NFL Nation: Andy Reid

The Kansas City Chiefs didn't select quarterback Aaron Murray of Georgia in the fifth round of the NFL draft because they fear losing starter Alex Smith to free agency next year. The sides still have 10 months left to reach a deal and if Smith winds up hitting the free-agent market his successor is probably going to be someone else and not Murray.

That doesn't make the drafting of Murray, the first of a quarterback by the Chiefs with John Dorsey as their general manager and Andy Reid as their coach, any less intriguing. That Murray doesn't have classic size (the Chiefs list him at 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds) and a huge arm suggests Dorsey and Reid believe Murray can succeed in the NFL without those qualities.

[+] EnlargeAaron Murray
AP Photo/Mike StewartFor Chiefs GM John Dorsey, there's one trait about former Georgia QB Aaron Murray that stands out. "He's a winner," Dorsey said.
Dorsey and Reid have a history of drafting and developing quarterbacks in previous jobs, Dorsey with the Green Bay Packers and Reid with the Philadelphia Eagles. When they like a quarterback, it's probably wise to listen. That alone makes Murray worth a fifth-round draft pick.

“He’s a winner," Dorsey said. "He’s been a winner at every stage that he’s played between high school and college. [He’s] ultracompetitive and smart. What I like about him is when there are big drives to be made late in the game, this guy made those drives. He didn’t always win them, but he made those big drives at the end when it really counted. If you want to put some statistics in there, he’s got multiple records in the SEC, which is as good a conference as there is in today’s football. He performed at a very high level.”

If winning was all the Chiefs wanted from their quarterback, they would have drafted Alabama's AJ McCarron instead. McCarron was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals the pick after Murray.

Murray has a little more to him.

“His accuracy is the No. 1 thing,'' Chiefs assistant scouting director Dom Green said. "I want to say he’s [completed] 67 percent on all of his throws throughout his whole career.’’

Murray actually completed slightly better than 62 percent of his passes at Georgia. But Murray's ball finds its target far more frequently than it does for a lot of quarterbacks of his size.

“Most of the shorter quarterbacks have a lot of batted balls and that type of thing but I didn’t see that with Aaron," Green said. "He did a nice job hitting the lanes and getting the ball to receivers."

In explaining the reasons for that, Murray already sounded like an NFL veteran.

“All quarterbacks, you have to be able to move around the pocket, you have to be able to find those throwing lanes," Murray said. "It’s just working drills, working footwork, being able to stay active in the pocket. It’s also knowing where you need to go [with the ball]. When you know where you need to go as a quarterback based on the coverage and what the defense is giving you, you will put your body in position to make an accurate throw and find those open receivers."

Murray tore his ACL late last season and is still in the rehab stage of his recovery. He said he's been cleared for full participation in two weeks when the Chiefs start offseason practice with a three-day rookie camp. Dorsey is more cautious and said it may not be until training camp until Murray is fully unleashed.

Either way, this is a player worth watching. The Chiefs and Murray could be the right mix, something even the rookie quarterback already understands.

“It’s a great fit," Murray said. "I’m not complaining one bit. It’s an incredible fit. They do a heck of a job preparing quarterbacks."
NFC wrap-ups: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A wrap-up of the Kansas City Chiefs' draft. Click here for a full list of Chiefs draftees.

[+] EnlargeDe'Anthony Thomas
AP Photo/Rick ScuteriThe addition of De'Anthony Thomas should help out the Chiefs offense, as well as special teams.
Best move: Though they had only six picks, the Chiefs covered a lot of ground. They selected a pass-rusher, a cornerback, a combination slot receiver/running back/kick returner, a quarterback and two developmental offensive linemen. Not all were immediate needs, but the potential is there for the Chiefs to get a lot from this class. Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas, a fourth-round pick, might represent the best value. The Chiefs will plug him into the spots on offense and special teams vacated by the free-agent departure of Dexter McCluster. Thomas has world-class speed and will be given opportunities to play as a slot receiver and kick-return specialist.

Riskiest move: Despite having one of the least productive groups of wide receivers in the NFL last season, the Chiefs added nobody at the position, Thomas excepted. The Chiefs will search for help in free agency before they get to training camp in late July, but they might not be able to find a receiver who gives them more than what they already have on the roster. The Chiefs might come to regret passing on the chance to get USC receiver Marqise Lee in the first round or Mississippi's Donte Moncrief in the third. Thomas could help as a slot receiver, but on the outside, the Chiefs need improvement from a group that includes Dwayne Bowe, Donnie Avery and A.J. Jenkins.

