Kansas City Chiefs: Andy Reid

A few more thoughts on the Kansas City Chiefs and how they're spending their money:
  • Andy Reid is a former offensive lineman and former offensive line coach. He understands the importance of those positions. That's why it's intriguing the Chiefs are 31st among the NFL's 32 teams in salary-cap commitments for their linemen and last in cash spending. Perhaps it's part of the Chiefs' long-term planning not to sink a lot of money into their offensive linemen. It will be interesting to see not only what the Chiefs do in the draft with regard to selecting linemen, but how they handle contract situations with linemen who will soon become free agents. Center Rodney Hudson and guard/tackle Jeff Linkenbach are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents in 2015. The contracts of guard Jeff Allen and Donald Stephenson will be up the year following. The Chiefs can't continue to lose linemen at the rate of two or three a year without investing heavily in the position through the draft.
  • A player who led the NFL in touchdowns, was third in rushing yardage and fifth among running backs in pass receptions is a steal at a much higher price. What the Chiefs are giving to Jamaal Charles is borderline criminal. Charles' salary-cap number of $5,233,333 is 10th among NFL running backs. The closest statistical comparables to Charles last season were Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy and Chicago's Matt Forte. McCoy rushed for more yards (1,607) than Charles (1,287) but had fewer pass catches (52) and total touchdowns than Charles (70, 19). Forte had more rushing yards (1,339) and pass receptions (74) than Charles but fewer total touchdowns (12). McCoy's cap number this year is $9.7 million. Forte's is $7.9 million. In terms of cash spending, or what their teams will pay this year alone, McCoy gets $8 million, Forte gets $6.9 million and Charles $3.9 million.
  • The more I think about it, the stronger I feel that the Chiefs should hold on to Eric Berry. He's only 25 and won't be 26 until late December. So, in theory at least, his best years should be coming. As a strong safety, he plays a so-called non-premium position but he's still a playmaker who impacts the game.
  • I recently broke down the Chiefs' salary-cap situation (offense here and defense and kicking specialists here). It showed them with regard to the NFL average to be heavy spenders at certain position groups (wide receiver, linebacker, defensive back, punter, kicker) and light spenders at others (offensive and defensive lines). These priorities seem generally well placed to me. Spend money on playmakers. I'm interested in hearing what you think about this. Are the Chiefs putting their cash in the right places? Tweet me (@adamteicher) with your thoughts.
Without knowing the method to their madness, it’s difficult to justify the words and the actions of the Kansas City Chiefs when it comes to their offensive line. Here’s what coach Andy Reid said last year shortly after they drafted offensive tackle Eric Fisher with the first overall pick.

"You can’t have enough good offensive linemen," Reid said then. "You can’t win without offensive linemen. You can’t win without defensive linemen. That’s just the way the game works. You’ve got to be strong in those positions. I understand the importance of that. That’s what we need here."

That’s a fine philosophy. Championships have been won by teams that embraced it.

But the Chiefs are 31st among the NFL’s 32 teams in salary-cap spending on their offensive line. When it comes to cash spending, or money teams are doling out to offensive linemen this year alone, the Chiefs are 32nd and last. They're spending $7.9 million this year on their offensive linemen.

I wasn’t among those predicting gloom and doom for the Chiefs when they lost three offensive linemen to free agency. They've spent a lot of their draft picks in recent years building depth on their offensive line to better withstand this type of hit.

I also believe you get what you pay for and right now, at least, the Chiefs are paying very little for their linemen. Part of that is the result of going with younger players on the offensive line. Four of the five starters are in the contracts they signed as rookies. The other starting spot is up for grabs but could be given to a developmental player such as Rishaw Johnson, who is making the minimum salary.

Teams can’t spend lavishly at all positions. The Chiefs this year are spending much higher than the league average at wide receiver and, as we will see in a subsequent post, linebacker and defensive back.

If they’re going to do that, they have to spend less than the average at other positions. For the Chiefs, the offensive line positions are among them.

The only way Reid's words make sense in this context is if the Chiefs' continue to use a high pick or two each year on offensive linemen. That way, they can keep a supply of talented but lower-paid linemen and save money for other positions.

So don't sleep on the possibility of the Chiefs drafting an offensive lineman in an early or middle round this year. It makes sense from both need and financial perspectives.

Quick thoughts on DeSean Jackson

March, 28, 2014
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DeSean Jackson is now available to any of the NFL teams after he was released Friday by the Philadelphia Eagles. The Kansas City Chiefs have a need for an elite wide receiver and they are coached by Andy Reid, who drafted Jackson when he coached the Eagles.

