Win Leaves Questions
In the NFL, winning solves everything. For the Kansas City Chiefs, winning the home opener against a division rival was the statement they wanted make. The Chiefs offense was the not the phase that concerned most going into the game, but afterward, there seemed to be couple head scratchers regarding that side of the ball.
First, what happened to the brilliant schemes that Charlie Weis was supposed to bring to the offense? Was it the rain? There was one shot of Weis in the booth and it looked like he could barely see the field, but seriously, we know that wasn’t a factor. Perhaps he knew Matt Cassel’s limitations in the pouring rain and saved the team costly turnovers by playing it safe. I have no answer.
More after the jump:
While it’s true that this is a young team, is playing it safe with a lead the way the new Chiefs will play? Is this what Todd Haley means with his new slogan, “Chiefs Will”? Are they going to will the other team to lose? Don’t we all want to see the Chiefs develop into a good running team which can put the game out of reach with a lead? Obviously, that’s not what they were in the first game.
With a two touchdown lead at half-time, and with the defense fielding most of the snaps, the Chiefs needed more points to put the game away, or at least sustain some long drives to let the defense get their legs back underneath them. However, Weis called plays which followed the predictable football cadence of run, run, pass, punt. That’s Marty-ball, not the new Chiefs. That’s how Herm Edward played “to win the game”, not how Weis is supposed to do it. That sounds like the old Chiefs to me.
The second question I have involves Todd Haley, as well as Weis, but I’m not sure to what degree. Chiefs fans have suggested that Haley didn’t know what he had in Jamaal Charles last year, and some fans panicked over the depth chart during the preseason. With no intention of defending Haley, I felt it was ludicrous to suggest that any NFL head coach, especially one who took a team to the Super Bowl, could have possibly overlooked the amazing talent of Charles. It seemed too far-fetched to me that Haley, and his entire team of coaches, could possibly miss the explosiveness, vision and speed that rushed for almost 1,200 yards last year on only 190 carries.
I’m going to man up and admit I was wrong about Haley on this issue. I don’t know what he’s thinking about Charles. When asked about Charles after the game, Haley said he’s just “one of the 45”. Haley acts like Charles nothing special. I give up. (In case you’re wondering, I don’t have Charles on my fantasy team.)
Thomas Jones started the game Monday night, and even after Charles was just about the only highlight for the offense, Haley/Weis only gave him the ball a total of 11 times. Of course, they didn’t have that many snaps to divvy out with so few first downs, but even after Charles took it to the house, Jones continued to split the snaps. The few times Jones had decent yardage, I believe Charles would have gained more. Charles always seems to do more with less space from the offensive line. With the same number of carries, Charles ended up with twice the average and three times the amount of yards Jones had. Yet, Charles is listed behind Jones on the depth chart for next week, too. This isn’t meant to dump on Jones. I’m glad we signed him, but I’m left baffled. Since the Chiefs won, Haley doesn’t really have to answer this question yet, but he may have to when the rain eventually stops and his luck lets up.
Not to be totally critical after a win, let’s look at the other side of the ball. The defense clearly answered one question regarding their run-stopping ability. Is it improving? Yes, without a doubt. After one game the defense is in the bottom five of the league in overall defense and in pass defense, but already in the middle of the pack against the run. Romeo Crennel’s impact has been immediately felt. The defense flat out got after the Chargers fast, hard, and relentlessly. Personally, it made my year seeing Phillip Rivers throwing multiple tantrums in Arrowhead. The defense answered one question and gets my game ball for Monday night.