Most surprising move: The selection of Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray in the fifth round qualifies, given the Chiefs already gave up their second-round choice for a quarterback, starter Alex Smith, in last year's trade with the San Francisco 49ers. The Chiefs also appeared set at quarterback with Smith, veteran backup Chase Daniel and developmental prospect Tyler Bray. But the Chiefs couldn't resist Murray, whose senior season was ended early by a torn ACL. At about 6-foot and 200 pounds, Murray doesn't have classic size for an NFL quarterback or a huge arm, but the Chiefs think he has the necessary skills to thrive in coach Andy Reid's offense. Murray does a nice job of finding available passing lanes despite his size. He has also been an accurate passer. Murray says he has been cleared to practice when the Chiefs get on the field later this month. That sets up an interesting battle for available roster spots at quarterback. Bray is the most likely candidate to be crowded off the roster, but if the Chiefs believe he or Murray is advanced enough to be their backup, a trade market could develop for Daniel.

File it away: First-round outside linebacker Dee Ford of Auburn will become the second-best pass-rusher to emerge from this year's draft behind only Jadeveon Clowney, the top overall pick. The Chiefs have Pro Bowlers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston to start at Ford's position, so he has time to develop his skills in pass coverage and against the run. He can focus immediately on his pass-rush skills, and the Chiefs need to find ways to get all three players on the field at the same time. Kansas City's pass rush was on pace at midseason to set an NFL record for sacks. It tailed off badly the second half of the season, but Ford's presence should help revive their pass rush.
Auburn's Dee Ford, the first-round draft pick of the Kansas City Chiefs, appears a little undersized for an outside linebacker in the 3-4 system. Ford is slightly over 6-foot-2 and weighed in at the scouting combine in February at 252 pounds. That's smaller than either of Kansas City's two starting outside linebackers, Tamba Hali (6-3, 275) and Justin Houston (6-3, 258).

That obviously didn't bother the Chiefs.

“I’m not sure how much weight he really needs to add,'' coach Andy Reid said. "I think he’s pretty good just the way he is. Normally you see these guys, especially in those positions, over the first two or three years, put on about 10 pounds. I’m not necessarily saying he needs to do that . . . 252 pounds, that’s a pretty healthy outside linebacker. He’s good against the run and the pass.

"The thing that I think is one of his strengths is the way he uses his arms and his hands. He sets those nice and tight. He’s got a great stab move, which is important for a pass rusher. He needs to transfer it over to this level, as all the rookies do. He’s got work ahead of him to do that.''

Ford missed much of the 2011 season at Auburn after having back surgery. He missed two games early last season with a sprained knee but the Chiefs were also confident in his medicals.

“We checked with [trainer Rick Burkholder] and our docs and they felt good about it,'' Reid said. "He had a pretty good season this past year, so we feel pretty good about that.”

Redskins should say no to Jackson

March, 28, 2014
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He only needs one play to change a game -- and you never know when it will come. In 2010, it came on the first play of the game, with then-Redskins safety LaRon Landry probably still in full yapping mode.

And DeSean Jackson's 88-yard touchdown catch ignited one of the most explosive nights by an offense you’ll ever see. By the way, Jackson had just one catch after that touchdown. But no matter; he had done what the Eagles needed. Jackson did this quite often, and it’s why he’s a fantastic talent.

Now he’s free. So now comes the question: Should the Washington Redskins pursue?

[+] EnlargeDeSean Jackson
Drew Hallowell/Philadelphia Eagles/Getty ImagesDeSean Jackson is among the most explosive receivers in the NFL, but might fit best with a coach who has worked with him before.
No. The best place for Jackson to land is with a coach who has a history with him: Andy Reid, Marty Mornhinweg. Both their teams -- the Chiefs and the Jets -- are interested. And that’s telling. To best deal with Jackson, you had better really know Jackson. You can’t just sign him thinking he’d be a great fit because he has a lot of talent. You must know him, have a history with him. That is, if you want the best chance to make the investment work. This isn’t just about alleged gang ties, it’s about having the infrastructure to handle Jackson. The Redskins have not yet shown they can handle a talented but, perhaps, difficult player -- especially one they don't really know.

It would be a tough job for a first-year head coach.

Besides, if I'm his agent, I'd steer him to a coach who knows him well.

In the past 10 days, I had a brief conversation with one person in the Redskins' organization about Jackson. The question wasn't whether the Skins would have interest, but rather why the Eagles would consider releasing such a talent. It was a casual conversation, so I’m not going to repeat what he said, but I can safely say that one person in the Skins' organization would not be interested. Does that mean others would not be, or that they wouldn’t at least inquire? Can’t say that.

Nobody doubts Jackson’s ability, but can you trust him going forward? If multiple teams have called about him, as has been reported, then the price will be out of the Redskins’ range anyway.

