Sunday, September 30, 2007

All Hands On Deck

Let's take this occasion to hand out a few accolades. Congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs for their huge upset win in San Diego. While I'm excited that the Chargers are 1-3, I'm much, much more jazzed that we might be spared (for one week, at least) from ranting about how Insert Winning Team Here is a bunch of dirty cheaters.

A regular season victory over Norv is one thing, but what the Colorado Rockies have done is something special. In winning 13 of their last 14 games, the Purple Cobras have capped their best regular season ever with an improbable appearance in a one-game playoff showdown. Tomorrow night Coors Field will host Jake Peavy and the San Diego Padres, with the winner heading for a playoff series with Philly.

So here's the deal: If you live in the greater Denver metropolitan area, you need to get your ass to the game. No excuses are allowed, with the exception of severe illness or a case of general puss. Everybody else, why don't we get drunk and blog? For the first time, we're going to open up the House of Georges to the general public. I'll be running a constantly updated post in which Cecil, Bank and I will share poignant observations of the game. Feel free to chime in at, and we'll run as many comments as we have room for.

The more offensive and salacious the messages, the better, especially if they denigrate the residents of San Diego proper. Anchorman references, of course, will put you at the front of the line. I'm really hoping that Norv Turner joins the fun.
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Couch-Scout V.3: Colts vs. Broncos

I second--nay, third--everything the Administrator said about the HoG's current wheeziness. This week has been a livin' nightmare of drunken I guess kinda more like one of those "special" dreams than an actual nightmare. Anyway. I'm gonna keep this short and not particularly sweet, because the game is on in a few minutes and I haven't made a drink yet.

The Colts, as Stephen Wayne Methusa-Cobb would happily tell you between bites of corn pone (you grow up on the frontier, you get a taste for the stuff), are the Broncos' bete noire. Their bugbear. The team that gives them more trouble than any other.

No need to rehash the many humiliating losses they've visited upon us during Manning's tenure. They're etched upon my retinas. I see them when I sleep. That awful touchdown in the playoffs when Al Wilson stopped to argue over who had Marvin Harrison and forgot to actually lay a hand on him. The legend of Brandon Stokley. Our absolute inability to get a finger on Peyton...god, OK, that's enough. I'm getting queasy.

Anyway, to the game. Last week, our run D got overwhelmed by the mighty Jaguars of Jacksonville, and with Joseph Addai looking like a top 5 back (may I take a moment to say that I liked him comin' out of LSU, and hoped the Broncos would draft him? May I? Too fucking bad for you if you said no), I expect more of the same. Cutthatmeat knows when to take the straight road. If that happens, we'll lose by 30 points.

However, if the center of the line stiffens up, if Simeon Rice can start layin' the bricks of that Camelot he promised us, we'll make this a game. I have a hard time imagining that we'll play two oomph-free games in a row. That's a mighty large "if," admittedly, since I feel this squad is showing uncomfortable signs of mediocrity.

The final? It pains me. It really does...

Colts 37, Broncos 17.

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Sleeping With the Enemy: Week Four, Chiefs @ Chargers

Welcome back for another episode of Sleeping With the Enemy, where we knock heads with a fan of the opposing team. This week, we sat down with Robert Zepeda, who is the Super-Charged hombre over at Bolt Hype. We poked the fire while throwing around household names like Marty Schottenheimer and LaDainian Tomlinson, and attempted to assess what would happen in this afternoon's Chiefs/Chargers throwdown.

Bankmeister: Being a lifelong Chiefs fan, I can't very well begin a discussion about the Chargers' recent issues without probing the past a little. What is your stance on the way the Schottenheimer firing went down? What's the scoop on A.J. Smith? It appears he and Marty didn't get along, and Donnie Edwards has told the media around here that Smith stood in the way of the Chargers success beyond the regular season. Is that a valid statement or is he (Donnie) just bitter? Second, the national "feel," if you will, is that Norv Turner is a good Offensive Coordinator, but not a good head coach, and, well basically, that this team will go down in flames, regardless of their immense talent. I'm curious to hear from a source closer to/more familiar with the team.

Robert Zepeda: There was a growing sense of impatience among Chargers fans. The team was finally winning again and the roster was stacked with elite players. Tomlinson was entering his prime. The stars seemed to be aligning. A Super Bowl seemed to be in the team's fortunes, and fans were drooling. But after going through three winning seasons with not a single playoff win, the blame seemed to fall squarely on Marty Schottenheimer's shoulders. It was, after all, Marty's biggest knock – the inability to win championships.

You mention Donnie Edwards – Donnie and Marty were close, and this of course goes back to their days in Kansas City. Unfortunately for them, AJ Smith felt both were overrated. Smith places a priority on not overpaying for players, and would not pay Donnie Edwards what Donnie Edwards wanted. As a result, Edwards turned to the media to push his agenda. He used media to complain about his contract situation and tried to use that as leverage in contract negotiations. This did nothing but annoy AJ Smith, who made it quite clear that Edwards would not be retained. And as for Marty, lets just say that Smith and Schottenheimer had different philosophies about how to win a championship. And winning a championship is certainly something that Schottenheimer knows nothing about.

On that same token, Norv Turner comes to San Diego with a handful of rings. The role he earned those rings, however, is not from the head coaching ranks. Norv Turner is an AJ Smith hire, and it is proving to be his most pivotal decision since becoming GM – even bigger than his choice to let Drew Brees leave via free agency and to move forward with Philip Rivers.

There have certainly been doubters of Norv since before his arrival to San Diego. But three weeks into the season, its now becoming evident that Norv Turner has an effect on the team's ability to be successful. While the Chargers slow start to the season can't totally be blamed on Coach Turner, the man comes with the reputation of being an offensive guru, and yet they are struggling mightily to run the ball and score points. How the Chargers play the next three games (which happen to be divisional games) is going to go a long way to either bury playoff hopes or to keep those hopes alive.

B: Interesting. I hadn't realized Edwards' ploys with the media. Regarding the slow start, what do you make of Tomlinson's post-game comments last week in terms of not knowing what's going on and frustration. Every time I hear a player (like Tony Gonzalez) say that, I get the sense that what they really want to say is, "Hey, let me call some shots and things will get a lot better real quick." Do you think LT is frustrated with Norv, or is it play execution in general? There's got to be something more than Turner's effect on the team.

RZ: I think after a span of the three worst games in Ladainian Tomlinson's career, he was just at a lost for words. He is having to answer the same questions every week: 'Why can't the run game get going? Whats the difference between last year and this year?'

LT is clearly frustrated with the team's performance and he, as a leader, is assuming some of that responsibility himself. There were high expectations for the Chargers this season, and there still are. This is a team that won 14 games last year and are better on both sides of the ball. But there is an adjustment period going on right now. There is a whole new coaching staff in place and the transition isn't going as smooth as everyone would like. That's not to say this team can't bounce back. The coaches will understand that the Chargers aren't sneaking up on anybody. They are going to get every opposing team's best effort each week. The players know this, but I'm not sure the coaches understand this yet. So until the coaches start putting some better schemes in the playbook and showing teams looks they have never seen before, every team in the league is going to use the same blueprint to beat the Chargers; Do whatever it takes to stop LT from running up and down the field, and test the Chargers secondary.

B: Good estimation. I think, in the game-planning/scheming regard, the Chargers are in the same boat as the Chiefs. Teams are doing everything they can to stop Larry Johnson, which forces the Chiefs to go to the passing game, something a conservative coaching staff is reluctant to do. The Chargers receiving game is a bit puzzling to me. You've got eight guys that've caught some balls, three of whom have put up respectable stats in that category, but it's thus far only translated to one victory. What is the appropriate approach for Turner and company to get on track: Do they actually need to introduce new plays three games into the season, or are they simply calling the wrong plays at the wrong time? What's your estimation of your offensive line's performance thus far? Is LT's lack of output due in part to poor blocking executions, or are they doing their jobs well while the opposing defenses are dominating?

(Editor's Note: Due to time constraints, this exchange was cut short. I think it's safe to assume we both expect the Chargers to win this game. Thus, our mutual prediction: Chiefs 9, Chargers 24.)

Previous installments of SWTE:

Week Three
Week Two
Week One
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Sleeping With The Enemy: Broncos @ Colts

Welcome back to another episode of Sleeping With The Enemy, in which we lock horns with a fan of our opposition in advance of this week's game. Today's combatant is Steven Wayne Cobb, Colts booster and the last living veteran of the Spanish-American War.

