.  It would also bring the Chiefs a lot of extra media coverage because God knows America loves an underdog story, and you know Burress will be on his best behavior because he doesn’t want to mess up his last shot at playing in the NFL. 

Reports are that Burress is in great shape and has been lifting and running the entire two years he's been in Jail.  Maybe this is a crazy idea, maybe he has lost his ability, maybe he would be a distraction, but then again maybe he regains his Pro Bowl caliber talents and when paired with Dwayne Bowe, strikes fear into the eyes of opposing secondary's.  It is worth a shot to at least meet with him and bring him in for a workout, see what the guy is all about, and see if he could be a simple and cheap fix to the Kansas City Chiefs Wide receiver problem.  It’s something to think about….

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fantasy Baseball: Relevant Royals

Fantasy baseball starts soon and now is a good time to take a look at 2011’s Fantasy Relevant Royals players.  We will look at this years must have’s. Potential sleepers, and gambles.  With many new acquisitions and loads of youth and prospects there is a lot to discuss.  Now that Zach Greinke has been traded to the Brewers and Gil Meche has retired, there is a vacant Ace role available for the taking.  When it comes to everyday players, much has changed since the opening day roster of the 2010 season (thankfully).  Only 2 of 9 starters from 2010 are returning as (projected) starters again this year (including DH), those players being Billy Butler and Chris Getz.  But without further adieu…

Must Have’s – Billy Butler (1B/DH), Joakim Soria (Closer)

Unfortunately there are only two “Must Have’s” this year.  To qualify as a “Must Have” a player has had to have been productive enough to have proven themselves worthy of being owned in nearly every fantasy league.  Currently, Joakim Soria is the 75th rated player and Billy Butler is 87th according to ESPN’s early rankings.  Soria has proven to be one of the most consistent and dominant closers in baseball.  The only catch on Soria is that he has gotten hurt and missed time at some point in each of the last 3 seasons.  With 43 saves and an ERA under 2.00 last season, if you are the type who looks for saves early, Soria is your guy.

Butler has been expected to breakout with power the last two seasons, and while he hasn’t done that, he has hit for an incredible .318 and continues to be at the top of the league in doubles hit.  Butler is bound to hit for more power eventually, but if you need a 1B or Utility player who hits for a high average and is RBI dependable, or if you just have faith and think that Butler is going to swat 30+ home runs this year, he can be had at a fair price.  Side Note:  If you are in a league that counts OBS (On Base Percentage) Butler should be moved up a few spots from the 87th that he is at now due to his outstanding pitch selection.

Potential Sleepers – Kila Ka’aihue (1B), Alcides Escobar (SS), Alex Gordon (OF), Lorenzo Cain (OF)

Kila Ka’aihue will be getting consistent at bats and an opportunity to play consistently for the first time in his young career.  He has huge potential for power and could hit anywhere between 20-35 home runs and should also be a good source of RBI’s.  We have such a small sample size of Ka’aihue in the major's that it’s hard to see what his average is going to look like, but based on what we do know and his minor league stats, he should be somewhere between .255 -.265.  Cain is an interesting case because he isn’t guaranteed a starting spot since he has plenty of options (to the minors) left and Melky Cabrera was originally signed to start in center before they made the trade bringing in Cain and Escobar.  If Lorenzo Cain does win the starting Center Field job expect him to hit at the top of the order and produce Denard Span-like numbers.

I feel like every offseason the Royals fan base has gotten hyped up over Alex Gordon thinking that he was finally going to breakout and reach his 1st round potential, and unfortunately it never happened.  Most fans have lost that expectation for Gordon after multiple years of being let down.  However, with Gordon's move to the outfield and lowered expectations to produce, maybe he can put it all together this season and be a solid contributor on offense.  Alcides Escobar is known for his defense but at times has shown flashes of being able to hit for an average.  At the very least, with a shallow shortstop pool in this year’s draft, he could give you solid steal contributions if you are willing to take a chance on him.

