The Kansas City Chiefs announced today that they have hired former Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Brian Daboll as their offensive coordinator. Daboll was one of the three finalists, along with former Raiders offensive coordinator Al Saunders and (gulp) Chiefs quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn, for the coaching job. Daboll was the Dolphins’ offensive coordinator in 2011. Now before you protest in shock (The Miami Dolphins offense?! Are you kidding me) you must realize that this was the first time in the Dolphins history to have a player rush for 1,000 yards (Reggie Bush) and have another player have 1,000 receiving yards (Brandon Marshall). The first time ever. I don’t care if you’re the baby from E-Trade, if you’re the first to do that for a storied team like the Dolphins, you should be looked at and considered.
Daboll has a relationship with Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli and coach Romeo Crennel from their years together on the Patriots. Daboll was an assistant under Bill Belichick in New England from 2000-06. So he’s from the “Belichick Brady Bunch,” and might know a thing or two about cheating, spying, and basically helping Pioli hold down Arrowhead Stadium (new hidden seat cameras anyone?). After his stint with the Patriots, he was the Jets’ quarterbacks coach in 2007-08. He was an offensive coordinator for the Browns under Eric Mangini in 2009-10, but we all know what happened to the Browns that year. (Ok I don’t, but I’m going to safely assume they had a losing season—again.)
I like Coach Daboll because of how well he can draw up plays and recognize defenses. Although under Daboll the Dolphins ranked a miserable 22nd in total offense and 20th in points (20.6 per game) this season, they performed much better in the second half of the season, and they were missing their quarterback Chad Henne to injury and playing with Matt Moore. And, although a small jump, it is better than the Chiefs offense, which ranked 27th in the league and averaged only 13.2 points per game in 2011. Interestingly enough, Daboll has worked with Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel, who entered the league as a seventh-round pick of the Patriots in 2005. Daboll was the Patriots’ receivers coach from 2002-06. So expect Cassel to be the starting quarterback next year.
This hire seems fitting because all Scott Pioli refers to is “The Patriots Way”. And since Daboll was with the Pats, he will fit in perfectly. I assume that Jim Zorn will have a major role in the offense as well because of his experience and the familiarity of the team. The major void that the Chiefs have is still at the quarterback position. It is clear that Matt Cassel cannot win a Super Bowl. It will be interesting to see how the Chiefs and Pioli address the quarterback situation and the roster with the draft and signing of free agents, most notably Brandon Carr and Dwayne Bowe.
And people were saying that football is done for the year.
This past Wednesday, Kansas State signed their 2012 Football Recruiting Class. As usual, Bill Snyder’s recruiting class isn’t filled with 4 or 5 stars or any highly ranked recruits. However, the 2012 recruiting class has some of Bill Snyder’s system players that will make a huge impact either immediately or down the road. Let’s look at some of the future stars from K-State’s recruiting class.
Biggest impact next year: Marquez Clark
Marquez Clark is a wide receiver from Navarro JC. This past season he set the NJCAA records for receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns in a season. With sub-4.4 speed, expect him to work his way into the top 4 of K-State’s receiving core along with Chris Harper, Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson.
Biggest Impact Down the Road: Tavarious Bender
Tavarious Bender is a 6-3 dual threat quarterback from Lincoln, Nebraska. Rated by Rivals as the 20th dual threat quarterback in the country and the Top recruit in the state of Nebraska. Watching his highlight film is like a man amongst boys. He runs a 4.47 election 40 and throws the ball with nice accuracy and touch. He fits Bill Snyder’s prototypical quarterback mold.
Sleeper: Judah Jones
Judah Jones is a wide receiver from Shreveport, Louisiana’s historic football program Evangel Christian. He had offers from Arkansas and a few others but chose to go to KSU on NSD. The reason I’m picking him as a sleeper is because he plays for an awesome high school program and he was a vastly underrated recruit
Overall Grade: B
As stated before, this class isn’t filled with superstars. It has a few JUCO players that can come in and contribute right away and some players that can be very productive down the road. This is Coach Snyder’s best class in awhile, and while people may be very critical of it, I see a ton of potential with this class.
