Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

09 Nov 2009

Chiefs To Release Larry Johnson

According to the PFT Twitter, Larry Johnson will be released today by the Chiefs.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 09 Nov 2009

42 comments, Last at 11 Nov 2009, 4:26pm by tuluse


by Joseph :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 11:56am

I assume this is for the off-the-field stuff. How much gas does he have left in the tank?

by Levente from Hungary :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 12:01pm

Well, I guess the Seahawks would sign him like all the other burned out running backs.

by C (not verified) :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 12:03pm

I hope the Giants rent him and use him as a change of pace with Jacobs and Bradshaw the way that Ward was used last year.

I'd imagine LJ wouldn't mind running behind a Giants line either.

by JasonK :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 12:57pm

That's about the last thing the Giants need right now.

by Key19 :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 1:44pm

I believe you're replying to a Redskins fan.

by Joe T. :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 5:50pm

No, "C" is "Chris" from before the site upgrade. He's a Giants fan. And he's being sincere.

by J.D. (not verified) :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 12:08pm

A troubled RB with perhaps a couple good years left... Patriots?

by Independent George :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 12:55pm

He really doesn't fit the Pats offense; Corey Dillon was a power back, but he could block and catch, and the 2004 offense was a lot more conservative than the current one. Now, their back needs to not only block and catch, but also split out wide in spread formations, block on WR screens, and have good enough acceleration to run the draw. None of those really describe LJ.

A year ago, LaDanian Tomlinson would have been a great fit, but there was no way it was ever going to happen. Belichick is too smart to overpay, Smith is too smart to sell short, and LT has said too many stupid things about the Pats.

by BenmZion (not verified) :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 12:11pm

I hope the bears sign him. All three of their backup RBs have been hurt this year, and one is currently on bed rest in the hospital.

Also, his lack of carries due to the bears playing from behind every game will cause him to have a breakdown after only a few games.

This may seem like an odd goal, but we need something to entertain us in the town the cover 2 went to die.

by Marko :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 12:53pm

Bears fans like me would be more entertained by firing Lovie Smith, the supposed defensive guru who clearly has no idea how to fix the Bears defense. Note to Lovie: the league has figured out how to attack the Cover 2 and how to block your utterly predictable blitzes.

by Independent George :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 1:02pm

When did Bears fans turn into Eagles fans? Was there a massive migration from Philly that I don't know about?

As an outsider living amongst the natives, it amuses me to see fans try to run their best coach in twenty years out of town. Actually, I would go so far as to argue he's the best Bears coach since Halas (heresy in this town, but, at the very least, he's much better suited to the modern game than Ditka).

by tuluse :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 1:50pm

He's not speaking for all of us.

Cover 2 is an execution based scheme. It's purposely simple so it's easy to teach and become good at. Then you just have to out execute the offense. Right now we don't have the pass rush to do so (especially from the inside). It doesn't help 2 of our starting linebackers are done for the season.

This has been Lovie's worst year as a coach however. The defense is just so easy to exploit if you have just a decent QB.

by C (not verified) :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 3:07pm

Cover 2 is about as simple cookie cover as you could get. You need good players to run a cover 2. You can't smoke and mirrors your way to a good defense with average players.

by Jimmy in Oz :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 6:20pm

I think you need good DE. Then its just Run stopping DT, Quick LB, Sure tackling DB who understand the concept of cover 2. If the ends aren't engaging multiple blockers, then it breaks down.

Unless you want to call "do you job" guys good players? Then i guess every scheme needs good players.

by Marko :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 1:50pm

I don't think wanting to change coaches means that Bears fans have turned into Eagles fans. We can want Lovie Smith fired without making it personal or vicious. Lovie is a fine man, but either the team has tuned him out or his schemes simply don't work anymore. Just because he has been one of the best coaches in Bears history (probably third best after Papa Bear Halas and Ditka) doesn't give him lifetime tenure. Even Ditka had to go when he ceased being an effective coach.

By the way, it's not just fans who want him fired. There are numerous articles in the Chicago papers saying that Lovie needs to go. After the defensive collapses of the past two years, he put the onus on himself to fix the defense by taking over defensive play calling duties. Many media members in Chicago rightfully pointed out before the season that there would be no excuses if Lovie couldn't fix the defense and that he was putting himself on the chopping block if things didn't improve. Well, things have gotten worse.

