An Ugly Start For The New Regime

From Arrowhead Stadium

This was not the start that Scott Pioli, Todd Haley or Matt Cassel envisioned for the new era of Chiefs football.

On a rainy Saturday night and in front of one of the smallest crowds that Arrowhead Stadium has seen in some time, the Chiefs dropped pre-season game No. 1 to the Houston Texans, 16-10.

Tape study may produce some positives from this game for Haley and his coaching staff, but they will be few and very hard to find.

OK, how about the best player wearing red on the field was P Dustin Colquitt, who averaged 48.2 yards on six punts. If that sounds familiar it should; that’s been part of the plot line for the Chiefs over the previous two seasons.

“I think we made too many mistakes to think we would have the chance to win the game,” Haley said.”You can’t expect to win games converting 23 percent of your third downs, which was a major problem for us. You can’t expect to win a game with the penalties we had and the situations we had them in (eight penalties walked off for 65 yards.)”

And you can’t expect to win when you go minus-three in the turnover ratio.

“We played very good defense and we didn’t turn the ball over that is why we won the game,” said Houston head coach Gary Kubiak said. “It was a very sloppy night weather wise and whoever plays the best defense and whoever doesn’t put it on the ground usually finds a way to win in this game.”

The Chiefs offense struggled all night, catching fire only in the fourth quarter when QB Tyler Thigpen turned in a couple of playground moves that actually moved the chains. The Chiefs defense actually did not play that poorly, giving up just a single touchdown and forcing Houston to kick a pair of field goals after recovering Kansas City fumbles.

“We did OK,” said SS Bernard Pollard of the Chiefs defense. “It was a good start. We came out and played hard and we all responded.”

Overall, it was a performance very similar to how the team has practiced during training camp in Wisconsin: the defense is ahead of the offense and the No. 1 offense is really struggling to create an efficient and productive passing game.

Cassel worked the offense for four possessions, but was able to complete just two of five passes for 15 yards. A dozen of those yards came on his first pass as the K.C. franchise quarterback; he hit WR Terrance Copper.

Here’s how those four possessions Cassel directed went down for the Chiefs offense:

  1. Six plays for 24 yards, but failed to convert a 3rd-and-3 play.
  2. Three plays for seven yards, with a 3rd-and-11 pass gaining three yards.
  3. Three plays for nine yards, as a 3rd-and-1 pass to TE Sean Ryan was dropped.
  4. Three plays for seven yards, with Cassel losing a snap from C Rudy Niswanger that was recovered by the Texans.

Houston has revamped their defense and what they put on the field was more than enough to stifle the Chiefs. Larry Johnson got four chances right off the bat, but gained just 12 yards before he sat down for the rest of the night. Cassel wasn’t sacked, but he was harassed several times and hit after the throw.

“I thought Matt was OK,” said Haley. “We played it pretty close to the vest with him in there. We ran the ball a bunch. We weren’t winging it around a whole bunch. I need to see the tape but he was OK.”

The Chiefs aren’t paying Cassel all that money to be just OK. And, why so close to the vest with the offense? Would Cassel have preferred a more open attack to start the game.

“I don’t call plays and I got out and try to execute the plays that are called,” said Cassel. “We executed some, we didn’t execute some others and we’ll just keep moving forward from there. We were trying to find out some things about different people and what our identity is going to be. That’s why we have pre-season. That’s what we are working on.”

Defensively, the Chiefs came out and picked up a sack on their first series of the pre-season. Remember, they had but 10 sacks during the entire 16-game regular season in 2008. CB Maurice Leggett got Texans QB Matt Schaub to the ground on a third-down blitz.

The Texans were able to dent the scoreboard first on this rainy night and they were able to do it under difficult circumstances. Colquitt’s punt was downed at the six-yard line by the Chiefs. RB Chris Brown came into the game for Houston and provided a spark. Brown ran the ball four times for 22 yards and caught a screen pass for 16 yards. Tack another 15 yards on to that catch thanks to a penalty against DE Alex Magee for a horse-collar tackle and the Texans moved 31 yards, from their own 37 to the Chiefs 32-yard line.

