Shoving All-In With Ryan Tannehill

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The reports linking the Kansas City Chiefs to former Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill have kicked into overtime in the last week.

And further fueling the speculation is that Tannehill followed up a private workout with the Chiefs in College Station, Texas with a recent visit in in Kansas City, according to Peter King of Sports Illustrated.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs also hosted former Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins last week, meaning they’ve visited with this year’s No. 3 and No. 4 ranked prospects at the position.

A majority of analysts are uniform when it comes to Tannehill’s potential. In a recent conference call with NFL media, Nolan Nawrocki of Pro Football Weekly pointed to Tannehill’s arm strength as a good fit for the Chiefs offense.

But while respected draft pundits, including Charley Casserly of NFL.com and Mike Mayock of The NFL Network, rave about Tannehill, it’s hard to ignore most analysis is prefaced with the use of “raw.”

Numerous scenarios in recent days indicate the Chiefs will need to trade into the first 10 picks ahead of the Miami Dolphins at No. 8 to have a shot at Tannehill. There’s even chatter from Peter Schrager of FoxSports.com that the Chiefs should trade with the Minnesota Vikings to the third spot overall, a pick ahead of the Cleveland Browns, another team linked to Tannehill.

Tannehill is a converted wide receiver with just one full season under his belt as a starting quarterback. Are the Chiefs actually willing to gamble on such a small sample size?

Using no-limit poker as a comparison, Tannehill’s recent rise in perceived value is like looking at A-K.

It’s considered a premium hand, but many players tend to overplay it preflop simply because the hand looks pretty. They don’t think of the range of hands they’re potentially against when an opponent in early position or late position re-raises with a four-bet or traps with a minimum re-raise.

All the player cares about is holding A-K and an inevitable all-in bet occurs, which is quickly followed by a snap-call. The player is left with frustration when they’ve run into pocket Aces or Kings to become a 4-1 dog, or when an overplay results in missing the flop, river and turn.

By then, it’s too late to get away from the hand.

Poker is widely regarded as the ultimate battle of wills and is a game of information and misdirection. And all the chatter surrounding the Chiefs making a move on Tannehill could very well be a combination of all three.

The Chiefs eventually need to address the quarterback position, as the jury is clearly out if current starter Matt Cassel is the answer.

However, the first round of the draft is where a team should target blue chippers. Given his “raw” label, Tannehill will need time to develop when compared to most college quarterbacks entering the NFL.

All the trade scenarios offered by numerous national media types appear to be too high of a price to pay when the Chiefs could address other pressing needs, like nose tackle or inside linebacker, with the 11th pick overall.

So in the upcoming high-stakes poker game known as the NFL Draft on April 26, quarterbacks Andrew Luck of Stanford and Robert Griffin III of Baylor are pocket Aces.

The Chiefs are better off allowing another team to gamble with an all-in preflop bet on Tannehill.

Revisiting Fallout of Black Friday

pokerIt’s often said that time flies when having fun. But in the case of the poker community, the same cliché applies when not having fun.

Sunday marks the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Department of Justice shutting down online poker and charging PokerStars.com, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker with illegal gambling, money laundering and bank fraud.

And given the popularity of online poker leading to April 15, 2011, the government’s move was comparable to watching in horror as an opponent spikes a miracle one-outer on the river.
Virtually everybody was caught up in the early 2000s poker boom, thanks largely to Chris Moneymaker’s improbable win at the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event. Moneymaker became the first player to qualify online for the tournament before winning the bracelet. He was an everyday person and people saw themselves in him, so they took to the virtual felt.

Still, there was more to playing cards online to earn a living or a chance to sit down at a table to test wills against anyone from around the world.

The legality of Big Brother’s decision to pull the plug aside, the fallout runs much deeper.

There was a camaraderie aspect due to the private “Home Game” feature at PokerStars.com.

As people moved or took on employment opportunities in other cities, PokerStars.com allowed friends accustomed to a weekly home game to stay in touch by taking the game online.

