Merlin's Magic: First Quarter Review


Well the first brutal quarter of the Chiefs’ season has come to a close. The Giant’s game makes two consecutive games where the Chiefs were not competitive In reality, we were only truly competitive against a poor Raiders team. The Ravens game was only close due to a couple of big plays by the defense and special teams. When you give up over 500 yards of offense to the other team, it’s hard to be in many games.

Although this start was horrible, we do have to recognize the level of competition. The Raiders was a very winnable game and a game that should have been won. The other games were against playoff caliber teams. It would have been nice to be more competitive against them. The fact that we were not is a sign that we have a long ways to go before being competitive Getting demolished by a team missing it’s starting QB, best RB and best WR is about as bad as it gets.

Let’s review the various units and see where we stand.


Quarterback: Matt Cassel has shown enough to tell me that he should be a solid starting QB. All this franchise QB hopes and size of his contact are way out of line. Brodie Croyle has impressed in his one start. Since it appeared that Haley had no clue how to use Thigpen, I am glad Thiggy was moved for a draft pick.

Running Backs: LJ may be headed towards another of those fine LJ moments that we have come to know and hate. He seems to have been a decent soldier so far, but his fuse is getting short. Charles continues to have problems holding onto the football. I hope we can work well with this current group of running backs. The last thing we need are more holes that need to be filled.

Receivers: D-Bowe has been hampered by injuries. Bobby Wade has filled in nicely, but we need more here.

Offensive line. Well, this line has certainly been offensive. In all my years of watching football, I have never seen a pro offensive line look as bad as the Chiefs line did against the Eagles. The word pathetic just begins to scratch the surface of that performance. Right now, nothing is going well for this line. Albert has taken a major step backwards this year. We need young players to step up and claim jobs here. Right now, there are three starting spots open.


Defensive line. Young, but hopefully developing. Tank being demoted to second string is a bad sign. Ron Edwards is a nice rotational player at best. A good 3-4 starts with a NT that commands double teams.

Linebackers: I will be glad to eat crow here. I didn’t think Tamba had a chance of making the transition to OLB. He has played pretty well and has been a bright spot in a season with few of them. Vrabel has been another positive. He has been the model of veteran leadership that this team craves. Can any LB cover the middle of the field? This has been a major disappointment.

Secondary: Loyal readers will know that I hate, hate, hate zones. Even given my bias against them, we have been too soft and we are getting killed with soft zones and safeties covering the middle of the field as poorly as our linebackers.

Special teams:

This has been a bright spot. Succop looks like he has locked down the kickers job for the next decade. Our coverage units have been good.


Well, the bloom is off the rose for these guys. Pioli has made some good moves and some bad moves. It will take awhile to get a full evaluation of him, but right now the plan is not working. For all his genius, He could not get a draft pick for a player (Bernard Pollard) who went on to claim not just a roster spot but a starting spot for the Texans. Todd Haley certainly hasn’t worked wonders for the offense. Right now, he is behind Herm’s pace last year. You can be a tough coach, but the team has to win. Do you think Haley would like to have his “I can win two games with 22 guys off the street” comment back? Losing can be a humbling experience. I never expected these guys to work miracles. Hopefully, we can look at these people realistically and evaluate the good and bad of their decisions. For example: Cassel and Vrabel, good. Goff and Thomas, bad. Offensive line plan? Epic fail.


We are looking at scraps here. Granted, zero wins will do that. However, it’s more than that. The Chiefs have been outclassed, outcoached and pushed around. We are still a bottom of the barrel team looking to claw our way out of ‘automatic win’ territory for a good team.

Next quarter, we have the following games:

Cowboys- The Cowboys are an erratic team. We need a fast start, and then we have a shot. It’s probably a loss.

Washington- I wish this game was at home. RFK is a tough place to play, but the Skins are imploding. We have a shot here, but it’s about a 35% shot of a win.

San Diego- Another team not playing well. Even at home, this is a tough game, but division games are usually close. Thankfully, we are still blessed by Norv Turner coaching the Chargers. That gives us hope, but it’s still a tough game to win.

Jacksonville: This should be a winnable game, but we never seem to match up well against the Jaguars.

Grabbing a win this quarter is very, very important. Any win would have to be an upset. Without an upset, we are looking at 0-8 and a very real chance of the players tuning this staff out.