Five plays later, they punched in the score on Brown’s two-yard run. The PAT kick gave Houston a 7-0 lead that they never lost.

After Houston recovered Cassel’s fumbled snap at the Chiefs 24-yard line, the Texans put together a six-play, 19-yard drive with backup QB Dan Orlovsky directing the attack. Kris Brown ended up kicking a 23-yard FG.

On the Texans next possession, they got another FG on the board, this one from 42 yards. A couple of nice plays by CB Brandon Flowers forced Houston to go for the three points.

The Chiefs got off the field at half-time with some points as rookie K Ryan Succop hit a 48-yard FG as time ran out, ending a drive engineered by Croyle who was four of seven on the drive.

At half-time the rain really picked up and neither team got much going offensively. When RB Dantrell Savage was ruled to have fumbled at the end of a run, Houston got the ball at their 38-yard line. Backup QB Dan Orlovsky led them 50 yards on eight plays, before Brown hit a 30-yard field goal to make the score 16-3.

Thigpen had the fourth quarter and he did what we saw him do last season. It was typical helter-skelter fourth quarter pre-season football. But with his arm and his legs, he grove the offense 76 yards o n 10 plays ending with a one-yard TD pass to TE Brad Cottam. The PAT kick made the score 16-10, and there was still five minutes, 15 seconds to play.

The offense got two more chances, but they only picked up one first down and Thigpen’s last pass was picked off by Houston CB David Pittman.

And thus, began the Pioli/Haley/Cassel Era. The Chiefs can only go back to work and hope the nights like this one are fewer and farther between.

“We’re back to work on Monday,” said Haley. “I told the team, we’re in training camp mode and we’re back in the pads.”

47 Responses to “An Ugly Start For The New Regime”

  • August 15, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss . . . that be the sound of all the air being let out of the KC Chiefs balloon – already punctured 2009 in game 1 of the season.

    Texans 16 – haley’s 10

    Rin “This Is My House” Tin Tin/ Voice of Truth: 1

    The Chiefs rose-colored glasses wearing fandom: 0

    Told all ya alls how it was gonna be…

    2, 3 “Hey follow me, can’t you see…I’m the Pied Piper trust in me…”

    :cool: daddy-o

  • August 15, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    $mall crowd huh… well Jr., NOW WHAT?

  • August 15, 2009  - steve says:

    It is not game one of the season, it is game one of the preseason. Even the small things you mess up. Balloon? I have not heard any Chiefs fans mention a balloon. Weather balloon? Playoff balloon? I think most Chief fans want a team pointed in the right direction, and a head coach who doesn’t blow it in the fourth quarter. Good night rtt0w, I did read you earlier post, you lowered your personal over/under.

  • August 15, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    KC fandom’s collective backsides be a furiously puckering aft just the first game the season…


    We hired :shock: & :roll: – how can it be that we are an embrassingly bad 0-1 after hiring THE BEST GM candidate AND THE BEST Head Coach candidate in all of Kingdom Come?


    ‘Cause Rin told you so – they are OVERHYPES

    heh heh heh

    :cool: daddy-o

  • August 16, 2009  - Donnie says:

    I MySelf Thought Corey Mayes Looked Very good!! nice Suprise!! So did Tamba Hali..

  • August 16, 2009  - Donnie says:

    One More Thing Bob.. Scott Pioli Is Gonna Need a Few Years to Build a Deep Play off Winning Team.. This Years Roster will get us 6 or 7 Wins which is a hell of a start from the Herm Edwards Carl Peterson Mess!!

  • August 16, 2009  - Harold C. says:

    I know our Chiefs are going to need time to get better. I know this is new for a lot of people on this team. This was the first game of our head coaches career. Still…..that being said….

    Doesn’t it seem like they are picking up from where they left off last year?

    Hey….I know it’s just preseason…..but were not we saying the same thing in the last couple of years preseason games? …..and beyond that? Hmmmmmmmmm?

  • August 16, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    UH OH!


  • August 16, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    0-16 in 2009 here come the Haley’s!

    :cool: daddy-o

  • August 16, 2009  - Tem says:

    Croyle looked very good and should be our starter. I know almost everyone has given up on him but if there is a true competition at QB he will win the job.