Gambles – Jeff Francoeur (OF) Brayan Pena (C)

Francoeur was once a fantasy animal hitting 29 home runs and batting .290 with Atlanta.  With such high expectations he has been a massive let down in fantasy the past three or four seasons.  Here is the thing… he has had stretches of excellent play even in his down years, only to return to his impatient ways.  There is a chance… not huge chance, but a chance none the less that Francoeur returns to prominence and becomes dominant again.  Brayan Pena gets an opportunity to play every day with Jason Kendall still recovering from surgery until at least May.  Pena, when given a chance to play, has been a solid hitter.  He won’t kill you in average and will hit you a decent amount of home runs for a catcher.  Their aren’t many catchers who get consistent at-bats and actually produce with them, so it may be worth a shot to pick Pena up at the end of the draft as a cheap means of filling out your roster.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

An in Depth Look at the Chiefs Free Agents. To Sign or Not to Sign?

The Chiefs have a fairly large group of players they have to make decisions on this offseason. Below I have made a list of offensive free agents and defensive free agents.  Take a look, decide who you would like to stay or go.  Below the lists, I will go into detail as to why each player should stay or go, and what they bring to the team (or don’t bring for that matter).

Offense:                                               Defense:
Brodie Croyle (Quarterback)                   Wallace Gillberry (Defensive End)
Jackie Battle (Running Back)                 Ron Edwards (Defensive Tackle)        
Mike Cox (Full Back)                             Shaun Smith (DE/DT)
Terrence Copper (Wide Receiver)            Tamba Hali (OLB)
Kevin Curtis (Wide Receiver)                  Corey Mays (ILB)
Leonard Pope (Tight End)                      Mike Vrabel (OLB)
Brad Cottam (Tight End)                        Cory Greenwood (ILB)
Rudy Niswanger (C/G)                           Brandon Carr (Corner)
Casey Wiegmann (Center)                     Travis Daniels (Corner)
Ryan O’Callaghan (Tackle)                     Maurice Leggett (Corner)
Barry Richardson (Tackle                       Jon Mcgraw (Safety)

We will start with the Offense…

 Brodie Croyle has two options.  He must either go, or accept being a 3rd string quarterback.  In all honesty a change of scenery would do him good.  He could be a very decent quarterback in this league, just not with the Chiefs.  There is too much mental strain and he knows the fans don’t like him, which makes him over think every call, check, read, and throw.  As for running backs and fullbacks, Jackie Battle deserves to stay and be re-signed.  His yards per carry are a little misleading from 2010 because the majority of his carries were in short yardage situations.  Battle was very impressive anytime he got an opportunity to actually get carries and should steal some of Thomas Jones’s carries in 2011.  As for Tim Castille and Mike Cox, they have to go.  As I’ve said before the Chiefs have got to have a good, hard-nosed, and smart fullback.  Castille is smart, but is terrified of blocking.  He has good hands but how often do we throw to our fullback and does that offset the lack of blocking?  Mike Cox is hard-nosed but occasionally misses his block and looks lost.  
Terrence Copper and Kevin Curtis are interesting cases at wide receiver.  Copper’s number one asset is his special teams play.  He is solid hands and is a very mediocre route runner.  Curtis came to the Chiefs after the regular season, right before the playoff game against the Ravens due to the Dwayne Bowe injury scare.  To most people’s surprise, he ended up starting along side Bowe.  He didn’t have a fantastic game but give the guy credit for going out there on 4 or 5 days of practice.  Curtis has also had success with the Eagles and Rams when healthy.  The final verdict for the receiver: Copper must go, Curtis can stay.  Copper is taking up a roster spot that can go to someone equally as valuable on special teams who can develop into a descent number two or three receiver (Verran Tucker?) while Curtis is worth the gamble for price he will be asking.  Leonard Popes blocking and serviceable hands deserve to stay, and while I have always been a Cottam fan, he must go.  They can’t trust his health, especially with Jake O’Connell showing development.  O’Callaghan is looking for a starting job and too much money, but if he settles for the right price he should stay.  Richardson impressed at tackle and I believe he is going to be our right tackle for many years to come so we should invest in him now before he gets expensive.  Wiegmann, although a fan favorite, must go.  Niswanger was so bad for two years that when they brought Weigmann back he looked like the best center in the league.  Upon further review, Weigmann got beat up frequently and is undersized.  Age is definitely catching up with him.  Unfortunately, he must go.