Have you seen the Bears recently? In two of the past three games (the middle game against the inept Browns was more like a scrimmage), the Bears gave up 31 points in the first half. 31! Before this year, the Bears had given up 31 points in the first half of a game only five times in their history, which goes all the way back to 1920. It is downright embarrassing to have it happen twice in three weeks. And the points weren't scored by fluke. The Bengals and Cardinals drove up and down the field at will, with both teams scoring touchdowns on their first four drives and then following up with a field goal on their fifth possession. I could go on, but the bottom line is that Lovie Smith must be held accountable. Bears fans can't go through another year or two watching such pathetic defensive performances.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 3:31pm

I think Bears' fans would be better served if Angelo was fired.

by BenmZion (not verified) :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 4:03pm

Considering the bears don't even bother dressing most of their young players, game to game, I think the talent scouts could stand to be replaced from top to bottom. (Also it is an absolute crime that they have allowed their offensive line to become this bad. It is not even like they are young and learning. They are just awful.)

The reason Bears fans want Lovie fired is they see turnarounds on the Saints and Broncos defense and wonder why we cannot find defensive success with a coach that is supposed to be a defensive brain. It is frustrating to no end to finally have a serviceable passing attack only to see our defense fail so miserably.

by Marko :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 4:08pm

Well, there's that, too. But if Angelo is fired and replaced by a new GM, the new GM would almost certainly want to hire his own guy as head coach, so Lovie would be gone in that scenario as well. But since Angelo and Lovie both have multiple years left on their contracts (Lovie has two years and I think $11 million on his contract, and Angelo's contract runs I believe through 2013), I doubt the McCaskeys will eat that much money. I think it's far more likely that Lovie is fired rather than Angelo and Lovie both being fired.

by Independent George :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 3:56pm

By the way, it's not just fans who want him fired. There are numerous articles in the Chicago papers saying that Lovie needs to go.

Yeah, that's nothing like Philadelphia.

Anyway, I've watched the Bears all season. I agree about the weakness on defense; what I disagree with is the idea that this necessitates a change at Head Coach. It's the nature of the league that teams go through up and down cycles; firing a head coach during one of those down periods, and rebuilding the roster to fit the new scheme, is a panic move characteristic of the perennial bottom-dwellers.

This is especially true when you consider the possibility that there will soon be fewer teams bidding for Tampa-2 personnel, meaning fewer teams bidding for Tampa-2 personnel. Ditching Lovie now because he doesn't have the personnel to run the defense he wants seems like a great case of following the herd off a cliff.

by Marko :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 4:31pm

Just because fans and media want someone fired doesn't make those fans and media like Philadelphia. Maybe the people who want someone fired are justified. When I mention the people in the media saying he needs to go, I'm not talking about reactionary blowhards (although I'm sure they want Lovie gone, too.) I'm talking about numerous reasonable reporters who follow the team day in and day out, such as Mike Mulligan and David Haugh. Those guys don't strike me as blowhards, and they are veteran guys who have been around the team for years.

As for your last paragraph, Lovie made it clear in the offseason that he believed the personnel was fine and that the defense would be vastly improved this year with improved coaching. Thus, the only significant changes were that he took over defensive play calling and Rod Marinelli was hired as defensive line coach. Marinelli was called the Bears' most important free agent acquisition. The Bears are already being led by Lovie off a cliff. Ditching him now would allow them to go in a different direction rather than continuing to go over the cliff for two more years.

by Jerry F. (not verified) :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 5:49pm

I have never been a big fan of Lovie, even though he probably is the third best coach they've ever had. In addition to the team's poor play on defense and offense, and Lovie's mind-numbingly bad use of his challenges (a trait he does share with many coaches), I'm eager to see him fired primarily for the possibility of replacing him with a known quality coach such as Cowher or Shannahan (or even Schottenheimer or Gruden). That said, I wouldn't be too upset if they gave him another year or two to sort things out. I agree that changing coaches all the time isn't very effective, especially when the guys taking over the job are as bad as Wannstedt and Jauron.

by Dan :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 7:39pm

Hey, we like our quarterback! Our starting quarterback.

by Independent George :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 12:46pm

This reminds me - did I miss the 2nd-half Loser League signup? I don't ever remember seeing an announcement.

by Snowglare :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 1:11pm

The second half starts in Week 10, so the signup should be sometime this week.

by Snowglare :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 1:13pm

The sooner the better. Maybe now we can finally see if Jamaal Charles is any good. If not, then the Chiefs need a new RB, not more of the old. I hope they build the line up first, though.

