WPI Roundtable - Week 2

This week we discuss trading Glenn Dorsey, Alex Magee, draft hindsight and all the people ripping poor Matt Cassel and Todd Haley.

What are your thoughts on trading Glenn Dorsey to the Falcons? They just lost Jerria Perry. Also, what about trading a first-round pick for Michael Crabtree?

Nick Athan: If the Atlanta Falcons are willing to give a first-round pick for Dorsey, the Chiefs better jump on that. But I can't see it happening, even though the loss of Perry is huge for the Falcons, who were hoping he'd be the answer in the middle of their defense. The second trade is far more intriguing.

If the Chiefs are willing to trade their first-round pick next year for Crabtree, they better be darn sure that Crabtree is going to report in shape to contribute this season. The entire Crabtree situation could have been avoided if the 49ers did their homework prior to selecting him. His agent, Eugene Parker, made it known he wanted top-three money. The 49ers felt they could sign Crabtree for bargain dollars but Parker wouldn't hear it.

Michael Ash: This is probably a bad time to be talking about trading Dorsey, who may have had one of his best games yet against the Raiders. If he can continue to build on that, those who thought he had no place in this defense might have spoken too soon.

But there's plenty of places to send him other than Atlanta. The Falcons may be picking pretty low in the upcoming draft. Wouldn't, say, the Lions' first rounder be more appealing? That could easily be a top five pick. If Gunther Cunningham can talk them into claiming Turk McBride off waivers, surely they'd have some interest in Dorsey.

As Crabtree, it would be an enormous risk. After missing training camp, the preseason, and countless practices, he'd probably do nothing to help the Chiefs this season. The recent track record of players who've come out of college and sat for a year – Maurice Clarett and USC's Mike Williams – hasn't been good.

The Chiefs could be drafting in the top five themselves in 2010. If they thought Crabtree was good enough to warrant such a high pick, they could have always drafted him this past April.

C.E. Wendler: No one is going to give a first-round pick for Dorsey at this point. The Chiefs think so little of Dorsey's pass-rushing abilities he doesn't even play in the nickel package most of the time. Alex Magee and Tyson Jackson typically line up as the tackles, flanked by Mike Vrabel and Tamba Hali. Name one NFL team who wants to take on a huge contract and give up a first-round pick for a defensive lineman who can't rush the passer.

Crabtree is not appealing whatsoever, especially at the price of a first-round pick. He actually might help the Chiefs this season, but to what point? He's not going to make them playoff contenders. There might be a better receiver coming out in next year's draft, one who can actually stretch the field. Crabtree might be worth a later pick – but that's an unlikely scenario.


Will Alex Magee will ever pressure Dorsey for the starting job at right end? He is listed with the third team on the depth chart, and right now they are almost exclusively using him in the nickel package.

Nick Athan: Dorsey has played well the last two games, and last week against Oakland may have been his best game. But Magee is pushing Dorsey to play better. Over the long term, Magee will be a better pass rusher, but he's going to have to outplay Dorsey and that might not happen until the last quarter of the season.


Will Magee take Dorsey's job?
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I like the "problem" the Chiefs will be facing if Dorsey continues to play better and Magee improves as the season wears on. That can only help this defensive line. However, before we get too giddy, someone has to start sacking opposing quarterbacks.

Michael Ash: It depends on how Magee develops and on how Dorsey adjusts to the new defense. At the moment, Dorsey seems to be doing OK. But if he starts to disappear, Magee might start to see more of an opportunity.

C.E. Wendler: When I saw Magee playing in preseason, even though it was only against backups, I felt he would eventually take Dorsey's job. He just appeared to be a much quicker, more active defensive lineman. Dorsey looks slow off the snap, with little explosion, although he's clearly improved his play at the point of attack.

If Dorsey is injured again – and injuries have always been a problem for him in the past – Magee will certainly receive more playing time. And the size of Dorsey's contract is going to make Magee look even better, eventually, if he outperforms him. Put it this way – the Chiefs don't need backups making first-round money.


What's your take on our draft picks now that the season is in full swing. Should we have drafted a starting offensive lineman – Phil Loadholt or Duke Robinson - over backups like Magee and Washington?

Nick Athan: Had the Chiefs not taken Jackson they would have gone with one of the top tackles left on the board. I was told Eugene Monroe would have been the guy. I still say passing on linebacker Aaron Curry was risky for the Chiefs. It's too early to say if any offensive lineman will be better than Magee or Washington.

Most drafts, when you look back, take a few years to evaluate. The proof may not show up until 2010. I still like the draft and I'm not ready to say they should have taken this player over that player. Ask me again in the offseason.

Michael Ash: Without a second-round pick, the Chiefs couldn't have drafted Loadholt. Robinson has been inactive so far this season, so he hasn't been a starter. He may have been able to start in Kansas City, but that would be more of a reflection of KC's current offensive line than Robinson.

Robinson went in the fifth round, so the comparison should be Colin Brown, not Magee or Washington. But Magee is playing behind the Chiefs' two most recent first-round picks, and Washington is playing behind a solid corner tandem in Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr. The fact that both players are backups today doesn't mean they're going to be backups forever. The season is two games old. We're a long way from reaching judgments on any of these players.

C.E. Wendler: Loadholt has been far from perfect for the Vikings so far. In fact, he has been downright terrible from what I've seen. Certainly, he has not been any better than Ike Ndukwe has with the Chiefs.

Could Scott Pioli have found an offensive lineman in the middle rounds that might have improved the Chiefs' line? You'd be hard pressed to argue that he couldn't have found such a player. But maybe he felt Magee and Washington had more potential than any lineman available when they were picked.

If Washington turns out to be Deion Sanders, no one is going to care about the offensive linemen Pioli passed on. The Chiefs weren't going to the Super Bowl this season, regardless of who played on the offensive line. They have plenty of time to find the right linemen, and not miss out on other potentially great players along the way.


Is all this criticism fair or is it way too early to be this harsh on Haley and Cassel?

Nick Athan: We've all been a bit harsh on Haley and Cassel, but to date we've not seen the fruits of their big contracts. Haley is doing his best to right a ship that's been sinking since Marty Schottenheimer left. Cassel is trying to shake the shadows of Tom Brady, an injury and a poor first game.

None of this is going to be an easy fix and neither man is going to be able to do it alone. But when you're in the hot seat like Haley and Cassel are at the moment, they bear the responsibility for the criticism that comes the Chiefs' way. My bet is we'll see both improve as the season wears on.


Should we be easier on Cassel?
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Michael Ash: There's nothing wrong with making criticisms that recognize the context of the situation – i.e. Haley has only coached two games and Cassel was coming off injury in his first game for the Chiefs.

Few will outright excuse Cassel's interceptions, for example, but anyone making a determination based on one performance isn't going to be taken seriously. The same goes for Haley. His team has been in it down to the wire in their first two games, and the offense he called put up 400 yards last week. Certain writers acting like he embarrassed himself aren't likely to be taken too seriously, either.

C.E. Wendler: It's fair to criticize Cassel, or at least blame him for one loss. Three plays lost the game against the Raiders, and he was more or less responsible for the negative outcome of all of those plays. It's silly to go beyond that, though. Cassel isn't proving anyone right or wrong based on one game.

As for Haley, yes, it's unfair. No one would have believed the Chiefs would have gained 400 yards against the Raiders had a single person predicted it before the game. No one would have believed the Chiefs would be within a play or two of being undefeated after two weeks had a single person predicted it before the regular season. There's a ton of positives where Haley is concerned so far. They vastly outweigh the negatives.

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