Warpaint Roundtable – Offseason Edition XII

This week we tackle Napoleon Harris, KC's coaching staff, Damion McIntosh, Mike Florio and Bobby Sippio.

I would love to know why Herm rarely played Bobby Sippio in the last three games at end of the season. He had the best hands in training camp. From what I have seen Sippio is big and physical and learned (in the arena league) how to box out defenders on errant throws.

Nick Athan: Part of that is the fact Edwards wanted to give Jeff Webb an opportunity. I think Sippio has talent, but Webb is an Edwards guy (though I'm not sure he's a Gailey guy).

The truth of the matter is that Sippio, in my opinion, has hands equal to his cousin, Dwayne Bowe. If he gets a real chance to shine in this offense, I think he'll come through. He has played well thus far in OTAs and has a swagger, which I like for a kid who is trying to make the jump from the arena league to the NFL. That's a huge jump, and something akin to me attempting to go from Warpaint Illustrated to the New York Times. I'll say this - Sippio has a better chance of reaching his ultimate destination than I do.

Michael Ash: I would guess that Sippio just wasn't ready. There also isn't much point trying to evaluate a receiver when you can't keep the quarterback protected, but if that was the main issue, I'm sure they still could have given Sippio more action than he saw.

C.E. Wendler: If you recorded any of last season's games, particularly late in the year, go back and review them. Sippio was on the field more than you might think. But for some reason, he was never thrown to. Not once, at least according to what I saw. He was used as a blocker quite a bit, but the Chiefs seemed extremely reluctant to chuck him a pass. It's honestly mind-boggling.

The only explanation I can come up with is that perhaps the Chiefs didn't want to showcase Sippio's receiving skills because it might have impressed another team, who would then be tempted to grab Sippio off KC's practice squad if he wound up there in the future. Considering the way practice squad players get plundered every year, can you really blame such a move?

I heard several months ago that Damion McIntosh was tried at right tackle on another pro team and did not do a very good job. How has he looked at right tackle this year, and if he fails would he be moved to right guard?

Nick Athan: He played that position for a spell with the Chargers and Dolphins, but he can play either tackle in my opinion. Though he'd rather play the money position at left tackle, there is zero doubt in my mind that he can play well at right tackle.

Thus far in OTAs he's had some outstanding moments. This past week he's slowed down a bit but that might be due to the fact that defensive ends Turk McBride and Alfonso Boone are playing at a higher level. That's good for both McIntosh and the development of the Chiefs pass rush.

What's McIntosh's future at right tackle?
Jonathan Daniel

Michael Ash: I don't remember the Dolphins making an effort at any point to regularly play McIntosh at right tackle. Maybe there was an emergency situation where he had to fill in and he struggled, which would be understandable. But I don't think they ever tried to groom him for the position the way the Chiefs currently are.

If he struggles on the right side, where he goes next probably depends on when the Chiefs pull the plug. If they realize before training camp that he's not cutting it, they could try using him at guard during camp. But if it's not until the preseason begins that they decide to make a move, someone will have been working at guard the whole time, and McIntosh could end up as a backup to both tackles.

C.E. Wendler: I can't find anything in McIntosh's bio that states he's ever played right tackle in any meaningful way. That's probably for a good reason – he's a lackluster run blocker unsuited to play the right side.

The best-case scenario for KC's offensive line this year is rookie tackle Barry Richardson beating out McIntosh for the starting job on the right side. In that event, I'd hope McIntosh isn't moved to guard, because he's even less suited to play inside. If he's the best option, that doesn't speak well to the talent level among the other backup linemen.

Other than Chan Gailey, which coach do you feel will have the most impact on the players? On the other end, which coach/coordinator do you feel is on the hot seat right now or could be at the end of the season?

Nick Athan: I think on defense it'll be defensive backs coach David Gibbs. He has the pressure of getting both Brandon Carr and Brandon Flowers NFL ready for the season opener at New England. He also has to get one more year out of Patrick Surtain. If that's not enough he has to get more production out of safety Bernard Pollard, who hasn't stood out thus far in OTAs.

Offensively, there's no doubt in my mind that the pressure is all on offensive line coach Bob Bicknell. He's a solid teacher and it's been a joy watching him coach the offensive line in OTAs. Bicknell is patient and seems to have the respect of his players.

