Sunday, October 30, 2011
First and foremost, Terry Allen was a more successful coach when he got to Kansas. 75-26 at Northern Iowa is much more impressive than 20-30 at Buffalo. Gill had ONE winning season when he was hired to coach Kansas. Allen had never had a losing season. Sure Buffalo was a historically bad program before Gill got there, and No. Iowa is a Division 1-AA school… but how in the world do you hire a coach that’s 10 games under .500 at a MAC school!?!?!? At least with Allen there was some hope that his 1-AA success would translate to the next level. With Gill there’s never been any hope at all.
Second, Kansas was much more competitive under Allen than they have been under Gill. As if 5-15 (1-12 in the BIG 12) isn’t bad enough, Gill’s Jayhawks have been embarrassed in just about every way imaginable and it started on Day One:
- 6-3 loss to North Dakota State (Allen never lost to a Div1-AA school and was 9-3 all time against schools that weren’t from BCS conferences)
- Ten of their fifteen losses have come by 28 points or more (Allen had 12 losses of 28 points or more…in FOUR AND HALF YEARS!)
- The Jayhawks have given up 353 points through 8 games (Allen’s teams gave up more than 353 in an entire season twice…359 in 2000 and 354 in 1999)
It’s not just the failures that indict Gill. It’s his (minor) successes as well. The five wins for the Jayhawks so far?
28-25 over Georgia Tech (6-7)
42-16 over New Mexico State (2-10)
52-45 over Colorado (5-7)
42-24 over 1AA McNeese St
45-42 over Northern Illinois
Pretty unimpressive right? Now, Allen won more than 5 games over his first 20 games (8 to be exact) but I was afraid some people would give Glen Mason too much credit for that (I’m sure Mason was diligently recruiting while he tried to plan his escape route, but anyway). So, let’s look at Allen’s last 20 games…the games that got him fired. He was 7-13, and here are his wins:
31-28 over Iowa State (4-7)
23-20 over UAB (7-4)
42-0 over Southern Illinois (3-8)
38-17 over Missouri (3-8)
23-15 over Colorado (3-8)
24-10 over 1AA Missouri State
34-31 over Texas Tech (7-5)
Not exactly awe-inspiring but measurably better than Gill right? I mean he beat Missouri (3 times in 4 1/2 years), he beat a bowl team, he beat a team from the south...and that was the worst stretch of Allen’s career at Kansas!
Listen, I’m not calling on the Jayhawks to bring back Terry Allen. He was not a good football coach. He never had a winning record, never made a bowl game, and frankly hasn’t done much at Missouri State since leaving. I am calling on the fans, media, etc. to stop comparing Gill to Terry Allen. Because as bad as Terry Allen was, Turner Gill might be the worst coach in Big 12 (World?) history.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
1. Keep it close early. This Chargers team is (and always has been) fragile. The crowd at Arrowhead, on Halloween no less, may be an all-time great. If the Chiefs can stake an early lead, who has confidence that Philip Rivers (especially 2011 Philip Rivers) won’t meltdown? Arrowhead has long been famous as one of the best atmospheres in the league…especially on Monday Night Football. Last year, these same teams played on MNF to start the season, and the Chiefs victory (inspired by the loudest crowd I’d heard out there in years) led to an improbable division title. The recipe is still the same. Falling down one score early (like they did last year) would not be disastrous but any more than that could be.
2. Shutdown Ryan Mathews. With Rivers’ struggles and the statement made by the Chiefs secondary last week the Chargers are going to lean on the running game even more. It’s looking more and more like Mike Tolbert won’t play meaning Mathews should see even more touches. Mathews leads the team in rushing yards, total yards, and is second in receptions. He’s averaging 137 total yards a game in victories and just 96 in losses. As much as Mathews was maligned last season for fumbles and injuries, he’s turned into the heart of this Chargers’ offense. Shutting him down puts the pressure on Rivers in a hostile environment...and that is a great start.
3. Contain Antonio Gates. When he’s healthy, you can’t stop Antonio Gates, he’s proven that. Even last week when he wasn’t really healthy one of the best pass defenses in the league couldn’t stop him. Still, the point is, the Chiefs need to make the Chargers beat them with their weakness (wide outs) against the Chiefs’ strength (corners). This strategy will probably result in Rivers completing a deep bomb or two, but it will also give the Chiefs more opportunities to make the kind of big plays they’ll need to win this game.
Simple enough right? Listen, if you’re looking for a rah-rah speech about how this game makes us a lock to win the division you’d probably be better served going here. Even with a win here, the Chiefs have a tremendous amount of work to do to be anywhere close to the playoffs. That being said, this game is absolutely winnable.