by DavidL :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 2:02pm

So does he just automatically report to Oakland, or is there paperwork to fill out first?

by BucNasty :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 4:04pm

You never automatically report to Oakland. You wait until they're committed and then leave them twisting in the wind.

by bill prudden (not verified) :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 3:37pm

I'm not sure, outside of a new contract, if/why Johnson would want to play this season. Ain't his weekly pay guaranteed since he has x amount of tenure and was on a roster the first week, or do I mis-remember that rule? And if I am not mistaken about that, why risk injury this year? Unless, of course, some SB-bound organization gave him a shot, in which case pride would take over, I am sure.


by bubqr :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 5:57pm

Because a healthy L.Johnson in 2010 is worth nothing if he doesn't prove right now that he doesn't suck ? Players can fade away quite quickly...

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 3:56pm

When is the Larry Johnson-Shaun Alexander cage match to determine who is the real Curse of 370 golden child?

by Otis Taylor89 :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 4:02pm

SD should do the same with LT

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 5:48pm

I just heard, I kid you not, that Snyder & Cerrato, Football Geniuses LLP, are considering making an offer to Johnson. A team named the Redskins bringing in a guy who just got fired for calling customers "fags". Ya' can't even try to make up stuff like that.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 6:07pm

Can Tanier update the Twilight Zone Walkthrough for this? All sorts of possibilities.

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 6:51pm

Great. We brought in a washed up Shaun Alexander mid-season last year. Why not LJ? He'll, let's get Edge too, and then in the offseason we can trade for LdT. We'll have the full set! If only the Pats hadn't grabbed Fred Taylor...

by Independent George :: Tue, 11/10/2009 - 12:59am

Stupid Harley riders.

by Theo :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 6:43pm

Florida Tuskers.

by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 7:08pm

Raiders might sign him if Gargas or Bush get injured. team might sign him anyway. Larry Johnson with one of them plus Darren McFadden= leagur rushing title.

Once get QB untrakced Raiders going to soar it to top of AFc West strandings.

by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 7:24pm

Remember Raiders much success with former Cheifs like Rich Gannon, Albert lewis, and some others

by commissionerleaf :: Mon, 11/09/2009 - 7:45pm

On Larry Johnson: No one will hire him. He's been ineffective ever since Willie Roaf retired, and has too many miles on the odometer. There are a lot of available RB's with better skills right now, who won't want as much money or be as likely to make waves.

On the Bears: Their troubles have more to do with Urlacher's inability to stay healthy and bad free agent signings than anything else. The front office is to blame, Lovie Smith is a good coach playing with a (with Urlacher and Harris out) Detroit Lions level of talent.

by DeltaWhiskey :: Tue, 11/10/2009 - 3:13am

This EP is why I read/skim almost all the EP comments. While there was no significant discussion of LJ, there was an excellent and intelligent commentary on the Bears.

Even without this though, Raiderjoe's proper use of "untrakced" made the visit more than worthwhile.

by ChiJeff (not verified) :: Wed, 11/11/2009 - 4:06pm

RE: Bears fans

As a life long Bears fan I have to chime in on the current state of the Bears. The analysis of the Bears is actually pretty simple. This is a team on the decline. Period. Lovie Smith is a good coach. Problem is the Bears held on to theyre
players much too long. The offensive line is old and decrepit
with no ability to move any decent d line off the ball. This has been a problem now for the last two years bleeding into this season. The defensive line as well as the defense as a whole is long in the tooth. The Bengal and Cardinal games exposed an ugly truth. The Bears dline cannot physically hold up against even average olines anymore. They are incapable of it. Once your dline goes your whole defense goes. And the decline from a talent standpoint has been going on for three years at least. Starting at the end of the regular season of the Superbowl season. The coaching or the schemes really are not the problem fundamentally. They need to rebuild both the offensive and defensive lines.

by tuluse :: Wed, 11/11/2009 - 4:26pm

The d-line really just needs a star player on the d-line to make it go. Alex Brown, Ogun and Tommie Harris are all average at worst, but the cover-2 system doesn't work with average players on the d-line. We need Warren Sapp or Dwight Freeney to open things up for the other players.

So we either need Gaines Adams to justify his original draft position, Angelo to strike gold in a later round, or a free agent to fix the defense. Maybe we could pry Julius Peppers away from the Panthers? Is he even worth it? Maybe Richard Seymour?