  • August 16, 2009  - wow says:

    Rin, it’s obvious you don’t know a d4mn thing about football.

  • August 16, 2009  - True Red & Gold says:

    Croyle was the best QB in the rain this night. It won’t matter how well he performs in the preseason he will not be the starter unless Cassel gets injured or really stinks it up, each are possibilities I think. (I am standing by my prediction way back when Pioli and Haley were first hired that Croyle will be the starter by the end of training camp).

    How about Thiggy. If he doesn’t make this team then Pioli/Haley are idiots.(as rin claims) He just continues to make due with whatever team he has to work with and does his thing. What an asset for any team.

    Speaking of whatever team he has, I think Cassel showed tonight that without the all star cast around him, he will struggle. Croyle and Thiggy both are conditioned to perform with a weak cast around them.

    As expected with a new regime we did not look at all sharp, not nearly so as the Texans. Maybe we are in too good of shape, the laps for mistakes hasn’t had much of an impact so far. Lots of penalties tonight and mostly the get your head on straight variety.

  • August 16, 2009  - get real says:

    There is no question who the QB is, Cassel. He will have to get injured to not be the starter. Pioli/Haley have to much invested to drop him to the wayside. So, get over it.

    Considering the lack of overall talent and the draft position, the Chiefs needed two or three starters from the draft and I do not see them. This team looks plain undertalented and no one stepped up except for our Kicker. That is the only complaint I have for our new GM and HC. But we have the entire preseason to try to get something to click.

  • August 16, 2009  - educated says:

    Cassel only should have had one incompletion. 2 of his passes were dropped. Keep in mind that our starting receiver were only in the game for croyle and that croyle played against their second string defense. Lets see what happens when cassel has dbowe and mark bradley to throw to. Also, I have seen the future and the future is Corey Mays…we have a middle linebacker boys!

  • August 16, 2009  - Russ says:

    Any body else been watching football for 40 years, and I mean Pro Football! Pre season doesn’t mean squat. Of course that doesn’t mean chiefs get lazy here, alot of adjustments WILL be made, and Haley is getting a lesson too. True fans should be encouraged, TJAX just signed and the big boy is making Hay. If the players don’t quit on Haley we are going to progress fine… HAVE TO PLAY THIS YEAR FIRST. And the Texans are primed(what 8 years?) to have a franchise year this year.

  • August 16, 2009  - DanKCFan says:

    I to was surprised but Croyle did look to be the best QB last night. The starting wide outs in with Cassel sucked. And speaking of sucked that horsecollar tackle was a horsecrap call by the officials.

  • August 16, 2009  - ED says:

    Come on Bob its the first preseason game. These gaems don’t count in the standings. I think you’re being to critical of Cassell play. For one I seen the receivers drop some balls when Cassell was out there especially that one to Ryan toward the sideline. I thought Croyle did good working some good throws to Bowe. Hopefully Bowe can work his way back into the starting line up by Friday to help Cassell in the passing game. Tyler played well even though he ran for his life the whole night.

    Talk about need depth on the o-line. I would still say its a draw for back up QB. Because though Croyle made some nice throws. Thigpen once again made it happen with less to work with on the field. Next game I would like to see what he does out there with the second team and not the third team. Rodney Wright made some plays also.

    I also thought Battle, Larry, and Salvage looked good when they weren’t getting hit in the backfield. Defensively i’m very impressed. We got sacks and we slowed down an explosive offense with the best receiver in the game Andre Johnson and their dynamic running Slaton. Not bad at all defense.

  • August 16, 2009  - ED says:

    Got to give shot out to Dorsey and TJax they played well on that defensive line. Look like we got to pillars on defense. Johnson made some nice plays along with Flowers making some as well. Like I said this defense looks preety good.

  • August 16, 2009  - ED says:

    Also Cutler struggled in his first preseason game with the Bears does that mean he’s a bad QB no. Its a new team for both guys once they settle down and get that chemistry going both guys will be fine. Especially our guy Cassell. Cassell just needs more reps to get comfortable with what his receivers like to do. He’s proven he is a slow starter but as the season goes along he gets better, but like I said it doesn’t help when guys are dropping balls on good throws.