Let me tell you a little bit about Steve. He grew up in Indiana, where he learned to play the guitar and follow in the proud musical/mental health tradition of Michael Jackson, John Cougar Mellencamp, Axl Rose and Kenny Chesney. This IS our country. He's followed the Colts his whole life, or at least since that snowy day the Mayflower trucks rolled in from Baltimore. Coincidentally, that was also the day Steve became eligible for Social Security--good times all around.

Anyway, Steve's flown the horseshoe-emblazoned flag in Fort Collins for many a year, enduring much ridicule as Peyton Manning and Tony Dungy stumbled in big game after big game. Then, last February, the Colts faced the Bears in the Super Bowl and...well, I don't really know what happened because I blacked out before kickoff. But Steve was pretty happy, so I assume Indy did well.

Old No. 7: So, yeah, I still can't believe how all that shit went down last year. Your team, coach and quarterback, all previously considered choking losers (at least by me), conquered their demons and won the Super Bowl. Even more amazing, Peyton is now considered cool and Dungy is a best-selling motivational author. How do you feel about these momentous events?

Steven Wayne Cobb: To answer this one honestly is tough. In an unbiased opinion, I've felt the Colts have been the best team in football for years. Luck finally came their way last year in the playoffs (dropped balls by Pats receivers) and now they're writing best-sellers.

7: Since Dungy and Manning have been in Indy, you guys have flat out owned the Broncos. You win most of these games, usually in blowouts. What will be different this time, considering Denver comes in with possibly their best secondary ever?

SWC: Throwing the ball on the Broncos will be hard for even the best quarterback ever this week. But my first question to you will be, how will you stop Addai and/or the play-action? Your run-defense is vulnerable. Can it improve?

7: The run defense, certainly, is one key to Denver staying in this game. Thus far it's been problematic, at least statistically. Buffalo had some decent gains but the Bronco defense handled the tempo of that game. Almost all of Oakland's yardage came in a stretch of the second half when the Orange Crush took a nap.

Now the Jacksonville game, that was another story. They totally dominated the line of scrimmage and time of possession. We couldn't tackle for shit. I'd like to think that was an aberration (or, at the very least, we can't possibly play that poorly again).

And so, this is what it will take to slow the Colts' running game and force the ball into the air (and, hopefully, into the waiting arms of Champ Bailey): Whatever the fuck Jim Bates' scheme is in terms of the DTs occupying the neutral zone, do that. Our smallish DEs have to hold the point of attack--John Engleberger does this well. It would be nice if DJ Williams was as adept at recognizing runs and tackling backs as he was at running into teammates and tripping over his own feet. This one's all on the linebackers...the minute our safeties start creeping up in short yardage situations Laser Rocket Arm will check to the fake handoff/seam route to Dallas Clark, and that's all she wrote.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention my recurring fantasy. It involves Peyton actually getting pressured by the Broncos, spinning around and Simeon Rice breaking his jaw and collarbone. That would really help our defense's chances, I think. There's a better chance of me finding ten thousand dollars in the cushions of my sofa Sunday afternoon, but a guy can dream.

Who am I kidding? The Broncos fucking suck. I may not even watch the game. What's your take on the rest of the AFC South? It seems like it may be the best division in football.

SWC: The AFC South is getting better, but if it's the best division in football, the Colts don't even need skates (Editor's Note: That sentence did not make sense.). Experience is key of course and I can't tell you when another team, besides the Colts, won a playoff game from our division.

You may not watch the game? Give me a break. My second question for you is: Have you ever missed a Bronco game in your adult life?

7: I've missed a couple games. Sometimes you just can't avoid it. I can't pinpoint any specific contest, but I know it's happened. I'm going to New Zealand in December, a trip that coincides with a Denver/San Diego game. I think I've obtained the technology that will allow me to watch the game, on my laptop, in the middle of the night. I'm sure it will be the lowlight of my trip.

As for what you said about the other teams in the South, that's a good point. They are improving, but Houston's never been to the playoffs, Tennessee hasn't with this group, and Jacksonville tends to flop in December and January. Divisions like the NFC East or AFC North have multiple playoff-tested opponents.

SWC: How comfortable do you feel with the Broncos sitting 2-1 in the West? Is Denver the team to beat having a struggling Chargers squad, a revived Raider Nation, and a Chef squad that should go 1-15?

7: I don't feel confident at all. San Diego does look lousy, and it appears that the entire city may turn on Norv Turner at any moment. If they don't destroy the Chiefs Sunday, I think Norv will be carved up and fed to Shamu. Go fuck yourself, San Diego. Regardless of their issues, however, there's no way that team finishes south of .500 this year.

The Raiders are indeed feisty, but let's not kid ourselves. I don't need to remind you -- a fantasy owner who signed Daunte Culpepper to a long-term fake contract before last season -- about their quarterback situation. They're improved and will surprise more than a few teams this year, but the circus in Oakland is a long way from contending for a playoff spot.

I was more than a little bummed by Kansas City's stirring comeback victory last week. I had hopes of a perfect season, the first ever 0-16. That win was a testament to the home field advantage at Arrowhead -- a tip of my cap to you, overweight inebriated Midwesterners in the bleachers. They'll scrape together three more of those, but I don't see the Chafes taking a road game this season.

So the division stinks, and 10-6 might take the whole thing. Denver is certainly capable of reaching such a record, and in fact before the season that's what I predicted. But they'll need to improve in many areas to do so--specifically special teams, offensive line play and defensive playmaking. All this could be glossed over should Jay Cutler suddenly act like an elite QB, but I think that's expecting too much of a de facto rookie. It's about the fundamentals.

One thing that's amazing to me is that, even though you guys won the Super Bowl and Belichick has been exposed as a filthy crook, New England is unanimously considered the finest team in the NFL. Thoughts?

SWC: The Colts are still the best team in football until someone beats them. Period.

7: You've been in Colorado for a number of years. What's it like supporting a foreign team in Bronco Country?

SWC: It sucked when the Colts sucked, of course. But there is a level of respect now that the monkey has been shot dead, mangled, ran over by a pick-up truck, and then shot dead again. I doubt I'll ever be able to enjoy another matchup between these two teams at Mile High again. Your fans are just mean. And mean people suck. Especially mean fans that lose to Peyton.

7: Jesus. Everyone says this about games in Denver -- "You guys are mean." What, exactly, do you expect from attending a game in enemy territory? I've been to road games and been harassed, and I have no problem with it. If it bothered me I either wouldn't go or I wouldn't wear my colors.

The only stadiums that annoyed me were in New Orleans and San Diego (which means a whale's vagina), because the fans there rolled over like a cheap hooker when the going got rough and the Broncos started winning. The Chargers have the softest fans I've ever seen. We fucking owned that place.

If I went to this game at the RCA Dome wearing my gear, I would assume that the pasty, obese farmers that attend Colts games would give me the business. They'd do so politely, of course, because it is in the Midwest, but home football games are no joke. The crowd plays to win the game, right?

OK, you're maintaining that the Colts are the team to beat, and that's fine. But you have to look at the Patriots and other top teams in the AFC and wonder how you'll stack up. You guys squeaked by New England last year and they've added a ton of dynamic talent to their club.

If you could, tell me what you think of New England. And also clubs like Pittsburgh, San Diego, Baltimore, etc. in the AFC (as well as whatever team you think will come out of the NFC) from the standpoint of how they match up with the Colts.

And, is there any way you guys could go ahead and start looking ahead to that huge Nov. 4 game against the Pats? That'd be great.

SWC: New England is dangerous. Of course. It's obvious. Tom Brady actually acquiring decent receivers, much less elite Hall of Famers, is scary as shit. But when they do loose a game, who are they going to blame it on? Wes Welker? Not being able to cheat? Their vulnerability will be revealed soon enough.

There are no NFC teams that even match-up with the tenth best AFC team. The Packers maybe? It just doesn't seem right to involve that team in this discussion.

The other two teams that have impressed me are with new coaches, Dallas and Pittsburgh. I absolutely despise these two squads, but they do look great. Patience, great defense, and they're scoring a shit-load of points. They will make a difference in the post-season.

7: What is Peyton Manning's Kryptonite? Is it young boys, like Alex Rodriguez? Doughnuts? Thinly sliced pastrami?

SWC: The way to get to Manning is, well, getting to Manning. If he gets hit a few times on one possession, is behind in the game, and doesn't have time to be the "chosen one" and use his Jedi powers, he will be frazzled and start to make mistakes. What you don't want to do though is piss him off. He will then score 80 points and never look back. How much do you miss having Jake Plummer around? That guy was a barrel of laughs.

