Chiefs Beat Vikings: Inside The Numbers

Every week, we go Inside the Numbers with our friends at Pro Football Focus to try to give you a more honest assessment of each player’s play during the previous Kansas City Chiefs game.

PFF grades every player on every play of every game. They assign players a grade for each play, from -2.0 (the worst) to +2.0 (the best). Keep in mind that to get a positive grade, a player has to do something extra or more than he is expected to do. To get a negative grade, a player has to fail at his assigned task. Thus, most players grade at a 0.0 for each play. Only when they do something good or bad, do they get a + or -. This is why PFF is a really great barometer for measuring how good a player is because it measures consistency.

You might remember a player for making one big play and thus conclude that he had a great game. But what about the other 60 or 70 plays? That is where PFF comes in.

How good was Tamba Hali Sunday? Did Tyson Jackson really have a “great game?”

Let’s go Inside the Numbers with Pro Football Foucs…and find out!

Usually we use PFF to break down each player’s season after the year ends. Breaking down the stats and grades for the whole team is a daunting task each week so I might not always include every player. I will always throw in the guys who did really well or really poorly, as well as interesting notes like snap counts and so forth. If you don’t see a player mentioned here, you can assume he had a pretty average game. No big swing one way or the other.

The Offense:

The offensive line continued its up-and-down play this week according to PFF. The biggest struggles this year seem to be coming from G Ryan Lilja, which is surprising considering he graded out as one of the team’s best blockers a season ago.

Lilja: -3.5

Lilja had a terrible game. He struggled in pass blocking (-1.6) and run blocking (-2.2). I am not ready to give up on Lilja but the Chiefs might want to consider throwing Rodney Hudson out there, at least for a few snaps, to see what he’s got.

Barry Richardson: -3.1

B-Rich struggled yet again. His play is just too inconsistent. He never does particularly well in any area and always struggles in at least one. Usually pass blocking. That was the story this week. Richardson graded at a -3.4 as a pass blocker. He gave up a QB hit and five QB pressures.

If Jared Gaither is healthy enough to play, the Chiefs might want to consider giving him a shot. He didn’t play a single snap last week.

Wiegmann and Asamoah were both average, reeling in a +1.0 grade and a 0.0  grade respectively. Asamoah continues to struggle with his run blocking, however, grading out at -1.2.

The good news on the offensive line continues to be LT Branden Albert.

Branden Albert: +2.4

Albert was the only offensive lineman to not give up a QB pressure. Albert currently grades at +3.9 for the year.

Le’Ron McClain: -4.0

McClain was the worst rated offensive player Sunday. He was absolutely awful in run blocking, according to PFF. He was in for 39 snaps.

The best grades, of course, came from Cassel and his receivers.

Matt Cassel: +2.6

Dwayne Bowe: +3.4

Steve Breaston: +1.5


Offensive Notes:

The Chiefs gave up two sacks and 10 QB pressures. Cassel was hit twice. The offense was penalized five times.

The Defense:

The defense played very well Sunday with only three players getting really poor grades. Everyone else was average or outstanding.

Can you guess who the three weak links were?

Kelly Gregg: -1.4

Gregg struggled again this week. At his age, I think the best we can expect from him is a yo-yo season. Depending on the match-up, he might do well or he might get owned.

The thing that has me kind of high on Gregg and the KC NT play overall, is how well the ILB’s are playing. I trust PFF and if they say Gregg is struggling, he probably is. That being said, he must have been doing something right up front because the DJ and Jovan Belcher were able to really clamp down against the run.

My guess on what is going on? Gregg is probably getting shoved out of the way but he’s not letting his man get by him to the second level. If he was, DJ and Belcher wouldn’t be getting so many tackles. It would be better if Gregg was plugging up the line and forcing runners to the outside, but I think he must be holding his own.

Gregg was in for 41 snaps, which is a lot more than usual. The team had been using him for about 27 snaps a game before last week. Their best bet is probably limiting Gregg’s snaps to keep his old ass fresh.

When Gregg isn’t on the field, the Chiefs roll with Amon Gordon, whom I am a big fan of. Big #99 only played 19 snaps but in that time he record as many “stops”(2) and tackles (2) as Gregg did in 41 snaps.

