You know that narrative Ive been pushing, about the Chiefs being good and lucky?
By SAM MELLINGER
The Kansas City Star
Well, take it away, Covitz!
Lets look at the rest of their schedule:
This Sunday, vs. Texans: Matt Schaub is as hated in Houston as Matt Cassel was in Kansas City last year, but at least T.J. Yates threw a terrible pick-six after Schaub was hurt last week in a blowout loss to the Rams at home. Texans are a hot mess.
Oct. 27, vs. Browns: Brandon Weeden lost his job, then got it back when his backup got hurt, and has thrown five interceptions against four touchdowns. The Browns are 3-3, and 0-3 in Weedens starts.
Nov. 3, at Bills: The talented E.J. Manuel is hurt, and so is the journeyman Thad Lewis, so now the Bills have signed Matt Flynn remember when he had that really good game once? just because.
Nov. 17, at Broncos: Great team.
Nov. 24, vs. Chargers: San Diego is hard to figure. The Chargers lost to the Texans, Titans and Raiders but beat the Eagles, Cowboys and Colts. This isnt a particularly stout defense statistically, but they just held the Colts to their lowest point and yardage total of the season.
Dec. 1, vs. Broncos: Great team. And if the Chiefs cant win in Denver remember, though, that Andy Reid has a ridiculous record coming off a bye this one could go a long way in determining the Chiefs postseason fate.
Dec. 8 at Washington: Another hot mess of a team.
Dec. 15, at Raiders: The Chiefs wont have Arrowhead behind them, but still.
Dec. 22, vs. Colts: Potentially great team. But its at Arrowhead.
Dec. 29, at Chargers: Who knows.
The weird thing is the schedule is SO backloaded, if you want a skeptical take on the Chiefs you can justify it for a while still. But, really, depending on how the season plays out, the Chiefs might be favored against everyone on the schedule but the Broncos.
This weeks reading recommendation is Dugan Arnetts piece on an infuriating situation in Maryville. The eating recommendation is Little Bills pimento cheese, which you can find at the farmers market in City Market.
Lets get to it. As always, thanks for your help and for reading.
Got a lot of these.
And as I mentioned here
This is what I've become, apparently. pic.twitter.com/R7eOn2DCM8— Sam Mellinger (@mellinger) October 13, 2013
I suppose this is what Ive become. Guess Ill wear it.
Been looking forward to this question. Thank you for the opportunity.
Look, the crowd was remarkable on Sunday. Overwhelmed the Raiders, along with the pass rush. Arrowhead beat the Raiders as much as the Chiefs did. If I can steal some wording from Jamaal Charles, I would like to stack kudos on top of kudos for the fans at that game.
Im also dubious about the record, and not just because the certificate^ honored "Arrowhead Arena." And not just because I dont really understand the difference between the loudest crowd roar, and the loudest crowd scream.
^ They promised to issue a corrected version, but still.
When the stadium was at its fullest, rocking, the decibel readings come up just short of the 136.6 set in Seattle a few weeks ago. The "record-breaking" reading came with about 40 seconds left, when a significant portion of the crowd was trying to beat traffic^.
^ Nobody asked about the traffic. Maybe next week?
The Guinness guy was moving around the field a bit, and my understanding is that the tool he was using to measure needed about two meters of space from the noise source, if that makes sense. In other words, you cant just put the microphone in front of a tornado siren and call it good.
Anyway, my suspicion is that as the game wore on and the well-intentioned folks who wanted the record broken at Arrowhead began to worry, they figured out ways to bump the reading in ways that wouldnt necessarily make the stadium louder in general. Its the only thing that makes sense.
Seattles CenturyLink Field was specifically engineered to maximize sound in a way that architects just didnt think about 40-some years ago when Arrowhead was built. Arrowheads advantage would presumably be in a larger capacity, but the Guinness folks are saying the record was broken once that advantage had effectively gone away.
Which is a long way of saying two things:
- Im not taking the record literally, or too seriously.
- And I dont need a somewhat manufactured record to tell me that Arrowhead is Arrowhead again, which is an enormous factor in how this Chiefs season will play out.