Now the defense…

             I have a bad feeling that a smart 4-3 defensive team is going to go after Wallace Gillberry.  Why wouldn’t they in all honesty? He doesn’t start,  he is only in on passing downs, and he still managed seven sacks.  If for some crazy reason no one tries to scoop of Gillberry for starter money, we should by all means keep him.  Shaun Smith is a keeper as well, he provides great depth at both Tackle and End, not mention a few laughs and testicle grabs.  Ron Edwards has been keeping the Defensive Tackle seat warm for waaaay too long.  He has been incredibly mediocre in the 3-4 defensive and is getting older; unfortunately it is time to let Big Ron go.  It's been stressed many, many times, and I will say it one more time, Tamba Hali MUST be re-signed if the Chiefs want their defense to run smoothly.  Without Hali’s pressure, the Corners have to cover longer and the Safeties have to more time to get beat deep which sets up the run game for the opposing team.  Do you want that? No.  So re-sign Hali.  Sadly Its time for Mr. Vrabel go unless he would be willing to hang up the pads and take a position with the team coaching the linebackers.  Vrabel’s coverage is shaky and he can no longer rush the quarterback effectively due to his loss of speed.  Corey Mays provides solid depth and special teams play.  He is also a beast against the run in goal line situation.  Not to mention he can be had at a great price.
            If Hali is number one priority to re-sign, then Brandon Carr is number two.  Carr stepped up his game and showed his ability to cover some of the best receivers in the game.  When Brandon Flowers went down, and even when he returned and played hurt, Carr showed that he and Flowers can be one of the best Corner tandems in the league.  Leggett, Daniels, and Greenwood are all in the “if there is room” situation.  They are all solid, but it just depends on if there is anyone better to take their places.  I would assume they get re-signed and if nothing else end up on the practice squad.  And finally, Captain Special Teams himself, Jon Mcgraw.  I don’t see any way he doesn’t stay.  He is a great teacher, provides depth at safety, fantastic special team’s player, and has great character.  Mcgraw is from the area as well, so he has every intention to end his career here from what I’ve heard.

So there you have it.  It will be very interesting to see what Pioli and Haley are thinking about these guys.  I’d like to think they have somewhat of a similar view as me (that’s not biased or anything) but all we can do now is sit and wait...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Are we limiting the potential of the 2011 Royals? What if...

There has clearly been some disagreement on the moves DM has made this offseason.  But are the moves really as bad as people are acting like? Is there really no chance for the Royals in 2011?  As a fan of baseball, i feel like there is more potential for this years team than any team the Royals have put together in years.  Lets not forget what some of the newly acquired players have done in the MLB in the past and lets not put a ceiling on the younger players that are getting a chance to grow.  Just for a second, lets pretend like the stars are perfectly aligned this season and the players who have had success in this league return to form and the players who are still growing make strides, what would happen? Lets evaluate exactly that for each player, within reason obviously, I wont project anyone will do anything that is completely unrealistic.  We will start with the everyday players..

Outfield: LF: Alex Gordon CF: Lorenzo Cain (Possibly Melky Cabrera) RF: Jeff Francoeur
                                                         What if...
Alex Gordon turns into even 3/4 of the player people thought he would be.  What if he hits 20 home runs and bats .270 with 10 steals while playing even mediocre defense? What if Lorenzo Cain wins the starting Center Field job in spring training and goes on to bat around .300 in the leadoff spot all season and covers the outfield like nobodys business?  And what if Francoeur returns to form and is the player he was with Atlanta earlier in his career and hits 25+ home runs and bats .280 with a cannon of an arm in Right field?  Keep in mind Gordon and Francoeur are still only 26 and 27 even though it feels like they have been around for forever.  There is no reason to believe that this group could possibly be worse on both Offense and Defense than any mixture of Jose Guillen, Dejesus, Mitch Maier, Emil Brown, Reggie Sanders, Ankiel, or Podsednik.  I wont even count Coco or Juan Gonzalez due to the fact that they each played less than a half season.

Infield: 1B/DH: Billy Butler/Kila Ka'aihue 2B: Chris Getz 3B: Mike Aviles SS: Alcides Escobar

What if...
Billy Butler responds to his contract extension and makes even more progress anchoring the middle of the Royals line up and even finds a little more power? A .300 hitter who could hit anywhere between 20 and 30 home runs is very hard to come by and would take the pressure off of Ka'aihue who is finally getting a chance to play in the Bigs regularly.  Is it crazy to think Kila could drive in 80-90 RBI's batting cleanup behind Billy?  We know he isnt going to hit much over .260 or .270 this season but its not out of the question to expect him to hit for power.  Lets not forget that Ka'aihue is a definite upgrade defensively at 1B over Billy.   Getz and Escobar are the best Defensive infield the Royals have had since, dare I say, Carlos Febles and Rey Sanchez? or Tony Pena Jr. and Grudzielanek? Ouch... What if Escobar makes progress at the plate and Getz thrives on being an everyday player and can even bat .265? They can both run, so anytime they get on base they can at least get into the opposing pitchers head. If they can both get between 20-35 steals id consider that huge for guys batting at the end of the order... Aviles is a slightly above average defensive player, so if he just continued that at 3B and bats even close to.300 (like we know he is capable of doing), i dont think holding down the 2nd spot in the order is too much to ask. Not to mention if Betemit can even play close to as well as he did last year and provide solid depth all over the infield.

