Marcus Peters’ name cannot be mentioned without many ears closing, and many otherwise smart minds ignoring reason, one side yelling FLAG and MILITARY, the other screaming YOU’RE JUST RACIST, so a smart local sports columnist would be wise to skip the topic entirely unless he or she is trying to address those specific issues.
But being a smart local sports columnist has nothing to do with me, so here I go, trying to make the point that Chiefs coach Andy Reid needs to stand up to his talented and valuable and hard-working and unreliable cornerback.
The biggest issue, to me, isn’t even that Peters picked up that flag and threw it in the stands, and let’s pause here to say that a football player has really screwed up if picking up a flag and throwing it into the stands isn’t the worst thing he did in a sequence on the field.
But, no, for me the bigger issue is that he left the field. He ghosted, as the kids might say, walking toward the tunnel smiling while ushered by security.
He apparently thought he was ejected, but he wasn’t, because he was quickly summoned from the locker room back to the sidelines to rejoin his teammates in a game that was still going on.
Peters was far enough into believing he was ejected that he had no socks when he came back, which would have been something if the game went to overtime and he was asked to cover Robby Anderson.
Reid said leaving the field that way was “wrong,” but that can’t be as far as it goes.
You might know that Peters is among my favorite football players. He is somehow both fully committed to football but also unwilling to bow to it, by all accounts a loved and respected teammate whose flaws are so obvious and vulnerable. It’s also true that the penalty, in no way, hurt the Chiefs. The penalty was declined, and even if he stayed in the locker room, he wouldn’t have missed any meaningful snaps.
But, come on. None of that is an excuse, or reason to let this slide.
The man made an absolutely stupid mistake, then compounded it by leaving the field with a game going on.
I don’t exactly what the punishment should be. A few years ago, Travis Kelce was benched for what amounted to a quarter for a game at the Chargers. Maybe something like that would be appropriate here. I do believe it would help if the punishment was publicly obvious, but at the very least, it needs to be obvious to the rest of the locker room.
Reid has to walk a fine line, because Peters is an important player, and a popular teammate, but at some point the coach loses credibility if there are no consequences for bad behavior.
The Chiefs need Peters. They need his talent, they need his commitment, and they need his energy. But particularly as the season unravels, they can’t have players acting like fools and walking off the field without any form of punishment.
This week’s eating recommendation is the double burger at Tay’s Burger Shack, and the reading recommendation is my friend Gregg Doyel on the stupid idea that will help me have a happy Thanksgiving.
I don’t know if it’s better or worse that the Chiefs have so many dang problems all over the field, instead of one particular weakness to focus on, though I do feel rather confident that the answer doesn’t matter.
This is part of the NFL’s genius, part of the league’s plan to make all of the money, but how about this:
The Chiefs had the ball at the end against the Steelers, a chance to win.
The Chiefs had something like ALL THE CHANCES to beat the Raiders, on both sides of the ball.
If Alex Smith was merely average, the Chiefs almost certainly would’ve beaten both the Giants and Bills.
And if the defense was merely average, or if Bennie Logan would not have been called for that penalty on the field goal, the Chiefs almost certainly would’ve beaten the Jets.
That’s not that far from 11-1, which is more indictment than defense of a team that can be given no excuses.
The coaching has not been good enough. The quarterback has not been good enough. The offensive line has been bad, the defensive line ineffective, the pass rush squashed, the secondary lost, the cohesion non-existent, and we can go on and on as long as you want.
Part of the company line going forward will be that “we have everything we want still in front of us.” You will hear that all week, I’m sure, and technically it’s accurate. The Chiefs are now tied for first place in the AFC West, with home games against the Raiders and then Chargers coming up.
They have the division on their racket, to mangle a tennis term, and as an old Chiefs GM/CEO/President/Man In Black used to say, all you want is a spot in the tournament because then you can win your way through.
The problem with that perspective is that it’s never been about merely getting into the tournament for this team, and they’ve shown nothing to make anyone — players, coaches, immediate family, team employees, ANYone — believe they are capable of anything worth remembering.
This team is five years in the making, and a free fall like this with an experienced group and experienced coach is worth questioning everything.
The NFL is set up in a way to encourage wild swings like this. Football is like that on its own, but the NFL amplifies it with rules legislating parity. The good teams stay above it, the lucky ones manage it, and right now the Chiefs are among the weak teams blowing in the winds of chance.
Of all the ways the Chiefs could disappoint fans who deserve better, this is one I did not see coming — so sudden, so certain, so overwhelming.
