Two of the four local football teams find themselves on a bye this week (Chiefs and MU) and the Kansas football team might as well be on a bye based on their lack of relevancy. Even without having a game this weekend the Chiefs still find their way into the headlines and the top of Five-Orite Friday.
1. Yo, Scotty P, let's spin it!
Another week and another embarrassing loss by the Kansas City Chiefs. I feel like I have typed those words way too many times in this short season. As the Chiefs players travel to different parts of the country to enjoy their time off one man is still out there working. That man is Chiefs GM Scott Pioli and I wouldn't say he is working as much as he is spinning.
The Scott Pioli media spin tour started Wednesday afternoon as he began to meet with all of the major sports media outlets in Kansas City. There was nothing that Scott Pioli could have said during this media tour that would have satisfied the Chiefs fans base. Nonetheless, it was important for him to get out there and have his face seen and his voice heard and to answer questions. My expectations for what I was going to hear or learn from Pioli were very low. I knew what his response would be when asked about his contract status, his head coach, and his QB. This is not Pioli's first rodeo and he knows how to give the very long non answers. Although there was one moment in his media tour that did raise my interest.
When Pioli was on Sports Radio 810 WHB he was asked about the importance of the QB position in the NFL. Now, I have used many lines in this blog to share how important the QB is to winning in the NFL. If you are new to the party here is the cliff notes version. HAVING AN ELITE QB IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE NFL!
Well, apparently Scott Pioli did not get that memo. He dismissed the notion that the QB position is any more important now than it was ten years ago. This worries me. It worries me greatly. Mainly because it makes me wonder if Pioli has actually seen any of the past few years of the NFL draft. You know, the draft that saw Matt Stafford, Sam Bradford, Joe Flacco, Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and Ryan Tannehill all taken in the first round. The QB position in the NFL is more important now than it has ever been. That is if you are not named Scott Pioli.
Pioli's response to the importance or lack thereof when it comes to the QB position centered around the position being important but not the most critical position on the team. Well that is just plain wrong. Then Pioli proceeded to say that building a complete team is the most important thing and its about the right 53, process, progress, trust the progress of the process and so on. Okay, so I may have exaggerated the last part of that but he might as well said that. Yes, it is important to have good players at multiple positions on the field. But the position that should be the most talented position on the field is the QB. Plain and simple.
How does Pioli not get that? Well, in his defense. If the only way I ever addressed the QB position while in KC was to trade for Matt Cassel and draft Ricky Stanzi in the fifth round I might play the same card of downplaying the position as well. Here is the flaw to Pioli's idea of it being more important to build the team and getting a franchise QB is not critical. He has yet to build those great 52 players to surround the QB with. It is clear that many people, myself included overrated the talent level of the 2012 Chiefs. Talented rosters do not get blown out by mediocre teams like the Bills, Saints, and Buccaneers.
This franchise is in the fourth year of the Scott Pioli era and seasons like this one should be dead and gone. I don't know if the reason Pioli did the media tour was to start politicking for why he should keep his job but you bet your ass he should be worried about his job. This team is horrible and shares many characteristics with road kill you would seeing while driving down the highway. The Chiefs are 1-5 and have yet to lead for one single second of a game.
Pioli should be feeling pressure and it should not be coming solely from a frustrated fan base. It should be coming from the man who signs his two comma paychecks.
2. The Bowe Show changing venues:
Man...do you feel the excitement? The one that comes every year as the NFL trade deadline nears and you can read through report after report and rumor after rumor about who is getting traded to where as you constantly hit refresh on Twitter. Oh wait...that never happens with the NFL. In season trades are a very rare beast. I am pretty sure I have seen a Turok-Han vampire more recently than I have seen an NFL in season trade. Thankfully for there was this blonde chick who took care of that Turok-Han thing for me.
The ado this week is centered around the very productive and very unhappy star wide receiver for the Chiefs Dwayne Bowe. The team that is rumored to be interested in D-Bowe are the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins interest in Bowe and Bowe's interest in the Dolphins is not surprising at all. Bowe is from the area and spends much of his off time there as well. He has many friends on the team and some of them even went out of their way to send Bowe tweets while he was holding out of training camp to come join them in South Beach. I will point out that the two players who did that were Chad Johnson and Vontae Davis. Two players who are no longer on the team.
If I had to venture a guess to where this information about the Dolphins and Bowe came from I would say it is people in the Bowe camp leaking info to somehow force the Chiefs hands into making a move or trying to get another team to force the Chiefs hand by offering them a deal too good to pass up. I don't see this information accomplishing either of those scenarios.
One thing is very clear. Dwayne Bowe is unhappy in Kansas City and wants out. The Chiefs still control Bowe in that they can place the franchise tag on him again this off season. But the chances of him signing a long-term deal with the Chiefs look to be long gone. You want to do something scary? Picture the Chiefs passing offense without Bowe. It is a world where Jon Baldwin and Steve Breaston are your starting wide outs. I believe that is called Paranormal Activity 5: The Bowe Ghost.