Jackson
From those angles, Jackson coming to the Chiefs makes plenty of sense. But it's rarely that easy and it certainly isn't in Jackson's case.

First, there's this: Jackson's reported gang connections. I would think this is enough to give pause to any team's pursuit of Jackson.

Then there's the money situation. The Chiefs are down to about $4.5 million of salary cap room. Only five teams have a smaller amount. Their cap situation looks like it will be tight again in 2015. They are in no position to take on a huge annual salary or win any bidding wars, and that's what it might take to land Jackson.

For what it's worth, here's what Reid had to say Tuesday about Jackson at the NFL meetings in Orlando, Fla., before he was released by the Eagles.

"I have nothing but good things to say about the kid," Reid said. "I did draft him. I had a great relationship with him, when his father passed away, that was a hard thing for him to go through at a young age. They were best friends. I've experienced life things with him, so I would tell you he was great for me when I was there.”

Asked whether he was surprised that the Eagles would be trying to trade Jackson, Reid said, "I don't know what's real and what's not real. I haven't looked into it either way. I've stayed away. I don't really care about that, so I don't know what's real and what's not real. I'm happy that he had a great year. I'm happy that Chip [Kelly] had a great year with him and that's where it stops for me.”
The Kansas City Chiefs, in their first season of free agency last year under general manager John Dorsey and coach Andy Reid, signed seven players who wound up filling key roles last season.

This year the Chiefs signed four players, though they could certainly sign more. Three of those four players appear they will fill a smaller role with defensive linemen Vance Walker being the exception.

So which are the real Chiefs, last season's big spenders or this year's frugal shoppers? The answer could vary from year to year, but in general, this year will be more like how the Chiefs operate.

This is what coach Andy Reid had to say on the subject this week at the NFL's annual meetings in Orlando, Fla.

“Listen, I’m not a huge free agency guy,'' Reid said. "I don’t think you build a team that way. I think you build it through a draft. There are so many elements that go into a player actually fitting into your program and being successful, that if you get them right when they’re peaking in that system and then you disrupt that and move them on to another system, that can be tough. So, the percentage has dropped, the success rate has dropped. I think you spot a guy here or there.

"Then you have the other element that it has the chance to disrupt your locker room. This guy has been with me for 10 years and is making X amount and then all of the sudden you bring in a free agent who might be as good, but maybe not as good, and you’re paying him way up here and all of the sudden you have this rift that goes on in the locker room. I think you have to be real, real careful on who you bring in and how you do it.”

That's a smart philosophy, one no doubt crafted by Reid after he was burned a few times in free agency while he coached the Philadelphia Eagles. But it only works if a team drafts wisely.

We're still waiting to see whether Dorsey and Reid drafted wisely their first time around with the Chiefs. Tackle Eric Fisher certainly didn't play as a rookie like the first overall pick can reasonably be expected to play last season, but there's plenty of time for him to become that type of player.

Third-round running back and kick returner Knile Davis had some big moments as a rookie. Otherwise, the Chiefs received little from their draft picks. They have hopes going forward for others, including tight end Travis Kelce, defensive back Sanders Commings and defensive end Mike Catapano. But none is a sure thing.

The Chiefs have only six picks this year, having sent their second-rounder to the San Francisco 49ers as part of last year's trade that brought quarterback Alex Smith. So the percentages aren't with the Chiefs if they're looking for a bounty in this year's draft.
After spending his rookie season as a right tackle, Eric Fisher will head over to the left side in 2014, Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid confirmed at the NFL meetings Tuesday in Orlando, Fla.

Fisher
The move is not a surprise. The Chiefs drafted Fisher last year from Central Michigan with the first overall pick with the idea he would eventually be their left tackle.

But Fisher began his NFL career on the right side. The Chiefs had veteran Branden Albert to play left tackle last season. But Albert signed with the Miami Dolphins this month as a free agent, leaving the spot open to either Fisher or Donald Stephenson. Stephenson started four games at left tackle last season while Albert was out of the lineup with a knee injury.

The Chiefs opted to move Fisher to left tackle. Stephenson will be the starter in Fisher's former spot at right tackle.

Fisher didn't play well as a rookie. He missed three starts with various injuries and didn't play in the playoff loss to Indianapolis because of a groin injury.

