Ah, Greek Mythology. So many lessons, so little time. You've all heard of Achilles, yes? He was a Greek Hero of the Trojan War. His exploits in and around Troy are the primary concern of Homers llyad. His feats (no pun intended...ok, so it was) were mighty but his downfall derived from an arrow stiking his heel. How could one so mighty fall from so small a wound?
The story, which is great entertainment in itself, has become an adage. We now refer to any such wound to a mighty combatant as such. As in, 'The glass jaw was that boxers achilles heel. He just couldn't take a punch". Of course the Achilles heel, can be any seemingly small problem that given time, becomes a mortal wound. This can be either literal or figurative.
So, why the history lesson Aiken? What is this all about? Glad you asked. I believe that our new HC, namely Andy Reid, is setting himself up with not one, but several situations that could all prove to be (either singularly or combined) his own Achilles heel. We've all been discussing them already, but let's take a look at what's happened to date under Mr. Reid's tenure.
Let's face it Chief's fans. We are absolutely starved for some decent leadership around Arrowhead. It seems like we really haven't had anybody that had a plan and was in control since Dick Vermeil and King Carl were here. I mean, everything that has happened since then has left most fans wanting. Scratch that. The incredibly abysmal nature of what's happened since Vermeil's days has left most fans depressed, bereft of much hope, and in possession of a very cynical view about what this organization is actually capable of. In short, over the last seven years, we pretty much sucked.
Well now there is a new Sheriff in town and he has not lacked in doing things differently than the previous regimes. In fact, it's hard to remember a time when so many things seemed to be going on all at once in the harsh light of day concerning this team. Reid has seemingly pulled back all the blankets, stripped the beds and replaced the mattresses for all to see. He's not trying to hide anything. To the contrary, he's advertising all the things he's doing (mostly after the fact of course--you don't give away company secrets until they aren't afterall) to the fan base in grandiose fashion.
Do you see a method to this madness? Doesn't it strike you a little odd that we have gone so almost perfectly 180 degrees? Is it possible that Clark through Reid is trying to connect to the fan base and in so doing pump up that fan base simply by emphasizing the volume of changes it looks like are being made? Maybe, maybe not. You have to believe though, that when a fan base is as starved for a hero as this one was, nearly anything will do. That's where I'm at with Reid right now.
The fan base was actually less excited from the jump than I thought they would be. Afterall, Andy Reid was coming off two very poor seasons in Philly. He was FIRED from his job there and most Chiefs fans were kind of like, "Hey!, yeah! All right. Well at least ok. You know...he's better than what we had...isn't he??". It was a surprise hiring and Clark made no bones about it--he wanted Reid. The question that remains to be answered is whether or not he gave Reid carte blanche in terms of how to 'fix' the problems that this football team has. Right now, it sure looks like that is the case. It also sure looks like Andy Reid is a kid in a candy store.
That, my friends, is how the scenario is set up wherein that Achilles heel is garnered.
Andy Reid wasn't put on a short leash, he was turned loose with no leash at all. The man picked his GM and then went to work finding and acquiring the coaches and players that he thinks he can make a successful football team with. Excellent. It appears that he has a plan and that plan is being executed. Double Excellent. Everything is going swimmingly--or is it?
Achilles Heels seem to be piling up in Arrowhead and we haven't even had the draft yet! Let's discuss some of those potential problems and see where we end up.
The first potential Achilles heel that I see is the choice of Bob Sutton for DC. I've already written an article about his time with the Jets. I would question the reasoning of Reid here simply because there is nothing whatever to point to that says Bob Sutton is going to transform our defense into a winner. As the article states, when Sutton was finally made DC by Mangini the defense took a nose dive. In three years, with an offense that was about average, Sutton's defense averaged 18th in the league overall and went to only one playoff game. It was a wildcard game and they lost it.
Sure, Bob was present during the Rex Ryan days with that top ten defense, but that was Mike Petine's doing through Rex. Will Sutton bring some of that learning with him from the Jets or will he want to 'do his own thing' out from under the auspice of the 'Ryan way'? It's hard to tell from what Bob has said in print since coming to KC. Frankly, I think he starts out under the gun at a minimum. Romeo might not have been HC material, but our defense had done some growing under him. Will Bob continue that growth or will he scrap what has been done in favor of a brand new set of plans? If he does that, how will the team respond? Looking at the defensive additions so far in FA, you have to believe something very different is afoot. It's success is still just a dream in Bobby's eye at this point. I think Reid has taken a big chance here.
That brings us to potential Achilles heel #2. Matt Cassel 2.0.
Alex Smith. The name sends chills through people. For most fans that actually watch football, however, those chills are from fear not excitement. I have him pictured here in his cap and gown because this is the biggest attribute that Smith seems to get credit for out there in the NFL ether. He is cerebral. His buddy, Trent Dilfer (aka the worst QB to ever win a Super Bowl on the strenght of his defense alone) says that Alex may just be smartest QB in the league right now, actually referring to him as a 'master' at running an offense from the line of scrimmage.
That's a very nice thing to say. Unfortunately, we've never even come close to seeing this feat from Smith. Hell, Smith has had a tough time just staying on the field in his seven year career only managing to play all 16 games twice in that span. Quarterbacks that miss playing time because of injury do two things. They make your team lose because they can't stay on the field and they hang around the league forever because they just don't have enough bad film to prove that they suck beyond a reasonable doubt.
