Archive for October, 2009

Marty’s Take on LJ

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Larry JohnsonIn case you haven’t noticed, I’m a fan of Marty Schottenheimer. Here’s what he had to say recently about Larry Johnson as reported┬áby USA Today:

“Let me ask you this, of the other 31 teams in the National Football League, who in the world is going to bring him into their locker room? Whether they’re losing or, certainly they won’t if they’re winning. But, to me, the guy doesn’t have the skill level to warrant the kind of b.s. that they’re putting up with out there and I would not be surprised to see them run him right out of town.”

Well said Marty.

Reported in the Star today is that the Chiefs are working on a settlement with Johnson’s agent Peter Schaffer. I do not expect LJ to be a Chief much longer.

KU Basketball Rotation

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Cole AldrichBill Self has a talented and deep basketball team this year. He’s always said that he prefers an eight man rotation with five perimeter players and three big men sharing the majority of the minutes. That will be tough to do this year. There will be a lot of juggling of playing time early trying to find the right combinations.

In a game there are 200 minutes available (40 minutes x 5 players). Here are some thoughts on playing time:

There are three players who should garner a significant amount of playing time: Sherron Collins, Cole Aldrich and Xavier Henry. These three need to average about 30 minutes a game. So that’s 90 of the available 200 minutes.

With Aldrich playing 30 minutes a game, that leaves 50 minutes to be shared among the other bigs. If the Morris brothers have stepped up their games, you would think they would each average about 20 minutes per game. With these three, Bill has his primary three man rotation down low. That leaves 10 minutes to be shared between freshman Thomas Robinson and transfer Jeff Withey, who will not be eligible until second semester. Early reports on Robinson have been outstanding. If either of the Morris brothers struggle, Robinson and Withey could certainly steal some minutes from them. This depth will prove valuable on nights where we run into foul trouble. I’m hoping that Self does not resort to playing Marcus Morris on the wing to get him more playing time.

Xavier Henry provides the Jayhawks with more of a true small forward than they’ve had for a while (though the team lists him as a guard). I’d like to see Henry play the three spot, with Mario Little getting 10 minutes per game as his primary backup. Self will experiment with a “small” lineup where he plays a guard at the three, and a “big” lineup where he plays Marcus Morris on the wing. But if Henry and Little can play up to their talent level, hopefully Bill will stick with them at small forward.

And then with your guards and Collins with his 30 minutes per game, I expect Tyshawn Taylor and C.J. Henry to share the majority of the remaining 50 minutes. Don’t be surprised if C.J. becomes a starter over Taylor. When Brady Morningstar returns from his suspension, he’s going to have a difficult time getting on the floor, but he’s a fine defender and a good leader. He’ll likely get some minutes at both shooting guard and small forward.

So for his eight man rotation: Aldrich, Morris, Morris, Henry, Little, Henry, Taylor and Collins. When he goes nine deep it’s likely to be either Morningstar or Robinson getting those minutes.

That leaves a group of guards buried on the bench including Tyrel Reed, Travis Releford and freshman Elijah Johnson. Don’t be surprised if one or two of them redshirt this year when it becomes obvious they won’t get any time on the floor.

LJ’s 2009 Meltdown

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Larry Johnson“Get your faggot ass out of here,” he said.

Which he is that? Why Larry Johnson of course.

I guess it’s been about a year since Larry’s 2008 meltdown. It was time.

In case you haven’t heard, here’s a link to the story from the Kansas City Star, and another one on the Star’s Red Zone blog. Larry spent time tweeting about head coach Todd Haley in a not so positive light Sunday night. And during his rant, he also made some inflammatory remarks about gays. Nice.

I won’t spend much time letting you know my opinion of Larry Johnson. He’s had more chances that he deserves. Mark Collins referred to LJ as a “knucklehead”. I’d say that’s putting it lightly. The Chiefs have no choice but to suspend him for conduct detrimental to the team. I’m guessing they’ll attempt to suspend him for the remainder of the season. Which will then be fought by the NFLPA (the player’s association). I can’t see how he’ll ever play another game as a Chief. And a couple weeks shy of his 30th birthday, he may have just ended his career in the NFL.

Good riddance.

A Tale of Two Lines

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

ChiefsDuring the ’90s under Marty Schottenheimer, the Chiefs had dominating offensive and defensive lines. So what happened? I think if we look back at these last ten years, we get a pretty darn good glimpse at how the Chiefs have fallen. And why they can’t seem to get back up.

Defensive Line
Derrick Thomas. Neil Smith. Dan Saleuamua. Joe Phillips. As Kansas City fans we loved these guys. The Chiefs have repeatedly tried to replace them. Here are the players that the Chiefs have drafted in the money rounds (NFL draft rounds 1-3) since 2001 to play on the defensive line.