We don’t know if Jackson indeed had gang ties, as has been alleged. He says he doesn’t. But if nothing else, the image he presents in certain pictures would likely scare some teams.

Then again, the Redskins are interested in Kenny Britt, who has been arrested at least nine times to Jackson’s one. Alas, Britt did not match Jackson’s on-field production. I wouldn't want Britt because of his knee and off-field issues. But the Redskins still would take him.

And that leads me back to: What do the Eagles really know? It’s the same question I’ve wanted to know since news of Jackson's availability first surfaced. They clearly knew a lot about him before he signed his big contract, and still kept him around. But it took only one year for the coach who knew him best to end Jackson’s time in Philly.

Lurie touches on Vick, Byrd

March, 25, 2014
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said the team learned its lesson in free agency after their mishap a couple years ago. And that was a big reason for their approach in 2014 – and perhaps why they did not pursue safety Jairus Byrd.

Lurie also learned over the last few seasons their now-departed quarterback, Michael Vick, could be counted on as a leader.

Vick
Vick
Byrd
“He’s underrated in terms of his influence with both young people and teammates,” Lurie said of Vick, now with the Jets.

Lurie spoke with Eagles beat reporters at the NFL owners’ meetings Tuesday, touching on several topics -- but not touching the biggest one right now. When asked after his six-plus minute interview about DeSean Jackson, Lurie said he had “nothing to say.”

But he did have something to say on:
  • Not signing Byrd. He reminded reporters that Eagles coach Chip Kelly coached him at Oregon. “Nobody knows the Saints safety better than our coach. Very big confidence in that. And if he thought we should allocate our resources to have that player be our safety for the next several years at that level, then that’s what we would have done. You have to be very astute in how you want to allocate your resources to win big. We learned a lesson a few years ago. Sure, we were the team that signed Nnamdi [Asomugha] and some other guys. It just doesn’t work that way. You have to be disciplined. In this case it was great because our coach knew some of the top free agent safeties and they played for him and we could operate on a level based on his projection of reality.”
  • Vick’s legacy in Philadelphia. “The fact that he owned up to his mistakes and did something about it, not only served his time, but when he came out he was on a mission to prove it wasn’t just words that he wanted to do good things and reverse a lot of the bad things he did. He took action to do that. “He had some great moments on the field, some frustrating moments. Would get hurt at times. But at all times he was a good teammate for Nick [Foles]. Nick will tell you Michael was always supportive. When they were competing he was supportive. When Michael beat him out he was still supportive and when Nick played at a Pro Bowl level Mike was incredibly supportive.”
  • To illustrate Vick’s leadership more, Lurie pointed to the Riley Cooper situation last summer. “The people that stepped forward and were the most valuable in the locker room and who were the most influential were Michael and Jason Avant. A lot of respect for those two in terms of what they brought.”
  • As was stated earlier, Lurie did not want to address the Jackson situation. But he perhaps indirectly opened a window into what’s going on or what Kelly wants from his players. “It’s a very focused plan based on what the character needs to be and what the performance level needs to be. It’s a very focused target system where you know the kind of people you want to surround our current players with and who to go after and what the function of this offense is because it’s different than it was with Andy [Reid], the defense is completely different...It worked out well the first year with Chip and the personnel department and Howie [Roseman] figuring out what would be best.”
  • Free agency and their ideal philosophy. “The ideal system is to maximize your salary cap with the terrific players you have on your roster. You hope to be one of the teams that drafts so well that you’re spending one of the least in free agency. We’ve always been aggressive. That’s just our nature. We’ll always maximize our cap and what we spend. We would prefer to spend it on our terrific young players. That’s the best way to win.”
ORLANDO, Fla. -- He wasn't a Pro Bowler and didn't play every down. He also happened to be a guy Andy Reid liked having on the roster. Akeem Jordan played for him in Philadelphia, then followed him to Kansas City.

Jordan
Jordan, though, signed with the Redskins in free agency to play linebacker for defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and bolster the special teams. Jordan could end up serving in a similar role to the one he's had the past seven years: helping from scrimmage and on special teams. Last year, for example, he played 469 snaps from scrimmage (fourth most among Chiefs' linebackers) and 322 on special teams.

"They're getting a good, solid football player," Reid said. "He can play all the spots. Jim will love him, a smart guy. Tough. Great special-teams player -- one of the better special-teams players. He has a knack. He's not the biggest and he's not the fastest. He just knows how to do it. That held consistent in Philadelphia to Kansas City."

Reid didn't like him enough to pay him what the Redskins did. He brought him to Kansas City on a one-year deal worth $715,000 and only a $10,000 bonus. He started 44 games in seven seasons with Reid.

Jordan played inside in both the 3-4 and 4-3 defenses.