7: Plummer was always a "B" quarterback. Good enough to start, but he sucked enough to give any fan a headache. What do you think about the job being done by Roger Goodell? Is he good for the NFL?

SWC: Goodell you ask? Well you better not get caught jay-walking. I do agree coming down on these thugs, but if the NFL has any more bad media it will start hurting their ratings. Sure, geeks like us will watch and root on our teams forever, but increased contracts and endorsements will be harder to come by if an image is tainted.

7: And I'll need a prediction for the game.

SWC: Prediction: Colts 24, Donks 13. It's a horse race in Indy today. GO COLTS!!!!!!!!!!!

7: Excellent. We were definitely missing some of that trademark superfluous punctuation before now. I feel that I've succeeded in my task, which is acting all deferential and shit and duping you into feeling superior. I will now reveal my true feelings, which include the belief that the Broncos will SHOCK THE WORLD in Indianapolis today. We're going to physically dominate the soft Colts, knock Manning around and totally not lose by as many points as you think. Broncos 24, Colts 28, Denver covers the spread for the first time all year. Count it.
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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Pickin' & Grinnin': Week Four

Check this place out. The House of...Georges? That's a funny name. Don't know what it means, but it's pretty comfortable. I think I'll stick around for a minute or two, take off my sneakers, and make a few wagers. Ya mind?

Everyone's making a big fuss over the number of home dogs this week, and it is fairly extraordinary. I will go ahead and pick none of them, just to be a contrarian. Last week we went 3-2 again in this space, running the season to date total to a respectable yet hardly dominant 10-6.

The biggest pickle we face is that our two underrated gambling sweethearts, the Texans and the Falcons, face off against one another. In this case Atlanta gets dissed (as a four-point home dog) while Houston earns the proper amount of respect. It may be time to hop off that train.

Dallas is getting a lot of love following their big win in Chicago, and they're massive 14-point faves. What's underestimated here is the level of awful that St. Louis is achieving. It's staggering. The Pick: Cowboys -14

Elsewhere in bad Missouri football, the Chiefs travel to San Diego, who's yet to get it going. Let's do the math: Team that can't score faces good defense. Team with the biggest home field advantage in football hits the road. Angry steroid-fueled men itching to dance like young girls. Add it all up, and even Norv can't fuck this one up. The Pick: Chargers -11 1/2

On Monday Night, New England takes its freak show of destruction to Cincinnati. This line has moved quite a piece and now sits at 7 1/2, but fuck it. The Pick: Patriots -7 1/2

If I had a nickel for every time I heard that Arizona was going to upset Pittsburgh this week I'd bet it all on the Steelers and be rich. Listen, I buy the logic that Russ Grimm and The Whizz know a lot about their old employers. I understand the motivation present in wanting to beat the team that passed you over. But I don't care how many tendencies you uncover, who in the hell is going to execute the game plan? This is still the Cardinals, a rickety NFC club, playing what looks like an elite AFC unit. Tendencies my ass. The Pick: Steelers -7

Four picks, four huge favorites. This is not the insight that loyal readers of the HoG pay zero dollars for. We want our underdogs, asshole! Give us an upset we can take to the bank! Fine. Bet the Broncos. I know they can't stop the run, and I know Peyton typically shreds them for a quarter mile of passing yards per game. I know taking a young QB like Cutler in a dome, on the road, against a fast opportunistic defense like Indy's is virtual suicide. I also know that Indiana is one of the few states in which Travis Henry has not procreated, so he may be up late tonight and sleepy and sore tomorrow. But fuck it. That's way too many points, and I've got a feeling the Shanahan's club shows up for this game. They'll lose by nine, ten tops. The Pick: Broncos + 10 1/2
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Friday, September 28, 2007

The T-Hen 1500 Watch: Week Three

The T-Hen 1500 Watch is the House of Georges' newest feature, wherein the ChiefsNation third of the HoG will measure the success of Donkey running back Travis Henry. We look back to the illustrious prediction (Editor's Note: This prediction has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Old No. 7 or anything he has published here on these InterNets) that prognosticated the certainty of Mr. Henry rushing for 1500 yards in this, the 2007 campaign. Take note that Mr. Henry's ability as an athlete hasn't necessarily been questioned in this regard. It was merely suggested as laughable to suspect that he would maintain his ever-questionable health and reach such a feat in this very season behind this very non-cheating Denver Bronco offensive line.

The way this little exercise works is this: We measure the prediction of 1500 yards for the season divided by 16 games. For the less-gifted in the math department (Note: This includes me), that's roughly 93.75 yards per game. Let it be said, therefore, that should the mark be reached, ChiefsNation will then appropriately commend Mr. Henry and the heretofore unnamed beholder of such great faith in the Volunteer alum that once shared the college backfield with Jamal Lewis.

Uh-oh. T-Hen must've come down with a case of the measles this weekend. He's looking spotty and didn't gain much of his body back from last week. How much did he gain? Thirty-five yards to be exact. Was it an illness?

The HoG thinks not. His drop in production came in the form of a run defense. A real one. Yes, it was time to put away the trophies earned against those stellar Buffalo and Oakland run Ds and strap on the cleets for something meatier. Through three games, Mr. H has netted 302 yards, a still-solid 20% of 1500. Let's hope he can get back on track against that piss-poor Indy run D this weekend. What's that? Indy falls just above the Jaguars and not near the drain in the deep end like Buff' an' Oak'? Oh, well. Cut that child support!
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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Scoutin' Those Chiefs: Week 3's 13-10 Win Over the Vikings

As I've mentioned, things are running a bit behind this week on the ol' HoG. Nevertheless, your features will be delivered. Week three for the red and gold was a win alright, but it wasn't pretty. Minnesota Viking rookie running back Adrian Peterson ran rampant all over the Chiefs in the first half. Most of his 102 yards and his touchdown were netted during those first two quarters. What saved the Chiefs was the return of Jared Allen, as well as the rest of the Chiefs' defensive squad. This week, I don't feel inspired enough to break it down into pluses and minuses, or highs and lows. I'm just going to call it like it is.

Halfway through the second quarter of this game, I was certain we'd be 0-3 by the time time expired. The Chiefs were literally on the verge of melting down. Tony Gonzalez continued to not catch passes. Larry Johnson continued to not be able to run the ball, and the Chiefs' approach to winning (Editor's Note: This is my terminology for play calling, as the 'p' and the 'c' words have saturated the media so far this season, all of which suggests Offensive Coordinator Mike Solari is to blame.) football games began to look foolish and embarrassing.

Players were getting called for delay of game due to spiking the ball in frustration. Drunk fans were storming the field (Note: It was one, but pluralizing always adds intensity, no?), quarterback Damon Huard was screaming mad at quarterbacks coach Dick Curl, and, as usual, Herman Edwards stood there on the sidelines looking like one half of a staring contest. All of this can be summed up in one word: meltdown. It was in fact, the proverbial season on the brink.

Then things changed a little bit.

A little bit.

The Chiefs decided -- long after the rest of the six-plus billion people that inhabit the globe had realized it -- that they might have to throw the ball a few times against this stingy Viking run defense. But oh no, they thought. Eddie Kennison is out and Tony Gonzalez is being double teamed. That means we'd have to go to the rookie. Well, they gave it a shot. And it worked. Amazing concept, there. And therein lies the problem.

Herm Edwards has repeatedly said that he believes that a coaching staff has got to continue to put the ball back in the hands of players who aren't succeeding. And I get that. I do. As a concept, it can build confidence. But hey, buddy. We're way beyond concepts and confidence. We're in the midst of something you may want to call the regular season, the time in which players, you know, play to win the game. Add to that that coaches have to delegate and assign the appropriate techniques for that to happen.

Beyond game day, though, Johnson claims that coaches are too stubborn to listen to what players think, and Huard admits he was frustrated as all hell with whatever piece of idiocy Curl was demonstrating in that particular moment. And what did the Head Chief in Charge do? He threw his offensive coordinator under the bus.

Awesome. That is 115% of good times.

"I don't call the plays," Edwards told the press, which is attached to the notion that no, Solari is not handcuffed to calling specifically conservative plays that Edwards wants his coaches and players to utilize that reduce the risk of: a) turning the ball over, b) sustaining drives and scoring touchdowns, and c) yep, that's right, winning football games. That's just great.

