Red Zone

Ask Terez: Chiefs’ answers on rookie minicamp, Justin Houston’s contract situation and more

Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston stopped Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch in a 24-20 victory last season.
Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston stopped Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch in a 24-20 victory last season. The Kansas City Star

So I’ve decided to revive my Chiefs’ mailbag for a few reasons. One, I get bombarded with many of the same questions, so it makes sense to answer them in one spot. And two, because it’s May, and there isn’t a ton to write about (though that will soon change).

You guys know how hard I work to be accessible to you all — so just go ahead and scroll down to read my answers to your Chiefs questions.

Interesting prospect with some athleticism. Clearly needs to bulk up and get coached up. He is a project with some upside. It will be interesting to see if the Chiefs can get him up to speed quickly enough to help out on offense early in the season. He has experience playing special teams and seems willing to help there, so that will help him see the field in some capacity, at least.

Big dude with a gun for an arm. Is a long shot to make the roster with Alex Smith, Chase Daniel and Aaron Murray already in the mix, though.

Considering he’s never come close to that mark — the closest he came was 2013, when he threw for 3,313 yards — I’d say no. But that does not mean he won’t effectively manage this offense. He will continue to do that, even if (most of) you guys don’t like the way he does it.

Great question. Yes, it’s reasonable.

I, for one, believed the Chiefs were going to address right tackle at some point in the draft, and the fact they didn’t is surprising. And that’s not because I think Jeff Allen and Donald Stephenson — the two main contenders to man the spot — can’t play. To be honest, between the two of them, I think the position will be fine. But both will be free agents in a year, and because they weren’t drafted by this regime — which has shown a willingness to let offensive linemen walk — it wouldn’t be a surprise if both found greener pastures elsewhere.

That means the Chiefs would have to spend on a free-agent right tackle (which will be expensive, if there’s anyone even worth pursuing), or hand the position to a youngster who will almost certainly have some growing pains.

As for Morse, I understand the frustration. Heck, I even had him as a fourth-round pick, myself, because I think he might be a guard, not a center, because of the snapping problems he had in 2012. And there were other guys I liked who were still on the board, including Minnesota tight end Maxx Williams, who I believe will make a Pro Bowl or two.

But I also understand the pick, because I like the player. Mitch is smart and tough, and that will carry you a long way as an interior lineman. He also has really great feet — ideal feet, really, for a zone-run scheme. He also has excellent football character and was one of my favorite players to cover during my time on the Missouri beat in 2012. Mitch is a good dude who loves football and plays with a bit of an edge. He’ll be a nice fit for the locker room.

So, worst-case scenario, he’s a sixth-man sort of lineman who can play tackle in a pinch, although his relatively short arms may keep him from being a full-time starter there. I think it’s more likely he settles into being a starting interior lineman. We’ll see how it pans out, obviously, but I do like the player.

The Chiefs have to use more defensive formations that feature Ford, Tamba Hali and Justin Houston on the field at the same time. Like this:

They started using more of these toward the end of the season. But Ford only played, roughly, nine percent of the team’s defensive snaps last year, which isn’t very many. If he doesn’t play more this season, it will be a disappointment for all sides.

I’d go: Sean Smith, Phillip Gaines, Marcus Peters, Steven Nelson, Jamell Fleming. Peters could easily slide into a starting role, and Fleming could win a nickel or dime spot, too. We have no idea if the rookies can play yet, but I do like this group of young corners.

I haven’t looked at most of these guys, but I did watch some during the predraft process. Included in that group are Harding receiver Donatello Luckett, James Madison edge rusher Sage Harold, Pitt State corner DeVante Bausby and Gardner-Webb receiver Kenny Cook. I’m looking forward to getting a closer look at the rest of the guys this weekend, though. You can find our list here.

Probably Albert Wilson. But Chris Conley and Jason Avant will have a say in the matter before it’s all said and done.

I think they’ll go 10-6 or 9-7. If they go 9-7, I suspect it will be because of a loss to Detroit in London, which would absolutely enrage the fanbase. This would also be classic Chiefs Luck, which essentially dictates that Chiefs fans will eventually be gut-punched in the most devastating way possible. The good news is that you’re facing the Lions, whose version of Lions Luck is eons worse than Chiefs Luck — I will NOT debate this, either. The Lions wasted the prime of the second-greatest running back of all-time, went 0-16 in 2008 — seriously, how the heck does that happen — have never been to a Super Bowl and have won one playoff game in my lifetime. Lions fans scoff at your Pioli Era and raise you the Matt Millen Era.

I’ve been getting a ton of questions about this — trust me, NO ONE will be happier when this is resolved — and nothing has changed on this front, as far as I can tell. John Dorsey has said repeatedly that he believes Houston will be a Chief. I believe Houston will, at least for this season. Whenever he reports to the team, he’ll show up in tremendous shape and have another great season. What happens after that — or whether they’ll eventually get a long-term deal done — is anybody’s guess.

Do you see what I mean? T-Rez is this close — AND T-REZ MEANS … THIS CLOSE — to breaking out the finishing move.

I’m done.

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

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