2001: Eric Downing (round 3)
2002: Ryan Sims (round 1), Eddie Freeman (round 2)
2004: Junior Siavii (round 2)
2006: Tamba Hali (round 1)
2007: Turk McBride (round 2), Tank Tyler (round 3)
2008: Glenn Dorsey (round 1)
2009: Tyson Jackson (round 1), Alex Magee (round 3)

That’s ten players selected in the early rounds to play defensive line during the last nine drafts. Several are out of football. And few have made significant contributions on the field in Kansas City or anywhere else for that matter. None were a greater bust than Ryan Sims, who the Chiefs traded up to grab.

Defensive linemen take several years to develop. It’s way too early to judge Dorsey, Jackson and Magee. Hali has been much better with the move to outside linebacker this year than I would have expected. And Dorsey may be starting to turn the corner. He has played well the last couple of weeks. There’s hope for a few of these guys.

Offensive Line
As the Chiefs continued to miss on defensive lineman, it caused a ripple affect through subsequent drafts. With every miss, the Chiefs had to try again. Other positions suffered. And none were ignored as greatly as the offensive line.

During the Vermeil years, the Chiefs were able to build what may have been one of the finest offensive lines in NFL history, featuring veterans Willie Roaf, Will Shields and Brian Waters. But because their line was so good and so dependable, the team felt little urgency to draft and develop young offensive lineman. Here’s the list of offensive lineman taken in rounds 1-3 since 2001.

2008: Branden Albert (round 1)

That’s it. Matter of fact, you have to go back to 1999 when the Chiefs drafted John Tait to find the last offensive lineman chosen by the Chiefs in one of these early rounds. And the Chiefs allowed Tait to leave in free agency after the 2003 season.

The Future
Pioli and Haley have been criticized for not rebuilding the Chiefs offensive line this year. And it’s apparent that the offensive line is their greatest weakness. But it’s important to understand that the Chiefs weren’t just bad. They were really bad and really deficient of talent when Pioli got here. This is not a one year project. Defensive linemen take time to develop. And a good offensive lineman can contribute more quickly. They take less time to develop. I fully expect the Chiefs to address their offensive line problems in the next two drafts. And the hope would be that by 2011 the defensive linemen have developed, and we’ve hit on some good offensive linemen.

Fans and Media Want More Derrick Johnson

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Derrick JohnsonBetween talk radio and the blogs, it’s apparent that Derrick Johnson has many fans in Kansas City. Even among the media. DJ seems like a good guy. And he may be the most athletic player on the Chiefs defense. Fans are screaming that the Chiefs need to play Johnson more, and that he’s their best defensive player. Media members continue to quiz Haley on DJ’s role in the defense. They want to know why he’s not on the field. This has become a common and repeated criticism of Haley and Pioli.

The answer is simple. Johnson’s not on the field because he’s underachieved as a linebacker.

When he was drafted everybody thought that he was the steal of the draft, falling all the way to number 15 in the first round after many predicted him to be taken in the top ten. And every year we hear that THIS is the year that Johnson needs to step up and play to his ability.

So far, he’s not done so. I applaud Haley for placing a premium on results, not talent.

Here’s the Star’s Adam Teicher’s vlog on Derrick Johnson. I’m in complete agreement with Adam on this one.

Chiefs to Host Struggling Chargers, Thoughts on Redskins

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

It felt good to celebrate a win against the Redskins! Interesting fact: Daniel Snyder has had five head coaches in the last 10 years of owning the team. And he’s headed for coach number six. That’s no way to run an NFL franchise. His biggest mistake? Firing Marty Schottenheimer in 2001 after one season to hire Steve Spurrier. Marty started that season 0-5 but went 8-3 over the last 11 to finish 8-8 in his only season in Washington. Marty went on to coach the Chargers compiling a 47-33 record during his five seasons in San Diego. Do you think Daniel Snyder would have liked that kind of record in Washington?

Shawne MerrimanWhich now brings us to the San Diego Chargers, who fired Marty Schottenheimer after the 2006 season when the Chargers won the division with a 14-2 record. The Chargers hired caretaker Norv Turner who has transformed the Chargers from one of the youngest and most talented teams in the league to an under-achieving mess. The Chargers are 2-3 and going nowhere fast.

I predicted when Norv Turner was hired by San Diego, and Wade Phillips was hired by Dallas, that neither coach would take their teams to the Super Bowl, and both would be fired within four years. I’m still sticking with that prediction.

What does this mean for the Chiefs? Probably not much this season. The Chargers have quite a bit more talent than Kansas City. The Chiefs appear to me to be a half step above the worst teams in the league. ESPN has jumped the Chiefs to number 28 in their week seven power rankings, but still behind the Redskins and the Lions. I’d have put them ahead of these two teams at number 26. How are we behind the Redskins? And I think the Chiefs are better than the Raiders at number 25, but somehow the Raiders beat the Eagles and have already beaten the Chiefs.

The Chiefs struggle to score points, and despite the Chargers other weaknesses, they will put some points on Kansas City this weekend. It will be hard to expect the Chiefs to keep up.