No what else it is? A load of fresh llama dung. Herm Edwards is responsible for the success, or lack thereof, of this football team, and by association, said approach to winning games. If the shit ain't goin' right, it's for one reason and one reason only: Herm ain't lettin' it.

One team will get their act together this Sunday at Qualcomm. Or maybe neither will. Maybe someone wins by default, ala the Chiefs opening-day quarterback decision. But i don't buy that. One team must fix the global entity of things not working right. I have a hard time believing it won't be the Super-Chargers.
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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

We Are Hot Chicks Wednesday: Bank's Obligatory Cheerleader Post

It was bound to happen sooner or later. Seven did it first. And now, a mere two months later, it's my turn. Here's the difference, though. I could also be a giant homer and publish a post of cheerleaders that root and rah for my team, regardless of their hotness. But I've got something even better. Better, I might venture, than any other NFL squad's pom-pom donners. And they are none other than the cheerleaders that represent the Houston Texans Football Club. Yes. Gone are the days of the Dallas Cowboys boasting the hottest squadron of over-excited ladies. Make no mistake, though. The trophy remins in the Lone Star state. Speaking of which, check out the Q&A I conducted (Editor's Note: Or don't.) with a fan of the Texans, who claimed that they'd win nine games and garner a playoff spot. I warned her about those pesky Colts, but no. She had to be a stubborn little Texas whore homer and talk smack after her alleged boyfriend Jerome Mathis ran the opener back for six. But, the great thing about this squad -- well, an other great thing about them -- is that both HoG teams square off against them Texans this year. That is, the Chiefs already lost to them, and the Broncos face them in week 15.

Nevertheless, let's peep some pyramid parts.

The Rookies

The 19-year-old Ashley brings youthful energy in her first year on the squad.

When she's not cheering on Matt Schaub and company, she likes to surf. She also likes making other people happy.

Susannah's a 25 year-old rook who's into belly dancing and likes getting massages. I'm quite certain the HoG staff could work out some trade with this 'leader.

Andrea's also a newbie to the Reliant crew.

She and I have a lot in common, in that the 20 year-old recently took up golf and really likes Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream. I imagine I'd let her lick my scoop on the back nine. Fore!

The Sophomore

This is Erica's second year on the team.

For obvious reasons, she was welcomed back aboard.

In the not-so-obvious department, she wants to reach out and show people love, kindness and generosity, which, coincidentally, we're looking for someone to fill a vacancy in that department here at the HoG World Headquarters. Who knew?

The Twice-As-Nice Third Year

Larisa and Marisa are -- yep, what a guess -- identical twins.

At age 22, they join the Texans rooters for a third straight season

Larisa likes "The Price is Right,"

while Marisa digs her some "Wheel of Fortune." Me? I happen to have posters of Bob Barker and Pat Sajak in my living room. And I have a TiVo. Just in case we miss anything.

Four-Year Vets

Kisha has experience with the squad.

Four years to be exact. She's 25,

and she also has a hint of a nasty, Miss Jackson type of an edge to her.

Her favorite part of the game is "definitely the touchdowns." I couldn't agree more. Scoring does in fact rule.

Celina's also 25.

And she's into hot yoga. I have no idea what that is, but sign me up.

Five Years

Elizabeth is in the midst of her fifth campaign with team Houston.

She's 26, she likes to watch baseball, and she's determined.

Elizabeth's goal is to always be in a position she can enjoy. I hear wedding bells.

Six, Baby. Six

Samantha really knows her way around the facility. At 26, she's into pursuing happiness as well as spending time outdoors. Hey, what guy doesn't like roughing it?

And there you have a mere sampling of the best talent in NFL cheerleading according to one-third of the Iron Triangle that is the House of Georges. Cheers!

(All photos courtesy of the Texans website.)
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Tradition Twednesday: The Weird, Wild West

The rough focus of this blog is the rivalry between the Kansas City Chiefs (heralded by Bankmeister) and the Denver Broncos (championed by Cecil and Old No. 7). It may seem unfair that it's two versus one, but once KC gets that second Super Bowl win we'll even out the delegation.

Seven years ago we started The Tradition, in which Bronco fans travel out to the Truman Sports Complex with their team, and Chief-lovers return to the Rocky Mountains with theirs. We tailgate, we talk massive amounts of shit, our wives are occasionally assaulted by rival fans, and we almost always watch the visiting team lose. It's a grand old time.

Here at the HoG, we're going to keep The Tradition going with Tradition Tuesday--a weekly state-of-the-rivalry address.

Well, kids, I don't know what to say. Things aren't looking so hot for the HoG right now. For the second time in our six-month history, the House has gone for three days without new material. For those of you die-harders that were counting on your Tradition Tuesday post being up yesterday, please allow me, on behalf of the staff, to apologize to both of you. Due to the demands put upon us by the bill-paying jobs of the world (Editor's Note: To all InterWebs publishers and advertisers, this is us officially offering the non-discreet discretional cough: Eh-freakin'-hem.), our creative abilities have collectively been sacrificed as of late, and it would appear there's little we can do about it, beyond apologize, at this time. We'll continue to put forth our best effort, but our wives insist that we hang out with them away from work, and our livers command a regulated intake of adult beverages, which leaves the HoG kind of like that tool shed in the backyard you always said you'd build. Yeah. Unbuilt.

Nevertheless, I'm hear with you this evening, and I'd like to say I have a WAHCW in me as well, but it might have to wait until the morrow. While I'm in the neighborhood, though, I figured I'd spend a few moments looking over the AFC West as a whole through the first three weeks of the 2007 season. I'll start at the bottom.

Your defending AFC West champions are, according to my paper, snoozing in the cellar. Kind of a surprise, kind of not. It's a surprise because of these reasons: a) They won 14 games last year; b) The two they lost were defeats suffered by low margins; c) They are, toof for toof, the most talented club in the league, a fact asterisked by the fact that the reigning MVP and the second-best tight end in the game are members of this team; d) They could've exacted revenge upon the Patriots and instead chose to lay down for an all-out beating; and e) They let that wily senior citizen Fah-vuh-ruh and his cheesehead cohorts come from behind and put them to sleep like the drowsy after-dinner dogs that they appear to be.

Here's why it's not a surprise: a)Norv Turner; b) Kharma is making an example out of AJ Smith; and c) Norv Turner.

A step up from the Bolts is Lane Kiffin and his Raiders. After posting a .500 pre-season record, the collective NFL fan base scratched its head once or twice. Add to that that, aside from allowing the God-empowered Jon 10-win Kitna and his Detroit Lions beat them rather mercilessly, Oakland has been very much in its other two contests, especially the one they won. (Note: For the record, it's not very difficult to be considered "in" the game when you win it, especially if you employ the same cheap tactic that was dispersed upon you the previous week to win the game). That said, if anyone deserves to hold the finger up to his critics, it is Mr. Kiffin, and perhaps that skeleton of an employer of his as well. Now, with Daunte Culpepper at the helm, perhaps they can string together consecutive wins as they prepare for the Trent Green-led, victoryless Miami Dolphins. Stranger stuff has in fact occurred. And things, schedule-wise, certainly don't get easier for the silver and black after week four, so they'd best cash them chips in when they can.

In second place is none other than my very own Kansas City Chiefs. (Note: I technically do not own them, and, again, this is how my paper lists the standing. It could be a points for/against deal, but it also conveniently works out that, of the three 1-2 teams in the division, they're alphabetically listed in the reverse order that I have listed them. For actual, concise research, check out some of those well-paid, more professional sports blogs.) Nonetheless, there they sit. The Chiefs mustered their first win of the season on Sunday, and, in doing so, brought their season point total to an astonishing 26. They boast, however, the league's fourth-best defense right now, which has, Houston season-opener aside, kept them in games. They also got this guy back on Sunday, which, considering his monster performance, helped out a wee bit. How KC performs this Sunday in San Diego will be nothing shy of fascinating. The home-opener win against the Vikings was stuffed with controversy. Damon Huard freaked out on QB Coach Dick Curl. Two Chiefs were penalized for delay of game via slamming the ball to the ground in frustration. LJ almost threw another temper tantrum. Herm considered a QB switch, but then allowed his OC to send in pass plays instead. Oh, and a drunk fan stormed the field and got body slammed by Old No. 7's favorite NFL mascot, KC Wolf. If anyone's hungry for a win in this division, it's the Chiefs foes that call Qualcomm home. They'd best have their act together or consider this season forked.

Finally, we have the first-place Denver Broncos, who are the only club in the division to not have a sub .500 record. Oh, alright. It's above.