There is a contingent of Chiefs fans that simply will not shut up about how 'great' a choice that Smith was/is. Based on what exactly? I get the homer side of things. I want this team to succeed too. To simply sit there and run your mouth about how great a player is without substance to back that up however, just makes you look ignorant. I don't think these fans realize how stupid they are going to look when this team is 4-4 or 3-5 at the halfway point. From their perspective though, it won't be because of Smith...even if it is.
The worst part about Smith is that he was the quintessential Matt Cassel, before Matt Cassel was. You've heard the argument that Matt Cassel had a different OC each of his four years as a starter and therefore was hamstrung on the field because of all the changes that entails? Well, Alex Smith has the same problem, but his lasted for SEVEN years. Harbaugh finally comes along and dumbs down the offense for him and he has a few decent games and the next thing you know he's a 'master' at calling the offense. Yeah, right. I've got some swampland you need to take a look at while your here too.
In much the same way that Sutton is a huge risk with the defense, Smith is a huge risk with the offense. Can you see a few cracks in the armor starting to show here? Especially around the heel? Let's keep going.
Potential Achilles heel number 3. The Sultan of Southlake (TX) Carrol HS.
Why is this guy always picking at his nose? I am a Mizzou grad and I want to take this opportunity to thank Chase for playing at Mizzou. He did a very nice job and won us some games. I enjoyed watching him during his time there. You know what I learned from watching him play at Missouri? I think I learned that he's not really NFL calibre. Now I know that many of you will disagree here, and I get the over the top homerism that comes with this kind of a choice, but come on folks--really?
Think about it this way. IF, Alex Smith takes the field and pulls a boner, where does the success of the season rest? Right on Chase Daniel's shoulders. Here's a guy who's thrown all of 9 passes in the NFL. He's supposed to take over an offense that is one of the most prolific throwing offenses in the NFL (if Reid's past is any indication)? Um, can you say prescription for disaster? On top of that, we paid the guy three million dollars for the privelege of watching him pick his nose on the bench? This one has HEEL written all over it. I'll tell ya what boys and girls, ya better hope that Chase stays put on that bench. If not, we're in a heap of trouble.
This is actually why I think that it is still a possibility that Reid takes Geno or some other QB with the first pick. Right now, we have no insurance at the QB spot should Smith get hurt or fail. None. How many times in the last several years has this been our mantra to start a season? How many times has it bitten our ass? I don't know about you, but I've had to change my shorts quite frequently because of this little problem. I have a feeling that given the you know, actual history of the players involved, we may be quarterbackless once again this season. In fact, this brings us to our next feature.
Potential Achilles heel number 4. The Case of the Mysterious Offensive Tackle Disappearance.
Wow, a rare shot of Winston with his mouth shut. Don't find these just lying around everywhere. So, what's the deal here kids? Did Reid just lose his marbles or was Winston just not all that as so many of you thought was the case? Or does he just not have the beef that Reid wants on the line? All good questions without answers. It is my opinion that Winston pissed off Clark by shooting off his mouth about the whole fan booing Matt Cassel's injury thing and he is no longer a Chief because of it.
The fact that he hasn't signed on with another team yet is also somewhat telling. There are so many OTs this year in the draft an in FA that many teams are just waiting until after the draft to fill out their rosters at this position. Winston is just another rummy. Maybe that will cause him to think before putting his foot in his mouth next time. Expensive lessons are the best learned.
As if one missing Tackle wasn't quandry enough, now we have Albert in the mix. You have to love all the speculation going on that what's happening with our Tackles is some sort of 'master plan' by Reid/Dorsey to make other teams think we need an OT and therefore we will want to trade away our number one pick to replace our second round pick that we lost picking up a questionable at best QB. Yada, yada, yada. Frankly, the number of people that would have to be under control in order to make this draft/trade scenario happen is formidable enough as to make the whole idea a bit of a pipe dream, but you Reid afficianados just keep right on dreaming.
No, I'd say that Albert trashing his Twitter account was really him being pissed. Dorsey came out and made a statement that he would play the five best linemen period and where they played was up to contest. Albert has spent a long time playing LT in KC and has been the constant target of those who think his natural position is guard. Albert wants to play LT. He gets pissed when people suggest he shouldn't be playing there. Dorsey sort of suggested that he could move if they found the right guy. Albert said, ok move is right. Either pay me or move me to another team. Thus we have the situation that we see today prior to the upcoming draft. Don't be surprised if the Chiefs do trade Albert. If that happens, the odds of keeping Alex Smith, Chase Daniel or any other relatively inept QB upright and healthy this season become astronomical. Can you say 4-12?
This is one the boys had better get ahold of pretty quickly and correct, because if it stays out of control, the team suffers. Could Albert be Paris (he's the one who shot the arrow that hit Achilles in the heel that eventually killed him) for Andy Reid's Achilles?
Well folks, there are other things that are going on as well, but to me these four are the biggies right now. If Andy Reid truly is the Master of the Universe we have been led to believe, why, we have nothing to worry about. I mean, when Alex Smith gets clocked and concussed from the left side because we didn't have a serviceable LT, Chase Daniel will step in and take us right to the play offs.
Then, when Donald Stephenson throws a lookout block and gets Daniel a spot on the bench right beside Smith, not to worry. Trick shot saves the day and gets us to the Superbowl, but due to the lack of decent Offensive tackles he too succombs to injury from having his ass handed to him several times in the playoff game. So what happens? They take Stanzi off the practice squad and for the first time in history, a starting QB in the Super Bowl has never taken a snap in a regular season game in the NFL. It could happen, right? I wonder if Cody Slate is available?
Yeah, be worried. Anything else is just nuts.