In this week’s edition of Chatting with… we managed to get ahold of the do-it-all player out of Blue Springs South, Connor Harris. Harris, the Kansas City Star’s Boys Football Player of the Year, played quarterback, safety, kicker, and punter for Blue Springs South. He managed to help lead his team to a Missouri 6A State Championship, outshooting CBC in a game that saw big plays all over the field, especially from Harris.
kcyoungguns: Alright Connor, thanks for taking the time. After losing to Rockhurst in your 3rd game of the season, what did you tell your teammates after the loss? And how did that loss help you and your team later on in the season?
Connor Harris: I told them that we’re okay we didn’t play a bad game we just couldn’t put the ball in the end zone. I also told them that we new to work harder and move on and get better if we want to play them again in the playoffs
KC: Later in the season, you guys beat the Missouri 5A defending State Champions Lee’s Summit West. What did that win mean to you and your team?
CH: To beat Lee’s Summit West, that was a big accomplishment. They are such a great team and have really good athletes and coaches. It also opened a lot of people’s eyes and we proved we were going to be a good team
KC: Incredibly, for our readers who don’t know, you play quarterback, safety, punter, and kicker. Do you ever get a play off or time to rest during the game?
CH: Haha not really. I don’t play kick return so that’s my rest, but at the beginning of the season I came out a couple more times because I wasn’t in shape but as the season went on, I rarely came out.
KC: It seems like more and more players are specializing to play one position. How did you manage to play all these positions at a very high level?
CH: You know, I just want to help my team out the most I can, and I kicked and played safety as a sophomore, and as a freshman I played QB. So when senior year came, everyone wanted me to play it again. Luckily I got to do all three.
KC: Let’s move on to the State Championship game. Can you describe the emotions you were feeling before the game?
CH: I used to get a little nervous before games, but before State for some reason I wasn’t. I just told my self and my teammates that we have nothing to lose, because nobody in the state of Missouri (the media especially) picked us to win or believed we even had a chance, but we all believed in each other and so did our fans. I also think I didn’t get nervous was because I knew that this was everything we have worked for and I was just going to enjoy it no matter what happened. It was just the best feeling in the world.
KC: After working your whole high school career to win a State Championship, what were your emotions like at the end of the game against CBC?
CH: After the game, to see all of our coaches smiling and laughing and everyone hugging each other and just knowing we did what we had dreamed about since freshman year was the greatest feeling. Also, seeing all my family standing there at the hotel waiting for me (I have a lot of family who live in st louis) after the game was a great feeling. For them to come see me play was amazing.
KC: Many would argue that you were the best football player in the Kansas City area. Could you describe your reaction when you didn’t win the Simone Award?
CH: You know I was a little disappointed, but I knew that it was going to be a toss up between all four of us. And Evan deserved that award. He is a great player and did a lot for his team throughout his career there. I was just satisfied to even be a finalist and to even be apart of that ceremony.
KC: Although you didn’t win the Simone Award, you did win the Kansas City Star’s Boys Football Player of the Year award. What does that award mean to you?
CH: That award meant a lot too me, there are so many great athletes in the KC metro and to be named the best, it was a great feeling because there are so many great players.
KC: Now that high school football is over, as of now, do you have future plans involving football?
CH: Yeah, I plan playing football in college, but I still don’t know where I am going, but I do know I want to major in Criminal justice and have a future in law enforcement.
So that’s it. We want to thank Connor Harris for completing this interview. Also, if by chance you missed our previous Chatting with… segment, check out our interview with Derek Hall, a 49ers practice player and Rockhurst Alum. And remember, if you know someone who should be recognized for the week in our Chatting with… segment, email Blase Capelli at firstname.lastname@example.org or Spencer Montgomery at email@example.com.