Fisher struggled early in the season to the point the Chiefs probably should have benched him. His play generally improved as the season progressed. He showed tremendous athletic ability but he never played to the level expected from the first overall pick.

Still, it's far too early to call Fisher a bust and, in fact, it's reasonable to believe Fisher can eventually play as well as Albert did last season. Fisher came to the Chiefs lacking the necessary upper body strength to be a polished player. An offseason in Kansas City's weight program should help him develop into a productive player.

There could be rough moments for the Chiefs until Fisher fully develops. In the short term, the better move might have been to play Stephenson at left tackle, at least early in the season. But Reid and his coaching staff obviously believe the time is right to make move.
Jamaal CharlesPeter G. Aiken/Getty ImagesJamaal Charles has 5,823 rushing yards in six seasons, and is yearning to add to that total in 2014.
Recently, shortly before he was named the Kansas City Chiefs' Most Valuable Player for the fourth time in five seasons, Jamaal Charles sent a message on his Twitter account that left no doubt he is preparing for more.

"I miss coming out the tunnel," Charles wrote, referring to the Chiefs' path to the playing field at Arrowhead Stadium. "So ready for next season."

Charles looked ready for the season as he accepted his award at a Kansas City hotel. He sounded mainly as if he would be just killing time before the Chiefs gather again in April for the start of their offseason program.

"It hurt me not playing that last game of the season," Charles said, referring to the concussion that forced him out in the first quarter of the playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts. "I'm so excited to be able to get back. I can't wait to run down that tunnel one more time. Just having a coach like Andy Reid helping me out, advancing my career as a player and putting me in great positions ... I never thought I could score as many touchdowns as I did last year."

Charles led the NFL with 19 total touchdowns, three more than the next highest player. The Chiefs relied on him like never before and he responded by leading them in not only rushing but receiving, as well.

That he proclaimed himself ready in March for another big workload is encouraging for the Chiefs, but how much can Charles have left? He won't turn 28 until late December but will be heading into his seventh season in 2014. At 200 pounds, he doesn't appear built for such a heavy workload year in and year out.

Charles isn't concerned about his own football mortality, though no player ever is until the end is upon him. He also said he felt playing in Reid's offense will extend his career.

"[Reid's offense] puts me in space where I can catch the ball out of the backfield and make a move, make somebody miss," said Charles, who sometime early next season should pass Priest Holmes as the Chiefs' all-time leading rusher. "He wasn't always trying to get somebody to get a big hit on me.

"I have at least five [more] years in me. I'll know when my time is up. I'm 27 years old. Probably when I'm 32 I'll just want to look back to see what I've done. I'm having a great career so far and putting up great numbers. As long as I continue to do those things in my five years, it would be amazing. I'd look back and call it quits."

Davis
To the extent they can be, the Chiefs are concerned about the end coming for Charles sooner rather than later. Kansas City drafted Knile Davis in the third round last year. He's a raw prospect, and the Chiefs knew they could give him some time to develop.

Davis' rookie season was uneven. It began with him running the wrong plays and frequently fumbling. It ended with Davis having made significant improvement and earning more of Reid's trust. But then Davis broke his leg in the playoff game.

The Chiefs believe Davis will be ready for full duty when next season begins and Reid indicated he plans to use Davis more and Charles less.

The dilemma? While Davis, who at 227 pounds is much bigger than Charles and perhaps just as fast, is a big-play threat, he's not yet in Charles' class in that regard. Every time Reid removes Charles from the lineup, he will wonder whether that was the play on which Charles would have taken the ball the distance.

"That's what you have to weigh as a coach," Reid said. "You have to make sure you give him enough opportunities where he can show his greatness but at the same time make sure that he makes it all the way through the season and the championship game and the Super Bowl."

It's a difficult line for a coach to draw, the one between preserving a very important asset and trying to win a game. Many times, particularly when a team is in a close game, the future can wait.

"You have a player who wants the football," Reid said of Charles. "He loves playing the game, and you have a coach who kind of likes giving it to him."
His acquisition may get lost publicly in the coming months as the Kansas City Chiefs go through free agency and the draft, but their recent signing of receiver Weston Dressler could wind up as one of their most significant offseason acquisitions.

Dressler caught 442 passes for more than 6,000 yards and scored 43 touchdowns in his six seasons for the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders. He’s small but quick and his skills were enough to intrigue the Chiefs and coach Andy Reid.

