4 Things Chiefs Must Do/Recap

From Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis


Make Painter Antsy

Although they have lost three in a row to the Colts, the Chiefs defense under both Gunther Cunningham and Romeo Crennel were able to do a good job keeping QB Peyton Manning under control. In those three games, Manning had one TD pass and five interceptions and averaged just 5.9 yards per attempt. KC did it by mixing coverages and throwing pressure at Manning that didn’t always get him on the ground, but got his feet moving. The same thing can happen with Curtis Painter. Crennel needs to mix his coverages with pressure up the middle that will block the vision of Painter, who is 6-4, an inch smaller than Manning. They must make him uncomfortable and hope his inexperience will give them a chance at interceptions. PUSH – Chiefs hardly laid a hand on Painter, knocking him down just one time in 27 passing plays. Whatever the reason, the Chiefs did not throw a lot of scheme at him. They certainly did a better job in the second half, but that had more to do with execution than anything else.


Protect the ball

The turnover ratio remains one of the best gauges of team performance and success. There are 13 teams right now with a winning record in the league and they are a combined plus-42 on the take-give ratio. There are 11 teams with a losing record and they are a combined minus-31 on the ratio. Right now the Chiefs are minus-5. Defensively, the Colts have struggled but they’ve done a good job of knocking the ball out of their opponents’ hands. Indy is No. 2 in the AFC in fumbles caused with 7; they were able to recover 4 of those fumbles. The Chiefs have already lost five fumbles. To win they must button up and not provide the Colts any help. SUCCESS – The Chiefs laid the ball on the ground just one time in this game, but recovered the fumble immediately and more than likely a replay review would have overturned the fumble call. QB Matt Cassel did not put any of his throws in dangerous territory.


Run, run, run

The Chiefs offense is about running the ball. That’s the way the team was built, and that’s how it will have its most offensive success. Having lost Jamaal Charles, that’s tougher to accomplish, but they have no choice. Whether it’s Thomas Jones, Dexter McCluster, Jackie Battle or Le’Ron McClain, all of them or some combination, their current 110 yards rushing per game is not good enough. Before Charles’ injury the Chiefs averaged 7.2 yards per run. Since the injury, they’ve averaged 3.5 yards per carry. They’ve had particular problems running the ball on first down, a pattern that has to be fixed. SUCCESS – Finally, the Chiefs got the run game going. Even though Charles is out, this offense was built for the running game and if they can’t move the ball on the ground, it’s not going to work overall.


Keep Freeney & Mathis off Cassel

If the Chiefs are going to have any hope of moving the football, they must be productive throwing the ball. That will only happen if LT Branden Albert and RT Barry Richardson can keep one of the best pass rushing duos in the league away from QB Matt Cassel. Together, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis have six sacks this season. That’s more than the Chiefs have as a team. Over their careers, Freeney (11 seasons) and Mathis (9 seasons) have 174 total sacks and 80 forced fumbles. It’s those forced fumbles that worry most teams facing Freeney-Mathis. Last Sunday, the pass protection unit did a good job against Minnesota. They’ll have to do a better job, and do it on the road, against Indy. PUSH – Both guys got sacks, but there really wasn’t a lot of pressure on Cassel throughout the game. Freeney beat Branden Albert badly on his sack and Mathis did the same against Barry Richardson.

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