NFL Nation: John Dorsey

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- To this day, Bob Harlan insists he's not sure what would have happened to the Green Bay Packers if they didn't start winning in the 1990s.

Maybe they would have survived. But maybe pro football in the NFL's smallest city would have eventually gone away.

[+] EnlargeMike Holmgren and Ron Wolf
Getty Images/Matthew StockmanFormer Packers GM Ron Wolf, right, helped bring a Super Bowl and staying power to the organization.
Thanks in large part to Harlan's decision to hire Ron Wolf as general manager in 1991, they never had to worry.

"I know what Ron will say: 'Without Brett, without Mike, without Reggie [the turnaround wouldn't have happened],' but that's what's great about Ron Wolf," former Packers quarterback Brett Favre said Friday in a telephone interview. "He's humble, modest, and he's a quiet guy. He's just not going to ever say that he was instrumental in that, nor should he. But the bottom line is it's the truth. Someone had to turn things around. And he did it."

Because of it, Wolf was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.

Harlan hired Wolf on Nov. 27, 1991. At that point, the Packers had exactly one playoff win -- in a wild-card game in the strike-shortened 1982 season -- since their latest championship under Vince Lombardi in Super Bowl II on Jan. 14, 1967.

Wolf acted swiftly when he arrived in Green Bay. Four days after he was introduced, he and Harlan sat in the press box in Atlanta, where the Packers played the Falcons. Wolf told Harlan he planned to trade for Favre, a backup with the Falcons. Back in Green Bay the next day, after a 35-31 loss to the Falcons, Wolf went to see his first Packers practice.

"He comes into my office," Harlan said, "and he says, 'You've got a problem on your practice field. This team is 4-10, and they're walking around like they're 10-4. We're going to make a change.' He had basically decided in two days on the job that Brett Favre was going to be our quarterback, and Lindy Infante was finished [as coach]."

With Wolf as general manager, Mike Holmgren as head coach and Favre as quarterback, the Packers went 75-37 in the regular season, 9-5 in the postseason and to two Super Bowls. They won No. XXXI. Holmgren left after the 1998 season, and Wolf stayed on for two more years, which gave him a total record (including playoffs) of 101-57 in nine seasons. Unlike when Lombardi left, there would be no falloff in Green Bay after Wolf retired.

"The thing that pleased me is that after 24 years of bad football, thanks to Ron and Mike Holmgren and now Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy, we've had 23 years of very good football," Harlan said. "It's been a huge turnaround, but I don't know where we'd be [without Wolf]."

Even though Wolf retired in 2001, his fingerprints remain all over the Packers. He hired Thompson, the current GM, as a scout in 1992, and his son, Eliot, is the Packers' director of player personnel. Four other Wolf disciples -- John Dorsey (Kansas City), Reggie McKenzie (Oakland), Scot McCloughan (Washington) and John Schneider (Seattle) -- currently hold GM posts.

"I think it was a combination of the leadership team in place with Bob Harlan, Ron Wolf and Mike Holmgren," said Dorsey, who played for the Packers from 1984-88 and then worked under Wolf as a scout. "He's a stickler for doing it the right way. He was a big part, instrumentally, in terms of changing that culture and that environment. I would say that it was a huge step in laying the foundation for where that organization is today."
Ted ThompsonAP Photo/Mike RoemerUnder the direction of general manager Ted Thompson, the Green Bay Packers have maintained stability in the front office.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- A month ago, Ted Thompson looked –- and sounded –- worn out.

In his annual pre-draft session with reporters, his speech was slower and more deliberate than usual, prompting whispers about his health and questions about how much longer he might continue as the Green Bay Packers' general manager.

Even Bob Harlan, the former Packers president and the man who hired Thompson in 2005, noticed a difference.

"I did see him on TV a couple of times where he seemed down, and I don't know if it was just exhaustion from the preparation for [the draft] and all the travel that he goes through because he just grinds all the time," Harlan said. "He's either in that room looking at video, or he's on the road."

At age 61, could Thompson have been showing signs that he was nearing the end of a successful run as general manager that has included one Super Bowl title?

Those close to him did not think so at the time, even when Thompson was forced to miss the NFL annual meetings in March because of an undisclosed personal matter. And they do not think so now, especially after he appeared energized following the draft.