“I remember when he came out [of college],’’ Reid said recently. “He was the best player there and the MVP of his team and the league and all that stuff. Then he goes to Canada [and he’s a good player]. I had a chance to watch his tape. He transferred from the college level to the Canadian League and it didn’t look like there was a big dropoff. So you give him an opportunity here. He had plenty of opportunities to go other places and go back to Canada. He wanted to be here and he wanted this experience.’’

The obvious comparison for Dressler is Dexter McCluster, the Chiefs’ slot receiver the past few seasons. At 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds, Dressler is of similar size to McCluster, who is a potential unrestricted free agent.

Dressler, who signed a three-year contract with the Chiefs for the NFL minimum salaries, is insurance in case the Chiefs don’t re-sign McCluster. But if they do?

“They’re similar,’’ Reid said. “If you told me I could have two Dexter McClusters, that would be a good thing. I wouldn’t mind that at all.’’
Thanks to last year's trade for quarterback Alex Smith, the Kansas City Chiefs will have just one of the top 86 picks when the draft rolls around in May. The Chiefs still have their first-round pick, No. 23 overall, but sent their second-round choice to the San Francisco 49ers as part of the deal that brought Smith.

So in a draft that many league scouts are calling the deepest in years, the Chiefs will get just one of the top 86 players, in theory at least. Though it's a situation of their own doing since they agreed to the Smith trade, it's still not a predicament that chairman Clark Hunt, general manager John Dorsey or coach Andy Reid want to be in. They believe in building through the draft.

That's why fans who want the Chiefs to trade up far enough to allow them to draft, say, Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins, are bound to be disappointed. The Chiefs may not have enough premium picks to allow them to make that trade. Even if they do, it would in effect make this a one-player draft for the Chiefs. They'd have to give up enough of their top picks that the likelihood is slim of the Chiefs getting another solid player through the draft this year.

Maybe that's not such a bad thing if Watkins turns out to be a star. But what if he gets hurt, or is otherwise a bust? Then the Chiefs have been set back for years. So if you're in favor of a trade like that and it eventually doesn't work out, you'd better be ready to accept the down seasons that inevitably come with a zero draft. If you're wondering why the Chiefs of the late 2000s were so lousy, look at their drafts in some of the preceding years.

The bold moves always get the headlines, but the draft is about playing the percentages. The teams that generally do the best in the draft are the ones with the most picks. They -- like all teams -- make their share of mistakes but still have the numbers to make it a productive draft.

Look at the Chiefs' 2008 draft, their best in years. They had two picks in the first round and six in the first three rounds. Their top pick that year, defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, never became the player the Chiefs hoped. That didn't kill the Chiefs, because with two of those extra picks in the early rounds they were able to draft tackle Branden Albert and running back Jamaal Charles. The picks used to draft those players, by the way, were obtained in the trade that sent defensive end Jared Allen to the Minnesota Vikings. The Chiefs also drafted cornerback Brandon Flowers in the second round that year.

That's why a trade down for the Chiefs makes more sense than a trade up. They need more of this draft's top 86 players, and it's more than just a blind guess that Hunt, Dorsey and Reid agree.

Q and A: Should KC draft a QB?

February, 22, 2014
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Another week, another excellent batch of Kansas City Chiefs questions for the mailbag. Here we go:
 
Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid answered some questions from reporters Thursday at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. One of the topics was the possibility of reducing the workload on running back Jamaal Charles.

Reid indicated the Chiefs intended to do that by playing Knile Davis more than they did last season, when he was a rookie. In the regular season the Chiefs gave the ball to Davis 81 times between pass receptions and handoffs. More than half of those touches came in the season’s final four games after Davis became more comfortable with the NFL and the things the Chiefs asked him to do.

Davis
Charles
“As we went on, we were able to do that with Knile," Reid said. “Knile was a rookie and he was learning every week and getting better every week. As the season went on we were able to give him the ball a little bit more. Coming into this season, we’ll be able to mix it up a little bit better than what we did early in the season last year."

Davis broke his leg in the playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts, but the Chiefs believe he will be ready for full participation when the regular season begins. If Davis is back to full strength, Reid’s idea is a good one.

Davis isn’t Charles and probably never will be, but he can still be a productive player. At 227 pounds, Davis is bigger and more powerful than Charles, but he’s also fast. He’s one place the Chiefs can reasonably expect to grow their offense with players still on the roster. He had a fumbling problem in college at Arkansas, and again at times last season, and he’ll have to prove he’s over it before Reid can put this plan into play.