Michael Ash: In terms of making an impact, Gunther Cunningham taking over as the linebackers coach leaps to mind immediately. But I also think the acquisition of Eric Price as the wide receivers coach is notable. Charlie Joiner was a Hall of Fame receiver and there's no doubt he had a wealth of information to offer. But sometimes great players don't make the best coaches, because they succeeded through elite natural ability that the players they're coaching lack.

As for a coach who may end up on the hot seat, I think enough clouds have gathered that a poor 2008 on the defensive line might raise some issues over Tim Krumrie. There are already questions about Tank Tyler and Turk McBride, and Tamba Hali didn't take the step in his second year that everyone was hoping to see. If those three don't elevate their game this season, and Glenn Dorsey doesn't make the impact people are expecting, Krumrie's seat may get pretty warm.

C.E. Wendler: How about running backs coach Curtis Modkins? If he can improve Larry Johnson's pass blocking, it could really help out the offense by not telegraphing the play call.

As for the hot seat, I can't really single out any one coach. The offense has nowhere to go but up, and the defensive staff gets a free pass more or less due to all the young players who will see the field this year.

What kind of season do you think Napoleon Harris will have? Will he be disappointing again and get replaced, or will he play up to his capabilities all 16 games?

Nick Athan: The problem with Harris is that he didn't play well for most of the season a year ago. He had some nice statistics in the first four games, and then more the last two games of the season. He's got plenty of talent but was never really comfortable in the new defensive scheme. You have to remember he's already on his third team, so it's not easy to change your style of play.

Harris has to play great this year, and he must change his attitude. Right now he's not talking to the press, but that's OK. He can do his talking on the practice field.

Will Napoleon Harris play up to potential in 2008?
Jamie Squire

Michael Ash: I'm certainly hopeful that he'll play to his potential for an entire season, but I don't think he's done that yet in his NFL career, so it's not something I would predict. There's a reason that Harris is with his third team in six years, and middle linebacker is too important a position in KC's defensive scheme to stick with him after another inconsistent season. If Harris doesn't want to make it four teams in seven years, he needs a strong 2008.

C.E. Wendler: I'm going to cast a vote of confidence in Gunther Cunningham, who's coaching KC's linebackers this year. When Cunningham was in charge of Tennessee's linebackers a few seasons ago, an NFL coach compared it to having Picasso paint his kitchen. Gunther should be able to get a talented guy like Harris to play up to his capabilities. Either way, Harris signed a long-term contract, so I don't think he'd be replaced immediately.

Mike Florio seems to think there is unwarranted optimism coming out of One Arrowhead Drive and many pundits are predicting the Chiefs will "earn" the #1 overall draft choice. Do you think Herm and Carl have unrealistic expectations for this year?

Nick Athan: Is my buddy Mike Florio talking Chiefs smack again? He must have it out for KC, but honestly he's not close enough to get a true evaluation of this football team. I think there is some optimism because the young players the Chiefs selected this year and last year are good football players. Will that equate to more wins than a year ago. Maybe.

Michael Ash: I'm not sure what Florio was referring to in his column. He compared the alleged overconfidence of the Chiefs with that of Detroit, where Jon Kitna is out there talking about 10 wins again. Who from the Chiefs has said anything even remotely resembling that? Does Florio think Herm Edwards should walk around with his shoulders slumped, saying things like, "Yeah, we're probably going to stink this year?"

I think it's great that Edwards is staying positive and isn't using the team's youth as an excuse for anything. There are a lot of coaches in his shoes who would probably try to set expectations as low as possible.

C.E. Wendler: It's not just Florio. Tons of writers everywhere – newspapers, magazines, blogs – are predicting the Chiefs will be terrible again this season. Most of them list quarterback as KC's biggest roadblock to 2008 success, and can you really blame them?

We've heard plenty out of Arrowhead indicating some within the organization believe the team is capable of putting together a winning season. I don't think that's unrealistic considering the turnarounds we've witnessed in other NFL cities recently. Coaches and front officers aren't in the business to go 8-8. That doesn't mean they're counting on the top seed in the playoffs, either.

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