Starting Pitchers: Hochever, Francis, Davies, Mazzaro, O'Sullivan

What if...
Hochever stays healthy and is consistent with his pitches? What if he keeps his ERA under 4.00? What if Francis excels away from Coors field, which is the most hitter friendly park in the MLB.  What if Davies stays strong for longer during games and get on a couple hot streaks throughout the season?  Mazzaro and O'Sullivan are both young and filled with potential, and Mazzaro's ERA has dropped every season he has been in the league.  In 2010 his ERA in 16 starts was 4.27 last year with the Oakland A's, which is only .10 more than Greinke's last season.  O'Sullivan can be a bit erratic, but i feel like he will get better throughout the season, and if he can keep his ERA around 4.50 and eat some innings i would consider that very successful for his first full year starting in the MLB.  Even if he has some cold stretches it cant get much worse than Brian Bannister or Sidney Ponson... And if he really gets lost, Chen (who is expected to start in the bullpen) is always there for quality starts.

What if...
Tejeda continues to get better, making it easier to get to Soria with a lead, even from the 6th or 7th inning.  Chen is there to bail out any starter having an off day.  he is also one of the few left handers in the pen.  Jeffress can throw up to 100 mph on a good day, as opposed to chen who is more of a finesse pitcher (around 85 mph).  What if Jeffress plays as well as his short time with the Brewers last year (2.70 ERA in 10 appearances last year).  Not to mention he is only 23.  What if Miner is completely healthy and pitches as well as he did as a setup man in Detroit (3.02 ERA in 2007 in 52 innings).  We can expect Teixera and Wood to both build on their solid years last year and if nothing else give us repeats and solid innings.  There is no "What If" for Soria.  It is What if Joakim Soria is Joakim Soria.  And he is in fact that.

What if...
Lucas May handles the staff really well and plays superb defense?  Or Pena adds a solid bat to the line up and hits a few home runs to go with a solid average.  May has the clear defensive edge, and has potential to hit for a better average, while Pena is mediocre behind the plate but has more power than May.  It will be interesting to see how this battle/time share turns out in spring training as well as if one of them is playing very well what will happen when Kendall gets back from injury?

Projected Batting order:
1. Lorenzo Cain (Cf)
2. Mike Aviles (3B)
3. Billy Butler (DH)
4. Kila Ka'aihue (1B)
5. Jeff Francoeur (Rf)
6. Alex Gordon (Lf)
7. Brayan Pena/Lucas May (C)
8. Alcides Escobar (SS)
9. Chris Getz (2B)

It would be crazy to think everyone on the team is going to reach their full potential this season.  But what if even a few do? Honestly i dont see how anyone is that unhappy with this team compared to teams of the past 7-8 years.  The pictching, all around, is better than last year.  Yes, Greinke had a fantastic 2009, but last year he was merely average most of the time.  If nothing else, I dont know how people can't be more optimistic about this season than the last few due to all of the young talent and developing players, yes?

Position by Position: Analysis of what Chiefs must do this offseason.

Obviously the Chiefs made giant leaps this season, but as we have just witnessed, its not enough to be a super bowl contender.   Its already time to think about the offseason and figure out what needs to be done, position by position, to continue to improve and bring the team to an elite level next season.  Lets take a look...

Quarterback: Matt Cassel, Brodie Croyle, Tyler Palko

Analysis  - Its safe to say that Cassel made huge strides this season.  He proved that given the right pieces, he can lead the kansas city chiefs to a winning season.  However, we also learned that if he goes down we are in trouble because our 2nd and 3rd string quarterbacks don't scare anyone and cant even manage the game.