So when Thompson joked a week after the draft that he’s "just getting started," the Packers should hope there is more than just a shred of truth to his typically dry humor.

In many ways, Thompson is the key to keeping the Packers' successful leadership team intact.

Consider what happened when Thompson's mentor, Ron Wolf, retired in 2001: The Packers had a coach in Mike Sherman they wanted to keep. Harlan feared that if he went outside for a general manager, he might lose Sherman, so he added the GM role to Sherman's responsibilities. Four years later, it had become apparent it was too much for him, prompting Harlan to bring back Thompson, who had followed Mike Holmgren to Seattle and was the Seahawks' director of player personnel. Thompson and Sherman worked together for one season before Thompson fired him and hired coach Mike McCarthy.

All the while, some of quarterback Brett Favre's prime years passed without even reaching another NFC Championship Game during Sherman's tenure (2000-05).

It's not unreasonable to think the same problems could befall McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers if Thompson were to walk away anytime soon.

"That poses a problem; there's no doubt about it," Harlan said. "I guess because I saw it happen twice –- when Ron came in and Lindy [Infante] was here [as the coach] and with Ted, who tried very hard to make it work with Mike Sherman –- I know it can go downhill in a hurry. It is very difficult if the general manager cannot select his own coach."

No doubt, that's why current Packers president Mark Murphy indicated earlier this month that before any contract extension will be done for McCarthy, Thompson’s situation will be taken care of first.

Like McCarthy, Thompson has two more years left on a contract he signed after the Packers won Super Bowl XLV. Thompson would not say how much longer he intends to work but added that he "wouldn't anticipate doing anything different."

When Harlan hired Thompson, he received no assurances of how long Thompson would stay on in the role, but Harlan considered Thompson -- who has never been married and does not have children – to be all football, all the time.

"I had watched him for all of those years when he was working for Ron in Green Bay, and his life was just football then as I'm sure it was in Seattle, too," Harlan said. "Ron was 53 when I hired him [in 1991], and I was shocked when he wanted to leave so early, but I understood. Frankly, what I was trying to do was make the move on Ted before it was time for me to go so that I could be sure football was good hands."

And Harlan's last major act as president did just that. Of the 53 players on the Packers’ roster for Super Bowl XLV, 49 of them were acquired by Thompson, whose draft-and-develop philosophy has kept the Packers competitive on an annual basis.

If Murphy has a succession plan in mind for the GM job, he has not shared it. Perhaps he could try to lure former Packers scouts-turned-general managers John Schneider or John Dorsey back to town, but it might be tough to get Schneider out of Seattle or Dorsey out of Kansas City, where both have strong support from their owners.

It's possible he could maintain continuity by promoting vice president of player finance Russ Ball or one of Thompson's chief scouts –- Brian Gutekunst, Alonzo Highsmith or Eliot Wolf.

Some believe Murphy might hire a search firm -– as he has done with several other key front-office positions -– to identify candidates.

Or maybe, if the Packers are fortunate, Thompson will keep going strong.

One person close to him said recently that he does not see Thompson leaving anytime soon, unless the Packers win another Super Bowl, and that all the recent talk about him retiring "got him going."

When told of that, Harlan said, "I would think he'd at least go to 65, and then I think probably what he's going to do is become an area scout. He told me a long time ago that someday he might just go back to Texas and just be an area scout.

"Maybe he'd do it for the Packers. I would be surprised if he didn't work until at least 65. His health is good, and this is everything for him."
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."
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs' first pick in the draft was a pass-rusher, their second a pass defender. That's not a coincidence since they play in a division along with the passing games of the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers.

The Chiefs added Rice cornerback Philip Gaines in the third round Friday night, one day after selecting Auburn outside linebacker Dee Ford in the first. Both moves were made to bolster a defense that collapsed over the second half of last season and blew a 28-point third-quarter lead in a playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

While the selection of Ford was meant to complement incumbent pass-rushers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston, the addition of Gaines serves notice to starter Brandon Flowers and third cornerback Marcus Cooper. Each had his share of struggles last season and while the Chiefs don't appear prepared to move Gaines immediately into one of those spots, they believe he is ready to compete for playing time.

Gaines, 23, played five seasons at Rice, including a year for a medical redshirt in 2011.