I figured these emotions would come out in the division round, not immediately after the bye.
They all run together enough that I had to look these up, and I think you meant 1997 (Gannon vs. Grbac) or 1998 (Monday Night Meltdown!), though you could’ve included 1995 (13-3 turns into The Kicker Who Shall Not Be Named) or 2003 (13-3 turns into A Playoff Loss With No Punts) or 2013 (9-0 turns into a blown 28-point playoff lead) and maybe I’m forgetting a few.
Superficially, this feels more like 2013 than any of the others, because of the hot start, but much worse than that one because everyone knew 2013 was a house of cards. That roster was thin, and the winning so obviously helped by playing bad teams with backup quarterbacks.
This was different, or was supposed to be, a real team with an intriguing combination of experience, savvy, youth, energy, and speed.
They still have a chance to save this, and I don’t say that entirely with sarcasm. Nobody believed they could save the 1-5 start in 2015, and a lot of the same players are still around.
But I also remember Justin Houston saying: “You lose two in a row, you know that third one is going to be a dagger. So you gotta break that losing streak right then. You gotta break it. If you don’t break it, it’ll wear on you and wear on you fast.”
He said that after the Chiefs beat the Broncos the night before Halloween which, indeed, ended a two-game losing streak.
But in the days since, the Chiefs have failed to stop another two-game losing streak against the Bills, and now failed to stop a three-game losing streak against the Jets.
This is four losses in a row now, and six of seven. Those are daggers.
Ranking letdowns is something we tend to do in Kansas City, because life, but at the moment I’d rank this as worse than 2013 but not quite as bad as 2003, 1995, or 1998.
But there’s still plenty of season left!
You could not throw one of Marcus Peters’ discarded socks through the Chiefs locker room without hitting someone worthy of blame, but I’m going to focus on John Dorsey here, because he’s the one we haven’t talked about much.
This is his roster, almost entirely. His team, with few exceptions. If the Chiefs win the Super Bowl — levity! — he will get a lot of the credit so it’s only fair that as the roster is increasingly exposed he takes some of the blame.
Leaving a turn-key Super Bowl contender for one of his assistants was going to be a heck of a talking point in his interviews for his next job, so watching the team free fall like this will also be a talking point.
In the biggest picture, I do not blame Dorsey for this. Lack of depth in the secondary at linebackers has been exposed, and you can criticize the offensive line, but 25 teams have problems with the offensive line.
Dorsey’s biggest failure was with salary cap, with money. He waited too long to sign Justin Houston, and waited too long to sign Eric Berry, bumbling the negotiations along the way. He compounded the problem with Houston’s bizarre malfunctioning ACL by signing Tamba Hali to a contract he’d never be worth. None of this is hindsight. This was apparent in real time.
There is a case to be made for spending what you have to spend to sign what you want to sign, but the contracts began to knock down some of the roster’s depth, but more importantly a lot of the flexibility.
Look, again, in the big picture, speaking strictly about roster building, Dorsey was good for the Chiefs. Think about what he inherited, and what he left.
Brett Veach has shown a knack for bargains. Reggie Ragland looks like a terrific trade, a real building block for a future mid-round pick. Harrison Butker has been nearly perfect, a cheaper and better upgrade from Cairo Santos, who had developed into a good kicker.
He was handed a good roster, but as we’re seeing now, it’s also a roster in need of more than tweaks.
I wonder if that’s something we’ll get into as the season goes on and ...
... sure, let’s do it now.
We talked a little about this in the A-Team Live, but Veach has to crush this draft. The Chiefs have needs all over the field.
Best Player Available is something football people say a lot, and it’s true, but if they wanted to be more accurate they’d say Best Player Available At A Position Of Need, or perhaps, Best Player Available While Weighted To A Metric That Accounts For How Badly We Need That Position.
Maybe it’s best if we just do this as a list, huh?
1. Edge rush. They’re getting no pressure. Houston’s health makes him unreliable, Dee Ford has been injured an ineffective, and even if K-Pass hits the best case scenario you need depth. The Chiefs can save a lot of space by cutting Houston after the season, and I’m not advocating for that, just mentioning it as a reminder that nothing is forever.
2. Cornerback. Marcus Peters is having his least impressive NFL season, and the fact that there is still an enormous gap between him and anyone else at the position is a testament to how badly the Chiefs to improve here. If you wanted to flip this and edge rush, I wouldn’t argue.