  • August 16, 2009  - BinSC says:

    Cassel did fine. His throws were sharp and on the money. Have to catch it and run. Our WR’s don’t scare anyone. Battle looked good. Flowers looked good. Succop is the deal, and of course Colquitt looked good. Was surprised at how well Mays played at LB. Glad to know we have someone with some metal to replace Thomas.

    Work in progress. Didn’t expect them to win, but hoped to see better play from the OL. Too much penetration and no push. Just like the last couple of years. Got to find a quality center. Niswanger just too tall and can’t get leverage.

    Oh well. Just pre-season. Reporters get too worked up. Now they have real game tape to look at.

  • August 16, 2009  - Stiv says:

    Anyone coming to any conclusions after one preseason game is a moron. That is all.

  • August 16, 2009  - CK says:

    Ryan dropped a pass an one of the non-descript WR’s dropped another. Otherwise Cassel is 4-5 with 2 more first downs.
    It’s disappointing to read Bob’s article. It drips of bitterness. I guess I hadn’t picked up on that before.
    This was a stinking pre-season game. Dozens of players in and out. New coaching staff working out the bugs. As far as attendance, I don’t usually drive 3 hours to pre-season games (just to every home game for 30 years). But the crowd on TV looked like more than the Miami game last year and more than the last pre-season game we went to 2 years ago.
    Bob, I’m bummed you aren’t on Chiefs radio anymore. Gammons is pathetic. But please try to stay level headed on your blog.

  • August 16, 2009  - CK says:

    Oh, and thanks for including all the smileys Rint-tint-Toot, it makes it easy to scroll on by your hermraider garbage.

  • August 16, 2009  - alex k says:

    I predicted a 17-10 loss…and I said how this game would likely go…

    we also covered that last season

    Lions 4-0 preseason, 0-16 regular season
    the year SD went 1-15, 4-0 preseason

    Its a work in progress…realize hes working with a trash heap, he needs to find a few lost treasures, and leave the rest for the raiders.

    It is what it is, but I would say a few guys let me down…As for the Bowe thing, he responded, he will start next week…case closed.

    I just wont overreact to a preseason game…its pretty ridiculous….

    the one positive I took was Succop has quite the leg on kickoffs.

  • August 16, 2009  - Rip 'em a new one says:

    Bob said it best with his comment about the Chiefs not paying mega-millions to Cassel to be just “OK”. He’s got to be excellent or above regardless of the time of year but, to be fair, there’s lots of new faces all over the place so let’s hope they jell as a unit sooner rather than later.

  • August 16, 2009  - ILChiefsFan says:

    Cassell, as previously stated, was really playing with the 2nd string WR corps and had at least two very good passes dropped. He did hold onto the ball too long a couple times and a couple times either didn’t see open receivers or decided not to throw to them.

    Brodie looked very sharp, even taking into account that he was throwing to the best WR’s. He had that dumb illegal forward pass penalty, however, that killed a drive.

    Thigpen, despite his numbers, didn’t look great in my book. He made some good runs and a few good throws, but many of this throws weren’t sharp and at least two of his completions that I can remember were poorly-thrown balls to wide-open receivers.

    All-in-all, I think the Chiefs are going to end up with two good QB’s on their roster this season, and the odd man out may have some trade value.

  • August 16, 2009  - arrowhead1978 says:

    Ed I wouldn’t say that Andre Johnson is the best WR in the NFL, are you crazy?? Tyler should have the starting job like Tony G said at the end of last year, he is the QB that can get it done. It’s funny that Thigpen played with the 3rd string recievers and still scored a TD is that to say they are better then the receivers that Cassell was playing with?

  • August 16, 2009  - alex k says:

    and if one preseason game closes the book on a QB for the season, then Cutler/Orton are done too right?

    Cassel played well in my opinion, he looked sharp, his throws have some zip…Im content with his play…

    I do kind of believe that he needs another recieving option, and no, not ashley lelie…hopefully a boldin type trade.

  • August 16, 2009  - alex k says:

    lets face it, cassel was in a 1 step drop, or a shotgun quick pass the entire time, they protected him, and rightly so.

