Red Zone

Chiefs Q&A: Trade targets, captain's patches and more

Updated: 2013-10-25T00:10:19Z

By TEREZ A. PAYLOR

The Kansas City Star

The third installment of The Star’s Chiefs-based Twitter Q&A covers a wide swath of topics, ranging from the possibility of the Chiefs adding a big-play receiver via trade to the reason the Chiefs don't wear captains’ patches. But we’ll start with some leftover questions from my live chat on Tuesday, so if you missed that, be sure to read the transcript here.

• Guest: Yes, they're unbeaten … but what do you see as areas the Chiefs need to improve?

The passing game needs to be a little more dynamic if the Chiefs hope to make the playoffs. We’re a long way from the 2000 Ravens winning the Super Bowl with Trent Dilfer at quarterback. You can win with Jamaal Charles as your primary playmaker, but I think the Chiefs need Dwayne Bowe to be closer to the 2010 version of himself than he's shown so far. Donnie Avery, Anthony Fasano and Sean McGrath are solid secondary targets, but if I were a Chiefs fan, I’d be worried this offense lacks the juice of a Super Bowl-caliber offense.

• Matt: Should we be concerned about Charles’ workload? How are his feet this week?

Yes. Sam Mellinger wrote a good column about this a week ago. I’m solidly with him.

• Jake: Do you see the Chiefs bringing anyone in to improve the offense? WR, TE? Do you see any targets out there that make sense?

I think Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks and Browns receiver Josh Gordon each have the kind of talent that can take this offense to another level. But Nicks, who will be a free agent after the season, has some knee issues, and Gordon has some major off-field issues. How much do you really want to give up for either? And what’s more, do you really want to mess with the locker room chemistry? This isn’t Madden. You trade for one of those guys, Avery or Dexter McCluster essentially gets demoted. Given the team’s 7-0 record, that could be a tough pill to swallow.

• Art: Read on Yahoo today that the Browns are willing to ship Josh Gordon. Any chance the Chiefs try to make a move for him? Or any other receivers out there to help this offense out?

For the reasons listed above, I doubt it.

• Xchiefs: Historically, how does this year's Chiefs D compare against ’95 and ’97 teams?

All three ranked first in the league in points allowed, so that's tough. All three teams have great pass rushers, a great nose tackle and great corners. This year's team is on pace to give up fewer points (186) than those two teams (232 in 1997 and 241 in 1995), but some of that could be chalked up to the general lousiness of their first seven opponents (15-33 combined record this season). Considering I was 11 years old in 1995, I’m tempted to go with this year’s group, especially because they figure to have as many or more Pro Bowl defenders than the ’95 team (three) and ’97 team (four) did. At this point, I think Tamba Hali, Justin Houston and Justin Houston are locks, and Derrick Johnson and Sean Smith both have great cases. I also think Eric Berry will get a hard look. But I'd like to actually see them face a team like Denver before I anoint them, so I guess I'd go with one of the throwback teams.

• Easz88: Do you think we should try the “Handoff to the invisible guy” more often?

Haha … it was a fun play and all but you don't want to rely on busted plays to gain yards in the NFL. I know I answered this way too seriously but I’m in a zone right now. I’ll work on my sense of humor.

• Jake: I think a TE would benefit this offense more than a WR. Are there any TEs available through free agency or trade that would make sense?

If there was any free agent that was actually good out there, they’d already be on a team. And like I said, I doubt the Chiefs are gonna screw with the chemistry too much.

• Trent: (Adam) Schefter last night said that teams have offered a high pick and a player for Gordon. Chiefs cannot give up that much.

Chiefs probably would not even be willing to give up that much.

• Grant: Can you please tell Mellinger to get a haircut?

Tell him yourself on Twitter, via @mellinger! I happen to be a fan of wild hair. In fact, I still regret cutting the Afro I grew out two years ago.

• Jake: Over/Under 7 1/2 sacks Sunday?

I'm assuming you're asking about the Chiefs’ defense vs. the Browns offense, so I’ll say under. Joe Thomas is a stud left tackle who will make life a little more difficult for Hali. While center Alex Mack is really sturdy. He probably won't get embarrassed by Dontari Poe. That leaves Justin Houston, who could indeed have a big game against Geoff Schwartz’s brother Mitchell, a rookie who has allowed eight sacks this year. But 7 1/2 sacks is asking a lot against a team that has allowed three per game.

By the way, if you mean combined for both teams, I'll still take the under. Alex Smith has only been sacked 12 times this year, which averages out to less than two per game.

• Justin: Do you think Alex Smith is getting more comfortable throwing to Bowe even when he isn’t wide open?

Alex has said he probably should throw to Bowe in single coverage more, though I think it’s hard for him to change his stripes in that way. He’ll check down and go to the open guy most every time, which is largely a good thing with this defense.

• Mike: The Chiefs are obviously 7-0 and off to a great start. How much do you think is their record a product of them playing a last-place schedule?

That has something to do with it. The overall record of the Chiefs’ first seven opponents is 15-33. That’s pretty putrid. But I still think this defense is pretty darn good, and they'd be 5-2 or 4-3 anyway.^^

^^A couple of observant readers correctly pointed out that the Chiefs haven’t played the only teams affected by their last-place schedule (Buffalo and Cleveland). The NFL schedule pits teams against their division opponents six times, then pits them teams from another division in conference and out of conference. That leaves two leftover games, which are contingent the prior year’s standings. For instance, these would pit a first-place team against the first-place teams in the two same-conference divisions the team is not scheduled to play that season. The second-place, third-place, and fourth-place teams in a conference are matched in the same way each year. So while the Chiefs’ opponents have generally stunk, it’s inaccurate to say it’s a product of a last-place schedule. Has nothing to do with it.

