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!!

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Tim Tebow declines NFL Draft appearance, raises stock

14 04 2010

By declining the NFL’s invitation to be in attendance for the first round of the draft April 22, Tim Tebow demonstrated yet again he knows how to make a tough decision.

Sure he could have let the NFL use and abuse him like a circus elephant to try to increase ratings and sell advertisements for the made-for-prime-time Thursday night NFL Draft extravaganza. But he made the right call, which will likely end up as another touchdown in Tebow’s NFL career.

Anyone who has read my work knows I absolutely believe Tim Tebow is not worthy of a first-round draft pick. But they also know I believe Tebow is one of the top 5 quarterbacks in this year’s draft class .

Over-hyped quarterback prospect Jimmy Clausen has yet to make an official decision regarding his invitation. If he is smart, he will save himself the embarrassing fate of fellow Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn by watching his draft stock plummet from home.

As things stand now, after the recent trades and free agent signings, I believe Tebow will be drafted early in the second round, probably by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or a team that trades up to snag him before pick #40 (i.e. New England Patriots or Seattle Seahawks).

My mock draft hits the streets Saturday. Stay tuned.

Mr Pressbox Out!!

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