Saturday, December 6, 2008

Vintage, Non-Filtered Sleeping With the Enemy: Week 14, Chiefs @ Broncos

This is "Sleeping with the Enemy," and it comes to you courtesy of the House of Georges. The wife and I are alive and well in Denver, Old No. 7 and his are trucking up the mountain in better conditions than last year's Chiefs-Broncos game in Denver, and Cecil and his wife -- well, they live here. They be the hosts. Anyway, Seven wanted us to get one more chat in about this game before it actually kicks off, so, in a display of completely shocking behavior, he took the skeleton of his good idea, then handed the load off to me with direct orders to finish it. After the jump, the fruits of our labors.

Old No. 7: First off, welcome back from your trip to Ireland, Cecil. I'm sure it was a hoot, but you did miss what's rapidly turning into the hugest story since Princess Diana tried to kiss a bridge abutment, or at least since Mike Vick took the hounds for a walk: Plaxico. Do you feel up to speed yet?

Cecil: Just barely -- let's see if I have it: Plax goes to club, clad in tens of thousands of bling and sweatpants. Puts gun in band of sweatpants. At some point, presumable post-Cristal, gun slides down Plax's leg. He attempts to grab it and shoots himself. Hilarity ensues, featuring Antonio Pierce doing something chicanerous (making up words today!), a real life crime doctor, re-painted floors at the club and possibly a visit from the Yeti. Close? I'm sure I missed something.

7: That's about where I am, although I did hear this morning that Plax's attorney/wife disposed of the weapon, and somehow Tom Cruise is mixed up in it. How do you think this affects the Giants' postseason aspirations?

C: Thus far they've played just fine minus Burress, and they did win it all a year after they were supposed to be screwed by Tiki Barber's retirement. I don't think missing Plax is going to be the big problem for them. They've managed to scrape by without much of a contribution from him thus far -- they do, after all, have the immortal Domenik Hixon as one of their wideouts, the thieving bastards. What will kill them will be the loss, if it happens, of Antonio Pierce. He seems to be neck-deep in this nonsense as well, and if he misses any time that's huge trouble for them. The backup, Chase Blackburn, is just a dude.

7: Let's get to a potentially playoff-bound club nearer and dearer to our hearts -- your firstplace Denver Broncos. If we can just dispense with the whole not-really-talking-about-it-for-fear-of-jinxing-anything taboo (which worked so well for your Cubs this summer), let's give the Broncos a berth as the AFC's No. 4 seed and a home game in Round One. Then we'll schedule them a game against the current resident of the 5-slot, our old friends the Indianapolis Colts. I know the Colts can be defeated, hell, they play with fire every week and only rarely get burned. Do you think the local eleven could cut that meat?

C: (Ed. Note: So, looks like the Rocky is being put up for sale. Great times.) I think they could, potentially, but that's a matchup that would give me hives. That is to say, more hives than I already have, which is plenty. Because it doesn't matter when we play them, how bad their run game is or how many turnovers they need out of Sage Rosenfels to win -- Chessning always has huge games against us. Even worse, it would be here, and everyone knows that we can't win at home. I'd vastly prefer a matchup with the Baltimore Ravens, who have been beating up weakasses and feeling good about themselves. A matchup with Indy would be, to my mind, about the worst we could do. I'd even prefer to play the Jets again, tall order though that would be.

7: OK, that brings up a really good point. Banky the other day unleashed a salvo at Bronco Nation that was mostly the whining of habitual runners-up: your uniforms are ugly, etc. He did raise a valid point, however, when he mentioned what one Denver rag used to call New Mile High Stadium. The plushness and sterility of Invesco has seemingly sapped some of the old home-field advantage from our boys. It's a great place to watch a game, but it's no longer scary. Can that fear ever return, and why do these Broncos seem to show up on the road yet not at home? Also, let's welcome Banky himself into the conversation -- howdy pard'!