"He's very advanced," general manager John Dorsey said. "He's very competitive. He's very prideful."

It's not a coincidence that Gaines comes from a defensive system that asks its cornerbacks to play a lot of press coverage, just as the Chiefs ask their corners to do.

"We pretty much played press man all the time, so I'm really confident in it," Gaines said. "I've watched the Chiefs for plenty of years. My family is from Philadelphia, so they're huge Andy Reid fans. I've seen their whole scheme and everything, so I'm just ready to go."

The Chiefs prefer bigger cornerbacks who are better matchups against bigger receivers. One starter, Sean Smith, is 6 feet 3 and Cooper is 6-2. But Flowers is 5-9 and has trouble staying with bigger receivers. He had particular problems last year against 6-2 Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant.

Gaines is listed at 6-0, 193 pounds.

"He has all the physical dimensions of what we ask for in our corners," Dorsey said. "He's long, he's fast, he has long arms. He has 36 [passes broken up] over his career, which is a school record. He plays and tracks the deep ball well. There's still a lot of upside with him.

"I think you had to go in this direction. As we all know, you can't have enough good corners in this league. He sure adds [more] quality depth for us at that position."

Gaines missed last year's season opener against Texas A&M after what he said was a second positive test for marijuana.

"I'll never shy away from it because I did it," he said. "It's nothing to hide from. I did it and I'll own up to it for the rest of my life. Sometimes you make those mistakes and you man up and you move on. The Chiefs have believed in me and understood that I did that and they have nothing to worry about. I'm moving forward with my life. That's in the past."
The Kansas City Chiefs had to wait for no one during last year's NFL draft. They had the first overall choice and their selection of all available players before they opted for Central Michigan tackle Eric Fisher.

So the draft is a different game for general manager John Dorsey and the Chiefs this year. They will have to sit by idly for a few hours and 22 picks this year before they get their chance to select a player, assuming they don't move in the first round.

The Chiefs, after setting their draft board, are adjusting to the difference of having the 23rd overall pick.

"There's a degree of patience [required]," Dorsey said. "Sometimes you have to let it come to you. If it comes to you, good things may happen."

None of that is to say fists won't pound the table in frustration in the Chiefs' draft room as coveted players are selected before Kansas City gets its chance. That, too, is part of a different reality this year.

"There are a lot of them up there I'm salivating over," Dorsey said. "If they were there at 23, I'd say, 'OK, I'll get those.'"

As it is, the Chiefs won't be able to count on any specific players being available to them. They'll have to be content to predict on a group of players who will likely be available to them and narrow it from there.

"We're in the final preparation plans of putting this thing together," Dorsey said. "Now kind of what you do is begin to play the hypothetical games.

You begin to narrow your choices down. I think there's certain pocket there .... You can narrow it down to about four that you think [will be available]. But it's so hard to predict when you're sitting in the back there in the 20s and 30s, who's going to fall to you because so many different scenarios can occur."

Dorsey indicated the Chiefs have between 150 and 175 players on their draft board. That's about the same number as last year even though the draft is generally acknowledged to be much deeper than last year's.

"Quality over quantity," he said. "That's kind of the way it should be."
They all dream of finding the next star player, the one nobody else knows about. That’s how football scouts kill the endless hours on the road. But the reality? It just doesn’t happen much anymore. In the age of YouTube, it’s as easy for fans to research players as scouts.

That doesn’t stop them, Kansas City Chiefs general manager John Dorsey included, from trying. His team is no different from any of the others but perhaps a little more inclined to look for players in obscure places.

The Chiefs’ roster is well stocked with players from tiny football schools as well as those in the so-called power conferences. They have one player from Alabama, but also one from West Alabama. They have one each from Penn State and Pittsburgh but two from California of Pennsylvania.

They have two former Ivy Leaguers, a guy who before joining the Chiefs never played beyond junior college and one who didn’t play football in college at all. He was a basketball player.

