Its been a lot of fun pretending we were a good team these last two months. I’ve enjoyed that. As it turns out, we’re not that good. Not yet. We’re not as bad as we played yesterday, but you can’t look at these last three games and say we’re a legit contender.
The Chiefs didn’t show up yesterday. It was eerily similar to our matchup with Denver last year, with the shoe unfortunately being on the other foot. The team seemingly with everything to play for came out flat. I didn’t expect that. I’d allowed myself to be convinced the turnaround really had happened overnight. That was naive of me. Kind of like when I thought the movie Underworld was going to be good. Are the Chiefs the Underworld of the NFL?
Honestly, I doubt we make the playoffs. Losing divisional games is no way to lock things up. But our schedule is soft, we’re still tied for the lead and we might get lucky. We actually do play pretty well at home. Even after back-to-back losses to bitter rivals this season is more compelling than the last three combined.
Ironically, Cassel’s line may have saved his season from a statistical standpoint. I’ve heard a wide variety of reactions to his performance. Trying to act like his prevent defense-inflated numbers are a sign of progress seems a little forced to me. I’ve also heard some disgruntled fans calling for a benching. I feel their pain, obviously. But I can’t say that I’d bench Cassel at this point. Do we really want to watch Croyle? We’ve done that. It was painful. He ain’t the one. But I’d say the case for drafting a quarterback has gotten quite a bit stronger.
Further ruminations from your boy Big Matt after the jump:
I’d still rather use our top pick on a receiver or lineman, myself. Drafting a QB in the first round, as we all know, is a huge risk. Drafting a quarterback and asking him to throw to Terry Copper and Lenny Pope is suicide. I guess for me, nothing has really changed with respect to Cassel. Not that good; still our best option. Probably for next year, too.
On a more positive note, how ’bout my man D-Bowe? I love how he picks this game to blow up. I mean that is just hilarious. You gotta love D-Bowe (unless you hate him). I think he’s my favorite receiver in Chiefs history. Second favorite? Uh, Tamarick Vanover’s later years? Seriously though, Mark Boerigter (am I kidding?).
It was nice to see Mike Vrabel still getting snaps in the second half. His veteran leadership is most crucial at a time like that. When you’re down 25 in the third quarter you’ve got to put your faith in intangibles. He really held us together out there. Give me eleven Mike Vrabel’s and I’ll give you……eleven guys the Chiefs would trade for and start.
Sorry for the sarcasm, but the Chiefs’ Vrabel obsession is Royals-esque. He’s our Jason Kendall. Old, no longer good, starts every game, coaches swear he’s invaluable. I know a lot of you probably like Vrabel (no tackles yesterday), but this is a problem. We have a ’96 Studebaker just sitting in the garage. Meanwhile we’re driving around a ’50 Oldsmobile and swearing its the better car.
The Chiefs signed Studebaker to a contract that, while not eye-popping, isn’t something you’d give to a bench player. We have to assume they believe in him. Yet they seem content to just ride it out with Vrabel until he’s ready to retire. Our pass rush is paying the price. Studebaker has upside. It shouldn’t take a total blowout for him to get in the game.
Some of you will no doubt protest that Vrabel is a leader, a mentor, a great guy in the locker room, and any number of other old-school cliches. I’ll take your word for it. But it seems to me he could be those things from the sideline. Watching him try to rush the passer is painful. Along with most of our other players who attempt to rush the passer. I’d like to see a footrace between Vrabel, Dorsey, Tin Man, Sweet Ron and The Perv. Who would win? Is the answer to that question Ron Edwards?
Our defense has got to take the lion’s share of the blame for what happened yesterday, obviously. They gave it away early. And we can’t put this all on Ricky Price and Donnie Washington, either (although….yikes). This collapse was a team effort. Things wouldn’t have been much different with McGraw or Kendrick Lewis out there.
It seems our defense was a bit of a mirage. Our pass rush is subpar and our secondary is overrated. Dorsey is good against the run but still can’t rush the passer at all. The prevailing attitude in Chiefs Nation seems to be that any sacks we get from Dorsey are a bonus. This is a fallacy. It’s been developed and clung to by people looking to make excuses for high draft picks. Dorsey himself was quoted recently saying that on passing plays his job is to get the quarterback. Not “occupy blockers.” Nobody is saying the guy should get ten sacks (seriously, NO ONE IS SAYING THAT), but it would be nice to see him apply occasional pressure. If he was as good as people say he would be able to do that.
Realistically, Flowers, DJ and Hali are our only defenders above league average. We have several other guys I like, and some who will eventually, hopefully, develop and improve. We can stop the run for the most part. Clancy Pendergast is someone else’s problem now. There are reasons to be optimistic about the future of the defense. But it turns out the future isn’t now.
This game was tough to swallow. We can be realistic about its implications without losing hope for this season. These last seven games will all probably matter. Meaningful December football is not something I expected to see this year. Of course, I also never thought I’d hear announcers praising Thom Jones after a failed attempt from the one yard line. Yesterday was full of fun surprises!
One final note: those of you who gave Paddy shit for picking the Broncos should have the stones to admit that he was right, and you were wrong. I’m guessing most of you don’t have those stones. Homers tend to replace stones with excuses and justification. It’s too bad. We all love the same team. Occasionally thinking they’ll lose is not treason. Liking Tim Tebow, not that’s treason. God I hate that guy.