This was especially true in my case where the feature allowed me to reconnect with Army buddies and a former colleague and good friend, Chad Harberts.

For those outside of Kansas City, Mo., not familiar with him, Harberts is a former sports anchor for Time Warner Cable Metro Sports and on-air talent for 810 Sports Radio’s high school coverage.

He walked away from a successful and award-winning media career in 2009 to pursue a dream as a poker professional in Las Vegas. He’s currently living it while also working as a manager of a Vegas casino poker room. Even on the nights he couldn’t make it online for the home game, Harberts always made it a point to log-in for a minute or two just to say hello to everyone.

And if you can’t tell, I think very highly of the man.

Meanwhile, there was also a joy in inviting former Army brothers-in-arms to the online home game. Playing cards in the military is a large part of the culture as the acronyms. There was never a shortage of weekend home games throughout numerous duty stations.

At our online home game’s peak, we had more than 25 registered members from all walks of life: Media, a doctor, a professor, a sales executive, a friend from Canada, Army veterans and even a husband-wife team.

Outside of Harberts, who has played in the WSOP Main Event, none of us were professionals. We may have played like Phil Ivey – or thought we played like him – but we definitely lacked his bankroll.

Still, the gatherings were in good fun and it was often common to open more than one virtual table due to the turnout. Moreover, it was always good to “see” folks on any given Wednesday night.

The chat feature allowed the trash talk to flow freely and “How could you call that?” or “Ship it!” remained as familiar in typed chat when compared to what’s often heard in a live room.

This was a friendly home game and we chewed it up.

Unfortunately, our mouths no longer chomp at the bit to offer playful banter.

So a full year after Black Friday – as April 15, 2011 became known to the poker community – the Department of Justice did more than shut down the poker websites.

Playing the weekly private home game on PokerStars.com allowed friends to reconnect and enjoy each other’s company while playing a game we loved.

Unfortunately, the private poker room’s chat function has been silenced and every hand has been tossed in the muck.

It’s all gone.

NFL – Record 26 Players Attending Draft

PrintThe NFL announced on Thursday a record 26 draft prospects are confirmed as attending the annual NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on April 26.

Among the attendees are high-profile quarterbacks Andrew Luck of Stanford and Robert Griffin III of Baylor, both of whom are projected to be the first two picks of the draft.
Alabama, last season’s BCS champion, sends a record five players to New York City, according to the news release. Confirmed as attending are running back Trent Richardson; linebackers Don’t’a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw; cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick; and safety Mark Barron.

Meanwhile, the Big XII Conference is represented by Baylor’s Griffin and wide receiver Kendall Wright; quarterbacks Ryan Tannehill of Texas A&M; and wide receiver Justin Blackmon of Oklahoma State.

Along with Baylor, schools represented by multiple players include Louisiana State with three, while South Carolina, Southern California and Stanford have two each.

Click here to view full list of confirmed attendees.

The 2012 NFL Draft consists of seven rounds with the first round kicking off on Thursday, April 26 at 8 p.m. ET. The three-day event concludes on Saturday, April 28.

Official start times:

8:00 PM ET, Thursday, April 26 (Round 1)
7:00 PM ET, Friday, April 27 (Rounds 2-3)
Noon ET, Saturday, April 28 (Rounds 4-7)
In 2011, universities local to Kansas City, Mo., had three players in New York City for the annual draft.

Former Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert and defensive end Aldon Smith attended the NFL Draft and NFLPA Draft Party, while former Kansas State running back Daniel Thomas attended the NFLPA event.

Kansas had none.

Notes: The Kansas City Chiefs currently own the 11th pick overall … The Chiefs’ current draft spots are 1.11; 2.12 (44); 3.11 (74); 4.12 (107); 5.11 (146); 6.12 (182); 7.11 (218); and 7-31 (238) from New England for the Jarrad Page trade in 2010 … The Chiefs are hosting a special draft day party at the 810 Zone in Leawood, Kan.

