Well it is finally here. Royals spring training is in full effect, and by full effect I mean they are finally going to play a game that doesn't matter. The Royals made so many great strides last season that many "experts" like them as a dark horse team to make the playoffs. As much as I would love for the Kansas City Royals to finally break through and make the post season they still have many issues on this roster that need to be addressed if there is any chance of them making the playoffs. Thankfully for the Royals there are many solutions to these issues right under their nose.
First lets address what issues still plague this team. The primary issue with the Royals is the offense and lack of any homerun power on the team. The Royals ranked 28th in homerun hit last season with only 112. That was a full 100 homeruns behind MLB leading Baltimore Orioles and I don't want to hear about how big the ballpark is because the Oakland A's hit 186 homeruns (3rd in all of MLB) and they play in one of the most pitcher friendly parks. For the Royals to be true contenders they need to hit the ball over the wall. Thankfully for the Royals the solution to this issue lies at first and thrid base. As Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas go so will the Royals offense. It is really that simple. If those two players can take a step forward offensively and start turning those singles into doubles and make those doubles become homeruns then that will make everything easier for the rest of the line up. Hosmer and Moose are one of the keys to the Royals becoming a good team to a playoff team this season. The other key is the staple of all playoff teams and that is starting pitching.
Last season the Royals pitching staff (starters and bullpen) were just stupid good. They finished 6th overall in MLB with a 3.45 team ERA. None of the starting pitchers had the great win totals but as a whole the starting rotation was a major plus for the club. There is no way the starting rotation can be what it was last season mainly because Ervin Santana is not on this team. His replacement (Jason Vargas) is a decent pitcher but has nowhere near the talent level of Santana so a regression there is a given. The best way for the starting rotation to repeat what it did last season is if Danny Duffy, Kyle Zimmer, and Yordano Ventura are able to become what the Royals have been telling us. The highest hopes for a star out of those three is Ventura who has been called mini Pedro Martinez. Royals GM Dayton Moore and pitching coach Dave Eiland have not been shy to state that Ventura can make a jump to pitching 200 innings this season. If Ventura is able to reach that make then that means the Royals will be in contention through the entire season. That is something that has not happened in many years for this organization.
When you experience the amount of success the Royals had last year a regression the follow year is as constant as the sun rising in the East. For the Royals they are in a good position where they have many solutions within their own team to prevent a major drop off.
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It is here…the greatest American holiday. Super Bowl Sunday is finally here. This is one of my favorite days of the entire year. I love everything that goes along with Super Bowl Sunday. I even love the week leading up to it. I love the ridiculous media day circus along with hype around the commercial. I love having people over and over eating the entire evening. Clearly I love this day.
Now, all of that being said about the greatness of the Super Bowl you really should be paying attention to the NBA right now. Mainly you should be paying attention to that little team that plays its home games 5 hours down I-35 south the Oklahoma City Thunder. In case you haven’t been paying attention Kevin Durant is damn amazing at this thing called basketball. Right now he is putting together one of the greatest runs we have ever seen in NBA history. In his last nine games KD has dropped 38.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1 block, 1.3 steals while shooting 58% from the field. My God those are some crazy ass numbers. The numbers that Durant has put up is the reason why the Thunder has won 8 straight without Russell Westbrook. Right now Kevin Durant is the MVP of the NBA and it isn’t really close. He is truly a once in a generation player. Regardless of your feelings towards the NBA if you claim to be a basketball fan you need to watch him play every single chance you get. Speaking of watching Kevin Durant play this game of basketball.
That brings us to tonight’s match up vs. the Miami Heat. It is not often that a regular season NBA game on a Wednesday night warrants that much attention but this one does. This game features the two greatest basketball players in the world. It features a 4 time MVP in LeBron James and the soon to be crowned MVP in Durant. You have the most efficient player in the NBA vs. the most efficient scorer in the league. I know NBA in January is not something that resonates a lot in this area but you really should be watching ESPN tonight at 6pm to watch these great players.
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Four days later and it still stings. Blowing a 28 point lead in the second half of a NFL playoff game is going to sting for while. There is no doubting that. This is going to be a loss that is talked about for the next 20 years. Anytime a team gets down in the playoffs and/or starts making a comeback they are going to reference the Chiefs blowing a 28 point lead in the second half vs. the Colts. I guess if you are going to impload at least the Chiefs did it in spectacular fashion.