Charles led the Chiefs in rushing and pass receiving, and showed no signs as the season progressed of breaking down because of the wear and tear. But that will happen to him soon if the Chiefs aren’t careful. Charles is only 200 pounds and touched the ball almost 650 times over the past two seasons.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- If recently signed wide receiver Weston Dressler doesn't impress the Kansas City Chiefs with his play during the offseason, training camp and the preseason, they can release Dressler at no cost.

The three-year contract signed by Dressler is worth $1.53 million but contains no bonuses. The salaries are the minimum each year: $420,000 in 2014, $510,000 in 2015, $600,000 in 2016.

So there's no risk to the Chiefs in at least taking a look at Dressler. The Chiefs are hopeful they will get significant production from the 28-year-old Dressler, a six-year veteran with the CFL's Saskatchewan Roughriders. Dressler caught 70 passes and scored nine touchdowns last year. But they're certainly not tied to him if he's a bust.

Still, his signing is an interesting one as it relates to Dexter McCluster, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. There wouldn't appear to be roster room for two diminutive players with similar skill sets. The best one plays slot receiver and returns kicks. The other does nothing.

So maybe the Dressler signing is just insurance in case re-signing McCluster gets too expensive for the Chiefs. McCluster didn't deliver a lot on offense last season, his first playing for Andy Reid. But Reid liked McCluster going back to his time as the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and was eager to work with him as last year started.

Did he see so little from McCluster that he changed his mind? We'll find out as we get closer to the start of free agency next month.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs went 0-3 Saturday night when it comes to NFL awards. Not only was former offensive lineman Will Shields not selected for the Hall of Fame, but Andy Reid failed to win coach of the year, and Jamaal Charles is not the offensive player of the year.

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Charles
I've made my thoughts clear on Shields. Perhaps his time will come next year.

As spectacular as Charles was this season, it's difficult to argue that he deserved offensive player of the year more than Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, so that one isn't a surprise. By the way, Charles finished third in the voting. Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy was second.

That leaves Reid, who finished second to Ron Rivera of the Carolina Panthers. This season had a few strong candidates: Reid, Rivera, Mike McCoy of the San Diego Chargers, Chip Kelly of the Philadelphia Eagles and Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots.

Reid and Rivera were the strongest of candidates. I get the arguments for Rivera. He is a worthy choice. Tough call, but I went for Reid, and here's why:

No doubt there was more to like about Carolina's body of work this season. The Panthers won their division. Kansas City was 10-0 against non-playoff teams and 1-5 against teams that made the postseason. But I still believe the Chiefs traveled a longer distance. Reid did more than help the Chiefs win games. He helped change what had been the miserable, rotten culture that permeated the entire organization. When he walked in the door, the Chiefs were infested with people who pulled in different directions and were out for themselves. He got everybody to believe in the greater good. He was able to get a lot of players to put aside personal goals for those of the team.

So Reid and Shields were the real losers in the group.
Ron Rivera and Andy ReidUSA TODAY SportsRon Rivera and Andy Reid are both deserving of coach of the year -- but only one can win.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera and Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid are among the favorites to win the Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year award on Saturday.

Rivera took a Carolina team that hadn't been to the playoffs since 2008 from a 1-3 start to a 12-4 regular-season record and the NFC South title. Reid took a Kansas City team that had the worst record (2-14) in the NFL in 2012 to an 11-5 record and second place in the AFC West.

Both lost in the playoffs, Carolina 23-10 in an NFC divisional game against San Francisco and Kansas City 45-44 to Indianapolis in a wild-card game.

Rivera and Reid are in New York City, where on Saturday night the NFL will salute the best of the 2013 season with "NFL Honors" at Radio City Music Hall.

New England's Bill Belichick and Philadelphia's Chip Kelly also are under consideration for Coach of the Year. ESPN.com NFL Nation Panthers reporter David Newton and Chiefs reporter Adam Teicher are here to tell you why it's a two-man race:

Adam, first of all, do you agree this should come down to Rivera or Reid?

Teicher:Those are the two strongest candidates. Some others deserve consideration. Think it was a strong year in this regard. Mike McCoy in San Diego, Bill Belichick in New England and Chip Kelly in Philadelphia did a nice job as well. But when you boil it down, Reid and Rivera are the two best candidates. The Chiefs had too much talent in 2012 to win just two games, so maybe this speaks to what a lousy job their previous coaching staff did. The Chiefs weren't just bad when Reid walked through the door. They had been blown out in most of their games in 2012. They didn't have many narrow losses. I know how far the Panthers have come as well. They were so bad in 2012 that they were one of the two teams to lose to the Chiefs.

