Chiefs GM Dorsey admits there’s ‘some work’ to do at wide receiver in offseason
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — You might see 9-7 as false hope. John Dorsey sees it as another launch pad.
"As I look at this season, you know, did we lose some opportunities to go to the playoffs? Yeah, we lost some opportunities there," the Kansas City Chiefs’ general manager said late Monday afternoon at a gathering of local writers inside the University of Kansas Hospital Training Complex. "But I think also there (were) some things that you can build off of and be positive (about).
"We’re in the game of football to win the game. We’re not in the game to blow things up. I don’t think you can do that.
"But, you know, these guys understand that in order to achieve a high level of success, you’re going to (have to) be in this thing together. I think we — if you were to look at our schedule, I think 11 of the teams we played this year were over .500. Was it challenging? You’re darn right it was challenging. We were the second-youngest team in the NFL. I think it shows that, to be competitive, week in and week out, you have to be consistent. And that’s the thing that you build off of. Those are the little things you build off of moving forward."
The one thing you could say about the 2014 Chiefs, who narrowly missed a second straight berth in the postseason, was that they were consistently … inconsistent. The Andy Gang knocked off the two No. 1 seeds in the AFC and NFC brackets (New England and Seattle, respectively) while also somehow managing to lose to 2-14 Tennessee at home and 3-13 Oakland on the road.
"It’s the National Football League," Dorsey said. "There’s no easy games in it."
Or easy scores, apparently. Because, for better or for worse, 2014 will also be long remembered as the season in which no Chiefs wideout caught a touchdown — a first for the franchise and a modern NFL low-water mark for the position.
"The stats speak for themselves. And we’re going to have to do some work there."
And not just there, either. Dorsey’s take on other winter topics of note:
— On outside linebacker — and single-season franchise sack leader — Justin Houston and his contract situation: "Actually, I applaud Justin for all he’s done. … I can say it’s (an) ongoing conversation. Guy’s a good player, truth be told."
Is he a good outside linebacker or a good defensive end?
"In my opinion, he (plays) outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. I think the last play of the game (against the Chargers), he dropped in the flat."
— On the beleaguered offensive line: "(For) what those guys were asked to do this year, I thought they did an admirable job."
Was it negligent to extend quarterback Alex Smith for a reported four years and $68 million and not upgrade the protection around him?
"I wouldn’t say we miscalculated. The team is what it is, on the field, (the) opening 53. I think you played with that. Like I said earlier, there were plans, but at the end of the day, they did not come to fruition."
— On Smith: "I think his leadership and poise carried over to that locker room. I think guys believe in him.
"I think he’s everything that we thought he’d be. Now, we’ve got to put some more pieces around him. But I think he’s lived up to what we thought he would be."
— On whether safety Eric Berry’s status or contract could be changed, given his lymphoma recovery: "That part will come eventually. What I’m worried about is Eric. I care about his health, his person, his well-being."
Dorsey said he talked to the Pro Bowl safety and wished him a happy 26th birthday.
"They’re all tough decisions to make," Dorsey said.
— On how to figure out more cap room, given the Houston situation: "When that time comes, we’ll get there. The business part of that, we don’t like to talk about that (in the media) a whole bunch."
— On Tamba Hali, who turned 31 last month: "He’s got professional pride. I love everything that he’s done this year. He’s stayed true to what he told me, way back in last spring. I like the person. I like how he plays the game of football."
— On Dee Ford, the first-round draft pick who saw little playing time until the final two months of the season: "With Dee Ford, I think what you’re doing is, you’re converting a defensive end (who’s) standing up for the first time. You still (see) that great ‘get-off.’ As you started to see him get more comfortable in that role, you saw him begin to deliver a knack to put pressure on the quarterback. I think it was beneficial for him to learn from two of the best in the business in Tamba and Justin, and they were more than willing to show him different types of hand placements (while) playing the outside linebacker position."
— On veteran wide receiver Dwayne Bowe: "I think his numbers were very similar to the year before — the distribution of touchdowns may have gone to tight ends a little more than they did the (wide) receivers. I think Dwayne is a really good teammate. He cares about the game."
— On center Rodney Hudson, whose contract is up: "Rodney demonstrated his professionalism, was very solid in what he did. He’s very consistent at what he does. He played the center position very well."
— On Donald Stephenson’s status for 2015: "I don’t know. This is, like, Dec. 29, 2014. (We’re) 25 hours removed (from the last game). I still have two players upstairs I’ve got to talk to.
"We all know he started slow and then he had to regain trust to all the coaching staff for the things that he did. So as you go along the season you have to regain that trust from those coaches in this thing."
— On safety/cornerback Ron Parker’s emergence: "He’s a swing guy — he can go outside or inside. Me, personally, I think he’s better inside than outside."
— On Chris Ballard, director of player personnel, and a prospective candidate for general manager openings: "Do I think he can handle it? I do."
— On the defense not allowing a 300-yard passer, despite key injuries at linebacker, on the defensive line and in the secondary: "I applaud the coaches playing to the strength of the players, for getting them in position to take advantage."
— On the team’s overall personality: "I think the attitude is great. I think these guys are a very tight group. I think they play very aggressive. I think … they play the game the way it’s supposed to be played, OK? And that’s all you can ask for with a player."