Kansas City Chiefs: Touche Cliche
By Laddie Morse
The more things change in the National Football League, the more they stay the same.
As much as any cliche, that one seems to hit home for the Chiefs. Especially since they last visited the Super Bowl. Which, by the way, was a mere 44 years ago. Now, the Chiefs appear to embody one cliche as much as another — at least that’s what most game day announcers have minimized the Chiefs’ efforts too. So, let’s go with that and take 10 cliches and explore whether or not they fit this year’s team.
Cliche #1: “Their locker room looks like a MASH unit.”
Here’s the injury report for tomorrow’s game against the San Diego Chargers.
“Their locker room looks like a MASH unit?” Indeed it does. However, this is not so much a cliche, as it is a story. In fact, you could say it’s the story of the Chiefs season right here, so far. To make it into a cliche is to do the team a disservice. How many teams, with this kind of note from the doctor’s office, doesn’t mail it in until next season? To march into Miami and dismantle that team was no small feat. To take the New England Patriots and punch them in the mouth with so many missing soldiers was amazing.
Cliche #2: “The defensive line is quick off the ball.”
We’re beginning to hear this one consistently this year. And, it’s for a good reason. I recall one of Tamba Hali’s recent sacks looking like he was offside but when replayed you could see he had timed the snap so well that the LT could keep up with him. The strength of this team lies in the defensive front. Three Pro Bowl caliber players in Tamba Hali, Justin Houston and NT Dontari Poe creates all sorts of havoc for opposing teams. It’s the kind of chaos that other offensive coordinators have to spend extra hours planning for. However, the reason for the strength of the defensive front isn’t limited to these three this season. It’s been a real pleasure to watch the development of Allen Bailey over the past couple of years and he’s had his own murderous moments to share with offensive RBs and QBs. Does the influence of Hali, Houston and Poe make Bailey’s efforts easier to come by? Sure, but who cares, if you’re a Chiefs fan. Bailey has 2.5 sacks this year to Poe’s 2.0. Pretty good for a DE when you consider that the man he replaced, Tyson Jackson, had 4.0 total sacks all of last year, the most he had in any of his seasons as a Chief. Speaking of quick off the ball, I can’t wait to see more of rookie Dee Ford. They don’t call those “quick-twitch” muscles for nothing.
Cliche #3: “He heard footsteps.”
“He” obviously is Alex Smith. There have been times this season when I’ve thought this same thing… for parts of some games. However, Alex Smith has looked resilient and unfazed by the game situation, no matter what it may be. If this is part of what is meant to be called a “Game Manager” then I’m all for it. This “Holy Grail” of an offensive line could still get Alex Smith hurt but his ability to move in the pocket is excellent and as good as any quarterback in the league. One issue I am concerned about is whether or not Alex can develop the consistent ability to drive the Chiefs to a winning score late in game situations that call for it. Other players on the roster may have those “game-deciding drive” jitters, and although I don’t see that in Alex Smith, he has yet to consistently come through in those close call situations with the game on the line.
Cliche #4: “He’s overdue to break one.”
There’s no doubt about this one. Jamaal Charles is definitely overdue to check that book back into the end zone library. I noticed in preparation for an earlier piece that JC is averaging less than 50 yards per game this year while he’s always averaged over 75 yards per game in all other seasons. Two game day breakdowns in play calling by Coach Andy Reid are the clear cut reasons for that and Reid admits that’s the case. I would say that if the Chiefs’ season is to turn around, then it rides on that one feature being fixed in the Chiefs offense. Charles must get his carries and the the resulting yards that go along with those carries for the Chiefs to have a chance this year.
Cliche #5: “This kid is going to be a great one.”
Travis Kelce has been disappointing in no way at all this season. If I had to criticize anything about him, it’s that I haven’t gotten to see more of him (see Cliche #4 for the reason for that one). I was watching some tape of Rob Gronkowski’s highlights prior to any of his injuries and I kept saying, “He’s slower that Kelce” and “he’s not as agile as Kelce” and “I think Kelce has better hands.” Now, that’s a lot to put on a fledgling tight end growing up in the same yard as one of the greatest tight ends in the history of the National Football League but, if Travis Kelce can continue to stay healthy (knock on petrified wood), then he has a chance to be a great one indeed. Just one request… uh… Mr. Reid… could we see more or him?
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