CHIEFS – The Week In Review

What happened lately in the world of Chiefs football? What does it all mean? Nick Athan is here to recap the week and offer his analysis.

Voluntary Workouts - March 30th, 2009

The official start of the Kansas City Chiefs offseason began Monday. As we hit April, the players are expected to show up for their offseason conditioning at the Chiefs new training facility today. It'll be interesting to see who shows up, in particular disgruntled and soon-to-be-released running back Larry Johnson, Guard Brian Waters and unhappy tight end Tony Gonzalez.

Honestly, I'm on the fence about retaining all three players. If the value can be had in trades, the Chiefs should cut ties with all three of them. No matter what's said, none of them want to be in Kansas City.

Gonzalez wants to be traded and he'll make it known up until the draft. The problem is that he has maybe one or two more years ahead of him. What can the Chiefs get in return? Probably not much.

Scott Pioli has made it clear he's not going to trade Gonzalez and that no teams have called about his availability, but that could change as the draft gets closer. This is not a great year for tight ends in the NFL Draft, but on a whole the position is really being phased out, in my opinion.

Waters simply wants a new contract. The fact he's been silent since he made his desires known in the KC Star tells me he's been slapped around by the organization and put in his place. He's not likely going to get a new deal done but he could and should be trade bait if the Chiefs want to set an example for players who go outside of the desires of the new regime. With the signing of Mike Goff to play guard, the Chiefs now have insurance. Goff could step in for Waters today and the Chiefs would be no worse.

Johnson just can't be a part of the future. Though he may show up today (editor's note – he did, and was the only one of the three to show up), I think with his grievance hearing on Wednesday there isn't any way that the Chiefs can keep him around. Not only do they want to take away money owed to him in guarantees for 2009 and 2010, regardless if he's on the roster or not, they also want to recoup part of his $19 million signing bonus, because he violated his contract and he was suspended by the NFL.

Today we'll see who shows up and who doesn't.

Todd Haley Speaks - March 31st, 2009

I loved his impromptu press conference on Monday. I'm really starting to warm up to his personality. I hope at some point shortly, or at least this year, to sit down with him and do a one-on-one interview, but it remains to be seen if it will happen. Nonetheless, I loved the way he handled the media yesterday, especially when it came to talking about disgruntled running back Larry Johnson.

"One thing I am not going to do is have this become a roll call," said Haley. "Like I said, we had over 60 players which I was really excited about. That is what I am going to leave it at. Again, this won't be a roll call out here."

Nick digs Haley's style
Charlie Riedel - AP

You have to be impressed with the fact he's not going to tip his hand about anything. He made it clear that he's not going to single out any players. It was not his place to talk about Brian Waters, deferring that headache to Scott Pioli. He also said that he's not going to rush his plans to implement a 3-4 defensive scheme or make it official if the Chiefs are going to use the "Red Gun" offense from a year ago.

Instead, Haley made it clear he wants to get it right and he's not yet made up his mind. He also told the media that's something they probably didn't want to hear but it's just the way it is.

"My bottom line is going to be to get it right and do what is best," said Haley. "I am going to try and get the right answer and not the fastest answer. I know it is not helping you all out right now but we will know soon enough. I don't want to say one thing and go another. That is the truth."

You know what? For now that's good enough for me. Why share anything until he knows exactly what he wants to do on offense and defense?

No April Fools - April 1st, 2009

I shared with everyone yesterday the rave review my spies gave of Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel. From all accounts it finally appears the Chiefs have their young franchise quarterback in hand. I've stated this many times in the aftermath of the trade but to me this marks the first time the Chiefs have had a proven, young and winning starting quarterback at the helm of their offense entering the season and also entering the prime years of his career.

I've heard from many of my Patriot friends on the east coast who tell me that there isn't any way that Cassel can duplicate what he did a year ago at New England in Kansas City with the Chiefs. I've placed side bets with all of them. Especially after I pointed out the fact that New England's heralded offensive line gave up 48 sacks and KC's terrible line only gave up 37.

That's nothing to be proud about but it's far better than New England a year ago and with the addition of right guard Mike Goff and the development of Barry Richardson at right tackle, Kansas City's line won't give up that many this year.

The bottom line, though, is that the Chiefs finally are one of those teams that have something to build an offense around. There isn't any doubt that Scott Pioli hit a home run with the addition of Cassel and from the early accounts, this kid is something special.

Will KC Win the West? - April 3rd 2009

I could not believe the Chiefs good fortunes yesterday. The Denver Broncos shipped off Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler to the Chicago Bears for a plethora of draft picks and half a quarterback (Kyle Orton). All of sudden, in my opinion, the Chiefs became contenders for the AFC West division title.

In fact, I will label them favorites. They'll win the division in 2009. The Chiefs now have the best quarterback/head coach combo in the division in Matt Cassel and Todd Haley, and that's reason enough today for people to jump on their bandwagon again.

Does Cassel put the Chiefs in the AFC West driver's seat?

The fact that Broncos owner Pat Bowlen in just a few short months has turned his team into the new Oakland Raiders is mystifying. Ever since John Elway retired his team has been a royal bust. It's hard to get back to the Super Bowl after your legend walks away from the game, but Bowlen has destroyed the Broncos and to me is as comical an owner as Al Davis.

I agree that it was time for him to fire Mike Shanahan, because his ways had become stale. He was all about the power and by Bowlen's recent actions, it appears Denver wasn't big enough for the two men to exist anymore. Shanahan has to be laughing right now, perhaps on the beach in Mexico, while Bowlen has to be wondering how many season ticket holders are going to cancel their orders.

Orton is a terrible quarterback with zero arm strength and in the fourth quarter melts down worse than Cutler ever did. New Broncos coach Josh McDaniels now has the unenviable task of finding a way to bring his team together. It won't be easy and likely won't happen this year.

Right now the Chiefs move to the head of the class. Sure, the Chargers appear on paper to be a better team but remember, they beat the Chiefs twice last year by just a single point. They could have easily finished 6-10.

Kansas City (10-6)
San Diego (8-8)
Oakland (7-9)
Denver (4-12) Top Stories