Denver's football club is a bit of a puzzle. They have a fleet of offensive weapons, coupled with would appear to be an improved defense. Yet they've barely won the two games they have, and got schooled by their first and, thus far, only worthy opponent. At home. (Note: If Herm Edwards could, just once, display a fraction of the sideline emotion that Jack del Rio does, I might weep with joy. Don't get me wrong. I'd still head Operation Out With Herm In With Cowher just as fervently as I do, but whatever.) The Broncos' maestro has been in a trio of fascinating situations. In the first, he miraculously gets the offense off the field and the special teams unit on to nail a game-winning field goal as time expired. I posit that, under those exact circumstance, very few teams could pull that off two out of three times. But they did and snuck out of Ralph Wilson (Note: The Bills are still winless) with the victory. The following week, Shanahizzle cheated concocted an allegedly brilliant endeavor to get his team another win, and last week, he made a call that would have most coaches offering a sacrificial testicle before even thinking about it: going for it on fourth and six deep in your own territory. I give him credit for having the brass.

Beyond Raiders@Dolphins and Chiefs@Chargers, the Broncos cap off an AFC West weekend with a trip to the RCA Dome, which is certain to be an interesting match. The Colts haven't lost a non-pre-season game in over nine months, and they've had the Broncos' number in recent years. Upset? Perhaps. I for one, certainly won't be upset if history repeats itself. Cut that meat, baby.
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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Couch-Scout V.2: Jaguars & Broncos

Oh, wait. Sorry. Guess that image is just a smidge out of date.

I missed previewing the Chefs game as per my contract. So let's catch both of you up:

Adrian Peterson humiliates Ty Law on touchdown run, Huard et al appear to have just picked up this "tackle football" thing earlier in the week, Vikings D not giving Inverted Vagina Symbol any room, Vikings kick field goal. Vikings 10-0.

Chefs suddenly show some life, recover a Peterson fumble and complete a few passes. Chefs inside the 30, IVS slams helmet after penalty simply to remove all doubt about what a whiny ass infant he truly is, Chefs settle for a try. 10-3 Land O' a Thousand Lakes.

Now on to the good game. The Broncos of Denver--but really, all of Colorado, not to mention points Montana north and New Mexico south--take on Jacksonville's favorite/only pro team, the Jaguars.

I am of mixed mind about this game. Normally I have a guess, a reading from the ol' Magic 8 Ball that I can feel confident about. Last week, for example, I guessed we'd blow the Raiders back to the East Bay.

I was right about that, except for the long stretches of time that I wasn't. This week is different. The Magic 8 Ball displays a question mark superimposed on an upraised middle finger. Thanks. Fucking smartass Boomer toy.

The Jags haven't run on anyone but have potentially the league's best running game, with Maurice Jones-Drew (when did guys start hyphenating their names? I blame Alex Dorgan-Ross) and Fred Taylor. The Broncos are giving up a 150+ on the turf and haven't faced a team with that kind of legpower. On the flip, we're chokin' the life outta other teams' passing games--even with the McCown/Losman factor on our side. But David Garrard has played well so far. Also the Jags D had 7 sacks last week. No pinche bueno, that.

But their side of beef on the D-line, John Henderson, is doubtful with a "head" issue. raised an interesting notion: what if Mike Tice and Jack Del Rio are calling it that so they don't have to to treat it like what it is, a concussion? A sneaky way around the league's strict new guidelines, perchance? In any case, he's woozy, which will make it easier for some talentless, malevolent scrub like Chris Meyers to cut his legs out and ruin his career.

What it comes down to for me is our run defense against their backs. (I know, that's a hell of an insight. Stick around for my crop forecast. Hint: stay far, far away from beets, sugar and otherwise, in '08). If we hold 'em to 110 yards between the two we win by two touchdowns. If not...I don't wanna think about it.

Broncos 13, Jaguars 10.

And yes, Peter King picked the exact same score. I can hear what you're saying with my interweb mega-ears and you can go choke on a bowl of dicks.

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Pickin & Grinnin': Week Three

I try not to look for too many cute strategeries or themes in my gambling. I tend to let my prodigious gut lead me to the profits. And sometimes you just get yourself a feeling and you need to go with it.

I've had such a feeling about the Dallas Cowboys this season. Even though I thought their defense would be more formidable, they've impressed me in two wins. Tonight they visit the Bears, who have yet to get it going against two AFC teams. Take the points. The Pick: Cowboys +3

My feeling about the Falcons is less pronounced, but I still think that gambling value exists in Atlanta. Look, they don't have to win games. But if everyone thinks you're the worst team in the league, and you're actually the fifth- or sixth-worst team in the league, you're going to get lopsided point spreads until the betting public catches on. Ride Joey and the Birds for one more week, at home against Carolina. The Pick: Falcons +4 1/2

I generally don't like to lay my action until Sunday morning, so as not to get caught with my pants down on last-minute news (like Kelly Holcomb possibly starting at Arrowhead--yuck). But occasionally that move backfires when smart money moves a bad line. The Lions getting six against what could be a shitty Eagles club was juicy, at 4 1/2 I pass. Pittsburgh laying 9 1/2 against the Niners is doable, but moving that bad boy to 10 1/2 scares me away (but put the Steelers in a teaser). So let's find a nice trend here...

Like the trend that the Chargers are playing like crap. Sure, they'll eventually emerge from this funk, and it may well happen today at Lambeau. But giving an inspired Packers squad six points at home is too good to pass up. The Pick: Packers +6

I suppose we need a favorite in here somewhere, so let's head out to Landover, Maryland and the surprising Redskins. They're at home, and they're playing the Giants. I think I've said enough. The Pick: Redskins -4

I won't bet for or against the Broncos, but until they show some offensive consistency you can't let good spreads like this go. They're favored by four against a decent, hard-hitting team in Jacksonville. Denver is always (always!) one of the most overrated teams in Vegas, and likewise are usually terrible against the spread (this year 0-2 ATS, 2-0 for reals). So I merely suggest taking the Jags today.

Likewise, it warms my heart to see Kansas City setting up shop at the bottom of the NFL. It'll be a great day out here in Colorado if they drop their home opener today. How long will it take the Arrowhead faithful to boo the Herman/Huard duo? If the going gets ugly today, will Brodie Croyle see a little action? I'm giddy. But you simply can't put hard-earned money on the Tavaris Jackson/Brooks Bollinger/Holcomb potpourri surprise at the Home...Of The...Chafes. Leave it alone, and go Vikings.

See, that's smart wagering. Instead of going with our hearts and betting against a hated rival, we're saving that hard-earned cash for a better value. And the bet I'm suggesting is...going against another hated rival. Part of me thinks that Indianapolis will wake up and mop the floor with the Andre Johnson-less Texans. But my gut has been telling me all year that Houston is underrated, and just like we're giving Atlanta one more week of faith, stick with Coach Kubiak. The Pick: Texans +7

Last week P&G was 3-2, and the season record stands at 7-4.
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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Designated Recognition of College Football

I know it's hard for our readers in isolated locales like Kansas City and the Yukon Territory to care about college football. The Irish are busy becoming Bowling Green with a minimum admission grade level. But the Iron Triangle's third leg knows the weight of the Saturday, yes indeedy. If only enough to realize, "shit, my favorite team blows."

Yes, the Colorado State Rams are now 0-3, having lost their tenth game in succession.

The worst part? The worst fucking part? They lost to the motherscratchin' Houston Cougars, a team that hasn't been relevant since the invention of the sideline reporter. And they blew a 14 point lead in the final quarter. Final score, 38-27. Houston went crazy. (Aat least, the 15,000 fans at the game did. The rest of the city never even realized the contest occurred.)

10 losses in a row. Once upon a merry time, prognosticators and respected internet d-bags wondered if this was the year the Rams made the big jump into the Top 10. Once, we had players like Joey Porter and Clark Haggans and Sean Moran and Matt Newton and Dexter Wynn and Bradlee Van Pelt. Once we played ferocious defense and ran the ball like yeomen hod-carriers. So what if we went against WAC/Mountain West competition? BYU and Utah and now TCU, even Wyoming--nothing to be ashamed of. Plus we'd throw in the occasional beatdown of a big school, like when Moses Moreno beat Michigan State at their place, or the famous upset of then #4 Arizona in 1994.

Um, those days are gone. It doesn't appear to be getting better anytime soon. I make fun of Notre Dame's potential 0-8 start knowing we might not be much better.

