|05-18-2009, 09:22 AM||#1|
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Kush & Irsay
Queefs, Broncos bring Patriots’ philosophy to the AFC West
By ADAM "WATERHEAD" TEICHER
The Kansas City Shunt
As the only NFL team to win its division in each of the last three seasons, the San Diego Chargers didn’t merely dominate the AFC West. They commandeered it, making themselves quite comfortable by winning the three division championships by the enormous total of nine games.
All the while among San Diego’s rivals, only Denver could so much as win half of its games.
That led to suspicions about San Diego’s superiority, that it might have had more to do with the inferiority of those rivals than any strength on its part. That theory seemed to be confirmed when the Chargers had a mediocre 3-3 playoff record.
So it was with more than a little concern to Chargers general manager A.J. Smith that in one January week, two of those seemingly directionless division rivals got serious about changing the game.
The Broncos replaced long-time coach Mike Shanahan with Josh McDaniels, and the Chiefs dumped 20-year general manager Carl Peterson in favor of Scott Pioli. Of most worry to Smith was not necessarily the identities of McDaniels and Pioli, but that the Broncos and Chiefs raided the NFL’s most successful team of the 2000s to make the hires.
The Patriotization of the AFC West is on.
“You’ve got Denver and Kansas City with New England Patriots’ philosophies going to those franchises, and it’s well-documented what I think about how they do their business and how they operate,” Smith said. “That scares me a little bit. I just feel that they are going to get it done and get it done right. How quickly? I don’t know.
“You always study your division. It’s what it’s all about first. That’s your competition out of the gate. You’ve got to stay ahead of them.”
Then there is Oakland, which resisted similar change by retaining interim coach Tom Cable. Go ahead and laugh at the Raiders, who haven’t won more than five games in any of the six seasons since last reaching the Super Bowl.
Plenty of people are after a draft that featured the Raiders reaching for first-round wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey and second-round safety Mike Mitchell.
But the way Oakland finished last season, with wins over playoff contenders Houston and Tampa Bay, could be a sign the Raiders have finally figured it out.
“Becoming good and winning isn’t something you just wake up one day and, like, flip the switch and, ‘Oh good, we’re good now,’ ” Cable said. “It’s a process you go through, and I think we’ve really made some strides in that process.”
The early results are mixed for the new administrations in Kansas City and Denver. The Chiefs traded for quarterback Matt Cassel and were active in free-agency, but more for role players than stars. They traded tight end Tony Gonzalez and failed to acquire the pass rusher they desperately need.
The Broncos were also busy in free-agency and had 10 draft picks, two in the first round. But they sent away their young quarterback, Jay Cutler, and now have uncertainty at a most important position.
While the Chiefs and Broncos might face another season of rebuilding, longer-term they threaten to change the AFC West dynamic.
“No question,” San Diego coach Norv Turner said. “Obviously, the system that Denver is going to run will be very much like what New England did on offense. I think there’s some of that influence, anyway. (Chiefs coach Todd) Haley’s background is similar to the New England background. He comes from the (Bill) Parcells school, that whole deal.
The division is going to be different, and it’s going to be important for us to really get a handle on it. All three teams have changed from a coaching standpoint. Oakland has changed their defensive coordinator. They’ve made some changes on their offensive staff. They’re going to be different. Obviously, Kansas City and Denver are both going to be different in what they do, so we’ve got a lot of work to do to stay on top of what they’re doing and preparing for your six division games.”
Kansas City is already looking like the Patriots. Pioli, New England’s personnel director for nine years, is applying the Patriots Way to just about everything. His first major player move was a bold trade with New England for familiar players in Cassel and linebacker Mike Vrabel.
The Chiefs will line up on both offense and defense like the Patriots and run the same plays and schemes. They adopted the code of secrecy for all of their maneuvers, just like the Patriots.
It’s all about making the forlorn Chiefs a winner, just as Pioli helped Bill Belichick do in New England. The first order of business was to find players who can do things his way.
“It’s about making football important,” Vrabel, who played the last eight seasons for New England, said shortly after the trade. “It’s about being prepared, about being accountable and consistent. To be consistent, at least your teammates and coaches know what to expect every week and it’s not something that’s great one week and kind of (lousy) the next.
“There will be a lot of competition at every spot. There will be a high demand placed on guys that think football is important, people that put football and teammates at the top of their priority list.”
Vrabel was speaking of the Chiefs, but he could have been talking about the Broncos. McDaniels was New England’s offensive coordinator, and Denver took much the same approach as the Chiefs.
The Broncos signed 15 free agents. Most, like many of those signed by the Chiefs, will be role players and help on special teams.
“From the get-go, we targeted a certain type of player: tough, smart, competitive, versatile, a good person that loves football and wants to win,” McDaniels said. “And we think we brought in those types of free agents with every guy we brought in and we think we drafted 10 players that fit that mold, also. So, if our locker room is full of those kinds of players, we’re going to be happy with the kind of player we have in there.”
Adam is an idiot...well just look who he writes for...
|05-18-2009, 11:15 AM||#2|
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Join Date: Jun 2007
|05-18-2009, 12:52 PM||#3|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Jun 2006
All this business about following the "Patriot Way" (bleh) and trying to do everything that Belichek does has reached an incredible level of ridiculousness.
Why do Scott Pioli, Josh McDaniels, Charlie Weiss, and Eric Mangini have to run the exact same systems and programs down to the letter that Belichek does? Why did Crennel? Can't any of them think for themselves? Don't any of them have their own philosophies or ideas to apply? Maybe that's the reason why they all end up failing.
There are definite lessons to be learned Belichek's management, but did he rip off everything that Parcells did on his teams and then try and stamp it onto his own? No. There are some similarities, but nowhere near the level of pilferage we see now. Did Belichek pay a ridiculous premium to get the long snapper off Parcell's team or trade for washed up veterans like Mike Vrabel with their bloated contracts? No, his philosophy has always been the exact opposite, although none of his offspring seem to ever realize that.
The thing that I love about this is that all the cookie cutter "Patriot Way" teams are going to end up competing over the same limited pool of personnel and drive each other and hopefully the Patriots too straight down the ****ter.