For this weeek’s segment of Chatting with…we have a gem. With the 49ers soon to face off against the high-scoring New Orleans Saints in the playoffs, we thought who better to interview than a 49ers player. Yes, that’s right, this week’s interview is with Derek Hall, a Rockhurst High School graduate, former Stanford player, and currently a 49ers practice squad player. The 6’5, 307 pound tackle has been working hard to make the active roster and was apart of the Stanford football team that beat Virginia Tech in the 2011 Orange Bowl.
kcyoungguns: How difficult was the transition from Rockhurst to the Division 1 powerhouse Stanford University?
Derek Hall: It was a pretty difficult transition just because whenever you go up a level in competition the guys get bigger, stronger, and faster. You know it takes a while to get used to it to find your role. It took me a while; I didn’t end up starting until senior season because that’s when I finally figured out that offensive tackle was the best position for me. It’s just really challenging because you’re in a new environment and you’re at the bottom of the food chain and you just have to work your way up.
KC: How did you climb through the ranks to eventually become a starter at Stanford? What did it take?
DH: I actually ended up having to change positions because it just took me a while to figure out that I was better served playing offensive line then defensive line just because of my natural abilities. Therefore, I had kind of a slow start and eventually as I got better and guys ahead of me graduated I was presented with my opportunity and I found tremendous motivation to fight my up to getting the starting job. It actually all started after I lost my mom; I made a vow to myself that I would not graduate without her getting to see me play again. It just all fueled me to play harder than I ever had done before. Eventually when I was presented with the opportunity to start at tackle I just did everything I could to take the position. I was then able to have a really good senior year, and it all turned out well.
KC: Last year, you guys beat Virginia Tech in the Orange bowl in your first bowl appearance since the Sun Bowl in 2009. What was that feeling like?
DH: It was incredible. It was one of the biggest senses of accomplishment I’ve ever had in my life. It was just a super euphoric moment when you just feel the ultimate joy of everything you’ve worked so hard for culminating in an eruption of a really happy moment. You’re just really happy; you just want to hug everyone especially your teammates and celebrate in the moment together. It was just an amazing moment, one of the best moments of my whole life.
KC: Now we understand you declared for the draft last year and didn’t get drafted. What was the next step? How did you handle the adversity?
DH: You know I didn’t get drafted and it really hurt me. It just hurts your pride when you see guys getting drafted ahead of you that you feel like you could have played better then. But eventually I just shook it off and told myself that I couldn’t let anything break me. Now I kind of have an extra chip on my shoulder because I feel like I should have been drafted, I feel like I was good enough too. I just use that motivation that whatever team picked me up and signed me I was going to prove them wrong and prove to them that they should have drafted me. So I just kept working really hard and training with other guys and once the lockout ended two teams called including the 49ers and they really wanted me. It was good situation because I already knew the coaches there and I loved the Bay Area and it just felt like the right fit for me; especially since I already knew the offense so it would be a much smoother transition playing for the 49ers.
KC: Could you briefly talk about your relationship with old Stanford coach and now head coach of the 49ers Jim Harbaugh? How did that play into your decision?
DH: It had a lot of say in my decision. As an undrafted free agent I enter into the league in a much tougher role. No one is going to give you anything. Therefore if I go to a team where no one knows me I have to work with that team just to try to get them to like me to get them to want to keep me around. Whereas coach Harbaugh and the staff already know me, they know what they’re getting in me. They like me and they care, and therefore they’re willing to coach me up and get me ready. Whenever you have a personal relationship with somebody, you’re going to want to invest more in him or her, so I just knew that it was going to be a better fit.
KC: Currently what is your status on the team and what does that entail?
DH: I’m currently on practice squad trying to get better every week. Practice squad is where you’re apart of the team but you’re not on the active roster list so you’re not technically under a big, binding contract. Therefore, they can replace and let people go as they please throughout the season. Pretty much I practice with the team. I’m there to help give a really good scout look for the defense and get better because the ultimate goal is to train us and get us playing at a high enough level to get on the active roster and eventually play for them. They’re not going to keep practice squad guys around who they don’t think can eventually contribute to the team.
KC: How has the transition from Stanford to the NFL been? How is the competition and intensity different?
