Around The Web: Tony Curtis Fan Club, Grading The QBs, Obama’s Crew

Yesterday, we talked about the Kansas City Chiefs attempt to fill the void left by Tony Gonzalez.  One of the players looking to help is veteran Tony Curtis.  Though the guys over at DallasCowboys.com were not impressed with Curtis’ time with America’s Team.  Josh & Rob were asked by a reader why there was no talk about Curtis leaving Dallas for TonyCurtis1Kansas City.

Josh: The Tony Curtis Fan Club hath spoken.  Sorry, I just don’t agree with you that the Cowboys are going to miss him.  Of their five restricted free agents, he was the only one the team didn’t even attempt to re-sign.  He had the physical tools to do the job, but you had to worry about where his head was sometimes.  He was good for about one mental error a game – some obviously worse than others.

Rob: Curtis is a solid tight end, but I wouldn’t call him a starter in this league.  The Cowboys like a couple of young candidates for the third tight end spot — Rodney Hannah and rookie John Phillips.  And maybe this is unfair, but the lasting image I have of Curtis on special teams was his missed block in overtime against Arizona.  Mat McBriar broke his foot on that play.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but to be fair when is a backup tight end ever remembered very fondly after he leaves a team?  Not exactly a guy that is in a position to make much of an impression.  Todd Haley — unlike the folks on the Cowboys site — worked with Curtis on the field and felt confident enough in his abilities that he brought him into Kansas City to compete for a starting spot.

One of the few settled positions for the Chiefs going into training camp is quarterback.  Not only has Matt Cassel led by example during his short time in Kansas City, but his backup Tyler Thigpen showed last year he is more than capable of stepping in and moving the ball.  Kent Babb took to the Red Zone Blog with grades for the Chiefs quarterbacks.

TALENT: B- — On paper, the Chiefs’ drafted quarterbacks look downright miserable.  Two seventh-rounders and a third.  But considering the flashes each of the team’s three likely opening-day quarterbacks has shown, and that’s reason for optimism around Arrowhead Stadium.

CHEMISTRY: B+ — Thigpen could have made the Cassel acquisition a lot more complicated than it has been. He might have had every right to discuss his disappointment publicly, but instead, he has accepted that Cassel is the likely starter and that he needs to be adequately pushed by capable backups.

EXPERIENCE: B — Starting experience goes a long way, and even though the Chiefs’ top two quarterbacks have combined to start 26 games, their experiences in 2008 make them viable and experienced players this season.  Remember, Cassel spent several years as New England quarterback Tom Brady’s understudy.

OUTLOOK: B+ — It all depends on whether Cassel can stay healthy and productive behind that line.  He seems to have an enormous amount of talent, and his experience with the Patriots last year is reason for optimism.  But he’ll also be under a lot of pressure, to live up to that nearly $15 million contract, do enough to attract a long-term offer, and make the Chiefs into a legit playoff team.

In regards to the outlook, I agree with everything right up until the end.  You can’t expect Cassel — or Haley/Pioli for that matter — to turn the Chiefs from a 2 win team last season to a playoff contender this year.  If it happens, it will be an amazing feat and everyone will clearly be happy.  But to think that any of the new people brought into Kansas City will be judged on whether this team is in the playoffs or not is bordering on insanity.  For Cassel to prove his worth he simply has to make good decisions and stay healthy, something he did for the Patriots last season.

The Kansas City Chiefs didn’t win the Super Bowl last season, but that didn’t prevent Clark Hunt from visiting the White House and presenting President Obama with a jersey.  No, it wasn’t a Chiefs jersey.

The Hunt Family and members of the 2008 MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew were guests at the White House yesterday.  After touring the White House, the Crew enjoyed a celebratory meeting with President Barack Obama.  Chiefs Chairman Clark Hunt presented President Obama with an official Crew “Obama 44” jersey at the ceremony conducted in the Rose Garden.ClarkHunt3

Following their visit to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, members of the team participated in a public-service clean-up project in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area as part of President Obama’s new “United We Serve” initiative.  Members of the crew participated in a similar project around Crew Stadium last week.

Today’s congratulatory visit was earned after the Crew captured their first-ever MLS Cup title with a 3-1 victory vs. the N.Y. Red Bulls (11/11/08).  The Crew’s victory marked the second MLS championship for the Hunt Family, who owned the Kansas City Wizards during their 2000 title run.  In addition to the Columbus Crew, the Hunts also serve as Investor/Operators of the F.C. Dallas franchise.

The Hunt Family has proudly played an integral role in the evolution of professional soccer in the United States.  Lamar Hunt is enshrined in the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame and was one of the key figures behind the formation of the North American Soccer League (NASL), which included his Dallas Tornado franchise.  The Hunts were also intimately involved in the creation of Major League Soccer, which was launched in ‘95.  In addition, the Hunt Family has played a key role in the construction of two of the country’s premier soccer-specific venues – Crew Stadium (Columbus, OH) and Pizza Hut Park (Frisco, TX).  Clark Hunt played the game at the collegiate level, serving as a four-year letterman on the SMU soccer squad.

I admit, my knowledge of soccer sits just below “zero” but isn’t it a conflict of interest to own more than one team in a league?  Again, I haven’t had any direct contact with the game since I was an 8-year-old running around aimlessly on the soccer field, but that seems odd to me.  It was, however, very cool to see Mr. Hunt handing a jersey over to President Obama.  Hopefully he will get a chance to give the President a Chiefs jersey before his first term is up.  Too optimistic?

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