As always there were plenty of questions, comments and ideas to think about with your reactions to Ask Bob. Here’s the first batch of answers with several more to follow. Thank you for your interest and support.
el cid says: I am concerned about John Dorsey. His past drafts seem directed at replacing players who are at the end of their contracts and the Chiefs do not seem interested in keeping them. Then, later picks are to fill some needs; not my idea of the way to rebuild a team, but whatever. What do you expect from him? Will he fill in missing pieces on the roster or just draft so veterans can walk away? I am not a Dorsey fan but since he is here, what direction will he go? On another site, overrun with every player but Smith is an all-star and we’ll win the Super Bowl next year, the every-year types are now saying 2016 will be the year when Dorsey has enough to make a SB run. Of course, I am nuts but by 2016 Dorsey should be looking for another job if he cannot put something closer to a finished product by then.
Bob says: el cid, I understand where you are coming from with your feelings about the direction of the franchise. If the NFL Draft is going to be about filling in for players that no longer fit under the salary cap, then this organization is just going to tread water . . . Eric Fisher for Branden Albert, Dee Ford for Tamba Hali, Phillip Gaines for Brandon Flowers.
It remains too early to judge the overall quality of Dorsey’s two draft classes. Fisher, Ford, Gaines, Zach Fulton, Knile Davis, Travis Kelce, De’Anthony Thomas are all contributing players. But nobody in that group was under consideration for spots in the Pro Bowl based on what they’ve done so far. Should all seven of those guys continue to develop in a positive manner, it would be a nice haul from those drafts. If the four-year cycle of draft pick contracts continues, then a team needs to make sure its draft choices are seeing significant playing time by the end of that rookie season. If he goes through the first year and barely gets on the field, that’s 25 percent of his contract time gone.
Let’s dream a little bit here – say the Chiefs draft seven guys and they all turn out to be contributors, either starters or frequently on the field in important situations. After four years, there’s no way they are going to be able to sign all seven guys, even if they were all starters. That appears to be the economic reality of the NFL.
Dorsey and Andy Reid did not inherit a good salary-cap situation from the previous regime – just another aspect that Scott Pioli couldn’t handle. But they can’t blame Pioli for the money they gave Dwayne Bowe. If they continue in the manner of the last two drafts, the Chiefs 2015 first-round choice will be a wide receiver to replace Bowe. That would actually fill a very big need as well, but it would continue the path of drafting based on the salary cap.
Jerry R. says: Bob, why does Andy Reid make such a big deal about how young his team is? Alex Smith is not young. Dwayne Bowe is not young. Tamba Hali is not young. He had two offensive line starters that were not young. What’s the point?
Bob says: Jerry, I couldn’t agree with you more. Every time Andy Reid brings up the youth of his team, I wonder what is the point? I understand the way the league works and the younger the roster, the more time a coach hopes to have those bodies on the field, eventually maturing together. But, rather than being excited about having the second youngest team in the league, how about being excited about having the team with the second most victories, no matter how old they are?
This is not just an Andy Reid thing. Remember that Herm Edwards was thrilled in 2008 when the Chiefs were the youngest team in the league. Of course, the youth of that team ended up costing Edwards his job when they went 2-14 and Clark Hunt did not follow through with his support of the rebuilding plan that the head coach was implementing. I’ve heard other coaches waxing on about being young as well, like it’s a badge of honor. Sometimes, it sure sounds like an excuse to me.
Martin T. says: What’s the likelihood of Tamba Hali and D. Bowe being on the team next season?
Bob says: I would not jump to conclusions this early about what might happen for the Chiefs to clear room under the salary cap for the 2015 season. Without question, Hali and Bowe will pull down salaries they are not living up to in on-field production. If they are willing to re-negotiate their deals to help create cap flexibility, they both may return. But I would think the chances of both making concessions big enough that it would help the situation are pretty slim. I know playing in Kansas City has meant something to both players, but it becomes a tough deal when a veteran has to walk back in to the locker room for less money. There’s a pride factor there, which is why there are very few veterans willing to take a significant salary haircut. I would put the early line at less than 50 percent that both Hali and Bowe will be with the Chiefs in 2015.
Johnfromwichita says: Bob, how are you doing? For a second, forget the Chiefs; you had a rough year. I understand loss. I’m the last one standing from my family, parents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters. I spent all ten years of Vietnam in the military, 50,000 dead and lost so many I liked and respected. With every loss comes an empty place in your heart, which you must fill back up and that’s not always easy. I pay for my newspaper to read every day, my cable vision to watch every day and you. Just tell me you are coming back next year.
Bob says: John thanks for your kind and supportive words. I was more than happy to say good bye to 2014, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last 12 months it’s that we are the sum of all are parts, all our experiences, all our ups and all of our downs. Happiness and tragedy – it’s all part of the package and no one escapes without touching both ends of the spectrum. I try now to enjoy the moment, being mindful of the past and future, but living in the present. It’s harder to do than I thought it would be, because I seldom lived in the moment; I was always looking down the road, thinking of the future.
I liked something the Dalai Lama once said: “There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow. So today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live.”
More to come.