3. Defensive line. Sheldon Richardson is among the scheduled free agents, so you don’t necessarily have to do this through the draft, but they need some help. I mentioned this on the Border Patrol, but defensive line has been the most disappointing position group of the season.
4. Safety. Eric Berry will be back, and that’s great, but there’s no telling how close to 100 percent he’ll be and even if he returns as Eric F. Berry the guys behind him are being exposed. Ron Parker is a keeper, but other than that, they’re really missing someone like Husain Abdullah, or Kurt Coleman, or Tyvon Branch, those guys who could really help cover holes week to week based on matchups.
5. Offensive line. They’ll have a decision to make soon enough on Mitch Morse, and left guard is clearly a problem. They probably have to ride with what they have at tackle.
6. Inside linebacker. Even with Reggie Ragland’s emergence, the Chiefs will need some more bodies here as Derrick Johnson ages out.
7. Backup quarterback. Assuming they move Alex Smith, you still need someone to backup Patrick Mahomes, and I’m not sure you want that someone to be Tyler Bray. Besides, with neither of those guys taking an actual snap, it would be nice to bring in a true backup — a veteran long on experience, happy to help the room, even if it means you sacrifice actual production. You know, someone like Josh McCown. Too soon?
8. Receiver. You might think this is too low, and you might be right, but I’m thinking about Chris Conley coming back and Demarcus Robinson growing and Jehu Chesson coming off his redshirt season. They could always use talent here, but there are bigger issues.
This answer has been completely about players, not coaches, because ...
... yes, I believe Bob Sutton and Andy Heck will be gone. The general fan anger at Sutton does match what I believe is his share of the problems — I think it’s been more on the players/execution than coaches/scheme — but he’s not doing enough to help.
He’s been unable to generate pass rush with creativity, and there have been too many whiffs like leaving Phil Gaines by himself twice in a row down the left sideline on the same blitz toward the end against the Giants.
Besides, even if I’m right, and it’s execution more than scheme, maybe it’s time for a new voice and messenger to clean up the execution.
The offensive line has also underperformed, and I do believe a LOT of this is about scheme. Terez made a terrific point recently about how too many of the blocks those guys are being asked to make are just far too difficult and intricate and bad fits for their specific skill sets.
Reid’s offense is complex, so some of this just has to be dealt with, but they need to simplify, particularly on the interior.
I mentioned the defensive line underperforming, and I absolutely believe it is, but I also don’t think it’s realistic that Andy Reid is going to fire his son to go get a new defensive line coach.
Atta boy, Adam.
If and when I’m lucky enough to have this job as the Chiefs make a Super Bowl run, it’ll be a great experience, but in the meantime, I’m looking forward to having my January open.
All three college basketball teams are interesting, and maybe I can find some good high school stories to tell. More time with my kids will be appreciated. Maybe the weekend of the division round, instead of flying to Pittsburgh or New England to watch a loss, my wife and I can get a babysitter and a nice dinner.
I’m four episodes into Ken Burns’ doc on the Vietnam War, maybe I can make some progress there. Gotta be some good books to read. The garage needs cleaning. Maybe I can go to the gym and actually workout, instead of just work.
This is going to be OK, you guys.
There are no wrong answers here, particularly because of the moments they were called, but I’m going with Tyreek Hill’s interception because it kept a quarterback who was playing well from throwing the ball, created an interception when said QB who was playing well almost certainly would’ve protected the ball, let a bad team believe, and from the looks of Hill’s form had absolutely zero chance of ever working.
I know guys in the locker room said they’d run it in practice, and that it worked, but how can you believe them when he threw the ball like THAT?
This is not a defense of the other plays, both of them disasters, but Kelce can at least throw a little, and it’s not crazy to imagine a scenario in which Irving breaks open.
The repeated failures on trick plays makes me a little sad, because nobody draws up a hilarious trick play like Andy Reid, the man who brought us Hungry Pig Right.
No silver lining.
For a few reasons. First, the schedule’s been easy the last three weeks, and the Chiefs are 0-3. You mention playing at home, and that’s cool, I guess, but I can’t imagine the atmosphere is going to be #lit, and besides, including the playoffs, Andy Reid’s record with the Chiefs at home is 26-12. His record on the road is 24-18. Not a huge difference.
But more than all of that, getting into the playoffs is not “OK.” There was a time when that signified progress for the Chiefs, but that time is gone.
I just can’t imagine anyone being all that excited to watch this group in the wild card round, and if they somehow win that game, I can’t imagine anyone being all that optimistic about watching this group in the division round.