[+] EnlargeJohn Dorsey
Denny Medley/USA TODAY SportsFrom the CFL to college basketball, Chiefs GM John Dorsey has used numerous avenues to find talent.
While a scout for the Green Bay Packers, Dorsey twice went to Australia to find a punter. One of them didn’t work out but the other, Chris Bryan, kicked for a time in the NFL, not with the Packers but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“We all have our avenues to find players," Dorsey said. “There are different ways of doing it. It’s my responsibility to the Kansas City Chiefs to do everything within our power to make sure we’ve got everything covered. We’re going to do that because if you’re not out there working, somebody else is and they’ll find those guys. Everybody does such a thorough job now.

“In today’s football, it’s really hard because all 32 teams are doing their due diligence in terms of working to unearth talent. The objective is to get real players. Anybody can go and find obscure players but they have to be able to play at the end of the day."

The ability to mine players from out-of-the-way places isn’t a bad one to have this time of year, with the draft looming. The Chiefs are down to six picks this year, having sent their second-round choice to the San Francisco 49ers in last year’s trade that brought quarterback Alex Smith.

So they could use a late-round or undrafted player to come through and replace at least some of the long-term production they probably would have received from that second-round pick.

Perhaps that player is already on their roster. He might be Weston Dressler, a tiny but quick slot receiver the Chiefs signed over the winter after he played several seasons in the Canadian Football League. It could be Mike Catapano, a seventh-round pick last season from Princeton who showed uncommon ability to rush the quarterback for a one-time Ivy Leaguer.

Yet another candidate is tight end Demetrius Harris, who played basketball but not football in college at Wisconsin-Milwaukee. It’s no longer rare for football teams to try to make a tight end from a former power forward, but Harris, who was once a standout high school football player in Arkansas, attracted the attention of the Chiefs in a typical Dorsey way.

“I was down at the [high school] all-star game maybe two or three years ago, Texas vs. the Nation. I happened to be out to dinner and was talking to some gentleman and he started talking about great high school players from Arkansas who didn’t play football in college. He said to keep an eye on [Harris] because he was all-state and this and that. I always have a Franklin planner with me where I keep notes. I just wrote down his name with the note to research him when he was eligible for the draft.

“I have a lot of those notes in that planner from conversations I’ve had about players who might not be eligible for the draft for two or three years."

The Chiefs last spring looked into Harris, who had finished his collegiate eligibility. They were in on him early and aggressively.

Word eventually spread around the NFL about Harris and though neither the Chiefs nor any other team drafted Harris, he became the object of a post-draft signing battle with Kansas City and the Baltimore Ravens among the finalists.

Harris signed with the Chiefs as much out of loyalty for their early interest as anything else.

“Demetrius just felt comfortable there," said Matthew Pope, Harris’ agent. “We needed a long-term commitment and the Chiefs were willing to give us their word on that.

“John’s history is that he’s not going to look at where the player comes from. He’ll just look at what the player does."

Harris spent his rookie season on the Chiefs’ practice squad. Much of that time was spent getting reacquainted with football. But late in the year he showed signs of developing into a player.

“He did a nice job in his year on the practice squad," Dorsey said. “Remember that he hadn’t played football in four years. He started to get in the groove about Week 12 or 13. He started to feel comfortable and get back in football shape."

The odds against Harris ever becoming another Jimmy Graham or Antonio Gates are great. But if he does, give Dorsey some credit for finding a great player who at least for a time nobody else knew about.
The Kansas City Chiefs won't even begin offseason practice for another couple of months but many of their fans have the feeling they're already playing for second place in the AFC West.

They're ready to concede another AFC West championship to the Denver Broncos after a busy first week in free agency, which saw the Broncos sign headline players such as pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware, cornerback Aqib Talib, safety T.J. Ward and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. The Chiefs, meanwhile, lost five players who were regulars last season and added three others with far less star power than those signed by the Broncos.

[+] EnlargeMaurice Jones-Drew
AP Photo/Ben MargotThe Chiefs picked up a probable starter in former Raider Vance Walker, but many Chiefs' fans are worried that and similar moves are not enough to keep pace with the Broncos' big-name offseason.
A considerable gap already existed between the Broncos and Chiefs when last season ended. It's difficult to see how that gap has done anything but expand since then.

When next season begins, the Chiefs might indeed be playing for a second straight wild-card berth. But it's hard to make that declaration now, with the starting line so far off. More moves will be made in free agency and then there's the draft in May.

Let's see where the Chiefs and Broncos are in early September when the season begins. That certainly seems like something the Chiefs and general manager John Dorsey are willing to do.

