That’s a good way to put it. Look, we’re all adults here. We see that Eric Fisher is still struggling, and WAY too much is being put on Jamaal Charles because the Chiefs haven’t been able to develop other consistent threats. But everybody’s got problems. Take a paragraph from my last column, which you should definitely read for a ridiculous stat about the 17 most important drives against the Chiefs defense: "Among the AFC’s top teams, Indianapolis scored nine points against the Chargers and just lost their best receiver. New England has a weak receiving corps and Tom Brady’s throwing hand is the size of a Buick . Cincinnati lost to the Browns and can’t run the ball. Denver is playing with a makeshift offensive line and is giving up more than 28 points per game." So, look. We can all see that the Chiefs have weaknesses. But I think when you follow a team it’s very easy to lost context about what other teams look like^. Every team has problems. Every team has weaknesses. But when you’re 8-0, those are good problems and workable weaknesses. ^ Not to start a whole thing, but this is part of the Ned Yost criticism I’ve been fighting against. Every manager makes mistakes . Now, all that said
@mellinger when did being 8-0 have to be flawless? seems the national media holding it against KC.— Mike Vamosi (@MikeVmos) October 28, 2013
slow down. Here is the complete list of teams that are averaging 30 points per game: Broncos, Bears, Packers. The Chiefs are actually 13th in the NFL at 24 points per game, but that number is obviously inflated by the defense (and largely weak competition). Pro Football Focus ranks the Chiefs 25th in offense, and Football Outsiders has them 18th. If we split the difference and call them 21st or 22nd that’s closer to what my eye test says. And this is an important point, because the Chiefs don’t need to score 30 a game. They don’t need to be a top five offense, or even top 10. Not with this freaking defense. Getting into the top 12 or so would be a good goal, and league average might be doable. There’s enough here — particularly with Andy Reid — that league average should be obtainable. You know, as long as everyone stays healthy which, well
@mellinger tell the ppl that our offense has great potential to put up 30 points a game. Offense sputters but at least it gets going right?— Chocolate Dutch (@SameOG) October 28, 2013
I don’t know how much is too much work for Charles. I just know that the Chiefs shouldn’t find out.
@mellinger your column warned that the Chiefs may be using Charles too much. Is the knee okay? Can he hold up the rest of the year?— Garrick Hodge (@garrickhodge) October 28, 2013
The way this season is going, the Broncos will be starting Osweiler because Manning has a vicious, nasty, debilitating 24-hour flu. Twice Vahe made the point that the Chiefs are creating their own luck, and there’s a case to be made for that. If you’re quicker to the ball, you’re more likely to recover that fumble. If you bum-rush the quarterback, you’re more likely to have Terrelle Pryor lob one of the worst passes in NFL history down the middle of the field. So the Chiefs get some credit here. But if I was Andy Reid, I’d go buy a power ball ticket just to make sure.
@mellinger with the good games by Keenum & Campbell, if Thad Lewis has a good game, will the Broncos start Osweiler against the Chiefs?— The Great Bassby (@MeatMaster_Bass) October 28, 2013
I am morally obligated to not only condone this, but ask for a picture.
@mellinger im getting my dad a cooper jersey for his bday. Should I customize it F. Cooper? Thoughts.— Joe Mattingly (@JoeFunk90) October 28, 2013
First of all, that’s a trick question because there is no best pumpkin beers. Only beers ruined by pumpkin. Taking out the games against each other and common opponents, here is what each team has left: Chiefs play at Buffalo, at Washington, and Colts at home. Broncos (who are off this week) play at New England, Titans at home, and at Texans. The easiest game on either schedule is the Titans at home, and the hardest is at New England (though you could make a case for the Colts, I suppose). But I’m not sure either schedule is markedly more difficult than the other. This really will be about which team plays better when it matters most, including against each other, and with the one-game lead the Chiefs win a tie.
@mellinger both KC and DEN schedules are much tougher post bye wk. You think this works in KC's favor? Whats your take on best pumpkin beer?— Wickett (@wickett999) October 28, 2013
I mentioned this in the Insta-reaction, but McCluster is a bellwether for Reid and the Chiefs. The coaching staff sees a lot of Bryant Westbrook in McCluster, and came into training camp confident they could get the best out of him where previous coaches had missed. I don’t mean this to take anything away from McCluster, necessarily, but when he does well on offense — that punt return was all him — that means the coaches are doing well on offense. And I’m probably not answering your question, but that’s because I either don’t hear many people giving McCluster heat, or I tune them out because expecting him to be a superstar is just silly.
