Make no mistake, not all was sucky in last Sunday’s debacle against the Chargers. Ropati Pitoitua was a monster with two sacks and a couple of tackles for loss. Jalil Brown again downed a punt inside the 5, caused a punt return penalty against San Diego because of outstanding coverage and performed admirably in the secondary, filling in for Brandon Flowers for a series. Edgar Jones once again had a great stick on kick return coverage. Even Jovan Belcher showed up, stuffing the run on a 3rd and 1 and playing aggressively all day long.
But so what. Because we got our asses handed to us on Sunday.
There’s a few things very wrong with our team. Here’s a list of my top five, in reverse order of urgency, as well as remedies the Chiefs can implement over the next 12 games:
5. Jon Baldwin: Dude isn’t a factor. After a monster pre-season, he’s been AWOL. Assuredly, Baldwin has been victim to Cassel’s tunnel vision and passes that are in danger of hitting the Mars Rover, but he’s also just not been that open.
Remedy: Throw Baldwin the ball more and let him make the athletic plays we drafted him for. We have to learn if Baldwin is for real. And more importantly, other teams need to know that he’s a serious weapon.
4. Offensive Line Pride: Between Winston’s false starts, holding calls up and down the line and inconsistency throughout, the Chiefs’ O-Line needs to gather together and make a pledge. Either they are going to carry this offense on their shoulders, or they are going to go through the motions for the next 12 games.
Remedy: Get nasty. Bring in Casey Weigmann for some leadership and pride. I don’t care if Weigmann plays a snap, but he can instill some pride of ownership into this unit.
3. Defensive Secondary: What the hell. I have not seen a unit so disjointed, so without communication, in a long time.
Remedy: Bring back Sabby! Just kidding. Ferreals, pile on Pioli for letting Brandon Carr go. That was a disaster, kinda like letting Tony Gonzales go. I’m not sure what the fix is here: are the players surprised by what they are seeing on the field? Is there a Haley-like headset-play-calling communication gap? Let’s see if this unit can settle down when Kendrick Lewis returns, hopefully this week against the Ravens.
2. Quarterback: Has anyone noticed that Matt Cassel is, um, not playing so good? I’ve really enjoyed reading the blogs this week, because they are spot on. In summary, (a) Cassel is a liability; and (b) he’s the best quarterback on the roster, by far. I heard during the gamecast that Cassel trained with the same trainer that has been working with Tom Brady and Alex Smith. Brady and Smith seem to be doing pretty ok. What happened to Matt?
Remedy: I think we play Cassel for at least the first half against the Ravens. Consider it a final audition. If he performs well, then fantastic. If he underperforms again, pull him, and put in Brady Quinn. Might as well see if Quinn has anything left. If Cassel continues to play like he played against the Chargers, then we’re well on our way to a 4-12 or 5-11 season, and we’ll need to know whether Quinn can continue being a backup, or if he and Cassel are both trade bait as backup quarterbacks for other teams.
1. Coaching and Overall Preparedness: Remember in elementary school when your school would have tornado drills to prepare you for emergencies? If the Chiefs were running those drills, we’d all panic and probably be dead by now. There are very little signs of preparedness. That means things like having some knowledge of what to expect from opponents. That means throwing in wrinkles into schemes that actually catch other teams by surprise. That means having a game plan that at least works a little, rather than resulting in three score deficits after ten minutes of play. We are just. Not. Prepared. To. Play.
This one falls squarely on Romeo. Our defense is playing well below our talent level, which is pretty much the exact opposite of what you want. My guess is that the pressures and daily maintenance of being head coach are simply preventing Crennel from doing what he does best: creating winning defensive schemes. The defensive game plan going in is just wrong (single-cover Gates? Are you kidding?!) and while halftime adjustments have been decent, it’s just not enough to overcome double digit deficits after two quarters. In a word, our defense is a joke, and it’s not because of talent. Week in and week out, we are going up against the most creative offensive minds in the business, and we are just not up to the task right now.
Remedy: There’s a reason that the norm in the NFL is to have a head coach, an offensive coordinator and a defensive coordinator, represented in three human bodies. The demands of winning an NFL game are just too much and too complicated to combine these duties into two people. We all hate Josh McDaniel, but that guy is an offensive genius. Imagine game-planning against him with literally half the number of hours and mental energy each week. It’s just not smart. Look, I applauded the hiring of Romeo as much as anyone, and I still have hope that he can be a decent head coach. But no one can do two NFL senior level jobs at once. Haley tried it, with miserable results. Crennel has tried it, with equally horrendous outcomes. I’d even let Crennel pick the job he wants – head coach or defensive coordinator. Just pick ONE. Then hire the other, ASAP.
Sorry for the harsh thoughts here, Addicts, but we are pissed off and need some answers! What remedies do the Chiefs need most, Addicts?!!!!