What needs to happen - a capable second string quarterback is a must.  Signing either Alex Smith or Billy Volek (who will both be free agents) would be exactly what the chiefs need.  Alex Smith has a big arm but has yet to be in a stable atmosphere where he knows his role, nor has he had a capable offensive line.  Something as simple as stability and a change in scenery could do wonders for him.  Billy Volek may be one of the most underrated backup quarterbacks in the league.  He is game tested and has a career quarterback rating of 84.9 and touchdown/interception split of 27/15 in 27 games and 10 starts.

Running Back: Jamaal Charles, Thomas Jones, Jackie Battle, (Dexter Mccluster)
Full Back: Mike Cox, Tim Castille

Analysis - Clearly the heart and soul of this team.  This running back core has taken the Chiefs running game to a whole new level and struck fear in the heart defenses across the league.  However, the fullbacks inconsistency has held back the running game.  Cox, a pure blocker (who could even use some work in that area) and Castille, more of a pass catcher who is by no means physical or a good blocker, have hurt the offense all season.

What needs to happen - Signing a true Fullback would make the running game even more of a threat.  Lawrence Vickers (Browns) and Vonta Leach (Texans) will both be free agents and would do wonders for the offense.  One of the most important parts of a power run game is a good fullback who understands the game and isnt afraid to plow into a Ray Lewis, Patrick Willis, Jerrod Mayo, etc.. and the chiefs havent had that since Tony Richardson.  Look at what Vickers and Leach did for Peyton Hillis and Arian Foster.

Wide Receiver:  Dwayne Bowe, Chris Chambers, Dexter Mccluster, "no dancing" Verran Tucker

Analysis - Dwayne Bowe took steps towards becoming an elite receiver, while Chris Chambers made management question why they re-signed him.   Mccluster has proven that he can be a very good slot receiver, but anymore than that is risky.  Tucker made a couple of nice catches throughout the season as well as some missing some blocks and dropping some passes, which was still somehow better than what Chambers did.

What needs to happen - Bowe needs a good number two receiver to take pressure off of him;  a sure handed, down the field threat.  James Jones (Packers) fits that description perfectly.  He has been held to a slot receiver role due to having Greg Jennings and Donald Driver ahead of him.  The Packers also have Jordy Nelson ready to take over the Slot role making it an almost certainty that the packers wont retain him.  Anytime Jones has been given significant playing time, he has produced.  He is the perfect compliment to Bowe.

Tight End: Tony Moecki, Leonard Pope, Jake O'Connell

Analysis - A position that killed the Chiefs in 2009 after the departure of Tony Gonzalez, became a strength again in 2010 with the addition of Moecki and Pope.  Moecki proved to be a good blocker with great hands, and we have reason to expect him to be a starter for the Chiefs for a long time.  Pope showed us that he has some blocking skills of his own with serviceable hands.  O'Connell didnt make many plays or mistakes in his little playing time, which is all you can really ask from him.

What needs to happen - The Chiefs are very Solid here and we shouldn't expect them to make any major Tight End moves this off season.

Offensive Line: Branden Albert, Brian Waters, Casey Weigman, Ryan Lilja, Barry Richardson (Reserves: Jon Asamoah, Ryan  O'Callaghan)

Analysis - There was a sigh of relief amongst Chiefs fans with the re-emergence of the Chiefs O-Line this season.  Albert and Richardson made big strides at Tackle while Weigman, Waters and Lilja provided Veteran leadership and stability.  Asamoah Gives the Chiefs a good reason to feel secure if Waters or Lilja were to ever go down (or retire in Waters case) But even though Weigman was an upgrade from Niswanger, he was man handled by Defensive Tackles far too often.

What needs to happen: In order to keep getting better, the Chiefs need to get a better Center.  Although Weigman didnt make many mental errors, he was pushed around too many times and proved to be a liability.  Ryan Kalil from the Panthers would be Ideal, but you can bet that they will do everything in their power to keep him.  Albert and Richardson will continue to get better and hold down the tackles.  O'Callaghan is a free agent, so if the Chiefs let him walk, another Tackle would be needed to push Albert and Richardson.  John Trueblood from the Bucs would fit nicely if the price is right.


Defensive Line: Glenn Dorsey, Ron Edwards, Shaun Smith (Reserves: Wallace Gillberry, Tyson Jackson, Anthony Toribio)

Analysis - Dorsey looked good all year while Shaun Smith was a pleasant surprise.  Ron Edwards was the epitome of mediocre, and Wallace Gillberry come up big as a down pass rusher.  Tyson Jackson benefited from the competition of Shaun Smith and played very well towards the end of the season.  A dominant Defensive Tackle is a must for the defensive to get any better.  Toribio was a non-factor all season.