Bankmeister: Thanks, and yes -- welcome back, indeed, Cec'. I'm eager to hear all about your European endeavors, and of course, I hope you heaved those Malatov Cocktails at any snaggle-toothed limeys you encountered in the north. Those things took me forever to concoct/ship through the U.S.P.S., but let's keep that on the hushty-hush. More importantly, it's great to have you back; the House has been a total mess during your vacancy, and I've had to clean up Seven's foulness on many an occasion, but different post, different day. Onto your Broncos, though. In my generally uninformed ways, what happens if the two wildcards have a better record than the boys in the ugly unis? I mean, aside from the total, indescribable awesomeness that that would be, wouldn't they get a six seed? Or do they get the graces of a four solely based on winning this craptacular division? Musings aside, however, I think that your homefield woes of 2008 will quickly come to an end. While I hate to say it -- and secretly I'm optimistic that the Chiefs win on Sunday -- it's possible that Denver emerges victorious against KC (which, in groundhog terms, means only seven more consecutive losses to come there for Kansas City), and then you sandwich a home win against the Bills in between to road-cookin' victories, only to set yourselves up with some InVesConfidence for the playoffs. No?

C: I wish I had an answer, any answer, even a really bad answer -- those are my specialty -- as to why our taxpayer-funded palace is such a House of non-horrors for visitors. Is it too comfy? Was it the fragmentation of the old season ticket holders who'd sat next to each other for decades? The corporate suits who didn't show up for games? The wine, the cheese? The Mark Kiszla? Probably a little of each, but I'm thinking that it's as simple as design. The old place was on risers, which may not be the safest way to build a stadium, but makes for a shaky, loud-as-fuck place to watch some football. This new one simply doesn't have that capability. And the way the bowl spreads out, a lot of the noise just dissipates. Or maybe we just have had shittier teams. Especially on defense. That's always what used to get the old place shakin' was the D, and there hasn't been a lot of that sauce on the table recently. If the D can grow a spine -- and there's a gentleman named Rey Maualuga who could help that re-growth toot sweet, more on him later -- I think the fanbase will perk up a little. Offensive touchdowns are great, but not as great as sacks and fumbles for touchdowns. To your query, Mr. Administrator: the winners of each division get the top seeds. So, in theory, a team could go 12-4 (like the '97 Broncos did) and not win their division, and thus be seeded lower than a team from another with a lesser record. So we could grab one of those upper slots with an 8 or 9 win season, which just has to burn you a little, right? Right? Come on, gimme something, here. As far as any confidence in the post-season, I dunno. This team freaks me out too much to have anything resembling confidence. Although I will say this: if Cutler stays hot, there isn't a defense in the AFC field that wants to face up to our passing game. Big if, of course, because midnight might strike and turn him into Dave Krieg.

B: Oh, sure. That burns me a tad. But hell, I happen to like easier chances for the Broncos to win and then watch them not. But then again, I also happen to like Dave Krieg, so what do I know.

C: No lie, Dave Krieg was pretty solid. Except for all the sucking.

7: OK, that's all super, but Banky's got a flight to catch. Cecil and I can (and probably will) go on all day about defensive struggles and future draft picks we'll never select. Does the Chief-pimpin' third of the Iron Triangle have any necessary last-minute interrogations for the arange and the blue?

