Warpaint Roundtable – Week 7

This week our crew discusses Michael Vick, Gunther Cunningham, the 2006 draft class and Larry Johnson.

It seems to me that Michael Vick has been watching the Chiefs. He must have noticed the glaring hole that the team has at his position and sees it as his opportunity to re-enter the NFL. Would the Chiefs give this guy a chance to be our quarterback?

Nick Athan: No, I don't believe they will. Interesting you ask, because I talked with former Chief Eddie Kennison on this subject over the summer. He told me were he an NFL General Manager, that he'd sign him immediately. The problem is that Vick's facing at least a one-year ban when he gets out of jail, so best-case scenario has him ready to play again in 2010. But if it were me, I'd pass and let him head back to the East Coast once his Leavenworth visit is over.

Michael Ash: I would seriously doubt it. It'll be difficult for Vick to find any team that's willing to make him the face of their franchise. His best chance is probably to catch on as a backup somewhere, with a coordinator perhaps working him into the offense in a Chan Gailey "slash" type way. If something happens to the starter, then Vick can play in a manner where the team can fall back on the defense of being "forced" to start him.

But the things Vick was accused of, specifically the dog-killing, isn't something people will forget. Surely he'll catch on somewhere, but any team that's actually willing to hand over their keys to Michael Vick would take a serious PR hit. Well, unless it's the Raiders.

C.E. Wendler: The Chiefs are run by far too conservative leadership to ever consider making such a move. Besides, most fans would be completely turned off by the idea anyway, and if there's anything KC's brass doesn't want to do right now, it's give their fan base another reason to be disgruntled. People don't want a walking police report under center, especially after all this Larry Johnson nonsense. They want their own Matt Ryan, and so does Clark Hunt most likely.

Is Gunther Cunningham's dual role taking a toll on him and the defense?

Nick Athan: It appears that way, because the entire defense isn't playing well. It was never made clear what happened when former linebackers coach Don Blackmon was let go in the spring. Gunther stepped up because the Chiefs didn't want to hire another position coach, but both units have suffered.

Can any coordinator really be responsible for anything other than coordinating their entire respective groups? Cunningham did it to help the team, but it backfired.

Are Cunningham's extra duties making a difference?
Brian Bahr

Michael Ash: When a defensive coordinator tries to give his unit a boost by returning to the sideline, and the team responds by surrendering the most rushing yards in the history of the franchise, how can you look at the situation as anything but a comedy of errors?

When the Chiefs are seven games into the season and the players still can't grasp the basic fundamentals of the defense they play, only three explanations come to mind: they aren't being coached properly, they aren't listening to the coaching, or they don't have the physical ability to execute what they're being asked to do.

Which reason explains the defense's poor play? It may be a combination of the three.

C.E. Wendler: This concerned me as soon as it was announced. Who's been coaching the linebackers on the sideline during the game all this time? Herm Edwards? Tim Krumrie? All that does is take away from their other responsibilities.

Considering the awful state of KC's linebackers, we really have to question Cunningham's judgment (not that this is the first time). In fact, Derrick Johnson inparticular isn't playing nearly as well as he did a year ago. When is something going to go right for the Chiefs on defense under Gunther Cunningham? We're still waiting on that great run defense he promised when he was re-hired in 2004.

The 2006 draft was labeled a success by some. This season, the third year, shouldn't it be bearing fruit?

Nick Athan: It should be delivering more fruit, and Tamba Hali has shown he's a number two and not a number one pass rusher. On the other hand, Jarrad Page has shown he can be a great playmaker, though he's been on the short end of the production scale. But this draft class, no matter what, will be judged by quarterback Brodie Croyle. So it hasn't lived up to its potential.

Michael Ash: It's difficult to describe the 2006 draft as anything but a bust at this point. Out of seven picks, the entire draft class has boiled down to Hali, Pollard, and Page, and none of them are doing anything to stand out this season. Page has been a steal for a seventh rounder, but it doesn't offset the fact that Pollard was clearly a reach. There's hope for Hali if he stays healthy and receives better coaching, but who knows when (or if) either will occur?

C.E. Wendler: It's amazing how everyone was raving about Herm Edwards' initial draft class three years ago, but Michael hit the nail on the head – there's not much to get excited about when all you're left with is a pass rusher who can't touch the quarterback and two safeties who are horrible tacklers. Who knows, in a couple years Edwards' draft classes might be viewed the same way we now view Dick Vermeil's failed drafts.

I think Athan is full of it and Larry Johnson will not only have a job at the end of the year, but still will be productive (somewhere). Are you other two guys on board with Nick, saying he should be gone and is as good as washed up, or do you have some sanity left and agree that dumping Johnson is a bad idea?

Nick: Larry won't likely play again this season. He needs to first and foremost get his mind and body straight and make sure playing football, which he doesn't have a great passion for in the first place, is his top priority. Johnson needs to become a better human being. Jason Whitlock's latest article was dead on – Johnson plays the game because it's what he does and it's a job. You can't tell me he really enjoys the game or has fun with it. Bottom line, Johnson won't be a Chief in 2009.

What's LJ's future?
Jonathan Daniel

Michael Ash: I've written in the past that the Chiefs should cut Johnson, but it was entirely due to his off-field behavior and disrespectful attitude towards the team. It had nothing to do with Johnson being washed up.

If the Chiefs had a capable offensive line, there's no doubt at all that Johnson would be productive. Unfortunately, until the line is fixed, Johnson's career in Kansas City is going to be filled with frustration, and he doesn't appear to be handling that too well.

Having heard Johnson's public statement, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and back off my stance that he should be cut. He acknowledged that he needs help, and hopefully he'll be able to get it.

C.E. Wendler: Why is it such a foregone conclusion that Johnson won't be a Chief in 2009, Nick? We don't even know who the head coach will be next year. Should Herm Edwards be replaced, it's not completely impossible that the new coach might want to keep Johnson.

If Herm's still here next year, why would he dump Johnson? If the Chiefs had plans to get rid of him during the offseason, what would be the point of going through the ordeal of trying to help him in the middle of this season? It would seem like a whole lot of wasted time and energy.

To answer your question, Larry has plenty left in the tank. He hasn't taken near the abuse that other backs have, such as LaDainian Tomlinson or Clinton Portis. I for one hope he retires a Chief.

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