Donald Washington: -3.2

Ahh, old Donny Washington. We all know Donald Washington isn’t any good but I was actually impressed with his average play against the Chargers at free safety. D-Wash played over 50 snaps and didn’t colossally mess anything up.

I can’t blame the Chiefs for playing Washington, however, because they simply don’t have any other safeties, unless you want to count Shabby Piscitelli as a football player.

After the game some people were tweeting at me that I needed to “lay off” Shabby because they thought he had a good game. These people apparently saw Shabby in the vicinity of the ball and must have decided he did a great job.

Yeah, that isn’t the case. In fact, he hardly played at all.

Shabby Picitelli snap count: 13

Shabby was only put in for the most obvious of passing situations. Near the end of the game, they sent him on a safety blitz. The pressure caused McNabb, who is terrible, to panic and throw a bad pass.

I mean, wouldn’t you panic if you heard the footsteps of Shabby stocking you?

The only person who deserves credit for that play is Romeo Crennel. He could have sent me unblocked on a safety blitz and the same thing would have happened.

Anyway, back to Washington. Since the Chiefs weren’t playing a pass-happy offense they rolled with less safeties and focused on stopping the run. So instead of having Washington as a second free safety, they moved him to SS in place of Shabby…hopefully because they’ve finally discovered he is terrible.

The only problem is that Washington is terrible, too. The former CB just can’t cover. The good news is that he didn’t miss any tackles this week.

Justin Houston: -3.5

The rookie OLB was the worst player on the defense for the Chiefs.

Coming into the game, Houston had been sharing snaps evenly with Cameron Sheffield. Houston was used mainly on running downs, and Sheffield as a pass rusher. Both were playing equally bad.

Last week, however, the Chiefs gave Houston more of a chance. He played 53 snaps to Sheffield’s 13.

Hey, it’s cool. Houston is a rookie and rookies tend to struggle. He has a lot upside and I am glad they have him out there.

But what I saw in the preseason was a guy who had a talent for rushing the passer. I figured when he was on the field, the Chiefs would be using him opposite Tamba Hali to generate extra pressure.

But that is not what they are doing.

Of his 53 snaps, Houston was only asked to rush the passer once!

31 of the snaps he was in for were runs and he dropped into coverage 21 times.

He failed at both. -1.2 against the run and -2.3 against the pass.

There was good news.

Derrick Johnson: +1.1

Jovan Belcher: +1.1

According to PFF, DJ and Belcher combined for 13 tackles and 9 stops (tackle causing an offensive failure).

Wallace Gilberry: +1.4

Where’s Wallace? Gilberry was only in for 13 snaps, but they were 13 effective snaps. He recorded two pressures.

Brandon Flowers: +2.2

What high ankle sprain? Flowers was awesome Sunday. Receivers being covered by Flowers were only targeted twice. Both were incompletions, one of which Flowers defended.

Tamba Hali: +7.4

This is the Tamba Hali from last season. Tamba showed up his boy Jared Allen Sunday, sacking McNabb twice while pressuring the QB seven times. He also had four tackles and three stops.

When Hali plays like that, he makes things much easier on everyone. Let’s hope this is a sign he has shaken off all the rust.

Defensive Notes:

A word on Tin Man. He didn’t have a great game, just an average one. I am not trying to take anything away from him. He made a couple of plays. His QB pressure ended in a Tamba Hali sack and his batted pass was huge in the 4th quarter. He added three tackles and two stops. His overall grade was +0.4 in the 50 snaps he played.

Jackson usually gets graded negatively so by his usual standards, this was a great game. But by normal NFL player standards, it was slightly above average. Tin Man’s bar is so low that it is easy to get excited about a game like this, so just temper your expectations.

The Chiefs D had 12 QB pressures Sunday.

After missing 19 tackles in their first two games and six against the Chargers, the defense only missed one tackle against the Vikings. Thank you, Justin Houston.

The Chiefs continue to not used Javier Arenas as a CB. He played only 13 snaps.

What do you guys think? Are you surprised by any of the info?

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Tags: Kansas City Chiefs Matt Cassel Minnesota Vikings Tamba Hali

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