B: Well, I heard and read some interesting tidbits from both coaches today. There's a box quote from Shanahan regarding the Chiefs here. I think what he has to say is more honest, forthright, detailed and intelligible in a few short breaths. I also like the fact that Shanahan assumes that those in the room saw the Chargers/Chiefs game as it was on out in Colorado. That's good stuff, which leads the natural thought progression to believe that he's getting his guys ready specifically for this game, and this team, with focus on what they've done in recent weeks as opposed to the whole season. On the other hand, Herm talks -- among other things -- about players and safety and guns here, all of course in light of PlaxiGate. I think it's safe to assume that Shanny's a better game-day planner and overall coach, while maybe, just maybe Herm has the edge in the motivational/inspirational/educational department. I think it speaks volumes that one coach is trying to get a win in a shaky season, one that will land his team in the post-season. Herm, on the other hand, still appears to be molding this club in whatever way it is that he does that, with perhaps -- though we all know he'd never admit it -- a little less importance on getting the win; it's possible he's focused on scheme, team, and fundamentals. Given all of that, and I know it's a lot, is it possible that the Herm stance can give a club the edge? is it possible that "buying into" the big picture can produce a winning endeavor as opposed to the traditional film study/opponent-simulation-in-practice/play-specific mindset to a week's worth of practice? Simply, can and will Herm's temperament produce a win in Denver? Finally, what about Ian's (Bronco Talk) statement about the Chiefs only being one draft pick away? I assume he means greatness and winning as the direct objects for "away." Lastly, I'd like to hear, even if you've spewed it all over the House walls before, your take on Herman Edwards, and why he will or will not succeed with the Chiefs, or in any future HC endeavors.

7: You'd never make it as a schoolteacher, Bank. Don't you know that handing out reading assignments on a Friday is for the birds?

C: On the one hand, I actually think the Herm method -- focus on parameters, on technique, on attitude, and winning will naturally follow -- is very smart. It's the core of Parcellsian football: you play your guy the right way and good things happen, no matter the scheme. But to be truly successful it has to be wedded to a strategy. This is, as the folks say, the NFL, and you have dudes like Bill Belichick and Mike Martz concocting crazy-ass formations that will leave an unprepared team looking pants-free. And that, I think, is where Herm really fails.

His brand of game strategy only works regularly when a team has a surfeit of talent, and the Chefs simply don't have that yet. I say "yet" because their young players could turn out to be really good, but as of now, not so much. Installing the spread is cute and all, and Thigpen is probably currently nailing some Grade A KC beef, but quarterbacks who run a lot are ticking alarm clocks just waiting to hit a wall -- there's a reason it's not really considered a viable NFL offense. Thigpen's recent mild successes notwithstanding. It really smacks of desperation. You know Herm doesn't wanna play that kind of chuck-n-run game, he wants to feed people LJ until their eyes bleed and get a short field via frequent turnovers

7: Bingo. I'll add to that that I think that Shanny's a better game coach, and Herm's a better guy. I mean, let me put it this way: If both coached in college, and I had a son who was a college football recruit, a good player but probably not a sure-fire NFL prospect, I'd want to send him to Herm. Herm would mold him into a man. Herm would care if he's going to class, what kind of weird drug addicts he's hanging out with, what caliber of snatch he was splitting. So the team goes 7-5 every year and loses the Humanitarian Bowl. My kid will be a more well-rounded and respectful person for it. If I send my kid to go play for Shanahan, I'll get to watch him on TV more often and may even get to see him in a BCS game. But he'll receive pain-killing injections before each game and walk with a limp when he's 25. He'll major in University Studies for five semesters before losing his scholarship to a faster kid, and he won't graduate.

Herm has strengths other than being a swell youth-group leader, I just don't know what they are. He's just about the only coach I've ever heard of that's never been a coordinator at any level. I don't know if he can design a defense or an offense, what his particular philosophies of football are, or whether he'll ever develop any. I just know he says funny shit at press conferences and tends to lose games he ought to win. For that I love him. Shanahan will kill a member of his family just to win on Sunday. Seriously. If a terrorist kidnapped Shanny's son and demanded a loss to the Chiefs in exchange for his safe return, Kyle is a corpse. Although Kyle may be a bad example, word has it he might, um, play for the other team. And by that I mean he's gay. Perhaps Shanny should have sent him to play for a guy like Herm or Tony Dungy, who aren't down with that alternative lifestyle stuff, instead of Mack Brown.

B: And that's that. We'll be back later in the evening, to offer our score predictions.


Cecil said...

Yow. I need an editor.