"He made the calls, he's a smart kid," Reid said. "He's very football-savvy or whatever term you want to use, he's got that. Players respect him and like him for his toughness."
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.’’
Chip KellyTommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports
PHILADELPHIA -- The best news from the NFL combine, at least as far as the Philadelphia Eagles are concerned, might have come from the mouth of Jerry Jones.

The owner/general manager of the Dallas Cowboys told reporters that NFL realities make it impossible for his franchise to make a major change in direction.

“You can't do what I did in 1989 because of the contracts and cap," Jones said Monday, according to ESPN.com’s Todd Archer. "The system automatically creates about a third turnover, but it also creates contractually for clubs a situation where you cannot just strip it. You couldn't even field a team with the hits against your cap by canceling the contracts."

If the chief decision-maker of their chief division rival feels constrained by the NFL system, that is very good news for the Eagles. Good because it means the Cowboys are more likely to remain trapped in a cycle of 8-8 finishes. News because the Eagles themselves just demonstrated that it is not only possible to tear things up and start over, but it is easier in the NFL than in any other major American sports league.

The Eagles went 4-12 in 2012 with Andy Reid as their head coach. It was Reid's 14th season, making the Eagles one of the most stable franchises in sports. While it was admittedly difficult for owner Jeffrey Lurie to pull the plug on Reid's tenure after working so closely together for so long, Lurie did just that.

Lurie hired Chip Kelly out of the University of Oregon. The Eagles went 10-6 in 2013, defeating the Cowboys in Week 17 to win the NFC East title.

If that isn't a quick turnaround, what is?

Across the parking lot from Lincoln Financial Field sits the Wells Fargo Center, where the Philadelphia 76ers are trying to turn their franchise around. The NBA's system -- fully guaranteed contracts and intricate trade rules that make salary dumping impossible -- all but forces teams to tank in order to have a shot at a superstar-caliber player.

The 76ers traded away most of the recognizable names from their already threadbare roster at the deadline. They were rewarded with a 20-point loss Monday night to the Milwaukee Bucks, the team with the worst record in the NBA.

A long 3-point basket away from the arena is Citizens Bank Park, where the Philadelphia Phillies reside. The 2008 World Series champions have spent massive amounts of payroll money to try to win another title while their core of Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley remains intact. But age, injuries and (again) those fully guaranteed contracts have the Phillies trapped in a cycle of ever diminishing returns.

Baseball and basketball present enormous challenges for a team trying to turn itself around quickly. The NFL? Sorry, Jerry, that excuse just doesn't fly.

It may have been easier when Jones bought the franchise 25 years ago, hired Jimmy Johnson and started amassing the talent that won three Super Bowls in four seasons. Things did change with the introduction of free agency and a salary cap, but that was 22 years ago. There has been time to adjust.

Since the Cowboys' last title in 1996, the Green Bay Packers have built two separate Super Bowl-winning programs -- one with Mike Holmgren and Brett Favre, one with Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers. So have the Baltimore Ravens, who won it all in 2000 with Brian Billick and Trent Dilfer and in 2012 with John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco.

The New York Giants won a Super Bowl in 2007. When they won another four years later, there were only 14 players left from the 2007 team. New England, the team the Giants beat both times, had only seven players on the roster for both games.

Seattle just won the Super Bowl with a team that had exactly four players who were on the roster before 2010.

You get the point. It is very possible in the NFL to change cultures, turn over rosters and flip a losing franchise into a winner in a short period of time. It takes two things: the ability to recognize change is needed and smart decisions when making it.

The New Orleans Saints established themselves as one of the league’s elite teams and won a Super Bowl. The key was hiring Sean Payton, a coach who had spent the three previous seasons working as an assistant for Jones.

The Eagles have had three major reboots with Lurie as their owner. They hired Ray Rhodes in 1995 and cut their losses after a 3-13 season in 1998. Lurie hired the virtually unknown Reid in 1999. While Reid did not produce a championship, he was coach and eventually chief personnel man for a six-year stretch in which the Eagles were the class of the NFC East.

Lurie stuck with Reid a year or three too long, out of some combination of loyalty and finger-crossed hope things would improve. When he finally did make a change, Lurie admitted it was the toughest decision of his tenure as owner. Clearly, there was no guarantee he was going to find as good a coach as the one he fired.

For Jones, such a wrenching decision is even harder because the man whose work he's judging is one Jerry Jones. A clear-eyed owner wouldn't accept a GM's rationale that the team is stuck in mediocrity because of bad cap management, ill-advised contracts and misplaced loyalty.

It was hard for Lurie to reach that point with his friend Reid. Evidently, it's even harder to get there when the guy making excuses is yourself.
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.

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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. -- 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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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.

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