It shouldn’t be.
We’ve been in the digital era a while, and I’m not sure anyone has screwed up a search this badly. John Currie will wear most of the blame, and that’s not entirely fair, but not because he didn’t screw up 100 ways — only because so many others showed their asses too.
Phil Fulmer’s palace coup was successful, but he took advantage of and worsened a bad situation for personal gain and ego fulfillment. That shouldn’t be admired. Currie was supposed to be A Tennessee Guy, but had such little feel for his fan base that he mishandled (delayed) Butch Jones’ inevitable firing and his first move was to hire a guy who sparked a vitriolic (and ugly and dishonest) reaction from the people he most needs to sell.
Also, the lack of privacy was startling, even by today’s standards. When your targets are so consistently and quickly leaked, it means coaches who really might be interested could shy away, and the coaches you’re going to attract are the ones who really might just want a raise with their current job.
We all tend to make fun of schools hiring search firms, but a decent search firm could’ve made the whole thing a lot cleaner*.
* This is only tangentially related, but to me, the Giants weren’t necessarily wrong in wanting to move on from Eli Manning. But they were inexcusably wrong in allowing Ian Rappaport to know before Manning.
I actually think the right new coach can turn this into a positive, because if there’s that much passion around the program, a new guy with no ties to the ugliness fully committed on moving forward should be able to harness that energy positively.
But at the very least, the university and fans have made embarrassments of themselves, and the new guy’s job is going to be more difficult than it needed.
That’s up to Bill.
This is just informed speculation, but I’m assuming Currie was Brett McMurphy’s source on the report about Snyder nixing the administration’s plan to hire Jim Leavitt as a sort of coach in waiting.
I assume Currie put the story out there in hopes that it would help his reputation in Manhattan and show others around the country he’s capable of landing a good coach, but if that’s how it went, it was a strategic misfire.
The story simply showed the administration to be overstepping, and essentially forcing retirement on a beloved and important figure while also going against the spirit of a contract clause that gives Snyder “appropriate input” into the next coach.
Nobody can know how that may impact Snyder’s decision on when and how to retire, but if nothing else it complicates the whole thing. If it went down the way McMurphy’s report says it went down, then Snyder has even more reason to believe the administration isn’t serious about considering his son.
Currie is obviously gone now, and Snyder says he likes and respects new AD Gene Taylor. Maybe that matters, but president Richard Myers is still there, as well as many others.
I don’t know what to believe about Snyder’s future. There are a lot of reasons to believe he’ll retire, and not just the cancer diagnosis. I would guess this would be it for him, if he wasn’t, well, you know, Bill Snyder.
I just don’t know what else is out there for him. The program is in relatively stable shape. He’s not going to win a national championship there. If he gets out now, he goes out on his terms, before the risks of staying too long continue to grow.
It’s just hard to imagine him doing that, of saying that’s it. Especially without assurance that Sean will get the job, or at least a full hearing.
Herm Edwards’ introduction as Arizona State’s new football coach was ... something. He was hired by his old agents, who happen to run ASU’s athletics department, complete with a truly bizarre and long winded press release that read like they were getting paid extra for every piece of vague corporate jargon they could use.
Edwards was said to put a lot of points up on the scoreboard of life, whatever that means, and made a joke — I think it was a joke? — when asked a question from a Devils Digest reporter. ASU’s mascot, of course, is the Sun Devils and we assume Herm knows that, but really, who can be sure?
At the moment, it feels like there are too many days I can’t keep up with my scoreboard of life. This is no exaggeration, I’m guessing that 12 of the last 14 Mondays, I’ve thought, Hey now, THIS is the week where I start to work out at least three times every week.
Then work gets crazy, or the kids get sick, or they don’t let you sleep, or some combination that makes it easier to make an excuse and wait until the next Monday.
But, to answer your question, I’d also say I’m prolific on the scoreboard of nachos, the scoreboard of beer, the scoreboard of dirty dishes, the scoreboard of having lots of tape to transcribe, and you do NOT want to mess with me on the scoreboard of Starburst jelly beans.
A list! But a sad one. I am obviously going to forget some, and I want to make the first of several reminders here that Will said “not by injury severity.”
10. Eric Berry. I’m thinking more about this Chiefs season, than two years ago, when he was diagnosed with cancer. My friend Seth Keysor has taken to calling Berry “the Wolf,” a reference to the character in Pulp Fiction who, well, fixes problems. The Chiefs were able to mostly cover for it two years ago, but Berry’s absence now is showing up with less talent behind. But, obviously, the Chiefs have much bigger problems.
