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Cheifs Chatter

Take a Memo

Coming out party for Larry Johnson

Posted 8-25-03

by CK Rairden
Landmark columnist


It was a loss to feel good about.

No one left the field on a cart as Jerome Woods did last season. 1st round pick Larry Johnson had a coming out party of sorts with 203 total yards, and a special teams touchdown. Priest Holmes took the first play from scrimmage on a hand-off from Trent Green, ran around right end for 4 yards, and took his rightful pre-season place on the sidelines for the rest of the game. The Chiefs racked up 192 yards with a mixture of first and second stringers in the first half while posting a 21-13 lead. And TE Tony Gonzalez finally got involved with a TD reception in the first quarter. So—is all well in Chiefs land?

Hardly—The memo pad is full:

****

—Dexter McCleon finally got his first start as a Chief—so what did the Seahawks do? Abused the Chiefs secondary for 347 yards through the air.

—Get used to it Chiefs’ fans—if the pass rush is not exemplary as it was last weekend against the Vikings those kind of numbers will be posted repeatedly unless the defensive backs make tremendous gains in a short period of time.

—In case you didn’t notice, the Chiefs defense gave up 32 first downs and 482 total yards.

—The defensive highlight—R-Kal Truluck. He recorded the only two sacks of the night. On the first sack he used his speed rush to blow by Seahawks starting left tackle Floyd Womack and sacked ‘Hawks starting QB Matt Hasselbeck.

—He then showed a flash of technique when he bull rushed the 333-pound Womack and got underneath the huge offensive tackles shoulder pads and used his strength to knock the behemoth tackle back and off balance, then tossed him to the side to sack Hasselbeck again.

—KEY POINT: Both sacks were on third down, one forcing a punt, and the second forcing Seattle to settle for a 50-yard field goal.

—R-Kal Truluck is still listed number three on the depth chart at right-defensive end, but with his motor and his improved technique and strength has cemented himself into the defensive line rotation. Or at least he’d better have.

—Another day at the office for WR Marc Boerigter—2 catches. One was for a TD, and one was for a first down on third and seven.

—Bo did prove to be human, dropping an easy TD pass with 54 seconds left in the 1st half.

—He was picked up by back-up TE Jason Dunn making a difficult catch in the same corner of the end zone on the next play that had to be reversed by replay after a poor call by officials ruled Dunn out-of-bounds.

—So that’s what Todd Collins looks like when he’s not throwing from flat on his back.

—The second string offensive line held its own for the most part, and for the first time in this pre-season didn’t look awful.

—The Chiefs opening drive three-and-out was their first of the pre-season in their initial possession of the game.

—The second drive featured RB Larry Johnson working with the first team and the team overcame a first and 24 from the Chiefs own 16-yard line after a penalty.

—What a difference Tony Richardson’s blocks make in the running game. On Larry Johnson’s 18-yard run on the Chiefs first scoring drive he blew up the Seahawks corner with a crushing block.

—The team showed some resilience on that drive, overcoming penalties that made an 80-yard drive equal a 13 play 105-yard scoring effort with Gonzo making the TD catch (the second of the drive after Derrick Blaylock’s rushing TD was called back on a holding penalty by Gonzo) and the obligatory slam-dunk over the crossbar.

—DB Corey Harris has made this team with his fine special teams play.

—WR Chris Horn has as well, and has proven to be a crisp route runner if he is needed for the 5th WR spot.

—In a surprise, GM/President Carl Peterson hinted that he would like to see six WR’s carried on the roster. That would save Snoop Minnis' job until and if WR Dameane Douglas is able to return.

—Priest Holmes standing on the sidelines for 59 minutes and 55 seconds means that the Chiefs now have confidence in the right hip, and the front office and Holmes’ agent are close to an extension for the All-Pro.

****

Pre-season losses, especially losses where you lead 21-13 at the half while your All-World RB stands on the sidelines and your leader QB Trent Green plays but two offensive series are meaningless. This was an acceptable, and for the offense, encouraging defeat.

But once again, the defense looked scary. The Seahawks picked at the Chiefs secondary when KC couldn’t get pressure on the QB. There doesn’t seem to be much hope of a change either which means this defense will have to count on its front seven again. There is good news in that: this front seven is much improved from last season. They are fast and mean and can wreak havoc at times. They swarm to the ball and are going to have to carry the secondary.

NOTE: Tuesday is the initial cut day, and some very unfamiliar names (and perhaps a familiar one or two) will be released. The Chiefs only have to get their roster down to 76 players because they receive an exemption due to their very active NFL Europe status. There may be a surprise, but it’s unlikely.

 

(CK Rairden can be reached by email at ckden@yahoo.com)