Warpaint Roundtable – Offseason Edition XII

This week we discuss KC's new offense, big-time trades, Jay Cutler's new home, DaJuan Morgan and Herb Taylor.

In the new offense, how big of a role do you think the running backs will have? Considering the Cardinals' rushing offense ranked 32nd in the league, I'm thinking the best we can hope for is around 70/30 pass to rush. What do you think the percentages will be?

Nick Athan:The Chiefs will have a pass-happy offense and your ratio is dead on. The problem with the Cardinals rushing game a year ago was the fact Edgerrin James had an off year and was a bit of a locker room malcontent. But Arizona never really put a premium on the running game, choosing instead to throw swing passes to James and Tim Hightower – essentially extended handoffs. It'll be the same in Kansas City.

But Larry Johnson isn't a fit on many teams right now, regardless of the offensive system. He still has a long way to go before he's back to the player we all loved to watch run the football. This year's offensive line will be improved, and if the Chiefs keep Johnson he could, even in limited duty, rush for 1,200 yards. Will that happen? As I've stated all along, I don't see him staying.

Michael Ash: Since Todd Haley doesn't have a long history calling plays, it's hard to say why the Cardinals' rushing offense was used so infrequently. It could be that Haley prefers a pass-oriented attack, or it could have been due to circumstances specific to Arizona's situation. As lopsided as the run/pass ratio was during the regular season, it's worth noting it was more balanced during the playoffs.

I expect the Chiefs will be a pass-based team, but don't expect the running backs to be ignored either. If they can be successful through the air, it's going to open up the running game and keep defenses on their heels. For a percentage, I'd guess maybe around 65 percent passing, assuming the Chiefs actually have the lead late in some games this year. Otherwise, it'll be higher.

C.E. Wendler: Your ratio is off just a bit. The Cardinals ran the ball about 35 percent of the time last season. But partially that was because their offensive line just isn't suited to maul people up front. When Arizona had Leonard Davis, that ratio was slightly higher.

But basing what the Chiefs do on what Arizona did seems foolish. We're talking about two totally different sets of offensive personnel. Todd Haley already told us he's looking for wide receivers. It might seem foolish to start throwing the ball around 70 percent of the time in lieu of that fact.


What does the trade of Cutler to Denver do for our ability to trade down in the draft? Or does it change anything?

Nick Athan: It's possible now Denver will want to land one of the top two quarterbacks. If the Lions take Matthew Stafford, I can't see Mark Sanchez getting to Denver at #12. In fact, he wouldn't get past the 49ers at #10, so if that plays out the Chiefs might ship the third pick for Denver's 12th and 18th overall.

I've been told that Broncos Head Coach Josh McDaniels really wants Sanchez, so the Broncos are going to have to move up to get him. But the Chiefs are in the driver's seat. They will end up being the slot that could turn the balance of the first round.


How does the Cutler trade affect the Chiefs?
Jamie Squire - Getty

Michael Ash: It opens the possibility that Denver may want to trade up for a quarterback, but that's not a guarantee. It's also not a guarantee that the Chiefs would want to aid them in their effort to replace Cutler, or that the Broncos would want to provide Scott Pioli with extra draft picks. Ultimately, it probably doesn't change anything, other than having another possibility to talk about.

C.E. Wendler: The Broncos' trade of Cutler does present the potential scenario where another team is looking for a quarterback, but don't be so quick to think it's reality. Denver has a multitude of problems on defense. Spending their new draft picks to move up and get a quarterback may not be their idea of how best to build a team, especially with Kyle Orton in town.

Orton isn't Cutler, but he's a player you can win with provided he has a strong supporting cast. Think of him as a younger, less accomplished version of Trent Green. McDaniels likely wouldn't have insisted on Orton as part of the Cutler trade unless he saw something special in him. If anything, the Cutler trade might make the Vikings get off their butts and trade up for a quarterback, since it appears Matthew Stafford, Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers will be taking Tarvaris Jackson behind the woodshed in the near future.


There was talk of a huge trade going down by the time of the draft. Do you still believe this is going to take place? Who or what do you think we have interest in?

Nick Athan: If you mean the Chiefs likely trading the third overall pick to Denver or Philadelphia for both of their first round picks, then yes that would be a huge trade for the Chiefs. At this point, I'm guessing that Scott Pioli will ultimately trade his first draft pick because Kansas City needs multiple bodies to rebuild the defense. Likely they are looking at adding a least one starting pass rusher and linebacker if they want to make enough improvements on the defensive side of the ball to be competitive this season.

They would obviously be keying in on Aaron Curry, but despite the false drug reports, they are also high on both USC linebackers, Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews. In fact, if the Chiefs can land both of them in the first round, that would be incredible. But to answer your question, I smell another big trade coming.

Michael Ash: I'm not expecting any huge trades. If one were to occur, it might involve the Chiefs shipping someone out as opposed to bringing someone in. In terms of acquiring talent, the Chiefs already gave up their second-round pick, so they don't have much ammo to pull off a "huge trade" of any sort.

C.E. Wendler: Since the Chiefs traded for Matt Cassel I've held the opinion that trading down is the only option. There will be other good players available, but none that really help the Chiefs at positions of need. Taking a tackle at the third spot doesn't seem logical, nor does overpaying for Aaron Curry.

However, as we've seen in the past, the Chiefs might just decide to take one of the quarterbacks and hold them for ransom. Teams will pay a premium to get their hands on Mark Sanchez or Matt Stafford, and right now that bodes well for Kansas City. Take a quarterback, trade him for a bundle of picks, pick up someone like Everette Brown or BJ Raji down the line late in the first round. And save a ton of money in the process.


Can DaJuan Morgan and Herb Taylor be contributors and/or starters?

Nick Athan: There isn't any question that Morgan can and could start opposite Jarrad Page this season. He was hampered by injuries last year and never really was able to show his game on the field. I'm down on Bernard Pollard and based on the fact the Chiefs re-signed Jon McGraw it appears they probably feel the same way.

Taylor is without a position right now. I'd like to see the Chiefs give him a chance at right tackle because Damion McIntosh's best days are behind him. Kansas City's offensive line needs to be more athletic and Taylor has good footwork. If he's given a real shot, he could be a solution instead of a question mark this season.


What's DaJuan Morgan's future?
Kevin C. Cox - Getty

Michael Ash: Morgan has talent, but was also raw coming out of college. With the defense changing schemes, you have to think there will be competition all over the field, so he may be competing for a starting job in camp. Whether he can win it is another story.

Taylor has shown promise at left tackle and his best role may be as a backup there, especially since Albert was hurt a few times last season. Taylor may not be quite cut out for right tackle, and may not be strong enough off the line to be a guard, but the Chiefs could always try him there. He seems able to adapt, so it would certainly be worth a try.

C.E. Wendler: As someone who isn't the biggest Bernard Pollard fan in the world, I'm rooting for Morgan to take his starting spot at strong safety. In limited duty last year, he showed some flashes coming down in the box and stuffing the run. Right now, Morgan doesn't need to be Ed Reed. The Chiefs just need someone who can support the run consistently.

As for Taylor, having a backup left tackle who can actually play is a luxury few teams enjoy in the NFL. There's no reason to move him, especially given Branden Albert's injuries last season.

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