Tag Archives: Kansas City

Lunch: Spring Reign

The Royals are attempting to make the playoffs for the first time since 1985 (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

The Royals are attempting to make the playoffs for the first time since 1985 (AP/Charlie Riedel)

Don’t look now, but the Kansas City Royals are undefeated through 10 Spring games. 

Hey, stop laughing!

I know, it’s the Royals. The doormat Royals that everybody snickers at. The same Royals who haven’t been to the playoffs since the Reagan administration. But hey, the Royals think they’re ready to win, and for the first time I can remember, their roster actually reflects that.

Admittedly, it’s not like KC is building off of previous success. The Royals were 72-90 last year, finishing third in a cutthroat AL Central. The most valuable takeaway from last season was that it was another season for their young talent to develop.

The youth of this team has people thinking success cannot only be obtained, it can be sustained. Their young core of Salvador Perez, Eric Hosmer, Alcides Escobar, Mike Moustakas and Billy Butler combined for 301 RBI last year. All five of those players are also aged 26 or younger. They hope to grow and increase their consistency this year, improving on a 2012 season that had KC finish 20th in total runs.

But the real eyebrow-raising in KC comes from the mound. The Royals made a huge move, possibly a defining move, when they sent megaprospect Will Myers to Tampa in exchange for pitching. James Shields and Wade Davis solidify their rotation, but this move will be scrutinized heavily over the next few years. Myers will most likely start the season in the minors, but expect a Trout/Harper-esque explosion when the Rays finally call his number.

If you’re reading this, you’re ahead of the curve. Because the Royals will start hot on Opening Day, and their start will be comparable to the Pirates in the first half of last season. So go tell your buddies, and watch them smile. Because knowledge is power, and Humble Pie is scrumptious on a summer day.

Brunch: The Other Side Of The Coin

CK7 is all smiles 10 games into his career (Jeff Haynes/Reuters)

CK7 is all smiles 10 games into his career (Jeff Haynes/Reuters)

In today’s NFL, the hardest thing to do is to not win, but win consistently. To sustain success over multiple years. As team success grows, players feel they deserve more, and so naturally it becomes harder for a team to retain their best talent. So my question is, over the next five years, is anybody better prepared than the 49ers?

I think Jim Harbaugh is a great coach, one of my top 5 favorites in fact. But he came into the NFL with a stacked deck. A solid defense, an all-pro back in Frank Gore, and all-world tight end Vernon Davis were already on the roster upon arrival. Give Harbaugh credit for on-field success, but Mike Singletary was the skipper while this team gelled, and it was Singletary, not Harbaugh, who was crucial in the maturation of Vernon Davis.

What Harbaugh did not have was a lanky kid from Nevada. Colin Kaepernick elevated the Niners in a way Alex Smith never could, and his skill set is undeniable. CK is quick, he is smart, and he has a laser cannon attached to his right shoulder. If Kaepernick can stay healthy, he could lead this team for a long time to come.

So it comes as no surprise that Kaepernick’s friend and former mentor Alex Smith was shipped to Kansas City on Tuesday for two draft picks. This brings San Fran’s total to a whopping fifteen picks in April’s draft, 7 of which are in the first four rounds. 15 Picks! Talk about burning a hole in your pocket; Trent Baalke’s phone must be ringing off the hook. The 49ers are in the unique position of controlling their own destiny in the offseason. If there is a specific player they want in the draft, they will be able to offer any number of packages to teams if they would like to move up in the order.

The 49ers are stacked, but they are by no means perfect. There are still issues to be taken care of for this team before September. Namely, a few big names that need to be paid. Dashon Goldson has been a rock for this team since the moment he put a uniform on, and Harbaugh has said in the past that Goldson deserves a long-term contract. But Delanie Walker, Randy Moss, and others on the interior line are all poised to walk this summer, and it’s fair to say that some will walk for greener pastures.

