Is that…Wait…Could it Be…Progress!

Don’t look now, but I think the Chiefs are about to turn the corner.

[pause for throwing of things, pulling of hair and muttering of profanities]

Yes, that’s right. Progress. Ok, I admit, from the angst that Chiefs Nation is going through this week, it might be hard to fathom that we are actually headed in the right direction. But I do have evidence!

First and foremost: our defense is clearly finding their groove. Check out this table of total yards given up by the defense thus far:


Yards Against





New Orleans


San Diego




Check out those last three games – that is some serious progress, especially because New Orleans is ranked 4th in the league in total yards, Baltimore is 7th and San Diego is 18th. Anyone watching knows that our playmakers – and in particular, Derrick Johnson, Tamba Hali, Brandon Flowers and Justin Houston – are starting to make plays and our secondary is finally showing some semblance of cohesion.

Did I mention that we are now second in the entire NFL in rushing, averaging 5.2 yards per carry and 180 yards per game? That means that Jamaal Charles is back and the offensive line has a newly found pride and are taking it out on our opponents. Even on special teams, I have to give a shout out to Terrance Copper, picking up where Jalil Brown left off last week. Copper had the heads up return after the Ravens tried to knock a punt back into the field of play, and he had a timely and smart strip for a fumble, with my season-long special teams hero, Edgar Jones, recovering.

I know, I know, the Ravens game also showed us where we are most assuredly not making progress. These areas of disaster are well documented – Cassel’s inaccuracy and decision-making; the truly incredulous number of turnovers we’ve had; horrendous, untimely and undisciplined penalties; and uh, interesting play calling choices. But think about it – with a predictable and one-dimensional offense, playing our third string defensive end (way to go, Allen Bailey!) and still without Kendrick Lewis and Peyton Hillis, we lost to the Ravens by just three points.

This week was dramatic. The days leading up to the game were full of quarterback controversy and upper management talk, and literally seconds after the game, the airwaves were filled with now national headlines on how we Chiefs fans are a crazy, bloodthirsty and vile crowd. With the air already full of anti-Cassel rhetoric, the game itself turned into a series of mini-justifications for why Cassel should go, such that every play was viewed through that lens. Now don’t get me wrong – I agree that it’s Quinn time. But the anti-Cassel fervor may have masked what otherwise would have been viewed as a success, relative to this dismal season – staying within three points of a very, very good Ravens team. And, importantly, playing with heart. This team did not give up, even after momentum and spirit-crushing penalties and turnovers. That’s hopefully a sign of things to come.

Now before any of you go crazy on me, let me say for the record: this year has sucked. If we don’t win in Tampa Bay, then nevermind – the data points I’m picking out are random and not a trend indicating progress. Only time will tell, but at the end of the day, I still believe defenses can carry you to victory, if paired with a moderately functioning offense and a kick-ass special teams.

But as tough as this Ravens game was, I was heartened, and I was heartened because I think we just may have a very special defense this year. What do you think, Addicts? Do we have something to build on? Can our defense rise to the occasion, become gamechangers and lead us to an AFC West title (or at least a damn wild card?!)?!!

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Tags: Kansas City Chiefs

  • Lenny in STL

    Wild Card may be a stretch, but division is possible.

  • spencer

    im going to say this, if the Refs don’t end the play EARLY for the sack fumble on Flacco near the end of the 4th chiefs win, Flacco was moving forward and his knees had not made contact to the ground as of yet, there was no reason to call the play dead, but the ref did, thusly losing the game for the chiefs

    How the hell has that play not been discussed as of yet? that was a MAJOR play that was blown that gave the winto the ravens who the chiefs outplayed in every rgiht except in the category of the fact that we had Cassel and they didn’t, also this team has kept the last two games close despite a total of 11 turnovers in the two, i agree that we are turning things around, ima say the last 3 weeks the defense has turned it around, against san diego no one recognized it because the offense gave the chargers 5 times to get into fg range by getting 10 yrds, some into td range if they gained 6 yrds…., every single time San Diego had the ball that game they were starting in field goal range…

    • Patrick Allen

      I think it hasn’t been discussed because the Chiefs shot themselves in the foot at least half a dozen times in that game so blaming the refs for KC losing is kind of like blaming the teacher for grading your last test incorrectly when you failed the other ten you took before that all by yourself.

      • chiefridgy

        you absolutely blame the teacher…it’s her job to get it right….but taking that (non)fumble play out of the game we still blew it all by our selves

        • tm1946

          If the Chiefs cannot effectively handle a “pick” play, hard to blame the refs for catching them. Funny part is other teams can run picks on KC defense over and over but our offense looks like a peewee league team wandering in the wilderness.

      • spencer

        what about the “pick” calls? i know of one that they blew there as well, Bowe goes across in a slant, McCluster does a wheel to the outsid, Bowe gets pushed by his corner into the other corner, they call pick despite the fact that Bowe was Shoved into the other defender, not an actual pick play…:(, the chiefs/Cassel/Bowe a few times shot us in the foot, but we literally outplayed the Ravens EVERYWHERE else, its like saying you ACE everything on the test except a small paragraph needed and the teacher kills your grade for it.

