If you’re depressed, don’t be. If you’re higher than a kite, come down off that cloud and maybe attend an AA meeting… and I’m not talking about an Arrowhead Addict meeting either.
We are seeing some over-reactionary responses right now. One person says the Chiefs just won a “hallmark” victory while others can’t resist continuing to rip the Chiefs and marveling at their holes. Somewhere in between… is the reality of where this team is… who they are… but not necessarily how they’ll finish this year.
To gain a perspective of where the Chiefs are at, let’s take a peek at where all the teams in the AFC West are at with a focus on consistency. I call this a Consistency Rating. Since we just witnessed the San Diego Chargers, let’s begin there.
5-2 San Diego Chargers
San Diego will beat a lot of teams this season simply because they will be able to run on their opponents. That, of course, was not the case against the Chiefs, but the strength of the Chiefs team is in their defensive front seven — even with Derrick Johnson and Joe Mays M.I.A.. If the Bolts can run the ball, then QB Philip Rivers will have all the time and space he needs to carve the opposition up. The Chargers are a very good team and their two losses have been by a combined score of 4 points. In their five victories they’ve won by 74 points. So, when they win, they win big, but when they lose, they keep it close.
I give the Chargers an 89 out of 100 for consistency. So far. The hardest part of the Chargers’ schedule is yet to come, and I don’t see a problem with the Chiefs over taking them in the AFC West win column, as long as the Chiefs progress and take care of their own responsibilities.
0-6 Oakland Raiders
The Raiders have lost by big margins and by close margins. They have only scored more than 14 points in a game once and that was against the Chargers. At least the Raiders play a physical brand of football which should be appreciated by their “adoring” fans. Although it’s tough to come away with any saving grace about the Raiders season to this point, they appear to have their QB of the future lined up in Derek Carr. Also, any time you fire your coach during the season, it’s never a good sign that the team is headed in the right direction. Interim coach Tony Sparano isn’t getting any better results than Dennis Allen did but one thing can be said for the Raiders of 2014:
They are consistent. Consistent losers.
The Raiders get a 59 out of 100 in the consistency department. Although the Bills and the Browns are still on the schedule this year, so there’s hope for them to win a game, but so are the 49ers, the Seahawks and the Broncos. You have to think that these Raiders have as good a chance as any team in decades of going “un-victorious.”
5-1 Denver Broncos
Fresh off his record-setting performance on Sunday evening, Peyton Manning has staked his claim to the greatest QB of all time. As much as it pains me to say, he is good. Very good and very consistent. In the playoffs? That’s another story. Many of the questions that were raised during the Super Bowl about the Broncos’ lack of physical presence have been dealt with. They appear to be a more complete team than in 2013 but no team is perfect and their close game with the Chiefs in Denver, as well as their loss to the Seahawks, should make that clear.
One area that makes the Broncos fearsome is their consistency. Possession in and possession out, game in and game out, they give a consistently, concerted effort. If the Chargers get an 89 then the Broncos get a 92 out of 100 for consistency.
3-3 Kansas City Chiefs
An obvious observation about Sunday’s contest — and a pattern seen in all their other games — is that the offensive line can do a good job of drive blocking for the running game but at the other end of the spectrum does a really poor job of pass protecting. In total passing yards, the Chiefs rank 30th in the NFL. It’s also true that when Jamaal Charles gets his carries, the Chiefs win. The effect of the poor pass protection on the quality of passes offered to the Chiefs wide receivers is in tremendous doubt every time QB Alex Smith drops back to pass. Without Smith’s mobility, the Chiefs would certainly be last in the league. The Chiefs wide receiving corp may be better than they’re given publicity for simply because the pass protection is so bad. In any event, the Chiefs wideouts are not getting open consistently enough for Smith to trust throwing the ball their way. Is some of that on Smith? Yes, but there’s an obvious lack of talent at wide receiver.
Regardless of who has been on the field to run the ball or catch the passes this year, the play-calling has been inconsistent. When it comes to play-calling, we’ve all been riding “Reid’s Rickety Roller Coaster” this year.
That why I’m giving the Chiefs a 76 out of 100 in consistency. In a few games Reid’s play-calling has been sterling and in a couple of other games it’s been faux pas after faux pas. Two of the Chiefs’ losses have been completely on Coach Reid for, 1) undependable play calling, 2) pathologically poor clock management, and 3) neglecting, for some incredibly heartbreaking reason, to make sure his playmakers get the ball in their hands.
There is one starting player who is more responsible for the Chiefs’ lack of consistency than any other. See examples of his work on the next page.
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“Chiefs: Too Much, Too Little, But Not Too Late”