Warpaint Roundtable - Week I

The weekly roundtable returns! As the Raiders come to Kansas City, we discuss Bobby Wade, the impact of Week 1 in Baltimore, the Chiefs on third down, and just how badly Oakland will run all over Kansas City.

What are the pros and cons on the Wade signing?

Nick Athan: There are no negatives in my book. He was the best free agent wide receiver on the market. Sure, he's small in stature, but he had over 100 receptions the last two years playing with some pretty bad quarterbacks. If he can duplicate any of those numbers in Kansas City, the Chiefs should feel fortunate they were able to pry him away from the Indianapolis Colts. This gives the Chiefs insurance at the wide receiver position and my guess is Wade will settle into the slot receiver role by the time the Chiefs play the Eagles in Week 3.

The extra positive benefit of adding Wade is that he's familiar with head coach Todd Haley and has a chip on his shoulder coming from Minnesota. A few days before he was cut the veteran receiver agreed to reduce his 2009 salary from $3 million to $1.5 million. Dumping him after that was a bit of a slap in the face.

Michael Ash: Wade isn't the most exciting roster addition, but he's a capable NFL receiver and adds some depth to the position. He also has a history as a return man, so he may be able to help the Chiefs in that regard, too.

As for cons, Wade seems to be the same type of possession receiver that Bobby Engram is, although Wade is quite a few years younger. But the Chiefs haven't really added a new dimension to their offense by signing him. But if Wade ends up being productive, nobody's going to care about any of that.

C.E. Wendler: I know quite a few Vikings fans who were not pleased to see Wade go. He was a reliable third-down receiver, and though he wasn't known for making huge plays, he was probably the most consistent receiver Minnesota had. I'm actually not sure why he was dumped. Are the Vikings really going to feature rookie Percy Harvin as a third-down specialist? It's a role for a more experienced player.

Like Nick said, there are no cons. The Chiefs are starved for receivers. Any guy who can get open and hold onto the football is a huge boost for this team. If Wade can supplant Engram as that third-down guy, seeing as how he's only 28, this could be an extremely underrated pickup.


Don't you think that starting off the season with Baltimore may be in KC's favor? As they say, what doesn't kill you just makes you stronger!

Nick Athan: The Chiefs went into hostile territory, trailed 10-0, but were in it until the final three minutes. If cornerback Brandon Flowers had played, I think the Chiefs win it. I think Kansas City definitely came out of that game a stronger team. They learned if they play together, play hard and stay focused, they can indeed be a good team. Opening at Baltimore will ultimately help them this year.

The Chiefs have done a good job battling their NFC opponents outside of the last two years. I expect they'll make a good showing this year, going 2-2 against the NFC. That puts them at 3-3, assuming they beat the Raiders Sunday. If they can learn from the close call in Baltimore and win a pair of close games in the next five weeks, the schedule gets easier.


Will Baltimore toughen the Chiefs?
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Michael Ash: There are a lot of different ways to look at the schedule. The brutal first half of the season could certainly help toughen the Chiefs up, which could help them pull out some wins later in the year. But on the other hand, what if starting off the season with something like a 1-6 record hurts their morale and weakens their confidence?

It all depends on how the team handles the adversity they're going to face. And starting in Week 3, when they start a slate of four straight games against the NFC East, they'll be facing a whole lot of it.

C.E. Wendler: I'm not sure it was in their favor or against them. Learning they were a terrible football team, a truly awful one that almost got outgained three to one, might have been a good lesson, but it was going to come against any team they played in Week 1.

Seriously. Maybe the Chiefs wouldn't have had 500 yards slapped on them by any team, but at one point Brodie Croyle was having trouble snapping the ball. The Chiefs looked lost for the most part. The first game of the season, no matter who it came against, was going to be full of major growing pains for a team installing new systems on offense and defense.


Do you guys think the Chiefs have what it takes to make the necessary improvements on third down to make this team competitive on a weekly basis? Or is this just a clear lack of talent that's going to hold us back?

Nick Athan: The pass rush is going to be an issue all season long. The Chiefs will need to bring cornerbacks, safeties and linebackers from multiple angles to get enough pressure on opposing quarterbacks. That's why I badly wanted general manager Scott Pioli to make the deal for Richard Seymour. He was great last week in his debut with the Raiders and could be even better this week against the Chiefs.

Right now I don't see anyone outside of Tamba Hali getting to the quarterback. Tyson Jackson will eventually get there but he's still green. Clancy Pendergast will have to be more aggressive on third and long. The Ravens killed the Chiefs because the coverage was too soft on the outside and when they did blitz, it was picked up.

Michael Ash: It's a tough question to answer after only one game, but it'll probably be something the Chiefs struggle with all season. I don't know if they'll struggle to the same level they did in Baltimore, but particularly on defense, I can see third downs being an issue if the lack of pressure on Joe Flacco is a sign of things to come.

Offensively, the Chiefs were just two out of 10 on third down last week, but it should have been at least four for 10, if not for Mark Bradley failing to recognize where the sticks were. Given that the Chiefs were on the road, playing the Ravens, and starting a backup quarterback, I imagine most of us would have taken a conversion rate near 50 percent.

C.E. Wendler: The real issue with KC's defense isn't the pass rush. It's the linebackers. They're all learning how to play in the 3-4 and the coverage in the middle of the field has been awful so far. Baltimore's tight end, Todd Heap, kept getting open in the middle of the field so fast, the pass rush was irrelevant. Flacco's back foot hit the ground at the end of most of his drops and boom, the ball was gone.

Offensively, the Chiefs are going to have to establish a running game if they want to convert third downs. This team isn't built to overcome third and seven or third and eight four or five times a game. You need a speed receiver who's going to keep both safeties deep in order to do that. The Chiefs don't have one.


Are the Raiders going to run all over the Chiefs for the second straight year?

Nick Athan: The Chiefs will stack eight guys in the box and be successful. Last week KC's run defense was good up until the third quarter, when they simply ran out of gas. Who can blame them, after 40 minutes on the field?

Oakland's passing game is going to make life difficult on their running game. JaMarcus Russell is the worst quarterback in the NFL and it's not even close. The Chiefs might be able to stack 10 guys in the box to stuff the run because Russell isn't going to complete enough passes to scare anyone.


Will Oakland's running game flatten the Chiefs again?
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Michael Ash: There's a distinct possibility, given how many yards the Chiefs allowed on the ground last Sunday. But you never know – last year, the Raiders came to Arrowhead with a lot of motivation after being humiliated in their opener. After taking a last second gut-punch from the Chargers on Monday night, maybe they won't have the same fire this time around.

C.E. Wendler: Unfortunately, yes. Jamal Williams, San Diego's infamous run plugger, was average at best against the Raiders last week. Williams has lost something, but he's still a far superior nose tackle when compared with KC's Tank Tyler.

The Raiders are going to push Tyler around Sunday. He's top heavy and a poor fit to play over the center. Nose tackles need to be stout and built low to the ground. When nose tackles in the 3-4 can't hold their ground, everyone on the defense suffers. Less than 150 rushing yards from Oakland would be a complete shock.

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