The difference, of course, besides TV contracts and awoken echoes and Gods that care about football, is that CSU sucked for generations. It was practically a Fort Collins birthright--our team can out-suck yours. Lose by 30? Screw you, pretty boy. We'll lose by 56. We piled up decades of suck that could hardly be matched in I-A.

And it looks, sadly, like Sonny's team will be revisiting that bad past. Otherwise known as our present and future. Fight on, you stalwart Ram team. Fight, fight. Fight.

But I think we could still beat Notre Dame.
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Mafia+Sesame Street=Perfect World

Caution: This clip, courtesy of Gorilla Mask, kicks ass. If you have an objection to swearing, however, feel free to fuck off pass on this one. Read more

Friday, September 21, 2007

Sleeping With the Enemy: Week Three, Vikings @ Chiefs

Welcome back for another installment of "Sleeping With the Enemy," where us HoG staffers chit-chat with a fan of our teams' opponents. This week, Old No. 7 is certain to deliver a knockout interview of a hard-core Jacksonville Jaguars fan as that team visits InVesCap for a dual with the Donkeys. The Chiefs, on the other hand, finally get their home opener and host the Minnesota Vikings in doing so. Allow me to voice my displeasure, just as Carl Peterson did to the league office when the schedule was announced, of being a fan of the only team in the league that opens and closes the season with back-to-back road games. What a crock. For real. We so would've called time-out just before Devin Hester ran back that kickoff return to the hizzy, and therefore won, last week had that game been at Arrowhead.

But oh, well. That only sounds absurd and reeks of jealousy, right?

This week, your SWTE expert is none other than danzinski. He's the head norseman over yonder at
The Viking Age. He also lives in enemy territory and happens to be one heck of a nice guy. (Update: No he's not. After spotting this, I've changed my mind.) Either way, here's what the Zinskmeister and I discussed with regards to week three. (Editor's Note: SWTE Week One can be found here, Week Two here.)

Bankmeister: Your bio on The Viking Age declares you to be a long-time Vikings fan that resides in Wisconsin. Tell me about your history as a fan of the purple people-eaters, and what it's like, for you -- I spent six-plus years in Colorado where Chiefs fans like myself never hear the end of it -- living in enemy territory.

danzinski: I've always lived in Wisconsin so I was programmed at a young age to be a Packer fan. I have hazy memories of watching Lynn Dickey and James Lofton back in the early '80s. To be honest, I can't remember when I switched over to the Vikings. I think it was just because we got Minnesota TV stations and they were on every week. Anyway, at some point, I just became a fan. As time went on I realized how much fun it was to sort of be the enemy. All my pals were Packer fans so we would rib each other. It was way more fun being the one Viking fan in a sea of green and gold than just going along with the pack (pun intended). You do sort of get jabbed a bit by random people when you've got your Viking gear on and you go to the grocery store and stuff, i.e. old men telling me I'm going to get beat up. It's sort of great though when things happens like the playoff game a couple years ago when we went into Lambeau and smashed them. You hold your head up a little higher, and of course no one says a thing. Packer fans get real quiet when they lose.

So give me some background on yourself. How did the bankmeister come to be a Chiefs fan? And what the heck is a "bankmeister" anyway? Also, I saw a pic of Tom Waits on your site (Note: Cecil requested the photo be added to the HoG, but I consider the good idea to be my own, seeing as how Cecil doesn't really like Tom Waits. He likes Little Feat. And he thinks the Stones are better than Zeppelin. Yes. You're right. He's a crackhead. Anyhoo..). Are you the Tom Waits fan and if so what is your favorite Tom Waits song (mine's "Jersey Girl")?

B: Awesome. I love the duality of that story. It's definitely a hardening experience being surrounded by fans of your team's rival. Though I was born in the deep south, I definitely came out of the womb a Chiefs fan. Both sides of my family are from Kansas City and my folks lived in South Carolina for a short spell, but quickly returned. My father's favorite Chiefs story to tell actually involves the Vikings: The pub he bartended at for 22 years was secretly known for its underground gambling ring, and right around the time of Super Bowl IV, they were under a bit of scrutiny. He placed a $250 bet with a customer, nevertheless, on the Chiefs final regular-season game (against Oakland), which not surprisingly infuriated my mom. Whether she was more angry about the principle of wagering their hard-earned money or that he would do so against the Raiders, I'm not sure.

When they lost, she was really pissed, but again, not near as furious as she was when, two weeks later, he went double or nothing with that same customer on their playoff game against the defending-champion Jets. Double or nothing again ensued when the Chiefs faced Oakland in the AFL Championship, and one final time for the 23-7 Super Bowl victory over the Vikings, netting my old man the better part of two grand. (Note: Please pause 5-500 minutes to allow my HoG colleagues to chime in with the token "It wasn't even called the Super Bowl then" and "That was before World War I" -type commentary.)

My own first real Chiefs memories, however, fall somewhere in the abyss of the 1980 season; my first Super Bowl memory being XV of that year, wherein Dick Vermeil's Eagles lost to those pesky Raiders. The rest, as they don't say, is a lot of pain and suffering, something I know I share with Vikings fans, haven never seen my club hoist the Lombardi. Having said that, our clubs do have a lot in common, in that they typically scrimmage each other each year during training camp, almost always have lopsided outcomes to their games against one another, and have had some really good teams, but never quite good enough to win the only merchandise that matters. Given that all that is true, I really don't know a whole lot about the Vikes, as they really haven't been in the spotlight that much since the end of the Moss/Carter/Culpepper era. I mean, Red Coombs' name is in the paper now and again, and the words "Denny" and "Green" always remind me of Minnesota.

Of course, there are Vikings stories, such as the infamous boat party, and the re-surgence of Brad Johnson last year, and now again with Adrian Peterson toting the rock, but what, exactly, are the nuts and bolts of this squad? Do you feel good about the direction in which they are headed? Is Brad Childress a good head coach? Clearly, his offenses in Philly were tight. And given his offensive "nature," I find it peculiar that, in only his second year, his team is recognized as one with a fierce defense. Do you think Tarvaris Jackson starts under center all season? I always thought Kelly Holcomb was better than decent, and therefore, was surprised to see both Cleveland and Buffalo let him go. Given the youth movement that's sweeping the league, though, I guess that's what you do.

Bankmeister, by the way, is a modified version of a nickname (Banky) an ex-girlfriend gave me years ago. And, yes, I am indeed a Tom Waits fan. I don't know that I could ever select one favorite Waits track; his records have been so stylistically different throughout the years. I will say that Swordfishtrombones, Frank's Wild Years, Rain Dogs, Bone Machine and The Black Rider are among my favorite albums of his.

d: I was hoping you wouldn't bring up the Viking loss to the Chiefs in the Super Bowl. Actually, that happened before I was born so I guess I don't mind much. I've experienced enough bitter disappointment that I feel no need to dwell on stuff that happened when I wasn't even here.

I'm still sort of mixed on what Brad Childress's regime is doing with the team. I do like the fact that, from the start, he placed a lot of emphasis on building up the defense and the offensive line. They got aggressive in locking up guys like Kevin Williams and Bryant McKinnie to long-term extensions, and chasing down Steve Hutchinson. They've also been smart in picking their defensive coordinators, with Mike Tomlin and now Leslie Frazier, who the players rave about. I credit Childress for not being this kind of "offense is everything" guy even though his background is on that side of the ball. Denny Green always got ripped for neglecting the defense, which he deserved, since by the end of his tenure it was a total joke. Childress so far isn't falling into that trap. That being said, I sort of wish they'd done more the last couple of off-seasons to address the receiver issue. They sort of got burned by counting on Koren Robinson last year, a guy with obvious off-the-field issues. This year, they passed on some guys like Eric Moulds and Keenan McCardell - and of course Randy Moss - and settled for second-tier guys like Robert Ferguson and Bobby Wade. You can argue that some of those bigger-name guys like Moulds and McCardell are washed-up, but still, given the inexperience of our receivers, it seems like you have to gamble some. Especially when you have a young QB like Jackson who you're trying to develop. His progress ain't gonna be helped if he never has anyone open to throw to.

