Alright, it’s happened. Brady Quinn is being given his chance. It may be for one week — or the rest of the season but, it’s happening.
So, for now the Chiefs are “The Brady Bunch.”
The big question is — who will be able to immediately help Mr. Brady Quinn, on his quest?
There are seven key players who can help and must help, if the Chiefs are to overcome the challenges of changing starting quarterbacks in the middle of a season.
For Brady Quinn to effectively execute the Chiefs offense Ryan Lilja will have to be sound and not make any mistakes in the QB-Center exchange.
Lilja will also need to communicate blocking coverages as they approach the snap. Any gaffs in the line responsibilities and we may see Ricky Stanzi before any of us wants to. Even Lilja admits he’s learning a new position,
“There are a lot of things that I have to figure out and figure them out quick. They’re mostly operation stuff or technique stuff. The old saying about teaching an old dog new tricks, I was set in my ways with my position with my stance, with my steps. It’s a different position, but like I said, it’s still football. It’s angles; it’s leverage. It’s trying to out-quick, out-athletic the guy.”
Lilja, the Chiefs second highest paid lineman (next to Albert), needs to continue to tutor rookie LG Jeff Allen. Allen has played well in his short assignment — filling in for Lilja while Lilja takes over for Hudson but, if the line is to be successful protecting Quinn, Allen must come though. He’ll not only need to understand his assignment, but make sure he picks up the hot reads when the DL stunts.
Once Ryan Lilja successfully snaps the ball to Brady Quinn, his best friend on Sunday will be JC. The Baltimore Ravens are 20th against the run but, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? They’re 4th in the league at stopping the run. If the Bucs are able to shut down the Chiefs running game, it’s going to be a long day for the Chiefs and for Brady Quinn.
The Buccaneers are also dead last in the league in pass defense. There’s a high probability that the Chiefs will design a game plan that will pass-to-run instead of run-to-pass. If the Chiefs can sustain a passing attack that has any success at all early, the running game is going to open up like the Red Sea welcoming Moses.
So, you may see Charles getting a few more balls thrown his way out of the backfield.
Bucs LB Quincy Black once ran a 4.4 – 40 so he may be the only LB who will be able to deal with Charles’ speed, but my money is on JC, especially on short and intermediate routes.
That leads to Mr. McCluster. Dexter must be Dexter. The safety valve may be critical in this game. As much as I have not been a fan of the check-down pass in the past — because of it being too heavily relied upon — it is the check-down pass that could provide the margin of victory in this affair.
Success in the short passing game could essentially have the same effect as a successful running attack. If the Bucs defense has to play more and more forward in their defensive alignments, they will become susceptible to deeper pattern, crossing patterns and the long ball. If the Bucs DBs begin to cheat forward and bite on short routes, then other parts of the Chiefs passing game will become available to explore and exploit.
McCluster may not be able to run any end-arounds or reverses because the Bucs play with four down linemen and setting the edge is easier for them, consequently. However, if Dex can learn to execute the pick-play without turning his body into the DB, like he did against the Ravens, those kinds of plays should open up for the Chiefs this week.
Protecting the back side of Brady Quinn will be critical. If Branden Albert can help to keep Quinn’s jersey clean, then Brady should be able to carry out a game plan built around the passing game, the Bucs’ weakness.
The Bucs are tied for 24th in team sacks with 8. Left defensive end Michael Bennett has 4 of them, but Eric Winston should be able to handle him. On the right side the Bucs have George Johnson who has no sacks at all so, Albert should be able to keep J-0-hns-0-n’s streak alive. Quincy Black has no sacks this year and neither does the Bucs’ middle linebacker, Mason Foster.
Safety Ronde Barber has one sack and you’d expect the Bucs to send their safeties on blitzes — but, none of that should happen from Branden Albert’s side and Brady Quinn’s blind side.
With Kevin Boss out, Tony Moeaki will need to come through on Sunday both as a blocker and as a receiver in the middle of the field.
When a quarterback comes back onto the field after years of being away, his vision may be limited at first, meaning he has to give it some time before his eyes catch up to the speed of the game. Consequently, what’s right in front of the quarterback may be his best choice because it’s his most obvious choice or the only choice they can see.
If Moeaki can run some hook routes and sit down in the middle of the Bucs zone, he will provide Quinn with a huge target to hit and give him time to adjust to the pressure he’ll feel at the beginning of the game.
Mr. Baldwin had one heck of an offseason. He hasn’t flashed a great deal since but this could be his game. Baldwin could show off his 42 inch vertical jump in this game. The Bucs tallest CB is Aqib Talib who goes 6’1”. Baldwin is 6’4” and can give Brady a big target when the Chiefs navigate to the Red Zone.
Since Quinn may not have formed any preferences about who to throw the ball to, Dwayne Bowe may not end up being the man with the most catches against the Bucs. The Bucs will likely double-team Bowe, which should give Dex, Moeaki and Baldwin more opportunities to make the plays needed to win this one.
I’m ready for Baldwin to breakout. I’m pointing to this game.
Brady Quinn is going to need Bowe to be everything he’s advertised to be. Coach Crennel has predicted that this game will be a tight, closely contested game. If that’s the case the game may come down to a few clutch throws and catches. Dwayne Bowe has been counted on in the past to be that guy. The Chiefs will need Bowe to play a major leading role, now more than ever or there will be no series renewal for “The Brady Bunch.”
If that’s the case, we’ll all have to go back to watching the Chiefs’ “Sand-Cassel” dreams being washed away by the tide.