"Not really,'' Dorsey said Tuesday when asked if he felt pressure to keep up with Denver's moves in free agency. “Not really at all. It's really just midway through the second week of free agency. There are still a lot of players out there. We're going to find some players to help us move forward.

“I'm going to do it the Chiefs' way and the Chiefs' way as we said all along is that we're going to be selective in free agency (and) we're going to build a foundation through the draft.''

Those words might not soothe many Chiefs fans, but over the long term that's the proper way to build a team. The Broncos, with aging quarterback Peyton Manning, are built to win now.

The Chiefs aren't as close to winning a Super Bowl title. Counting the playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts, the Chiefs lost six of their final eight games last season. They've got some work to do, more than they could have done by opening Clark Hunt's checkbook to compete with the Broncos.

Their best course of action is to stick to the plan and not veer off course based on what a division rival might be doing.

That plan has yielded two probable starters in defensive lineman Vance Walker and linebacker Joe Mays and a possible starter in offensive lineman Jeff Linkenbach. Losing Sanders to the Broncos -- the Chiefs thought they had agreed on a contract with him only to learn he would sign with Denver instead -- was a setback. Dorsey and coach Andy Reid have to figure a way to overcome that one.

If they don't, it may be a long 2014 season for the Chiefs. That determination, though, can't be made in March. It has to wait for the fall.
General manager John Dorsey answered media questions Tuesday for the first time since the free-agent signing period began last week and a popular topic naturally was the inability of the Kansas City Chiefs to get the signature of wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders on a contract. The Chiefs thought they had an oral agreement with Sanders, formerly of the Pittsburgh Steelers, a fact Sanders and his agent have since disputed.

Either way, Sanders wound up signing not with the Chiefs but with the Denver Broncos. Just like that, Kansas City's chance to improve at the position by signing one of this year's best available free agents disappeared.

"During the free agency stuff, anything can happen," Dorsey said. "You know what? I was interested in the player and at the end of the day the player and the agent decided to go to Denver. It's kind of like the Vance Walker deal. That deal was put to bed and you don't look in the rearview mirror. We have to move forward and build for this organization. That's kind of where we are with this. I"m moving forward to the next project."

That's the best stance for Dorsey to publicly take. It does no good for Dorsey and the Chiefs to dwell on the situation because nothing can be done about it. Sanders has a signed contract with the Broncos and will play against the Chiefs this season and not for them.

But don't be confused by Dorsey's comments. The Chiefs were plenty mad at Sanders and his agent, believing they were left at the altar. Sanders was the versatile free-agent wide receiver the Chiefs felt best fit their needs and their budget and now he's gone, leaving the draft as the best option for upgrading a position of need.

"There are still players out there," Dorsey said, trying to put a happy face on the situation. "I think this draft is very deep in terms of wide receivers with skills."

Check back here Wednesday morning for more from Dorsey's question and answer session.

A trade up? Don't expect it to happen

February, 25, 2014
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
Another week, another excellent batch of Kansas City Chiefs questions for the mailbag. Here we go:
General manager John Dorsey denied Friday at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis that the Kansas City Chiefs have determined they will not re-sign left tackle Branden Albert, as recently reported by a Kansas City radio station.

"That’s the first I’ve heard about it," Dorsey said. "We have ongoing conversations with all of our unrestricted free agents. It just so happens we’ve had conversations with Brandon’s representatives, and that’s the beauty of the combine. Those guys are here. We will continue to have conversations with those representatives as the combine passes."

Tackle Eric Fisher, the No. 1 overall pick in last year's NFL draft and a starter as a rookie opposite Albert, is widely expected to replace Albert as the Chiefs' left tackle in 2014. Said Dorsey of Fisher: “Right now, he’s our right tackle."

That said, don't look for Albert to return to the Chiefs next season. The Chiefs and Albert were nowhere close to an agreement on a long-term contract last year, and that prospect appears unlikely this year unless one side has a dramatic change of position.

The Chiefs retained Albert as their franchise player last year, and that option exists again this year. But Dorsey indicated it was unlikely the Chiefs would have a franchise player in 2014.