Speculation Mounts on Ryan Tannehill

TannehillPro Football Weekly held its second NFL Draft media conference call with draft guru Nolan Nawrocki on Wednesday afternoon.

While Nawrocki addressed questions on a variety of draft-related topics from beat writers around the country, an opportunity presented itself to ask his thoughts on the recent scenarios surrounding former Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

Two such situations have Kansas City’s attention, leading me to pose this two-part question to Nawrowki:

“There’s a lot of talk in Kansas City the last week surrounding Ryan Tannehill. Two scenarios being tossed around are the Chiefs trading up to get him or pulling the trigger at No. 11 if he makes it past Miami.

Based on what you may have heard about Tannehill, especially in light of what you said earlier in the conference call about teams overdrafting this year, are those realistic scenarios?
The Chiefs recently had Kirk Cousins in for a visit. In comparison to Tannehill, what’s the biggest difference surrounding their respective skill sets for what the Chiefs do on offense?”
And here’s a full transcript of Nawrocki’s response:

Since they brought in Brian Daboll as the offensive coordinator, I would say the plan of attack moving forward is going to become a true vertical passing game and to establish a power running game.

And from that respect, Tannehill, even though he ran more of a rhythm West Coast-style offense at Texas A&M, to me he’s got the arm strength you want to run a vertical type of offense. So I think the better fit of those two quarterbacks would be Tannehill.

I don’t think there’s a chance he will slide to 11. I think a lot of teams outside the Top 10 – like the Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks, like the Kansas City Chiefs – even though [Matt] Flynn went to Seattle, there are questions about whether he can be a game-changing franchise quarterback.

I don’t think Matt Cassel has proven that ability. He’s actually struggled more if you look at his history the last four years with different coordinators. He’s struggled more with the vertical type of offense. He regressed last season before he was injured and he regressed when Todd Haley was running the show. I think he’s been best when he’s in more a rhythm, short-intermediate type of passing game and that’s what he played for with Josh McDaniels in New England and for Charlie Weis in Kansas City.

There’s a chance if they [Chiefs] want this to work, they’ll have to find a quarterback with more arm strength. I think Brady Quinn’s got enough of it, but his play history has been very spotty in his career. And Ricky Stanzi is very unproven. He is more of a rhythm, West Coast-type of passer who doesn’t have great arm strength, either.

So if you look at the quarterbacks on the roster right now, it’s definitely an area of concern. It’s a place they have to get better.

They could definitely be in the running for a quarterback in the Top 10, even be a team that looks to move up to draft him.

Nawrocki mentioned earlier in the conference call that he believed a lot of teams will overdraft this year and Tannehill’s spike in perceived value in recent weeks could very well be a sign of that.

And of course, more fuel to the fire is added when Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay tweets on Wednesday that Tannehill is a “hidden gem.”

Either way, the speculation of what the Chiefs will do at No. 11 is alive and well.

Chiefs Announce Draft Party

KCCThe annual NFL Draft offers an exciting time for die-hard fans around the country and Kansas City, Mo., is no exception.

And so with 16 days to go until NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announces the first pick, the Kansas City Chiefs announced on Tuesday a special draft day event on April 26 at the 810 Zone in Leawood, Kan.
“The draft is always a special time of year for our fans as we get to welcome new members to the Chiefs family,” team president Mark Donovan said in the news release. “We are excited to work with our partners at 810 to organize this event and create a fun gathering place for all fans.”

The event is open to the public and scheduled to kick off at 5 p.m. CT, two hours ahead of the actual draft starting time at 7 p.m.

The Chiefs, who currently own the 11th pick overall, will be represented by a current player, team ambassadors and cheerleaders. The KC Wolf is also scheduled to make an appearance, according to the news release.

Additionally, attending fans will be treated to autographs and select fans may win prizes.

A separate draft day party exclusive to season ticket holders will be held at the Arrowhead indoor facility on the same night.