September 09, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Dexter McCluster (22) can

Chiefs’ Glass Is Half Full


Sunday’s beat down at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons was bad, but just like every fan, I must keep my composure until at least Week 6. But even without such a requirement, there were bright spots. Or, at least, a bright spot (singular).

That bright spot was the offense. With a defense that didn’t force a punt until the fourth quarter and a special teams unit that gave up a long kickoff return and missed a field goal, the offense was the only element from the Falcons game that gave me confidence moving forward.

I know there was a part of Kansas City media that put an unfair responsibility for the loss on the shoulders of Matt Cassel. Well, if you were watching the game like I was, I don’t know how Matt Cassel is the first person you want to throw under the bus. Yes, he was responsible for three turnovers, all in the second half, but the defense, like I mentioned earlier, didn’t stop the Falcons offense until the FOURTH QUARTER. And by that time, the game was already out of hand and the Falcons were already taking their foot off the pedal.

While I put the brunt of the responsibility on the defense, there is still room for hope. The defense was missing four starters, including stars Brandon Flowers and Tamba Hali, as well as very good safety Kendrick Lewis and the team’s best nose tackle Anthony Toribio. And maybe just as important as those players missing was the players that had to take their place: Jacques Reeves, Abram Elam, Andy Studebaker.  Going against a team with a good quarterback and good receivers, missing two of your starting defensive backs is a recipe for disaster.

What gives me hope for the defense, however, is how they responded in 2011. After giving up 89 points in their first two games last season, the Chiefs defense then went on to finish with the 11th best total defense. Obviously, the return of missing starters will help, and the impact of Romeo Crennel won’t allow this kind of performance too often. If they could rally last year, then they can do it this year. It’s also because of last year’s performance that I felt positive about the offense.

The Chiefs offense scored 24 points against the Falcons. Sure, that last second TD run from Shaun Draughn was definitely in garbage time, but in comparison, it took until 4:58 left in the fourth quarter of GAME THREE of the 2011 season for the Chiefs offense to score 24 points COMBINED.

The Chiefs offense looks so much better now than it did then, and whether it’s because of having a full offseason of practice or Brian Daboll replacing Bill Muir, I like the direction the offense is heading. Dexter McCluster looks to have finally found his role, Jamaal Charles looks like he’s fully back and just as deadly as he was, Peyton Hillis pounds the ball, Dwayne Bowe looked like he barely missed a beat from skipping training camp, and Eric Winston looks like the second coming of Willie Roaf compared to the player he replaced this offseason (hint: Barry Richardson).

Even Cassel made some good plays. He seemed in control of the offense, was making audibles at the line of scrimmage to best take advantage of the defense, and made some good throws. Will Cassel be the best QB on the field during many of matchups? No. But is he good enough to get the job done more times than not? I think so, for this year at least (is it too early to get the #Bark4Barkley campaign started?).

But again, it’s only one game. You’re never as bad or as good as you think you are, and there’s a lot of football left to play. The Chiefs are in no way, nor should be, in panic mode. With 15 games left, anything can happen. So here’s to the Chiefs picking up the pieces of their loss and taking it to the Bills on Sunday.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/bigredd2010 Justin Smith

    We’ll get some matchup problems against the Bills. Breaston, McCluster, Bowe, Boss, Moeaki, Charles, and Hillis *even Eachus* will prove to be too much for the Bills defense! KC wins in fashion 34-12

    • Chiefswatch

      The only problem I see is that it is not often we take advantage of all our matchups. Case in point, Baldwin had how many targets last game? Who had more touchers Draughn or Hillis?

  • DT58bestLBever

    I still think we need help in our secondary! Reeves story is great but I don’t think he could cover Peyton Manning on the outside. We really should look at who we could pick up via free agency to help out…

    • KCMikeG

      I looked and didn’t see anything worth picking up. I wish there was but if they are available there must be a reason why too. Better pray Flowers and Brown get healthy and stay that way. I agree on Reeves story but don’t count him out yet. Guy has been out of the game dealing with injury and his along Mother who passed. He missed a chunk of camp but I have seen flashes of potential Coach Thomas could develop. He just wasn’t ready for the starring role week #1.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.umiker Joe Umiker

    I agree 100%. The only additional information I will point out is that Cassel can really only be blamed for one of the those turn overs.

    The fumble was caused by no receivers getting open, a misread by the Offensive line and Cassel was hit from the blindside. I put this on the offensive line.

    The tipped ball was COMPLETLY catachable and if Moeaki couldn’t make the catch he should have knocked it down not tipped it where a defender can catch it. I will count that as a youth mistake on Moeaki’s part, but Cassel SHOULD be able to depend on throwing a ball, into tight coverage, to his big bodied tight ends and have them catch or defend the pass.

    The final interception is on Cassel, but in his defense his team was down 20 points, and he pressed to make a big play. Missed some better options and made a bad decision to throw across his body. The bright point I see in this is that I don’t see the Chiefs in that type of deficit again this season.

    • KCMikeG

      Very well said and I agree completely. Cassel is NOT our problem this year. Depth on the defense, ST’s especially Succop and RAC’s ability to do two jobs are more concerning. Why when you are getting smoked playing zone and have nearly zero pass rush wouldn’t you blitz and go to man jamming the receivers at the line? Another issue is Daboll’s play calling. He ran the ball on 1st down every single series until the 3rd quarter and then only 3 times did he pass on 1st. WTH? That isn’t creativity it is predictable and it killed our run game in the 2nd half and ignored Baldwin.

      It was just the 1st game and our offense looks promising. Our defense will be much better with Hali and Flowers and a healthier DJ. It’s just crazy talk to think losing four and a half of the best players on your defense isn’t going to hurt its effectiveness. And I’m all for depth but we have to be realistic too. You can’t have starters at every position in the #2′s and #3′s. Name another team’s offense or defense that you could take their four best players out and have the 5th play hurt yet still produce at the same level. I challenge you. Can’t do it because most of the time there is a reason a guy is a #2 or #3 – because he’s not a starter – on our team or any others.

      • Chiefswatch

        Agreed I always like the balance of run and pass on first down. Daboll put us in a lot of bad third down situations.

  • DoubleD

    Agreed

  • KCMikeG

    I’m with you Nathan! This glass is definitely half full and filling quickly. Hali and Flowers this week and Toribio, Lewis, Bailey & Wylie to follow makes my cup runneth over!

    • Chiefswatch

      If we can get past buffalo and then welcome back Lewis things will be looking up. We have a tough stretch after the bills, we just have to make sure we beat them first

  • I BLEED RED-N-GOLD

    I like Matt Barkley he is a really good pocket passer but I think that with the league getting faster u need sum1 that is a threat when the pocket evaporates sum1 with speed that can throw on the run pretty accurately and that can rush n pick up significant amount of yards when open n needed! N that is kinda soundin like my boys #1 GENO SMITH from WV, #2 LOGAN THOMAS from VT

    • Chiefswatch

      Put Barkley out of your mind. We will not be bad enough to get that pick, and no way in hell Pioli trades down. Well……he might if he thinks his job is on the line.

      • tm1946

        Bit early or premature? Only one game and we appear to not be as strong as we hoped before the season started (tons are saying the Chiefs are only in 3rd in AFC W) but can we at least get out of the running for the playoffs before we pick the next QB from a college.
        But you are right , no way does Pioli draft a early QB until Cassel’s contract is finished.