For a while now, I have wondered if the folks over at One Arrowhead Drive ever stop by to read what we have to say. After watching last week’s game, I now have no doubt.
Of my five keys to victory last week, the Chiefs did four of them really well and one of them just a little bit. Not surprisingly, they almost won the game.
Here is my first key to victory from last week.
Return to fundamentals (stop missing tackles, stop turning the ball over), Play it safe in the secondary, generate pressure up front, get Steve Breaston involved, bust out some trick plays.
The Chiefs did the first four pretty dang well. The last one they largely ignored, though they did do a fake reverse on a return that set them up with some pretty good field position.
So Todd, since I know you are reading this, well done on taking my advice. I’ve got five more keys to victory for you.
After the jump.
Key 1: Stick with size up front
The Chiefs have been playing some of their bigger dudes up front more and it is showing. Amon Gordon (big #99) actually started the game last week at NT over Kelly Gregg. According to Pro Football Focus, he only played 17 snaps but I think his size up front not only helped the Chiefs line play, it helped Kelly Gregg. Gregg ended up playing 27 snaps but PFF graded him well. Not surprisingly, the MLB play also improved. Jovan Blecher had seven tackles and two stops. D.J. had six tackles and three stops. Strong NT play is supposed to open things up for the linebackers and it looks like the combo of Gordon and Gregg did just that last week. More Gordon means a fresher and better Kelly Gregg.
The Chiefs also used DE Allen Bailey significantly more than they have in other games, Bailey split time at RDE with Glenn Dorsey and was used mostly on passing downs. While Bailey didn’t generate a ton of pressure, he did bat down a pass. He also helped keep Dorsey fresh. Big Glenn consequently had his best game of the season.
Bailey and Gordon with their size and power, like Shaun Smith last year, seem to be very important to the KC line play. The Chiefs should keep using these guys heavily in their rotation. It might not hurt to dust off Jerrell Powe either.
After all, Adrian Peterson is coming to town. If the Chiefs lose the battle up front, they’re doomed.
Key #2: Paging Jon Baldwin
Last week we were paging Steve Breaston. He responded with three receptions for 55 yards. Most of that yardage came on an absolutely beautiful throw from Matt Cassel.
Now that Sand Cassel and Breaston are on the same page, it is time to get Jon “Stilts” Baldwin involved. Stilts hasn’t played a whole lot this season (at all) but the Chiefs could really use his big frame on the outside.
If Baldwin can go, the Chiefs need to throw him out there and see what he’s got. To their credit, they benched Jerheme Urban last week. Urban didn’t play a single down. The bad news was that they used Keary Colbert instead. He did nothing.
The passing game gained some momentum late in Sunday’s game. Baldwin just might make them respectable. Here’s hoping he can play.
Key #3: Stop AP before he gets to the secondary
Scientists are still baffled as to why Scott Pioli isn’t even TRYING to find a safety that might be better than Jon “Quick Draw” McGraw and “Shabby” Sabby Piscitelli.
The fact of the matter is that Shabby and Quick Draw can’t tackle to save their lives. Kendrick Lewis has also struggled in that department. Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr are good tacklers but Flowers could be out with an ankle injury. I don’t know about you but if I had to bet on Travis Daniels or Adrian Peters, I ain’t going with Daniels.
That means the Chiefs have got to stop AP before he gets past the linebackers because if he gets past DJ and Belcher, he’s probably going all the way. Can you just imagine for a moment how painfully hilarious it will be to watch Mcgaraw and Shabby trying to tackle AP in the open field? The Chiefs will have a better chance using an actual stop sign to try to confuse Peterson than they will with they dynamic due back there trying to make tackles.
The Chiefs won’t be able to stop AP but if they can contain him, they might just be able to take advantage of the downs McNabb actually has to throw the ball.
Key #4: Get to McNabb
The Chiefs have got to get to Donovan McNabb because he is playing even worse than Matt Cassel and that is really saying something. McNabb has been sacked eight times and has a worse completion percentage than Cassel. This may be the only game all season where the Chiefs will have the better QB. They need to take advantage of it.
If Romeo can frustrate McNabb like he frustrated Rivers, the Chiefs will have a chance to pull this one out.
Key #5: Just say no to Jones
Thomas Jones can’t even fall down for three yards any more. Hopefully by the end of the day, the team will have announced they’ve brought in another RB (Steve Slaton) but don’t hold your breath.
KC’s best options at this point are McCluster and McClain. The Chiefs will have a hard time opening up holes for a big back like McClain but at least McClain has a snowball’s chance in hell of actually making something happen on his own. The only thing Thomas Jones can make these days is a grilled cheese sandwich.
Every play that Jones touches the ball is a pointless play. Sure he might get lucky and break one but most of his carries are going to go for one or two yards. You can’t be giving a guy like that the ball 14 times a game.
The Chiefs need to take their chances with McCluster and McClain. If they do that, they might muster some rushing yards.
After last week’s game I really feel like the Chiefs are emerging from their funk. After not getting any real practice in the preseason, thanks to Todd Haley’s bone-headed decision to not let them tackle each other until it was too late, the Chiefs appear to be catching up. After averaging 9.5 missed tackles in the first two games, the Chiefs missed only six last week. Half of those missed tackles were courtesy of Quick Draw and Shabby.
So really, as long as the Chiefs can tackle ball carriers before they get to those two, they might be able to stop the Vikings offense.
Those are my keys to victory, Addicts. What are yours?