As far as Jackson being the man all year - I feel like, unless he plays abyssmally bad, like sub-Joey Harrington level, Childress will stick with him. Childress seems to think that he can do for Jackson what he did for Donovan McNabb. It's like his big chance to prove that he's a QB guru. I agree with you that Kelly Holcomb had some nice moments at some of his other stops, and I was definitely in favor of them picking him up. You have to have somebody with at least a little track-record behind a guy as green as Tarvaris. The only thing I worry about with Tarvaris is that, though he has a strong arm, he isn't particularly good at throwing the deep ball. One thing we have at receiver is speed, but that does you no good if the QB misses them every time. I don't like the idea of a dink-and-dunk style of offense all the time, cause it makes it real easy for teams to play up and crowd everything, which closes down those chances for Adrian Peterson to break big runs.

As for Childress being a good coach, I think the jury's still out. He did some stuff last year that rubbed people the wrong way. He seemed arrogant, and he directly blamed the offense's struggles on players not executing, saying he knew his offense was "kick-ass" if run right. Plus a lot of players got mad when he cut Marcus Robinson and basically said he was washed-up. This year, Childress is trying a lot harder to be Mr. Sunshine, which may or may not work. I give him credit for this though - he handed over play-calling duties to the offensive coordinator. That was something I always thought he would be too stubborn to do.

I agree with you that the Vikes and Chiefs have a lot in common, the biggest thing being a very uncertain QB situation. What did you think of everything that went down with the Chiefs in that regard? Did you like them dumping Trent Green (a guy I advocated the Vikings at least taking a look at)? Did they make the right decision by going with Huard to start the season? When will Brodie Croyle become the starter and what kind of future do you think that guy has? Also, do you think the Chiefs still have Steve DeBerg's number stashed somewhere just in case? I mean, he's only about sixty - he should still have something in the tank you'd think.

B: Excellent analyses. The one thing I know about the Chiefs right now -- I'll take the liberty of adding it to the list of commonalities with the Vikes -- is that the man in charge of them is stubborn, too. Of course, that could apply to either the GM or the coach, but for this instance, I mean the coach. The QB situation here has been a very delicate one in that, since DeBerg, the Chiefs had one relatively long-term quarterback (in Green) that I really respected as an athlete and a leader. Our world was rocked pretty hard last year to watch him motionless on the turf like that for 11 minutes. From there, as a fan, you wish the best for him health-wise and hope your number two guy doesn't stink up the joint, and clearly Huard did not, so much so, that when it appeared they'd be giving Trent the Green light, I was begging for Herm Edwards to keep Huard in the lineup as the starter. I'm convinced that the fact that he did not was a major contributor to that playoff debacle in Indianapolis.

Ultimately, his game, Cleveland performance excepted, was affected by the concussion, and, as hard as it was, I was ready to let him go. It was too bad that the scenario got so much press and forced folks on both sides to say things they probably preferred not to, but se la vie, right? Beyond that, there was no way in hell anyone could convince me that Croyle would be the guy for opening day. I don't think he'll be ready to start at all this year, in fact. Next year, assuming he gets more than mop-up duty under his belt, is a different story. I think, with a great O-line and a better-than-decent receiving corps, he has a good future in him. Speaking of route runners, I share your pain. That's an area we've been shy on for decades, it feels like. I'm hoping Dwayne Bowe doesn't turn out to be another Sylvester Morris or Marvin Minnis. And I know he won't, but sheesh. Sometimes you start to believe in a jinx. I'm also excited about Bobby Sippio. I know he's got great hands, but his speed is still a question.

And yeah, if all else fails, I've got no problem calling up the King of Play-Action. That guy was awesome.

So, what's a realistic expectation for the Vikes this year? Your division seems to be threatening to wake up this year. The Bears could lose a few more than they did last year; Green Bay already snuck away with a win over Philly; your team appears to be on the rise; and of course there's Jon 10-win Kitna over in the Motor City. How many Ws will your boys notch this year? Will they wrestle with Chicago for a crack at the North? How soon until Childress' squad takes the field in January? Two thousand eight?

d: I had the Vikes pegged for a 7-9 year at best going into the season, and that week 1 win didn't really change much for me. It would take a miracle for them to peek over .500 and make the post-season. And I'm saying this despite the fact that I think both their defense and running game are better than they were last year. I just have no faith in their pass offense. And yeah, the Packers and Lions do both look better, plus I think the Bears are going to come to their senses soon and bench Grossman for Griese, which will get them going. It's starting to look like a genuinely tough division now. If Detroit and Green Bay keep playing well I might have to downgrade the Vikes to something more like 6-10. That being said, I'm certain Childress will be back next year. The owner Zygi Wilf understood all along that it was a three year plan and next year will be Chilly's third. If he doesn't make the playoffs next season, with all the money that's been spent on players, Childress will be gone.

I have to ask about the Larry Johnson situation. The hold-out, and now this crazy stuff with the rap where he supposedly went after Carl Peterson and Priest Holmes (which I guess has now been revealed to be a fake). Larry didn't do a whole lot in that playoff game last year, against what was supposedly one of the worst run defenses ever, and he pretty much laid an egg in week 1 this year. I'm wondering if there's any sentiment among the Chiefs' faithful that the team would've been better off trading this guy. Also, with or without Johnson playing well, does the team have any chance of making it back to the post-season this year?

B: My take on LJ is this: When properly used (and paid), Johnson possessess almost all of the assets to be as successful as Priest Holmes in terms of offensive scheming. Now, I'm also of the opinion that you must have a head coach and offensive coordinator that are intelligent/on the same page when it comes to crafting said schemes, and every game-time minute that ticks away under this regime convinces me that we do not. Take Sunday's game against the Bears for example. Johnson nets 55 yards on 16 carries. Sixteen carries! Problem one: The offensive play calling is trying not to seem predictable and the situation you run into there is in the trying. Just don't be predictable. We're running draws on third and long and passing downfield on third and one. We could've kept at least two drives alive (and maybe scored) if we give it to LJ on those third-and-short situations.

I don't blame his lack of production thus far, or in the playoff game for that matter, on him. Sure, you have to take into consideration that he missed camp and might not've been in top game shape last week when he laid said egg, but he's a 27-year-old, $45-million star. Give the man the ball. Regarding the rapping: It's an unnecessary distraction; it's taken enough time and energy to adapt to LJ the person as opposed to Priest the person that I don't really care anymore as long as he produces -- or is given the means by which to produce -- he can say or rap whatever he wants. And, no. I never wanted to trade him. Not even for a second.

I could say that, based on last year, we had a shot at making the post-season after starting 0-2, but that would be preposterous. This Chiefs team has a good defense, a fledgling special teams unit, minimal offense, beyond-questionable coaching and no identity. At this point, I'll be surprised if we even win our home opener against your Vikings. Add to that that the first simmerings of a quarterback controversy are bubbling, and who knows where we're headed. Speaking of controversy, what happened to Mr. Jackson on Sunday versus Detroit? I suppose four picks can be chalked up to growing pains for the youngster, but pulling him? How do you feel about that move? As we look ahead to Sunday's matchup at Arrowhead, what are your thoughts?

d: Well bankmeister, I have to say, I'm lower on Jackson after that mess yesterday than I have been at any point since they made him the starter. It wasn't just that he got picked four times, it was the nature of the picks -- trying to make impossible plays, throwing across his body, chucking balls up to covered receivers in desperation. Sometimes stuff happens and you turn the ball over, but there's no excuse for being that careless (unless your name is Favre). And no, I didn't want to see him pulled, but he hurt his groin and apparently it got aggravated there in OT, and he had to come out.

I think this game against the Chiefs has a chance to be brutal, given the way each team has started. I don't think the Viking defense is a good one for LJ to try and get started against, first of all, so I'm skeptical that KC will be able to mount much of an offense. That being said, I don't think the Viking offense can move the ball consistently against anyone at this point, so I'm thinking this one could be a 10-6 type of game, where you're hoping for the D to pick one and take it in. I'm not too optimistic about the Vikes' chances this week, given that Tarvaris is hurt, Brooks Bollinger is awful and Kelly Holcomb is still apparently learning the offense (even though, being a Philly guy, he was already supposed to know the offense pretty well when he got here). I was taken aback by how critical you were of the Chiefs coaching staff in your remarks. Those of us who don't follow the team closely perceive Herm Edwards as a top-notch coach, but you used terms like "beyond-questionable" to describe the job he's doing. Are Chiefs fans really that disillusioned with Edwards? Also, I thought it was funny that you ripped into the play calling, and specifically the non-use of Mr. Johnson on short third downs -- ‘cause that's exactly what Viking fans are saying about our non-use of Mr. Peterson yesterday in similar situations. Sounds like these two franchises are sort of in the same boat -- mediocre talent in a lot of places, lack of leadership, inability to properly use the good players they do have.