    • jimfromkcj

      What the ref’s did was correct. He was in the grasp and if they didn’t blow the whistle he could have taken a big hit. A good example is the hit Cassel took after he was basically in the grasp and helpless. By the ref’s not blowing the whistle it made it possible for Nagota to put a big hit on him. The ref’s were correct in the first but wrong in the second example.

  • BigMattisMissing

    Is that…Wait…Could it Be…A DECENT ARTICLE!!!! ON AA!!! weird….

  • tm1946

    Progress? Turning a team into a run, run, run team on offense was progress in 1930′s not so much in 2012 Pioli has had 4 seasons to put his stamp on this team, what is that? run, run, run, keep Cassel job while losing game, 30+ draft pick but most stars are from Carl’s crew. You all realize Carl ruled over this team for 20 years and had 5 losing seasons, that makes him a candidate for the HOF compared to what Pioli has accomplished.
    I wish some of these pundits who have access to the Chiefs interworkings could get under the secrecy and figure out the “whys” behind the creature the Chiefs put on the field. Call me paranoid but it almost seems intentional, as if management said tank the season. But pretty sure the 2012 Chiefs are not a team designed to be dominate in the AFC West, the playoffs, and, heaven help us, a superbowl appearance.
    Not a lot of progress going on as a team.

  • ArrowFan

    I agree our team is improving and now that the soft part of our schedule has arrived it wouldn’t surprise me if we get healthy fast. In fact I had us at 2 and 3 at this point in the season anyway so one game off is not that bad. Everyone needs to stop bitching and start rooting for their team. Bitch when the season is over. After all MC is not going to play this week so that should excite the 99% should it not?

    • tm1946

      Sounds pretty good but to what point? If we are just enjoying the season as only one game, maybe so. But 4 years ago I thought we were going to dominate in the NFL, go deep into the playoffs and maybe win a superbowl, weren’t we?
      The 2012 Chiefs do not seem to be headed in that direction. All fans seem to focus on the things we like or dislike but is this team headed for the golden ring? Not so sure.

      • ArrowFan

        I would look at just last weeks game as evidence that we are ready for a run. Even though we may very well make the playoffs on the basis of a week schedule a la 2010 and if we make the playoffs. The difference is the team that destroyed us with MC as QB in 2010 should have been destroyed by us last week. In fact we pretty much dominated them in every phase of the game except one. Going forward we have at least a decent shot at improving that one area from this week on. The way I see it I’m not ready to through in the towel on this year just yet, at least not unless TB wins by 20.

        • tm1946

          Might read the “two cents” article. That writer is already looking forward to the 2013 season.
          Even if TB wins, which I doubt, it is not the end of the world for this season. My concern is strictly where the Chiefs are headed and when will they get there, if ever. Putting it very simply – The Chiefs have been run by Clark/Pioli for 4 seasons and the team is not very good, not headed in the direction of superbowl or success.
          Can they get better, sure but there is no reason to say the current management had a clue or much hope for success unless you are satisfied with “a decent shot at improving”.

          • ArrowFan

            I would argue that they are very good and only one position or one player away from a super bowl. No one could argue that 2 3 or 4 year ago.

  • Doc

    I share your outlook Miles. I think our Chiefs are making progress but we are restless for the progress to be NOW. The year started with distraction that I suspect are still running through the locker room in backs of players minds. Bowe not signing until last minute. Hali suspended one game. Flowers out with a heel injury. Unsure whether the ACL Trio are really back. Hudson goes down and the o-line has to be re-shuffled. We have had a lot of little things going on behind the scenes since week 1, but yet the stats are showing improvement. Now we have another challenge (bear with me here) that Cassel is out and Quinn is starting. Progress on some levels by making a change and trying something different. This one change may be the spark this team needs. Not saying Cassel was the main reason for our dismal performance so far, but we have a change. A change we can get behind to see if it works. If the Quinn experiment fails miserably, what have we really lost? We were losing anyway with the way we were going. IF the Quinn experiments works and we start winning then we will have additional challenges to think about – keep Quinn in and sit Cassel? Put Cassel back in (Clark’s norm – if he pays a player big bucks, they play regardless of performance)? What about locker room division between loyalties between the QBs? This single change is at a good time for our Chiefs. I can forsee progress continuing in the coming weeks.

  • Racyman

    I agree that our defense seems to be progressing weekly, after a terrible start. My concern is that their improvement won’t be sustained if the offense can’t beat a team who scores 9 points. I hope that Quinn does well and we can begin to see a balanced offense. There are too many weapons not yet being utilized, or under-performing, on the offense and that may be due to Cassel’s poor play and him losing the confidence of the coaches and players. They certainly seemed afraid to pass the ball, last week. I have supported Cassel, but I’m out of ammunition. I’m a Chief’s fan first and I am rooting for Quinn to succeed and to be able to play up to the potential he displayed at Notre Dame. If we lose this week, it is going to be a long season, I am afraid. The QB controversy will continue and that can destroy a team. The fans need something positive to keep them showing up at Arrowhead and some hope for success. I can understand their frustration. I don’t condone cheering a player being injured, especially with a head injury, but as a Chief’s fan since our only Super Bowl win, I can say that I am more frustrated than ever, as my expectations were high for this season.