Warpaint Roundtable – Week 9

This week we talk about the future of KC's running back position, the youth movement, Glenn Dorsey, and franchise quarterbacks.

If Larry Johnson is cut after this season do you see the Chiefs taking a high-round running back or waiting till the later rounds like we did with Kolby Smith and Jamaal Charles?

Nick Athan: With the injury to Kolby Smith the Chiefs would be wise to draft a guy in a middle round, like Charles. The problem with the "Texas Comet" is that the Chiefs can't give him more than 25 carries a game, and that's pushing it. Dantrell Savage has impressed me since the Senior Bowl, however, so if the Chiefs pass in the draft they might get through the season with both Charles and Savage in a rotation next year.

Michael Ash: It obviously all depends on who's running things next year, but no matter what, there's not much chance of the Chiefs taking a running back in the first round. I might be forgetting an obvious name, but the Chiefs will probably be picking near the top of the draft again, and I can't think of a back in the upcoming class who'd be worth taking that high.

Taking a back in the second might be possible if someone considered to be a first-round talent happened to slip. But with all the needs on this team, would they want to target a running back that early?

C.E. Wendler: There are too many needs, like Michael said – offensive line, defensive end, linebacker, safety, wide receiver, etc. The Chiefs' running back depth, even if they dump Larry Johnson, is quite good. Even without Kolby Smith, Charles and Savage have plenty of talent, and don't sleep on Jackie Battle. He's big, powerful and runs hard, with speed. If Kansas City shores up the line this offseason, it's pretty easy to find a decent running back in free agency, too.

Do you think Glenn Dorsey has lived up to the pre-season hype, and is performing at a level you would've expected him to?

Nick Athan: Last week he had his best game in a Chiefs uniform. In fact, for the first time he used his instincts on the field flowing to the ball. The screen play he blew up last weekend against Tampa Bay was reminiscent of the things he did at LSU.

Dorsey's rookie season is going to remind some of Neil Smith's initial year, back in 1988. A year later the Chiefs added Derrick Thomas and if this team can add a pass rusher in 2009, that will free up Dorsey and that should be the magic that makes him the type of player the Chiefs had envisioned he'd be.

When is Glenn Dorsey going to produce?
Nick Laham

Michael Ash: He's not living up to the hype, but that's because the hype was unrealistic. For whatever reason, defensive tackles seem to have the hardest time adjusting when they come into the league. You have to look long-term with that position. Anyone who thought Dorsey would show up and immediately play like a Pro Bowler was fooling themselves.

I thought the run defense would be stouter with Dorsey in the middle, but how much of the problem can actually be pinned on him? In fact, that may be part of the reason Dorsey isn't standing out.

The poor play of the linebackers may have changed how the Chiefs asked Dorsey to go about his job – as a block-eater instead of a penetrator. If the run defense is this bad with Dorsey usually tying up two linemen, can you imagine how much worse it would be if extra linemen were constantly getting to the next level to take linebackers out of the picture?

C.E. Wendler: Jason Whitlock's writings about Dorsey the last few weeks have me pretty concerned. The fact he's still struggling with basic NFL defensive-line techniques leads me to believe he's not receiving the proper coaching. Of course we're still waiting for Tamba Hali to improve beyond what he showed as a rookie, so that area appears to be a problem on KC's coaching staff.

I expected Dorsey to get his butt handed to him by the likes of Alan Faneca, but he's had problems against almost every guard he's faced. At this point, it's worthless trying to judge him. By the end of next year, based on his draft position, he should a force, however. Anything less and we have every right to be disappointed.

Is there any way for new coaches and a new general manager to be brought in at the end of this year without wasting the youth movement that has already been started?

Nick Athan: Whomever comes in - and I'm thinking someone will in both regards - will be inheriting some solid talent, and with another high draft pick the gap to winning is closing. Not to mention the fact the Chiefs have $35 million in cap space in the offseason to buy one or two premier free agents.

Michael Ash: Anyone who comes in would have to understand that they're taking over a young team. A new staff isn't going to take over in Kansas City and then run right out and sign a bunch of veterans, pushing the young guys to the bench. The youth movement in general should be fine.

The bigger issue is how a new staff would react to specific players who are part of the youth movement. This is a highly unlikely example, but what if the Chiefs' new staff employed a 3-4 defensive scheme and didn't think Glenn Dorsey fit into their plans? Those are the kinds of issues that would arise with a new front office.

C.E. Wendler: It really depends on the philosophy of the replacements. If they're more like Dick Vermeil, we may see some free agents signed. If they're more like Herm Edwards, plenty of these young players may stick. Of course we know Clark Hunt wants to build a team through the draft, so his own personal philosophy may influence who he hires as general manager.

But we already know there are some young players on this team who simply can't play, or at least aren't starters – Bernard Pollard, Brodie Croyle, Devard Darling, etc. Sitting the on the bench doesn't mean an end to the youth movement. It just means the Chiefs would be upgrading their talent. Whether that comes via an older player or a younger one is honestly irrelevant at this point.

Why does Herm need a franchise quarterback? Since his offensive philosophy is predicated towards the run and game management, wouldn't a franchise quarterback be a luxury he doesn't need and wouldn't utilize anyway?

Nick: He doesn't need one and there isn't any reason to believe this organization is going to develop one, draft one or find one. So they have to design an offense behind whatever guy they deem can run the offense, score points and eventually win games. I'm all in at the moment with Tyler Thigpen. He has something and who's to say he's not going to be the guy for 2009 and beyond?

Does Herm Edwards even need Matthew Stafford?
Doug Benc

Michael Ash: Of course the talents of a franchise quarterback would be utilized. Let's say there's two minutes to play and the Chiefs are down by four points – are they going to run the ball and game-manage their way down the field? Even if their overall philosophy leans more towards the run, every coach wants a quarterback who can go win games when needed.

C.E. Wendler: Oh, I disagree with Nick. Herm Edwards definitely needs a franchise quarterback. Actually, I feel sorry for him, because no NFL coach needs one more desperately than Edwards. That's not a snipe at Herm, because franchise quarterbacks tend to stabilize NFL programs.

If Brodie Croyle had panned out, the Chiefs likely would have won three or four more games by this point, and we probably wouldn't be ripping Edwards every week for all the problems with this football team. Unfortunately, Croyle didn't pan out, and now we're all suffering.

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