MMQB Mailbag: Chiefs make right call on Johnson; how to fix Bears
A couple of weeks ago, I was on a talk show in Kansas City after
But one of the hosts,
That's the biggest part of why Johnson, who used to be the Chiefs' best player, got fired by the team Monday. If the fans are flooding the talk shows and saying they're not going to buy tickets and will stop buying Chiefs merchandise, you can bet they were sending even angrier missives to the team offices.
The other two parts of what turned out to be a fairly easy decision involve money and his role on the team. Johnson's $4.55 million base salary was guaranteed by the team once he was active for the first game of the season, so the Chiefs were going to have to pay him the $2.14 million he had coming for the last eight weeks. What they save is $500,000. That's eight games of the pro-rated per-game roster bonus he was due to earn.
Now if Johnson was a well-liked guy in the locker room, or if this was a one-time blowup, the Chiefs may have gulped and taken him back. But the fan angst, and the fact that he was never going to be part of the long-term solution in Kansas City, made it a relatively easy decision for Chiefs GM
Johnson will straighten up and fly right for some contender now, after he clears waivers today at 4 p.m. Eastern time.
I'm sure wherever he signs he'll talk about how he was misunderstood in Kansas City. Those four assault charges against women; trumped up ... The three suspensions; not my fault ... The gay slurs; just kidding, and everybody uses 'em ... Chiding fans; hey, just letting off steam.
I thought the Chiefs had a tough decision, and if they let Johnson walk, they'd just be defining a path for the players dying to leave a sinking ship -- the Chiefs are 3-30 over the past two-plus years. The only thing I'd criticize Pioli and Haley for now is letting Johnson convince them he'd be a team guy and a good asset to a rebuilding situation. But it was inevitable, probably. If you're going to give players a clean slate, a Johnson conflagration is the price you pay.
"This is a nice building block,'' he told me, "but we've got a long way to go. A long way to go. The thing about this team is, they practice passionately. I've told them excuses won't be tolerated, and they haven't given any.''
I asked him if he'd started looking at the standings, and feared being another 1976 Bucs team -- or the 2008 Lions. Tampa Bay was the last winless team in football before Sunday. "Never,'' he said. "I didn't worry about that. I worried about our effort, and it was always there.''
The Bucs now have to make sure they protect rookie quarterback
Two other points before I get to your e-mail:
-- Get well soon,
-- I know anytime I make a comment about guns or politics I'll get creamed by half of my readers, and so I knew there'd be a dustup when I made the incredibly controversial statement after the rampages at Fort Hood and in an Orlando office park late last week that we need to do something about the easy availability of handguns in this country. Yes, I got your 58,000 e-mails and Tweets on the subject (exaggerating, but only slightly), and instead of getting into a bar fight over it, I'll run a representative e-mail and sum up my feelings and we'll all move on.
This is from
I understand that it takes three things for these incidents to happen -- rage, a willing shooter, and a gun. We need to do some mental-health work on people filled with rage, to be sure. Would a long waiting period or other severe restrictions on handguns have stopped either crime, or the scores of senseless ones we read about every year? I don't know.
Obviously, the shooter at Fort Hood had his legally purchased, non-military-issue handgun for a while. But the easiest thing to do is throw your hands in the air and say there's nothing we can do about these things. We should try. It's a tough issue, but we have to grapple with tough issues all the time in America. We're doing it now with health care.
Is it sensible for 43 million Americans to not have health care? No. So we're trying to find a way to insure every American. Is it sensible for a nut to shoot up a military base? No. So we should see if there's anything we can do about it. I'm not advocating banning guns. I'm advocating having a thoughtful discussion on whether we can do something about the proliferation, and easy acquisition, of handguns, and whether making it harder to acquire them would eliminate even one of these bloodbaths.
Now onto your e-mail:
You're making a false assumption, I believe, at 0-6 and coming off the bye, that Fisher would have made the decision himself. He knew he had no choice, regardless what the owner said. If the owner provided a spur to Fisher's hindquarters, fine. But to say Fisher would have kept
First, Smith is not the drafter.
Having said that, I knew there'd be trouble when
When I watch the Bears, I think the offensive line is a major problem. The running lanes for
Good question. I have a feeling
What interceptions were to Favre, sacks are to Rodgers. Now, if the Packers fall apart in the last half of the season, I might be inclined to think about a change. But I still believe McCarthy's a good, smart coach who has control of his team. Let's see how the next two months go.
Draft, draft, draft. That's where you build a good line. That's what Ted Thompson will do too. He's not inclined to spend on someone else's rejects, except if he see a guy like
So this was pre-ordained by the league, and if the Colts had finished in a like spot in the standings in any of those other four years, there wouldn't have been a Patriots-Colts game that year. It seems pretty non-conspiratorial to me.