Monday, April 30, 2012

Chiefs Go for the “Big Boys”

The only way is up!

Another draft class is on-board at Arrowhead, assuming they all sign contracts.

The 2012 class is an interesting one. There are no “big names” even though the Chiefs were picking at 11. Rumours of trades eddied and flowed all day but the Chiefs were content to pick where they were.

The biggest boy is undoubtedly Dontari Poe – the number one pick. This guy is a monster nose tackle. Truly big. Not surprising the Tribe went for him to fill a real need. If you are going to play 3-4, and the Chiefs are committed to it; you must have a big man to plug the middle and keep the offensive line-men off your linebackers. He fits the bill - big time. Now we can move Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson outside and see if anyone can run on that formation. You stop the run and bring pressure up the middle. Simples. With the addition of Poe we should be able to do this all day. Welcome to the AFC West, Peyton.

So, with a big man at number one, what do the Chiefs do with picks two and three? Get some more big men. This time we may have to part company. At two we have Jeff Allen and OL. Big guy, yes. Big enough and good enough to beat out the incumbents? Hard to say. Same for pick three – another OL, Donald Stevenson. I hope these guys pan out and provide depth and competition on the OL, but I'm not convinced. This league is about scoring points. I read the offence as shaky. With people coming off injuries, maybe a round two or three pick at RB or even QB might have been more insurance. Hope I'm wrong.

At four we get Devon Wiley a wide out. Fine we could use someone to be a slot receiver, I'm not sold on Breaston. Could this kid do it? We'll find out.

We get another DB at five, DeQuan Menzie. Could he challenge for a spot at Safety. Chiefs look a bit thin there with Berry coming off an injury. I never did like last year's back-ups.

A running back at six – Cyrus Gray. Who knows? Special teamer or find of the season.

By the time you get to round seven it's a bit hit and miss. We got another DL, Jerome Long and another WR, Junior Hemingway. Experience tells you that these guys, although they will have a shot, will probably not make the team. Quite often there is a surprise and we could sure use one.

Okay, so what did we miss? LB. I'm surprised we couldn't find a good linebacker somewhere in the draft. Does the front office know something we don't? QB? Brady Quinn is in and is as good a draft pick. Stanzl may struggle to stay on the team. Chiefs are again committed to Cassell. For better or worse, till death do us part.

Summing up: an interesting draft class which if it all pans out could propel the 2012 season in the right direction.

The jury is out.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Grampa Goes to Galesburgh

The Journey of a Lifetime - or Two

The truth is I didn't know my Grampa Kauffman very well. The truth is, I suspect, not many people did. He certainly didn't get along with my father. Perhaps he held it against me that I was born to be named after him and my birth certificate confirms this. I am, officially, Kendall Edward Kauffman, though I was only ever known by this name for a short period. Then, according to family accounts, my old man fell out with Grampa big-time and I was named Malcolm Rodney instead ( I have a name change document from Cook Co, Illinois to that affect) – maybe just to spite his old man!

Add to that I was never Grampa's favourite. My cousin Jerry Stone took that honour. When he drowned in a swimming pit aged about 12, it affected Grampa almost as badly as My Aunt Mae and Uncle Mel. Somehow I always felt that Grampa wished it were me that had drowned. Just a feeling I had.

Anyway, he was from a different generation by a long way. In the fifties he must have moved to Independence for he was about with my Grandma Erickson.

He was definitely in charge of whatever house he was in. Aunt Jane and Uncle Bud never had children so perhaps Grampa had forgotten what it was like. My Grandma died in 1960 and after that Grampa must have moved in with Aunt Jane and then remarried.

Family tradition has it that he was bit of a ladies man. I've heard stories that Grandma threw him out on occasions for womanising. You might have thought that age had slowed him down but apparently not, as he took Ethyl from Galesburg, Illinois as his second wife.

By 1965 or so he would have been well into his late seventies.

I was fairly shocked and not a little displeased when my old man said to me one day, “Grampa wants you to drive him to Galesburg.”

This was typical. Grampa would not deign to ask me – he would tell my old man what he wanted and expect it would be provided.

Anyway the deal was already done. I was to drive Grampa's car – with Grampa for company – to Galesburg. I was to stay overnight with Grampa and Ethyl and he would put me on the train back to Independence the next day – and give me £10. That's the way it was explained to me.

Would that it were as simple in execution as in inception.

Now, to get to Illinois the traditional route was 40 Hiway across the state and then US 54 to cross the Mississippi at Louisiana, Missouri and then US 67 to Galesburgh No dice for Grampa. He always went US 24 to cross at Quincy and then catch up with 67 and on to Galesburg. This was not the way to go and I told the OM so. It did me no good. It was 24 Hiway all the way. It was two lane most of the way. It took a century as you went through innumerable hick towns along the way. Such metropoli as Bucknor, Levasey, Lexington, Waverley, Moberly, Paris, Monroe City and Paris slid by slowly, re-pleat with traffic lights and stop signs. It was early evening before Galesburg hove into view.

Ethyl was a very nice lady and I had dinner with her and Grandpa. No other form of entertainment being on offer, I went to bed early.

As promised next day Grampa took me to the station, got my ticket and put me on the train to Independence.

Yes, there were still trains in those days which serviced small Illinois and Missouri towns.

I duly arrived back in Independence a sight quicker than it took to get to Galesburg.

I never saw the $10 and I never had the nerve to ask Granpa for the money.