The fact is, San Diego is a pretty good representation of their city. Their used to perfect, comfortable conditions...and a laid back atmosphere. Make them uncomfortable and the Chiefs have a pretty good chance of being in a first place tie on Tuesday morning, no matter how unlikely that seemed a month ago.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Royals fans, prepare to have your minds blown courtesy of Baseball Reference’s Play Index:
Since 1919 there have been 6 rookies aged 21 or under to hit at least 18 HR, drive in 75 runs, and bat .290. You know who the most recent was, but for dramatic effect…
1936- Joe DiMaggio
1939- Ted Williams
1956- Frank Robinson
1958- Orlando Cepeda
2001- Albert Pujols
2011- Eric Hosmer
Before the saber metrics crowd closes the window…Yes, those are arbitrary data points…Yes, those are antiquated statistics…Yes, the other 5 players had significantly better seasons than Hosmer. Still, say it with me: DiMaggio, Williams, Robinson, Cepeda, Pujols, Hosmer. Think it’s completely meaningless? Find me a season comparison that puts Bob Hamelin in this group (not a lot of HOFers were 26 during their rookie season).
I will agree that the numbers above don’t quite fit the purpose of the article, which is to find the greatest comparison to Hosmer’s rookie year. For those, I gave into a few of the new age (more accurate) statistics. I replaced HRs with OPS+ (115 or higher), I replaced RBI with SLG % (.450 or higher) and I replaced batting average with qualifying for the batting title. We’re still looking for 21 (or younger) year old rookies here. The new results show 12 comparables…and one near perfect match. Before I get to the near perfect match, the rest:
- 10 of the 12 comps are HOF eligible, 7 of them are in the HOF
- The two that aren’t eligible yet are Albert Pujols and Jason Heyward
- 5 of the 12 were 20, while 7 of them were 21
Of those seven 21 year-olds, 1 of them was also a 1st baseman. This players OBP% was .001 below Hosmer’s, his SLG% was .004 above Hosmer’s and his OPS+ was 5 points higher. Not surprisingly he’s also the #1 match for Hosmer on Baseball Reference’s most similar players through age 21. His name? Eddie Murray.
Now if you’re my age you may only remember Murray as a switch-hitter with an awesome fro and an even more awesome mustache. The fact is, from 1981-1984 Murray was one of the best hitters in the American League, if not all of baseball. Incredibly, Murray put up an OPS+ of 156 in all four of those seasons, and deservedly finished in the top 5 of the MVP vote each year as well. He won a Gold Glove in three of the four seasons and led the Orioles to a World Championship in 1983.
Even Murray isn’t a perfect comp because he’s a switch hitter, he came into the league on a really good Orioles team, and Hosmer could never grow a fro that awesome. Even if he was a perfect comp, that wouldn’t mean Hosmer was going to follow Murray’s career arc (the best comp for Angel Berroa at age 23 was Ernie Banks). Sure, there are a lot of things that could go wrong between .290/18/75 at age 21 and the Hall of Fame. On the other hand, DiMaggio-Williams-Robinson-Cepeda-Pujols-Hosmer.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
The debut of Carson Palmer?
I'll admit it, I'm not one of those people killing the Raiders for this trade. Did they give up too much? Absolutely....but isn't that exactly what you'd want your team to do in this situation? The Raiders are 4-2 with Kansas city (twice), Denver, Minnesota, Chicago, and Miami left on their schedule. With their roster, even an adequate QB wins 5 of those games, maybe 6. Steal one against San Diego and you're looking at a division title.
So the question becomes, is Carson Palmer still an adequate QB? I think we find out on Sunday even if he doesn't start. No matter how talented the Raiders are, I don't think they're good enough to beat the Chiefs with Kyle Boller at QB and if they have playoff aspirations, this is a must win. So even if Hue Jackson doesn't have the cajones to start Palmer, I think we'll see him in this game. How he performs may be the biggest storyline of Week 7.
Does Jackie Battle get the ball?
Todd Haley spent most of last year giving Thomas Jones far more carries than he deserved in light of Jamal Charles' dominance. Some argue that Charles' dominance was because of the small workload and not despite it, but even if he falls to 5 yards a carry, he's a much better play than the 3 yards and cloud of dust the 33 year old Jones produces. So, if Charles couldn't wrestle carries away from Jones why would Battle? Jamal Charles is the future of this franchise and he's undersized. Haley could legitimately argue(wrongly I'd say) that it's in the best interest of the franchise to limit Charles' carries. With Battle there is no such argument. He's big, he's 28 years old, and (assuming Charles comes back full strength next year) his future value to the franchise is negligible. If Battle is truly more effective than Jones (and if you've watched the Chiefs this year you know he is) Haley has no excuse to not give him 20 carries a game. If he does, there's no reason to think he couldn't become a solid RB2 for fantasy purposes.