The season is over and now we turn our eyes to fixing the problems that lead to the Chiefs blowing said 28 point lead. The major owness for the loss falls firmly on the defense in particular the secondary. I have no idea how the Chiefs defensive backs continued to let the fastest guy on the field get behind you time after time after time. Some of it was the scheme but for me a lot of it is the talent of the secondary. This game proved that the one of the main needs for the Chiefs to address in the off-season is the defensive back field. Kendrick Lewis showed that he does not have the athletic ability to be a starting safety in the NFL. His poor tackling late in the season combined with the poor routes he took on receivers was very costly for the Chiefs.
Lewis is not the only upgrade that needs to happen in the secondary either. Addressing the corner back position is a must as well. I love Brandon Flowers as much as anyone and I know he played through injury for a majority this season but for much of the season he was forced into the slot cover guy. That is not what you should be getting from a player who carries aroudn his contract. I don't want a number 2 corner to compliment Sean Smith or Brandon Flowers. I want a number 1 corner that bumps those guys down the food chain. Injuries was the cause for the mainly of the ills that hurt the Chiefs vs. the Colts but there were cracks in the foundation well before that playoff collapse. Good thing for the Chiefs is that these are not impossible things to do in this off-season.
The new management of the Chiefs and in particular John Dorsey and his staff showed that they can find and indentify talented players. Marcus Cooper and Sean McGrath being the prime examples of that. The Chiefs appear to be in good hands moving forward into this off-season but man.....what could have been if Jamaal Charles doesn't get hurt or if they don't let T.Y. Hilton go off for 4,293 yards and 5 TDs (my estimation) and what if Dwanye Bowe is able to get both feet in bounds.
Life of a Chiefs fan....What if
Craig A. Brenner
"It was all good just a week ago..." -- Kanye West
Now that quote from Yeezus doesn't 100% apply to the Kansas City Chiefs. For it to be completely accurate it would have to be something like "It was all good three weeks ago." Three weeks ago everything was amazing for the Chiefs. They were 9-0 and coming off the bye week and getting ready to travel to Denver to play the Broncos on Sunday Night Football. Then Peyton Manning went all Peyton Manning on them and things have spirailed from there. Devasting loss to the Chargers in the closing minutes and blowing a two touchdown lead to the Broncos (both at home) and the Chiefs now find themselves in the position of having to end a losing streak. Good thing for the Chiefs is the Redskins are a perfect remedy for what ails them.
The Redskins are a mess in every sense of the word. Their star QB, Robert Griffin III's play has beenuneven at best this eason while he tries to come back from a major knee injury. Their head coach has spent time this season publicly questioning his QB while his team continues to lose game after game after game. The Redskins scream of a team that has packed it in for the season already. Going from division winners to celler dwellers in the NFC East. If the Chiefs are able to get a lead on the Redskins early in the game there is a decent chances they fold up shop and the Chiefs are able to end this losing streak.
It sounds easier on paper then it will be to accomplish on the field. Even with all of the struggles the Redskins have encountered this season they are still a team with some very talented players. RG3 is a former Heisman Trophy winner who had one of the best seasons for a rookie QB last year. That could spell bad news for a Chiefs team that has had issues with stopping QBs the last few weeks. the Chiefs havent been able to get any pressure on the QB since the bye week. They have recorded one sack in their last three games. One of the keys to the Chiefs 9-0 start was their ability to hit the QB and force him into making a poor throw or a sack and a fumble. RG3 is a different type of QB then the last two the Chiefs have played. He can make plays with his legs and if the Chiefs are able to get any pressure on Griffin they need to make sure they don't let him escape the pocket because if they do things could get ugly. Back in week 3 the Chiefs allowed a few big runs to a QB with a similar skill set of Griffin in Mike Vick. And based on the lack luster tackling by the secondary the past few weeks I don't have a lot of confidence in them making sure Griffin runs do not become big gains.
Fortunately for the Chiefs one of their bigger weak spots is starting to look more like a strength for the team. The offense was just alogn for the ride for the first 9 games of the season. We all know that and we could all see that. Even though the last three games have resulted in losses, the strides the offense has made is a good sign for the team going forward. The way the offense was playing during the first 9 games was not good enough to win in the playoffs. In the playoofs you need to convert 3rd and long plays by passing the ball down the field. This Chiefs offense showed in the game vs. the Broncos that they can do that. Granted, they did not get into the endzone when they needed to but they were at least able to get in a position where they had a shot at a game tying touchdown.
