We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2010 fantasy football questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2010 Kansas City Chiefs Fantasy Football Preview comes courtesy of Arrowhead Pride, a Kansas City Chiefs blog.
1. Dwayne Bowe seems to have the ability to be an elite receiver, but had an extremely disappointing 2009 season. He had a lot of changes and problems with, a new coach, new quarterback, a 4 game suspension and scrutinized work ethic. Will his second year with Haley and Cassel and now Weis bring a turnaround or is he just not cut out for eliteness?
Well, it depends on who you ask. There are two schools of thought with Dwayne Bowe.
First, there are the folks that think he’s immature, lacks the work ethic and motivation to succeed beyond what he’s already done in the NFL. These people are validated by Bowe’s 2009 season where he came into camp out of shape, consistently lacked concentration, was benched by the coach and ultimately suspended for taking a diuretic (he claims).
Second, there are folks who believe he’s got the talent and he’ll “get it” this season and turn it on. Many people don’t realize how successful Bowe was in his first two seasons with 2,000 yards receiving. That’s not common with receivers. Those are good numbers. Bowe has demonstrated he can play.
Whether he puts it all together and gets back on track, it depends on who you ask.
2. Last season we at Razzball kept deriding coach Haley for not giving Jamaal Charles a chance earlier. And now Thomas Jones enters the scene. Did Charles’ shoulder surgery have anything to do with bring Jones in, or do they just not trust Charles to hold up to 20+ carries a game? And how do you see the two being used?
I think it has less to do with Jamaal Charles and more to do with Thomas Jones. Todd Haley and Scott Pioli have said that they’re all about bringing in good football players and Jones is a good football player. Just as importantly, he’s a team leader and the Chiefs can’t go light on team leaders at this point. I don’t think Charles’ offseason shoulder surgery was a major factor. It was an injury that has been going on since high school and he told me after one game that he has to pop it back in throughout the game occasionally.
Jones is just a good football player and the Chiefs aren’t in the business of passing up good players, regardless of where they play.
As for how they’ll be used, I suspect you’ll see something in the neighborhood of a 60/40 split in favor of Charles. Jones will be your grind-it-out guy — something the Chiefs had trouble doing when holding a lead in the second half. And Charles will be used a lot of different ways. This gives them an opportunity to create more situations for Charles to get into space and show his biggest advantage — his speed.
3. Matt Cassel was a disappointment last season, was it due to a lack of skill, the poor offensive line or both? Do you think Charlie Weis can help turn Cassel around? If not, is this his last chance with the Chiefs?
Tough to tell at this point. I don’t think it was a lack of preparation because Matt Cassel was always called the hardest working guy on the team. Was it a lack of skill? I don’t think so because he demonstrated in New England that, when in the right situation, he can put up very good numbers. Was it a poor offensive line? That’s a big part of it, at least the first half of the season. He got knocked around a good bit and rushed. Cassel has a tendency to hold onto the ball a little longer than usual and when your offensive line isn’t top tier, that can be a problem.
Charlie Weis can turn Cassel around. There is no reason to think he won’t when you look at Weis’ last decade of work: Tom Brady, Brady Quinn and Jimmy Clausen. When those players were with Weis, they were among the best in the country. Cassel has the work ethic, Weis has demonstrated he has the coaching ability so, frankly, it’d be a disappointment if Cassel didn’t take a fairly significant leap in 2010.
4. Dexter McCluster is getting some rave reviews already. Where do you think he’ll have the most impact in his rookie year?
He’ll have the most impact at receiver, in the slot. He’ll be battling Jerheme Urban to be the third receiver. Urban may get it after it in the early going because he’s a veteran but McCluster will come on. He’s smart, listens to his coaches and is willing to work. That’s a good combination.
Here’s a big reason why I think McCluster could see significant action: One of the biggest things Weis and the Chiefs have been working on with Cassel is getting the ball out quicker. What’s quicker than a target like McCluster in the slot? After watching him in drills in OTAs this spring, I can tell you no one makes cuts like this guy. It’s like a video game watching him do simple drills.
(Note: In two years, once Madden takes notice, McCluster will be one of the better video game players. Think Darren Sproles but as a legit receiver.)
McCluster will also see some time at running back in special packages but at this point we’re not quite sure what those are or how often they’ll be used. But he’ll be in the backfield. You can also expect him to return some kicks (along with rookie Javier Arenas).
5. I have to go back to Charles since he’s a favorite here at Razzball. We have him ranked 10th overall and feel like his ability to work in space will keep him from getting squared up, while Thomas Jones can take the brunt of the swinging gate o-line hard hits. Are we too optimistic? What stats do you think he will end up with?
Yeah, I think you’re too optimistic. It’s nothing against Charles but the system.
The Chiefs pay attention to trends in the NFL. They know they have something special in Charles but they also know running backs — when used as the feature back — don’t last that long. A few years, tops. They’ll want to preserve Charles and they’ll do that by splitting the carries with Jones (though Charles will get more). My guess is that you’ll see Charles pass 1,000 yards because he’s got big play ability and Jones won’t be too far behind.
Here’s something you should know: Todd Haley loves Thomas Jones. Loves him. He won’t be afraid to give Jones plenty of carries, which ain’t a good thing for Charles fantasy holders (but good for the Chiefs!). Only Adrian Peterson has more yards than Jones in the last three seasons so the Chiefs feel he still has significant carries left in him.
I know Charles had a pretty sick second half of the season but beware fantasy owners: This won’t be a breakout, 1,700 yard season from Charles. Expect similar numbers to last year. It’s not his ability, it’s the system.