Which Oakland WR emerges with a new QB?
The Raiders receivers have been teasing fantasy owners for years. If Carson Palmer is (still) better than Jason Campbell, it's conceivable that one of them could turn into a fantasy stud...but which one? Jacoby Ford is ridiculously fast, and equally athletic...but for some reason has never turned that promise into results. Darrius Heyward-Bey is also explosive and has the whole 3rd-year-breakout-WR thing going for him. Denarius Moore got all of the preseason pub and exploded onto the scene a little over a month ago, but has all but disappeared since. Is it possible that all three of these talents WRs remain fantasy disappointments? Yeah, but it's also possible that Carson Palmer makes one (or more) of them relevant, and that would be huge.
Is Matt Cassel to Dwayne Bowe once again turning into one of the most dominant QB-WR pairs in the league?
Last year these two hooked up for over 1100 yards an 15 TDs to make them the most prolific duo in the league. Throughout the off season (and the first two weeks of this season) the popular theory was that an inferior schedule was mostly responsible. But since week 2 Bowe has 16 catches for 302 yards and 4 TDs putting him back on pace to be one of the top fantasy WRs in the league. A lot has been made about how much more difficult the Chiefs' schedule is this season but, in terms of pass defense, it's really not lining up that way. The Chiefs remaining schedule includes 4 of the 5 worst pass defenses in the league this season and 8 of their last 12 games are against the bottom 3rd of the league. The Raiders are one of those bad pass defenses and another good showing could turn Cassel into a borderline fantasy QB1 and cements Bowe's spot in the elite WRs.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
This pearl of wisdom from "Steve-O's" latest blog post...apparently I really got under his skin. I always love when someone goes with the 'you're not a true fan' blast when people don't see things the same way as them. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, I think King Carl used the same blast towards the end of his reign.
Now, I'm ready to fully admit that Suck4Luck was ignorant. I had this epiphany about 20 minutes into the Dolphins/Jets pukefest on MNF*. What I'm not ready to do is accept Steve's castration of those fans that were behind the movement from the beginning.
*Seriously, has there been a worse season of MNF than 2011? Rams-Giants? Dolphins-Jets? Colts-Bucs? Unfortunately, I'm afraid the worst may be yet to come. Jags-Ravens this week is a snoozefest. Chiefs-Pats later this year will be interesting only if Todd Haley has a 6 inch beard by then and goes postal on Belichick.
Steve, the reason people were on the Suck4Luck bandwagon is exactly because they "aspire to greatness". Sure, maybe a QB at #1 overall is 50/50 (it's more like 70/30) but do you think there is a 50/50 shot that Matt Cassel is leading us to greatness? Is there a 50/50 shot that the Chiefs make the playoffs without their best offensive and defensive players? We want greatness more than anything because it's been so damn long since we've seen it. Frankly, if our owner seemed a little more interested in greatness and a little less interested in padding his pockets maybe fans wouldn't be grasping at straws. But that proposition is much less than 50/50.
Now, the wheels have clearly fallen off the Suck4Luck bandwagon...and that's fine. I'm not (nor was I ever) actively rooting against the Chiefs. I do, however, think it needs to be pointed out that by putting your heart and soul into this team, you aren't striving for greatness...you're striving for mediocrity. I for one have seen plenty of that over the past 25 years.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
I could have written about how the most likely result was the Chiefs working their way into a 1-13 mess before miraculously winning out and missing out on Luck. To take it step further I could have found the best (worst) LSU defensive lineman available and projected that the Chiefs would take him withe the number 3 pick. 3-13, that would have almost been symbolic wouldn't it? After those disastrous 13-3 letdowns we experienced?
2003 when we couldn't force a single punt against the Colts
1997 when the Chiefs inexplicably went back to Grbac after Gannon led us to a 5-1 record down the stretch
1995 EFF YOU Lin Elliott
After looking at that list I guess it's even more symbolic that the Colts were the team to ruin Kansas City's Luck dreams. Now that the dream is over, where do we go from here? Obscurity, that's where...which is pretty much where this franchise has existed ever since we ran Marty out of town.
Oh, back to that better opportunity: I've been writing recaps for footballguys.com, the most comprehensive fantasy football site on the planet. It is subscription based ($27.95 a year I think) but if you're playing fantasy football for money (or pride) it's worth every penny. They give more information than you could ever get through and great contests. One of them is their semi-high roller Footballguys Player Championship with a $125,000 grand prize. I'm telling you, awesome stuff over there.