DH: The change is incredible. It’s the absolute highest level of football you can get too. The guys are way bigger, stronger, and faster; especially the defensive linemen. It’s absolutely incredible the kinds of athletes these guys are and that was my biggest transition: just playing against guys that are so much better than what I was used to playing with in college. It’s hard at first especially because you’re just so stressed as a rookie because of the environment. They can cut you whenever they want if you underperform so it’s a high intensity environment. But eventually I was able to get my mind right and get used to the conditions and not think about if I were going to get cut today. I just work my hardest and I know that in the end I gave it my all in camp and I just keep telling myself that and it has helped me transition much easier into the NFL; and I’m just working my way up.
KC: Who is your biggest inspiration?
DH: I’d have to say my dad. He’s such a great example of strength and responsibility and taking care of business. I’m so proud of him and all I want to do is emulate the strength and responsibility that he demonstrates everyday, like still raising my family without my mom. He’s just so supportive of everyone, especially me, when I’m handling all of the stress of the NFL right now. Yea, I’d definitely have to say my dad.
KC: When football is over, what’s the next step?
DH: I guess I have to go find a job! I want to work at a technology company because I studied communications and specifically how people interact with media and virtual reality at Stanford. I’m a technology guru so I see myself pursuing some kind of technology job eventually!
We would like to thank Zac Hardwick, who conducted the interview, and Derek Hall for completing it. If you missed them, check out our interviews with the Nebraska commit Mike Rose and the Kansas City Star’s Girls Golfer of the Year Baile Winslow. And remember, if you know someone who should be recognized for the week in our Chatting with… segment, email Blase Capelli at firstname.lastname@example.org or Spencer Montgomery at email@example.com.
There are few things in life that bring me more joy than the NFL playoffs. Okay, maybe watching the Sons of Anarchy with my dog Mazie, just might give the playoffs a run for its money, but even that can’t match-up with some cold weather, hard hitting football. The drama is just incredible, and, no, not even scripted television can top the incredible games (I can safely make this prediction with all the television shows I’ve been watching over the break. Thank you, God, for Netflix). Come on, think about all the “holy shit” moments that you have witnessed in the playoffs: a 6th seed winning the whole thing last year, Marshawyn Lynch’s beast-mode-I’m-putting-the-team-on-my-back run against the Saints, “the catch.” I could go on forever. But I won’t. Instead, I’m going to help save you from the shock of a future “holy shit” moment, and maybe at the same time save you from having a heart attack. For the 2011-2012 NFL playoffs, this is what’s going to happen*…
1. Defense will win the Super Bowl.
In a season dominated on the offensive side of the ball, I’m thinking that the old adage, offense wins games, defense wins championships, comes through once again. We all know that the three favorites to win the Super Bowl (Packers, Patriots, Saints respectively) can put points on the board, but their defenses are in the bottom 25% in yards allowed per game with the Patriots and Packers being 31st and 32nd respectively. This doesn’t mean I’m completely ruling out any of these teams to win it all, but rather, if these teams are expecting to just outscore their opponents rather then beat them on both sides of the ball, they’ll be in for a rude awakening when they’re losing 19-14 at the end of the fourth quarter.
2. Giants will make a run.
I’ve been on the Giants’ bandwagon for some time now, and now it’s time for everyone else to join as well. Eli Manning is playing the best football of his career and has one of the most deadly wide receiving duos in Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. Also, the Giants defense thinks that they can be the best defense in the league and, I agree with them. With the sudden emergence of pro-bowler Jason Pierre-Paul and the return of Osi Umenyiora, the Giants D has really turned it up in the last few games of the season, especially when rushing the quarterback. This could prove to be a problem for opposing teams and definitely makes the Giants a team to watch in the playoffs.
3. Packers won’t win a game.
Two words… Drew Brees. Brees is the hottest quarterback in the league and unlucky for the Lambeau faithful, he will most likely be visiting them in a few weeks. Down the stretch of the season, the Packers have looked like they are past their prime, whereas the Saints look like they’re at their peak. In a perfect world, the rest of the playoffs would end when this matchup happens and this would be for all the marbles. However, this is not a perfect world and neither are the Packers. I give the edge to the Saints.