Fisher had an uneven rookie season. He looked lost to begin the year, but finished a bit better. A year in the Chiefs' weight program should help Fisher improve immensely. At any rate, as Dorsey continued to talk about Fisher, he sure didn't sound like he was speaking about a player who will continue to play right tackle.

“The one thing I’m proud about Eric is that he made great strides as the season went along," Dorsey said. "You could see a great degree of comfort with him in the second half of the season.

"I’ve always said that between the first and second year, that’s when those guys make their greatest strides. I expect great things from Eric in his second year."

Trade down makes sense for Chiefs

February, 19, 2014
The Kansas City Chiefs are missing one of their better draft picks this year, having sent their second-round choice to the San Francisco 49ers in last year’s trade for quarterback Alex Smith.

The Chiefs still have their first-round pick, which is 23rd overall, as well as their own picks in the third, fourth and fifth rounds. They have two picks in the sixth round, their own plus one acquired from Dallas in last year’s trade that sent linebacker Edgar Jones to the Cowboys.

The Chiefs don’t have a seventh-round pick, having sent it to the Cowboys as part of the deal involving Jones.

Compensatory picks for last season’s free-agent activity will be handed out before the draft but don’t look for the Chiefs to get much -- if anything. Their only loss of significance (and I’m using the term loosely here) through unrestricted free agency last year was defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey, while the Chiefs were active in signing players from other teams.

So the Chiefs would be unwise to count on more picks. Not having a second-round choice puts a greater premium on finding a solid player with their first-round pick. The Chiefs had the same situation last year, having also sent their No. 2 pick to the 49ers. But the Chiefs at least had two third-round choices then to remove some of that pressure on the first-round pick and they wound up with two promising offensive skill players in tight end Travis Kelce and running back Knile Davis.

That’s why a trade down might make sense for the Chiefs in the first round. They have some ground to cover in this year’s draft and having just one pick in the top 86 will cripple their ability to replenish. If general manager John Dorsey gets a reasonable offer for that 23rd overall pick, one that would allow the Chiefs a shot at more than just one of this draft's better players, he needs to consider it carefully.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- John Dorsey has made many correct moves since joining the Kansas City Chiefs as their general manager a year ago. Along with coach Andy Reid, he helped set the much-needed tone of professionalism throughout the organization. He led the charge in the trade for quarterback Alex Smith, though with the Chiefs desperate for a quarterback the deal with the San Francisco 49ers made too much sense for it not to happen.

Dorsey was named as the NFL’s Executive of the Year by the Pro Football Writer’s Association. There’s no greater example of where Dorsey shined in Year 1 with the Chiefs than his move shortly before the start of the regular season.

The Chiefs, who at the time were still first in line for waiver claims, grabbed seven players in an effort improve the bottom of the roster. Three came from the Seattle Seahawks and two from the 49ers, two of the deepest teams in the NFL.

Three of those players helped the Chiefs this season and could continue to do so in 2014. Rookie Marcus Cooper, from the 49ers, became the Chiefs’ third cornerback early in the season and, despite hitting a rough patch late in the season, probably has more immediate impact than any of Kansas City’s other rookies. That includes tackle Eric Fisher, the first pick in last year’s draft.

Two players plucked from the Seahawks, tight end Sean McGrath and cornerback Ron Parker, also made contributions. McGrath was fifth on the Chiefs with 26 catches and also scored two touchdowns.

Parker helped preserve a one-point, early-season win over the Dallas Cowboys with a sack and a forced fumble.

Can Texans mimic Chiefs' turnaround?

December, 12, 2013
Our Jeffri Chadiha thinks so.


Can the Texans mimic the Chiefs' turnaround?


Discuss (Total votes: 399)

In fact, Chadiha thinks the Texans will improve on the turnaround that the Chiefs made. Last season, Kansas City went 2-14 and earned the top pick in the draft. They've gone 10-3 so far this season. Kansas City's defense is far superior to its offense, but two of the major reasons for that turnaround were the additions of quarterback Alex Smith, general manager John Dorsey and head coach Andy Reid.

On the Texans, Chadiha writes: "The Texans don't have to worry about hiring a general manager, because Rick Smith is one of the best young executives in the business. They also have far more talent than Kansas City had at the end of last season, which is why they might be able to put their disastrous season -- now 2-11, with 11 consecutive defeats -- behind them quickly."