Prediction: San Diego 24, Chiefs 17

Congress is Empowered by their Beliefs in Healthcare Reform

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Prepare Yourself

I’ve had several discussions with friends about proposed health care legislation in Congress. I’m on record that we badly need healthcare reform in this country. But I oppose a move towards a government run system. And my continued fear is that the “public option” being discussed is the piece that ultimately leads us in that direction. (I’ve made my case for why the public option will lead to a government run system here.)

There is continued frustration from the opposition that the left won’t address their concerns about the inherent problems with the proposed bills. And even more directly, that the left is dishonest with their “facts”. My opinion? The supporters of these bills do not care about the facts.

*****

In order to make my point, let’s remove this from health care for a moment. We all know that Al Gore is the Nobel Prize winning poster boy for climate change. And many have accused him of distorting the facts about global warming. Even those who agree with him that something must be done have condemned him for his exaggerations. But Al Gore justifies his exaggerations because it’s for the greater good. This is from a 2006 interview with Grist:

Q. There’s a lot of debate right now over the best way to communicate about global warming and get people motivated. Do you scare people or give them hope? What’s the right mix?

A. I think the answer to that depends on where your audience’s head is. In the United States of America, unfortunately we still live in a bubble of unreality. And the Category 5 denial is an enormous obstacle to any discussion of solutions. Nobody is interested in solutions if they don’t think there’s a problem. Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis.

Over time that mix will change. As the country comes to more accept the reality of the crisis, there’s going to be much more receptivity to a full-blown discussion of the solutions.

Why is this relevant? Al Gore is empowered by his belief that we must react to the dangers of global warming. And since the facts are not shocking enough to push people to action, then an exaggeration of the facts is required.

*****

I would make the same case that those who are pushing these healthcare reform bills through Congress are following a similar approach. Since healthcare reform is required for the greater good, an exaggeration of the facts is required. Or in this case, dismissing certain facts is required. When you are empowered by your beliefs that health care is a right, and that we must provide universal coverage for everybody, then the facts be damned.

Examples? There are plenty.

Healthcare reform will be deficit neutral. Nobody really believes this do they? The Congressional Budget Office has predicted huge budget deficits in our future as a result of these proposed bills.

Preventative medicine will reduce costs. I’m in favor of preventative medicine. This is another topic I’ve already covered here. It does not appear likely that it will reduce costs.

Digitizing of health care records will reduce costs. While this might be a great idea, I’ve yet to read anything that leads me to believe that this will reduce costs.

There will be no rationing of care. Of course their will. Show me one government run health care system in the world that has not had to ration care.

The quality of our health care will improve. How? And why do citizens of Canada come to the United States when they get sick?

The public option will provide competition to the insurance companies. If Congress was truly interested in creating greater competition, they would allow insurance companies to compete across state lines. But the public option is not to create competition, but ultimately to replace the insurance companies and create a government run system.

The list is long. These are only a few examples.

And then you look at what has been left out of the bills. In particular they have failed to address tort reform, where the CBO has recently projected that tort reform would save $54 billion over the next ten years. Read more here.

It’s difficult to have an intelligent discussion when the opposition cares little about the facts.

Cartoon by: Gavin McNeil

Point Differential and the Chiefs

Monday, October 19th, 2009

ChiefsI enjoy looking at the numbers and attempting to understand what gives them relevance. One stat often overlooked in football is point differential. How many more points does a team score than it gives up? Or for a bad team, how many more points does it give up than it scores?

The reason I find this stat informative is because it really shows how poorly a team is playing on BOTH sides of the ball.

In the Chiefs case, they’re -46 in point differential, meaning they’ve given up 46 more points than they’ve scored this season. Sounds bad. And it certainly ain’t good.

But there are six teams that are worse:

St. Louis Rams: -115
Tennessee Titans: -114
Detroit Lions: -85
Cleveland Browns: -79
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: -79
Oakland Raiders: -77

The Chiefs have played one of the most difficult schedules in the league, yet they’ve been quite a bit more competitive than these six teams. And after watching Washington yesterday, I would certainly list the Redskins among the worst teams in the league.

Maybe the Chiefs aren’t quite as bad as we thought. Or maybe there’s just a lot more bad out there than usual.

AOL Radio

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

I’m a fan of Pandora to listen to music online. In particular they play interesting versions of songs, and not always the original. It’s fun to pick an artist or music style, and see what they decide to play that’s similar. But I have grown tired of the constant interruptions of “Are you still listening?” So I set out to look at some other online music choices, and have fallen in love with AOL Radio! Great selection of stations. Plenty of great music. And few interruptions.

My favorite so far is the ’80s Alternative station. Where else can I listen to Devo, the Talking Heads, Berlin, the Cure, Depeche Mode and more?

Rush to Judgement

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

Rush LimbaughIt pains me to defend Rush Limbaugh. I’m not a fan. I find his over-bloated ego offensive.

But he doesn’t deserve this.

Members of the media and many talking heads have repeated and perpetuated comments never made by Limbaugh to paint him as a racist. This is pure character assassination. It’s a troubling day when it’s OK for leftwing activist George Soros to be a part of a group attempting to buy an NFL franchise, while rightwing radio personality Rush Limbaugh cannot.