December 15, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid (right) high-fives players during the third quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Beat The San Diego Chargers, With Your Starters

AA - Crowd Noise final

I hope all of you Addicts are having a wonderful holiday week!

This Sunday, the Chiefs play in the late afternoon game against the San Diego Chargers. The timing of the game is important – by kick-off, the Chargers will know if they have a chance to make it into the playoffs as the #6 seed, or if their 2013 season is done. For the Chargers to have a chance, they need the following to occur:

  • The Cincinnati Bengals beat the Baltimore Ravens (at Cincinnati)

  • The New York Jets beat the Miami Dolphins (at Miami)

And then of course, they have to beat the Chiefs.

There’s a good chance that both the Ravens and Dolphins will lose, setting the stage for an inspired game by Philip Rivers and the Chargers. After a miserable start to their season, San Diego will play like a team possessed against their hated divisional rival – us.

I think most Addicts and certainly most NFL talking heads feel strongly that head coach Andy Reid should rest all of the starters. After all, this game means absolutely nothing for the Chiefs’ playoff seeding. Win or lose, Kansas City will likely travel back to Indianapolis to face the Colts (there’s a smaller chance KC will head to Cincinnati). But if you want the definitive word on why the starters should play, go no further than Reach’s post, here.

I’ll add to his argument. Let’s say Reid rests the starters. Here’s who will be in the starting lineup for the Chiefs on Sunday:

  • Rishaw Johnson and Rokevious Watkins at guard

  • Eric Kush and center

  • A.J. Jenkins at wide receiver

  • Chase Daniel at quarterback

  • Jaye Howard at nose tackle

  • Dunta Robinson at cornerback

The Chargers’ defense, led by Donald Butler and Manti Te’o at inside linebackers; Melvin Ingram at outside linebacker; Corey Liuget at defensive end; and the Chargers’ best defensive player, Eric Weddle at free safety, will eat this group for brunch. On offense, Philip Rivers, running back Ryan Matthews, star rookie wide receiver Keenan Allen and tight end Antonio Gates will be off to the races.

There’s a good chance the Chargers will win by a lot. Like 42-7 or 49-0. Intellectually, the Chiefs and and all of us Addicts will know that “the game didn’t matter” and “we rested all of our starters.” But having two blow-out losses in a row heading into the playoffs is not exactly my idea of positive momentum. And I think it’s much easier said than done to flip a switch and turn back on your A game at any point, much less after two confidence-stomping losses.

With Justin Houston back in action this week, the Chiefs have a great chance at not only beating the Chargers, but personally ending their playoff hopes, which is particularly satisfying when playing a division rival. Why not go into this game with that mindset?

Nov 24, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) is sacked by Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston (50) in the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t buy the “injury” rationale for resting starters either. Players get injured at random times. And when they do, backups step in. How does it help the confidence of a backup player when you have been burned over and over again and your entire team just got thrashed?

I also don’t buy the “hide the playbook” rationale for taking this week off. As we’ve discussed before, creating confusion is a key element to gaining the advantage. It’s harder on a defensive player if he knows that the Chiefs can run five plays out of Formation A versus knowing just two plays out of Formation A but seeing a new wrinkle. In the first scenario, the defensive player must think about all five options, which slows him down. If a defensive player experiences something new, they immediately go into reaction mode, which creates more fluid and intuitive action.

There are very few good things about a loss, and hardly anything good at all about a blowout, especially the week prior to your first playoff game in years. Addicts, I say play the starters and play to win. Then the Chiefs can go to Indianapolis with confidence and the mindset that they will beat anyone who steps up to them.

Enjoy the holiday week, Addicts! And when you get a break from eating, tell me your thoughts on whether Reid should rest the starters or play them!

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  • Stacy D. Smith

    Couldn’t agree more. Does anyone think the starters won’t be better after going into San Diego and winning than they would be coming off of a drubbing by the Colts?

    Have to disagree with you slightly though, brother Miles. I think there’s a good chance we’re heading to Cincy in the Wildcard Round. They have Baltimore at home. Indy has the Jags. If Cincy loses and Indy wins, we’re headed to Ohio.

    • Jarad

      Im 100% on your side here. Ive been told the Chiefs intended to lose last weekend, NFL players don’t care if they get embarrassed, and have been called a moronic fan for saying theres no way the Chiefs didnt care last week because they still had a shot at the #1 seed. Now, why would you want your starters sitting for 2 weeks with that piss pour performance as their last on field effort. You dont take your car into a drag race when it didnt run right last time! You tune it up and get it running correct right up to race time. Im ok limiting a few players , but they all need GOOD, SUCCESSFUL REPS

  • unclejesse40

    The only way that Reid is right in this situation is if he wins the first week of the playoffs. If he rests his guys and they come out flat we will all look to the break as a bad thing, if he plays his starters and one of the studs gets hurt and we go in and get beat in the playoffs we will all think he should have rested his guys. I want to make two more points on this that we as fans can’t really know, but the coaches do. 1. what do the players want. Are they sore and really needing their bodies to heal. this will be different for each player, with the beating that Charles has taken all year I would be fine if he doesnt take a snap on Sunday. 2. the thing that we aren’t talking about is what will the mentality of the team be if they go in with all their starters and lose to the Chargers? My personal opinion would be to rest the skill position guys. they need to be as fast and well rested as possible going into the post season. I would also sub in a lot of players throughout the game. Regardless, I trust Andy Reid to do what this team needs him to do.

