The Kansas City Chiefs will need a lot to go right if they are going to have a prayer of defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers this week in front of a national audience on Monday Night Football.
The focus this week has been on the Chiefs/Todd Haley connection but our focus here is to try to find some way the Chiefs can actually put together a win.
Here are my five keys to a Chiefs victory this Monday night.
1. Try to go a game without turning the football over.
This is perhaps the most difficult feat for the Chiefs to achieve on this list. KC is turning the ball over at an alarming rate and their failure to protect the football is at the top of the list of reasons why this team is underachieving.
If KC can somehow manage to hold on to the rock for an entire game, you have to think their chances of winning double, at the very least. They may even triple.
2. Leaders must emerge.
Last week during the broadcast of the Chiefs/Chargers game, it was mentioned that Derrick Johnson told one of the NFLN reporters that the Chiefs needed more leadership. They didn’t elaborate but the comment certainly got my attention for a number of reasons. For starters, the fact that Derrick Johnson, who should be one of the leaders in the locker room, telling the media that the team needs the very leadership he should be providing is confusing. It is a bad look.
Since we didn’t hear Johnson’s comments word for word, we can’t know exactly what he meant. Does he mean more leadership on the coaching staff? On offense?
Regardless, the Chiefs have no clear leader. Not on to my eyes, anyway.
The Chiefs need vocal leaders on both sides of the ball and special teams as well. Veterans like Dustin Colquitt, Derrick Johnson, Tamba Hali, Jamaal Charles and Matt Cassel need to start showing some more fire on the field to inspire their teammates.
3. Keep it simple,
When the Chiefs brought in Brian Daboll, I was excited to see his system in action. Daboll was touted as a guy who was really good at finding the most suitable matchups for his offensive personnel. The Chiefs had plenty of options with guys like Jamaal Charles, Tony Moeaki, Dexter McCluster, Dwayne Bowe and Jonathan Baldwin.
Only the offense never got off the ground. In fact, instead of playing matchups, it seems like Daboll rotates in so many different personnel groupings that not a single one of them ever gets into a rhythm. There have been times where the Chiefs have run the ball three times in a row with three different backs.
The Chiefs have weapons on offense but trying to use them all in every three plays isn’t working. In 2010, the Chiefs’ offense was much more productive with far fewer weapons. They had an identity. They were a running football team that played smart, ball control offense. They mixed in some play action and forced the ball to their best players.
Most all of those guys from 2010 are still on the team. Daboll needs to keep it simple and play to this team’s strengths which, incidentally, are the same as they were in 2010.
4. Jamaal. Charles.
This ties in with #3. The Chiefs need to get the ball to their best player and that is Jamaal Charles. In the past few weeks it has seemed like as soon as JC has a couple of bad runs, Daboll pulls him and tries something else. This is beyond foolish. The Chiefs need the ball in JC’s hands early and often. He has the potential to run for a TD every time he touches the ball.
I am not saying the Chiefs should run Charles 50 times but they need to get him involved and they need to keep him in the game to finish drives. If JC gets going, so will the rest of the offense.
5. Stick with Cassel
Brady Quinn may or may not be ready to play but if the Chiefs want to have a chance to beat the Steelers, they need to stick with Matt Cassel at QB. It has become clear from what we’ve seen of Quinn that he just isn’t any good. He’s worse than Cassel. Way worse.
In fact, for all of Cassel’s faults, he’s managed to move the offense. It has been miscues and turnovers that have killed the Cassel-led offense. Yes, some of those mistakes were on Cassel but choosing between the two, Cassel is clearly the superior QB and if you disagree, well, I’m glad you won’t be drafting KC’s QB of the future this year.
If, however, the Chiefs are trying to secure the #1 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, then they should put Quinn back in as soon as is possible. If not him, then Ricky Stanzi should be able to get the job done.