What needs to happen - Gillberry is a free agent and it will be interesting to see if a 4-3 team would give him a shot to start at defensive end or if the Chiefs will try to retain him.  Expect the Chiefs to re-sign Shaun Smith but start Tyson Jackson next season.  The Chiefs have to get better at defensive tackle and the only available dominant Defensive tackle on the free agent list is Haloti Ngata, and it is almost certain that the Ravens will either re-sign him or give him the franchise tag.  That leaves the option of a trade.  I see the Chiefs trying to make a run at Vince Wilfork of the Patriots (who they have been interested in for the past two off seasons).  But if they come up short i see them trying to sign a good, younger, Defensive Tackle with some upside like Cullen Jenkins from Green Bay.

Linebackers: Mike Vrabel, Derrick Johnson, Jovan Belcher, Tamba Hali (Reserves: Andy Studebaker, Corey Mays, Demorrio Williams)

Analysis: The Derick Johnson that the Chiefs have been waiting for has FINALLY arrived! the Linebacking core showed that they were a strong point of this team.  Jovan Belcher was stout against the run and will continue to make progress.  He also looked very comofartable rushing the quartberback towards the end of the season.  Hali emerged as an elite NFL pass rusher while Mike Vrabel really started showing his age.  Studebaker looked good in his limited playing time but its left to be seen if he can be a full time starter in this league.  Corey Mays is a good special teams player and very good back up at middle linebacker who would feel comfortable if he ever needed to be thrusted into a spot start.  Demorrio Williams looked a lot better at outside linebacker as well as a down pass rusher rather than a middle linebacker.  The linebackers would really benefit from a good Defensive Tackle.

What needs to happen - the Chiefs MUST RESIGN TAMBA HALI.  That has to be priority number one this offseason.  After that the Chiefs have to ask themselves whether they are comfortable with Studebaker as their starting outside linebacker opposite Hali.  If not, Thomas Davis of the Panthers is a pro bowl caliber outside linebacker and is coming off an injury and could be had at a bargain price.  Its time to let fan favorite Mike Vrabel go, unless he is willing to hang up the pads and come back as an assistant coach or linebackers coach.  He is too much of a liability in coverage and as a pass rusher.

Corner: Brandon Flowers, Brandon Carr, Javier Arenas, Jackie Bates, Travis Daniels, (Mike Richardson)
Safety: Eric Berry, Kendrick Lewis, Jon Mcgraw, Donald Washington, Ricky Price

Analysis - Possibly the best young secondary in the NFL.  Carr came up big when Flowers was down and Flowers showed that when he is healthy, he is an elite corner in this league.  Arenas is a solid tackler and good in coverage and will continue to get better while Bates, Daniels, and Richardson are solid 4th/5th corners and special teams players.  Eric Berry started off slow but really got cooking midway through the season and showed flashes of excellence and once he becomes more consistent, watch out pro bowl! Kendrick Lewis was a nice surprise this season taking over the other starting Safety spot next to Berry while demonstrating a good grasp of the defensive and ability to read quarterbacks.  They can only get better from here folks... Mcgraw is as solid of a back up as they come as well as a leader on special teams.

What needs to happen:  Overall this group is as good of a secondary as they come.  Another good backup safety couldnt hurt because Donald Washington and Ricky Price showed us nothing when forced into playing time. Hussain Abdullah from the Vikings or Daniel Manning from the Bears will both be free agents and would both be wonderful additions on defensive side of the ball.  Aside from that, there is no reason not to be excited about this young defensive back group.

Special Teams:
Kicker: Ryan Succop
Punter: Dustin Colquit
Kick Returners: Javier Arenas, Dexter Mccluster, (Verran Tucker)

Analysis: once of the best punters in the league and very solid kicker.  Succop could stand to add some range but he has shown he can be consistent within 50 yards.  Arenas and Mccluster did a good job returning kicks and punts in their rookie campaigns showing that they can provide a spark to the team and give the offense good field position.  Don't expect any moves to be made with the kickers or kick returners.

Obviously all of these moves can't be made.  But if even a couple of these happen. Expect big things next season.  Let me know your thoughts or any other realistic option you feel would benefit the team this off-season.