Any website can post "offseason grades" for NFL teams, mixing the draft and free agency into transaction soup, then straining it through the mind of some sportswriter who doesn't know who half the players are. Only the Shutdown Corner has the resources to get actual players, coaches, and executives from each team to evaluate their own offseasons! That's right: over the next few weeks, you will get transaction evaluations straight from the horse's mouths: straight talk about who was signed, who was lost, who was drafted, and why.
(For the satirically challenged: all player, coach, and executive remarks are made by an impersonator).
In this segment, former Chiefs coach Todd Haley breaks down the offseason moves of the team that fired him at the end of last season. We have a bad feeling about this.
TODD HALEY: Wash your windshield, mister?
I don't scrub windshields for the money. I have a coaching job now as offensive coordinator for the Steelers. I carry this slop bucket because I like it. It's comforting to wash windows while the mad clown stares at me with his dead, gray eyes, whispering razor truths mortals dare not speak aloud, truths that pierce flesh and cut an inky scarlet line against the throat of the he-goat …
Sorry, my thoughts meander sometimes. The Chiefs had a productive offseason. At the skill positions, they added Peyton Hillis to a running back committee that already includes Dexter McCluster and Jamaal Charles, who is ahead of schedule rehabbing his knee injury. Kevin Boss joins Tony Moeaki, also on schedule to return from a knee injury, to give the Chiefs two tight ends who can block and catch. Two rookie wide receivers, Devon Wylie and Junior Hemingway, will provide extra depth behind Dwayne Bowe, Steve Breaston and last year's top pick Jonathan Baldwin, who started to come on late in the season. Matt Cassel, yet another player who missed much of last season with injuries, won't have to worry about throwing to the likes of Keary Colbert or Anthony Becht.
That's right, everyone gets to come back to Kansas City but me, the guy who got blamed for not being able to build an offense around Tyler Palko and Terrance Copper, while the dead-eyed clown stares back at me from the mirror and cackles. "You ever played cornhole with the devil, son?" he asks, his raspy voice a rusty hypodermic needle scraping gutter concrete. "He don't use no beanbags, boy." And that he-goat just brays and brays like he sees the end coming and don't know whether to fight it or welcome it.
Moving on to the defense, Dontari Poe was one of the most physically gifted specimens in this year's draft class. The Chiefs have a bad habit of striking out with big defensive tackles, from Ryan Sims to Glenn Dorsey, so my former assistant Romeo Crennel will have to be careful about Poe's development and role if he doesn't want Poe to become an overpriced space-eater the greasepaint smears and the sharpened steel glints in the pickup truck headlights behind the barnyard. The loss of Brandon Carr is going to hurt at cornerback, because Stanford Routt is an adequate No. 2 corner behind Brandon Flowers. But the defense will be better if it is not on the field as often, and when the muffled brays fade to pitch-black silence, vengeful darkness sated all-too-briefly by the still-quivering sacrifice.
The AFC West is a wide-open division, and everyone has a chance to win, except me. That's right, stare at this thatched nest of a beard, look back at my insistence on rotating running backs every other play and benching receivers for no discernible reason, and judge me. "Brought it on himself," you say, behind the safety glass of your Honda Civic, one finger on the panic button of your key chain. You'll see who brought what on whom when the Clowngoat Apocalypse rains jealous fire upon us all. Scott Pioli thinks his Super Bowl rings will save him ... well, they are gonna shine like beacons, live bait to coax the dark forces from their smoky pits. This Patriots Junior routine isn't gonna work, and when it fails, everybody is gonna know Todd Haley wasn't crazy. He was the one who saw.
And they will know just where to find me, here in this underpass.
Tanier's Team Reports:
Indianapolis Colts | St. Louis Rams | Minnesota Vikings | Tampa Bay Buccaneers| Cleveland Browns | Washington Redskins | Jacksonville Jaguars | Miami Dolphins | Carolina Panthers | Arizona Cardinals | Seattle Seahawks