• Larry: How is the health of Kelce?

He's been placed on injured reserve with a knee injury and is out for the season.

• Jason: Why don't Chiefs captains where the “C” on their jerseys like every other team?

Because coach Andy Reid likes to rotate captains, so unlike most teams, the Chiefs don't have permanent guys. The goal is for everybody to be a leader.

• Tommy: Can someone do an investigative piece where you interview Chiefs employees on the differences behind the scenes between last year and this year?

We've written about the different atmosphere many times, mainly because the players keep saying so. I thought this quote from Tamba Hali in a story by Sam Mellinger was particularly enlightening.

“I’m just saying the way everything was run,” Hali says. “There (were) snitches here, people here, trying to see if you're not doing the right thing. That's not what’s going on here. You had guys ratting on each other, coaches telling on each other, not agreeing with each other.

“We had coaches who used to fight each other. Younger guys, but on the field, when (media) are not there. It was a lot going on. These guys we have here, they’re older, wiser men who’ve been around for a while and understand how to work together and put their egos aside.

“That’s what we're about. We’re not here for, ‘Oh, you’re the only one getting the credit.’ These guys don't care about that. The only credit we want is the ‘W,’ and we all get credit for that.”

• Jim: Pretty obvious to me but I started yelling at the Chiefs to NOT score at the end of the game and just take a knee. Not so sure prior coaches would have done that. Thoughts?

I agree. Game was over, put it to bed. Not sure what prior coaches would have done.

• Tommy: This has been such a fun season because, like Mellinger says, KC loves defense.

Yep.

• Mike: I’ve read some things about Tony Gonzalez possibly being traded. In being frugal with picks, the Chiefs wouldn’t have to give up too much and he would make an instant impact! Any thoughts on that happening?

Don't think it’s happening. Who knows what the Chiefs would have to give up? I think the Chiefs will be hesitant to screw with their chemistry too much.

• David F: With their short game approach wouldn’t Tony G. be a good fit? (providing availability) … and what about the rumor started a week or so ago that the Chiefs were looking into picking him up?

Yep, he’d be a nice fit. But see my answer above for why I doubt it happens.

• Chief: Do you see the progress of Cooper making one of our aging DBs expendable?

Hmm … maybe. But Sean Smith's job is pretty safe, and Brandon Flowers is just 27, plus he signed a five-year deal in 2011. I think it’s more likely Dunta Robinson goes and the Chiefs restructure some contracts to create cap space.

• John: What’s the one position we need to draft? i think it’s definitely a wideout. Would love to trade up for Evans.

They’ll be picking toward the end of the first round, which I actually wouldn’t mind because there's always some good football players who fall for no reason. I’d take the best player available, but it sure would be nice if it was a field-stretching wide receiver or even a studly safety with Earl Thomas-like range.

And yes, I do like big Mike Evans from Texas A&M. He’s very Vincent Jackson-ish, which is a good thing, though I doubt he’ll be able to separate from defenders on this level. He’s one of those guys who will have to excel at making tough catches in traffic and competing for the football, which I think he can do. At the college level, he’s basically beasting guys like Shaq did the NBA from 2000-02. Here’s video proof.

As an added bonus, look at the upright way he runs. It’s like his muscles get in the way of him running. It’s hilarious.

• Tater: Looked like the Chiefs’ defense was giving up quite a bit of rushing yards, before both Arian Foster and Ben Tate went down. Could this be a potential problem?

Foster and Tate ran 19 times for 61 yards. That's a Cedric Benson-ish 3.2 yards per carry, and no, that's not good.

Yeah. J.J. Watt is pretty (rhymes with a word that sounds like badhash), though, so he should probably get a bit of a reprieve, though it’s worth noting by my film study, he fared far worse than any other Chiefs lineman when asked to block Watt. In my opinion, he needs to get stronger and work on his technique. He actually has good athleticism and shows some nastiness, so that's a decent foundation to work with.

I’m fine with it. I’m hesitant to criticize playcalling because people generally have no idea how hard it is. Coaches spend hours watching film and they know the strengths and weaknesses of players and opponents better than most. Unless there's a sense of disorganization and discontent ― think Jimmy Raye with the 49ers in 2010 ― I tend to give guys the benefit of the doubt.

Loved my time in CoMo, and I would have been happy on that beat. But covering the NFL has been a lifelong dream, so I had to seize the opportunity. I have been keeping my eye on what’s going on over there, though, and it's been interesting watching The Gary Pinkel Eff You Comeback Tour from afar.

That’s a good question, one I hope to answer with a story this week.

The latter, I think. Just a hunch.

It’s a shame Knile Davis has his fumbling problems. Physically, he’s got the goods. But no one on the roster is as reliable near the goal line as Jamaal Charles.

Not sure that's fair. He’s taken some bad angles, yes, but he’s also got a team-high three interceptions. So he seems to find his way to the ball OK.

Yep, involving the usual suspects. But like I outlined earlier, I don't necessarily think a trade is likely.

Perhaps they didn't really feel he was coming back in four weeks. There’s no denying his physical talent but the fact they released him now tells me they may have been worried he'd never get over his injury issues.

He wasn't listed on Wednesday's injury report, so it sounds like it’s all good.

To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send email to tpaylor@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/TerezPaylor.

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