Which way would you go with your vote?

Newton: I could see it going either way, but I'd have to say Rivera. The Panthers started 0-2 and then 1-3. There was speculation there could be a coaching change before the bye week if they went to 0-3. It's tough enough to turn around a team that is used to winning. Rivera did it four games into the season with a team that hadn't had a winning record in five years. Winning eight straight and 11 of the final 12 regular season games -- including back-to-back wins against San Francisco and New England -- was impressive. That the Panthers really had to win all those games to win the division and even make the playoffs with New Orleans, San Francisco and Arizona breathing down their backs for the final two spots is a testament to the work ethic Rivera instilled. That he didn't panic or make changes to what he was doing when the season was on the brink made the turnaround possible. That the players fought for him when he didn't have a track record for winning -- as Reid did -- also speaks volumes.

So who do you think deserves it more?

Teicher: It's a tough call. No doubt there's more to like about Carolina's body of work this season. Kansas City was 10-0 against non-playoff teams and 1-5 against teams that made the postseason. But I still believe the Chiefs travelled a longer distance. Reid did more than help the Chiefs win games. He helped change what had been the miserable, rotten culture that permeated the entire organization. When he walked in the door, the Chiefs were infested with people who pulled in different directions and were out for themselves. He got everybody to believe in the greater good. He was able to get a lot of players to put aside personal goals for those of the team. That's a long-winded way of saying I would vote for Reid.

Having said all this, it seems every year this award goes to a coach whose team has an amazing turnaround. Do you think it's unfair to coaches like Belichick that win all the time?

Newton: Miserable? Infested? Rotten? You trying to make me change my vote? The culture wasn't that bad at Carolina, but the losing was and Kansas City had more talent to start with, which again sways me back to Rivera. But to the question, I agree coaches like Belichick get overlooked because they do such a good job every year. I compare it to Dean Smith when he was the basketball coach at North Carolina. It took him 16 years to finally win the national coach of the year award even though year in and year out he had one of the best programs in the country. People overlook the obvious. Belichick doesn't get the credit because people see he has Tom Brady and forget how he meshes sometimes average players into a playoff team. Having said that, I'd still vote for Rivera this year.

Note: Carolina middle linebacker Luke Kuechly is up for Defensive Player of the Year and outside linebacker Thomas Davis is up for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles is up for the Offensive Player of the Year Award.

NFLN survey/popular coach: Chiefs

January, 28, 2014
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Andy Reid received 22 votes and finished tied for fifth place with Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots as the head coach players would most like to work for in ESPN's NFL Nation Confidential survey.

A lot of Chiefs seem to enjoy playing for Reid, who is known to be straightforward with his players. He also allows them to show some personality.

Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks was the runaway winner of the survey. Each of the top nine coaches in the survey is a veteran, and all but Carroll and Rex Ryan of the New York Jets have coached in a Super Bowl. Carroll, of course, will take the Seahawks into this year’s Super Bowl against the Denver Broncos.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- For those who have ESPN Insider access, Pro Football Focus has an interesting piece on the most improved NFL rosters from 2012 to 2013. Not surprisingly, the Kansas City Chiefs were ranked second in most improved roster behind only the Carolina Panthers. The Chiefs had the biggest improvement in the league as far as their record, going from 2-14 in 2012 to 11-5 in 2013.

Many of the players cited by PFF as dramatically improving the Chiefs in 2013 were already with them in 2012. This list includes defensive linemen Dontari Poe and Tyson Jackson, running back Jamaal Charles and strong safety Eric Berry. Among newcomers who made an impact, PFF cited quarterback Alex Smith and defensive end Mike DeVito. Smith committed just 10 turnovers during the regular season. In 2012 quarterbacks Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn combined to commit 27 turnovers.

Smith's grade, according to PFF, was minus-0.6, which is nothing special. But it is far better than the combined score for Cassel and Quinn of minus-17.7.

In the case of returning players like Poe, Berry and Jackson, better coaching could be the reason for their improvement. Not only was the teaching better on Andy Reid's staff but the majority of players were put in better positions to play to their strengths.

That was for some players but not all. In a post later today, I'll compare the grades for returning players from 2012 to 2013. The play of a certain Pro Bowl cornerback was down dramatically from last season to this one and it raises questions about his ability to succeed in the system that requires its corners to play so much one-on-one coverage.

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