    One of the two Croyle/thigpen are trade bait…..

    How bout that Succop!

  • August 16, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    QB Tyler Thigpen’s talent quotient puts him…oh, somewhere between a Rich Gannon at best, a George Mira at worst. Said far better than Mutt’s same – somewhere between the one-year wonder was Dennis Shaw and the (over)hyped hopes a :shock: as a KC fandom that imagines him a Brady.

    Right. ‘check’

    Being Gannon is infinitely more likely Tyler than Mutt become as Brady, last night being exhibit A.
    That Ca$$el fumbled away the football last night was his loss, as KC’s – just as it becomes clear Jr.$ $igning of Mutt be same.

    Should’ve listened to your all pro TE ‘search’ :shock: , ‘check’ :roll: & Jr. :?: – too late…

    :lol: & :razz:

  • August 16, 2009  - alex k says:

    why wouldnt you say andre johnson is the besT? he led the league in two major catagories last year and wasnt in all 16 games.

    The guy is a machine. And hes never had a top end QB or offense…in fact hes never had a 2nd reciever worth a darn…

    Hes ridiculously underrated.

  • August 16, 2009  - alex k says:

    he doesnt need an all pro tight end

    did an all pro tight end get the chiefs any playoff wins in 10 years?

    does cassel’s fumble mean hes a bust? so cutler is as well? really? pathetic argument

    pathetic attempt to attack the new regime and any move made

    its kind of sad that you sit there rooting against the coaches, the players…because why? you liked herm and dont like pioli/haleY? then go “hate” another team…you sure arent rooting for them.

  • August 16, 2009  - alex k says:

    Comments arrowhead1978?

  • August 16, 2009  - arrowhead1978 says:

    LOL… Alex, He didn’t lead in TD’s did he? He has only scored 10 TD’s in a season once, his previous best was 8. Him being Andre Johnson, Dwayne bowe’s best is 7… For Andre Johnson to be the best receiver in the NFL he would have to be a major scoring threat which he isn’t, Now Moss, Owens, Fitzgerald I would say are the best in the NFL… Also to say that Andre Johnson didn’t have a top end QB is ridiculous, he has a better second tier QB than our supposed first tier QB in Schaub…

    I root for the chiefs, if not why would I care if it was assinine to get rid of your best receiver and a pretty good blocker when you know the Qb you just picked up is going to need the help?? The obvious is that I dont believe in Cassell as a franchise QB, where as I do believe that Thigpen could get it done after what he did last year with nothing around him, except for a all-pro TE and a soon to be all-pro WR (bowe).

    by the way how many more recieving options does he need? They already went out and picked up Engram and Toomer, which IMO Toomer is the better player and most consistent, but really who else is going to elevate Cassell’s play? Plus the same could have been said about Thigpen last year, actually if the Defense last year played as well as the defense played saturday night the chiefs would have had 5-6 more wins considering they were up in a majority of those games in the 4th quarter where the defense let up and allowed the other team to win the game, San Diego and Tampa Bay. So like I have said before, Cassell is a product of the system that is New england, not a franchise QB…

  • August 16, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    al(ex)…are you having a bad day nee have a bad night, last – like Mutt Ca$$el, :roll: , :shock: & the “any 22 will do’ faction the Chiefs?

    You did, didn’t you… oh the humanity.

    (PS)- ‘Q’ certainly showed up big in the return game that you have sworn will net him a spot on the 53 man…huh. Too small…too inconsistent, and frankly too, he didn’t look like a 4.3 guy – more like a 4.45 one.

    Practice squad.

    :lol: & :razz:

  • August 16, 2009  - Behind Enemy Lines says:

    Not only did Herm and his staff peg Thigpen as a 3rd stringer, so has Haley and his staff (although camp is still young). That should give you some pause as you declare Tyler Thigpen the QB of the future.
    Also, it’s very important to acknowledge that while Thigpen was throwing to 3rd stringers (although Cottam is listed #1 on the depth chart), he was also throwing against a 3rd string defense.

  • August 17, 2009  - SG says:

    “…the one positive I took was Succop has quite the leg on kickoffs.”

