Note: For Internal Use Only. Coaches, players and fans of the Raiders, Chargers and Broncos are not authorized to read this post.
It’s that time of the year. The Draft and free agency have passed and we all feel like we have the best team in the league. In fact, everyone feels like they have the best team in the league. The only problem is that 31 of them are wrong and we’re probably one of them.
Thus, it has come time for me to assume the role I have carved out on this site and that is being the Debbie Downer. We still have holes and weaknesses. Talented coordinators are going to be able to target those weaknesses and we need to be thinking about how to mask them.
If I am an opposing coach, this is how I plan my game:
1.) Defend RB Jamaal Charles. How? By keeping him out of the end zone. Provided he is back to his old self, he’s almost certainly going to rack up 100+ yards on us. Let him; just don’t let the safeties get beat. Pay the mascot another bounty for taking him out (Just kidding, they’ll be watching this time).
2.) Throw deep. Now, this may seem like a strange prescription given that the Chiefs have one of the best secondaries in the league. However, it makes sense for several reasons.
First off, S Eric Berry and CB Brandon Flowers are scary, scary men when healthy, but there are other bits of the pass defense that are vulnerable. S Kendrick Lewis is a smart ball hawk, but he doesn’t have the wheels to keep up with speedy receivers streaking downfield. Routt is known to willingly take a holding or interference call if he feels like he is losing the wideout, rather than risk give up a touchdown. Send our best track star on a sprint down field a few times per game just to see what happens. Depending on the coverage, we can fake Berry off to the other side, we may get lucky with a blitzing DB, or our guy might just be able to outrun his man. There’s also a good chance we can scare Routt into eating an erroneous penalty. We’ll also probably get favorable matchups with our tight ends against their linebackers and safeties.
Secondly, as we saw last year, all of the Chiefs’ explosive plays comes from two guys –Charles and WR Dwayne Bowe. There is simply no one else on the team who generates big plays with any consistency. While each of those two is guaranteed to have a couple of good-gainers on us, limiting their ability to score will keep the Chiefs off the board. KC was 31st in scoring last year and 14th in the league in 2010 when they had all their stars healthy. As long as the game stays close, we will be able to make big plays on them, and it’s likely they won’t be able to keep up. They counted on the ability to run at will and chew clock in 2010. If we can get a couple of quick, easy touchdowns on them, they won’t be able to use that to their advantage.
3.) Stand tall on first and third down. Jamaal Charles is at his best on first down –108 of his 230 carries (47 percent) were on first for 7.2 yards-per-carry (YPC) in 2010. But, he only averaged 5.2 YPC up the middle. Let him have it. On early downs, keep our backers and ends out in contain on the edges. If we can do that, we can force them into lots of third-down situations. In 2010, the Chiefs were 20th in the league in converting on third down, 27th in 2011. Watch out for RB Peyton Hillis on third.
4.) Play smart, the Chiefs likely won’t. In 2010, KC was the 12th most penalized team in the league. In 2011, they were 9th, and they just added a couple of Raiders. They are a very young team, and when they are frustrated, they will gift you yards. Let’s not be so generous.
5.) Win in the beginning. Both Hillis and Charles put up their best numbers in the first quarter. As long as they are just tallying up yardage while we are tallying up points with a few big plays, we can live with that. Matt Cassel had a passer rating of 52.3 in the fourth quarter of games that were decided by seven points or less. He’s not much better in overtime. If we are still leading going into the fourth, we have to feel good about our chances of winning.
So, Addicts, that’s how opposing teams will be looking at us. What do we do to counter?