B: Sounds like your week two was about as rough as mine. Regarding the upcoming matchup, though: a) I don't think I could stomach a 10-6 dog fight. I mean, of course I'd watch, but my health would probably suffer for it. b) LJ has to get going against someone. After the Vikes come here, the Chiefs go to San Diego, then host the Jaguars (two pretty good Ds), followed by a home game against the Bengals. Based on the shootout with the Browns, we know they don't play D, but we'll have to if we're going to match their O, which means using LJ; and then we travel to Oakland. That's half of the season. Week three, in my mind, is already too late to get him going.

Regarding your team's approach to an Arrowhead visit, one would think that yes, they'll struggle to move the ball. That said, one would think that, regardless of the already-knowing-the-offense point that you mentioned, that Holcomb would be your number two over Bollinger, hands down.

And here's the skinny (mine anyway) on the Chiefs coaching staff: The jury's still out on whether or not Herm's a good coach (Note: The jury is also still out on whether or not he's a) a bold-faced liar, b) really, really dumb, or c) both of the above). He had some successes and some failures in New York. Ultimately, they washed their hands of him in what seemed a let's-not-waste-any-time-here approach. Herm takes a lot of credit for the good late 90s/turn-of-the-century Tampa Bay Cover Two defense. This insults my intelligence. For four years, Herm was a defensive backs/assistant head coach for Tony Dungy. Lovie Smith was Dungy's linebackers coach. When Herm says (and he says it a lot) "what we did in Tampa," or some other phrasing meant to mean the same, he (obviously) includes himself in that.

My problem with that is that Herm went directly into a head coaching position with the Jets. Lovie, on the other hand, took the next logical step, that of somebody's coordinator, and went to the Super Bowl with Mike Martz. So he gets promoted, and guess what? He takes his team to the Super Bowl. Herm did none of that, yet he's in his second head-coaching stint. Note that in his first stint, he once clobbered Dungy's Colts in the playoffs, yet in two years in his second stint, both Dungy and Smith have easily handled his Chiefs teams. Add to that that Herm promoted Mike Solari (a long-time offensive line coach) to offensive coordinator, and he hired former Giants Special Teams Coach Mike Priefer to man his special teams unit in KC. Solari's and Priefer's respective units haven't been bad, but they haven't been great either. Ultimately, they're responsible for running those units in a way that mirrors how the head football coach wants the entire team run, so I hold Herm accountable for their successes, should they have any, and their failures, which they've certainly had.

I got no problem with the D. Gunther Cunningham is a proven DC, and Herm's a defensive-minded coach, so how do you not succeed there? As far as the play calling, I see signs of progression on the part of Solari. This is only his second year doing it. I will, nevertheless, echo your assertion of these two teams being in the same boat.

All of that said, after Arrowhead, the Vikes host the Pack, have a week off, travel to Soldier Field, then Dallas, followed by a visit from the troubled Eagles. Even with the bye week, that's a tough second quarter. Will Childress get his club in gear? What will be the three crucial points in doing so?

d: That's a pretty rough stretch, as you say. The main thing is getting the QB situation sorted. If Jackson's healthy, then I guess it will be Jackson. He needs to play a ton better. If it's not him, then hopefully it will be Holcomb. Bollinger has proven to me that he has nothing. The second thing is getting Chester Taylor healthy so they can get back to their original plan of platooning him and Adrian Peterson. I love Peterson but I don't want to see him get over-worked. Plus Chester ran for over a thousand yards last year so you know he can do it. Thirdly, I think the whole team just needs to tighten things up in terms of concentration and discipline on the field. It's gotten to be an old complaint around here, the dumb penalties, silly turnovers, guys whiffing on tackles. You can't expect to beat teams like Chicago and Dallas, and even the Packers who I'm sad to say look pretty good, if you can't keep your head in the game.

Same question back at you - tell me three things the Chiefs need to do to get their ship righted.

B: I made mention of our two teams having a lot in common at the beginning of this exchange. Little did I know I'd discover so much more by the end of it.

But those things are these: 1) Use LJ. A lot. He's shown he can handle the workload, and he's improved his pass-catching skills. The amount of carries he's had thus far is ridiculous in comparison with the other key backs in the league that aren't sharing carries. The Chiefs need to get him on a 30-touch-per-game pace. Period. 2) Establish a pecking order amongst the receivers. If Eddie Kennison's going to be out much longer, it's imperative that Dwayne Bowe, Samie Parker and Jeff Webb (Gonzalez is always Gonzalez) figure out who's the one, the two, the three, and act it out on every single route. 3) The right side of the offensive line is our Achilles' heel. Kyle Turley and John Welbourn have got to be better, at the very least, as good as MacIntosh and Waters on the left. Obviously, those things are all offense-related, Herm's weakest spot. We've run out of time for weak spots, though. It's do or die.

Finally, you threw out the 10-6, ballpark-type prediction for the contest. Let's have a precise (as precise as predictions can be) guess as to the score of this game, and who comes out on top.

danzinski: It's at Arrowhead, our QB situation is a mess, the Chiefs have their backs to the wall. The Chiefs win this one; the score a bit less ugly than I originally said: Chiefs 21, Vikings 17.

Bankmeister: I still have little faith in our offense, but I'm hoping they'll get up for the home opener. If the Chiefs coaching staff can put together some semblance of intelligence and Kelly Holcomb holds the clipboard all afternoon, I'll say Chiefs 20, Vikings 14. If either of those factors changes, Minnesota takes the contest by 10.
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Thursday, September 20, 2007


So, yeah, I've been filling my position here at the House of Georges with about as much competency as Coach Herman this week. Can't help it...the realities of the paying job are keeping The Aged Numeral out of the blog-o-loop. I apologize to my legions of fans and groupies, and rest assured my 100-proof badassery will return to HoG Nation in good time.

I'm hearing a lot of bullshit flying around these parts, including allegations of "cheating" in calling a timeout (to which I say um, two and oh) and "What's wrong with your Red Sox?" (still in first place, at least for today). It's clear that in the absence of The Professor, the students of sports science are running amok, shootin' spitballs and drawing moustaches on the posters of the Founding Fathers. Have your fun, kids. Discipline will be distributed accordingly.

In closing, there's probably some baseball on today, Travis Henry has a bunch of children, sour cream is really good on chicken tacos, and I voted Notre Dame as the unquestioned No. 1 team in the land. They do it right. Read more

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The T-Hen 1500 Watch: Week Two

The T-Hen 1500 Watch is the House of Georges' newest feature, wherein the ChiefsNation third of the HoG will measure the success of Donkey running back Travis Henry. We look back to the illustrious prediction (Editor's Note: This prediction has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Old No. 7 or anything he has published here on these InterNets) that prognosticated the certainty of Mr. Henry rushing for 1500 yards in this, the 2007 campaign. Take note that Mr. Henry's ability as an athlete hasn't necessarily been questioned in this regard. It was merely suggested as laughable to suspect that he would maintain his ever-questionable health and reach such a feat in this very season behind this very non-cheating Denver Bronco offensive line.

The way this little exercise works is this: We measure the prediction of 1500 yards for the season divided by 16 games. For the less-gifted in the math department (Note: This includes me), that's roughly 93.75 yards per game. Let it be said, therefore, that should the mark be reached, ChiefsNation will then appropriately commend Mr. Henry and the heretofore unnamed beholder of such great faith in the Volunteer alum that once shared the college backfield with Jamal Lewis.

Suffice it to say that, along with all of the other NFL athletes that frequent the pages of the HoGizzle, Mr. Henry has kept tabs on The T-Hen 1500 Watch, and he's pissed.

That's right. T-Huxtable came tearin' out of the gates in week one and notched a buck thirty-nine, dropping what he needed to net (Note: Thanks, DfromKC) through the final 15 games to 90.73 yards per contest. Apparently that wasn't good enough. Gashing the allegedly stellar run defense of the Oakland Raiders in week two, Mr. H GH put another 128 yards on the board and dropped his NPG (need per game) to 88.1. Ouch, say we the doubters. Thus by my calculations -- rest assured, they are the epitome of accuracy -- Daddy Dearest has earned himself some ankles and some shins.

Up next for number 20 and his predominantly orange team are the Jacksonville Jaguars. If Jack del Rio's club can't contain Mr. Henry any better than the Bills and the Raiders, we could be givin' a brother some shorts real soon. At least week three's opponent for Henry and company qualifies as a top 15 defensive unit. Run, Travis! Run, Travis, run!
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