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Cheifs Chatter

Monday Morning Quarterback


by CK Rairden
Landmark columnist

Okay Chiefs fans, take it easy, back off the ledge and calm down. There is no reason to bail off the Chiefs bandwagon just yet. Here—breathe into this paper bag. Slow deep breaths—there you go. Feeling better? Good, now let’s Monday Morning QB this one.

Sunday’s game was a difficult one to lose, but realize that the Raiders are one of the top five teams in the league. They have nearly everyone returning from a team that was one game away from the Super Bowl last season, and they added WR Jerry Rice, RB Charlie Garner and DE Trace Armstrong to that talented team.

The Chiefs have a new offensive system, a new defensive system, and a bunch of new personnel. They battled to the end, had a great late game offensive drive engineered by QB Trent Green to tie the game at 24 and with a little luck could have pulled this one off.

• • •

Of course to do that they would have needed a kicker with a range a bit longer that 31 yards. They would also need a kicker that can get the ball somewhere in the vicinity of the opponent’s goal line on crucial kick offs.

In the upcoming week’s NFL play—they are going to need a kicker.

They are also going to need a kick coverage team that stays in its lanes, and doesn’t miss tackles. They are going to need a kick off coverage team that doesn’t make David Dunn (who?) look like All-Pro returner Michael Bates.

But calm down—it’s going to take some time to exorcise the demons of former special teams Coach Mike Stock. It will take some game action to break the awful habits established by the previous regime.

• • •

Still, kicker Todd Peterson’s performance was once again inexcusable. He was 15 of 20 on FG attempts last season, but if there is any distance involved he struggles. Last season saw him hit on only 40% of his kicks between 40-49 yards (2-5) and the Chiefs didn’t even bother to send him out on anything greater than 50 yards.

His 37-yarder that he took the gas pipe on during Sunday’s loss had no chance of going through the uprights. The Chiefs made the mistake of not bringing in a serious challenger to push Peterson during training camp.

MMQB suggests that mistake should be rectified. Tryouts should be held this week.

• • •

Apparently the virus that is Jimmy Raye also still haunts Arrowhead. The Chiefs offense looked like—well a new offensive system that played in their first real game. One thing must be remedied and fast, some WR needs to step up get open and give the Chiefs some other threat than a RB out of the backfield or the double and triple teamed TE Tony Gonzalez.

Keith Poole is available, but injured. Derrick Mayes spent an entire camp with the team and seemed to get open and make plays, but fell out of favor and was released with the final cut.

If Alexander is hurt or can’t perform in this offense, MMQB suggests the auditions begin immediately. Get someone in that can get open and provide another option.

The Chiefs offense could not control the ball—had five possessions out of eleven that were four plays or less and held the ball for a mere 22 minutes. They couldn’t run the ball effectively and RB Priest Holmes had an awful first game as a Chief.

Even with those struggles, they produced 17 points and showed some grit with their TD drive late in the 4th quarter to tie the game. It would have been interesting if the game could have been forced into overtime.

• • •

Greg Robinson’s defense was as advertised—crowding the line and forcing Raiders QB Rich Gannon into mistakes and turnovers early. The trouble was the defense as a whole was on the field far too long and finally broke down against a good offense.

CB Eric Warfield took an interception back for a TD on the first drive, and Gannon lost two fumbles under heavy pressure. But the Chiefs defense had trouble getting enough pressure on Gannon without the blitz.

They have a good excuse of being worn down, but they still completely disappeared on the Raiders final drive that resulted in the game-winning FG.

• • •

MMQB has more confidence in this group of coaches. This is not the old coaching staff. Offensive coordinator Al Saunders will make scheme adjustments and if the poor play continues hopefully personnel adjustments. Defensive coordinator Greg Robinson should again have his side of the ball ready for a familiar opponent; the Chiefs face the Seahawks in Seattle next week.

It was a loss that stings, but this is a work in progress. MMQB is sometimes critical, but there are going to be a lot of growing pains as the Chiefs team not only changes systems, but also their overall mindset and approach to the game.