What to do with the draft picks? As the big days get closer, we’ll break it down and see who the 49ers should be targeting. But with a package like that, many analysts are looking towards blockbuster trades. And if the Jets are willing to part with Darelle Revis, it might be something for the Niners to consider. Having a dynamic shutdown corner added to that defense would prompt me to make a phone call to Mr. Goodell’s office: it’s just not fair.

Although the 49ers would have loved to have kept Alex Smith, it simply was not a sound business decision. Harbaugh made it clear Week 10 that he was turning the page on the Alex Smith era, and Colin is now the Guy. And through 10 games, he’s a pretty good Guy to have. But as the film builds, and coordinators spend the summer strategizing, Kaepernick’s toughest test is yet to come. Because now if he struggles, or takes a hard hit on a designed run, there is no proven backup to turn to. If you’re willing to take that risk, the reward might be a San Francisco team ready to contend for a very long time.

Lunch: So Long, Mr. Smith

Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Chris Trotman/Getty Images

On March 12th, the 49ers and Chiefs will agree to a trade that will send Alex Smith to Kansas City in exchange for two picks, one of which being the 34th overall selection in April’s draft. Smith now joins a list of quarterbacks to go from the Bay Area to KC, and a slightly longer list of quarterbacks who were drafted number one overall and then later traded.

What do we make of Smith’s career thus far? He certainly didn’t match the hype or potential that comes with a first overall selection, but as it goes with most top picks, he went to a 49ers team in a transitional mode. The problem is that San Fran stayed in that transitional mode for the better part of the next decade. Smith-led teams finished 4-12, 7-9, 5-11, 7-9, 8-8, and 6-10 from 2005—10. During this time, Smith’s teams never made the playoffs, and Smith never threw for 20 touchdowns in a season. That being said, for each one of those years, Smith has had a different Offensive Coordinator.

Smith’s complete resume reeks of mediocrity, but the 2011 season is the reason KC pulled the trigger. San Fran finished 13-3 and Smith had a QB rating 90.3.

90.3

Can Alex Smith do any better than 90.3? In 2012 his rating was a whopping 104.1, but I’m not counting it because he didn’t finish the season. If your stats are so good you can brag about them, why were you replaced??

Alex Smith depends on a solid run game to be a productive quarterback. In his career, Smith has only 12 game-winning drives, which puts him on the all-time ranks amongst eh likes of Jim Zorn and Neil Lomax. Again, these are not knocks on Smith. Or are they?

The numbers show one thing: Alex Smith is average. He’s not great. He can a game, but no with it all on his shoulders. And the thing is, that might be exactly what Andy Reid is looking for.

Andy Reid, for his lack of Lombardis to his name, won a lot of regular season games. And he did so with a balanced attack that hinged on accurate passing. This style may be suited to Smith’s game, and Reid will love his experience starting with a new franchise. Smith flourished when the Niners were running the ball. In 2012, the Niners were ranked 4th, and the Chiefs were ranked 5th.

Nobody has been looking for a quarterback for longer than the Kansas City Chiefs. In fact, the last time a quarterback was drafted by the Chiefs and started was a man by the name of Todd Blackledge. The Chiefs have used free agency to find their QB for over two decades and Smith looks to be their best prospect yet.

Even if Smith doesn’t set the world on fire, the Chiefs are poised to at the very least improve on last season’s 2-14 finish. With a solid run game and a tenacious defense, Andy Reid should have no problem righting the ship. The Chiefs also play in the AFC North, which is one Peyton Manning away from being the worst division in football right now. Did I mention they also have the first overall pick?

This is just the first step in a number of moves in what should be a long tenure for Andy Reid in KC. Even if Smith does go the way of, Elvis Grbac, Warren Moon, Trent Green, Dave Krieg, and now Matt Cassel, the Chiefs are trying, and as of right now they are on the rise.

Tomorrow, we look at how this deal impacts the 49ers and the future of Colin Kaepernick.