4. No #1 seeds will be in the Super Bowl.
As stated earlier, I think the Packers are going to take an early exit on the way to Indy, and the Patriots should be there with them. Let’s face it, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady’s playoff magic has worn off. Along with that, if it isn’t their magic wearing off, it’s their defense. The inexperienced squad won’t be able to last a long playoff run. That combined with the loss of offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien to Penn State should create problems for the Patriots.
5. Tim Tebow will make John Elway reconsider the Bronco’s future.
Once saying that Tebow was “not going anywhere,” John Elway will most likely reconsider this after the outcome of Tebow’s first playoff game. My prediction is that the Bronco’s get destroyed and Tebow’s performance will be horrendous, but it’s not entirely Tebow’s fault… I mean Elway is the one who told Tebow to “pull the trigger.” This advice could not have possibly come at a worse time considering that when Tebow has pulled the trigger in the last two weeks, he has had 1:4 touchdown interception ratio and ending both games with a QB rating under 40. Also, the fact that he’s facing the top passing defense in the league doesn’t help his case at all. I’m thinking Elway doesn’t want him back and is going to try to get the fans behind him by telling Tebow to throw the ball (but this whole scheme that I believe will play out may just come from a Sons of Anarchy hangover).
6. Super Bowl: Saints over Ravens.
I’m thinking the Ravens have the lead the whole game, until Drew Brees mounts a late game comeback and outlast the Ravens by a hair. Brees just has way too many weapons (Sproles, Colston, and Graham) to be held down for long. I feel the system that New Orleans has will be too much for the hard nose football the Ravens play. After leading this late game surge, Brees will be named MVP of the Super Bowl, taking home another ring and cementing his name in the record books (for the time being ) all in one season.
*all predictions made in this are likely to change.
With the Chiefs out of the playoffs, we decided to look back at the entire season: the ups, downs, and outright bizzare moments. The review will be posted in three parts, this being part 1.
What a crazy season. From Dexter McCluster fumbling the opening kickoff of the season to Phillip Rivers’ self-proclaimed “worst day ever” to the firing of former head coach Todd Haley, the 2011 Kansas City Chiefs season was one of underachievement, disappointment, and just plain ridiculousness. Kansas City finished the season with a record of 7-9, missing the playoffs for the 4th time in the last 5th seasons and failing to reclaim the crown of AFC West champion.
September 11, 2011 – It was opening day in the National Football league, and the beginning to perhaps the most anticipated season in NFL history due to the labor disagreement between players and owners that had dominated the sporting world for the majority of the NFL off-season. The Chiefs were hosting the Buffalo Bills and coming off a brilliant and most-unlikely 2010 season that saw them win the AFC West for the first time since 2003. Chiefs fans everywhere were as excited about their team as they had been in almost a decade. Dexter McCluster took the opening kickoff, ran up the right side, and fumbled the ball. Buffalo recovered, and nothing seemed to go right for Kansas City the rest of the day as the Bills poured it on in a 41-7 rout of the Chiefs on opening day. To make matters worse, the Chiefs lost their pro-bowl safety, Eric Berry, for the season to a torn ACL on the third play of the game. It was the most lopsided season-opening loss in Chiefs history. The season seemed doomed from the very beginning.
In fact, not a lot went right for Kansas City until week 4 of the season when the Chiefs returned to Arrowhead Stadium to host Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings, each team looking for their first win of the young season. Coming off an absolutely embarrassing performance against the Detroit Lions in a 48-3 loss in week 2, a game in which the Chiefs also saw their all-pro running back Jamaal Charles lost for the season with a torn ACL and MCL, and a uneventful 20-17 loss at the hands of Phillip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers, Matt Cassel and the Chiefs finally notched their first win of the season while holding Adrian Peterson to only 81 yards on 23 carries.