9. Joel Embiid. He’s finally healthy, at least so far this NBA season, and he is an absolute revelation. Bill Self often says Embiid has Hall of Fame level talent, and the Jayhawks had him and the No. 1 pick in the draft on the same team. Andrew Wiggins should’ve done better than 1 for 6 without his friend, but if Embiid was healthy, maybe KU makes a national title run instead of a first weekend loss.
8. Michael Porter Jr. He’d be higher on this list, but I’m working under the assumption that he’ll make a full recovery, leaving his NBA career unaffected. It’s also worth remembering here that even if he doesn’t play again for Mizzou, he had an outsized positive effect on the program merely with the excitement, self-esteem, and Jeremiah Tillmon he helped bring. But, c’mon. That’s an enormous What If.
7. Tony VanZant. He was the nation’s No. 1 recruit, and signed to stay home and take Mizzou to glory, but made just 39 carries after ripping his knee in a high school all-star game. Running backs are mercurial, so who knows, but the injury
6. JaRon Rush. Alcoholism isn’t an “injury” in the traditional sense, but for Rush it was more debilitating than an ACL tear. And, look, even with a healthy body and mind, he could’ve fizzled out. But it sure would’ve been interesting to watch. Sort of the basketball version of VanZant, in some ways.
5. Yordano Ventura. Remember, Will said “not by injury severity.” Ventura was just 25 years old, and I’ve heard several who knew him well swear he was taking strength and conditioning more seriously than ever before, and was primed for the best season of his career. His death isn’t the only reason the 2017 Royals never got going, and it’s not even the biggest reason. But it is a significant part of the conversation, and he was an enormous talent.
4. Joe Delaney. Remember, Will said “not by injury severity.” Delaney literally died a hero, so his loss is about much more important things than football. But he was also a pretty good running back — 1,121 yards as a rookie — and might’ve been a bright spot for a franchise that needed it in the 1980s.
3. Justin Houston. I may need to expand this into a full column someday, but this is trending toward one of the major What Ifs in Chiefs history. He has played exactly three healthy seasons out of seven, and none since 2014, when he had a franchise record 22 sacks. This is an oversimplification, but the Chiefs have played the Patriots three times in the last three seasons. Twice, when Houston was healthy, the Chiefs blow’d the Patriots out. Once, when he was injured, they lost in the division round after winning the franchise’s first playoff game in a generation. Look at the difference this season when Houston is at full strength (Eagles).
2. Joe Montana. Remember, Will said “not by injury severity.” I’d known a lot of people felt this way, but when I wrote the look back on the Chiefs’ January 1994 playoff win over the Oilers, I was struck by how many people swore they’d have won the AFC Championship game in Buffalo if not for Montana’s concussion. Maybe that’s wishful thinking. You can certainly understand why players on that team would be biased toward believing that. But there’s some real muscle behind the thought, too, and a win in Buffalo that day would’ve put Montana in his fifth Super Bowl and the Chiefs in their first since the 1969 season.
1. Bo Jackson. Like you didn’t know Bo would be No. 1 here. He was a Hall of Fame talent in two sports, a physical freak of nature the likes of which we haven’t seen since*. I don’t think he’d have made it to Cooperstown, but that’s just because he played so little baseball before getting to the big leagues.
I don’t know how many moments that hip injury stole. How many home runs, how many 90-yard touchdown runs, how many throws from the outfield, how many stiff-armed linebackers. Bo’s greatest legacy is in those moments, those unthinkable bursts of talent, but turning him into a folk hero has scrubbed the fact that he was pretty damn good in both sports, too.
In his last season with two hips, at age 27, he had a 142 OPS+, exactly the same as Cody Bellinger and Kris Bryant this year. In his NFL career, he averaged 5.4 yards per carry, which is more than Jim Brown, Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith, and Gale Sayers.
* If you argue LeBron, I won’t put up much of a fight, but give Bo the edge because it’s so damn hard to do in two sports, and, if I’m honest, also because I grew up in the 80s, not the 2000s.
It was probably too much to expect his body to hold up forever playing both sports*. That was probably just a fantasy. But if he had, I truly believe he’d be remembered as one of the five greatest running backs of all-time, and a transcendent baseball player, good enough to be a middle-of-the-order hitter (and plus defender) on a championship team.
* Unrelated, but this is sort of why I think Shohei Ohtani’s desire to both pitch and hit in the big leagues is insane. Best case scenario, he’s a diminished pitcher AND hitter. More likely scenario: he’s injured way too often.
