Moeaki: Chiefs offensive MVP candidate

9 01 2011
Tony Moeaki, Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City Chiefs rookie tight end Tony Moeaki makes on of the NFL 2010 season's best catches.

Sure, Jamaal Charles led the universe in yards-per-carry (6.4 avg) and finished second to Arian Foster in rushing yards (with 1,467). Yes, Dwayne Bowe led the league with receiving touchdowns (15) and finished 7th in the league in receiving yards. And then there’s Matt Cassell, who finished 8th in NFL passer rating (93.0) and a stellar 27/7 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Hold onto that Cassell thought for a second.

But a key offensive addition to the Kansas City Chiefs may have contributed just a much to their success as Charles, Bowe and Cassell – rookie tight end Tony Moeaki.

With Moeaki, a third-round draft pick out of Iowa, getting three or more receptions in a game, the Chiefs were 8-2 (40 rec, 465 yds, 2 TDs). But when he caught less than three passes in a game, the Chiefs were only 1-5 (7 rec, 91 yds, 1 TD). Moeaki did miss the Arizona game due concussion symptoms and the Chiefs won, and Moeaki tallied a reception in every game he played during his rookie season. And during their first playoff game since 2003, Moeaki only had one reception for 22 yards in the Chiefs’ loss to the Baltimore Ravens. So technically, they would be 1-6 when Moeaki gets less than three receptions in 2010.

This was not something that escaped Chiefs’ opponents. It was apparent schemes were created to mitigate Moeaki as the key relief valve for Cassell, as well as to ensure the tight end stayed in protection to give his quarterback extra time in the pocket. Opponents knew with Moeaki out of the picture, Cassell’s comfort level would decrease, opening him up for more mistakes.

Moeaki will not supplant Charles as the Chiefs’ team MVP or even offensive MVP, but he definitely is the team’srookie offensive MVP. Of course his only real opposition for that would be gimmick specialist Dexter McCluster. Moeaki broke the team’s rookie receptions record (previously held by Tony Gonzalez) and was only a few yards (4 yards) shy of setting the Chiefs’ rookie receiving yards record.

With a full year of NFL experience under his belt, Moeaki should be positioned to have a breakout sophomore season, as well as find himself on everyone’s fantasy football draft list in 2011.

Now back to Matt Cassell … Chiefs Nation needs to keep something in perspective. Cassell is not “the chosen one” or anything like that. He had a good season in a very safe offensive scheme. It was a low-risk, low reward system. In comparison, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ Josh Freeman finished better than Cassell in passer rating (95.9) and passing yards (Cassell: 3,116 yards; Freeman: 3,451 yards). Cassell threw more touchdowns (27 Cassell, 25 Freeman), but Freeman threw fewer interceptions (6 Freeman, 7 Cassell). Unless Cassell can become a threat with his running ability, his numbers and impact are just average. He is not a threat to any opposing defense.

Mr. Pressbox Out!!


Not even the players care about NFL All-Pro game

23 01 2010

The Major League Baseball All-Star game, featuring the Home Derby, is the pinnacle of All-Star games.

Even the National Basketball Association All-Star game, with the Slam Dunk contest, is a major part of the NBA season.

But no one really cares about the National Football League All-Pro game. Not even the players.

The NFL attempted to generate more interest – for both fans and players – by moving the All-Pro game back to the states from Hawaii, as well as moving it to the week prior to the Super Bowl instead of the week after. It hasn’t worked.

Every year it seems more and more NFL players bail on the All-Pro game due to “injuries.” Not to question anyone’s integrity (ok maybe a little bit – yes, I’m talking to you Tom Brady, Phillip Rivers and Larry Fitzgerald) but you almost never see a baseball or basketball player backing out of the all-star game for injury reasons – unless they are truly injured. With the exception of Wes Welker, most of the guys who have backed out would still be starting and playing this weekend and in the Super Bowl, if their teams were still playing.

The list of “All-Pros” get so much bigger every year, it really starts to diminish the meaning of the term. It’s a joke. By the time the game is played, half the league has had their names on the list at one point or another.  If the title “All-Pro” only applied to the guys voted in, that would be one thing, but any guy who puts on the jersey next weekend will be knighted as an “All-Pro” whether they truly deserved it or not.

Hell, Matt Cassell and Jamarcus Russell are sitting on the edge of their couches waiting for a few other guys to back out so they get their call to the All-Pro game.

Then, they can order some new business cards from VistaPrint that say “NFL All-Pro” on them.

And if the NFL allows itself to make a mockery of its all-star process, then how can they expect any of the fans to care about the game?

Just save us all the trouble and misery of watching a sub-par All-Pro game and just select and All-Pro team at the end of the season and just cancel the game. No one will really care. Trust me.

Mr Pressbox Out!!