The Road Not Traveled – Part II

Last week we took a look at some of the well-known players the Chiefs said goodbye to this last offseason – Trent Green, Lawrence Tynes, Ryan Sims, etc. Today we finish up this exercise in hindsight, and we'll find that across the board, the Chiefs made the right decision in letting most of these free agents walk.

MLB KAWIKA MITCHELL

A year ago, Kawika Mitchell proved he was ill-suited to play middle linebacker in Kansas City's Cover 2 scheme. A year later, he's not even playing middle linebacker, period. The New York Giants signed Mitchell to a one-year deal and moved him to weakside linebacker, where he has started every game this season.

Mitchell is more suited to play in New York's aggressive, attacking scheme (he actually played fairly well in this role as a middle linebacker in 2005), but he's not exactly a playmaker. Through nine games he's logged 35 tackles and one sack, his biggest play a fumble return for a touchdown.

The book on Mitchell was written in Kansas City, however. He's still a liability in coverage, even though his responsibilities have changed playing the weakside. The Giants take him off the field in nickel packages, and haven't regretted it – he's dropped two interceptions this year already.

Replacing Mitchell with Napoleon Harris was easily one the best decisions the Chiefs made this past offseason. Donnie Edwards is aging, but as a Giant Mitchell has proven he's not the type of player to replace him on the outside. Kudos all around for dumping "Kawhiffa."

FAN QUOTE:

"He's had a few big hits and as other have said, seems to have settled into a decent groove, but watching him play, he seems very stiff and un-athletic. He's fast in a straight line yes, but his lateral movement is pathetic. But we paid him a pittance so we weren't really expecting much. Would not be surprised to see him move on next year."


WR DANTE HALL

With the Chiefs, Dante Hall was a feast or famine player in 2006. At times he fumbled, at others he danced too much, and once in a while he made a big play. So far, that inconsistency has followed him to St. Louis.

Hall is averaging 25 yards per kick return and 15 per punt return with the Rams, but the numbers are deceiving. Remove Hall's 84-yard kickoff return, and his average plummets. The same is true with his punt returns – an 85-yard burst is skewing the average.

Hall has one fumble this year, but it was a big one. He basically cost the Rams a win by muffing a punt in the fourth quarter, setting up the 49ers in prime field position for the go-ahead field goal.

The Rams don't use Hall much on offense (five touches all year), as they are deep at wide receiver.

Eddie Drummond has struggled returning kicks for the Chiefs, but at least he's not running backwards and costing his team field position.

FAN QUOTE:

"I am scared when he touches the ball. I can't tell if he is going to fumble when he gets hit or lose 20 yards on the play or take it all the way. He has had some great runs but also a lot of bad runs. I am just not sure of him."


CB LENNY WALLS

The Chiefs signed Walls last offseason to man their nickel cornerback position. Defensive backs coach David Gibbs knew Walls from his days in Denver, and the Chiefs obviously thought they could turn the tall defensive back into a consistent player.

It didn't work out – Walls was susceptible to the double move last season and generally a liability on defense. He joined Hall in St. Louis this season and did absolutely nothing to change anyone's opinion. In fact, he's been cut.

The Rams dumped Walls after an abysmal game against the Dallas Cowboys. He was burned twice for touchdowns and no matter who he tried to cover – wide receiver Patrick Crayton or tight end Jason Witten – he failed. Realizing there was no future with Walls on their roster, the Rams quickly activated cornerback Fakhir Brown after his suspension was over.

High marks for the Chiefs on this one. Not only did they wisely cut ties with Walls, Benny Sapp has been terrific as the third cornerback this season, and Tyron Brackenridge hasn't been half bad, either.

FAN QUOTE:

"Lenny Walls was the worst cornerback to EVER play for the Rams. I personally have never seen a guy so good at pretending to be an NFL cornerback in my life. My eyes were bleeding watching him in that Cowboys game. I think I could juke him. I will resign my Clanram membership and my fanship of the Rams if he ever starts for us again."


LT JORDAN BLACK

To say 2006 was an off year for Black would be an understatement. According to Stats, Inc, he led the league in sacks allowed (13), and you'd be hard pressed to find a Chiefs fan who'd disagree with that sentiment.

The Houston Texans grabbed Black after the Chiefs parted ways with him, but he's been nothing but a backup at left tackle all season long. Considering that Texans fans are incredibly disappointed with current left tackle Ephraim Salaam, it's a little surprising Black can't get a shot. He hasn't even played in a game this season.

Damion McIntosh isn't exactly Willie Roaf, but he's certainly been better for the Chiefs this season than Black was a year ago at left tackle. It would have been nice to see Black given a shot at right guard after Will Shields retired, but we won't quibble over that. I-65 no longer runs through Kansas City, and it's a good thing.

FAN QUOTE:

"Jordan Black? I wasn't aware that he was still on the roster, as poorly as he performed in the pre-season."

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