The football season as a whole has been put to rest. Yes, the Super Bowl was a dud of game in many people’s eyes and the halftime show failed to wow most Americans.
I was in Las Vegas during Super Bowl week and wore Chiefs gear everyday. I received many comments about the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes. Every single comment was positive. He is loved all over the country. The Las Vegas odds makers have the Chiefs as the pick to win the 2020 Super Bowl. They have a 1-6 odds to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.That all sounds good but it is now up to the Chiefs to fill obvious needs during this year’s draft, to resign key players and to maybe pick up one or two players as free agents who can fill holes in the roster.
The Chiefs do have a first-round pick and picks in all other seven rounds as a result of the Rams second-round pick in the Marcus Peters trade. They should definitely upgrade the inside linebacker and safety positions. They need to find another defensive lineman for the 4-3 defense that will most likely be used next year. If they pick a up a cornerback in the draft or free agency, it would be a big plus for a defense that needs to improve a bunch in 2019.
On offense, the team will probably be looking for another running back and tight end that can be coached along in the system and be productive at the end of the year. The Chiefs are not going to be able to sign all the players already on the squad because of the salary cap situation. It looks like Dee Ford may get the franchise tag for the 2019 season, however, big-ticket defensive players Justin Houston and Eric Berry may be question marks.
It will be interesting to see if the organization can get either or both players to renegotiate their present contracts. Eric Berry is a great player, leader and teammate but the team cannot afford to pay a player that much money to play in only three games in two years. Justin Houston is still a strong pass rusher on the bull rush techniques but he is unable to move in space. He looks like he is wearing cement shoes when he is tries to defend sweeps and reverses. He cannot cover backs out or drop in the flat on pass coverage. He is a third-down rush guy at this time of his career and is a player who should be reevaluated for his high-dollar contract.
He and Berry may need to move on down the road. If they are willing to work with the Chiefs to renegotiate their contracts, they could retire as Chiefs and have an opportunity to play in a Super Bowl to add to their long successful careers.
The present NFL is based on defensive players who can run to the ball and tackle when they reach the point of contact. This is not the mission operative of Reggie Ragland or Anthony Hitchens.
They played the whole 2018 season as catchers. They would catch the blockers and did not play the run downhill. In many of the highlight videos during the 2018 season, you could see both inside linebackers being moved backwards and not attacking the gap. When they did attack downhill, they could not finish the tackle due to terrible tackling technique. Way too many 2-yard gains ended up as 9- and 10-yard gains. Opposing offenses were not in third-and-long situations most of the year because the defense gave up at least eight yards on first and second downs.
The 2018 defense should have the title “third and short.” Eric Berry can still fill the alley on the run. If he is not on the field, the team is in trouble with inside linebackers who cannot tackle and safeties who play it soft in the run alleys. The team must have a safety who can cover the tight ends and can put pop knocks on opposing runners or it will continue to be a third-and-short defense.
This Super Bowl taught everyone that great defense is a necessity to win the ring. The playoffs are a whole new ballgame for two main reasons. The officials swallow their whistles in the playoffs compared to the regular season and most teams play much more conservative when they believe one mistake could cost them a game in a one-and-done situation.
On a promising note, Andy Reid, his coaching staff and the players adjusted to New England head coach Bill Belichick and his defensive game plan to score 31 points against the master of defense. In the Super Bowl game, the Rams had a deer-in-the-headlights look for the entire game.
A Bill Belichick team has the ability to make the opposing team look like they are left-handed. He will take away your top two strengths and make you beat his Patriots by using plans B, C, D or ZZ.
Tyreek Hill had only one catch in the AFC Championship game. They switched to zone coverage in the Super Bowl after playing 80 percent man in the regular season. Hopefully the odds makers are right about the 2019 Chiefs season. It is still a long hard road to the Super Bowl, but Chiefs fans have a lot to look forward for the 2019 season.
• Just a thought instead of a quote this week – how about the Super Bowl game on Saturday instead of Sunday? The day after is not a work day which allows everyone to recover, especially from a boring game and a controversial halftime show.
– 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.