Chadiha likes the thought of former Bears coach Lovie Smith or Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt as the Texans' next coach. He also echoed my thoughts from a week ago, that no decision Texans owner Bob McNair has made in his time as the Texans owner has been bigger than this one.

Give it a read, and offer your thoughts.
Gud Bradley, Andy ReidAP PhotoGus Bradley and Andy Reid are looking to get off to fast starts with their new teams.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Fans know a lot about their favorite teams, but they don’t have the same depth of knowledge of the 31 other teams in the NFL. That’s not going to be a problem any longer.

Each week the NFL Nation writers will team up Q&A style to help you get a handle on each team. Today, Kansas City Chiefs reporter Adam Teicher and Jacksonville Jaguars reporter Michael DiRocco help break down Sunday’s matchup.

Michael DiRocco: Is Alex Smith really an upgrade over Matt Cassel?

Adam Teicher: He had better be or the Chiefs are in some trouble. Cassel and Brady Quinn turned over the ball far too many times last season. One thing we know about Smith is that he hasn’t thrown many interceptions. He threw just 10 in his last 25 starts with the 49ers. So he’s been a quarterback who protects the ball, and if he can just do that, he’s already an upgrade over Cassel and Quinn. Another thing: Andy Reid’s West Coast offense will succeed if the quarterback completes a high percentage of throws. Smith completed 70 percent last season. If he can get close to that number this season, he’s even more of an upgrade.

Teicher: How patient will the Jaguars be with Blaine Gabbert on Sunday and this season?

DiRocco: This is a make-or-break season for Gabbert, who must prove he’s capable of being a franchise quarterback. That’s the team’s No. 1 goal for the season, so there will be a certain amount of patience. It does no good to give him a half or one game and yank him because the team will essentially be where it was heading into the season. That being said, if Gabbert really struggles during the first two months of the season, then the team will have its answer and may turn to Chad Henne or the recently signed Ricky Stanzi for the remainder of the season.

DiRocco: What’s the biggest change Andy Reid has brought to Kansas City?

Teicher: It’s a change brought by Reid and John Dorsey, the new general manager. Everybody seems to be pulling in the same direction. The Chiefs went through plenty of infighting the past few years and it was dragging them down. People often had their own agendas or felt they had to align themselves with one person or another. Dorsey and Reid swept that out the door. Winning looks to be the only goal and it certainly appears everybody is on board with that. Of course, it’s easy for a new administration to have everybody on board when it’s undefeated. So it’s an issue to keep an eye on once the Chiefs start losing some games.

Teicher: What are the biggest changes Gus Bradley and Dave Caldwell have brought to the Jags?

DiRocco: On the field, it’s on defense, where Bradley is implementing a more aggressive attitude and trying to rebuild the secondary with bigger, more physical cornerbacks -- essentially what he did in Seattle. Off the field, Bradley and Caldwell have changed the culture in the locker room. There’s a lot of energy and enthusiasm around the franchise even though everyone knows that the talent level needs a significant upgrade and the team likely isn’t going to reach .500. It was a much-needed boost, because the atmosphere around the team the past few seasons under Jack Del Rio and Mike Mularkey had become somewhat stale.

DiRocco: Some NFL experts have pegged the Chiefs as a playoff team just one season after finishing 2-14. What are a few things that have to happen for that to become a reality?

Teicher: They have many good players, but from the GM to the coach to the coordinators to the offensive and defensive system to the quarterback to 29 other players who didn’t play for the Chiefs last season, there’s a lot new here. How quickly Reid and his staff can pull everything together will be a key. The Chiefs have a favorable schedule the first half of the season and they need to take advantage because it gets more difficult after that. On the field, the Chiefs have to fix a turnover differential that was minus-24 last season. Their defense and special teams have to do a better job of providing better field position for the offense. This offense won’t make a lot of big plays, and if it has to go 80 yards on every possession, it will be a struggle.

Teicher: What are realistic expectations for the Jags this season in terms of number of wins?

DiRocco: I kind of let that slip in my earlier answer, but a six-win season would be the best-case scenario for the Jaguars. Four or five victories seems more likely, though, especially considering the team has back-to-back road games on the West Coast, plays San Francisco in London, and has to play at Denver, Indianapolis and Houston.