Following the bye week, Kansas City ripped off 3 consecutive victories; a comeback 28-24 victory over the hapless Colts in Indy, a dominating 28-0 win in the Black Hole against newly acquired Carson Palmer and the rival Raiders, and a thrilling 23-20 victory in overtime on Monday Night football on Phillip Rivers “worst day ever.” The defense led by Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali was beginning to show significant improvement, even without Eric Berry and the offense was adjusting brilliantly to the loss of Jamaal Charles. Before you knew it, the Chiefs were 4-3 and in the first place in the AFC West.
Head coach Todd Haley had his team believing, and with Matt Cassel playing at a high level, another AFC West division title was not out of reach. The Chiefs had two golden opportunities to put themselves in prime position to capture the AFC West with the Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos (at the time their combined record was 3-12) coming to Arrowhead in the proceeding 2 weeks. Put those two on the board as wins, and move on at 6-3, right? So it seemed.
Stay tuned for Part 2
Everyone knows that the Cotton Bowl, pitting Kansas State vs. Arkansas, will be a great game. But not everyone knows everything about the matchup and Kansas State athletics in general like our friend Sam Young. So we brought him in to give us a breakdown of the game. Like we said before, he knows his Kansas State football.
The 2012 Cotton Bowl Classic should be a dandy this year. The game features two top ten teams playing in what many consider the nicest football stadium in the world, the new Cowboy’s Stadium. The representative from the SEC, Arkansas, is coming off of a 10-2 regular season with its only two losses to Alabama and LSU. The representative from the Big 12, Kansas State, is also coming off a 10 win regular season and is looking to reach 11 wins for the first time since 2003, when Ell Roberson, Darren Sproles and company brought home a Big 12 Title. Kansas State’s resurgence has been led by none other than head coach Bill Snyder, who is up for many National Coach of the Year honors.
Two 10 win programs.
Two great coaches.
One awesome venue.
And only one winner.
This should be interesting….
When Arkansas Runs: Before the season even started, Arkansas lost starting running back Knile Davis to a season ending ankle injury. Consequently, Arkansas has the 9th ranked rushing attack in the SEC. Add that up with a stout K-State front seven led by Big 12 Newcomer of the Year Arthur Brown, we don’t see Arkansas running the ball with much success in this one
When Arkansas Passes: As mentioned previously, Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson has had a fantastic year throwing the football. His favorite target is his 5-10 senior Jarius Wright. Kansas State has had trouble stopping the pass this year. Although K-State cornerback Nigel Malone led the Big 12 with 7 interceptions this year, look for a big day from quarterback Tyler Wilson throwing the ball.
When K-State Runs: Arkansas gave up an average of 174 rush yards a game this season. This will be probably the second best rushing attack Arkansas will face this season, behind Alabama. Kansas State under Bill Snyder has always been a run first team. Expect K-State quarterback Collin Klein and running back John Hubert to have field days running against this Arkansas defense.
When K-State Passes: Although Collin Klein’s forte is running the ball, he is also a pretty decent passer. K-State has some good receivers in Tramaine Thompson, Sheldon Smith and Chris Harper. They will be missing arguably their biggest playmaker in freshman receiver Tyler Lockett, who lacerated his kidney in the November 5th game against Oklahoma State. Arkansas has a pretty good pass defense that will be tested against K-State receiving core. K-State’s run game will be good enough to set up some play action to throw the Arkansas secondary off balance.
Coaching: The recent firing of defensive coordinator Willy Robinson and Garrick McGee taking the UAB job, added to Arkansas’s lack of success in bowls, give K-State’s Bill Snyder and his staff the edge in this category
Intangibles: The game is being played in close proximity to both schools, so expect to see a good amount of fans from both schools at the Jerry Dome. The one thing that sticks out in our minds is the “no respect” card played by K-State all year. They got snubbed out of a Sugar Bowl bid and have been underdogs in over half of their games played this year. K-State will be very hungry and want to prove the doubters wrong…..again.
Prediction: Although K-State has an advantage in many categories, I think Arkansas will prevail. Tyler Wilson and the potent Arkansas passing attack will prove too much for K-State. Expect it to be a close game with K-State being able to tie or win it on the last drive, but they will eventually come up short