So today wasn't an easy day for a lot of Chiefs fans. Whether you think Manning is healthy or good anymore doesn't even really matter. The point is that the Chiefs looked like the favorite for AFC West yesterday and today that changes.
The person most affected by this will be Scott Pioli. Whether it would have helped us win a Super Bowl or not is irrelevant. The point is that Manning not only went to the Broncos, but after the Hunts mentioned that they were going to actively pursue Peyton the Chiefs didn't command a simple meeting. Perhaps it looks bad for the Titans, Cardinals, or Miami but at the very least they received interviews.
1. Trading Down. Often I stated this move before today. Although Scott Pioli's job could be on the line, he has to prepare like he will have another offseason. The best deal Pioli can make is to trade deep into the first round or even to the 2nd round (Baltimore , NYG) and hope for a future 1st round pick that will get him to a Blue Chip QB. The Chief's curse is that they have yet to get close to drafting a franchise QB - even when they needed one. Manning was successful in Indy because Jacksonville, Texas, and Tenn went through identity crisis at the position, keeping he and his teammates calmer through the first half of the season / offseason / training camp.
2a. Pioli must draft a player that is an immediate starter and makes an impact in the 1st round. A nail in Pioli's coffin would involve the Chiefs having a developing 1st round pick. Last year Tyson Jackson, Eric Berry, and Jon Baldwin did not help Pioli's cause - even if Berry was injured. As a person hired to build a team through the draft, Pioli has yet to prove that he knows exactly what he's doing in the draft's most important round.
2b. From a Manning & Broncos perspective. The Chiefs have a 1 and 5 record against Manning. Including 2 playoff losses against him. Their only win came in Manning's rookie year. As a fan of the game, I personally think Manning is the best Quarterback in the league. Even with this injury. Teams have found ways to beat the Colts but very few teams have figured out how to beat HIM. Should the Chiefs draft with Manning in mind? The simple answer is yes. The two games against the Broncos mean that much to everyone in the organization and perhaps the NFL. IF Manning can be silenced by the AFC West, the same way that Favre was out-before-you-could-think in New York the better for the Division and our Organization. If the Chiefs look like the same team as last year agains the Broncos it won't be good enough.
3. How to Beat Manning -
A. Score over 26 points. Through out his career Manning averaged around 16 points per game (not including XP) on his own arm. Add in field goals and running backs and you can see why he had 141 wins out of a 192 game span. Out of those losses he only had 5 games where he scored less than 2 touchdowns. In games against Manning where teams scored over 26 points, Manning's winning percentage dropped. That being said, he's still the top all time QB for 4th Quarter Comeback Wins.
B. Keep him off the field . Teams that ran the ball on the Colts successfully aren't always successful. Manning is the first QB in history to win a game with less than 13 minutes of TOP. He has also won more games with less-TOP-than-his-opponent. Yet he has only lost 10 games where he had more TOP than the opponent. One was the super bowl.
C. Try your best to cover his wideouts. Despite the injury, Manning will always have 4 targets after he hikes the ball. The hardest part is that he usually saves the "mis-match" as the 3rd read or Dump Off player and the second best mis-match as his 1st/Quick read. Like a playground bully he will continue to abuse a mismatch through out the game. His job is to frustrate teams that don't have an answer and pit them against themselves going into the 2nd Quarter. Every Colts loss that I've seen has usually involved a well-studied secondary going into the game. Be it the Eagles or Patriots having 4 players that can COVER along with two Safeties is the best bet to keep the ball-game competitive. But even then the speed and quickness of Manning's throw is usually faster than the hip movement of most normal corners.
D. Pass Rush Amongst QBs that have played 100 games, Manning has the lowest sack % in history. The most competitive QB that I'll ever see, Manning actually dares teams for pressure to give his Wideouts more room to move. Being that he lives in the shotgun and reads progression quickly, it's rare that a player will get to him on time. The best DEs get their hands high for a tip if they can. Expect Tamba Hali and Justin Houston will become non-factors in these games.
E. Attitude Remember the Chiefs playing San Diego on Halloween's Monday Night Football. That is how teams need to be against Peyton & Co. Second half adjustments are as key as 1st quarter preperation. The team only runs out of the locker room twice. Make sure that both times they are ready to kill.
1. Dre Kirkpatrick , 'Bama- Stanford Routt is a fine signing but he replaces Carr. The Chiefs biggest problem last year was covering tall WRs/TEs. Kirkpatrick has the wingspan and hipspeed to be the next Nmadi Asamugh.
Immediate Impact : Yes. Kirkpatrick could find his way into the defense 60% of snaps.
Broncos Impact : Yes. Thomas becomes a major threat with Manning at the helm. This could allow Kirkpatrick to cover him , Routt cover Decker, Flowers to cover the Slot (Stokely?) , Berry to cover the TE (D. Clark?), and Arenas to cover the running back. Lewis playing Center Field.
2. Luke Kuechly, 'BC -
Immediate Impact : The Thumper logic is a bit stupid , IMO. If you designate a player to hit the line / run every down then teams can prepare to counter it with a pass - especially in today's 4 Wide Offense. Kuechly is quick enough to carry the zone as well as cover a RB or TE. He is an instant upgrade over Javon Belcher.
Broncos Impact : Routt covers Thomas w/ Lewis on a double team, Kuechly covers TE (Dallas Clark), Flowers covers Decker, Arenas covers Slot. Johnson covers RB. Berry spies Manning.
3. Mark Barron , 'Bama-
Immediate Impact : Barron brings both leadership, brains, and stability to the Safety position. He is physical enough to play the Jon McGraw role of yesteryear to a T.
Broncos Impact. Routt covers Thomas w/ Lewis on a double team. Berry covers TE (Dallas Clark), Flowers covers Decker. Arenas covers Slot. Barron covers Center Field.
4. Josh Robinson , UCF
Immediate Impact : Robinson almost seems like a Raiders pick. But his film is actually pretty amazing. He might be a Top 20 Pick as of now. Especially w/ his Special Teams and WR potential.
Broncos Impact : Routt covers Thomas w/ Lewis on double team. Robinson covers Decker. Flowers covers Slot. Berry plays Center Field. Arenas on Running Back.
5. Brandon Boykin, Georgia
Immediate Impact : Could be selected if we draft in the 2nd Round. Plays both WR/S/Corner. Would allow Berry to move to the McGraw role.
Broncos Impact : Routt on Thomas w/ Boykins. Flowers covers Decker. Arenas on Slot. Lewis and Johnson on TE. Berry on Blitz or Covering RB.
6. Vinny Curry, Marshall
Immediate Impact : Could replace Wallace Gilberry. Also play passing downs. Considered to be a JPP clone. Excellent wingspan. Following the Giants playoff success the 5-6 D seems to be the recent fad.
Broncos Impact : 5-on-the-line. Houston-Bailey-Dorsey-Curry-Hali. 6-back. Flowers-Arenas-Johsnon-Berry-Brown-Routt.
A move like this would surely force the run.
7. Harrison Smith, Notre Dame
Immediate Impact : Replaces Jon McGraw. Gives the Chiefs a better case against the run & pass.
Broncos Impact : 5-on-the-line. Houston-Bailey-Dorsey-Jackson-Hali. 6-Back. Flowers-Arenas-Johnson-Berry-Smith-Routt.