Warpaint Roundtable – Week 5

This week our crew discusses Chiefs fans, Damion McIntosh, Mike Cox, Brad Cottam and Branden Albert.

What is the definition of the word competitive to Chiefs fans? What were their expectations for this team before the year started and where are they now?

Nick Athan: For the fans it would be effort, attitude and improvement. For the players, it's probably the same, along with more wins. The expectations of the fans were far more wins at this point, and hopes that the defensive lapses we saw last year would disappear.

On the other side of the ball, the hope was Brodie Croyle would be somewhere farther along than back on the bench with another injury. Right now this team needs to show it has heart and the players need to step up one at a time and perform. If they can do that, there might be expectations for this team to compete in 2009.

Michael Ash: Most Chiefs fans would define "competitive" as having a shot to make the playoffs. I'm not really sure what expectations were before the season started. Plenty of people said all the right things about being patient and understanding that times would be tough, but deep down there was a group that thought the Chiefs would come out and be better than expected. By now, everyone realizes Kansas City will be picking pretty high in next year's draft.

C.E. Wendler: Chiefs Nation didn't really care how many games their team won this year. They just wanted to see progress every week. Aside from four wonderful quarters against the Denver Broncos, there's been none.

Where are the expectations now? People are expecting drastic change this offseason. They're counting on Clark Hunt to be the executor of that change. Then, and only then, will expectations for the actual football team go up.

The right tackle position seems to be the weakness of the line. When do you expect there to be some type of change? It just seems that Damion McIntosh makes too many errors.

Nick Athan: I can't see the Chiefs continuing with McIntosh much longer. Herb Taylor is going to see some time at the position after the bye week. It remains to be seen if the switch will be permanent or not. Long-term, Taylor's position may be right guard.

The Chiefs have high hopes for Barry Richardson at right tackle but he's not ready at the moment. He'll benefit from an offseason that will help him adjust to the speed of the game. The McIntosh experiment is likely winding down. He's just not a right tackle, his strength is on the left side.

Will the Chiefs EVER bench Damion McIntosh?
Jonathan Daniel

Michael Ash: Judging by his recent comments, it doesn't seem like Herm Edwards plans to make a change. Whether he truly believes McIntosh will improve with more time at right tackle, or he's just being stubborn about a decision that was widely questioned from the beginning, no one knows.

In fairness, it's probably difficult to make a change while Branden Albert still can't practice. If the Chiefs were going to fully commit to a change at right tackle, Herb Taylor would have to start working there now. That means if Albert wasn't ready for the next game, the guy taking his place would probably be McIntosh. That's not what anyone wants to see.

C.E. Wendler: Herm Edwards seems to be quite committed to the idea of keeping the same five players working together on the offensive line for as long as possible. People have speculated that Herb Taylor would start at right tackle eventually, but Edwards already informed us that Wade Smith, not Taylor, would be the first guy off the bench at right tackle.

For now, we have to accept that Damion McIntosh will remain at right tackle. It'll be interesting to see how long he remains at that position if Brodie Croyle takes a few shots from defensive ends who just blew by "Sackintosh." Can the Chiefs really risk Croyle's health over their commitment to an aging, injury prone, turnstile of an offensive lineman? Stay tuned.

Is the development of Cox and Cottam the key to KC's rushing attack? How do they compare to Tony Richardson and Jason Dunn?

Nick: I'm not as sold on Cox because I think Boomer Grigsby was a better blocker, and since they are not using his pass catching skills I'm not sure I'd put him in the Tony Richardson class. He's really benefited from no real competition at the position.

In regards to Cottam, mark it down, he'll be a starter for this team some day. Once he completely recovers from his shoulder injury, he'll see more playing time this season. Sooner or later the Chiefs have to find out if he can fill the shoes of Tony Gonzalez, whose status on this team in 2008 and beyond will be a hot topic in the offseason.

Michael Ash: Cox seems to be fairly key to what the Chiefs are doing, so as he continues to get better, the run game should benefit. As for Cottam, a blocking tight end is more the type of player who can help turn a solid ground game into something even better, as opposed to being a major factor in getting the run game off the ground.

It's probably unfair to compare either to Richardson or Dunn so soon, but based on what Cox has shown to this point, he could have a solid Richardson-type career in the backfield. Cottam could emerge as more of a pass catcher when he gets his opportunity.

What has Mike Cox done at fullback?
G. Newman Lowrance

C.E. Wendler: First off, I can't believe Nick's still talking about Boomer Grigsby. What's that guy even doing these days, bar hopping? He didn't last longer than a week as Miami's fullback, and currently he's a free agent. Meanwhile, Cox is actually blocking pretty well.

On the rare occasions when the Chiefs actually have run the football this year, Cox has been key. He's made a huge difference for Larry Johnson, who was at his best when Tony Richardson was leading the way. Nick says there's no competition for Cox, but there was – Chris Manderino. Cox didn't give Manderino a prayer of sticking on the roster.

As for Cottam, months ago I characterized his height (he's 6-foot-8) as a potential problem for a blocking tight end. It's tough for tall guys to get their pads low enough for good leverage. But Cottam has done quite well. The Chiefs have flashed an interesting package where Cottam lines up at tight end, and Tony Gonzalez is split out at wide receiver, several times. Now if only Adrian Jones and Damion McIntosh could open some holes, we could all forget about Richardson and Dunn.

Should the Chiefs consider leaving Herb Taylor at left tackle when Branden Albert is healthy, and shifting Albert to guard?

Nick Athan: No. Albert is the long-term left tackle and he'll not only be a beast at the position but a leader in the locker room. ESPN's Merrill Hoge, a weekly guest on our ‘Dustin & D-Bowe Show,' said Albert was one of the top tackles he's watched on tape this year. Not just rookies, but veterans, too. The Chiefs will never move him anywhere else along the offensive line. He can be as good as Willie Roaf.

Michael Ash: Taylor has filled in admirably, but Albert has been the better of the two, and that's with Albert dealing with a position change and the injury that kept him out of training camp. If Albert can already play as effectively as he has during this early stage, imagine how good he'll be in the coming years. There's no reason to even consider moving him.

C.E. Wendler: About the only possible thing that might be worse than leaving Damion McIntosh at right tackle, would be leaving him there and sticking Albert inside at a position he hasn't played since last season, when he was in college. Wait, I thought of something worse – the Chiefs could bring Jason Dunn back to play left tackle. As Dick Vermeil told 810's Bob Fescoe when he suggested such a possibility - "How much do you know about pro football?"

WarpaintIllustrated.com Top Stories