@mellinger Does Dexter McCluster take too much heat in this town? No superstar, but ppl don't seem to appreciate what he brings to the team.— Jeff Smith (@theGeneric1) October 28, 2013
Whoa, that’s going to be tough to beat for Most Kansas City Question of the Week.
@mellinger Where's my swagger? My team is 8-0 yet I must wear the same clothes every Sunday or I feel I will fall into a Haley/Pioli abyss.— Bill Manion (@Bill_Manion) October 28, 2013
I guess, but I’ll only go along with this if we all acknowledge that if the Chiefs were struggling and (especially) injured there would be people blaming the physical training camp. The relationship between cause and effect is something sports fans and media struggle with more than virtually any other demographic, I think. Dontari Poe has been terrific, but that’s a tough position. Damon Harrison, Geno Atkins, Randy Starks, Jurrell Casey and Marcell Dareus (keep an eye on him this weekend in Buffalo) will also get a lot of consideration. The Pro Football Focus numbers, if you’re into that kind of thing, really like Jon Asamoah. Throw in a wild card on special teams — Colquitt, Succop and McCluster would each have a case — and six is probably a good over-under.
@mellinger the chiefs had a pretty physical training camp. You think that has anything to do with how well the defense is playing?— corey wells (@well_well_wells) October 28, 2013
Oh. Well to point out in the column: 1. Holy crap that was a gut-punch that goes down with the Flea Kicker and Fifth Down. 2. Everything that was possible before that ball banged off the goal post is still possible today. ^ Vahe did a good job here on the idiots throwing hate Andrew Baggett’s way. The math in the SEC East changes, especially because South Carolina would now hold the tiebreaker, but Mizzou still has a one-game lead which means it controls the rest of its season. Win out, and they play (against Alabama, probably) for the SEC Championship. But if you look at it like, hey, Connor Shaw came in here and did that so what the heck is Johnny Manziel going to do? well, that’s reasonable. Mizzou will have to prove it can bounce back from a heartbreaker, but if they do that, this can still be a great season — one of the best in school history.
@mellinger How will the Chiefs upstage Mizzou for sports heartache this year? We all know it's going to happen.— Clinton Thomas (@ClintT13) October 28, 2013
Well, I’m not sure I could put a number on it
@mellinger scale of 1-10 how excited are ppl for KU BBall 25000 at late night, 10000 at a scrimmage, 2000 at 6am lottery for exhibition game— Ryan Burrow (@ryburrow) October 28, 2013
but, yeah, it’s getting pretty ridiculous. Bill Self has made the point a few times that they’ve had teams ranked higher in the preseason, but perhaps never one that had this much hype. So much of that is in Andrew Wiggins, of course, and as much as KU is publicly trying to downplay the hype they absolutely know what they have here. This is a team so talented that a top 10 pick is coming off the bench. In a different recruiting class, Wayne Selden would be the star. On a different team, Perry Ellis might be the first-team all-conference guy. The conflicting reality is that KU could play up to its preseason ranking and not make the Final Four, partly because as down as college basketball was last year it’s as loaded this year. But whatever happens, it’s gonna be a whole mess of fun to watch.
@mellinger actually the answer is 25. I just want to hear your thoughts on the hype and the team— Ryan Burrow (@ryburrow) October 28, 2013
UmmI don’t know about that. I’d be surprised if Wiggins isn’t the leading scorer or, perhaps, second to Ellis. This isn’t that Kentucky team from a few years ago, when Anthony Davis was the top pick in the draft and fifth on his team in shots. Wiggins should be a very good defender, and his talents are diverse enough that he can help in many ways, but he is without a doubt the Jayhawks’ best scorer. Especially with the new rules/emphasis on hand-checking and charges, he’s going to be a b-word to defend. All of which makes this question Soft is the most vicious insult possible in Self’s universe. Then a week or so later, Taylor ranted on Twitter about fan criticism, which, presumably, made him soft in Self’s universe. Self didn’t lash out at fans, instead sat down with Taylor in private and told him how he could better handle the situation. It was a pro move that I don’t know people noticed much, but it obviously worked. That was the year KU Taylor and Thomas Robinson pushed KU to the national championship game. Point being, there will be some blowback from all this hype. And Self will help the team handle it.
@mellinger It's basketball season!!! Crazy prediction or not? Wiggins is the third leading scorer for the Hawks this year, but the #1 pick.— Taylor Kohn (@T_Kohn) October 28, 2013