3. The Wizard of West Virginia Place:
Saturday night Bill Snyder takes his #4 ranked Kansas State Wildcats into Morgantown to face the #13 ranked West Virginia Mountaineers in a game that should determine the winner of the Big 12. A week ago this game was marked as a clash between two undefeated top ten teams. Then Texas Tech had to go pee all in that bowl of cereal. Either way this should still be a highly entertaining game between two very different styles of football. Dana Holgorson's high flying, pass happy spread offense against Bill Snyder's read option and clock control offense.
Last season I wrote about the awesomeness of Collin Klein and I expect him to perform very well this Saturday but not in his usual way. Let me clarify that a little bit. I can see Klein being able to have a positive impact on this game passing the football. We all know that passing the ball effectively is not exactly Klein strong suit. I have joked that to say that Klein has a slight hitch in his throwing motion is like saying George Costanza is slightly balding. That being said the West Virginia defense is bad. Its really bad. Like, Klein should be able to have many big passing plays against it. I am really looking forward to this game and I fully expect to see old Gandalf pull something out that we have not seen and that he has been saving for a game of this magnitude.
4. What went wrong?
There is a song by one of my favorite bands Blink-182 titled What Went Wrong? and one of the lines in the song is I'm kicking, out fiercely at the world around me, what went wrong? That line sums up the first part of the Missouri Tigers first season in the SEC. Nothing has gone right for the Tigers so far this season. From injuries to players calling out other players, to coaches calling out players, to injuries. It has been one giant mess since the 4th quarter of the game vs. Georgia. This team is a shell of the one that started the season and is now in a dog fight to make a bowl game.
So what did go wrong? I had moderate expectations for the Tigers this season and thought there would be a lot of bumps during this season but I did not foresee it getting this bad. I did not expect to see the consistent mental lapses in the on field product. Struggles were expected for the Tigers as they transitioned into a new conference but one point that gets lost is how much the familiarity of the Big 12 was a great benefit to MU.
What I mean by that is Gary Pinkel and his staff knew all of the coaches in the Big 12. They knew the players, the stadiums, the road trips, everything. They knew the tendencies of certain teams and coaches and how much time they needed to devote to a certain team on a certain week. With the SEC the Tigers are essentially preparing and playing in 12 non-conference games. It is showing to be a tougher transition than anybody in the athletic department thought it would be. If asked whether or not the move to the SEC was the right one I still think most people in and around the MU program would say yes. But it is clear that any thought of immediate success was looking through this year with very gold and black glasses.
5. Thunder Up!
We are creeping ever closer to the start of the NBA season so what better time to sneak some Oklahoma City Thunder talk into Five-Orite Friday. If you don't know already I am a giant NBA fan. I am one of the few people you will met who enjoys crappy late night, West coast NBA games over a college football game. After the way last year's lockout season played out I am expecting a very entertaining season and the Thunder to be front and center in it.
It is important to set your expectations for a team before the season starts. My expectations for the Thunder last season was to make the NBA Finals. I said they needed to at least make the Western Conference Finals for a second consecutive season or else the season would be a failure. They delivered on my expectations and now they sit as the latest 'It' team of the NBA. Even with the additions that the L.A. Lakers made in the off-season I still like the Thunder to be the top seed in the Western Conference once the playoffs roll around.
With a team as talented as the Thunder it is all about the minor moves they can do to improve their team and repeat as Western Conference Champions. Having a legitimate back up point guard is something that will be huge for this team. The season ending ACL injury to Eric Maynor early last season hurt the Thunder's depth and ability to exploit advantages with their second unit. Maynor is back and healthy and although it will not show up in the box score every night his impact will be felt throughout the game. It will really be helpful in the playoffs when they get to bring Maynor off the bench to run the second unit and not the 72 year old Derek Fisher.
So what are my expectations for the Thunder as the 2012-2013 season approaches? Last season I picked the Heat over the Thunder in 6 games and with the exception of the number of games (humble brag) I nailed that one. I know it is lame to go repeat and all but as of now I have the Heat over the Thunder again. I worry about the depth of the Lakers over the long haul of a full 82 game regular season. Thunder know the importance of capitalizing on the short window that is provided to you in the NBA. The Thunder still have the best scorer in the NBA in Kevin Durant and a top 5 point guard in Russell Westbrook so being able to duplicate the success of last season is a very realistic and is an expected result for this team.
Plus if the Thunder repeat as Western Conference Champs that $20 bet I placed in Las Vegas on them to win the NBA title is that much closer to a reality.
Follow me on Twitter @craig_a_brenner and until next week peace out.