    Please don’t ignore the 48-yard fg he converted.

  • August 17, 2009  - arrowhead1978 says:

    Alex you got your wish the chiefs signed another receiving option, your boy ashley lelie… Congratulations, now will this make Cassell a better QB? IMO it didn’t help…

  • August 17, 2009  - arrowhead1978 says:

    behind enemy lines, you’re right about that, he was throwing against the 3rd string defense. Last year when he almost matched Cassell in TD’s and picks though he was throwing against 1st string defenses, also, Herm did peg him as a 3rd stringer, but he also brought him from the vikings practice squad to be a 3rd stringer, most practice squad QB’s stay there, they dont get on the roster.

  • August 17, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    YES! You said it arrowhead1978 – Herm is STILL The Man – as is Tyler “The Little Big Man From Coastal Carolina” Thigpen!

    :cool: daddy-o

  • August 17, 2009  - Behind Enemy Lines says:

    You’re right arrowhead1978, most practice squad players don’t get on the roster. I acknowledge he has some talent, so I’m fine with Thigpen being on the roster…just not the starter. That seems to be the general consensus of the entire football world (and known universe).

  • August 17, 2009  - arrowhead1978 says:

    The general Consensus doesn’t mean much… What was the general consensus when a Notre Dame QB came to the NFL or when Kurt Warner stopped stocking shelves?? So I dont believe the General Consensus is always the truth of the matter…

  • August 17, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    “I dont believe the General Consensus is always the truth of the matter.”

    - exactly arrowhead1978…

    Too, Confucius Generally speaking said –

    “The truth is one should carefully avoid the laying down of rules – this because no creed formulated by another person can ever excuse anyone from the duty of thinking for himself.”


  • August 17, 2009  - Behind Enemy Lines says:

    Ok…I concede the rare occasions you mentioned. However, the glaring difference is NFL coaches and executives have seen both Cassel and Thigpen play in the NFL, unlike Warner and Brady Quinn…or were you talking about cool Joe earlier?. What do you know about Thigpen that they don’t?
    When it comes down to it though, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. It would, however, make me wonder if Rin kept agreeing with my posts. No offense, Rin.

  • August 17, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    Rin happens to have the highest respect for your posts – in fact He treats them the way He treats everyone’s – dismissively…


  • August 18, 2009  - arrowhead1978 says:

    I was talking about Joe, a great QB, especially when he was with KC, lol… I dont think Brady Quinn has done anything to garner recognition in the NFL yet. I dont know anything more then they do, but thigpen seems to the skills to be a starter in the NFL, if the chiefs defense was better last year he would have had more wins then the 2 they finished with.

  • August 18, 2009  - ILChiefsFan says:

    Sure, the Chiefs defense was terrible last year, but the offense also contributed to close losses.

    Here are some stats for the “close” losses (games the Chiefs lost by a touchdown or less) where Thigpen started (Jets, Tampa, Chargers #1 and #2, Denver #2, and Miami):

    Total Chiefs 1st half pts: 110, total 2nd half pts: 22 (this does not include the Flowers INT TD in Q4 of the Jets)

    Total Chiefs 1st half 1st downs: 80, total 2nd half 1st downs: 36

    This is no surprise; it was frequently noted on this blog and others that the Chiefs offense under Thigpen tended to stall in the 2nd half of games.

    Let’s also remember how the KC offense performed in some crucial late-game situations:
    SD #1 – missed 2-pt conversion that would have won the game
    SD #2 – Chargers kick winning field goal after their onsides kick was fumbled by D Bowe
    Miami – Miami scores go-ahead TD, KC goes 4-and-out, KC gets ball back at their 7 with 1:45 left after Ricky Williams fumble, Thigpen throws 2 incompletions and and interception to end the game
    Tampa – 4th quarter, 3:24 left, KC has the ball and 8 point lead, offense goes 3-and-out
    NYJ – 4th quarter, KC defense stops NYJ on 2 of 3 posessions and scores TD to put KC back in the game; KC offense can’t score on 3 possessions.

    Of course, the defense deserves a large helping of blame in these games as well, but blaming all of these losses on the defense alone is simplistic.

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