One more point about the Guinness thing
I dont know the answer to that question. Ive never been to a European soccer game, unless you count the Olympics last year, which you shouldnt. But if you really want an answer, my suspicion is no, just because I think the culture of those games is more for constant noise and engagement rather than the loudest peak, which is what the Guinness thing is technically measuring, but, really, forget all that, Im including this question so I can type the rest of this:
If people around here care about breaking Guinness records for crowd noise, the record for an indoor crowd was set at youre really going to think Im making this up a Bucks-Clippers game in December 2008.
Now, I shouldve just made an it-was-air-horn-giveaway-night joke and called it good, but curiosity got the best of me and I read up on what sounds like a terrible basketball experience if for no other reason than it "established" a record for the longest wave of all-time.
The Bucks invited the Guinness folks in for what reads like a bulk-rate of records, and also got them to create a new record for loudest indoor crowd roar. The record 106.6 decibels, which I think is roughly equivalent to the white noise I play in my headphones on flights.
Guys, if anybody wants to break this record, I think it would be as difficult as walking across the street. Missouri, K-State and especially Kansas basketball games get louder than that. Ive been at high school games that are probably louder than 106.6.
So, if this is really a thing, knock the Bucks-Clippers out of the record book already.
Thats somewhere between a civic inferiority complex and burnt ends at Bryants.
But to answer your question, Im fairly certain there have only been two since 1990: the 2003 Vikings, and 2009 Broncos.
Well, yeah. I dont think theyre finishing 1-9. The NFL is an impossible thing to predict, so if I was smarter Id do one of two things:
- Not do it.
- Stop putting much, at all, into what happened the year before.
But as long as were talking about the rest of this Chiefs season, the focus needs to turn to winning the division. At the beginning of the year, that seemed like a far-fetched idea. And the Broncos are terrific^. But the Chiefs play a next-level type of defense, and if they can split the two Denver games theres a real chance they can win the division.
^ And the Chargers just held what was the leagues No. 4 offense without a touchdown last night.
Which would give them a game or two at home, which would give them a real chance at advancing. More on this later.
Seriously. The schedule really is opening up. As unlucky as the Chiefs have been in recent years as unlucky as Kansas City has been in recent years this Chiefs team is basically having it all repaid this fall.
A schedule most thought easy before the season has only grown easier. The Chiefs are playing backup quarterbacks, and teams missing key offensive players, and against teams that fumble into 10-0 deficits before the Chiefs offense does anything, and against teams whose star receivers drop crucial passes in the fourth quarter, and, really, its been a charmed beginning.
And if youre shifting your focus from making the playoffs to advancing in the playoffs and, really, at this point you should then winning the division and securing at least a playoff game or two at home becomes critical. The Broncos are obviously a great team, but they have at least three brutal road games: at Indianapolis this weekend, at New England Nov. 24, and at Arrowhead Dec. 1. The Chiefs have Indianapolis at home, and other than Denver, no road game that looks brutal at the moment.
The Chiefs are a good team on their own, especially defensively, even if they need more offense. Theyve also so far been helped with a lot of good fortune.
Kansas City will take it.
Jamaal Charles wont show anyone the bottom of his feet, or really say much about anything thats bothering him physically but this question reminds me of watching a college football game with some friends a while back and someone noticed one of the teams was sponsored by Puma.
Aww, my buddys girlfriend said, do they not have any money?
@mellinger On a scale of Bill Buckner to Carlos Beltran, how likely are the Chiefs to collapse when the pressure gets too high?— T.J. Huettenmueller (@Thuettenmueller) October 14, 2013
"Regressing" makes it sound like this is a permanent trend, and Im not ready to go there, so Ill just say hes played two crappy games in a row against the two best defenses the Chiefs have played.
Specifically, whats concerning is his struggles against the rush. The fine folks at Pro Football Focus tell us hes completed just seven of 28 passes against blitzes the last two weeks, after being well above 50 percent his first three games and, really, most of his career.
Some of this is on the offensive line^, of course, but theres a reason so much attention and so much money goes to quarterbacks.
^ Which isnt as bad as some around town are making it out to be but still needs to be better.
Ill keep saying this: much of Smiths considerable strengths are in his ability to make quick decisions, including against pressure, and get the ball out quickly and accurately in spots where his receivers can make plays. He hasnt done that the last two weeks.
That hasnt mattered, of course, but this is an important time. Smith and his teammates on offense are increasingly open about their need to be better, and to stop putting it all on the defense.
