“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.”
- Albert Einstein
The scheduling rules in the NFL demand that each division team plays similar opponents each year. On paper at least, there is no advantage offered by the schedule.
But one consistent theme throughout Crown Noise has been how, in the NFL, the intangibles – things like leadership, chain of command and character – are the difference makers between champions and everyone else. Another big intangible is timing. And time may not be on our side for the 2012 season.
Our home opener is against the Atlanta Falcons. Now no team wants to be away for someone else’s home opener, when the fans and players are as pumped up as can be. But with KC-favorite Tony Gonzalez coming back to town, the Falcons will get a slightly warmer reception than say the Chargers did in 2010.
The real timing issues come in the last part of the season however. We get the Browns in week 14, after Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson have had a chance to really gel. As a comparison, the Browns play the Chargers in Week 8 and the Raiders in Week 14. Only the Broncos come after us, at Week 16.
With the Indianapolis Colts, it’s even worse. Andrew Luck gets 15 weeks to prepare before we face him in Week 16. Luck is going to be a great quarterback – I would have much preferred we get him in the first few weeks of the season (the Colts do not play any of the other AFC West teams this year).
But the timing conundrum is most severe when looking at the Peyton Manning-led Broncos. Oakland sees Manning in Week 4, when the entire Broncos team will still be learning to adjust to Manning’s cadence, line of scrimmage changes and sharper passes. The Raiders then see Manning again in Week 14. The Chargers get Manning in Weeks 6 and 11.
But the Chiefs don’t play our two games against Manning until Weeks 12 and 17, leaving Manning and his teammates plenty of time to work out their new kinks.
These are tough breaks, time-wise, for our Chiefs. How do we adjust, so that we can use the intangible of time to our best advantage?
One way is to have our scouting team, coaches and players pour over game tape even more vigilantly during the heart of the season. For these late season games where timing is working against us, we can turn the tables on time by conducting more research on these teams than they conduct on us, to try to put time to our advantage. Perhaps we identify tells of Andrew Luck or his lineman, after 15 weeks of studying every detail of their play. Perhaps we see Manning’s young receivers’ weaknesses or Manning’s play-calling tendencies just a bit more clearly.
Another way to make time our friend in these late season games is conditioning. The Chiefs of late have been one of the best-conditioned teams around. With our smash-mouth running game and relentless linebackers, we must be in better shape than each of our late season opponents are, in order to put time on our side.
And lastly, Daboll and Crennel can save their new schemes, trick plays and unusual formations for later in the season, once scouting teams get used to a certain amount of predictability out of the Chiefs.
The differences between winning and losing are so small in the NFL. Addicts, do you think the Chiefs can turn a timing weakness into a timing strength?!!