    • tm1946

      Could not said it better. Big Reid fan but results will tell the tale.
      Fear a blow out on a does not matter game will trail into the playoffs or worse, an another AFC West team owns us home and away, mental thing.-

  • Stacy D. Smith

    I think Reid’s trying to protect their confidence more than anything else.

  • Stacy D. Smith

    One more thing… How many meaningful games have the core players on this football team played? The Hali’s and the Johnson’s of the organization? Two? Three?

  • nicko333

    I say play the starters and WIN. We’ve all seen middle-tier teams rest their players over the years and then come into the playoffs rusty and slow. Momentum is a huge factor in the playoffs.

  • 2dogs

    I’m in Reid’s camp on this one. Sure if the Chiefs lose the playoff game people will say he should have played the starters against SD. That theory can never be proven wrong because we won’t see that happen. After all the speculation there’s a good chance the result of that first payoff game is the same whether we use either strategy (resting or playing starters vs. SD). I say work their butt’s off in practice like never before to build 2nd half stamina.

    • Tony Parker

      Building stamina begins in OTA’s, not week 17.

      • 2dogs

        I agree it starts in OTA’s. I suggest these 2 weeks are not a vacation and they should be working their tails off but avoiding major injuries.

  • micah stephenson

    Chase Daniels at QB? Why even make the team go out on the field? Lol. If he is the QB, rest the whole 53. The only one I want to see rested is JC. The rest of them need to get they beep together and b ready for the playoff game.

  • Priest4Prez

    Make it a pre-season kind of thing. Play the starters till halftime, just to get that bad taste out of their mouths from last Sunday. Get the offense rolling and the defense beating some people up; I’m all about the mental note of this team. There’s an obvious issue coming back from hard loses ( hence the three game slide); we don’t need last week to be the start of another one. I’d like to think that this team wants another shot at the Chargers with the way it ended last time. Who knows, maybe some vindication will equal validation and that’s when a team feels like it deserves a chance to be in the race for it all.


    What I would like to see and what I will see are probably different. I see Smith playing maybe most of the first quarter, then Daniel coming for the balance. What I would like to see is Daniel playing the second quarter and Tyler Bray the entire second half. Houston has absolutely gotta’ get some reps, maybe an entire half. As for Charles and the other starters on offense, maybe half of the first quarter, then take them out. Reid can flip the defense anyway he chooses, just keep them healthy.
    As for the Chargers and their playoff hopes, I see the Bengals taking care of the over-hyped Ravens with a horrible offense, but the Jets are one and six on the road. I know Miami played like crap vs. the Bills, but I gotta’ give them the edge at home against a team with no offense and Geno Smith at QB. He is REALLY bad. Basically, neither the Chiefs or the Chargers will have anything to play for, but playoff or not, Rivers is gonna’ be a handful for our mix and match defense. I still see San Diego winning, and it wont be close. 31-10. As long as Reid keeps the mindset that the team has to look at the long picture, treat it as a warm-up for the playoffs, as he did in Philly, (and for the most part, very successfully), the Chiefs will be alright going forward. But if he leaves his starters in too long, and somebody suffers a serious injury, the fans won’t let him forget it, and it will be a very long off-season.

  • tomflex

    Every point I could make has already been made and they are all good points. What I would like to see as a fan is to roll in to San Diego and do everything to get the win. Losing sucks, especially losing like we did last week and to add another to that fiasco is like pouring acid on the you know whats.
    Now what I would do as the coach would depend entirely on what is going on in that locker room at this point in time and that is something I regretfully don’t know. Who does better than anybody else?
    Andy Reid.

  • Tony Parker

    Rest Charles and make the rest of them play balls to the wall and beat the chargers. they are not playing the kind of football where it would be comfortable resting all starters. They have not earned it yet. they need to get all aspects of their game going this week before the playoffs…imo

  • Calchiefsfan

    If the Chiefs can’t put any pressure on Rivers it won’t matter who we rest or play. He’ll eat us up. I’d like to see Houston get a lot of reps to get back into game shape along with Albert and Fasano. The whole defense except for maybe Poe needs the practice. They are getting burnt way too much and need to practice their tackling as well.

  • Davé

    And if they don’t win? If they play the starters and lose, then what? Thank god none of you are making the decisions around here. Risk losing for real and risk losing a key player so that what? So the team can gain “momentum”? What a joke. Momentum is complete bs. Players either start play well and continue to play well, they are good in the first place, they are a loser, or somewhere in between. Winning one week against a completely different team has no bearing on the game at hand, What will happen is Reid will rest starters completely, give them a couple series, or just rest some of the most important ones : Hali, JC, Smith. What will not happen is Reid becomes a bumbling idiot and plays this game like it means something. A blowout loss when no starters are playing should be expected. It will not mean shit for game one of the playoffs. Why anyone would think it would is beyond me. There is not one good reason to play the starters: not one.

    • 2dogs

      You hit the nail on the head Dave!!

  • Larry Devore

    Did you miss last week’s game. Chiefs were embarrassed from start to finish

  • RepOurChiefs

    Was hoping to see the HSDub (HoustonShakeWell) atleast once Sunday. Lol Oh well, I can sacrifice it if it means seeing it 4plus times in the playoffs ;)

  • Jordan

    What if they rest the starters for the first half or three quarters. Then when they come in they can game on the tired starters of San Diego, in doing so they stay sharp hopefully have an easy time of it, and they only take a half or quarter of wear and tear

  • sidibeke

    Just rewatched the KC-SD game at Arrowhead. KC wins with their mix and match, whether SD is going for a playoff spot or not. I like the match ups and it is SD; they find ways to implode.