Like, after the Raiders game Smith said this:
No question theres definitely room for improvement. We have to get better and we will. We have to, and the great thing is we got the win.
And Charles said this:
We cant put our defense out like that. The offense has to come out and move the ball up the field, dont rely on the defense every week.
The Chiefs are winning, like Smith says, which makes this a good time to make the adjustments. If the locker room really is as close as everyone says and, for what its worth, I believe it is then there shouldnt be the kind of finger-pointing and behind-the-scenes blame game that often exists in these situations.
One place to start
this is definitely a concern by now. I havent seen any one single thing stick out in the first five games, but Im looking forward to seeing the All-22 of the Raiders game on Wednesday. Bowe was only targeted four times (three catches).
My suspicion is that this is a combination of a lot of things: Andy Reid and Smith each like to spread the ball around MUCH more than the Chiefs have done in recent years, Bowe isnt getting the kind of separation he has in recent years, and Smith isnt throwing him the ball enough.
One of Bowes strengths is that he can make catches when he doesnt appear open, and instead on asking Charles to do everything, the Chiefs might be well served to give the chance to make the plays theyre paying him to make.
I really dont think its going to happen. This is a longshot, and for whatever its worth, Ive heard about logistical obstacles that have nothing to do with cap space or Gonzalezs willingness to be traded.
But I do think its a little more likely less unlikely? this week than last week.
@mellinger do you think the chiefs should trade for an offensive weapon? if not Tony maybe WR H. Nicks? he's a free agent after this year— Michael Fisher (@Mike2theworld10) October 14, 2013
Id be hesitant to give up a strong draft pick for a guy who would need to move in, learn a new system, and only play nine games or whatever.
But the Chiefs owe it to themselves to look, and hard. There is some ceiling still in this offense. I know Im higher on Alex Smith than many others, but you have to figure that Reid and smart, accurate quarterback can make at least a league average offense out of Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe, Donnie Avery and some other nice parts.
The balance becomes how much better the Chiefs can be in-house they know better than we do when Anthony Fasano will return, for instance and how much value a more talented outsider can bring in a few months.
Right, but again, Im a believer that "Alex Smith" is good enough with the rest of what this team has. Remember, Cassel won 11 games in New England and took the Chiefs to the playoffs. Smith is better than Cassel. Smith won 13 games and was a special teams fumble from the Super Bowl two years. Was the leagues leader in passer rating last year.
He can be good.
Despite what hes been the last two weeks.
Actually, yeah, this one came in yesterday:
"Anyway, Sam you better get your (expletive-ing) hair fixed, or theyre gonna have you in one of those (expletive-ing) sailor suits, with a little Dixie cup tied on top of you (five seconds or so of unintelligible garble) and the FYI section. (Something else unintelligible) fix your (expletive-ing) hair man, (expletive)."
The one after that was a sweet old lady chastising me for writing nice things about the Chiefs because, "wait until New England comes into Kansas City, then youll see a good team."
I have a weird job.
Im not eating a Twinkie, Jason^.
^ Told you I have a weird job.
@mellinger How come I've never seen you on Around the Horn? It's the hair isn't it.— Scott Rodgers (@ScottyByNature) October 14, 2013
FCC regulations limit how much swag^ can be aired during the day.
^ Or whatever the kids say these days.
Well, five draft picks have played this year and three Fisher, Davis and Catapano are regulars. But I understand your point.
Marcus Cooper, though.
I cant think of anything to improve this question.
Or make it worse.
You come by
@mellinger on a scale of 1 to Tyus Edney how Mizzou is it that after their first big win in the SEC they lose their QB for maybe the season?— Gavin Alexander (@GJAlexander) October 14, 2013
@mellinger Only Mizzou could start 6-0 in the SEC, beat the spread by 3 TDs on the road against BCS teams 3 times, and not crack the Top 10.— Clinton Thomas (@ClintT13) October 14, 2013
honestly, of course. But
yeah, I think its possible. And Mizzou sounds confident in Mauk. If nothing else, its a good thing that Mauks two toughest games assuming Franklins three-to-five week diagnosis is right are at home. I dont know if they can do it or not. But I think assuming they cant is silly and premature.
But, compare all of that to KU fans
and, its worth noting that the line about football season in Lawrence ending at Late Night predates Charlie Weis.
But hes not doing anything to change it.