Before the baseball season starts every fan thinks their hometown team has a chance. The Royals’ miserable start to the 2018 baseball season has brought a realization by Royals fans that this is the beginning of a long road back to prominence.
Hope is wonderful but sometimes it is necessary to suck it up and battle through the hard times. That is what made the 2015 World Series so very special. It was a long hard trip to the mountaintop. It might be time to bring young guys up from the minors to truly begin the rebuild process.
Kansas City fans had time to evaluate the other pro franchise in town last week with the results of the 2018 NFL draft for the Chiefs. Football fans need to understand that the draft is a far cry from an exact science. All the testing, film evaluations and scout analyses of prospects for more than three years, no one still knows how well a player will fare in the very difficult world of the NFL.
Brett Veach and Andy Reid went into the 2018 draft with a plan and they stuck to that plan. Veach proved he is not afraid to be aggressive and trade picks for a guy the organization likes, no matter the situation. It is how to become successful in the NFL. The New England Patriots have proven that out over the past 12 years.
NFL general managers need to live by a “no guts, no glory” philosophy. The team did not play games with their selections. They made a statement with their need for defensive depth and players who could compete for starting roles.
The key to success in the NFL is quality depth at all positions. The Philadelphia Eagles proved that last year when they won the Super Bowl. Backup quarterback Nick Foles won the Super Bowl MVP.
Without quality depth, an NFL team is doomed. The Chiefs’ 2017 defense was unable to apply sufficient pressure on the quarterback.
The outside linebackers who are pass rush guys were much needed by the Chiefs. Breeland Speaks and Dorian O’Daniel may turn out to successful outside pass rushers in the future. Speaks looks like a guy with a high-speed motor both on and off the field.
As a high school AD, I would find out from the vice-principals which students got in fights at school and I would go talk to those students to see if they would like to play some football. Defensive coordinators need guys who play with an edge. O’Daniel looks like he also could be an outstanding special teams player, which also addresses quality depth.
The pick I like the most from the draft this year is Derrick Nnadi. He is a big 6-foot-1 defensive lineman who weighs in at 320 pounds. The Chiefs have been very poor against the run the last two years. A team needs at least six defensive linemen to compete at a high defensive level in the NFL. The 2017 Eagles in 2017 rotated six linemen in every game all year. You must stop the run to be able to win in the NFL.
The Chiefs again addressed the defensive need by drafting Tremon Smith at cornerback and Armani Watts at safety. A team can never have enough defensive backs in the pass-happy NFL. Offenses today run the spread formation 70 percent of the time. You really need three starting corners in a game so the third can cover the inside receivers. You also need strong safeties who can cover the pass and provide alley help on the run. If Smith and Watts make the team they could also be a major part of special teams.
Kahlil McKenzie is a very interesting pick. He was a defensive lineman in college, but the Chiefs have plans for him to move to the offensive line position. Most player personnel feel at least one offensive lineman should be picked in every draft. Many times, you can pick up quality lineman in the lower rounds.
Overall, the Chiefs attacked their biggest weakness with a focus totally on defense. Time will tell if that focus turns out to be successful. The offense, barring injuries, should be loaded with skilled guys and an offensive line that has experience together over the last couple of years.
Reid is probably the most creative offensive guy in the NFL. His big Achilles heel is that he goes conservative at the wrong times. He needs to live more by a “no guts, no glory” approach at crucial times of the game. He obviously feels like the team has the offensive firepower to play with anyone. If Patrick Mahomes lives up to the hype, it will be fun to watch Reid and the offense work.
However, for Reid and the Chiefs to win a Super Bowl they must have a vast improvement on defense.
Fans in Chiefs Kingdom should be happy and ready for the 2018 season. The team will be younger, faster and more unpredictable than they have been the last two years. The football season begins is only four months down the road. Hopefully the team has another playoff chance and an opportunity to make a playoff run.
• My quote of the week comes from NFL Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh: “Adversity can be a great motivator. Football, as anything else, is always a series of problems. Your success will depend on how well you are prepared and how well you handle those problems as they come along.”
– Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 6 p.m. every Monday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.