Honorable mention: Steve Busby.
My god. That is brutal.
Was it your vomit? I don’t know which answer is worse. And I’ve only had wood splinters, but am guessing that metal splinters are similar but something like 12 times worse?
I actually think about stuff like this a lot. It’s why I started ending this weekly silliness with something positive, something to be grateful about, because Buddy Bell was smart when he said, “I’ll never say it can’t get worse.”
A while back, I remember going through a day feeling like the wind was against me. I can’t remember the specifics, but I think I had a column that wasn’t coming together like I hoped, and I specifically recall being annoyed at a leaky shower handle, all of it made worse because the kids weren’t sleeping.
Nothing I’ve said there is as annoying as your morning, but on that night we slept at Children’s Mercy awaiting brain scans on our 1 year old.
It all turned out perfectly perfect, a bizarre scare that apparently had something to do with a bad reaction to a viral infection, but now I think about that day whenever I’m upset.
I hope I’m making the point I’m trying to make, and I suspect that sending this in for Mellinger Minutes is a sign you have it all in perspective, and I’ll tell you one more thing I like to do.
A dear friend gave me a big ol’ bottle of Johnnie Blue. I treat that bottle as much like decoration as libation, trying to only get into it on truly memorable days (good or bad). The night my mom died, I had some Blue. The night we brought JB home from the hospital, I had some Blue. When Sammy came home from his first day of preschool, not just happy but more confident than when we dropped him off, you better believe I had some Blue.
I guess what I’m saying here is, whatever your version of Blue is, have some tonight. You earned it.
I know this is a Kansas City cliche, but the other night, when it wasn’t too cold, we took the kids after dinner for a walk around the Plaza. I’m literally unsure if you have to be from Kansas City to appreciate it, but it was the first time we’ve done that with the kids, and it was one of my favorite nights in a while.
If you grew up around here, you probably remember seeing the lights as a kid, and, my god, I really am a Kansas City cliche, because along with a Royals game and introducing them to ribs, this was one of those I Remember Being The Kid In This Activity moments for me.
It’s not just the lights. The horses are walking around, a guy on the corner is playing Christmas music on a saxophone, there’s just a lot of good energy.
But I realize that might not be exactly what you’re asking. I know there’s a few streets around 70th or so and Ward Parkway that are lit up, and a neighborhood in Shawnee that I can’t exactly place at the moment, but does anyone else have a good place?
Of course they are, and of course they have to.
You probably heard recently that six Power 5 schools are paying $55 million in buyouts to coaches who are no longer coaching this year. That stat has caught on, and been passed around the internet, catnip for anyone to make a point about how ridiculous the money is in Amateur Athletics, and they’re not wrong.
But this is the system we’ve all helped create.
Your football or men’s basketball coach absolutely has to have at least four years on his contract, or else it becomes harder to recruit, because the schools you’re going against are saying your guy is about to be fired.
Schools have tried to get around this with buyouts, and they do get out of paying the whole contract, but those lump sums are still pretty lumpy.
Anyway, the point here is that the nature of college athletics means Odom was either going to be fired or given an extension after this season. Hell, Dave Beaty got an extension last year, after going 2-10. I’m not comparing the two situations, except to say Odom won’t be signing the fishiest extension in the area.
I’ll say this, too: by the standards of big time college football, Odom is worth it. Mizzou can be conservative with what it offers, because Odom isn’t going anywhere, but it shows some chops to keep a team together after 1-5 and get them all the way to 7-5 and a bowl game.
Odom is clearly committed to the cause, just in need of growth into the job, and there were mostly positive signs here.
He’s far from a finished product. His rant after the Auburn game was panicked, and got way closer to blaming his own problems on Gary Pinkel than was justified. Odom owes Pinkel thanks, not trouble.
There is also too much turnover on the staff, and Odom still has to show he can do more than save a wobbly season.
But, as far as second seasons go, this was pretty decent, and encouraging. If Odom had a real job, he’d get a positive performance review from his boss, and maybe a small raise. But in the world of college football, he’s due a contract extension, bigger buyout, and big raise.
This week, I’m particularly thankful that my wife made the trip to New York with me. This job takes me to some fun places — just this year, that’s included Miami, LA, and New York twice — and I don’t always take advantage of that as much as I should. Every parent understands what I mean when I say we love the kids, and miss them every minute, but it’s so nice to be able to spend time with just your spouse, especially in a great city.