Around The Web: Boring Branden, McNair Vs. Chiefs, New Arrowhead Winds

Is Chiefs LT Branden Albert too modest?  Kent Babb is wondering just that after he asked Albert if it was too early to call him a potential Pro Bowler in 2009.

“It’s too early, I’m not going to toot my own horn like that.  I’ve got a lot of work.  That sets myself up for failure.  I’m just going to keep working hard.”

You might have heard this, but Albert has lost a few pounds.  Thirty-six of them, actually.  In three months.  He’s skipped the fatty foods and the long afternoons in the recliner and instead hit the treadmill.

Wait, isn’t this the offseason?

“I’m just trying to be a young guy, who’s trying to show everybody we can win games.”

Well, with that kind of attitude, when the pool is waiting and the buffet is calling, it’s tough to keep quiet.  So I won’t anymore: Whether he likes it or not, Albert is a potential Pro Bowler, if not this year, then 2010 should watch its back.

Then again, if he has warded off the temptations of the offseason, shooting for Honolulu should seem like a breeze.  That’s a realistic reward for Albert, who has punished the treadmill, ignored the cheeseburgers, and paid little attention to the television.  All for the sake of team, fitness, and goals that shouldn’t be discussed by most second-year players.  Then again, most second-year players don’t have Albert’s discipline and restraint.

How boring.

I’ll second the idea that Albert will play at a Pro Bowl level this season.  But I have a feeling that the Chiefs overall lack of success compounded with a less than stellar top-to-bottom line play will keep him from getting an invite to Hawaii.  What we all need to hope for is that his attitude and work ethic (along with that of Mike Goff) rubs off on the rest of the offensive linemen.  Don’t you think someone like Eric Ghiaciuc, who was underwhelming in Cincinnati, could benefit from playing with professionals instead of the jokers with the Bengals?

With the tragic death of Steve McNair has come plenty of great stories chronicling his many accomplishments on the field.  With that in mind, our friends over at Arrowhead Pride took a look at McNair’s history against the Chiefs including the Ravens 20-10 win over the Chiefs on December 10, 2006.

Prior to the game, Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards was asked what McNair brings to the table as an opposing team prepares for him.SteveMcNair2

“Obviously, toughness and poise.  [He’s] a guy who has played in a lot of big games, won a lot of big games [and] really has the ability.  I think he is a great leader.  I think he is a great leader in the huddle.  He’s a guy that when you watch play has great passion for the game.  Beside all of his attributes as a quarterback, I think that’s what you bring.  He brings leadership, obviously, and those guys will follow him.  He’s a very, very calm player under pressure.”

With both teams vying for playoff position, McNair put on a spectacular performance against the Chiefs highlighted by an 87 yard touchdown pass to Mark Clayton.  He completed 21 of his 27 passes for an incredible 77.7% completion percentage.   He added a touchdown pass to 283 yards passing.

Following the game, defensive end Jarrad Allencalled McNair the “difference maker.”

“He’s been dumping the ball off all year.  We knew we were going to have to try to get our hands on that ball and he doesn’t stay back there long for a pass rush.  We knew he was going to do that.  That’s what he did, he just checked the ball down all day and took the four and five yards until that one big play.  That’s the difference maker.”

Ravens head coach Brian Billick was succinctin again explaining a great performance from McNair.

“That’s why he’s here.  He’s just a champion; always cool, always calm, under control, he’s tough.  That’s Steve McNair and that’s why he’s here.”

Cool.  Collected.  Tough.  The same adjectives that have been used to describe McNair since being the third overall pick out of little Alcorn State in 1995.

Obviously there have been a lot of details about McNair’s life off-the-field that have come to light over the last couple of days, but here is to hoping it doesn’t overshadow the amazing work he did on the football field.

Most Chiefs fans have been looking forward to the new Arrohead Stadium.  But could the renovations affect the play on the field?  Kickers and punters have never liked kicking in the old Arrowhead, so Bob Gretz takes a look at the possible wind changes because of the new additions.Arrowhead2

Since it opened back in April, the New Yankee Stadium has been a launching pad.  The dynamics of the New Yankee Stadium got me wondering what will happen with the renovation of Arrowhead Stadium and more specifically the swirling winds that have been part of the building since it opened in 1972.

If you’ve ever watched the flags at Arrowhead they often show the different directions of the wind.  Sometimes the ribbons on the top of the goal posts will be blowing in opposite directions.  At times they will blow towards the west, while the large American flag on the west side of the stadium will be blowing towards the east.

There are some reasons for the wacky winds.  The biggest is where Arrowhead sits, a top a plateau with nothing to block the wind.  Then there’s the stadium design, with the curved west and east ends that do not make it a bowl and make the interior more susceptible to wind.  Combine that with openings on the ground level that funnel wind into the stadium as well, just ask Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt.

“Late in December when you punt towards our tunnel (east), you have about a 50-50 chance of hitting a good ball.  It’s tough going that way.  Going the other way (west), when it’s real late and real windy you have a 70 to 80 percent chance of getting off a long kick.”

But the renovations are changing the nature of the wind.  First, there’s the super structure being built on the south side of the stadium that will hold a new press box and will create new viewing opportunities.  That will block some of the wind when it comes from the south and could redirect some of the wind from the west.

Then there’s the new enclosed club level on the outside as well as new structures on the outside at the west and east end zones at the back of the Lower Level.  That should shut off some of the wind that blew into the concourses and onto the field and Colquitt knows things are going to be different.

“I was checking on it last year late in the season, but they didn’t have enough up yet.  But you can see, just by looking that it’s going to change the way the wind comes down off our bench.  A lot of those areas are going to be closed out.  There’s going to become a lot more head wind instead of that swirling on the field.  It’s going to kind of come swooping in.  Hopefully, it will cut some of the middle stuff out.”

There’s little doubt that the changes at Arrowhead are going to change the way the wind blows into the stadium.  It will be just something else for the punters and kickers to worry about on a daily basis.

Even with all the attention the new Yankee Stadium has gotten this season, I didn’t even think about the winds being changed at Arrowhead.  Knocking the winds down will make for less excitement in the kicking game, but I don’t know if that’s a good thing.  Sure on the surface it seems like a positive, but I’d rather have kickers coming into Arrowhead and not knowing how to handle the winds and the Chiefs kickers being used to it.  If you take the winds away then you are taking away part of the home field advantage Arrowhead delivers.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

NFL Blog Directory