I think the Chiefs end the losing streak this Sunday vs. the Redskins. The Chiefs are good enough where they are able to keep a losing team like Washington losing.
We get our first Sunday since early September without a Chiefs game. First off we need to take a moment of silence that there is no Chiefs game on Sunday afternoon. We have lost the ability to blow off any family obligations by simply stating "The undefeated Ciefs are playing...I need to watch them." That sucks but thankfully it will only last a week. The Chiefs are the lone undefeated team in the NFL but as any and everyone can see they have some flaws. Since everyone else is picking at the scabs of the Chiefs I figured I might as well join the party too.
The biggest problem and reason why people don't think of the Chiefs as a serious Super Bowl contender is the offense. We all know this to be true. It is the weak link of the team. For me there is one aspect that concerns me more than Alex Smith's inability to complete passes longer than 40+ yards. That is the offensive line. I already had a lot of fear concerning the Chiefs O-line and that fear reach Threat Level Midnight after the Bills game. It is not just the constant torching that Eric Fisher deals with every game but it is also the interior of the offensive line that makes me cringe. Rodney Hudson was abused vs. the Bills and has not done a lot to impress me this season. He looks out of place and not strong enough to hold on at the point of attack vs. the bigger and better playoff calibur defenses that the Chiefs will face after the bye week. The Chiefs offensive line has two 1st round picks, two 2nd round picks and a 3rd round draft starting for them. This line should be and needs to be better. I know the line is young-ish but that excuse only goes so far. They are having issues with run blocking which is suppose to be the easier part of the game for lineman. Run blocking is about pushing your willing on the defense and knocking them off their spot. So far the Chiefs offensive line has had a lot of issue doing that. This is an issue that will cost the Chiefs big time if it is not corrected soon.
Yes...Alex Smith and Dwayne Bowe and lack of a big play offense is something that has hurt the Chiefs this season but if the line gets better and freeing up running lanes for Jamaal Charles that will lead to all avenues of the offense becoming that much better. That could be the difference between the Chiefs winning the division and being a wild card team with a glossy record.
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The Chiefs finally kicked off the much-anticipated 2013 season. They got off to a great start by dominating the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars. Here are the five things I learned from that season opening win this past Sunday.
1 – Jamaal Charles Is Really Important:
Once Jamaal Charles went out of the game the Chiefs offense completely disappeared. Now, I know the Chiefs were up big over the Jaguars and they did nothing offensively to make you think you needed to keep scoring. But…the Chiefs offense was shut out in the second half vs. the Jaguars. I mean they are still the Jaguars. Sunday reminded me just how important Jamaal Charles is to the Chiefs success this season.
2 – Chiefs Defense Can Make Plays:
Wow that was fun to watch. It is amazing what having some real coaching can do to help talented players. This is the performance people have been waiting for from these talented defensive players. Guys were flying around and making game changing plays. Dontari Poe played like a beast on the line and even Tyson Jackson recorded a sack in the game. Tyson Freaking Jackson had a sack in a real NFL game. Once again I know it was against the Jaguars but they are still kind of an NFL team.
3 – Alex Smith Is A Major Upgrade:
It could go without saying but I do need to write about something in this blog. The Chiefs have a real life NFL starting QB. That is something they never possessed last season. Alex Smith’s impact on the Chiefs offense lived up to the off-season hype. His touchdown pass to Junior Hemmingway was a throw that Matt Cassel could never make. Alex Smith is nowhere near the level of Peyton Manning but at least the gap is not as wide as it was last season.
4 – Dustin Colquitt Is Worth Every Penny:
Seriously….he is worth every penny. Aside from the blocked punt early in the game the dude was on point. Worth every single freaking penny.
5 – Jaguars Have The Ugliest Uniforms:
I mean did you see those helmets? Good God those were some freaking awful looking uniforms. That entire franchise is a complete mess from their play on the field to what they are using to protect their melons. Maybe when the franchise moves to Los Angeles they will also change those damn uniform colors and helmet as well.
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