Column: Impossibly Bad On Offense


From MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

Four yards. Four lousy, stinkin’, smelly, awful yards.

That’s what the Chiefs were able to gain in total offensive yards during the first half of Sunday’s debacle against the Jets.

Four yards – on 21 plays. I’m no math major but divided 4 by 21 and that works out to .190476190 yards per snap.

I could keep chopping away at the numbers but that begins to get boring and at a certain point nonsensical. I’ve been watching Chiefs football closely for 31 seasons and I can say I’ve never quite seen a half as pitifully played as this one when the red and gold had the ball.

They finished the game with 221 yards, but all of that was in the second half when the Jets were worried more about wrapping up their eighth victory as quickly as possible and making early dinner reservations in Manhattan.

With the offense on the field Sunday, there was simply no chance of the Chiefs winning this game. They had 19 rushing yards in the half, on 10 runs, or an average of 1.9 yards per play. That’s 1.9, not .19. But it was the minus-15 yards in the passing game that stunk to high heaven. QB Tyler Palko threw eight times, completed just three for 11 yards. But he was sacked three times, losing 26 yards and when the adding and subtraction is over the Chiefs ended up with those four lousy yards.

It was offensive ineptitude that one should never see on the NFL level. Listen, I understand completely the handicaps that the Chiefs are working under with their offense. On Sunday they did not have their best running back, best tight end and best quarterback. They were playing on the road and they were playing against one of the league’s better defenses.

And maybe there’s something to the idea of look what happened after Charlie Weis left, although I’m not buying it. If Weis had been around this year, he would have had the same problems of no Jamaal Charles and Tony Moeaki, and he would have lost Matt Cassel.

All of that is understood. What does not make sense is how GM Scott Pioli and head coach Todd Haley could allow their offense to fall to the level it has, and once again when we pull that string, it goes right back to the reason this team is 5-8 and playing out the string over the final three games.

They do not have enough talent. They aren’t even close to having the players necessary to be a contender. Last year’s Chiefs team won a division title thanks to a weak schedule and a remarkable string of health that a team enjoys once every decade or so.

Pioli and Haley had to know this; they’ve both been around the NFL long enough to realize what the major factors were in last year’s season. They couldn’t have expected a repeat.

All that time during the owners’ lockout when the front office was marking time for the start of the season appears to have been wasted. With a treasure trove of salary cap money, an owner who keeps saying that money is not a detriment to improving the roster and the largest group of free agents to hit the market since the start of unrestricted free agency in 1993, they got nothing done.

Let’s just take the case of Charles, the engine for their offense in 2010 and a guy they worried about giving too much work over the season because he’s not a physically big back. That’s a legitimate worry in their case.

But going into the 2011 regular-season opener, the Chiefs did nothing to improve their depth at running back. They were happy relying on a tired Thomas Jones struggling to continue his career and Jackie Battle, totally unproven as a primary running back. They did move Dexter McCluster to running back from wide receiver, but that had more to do with McCluster and trying to deal with his small size than improving the running back position.

A team that considers itself a run first offense – and that’s what Haley believes in for his club – must always been searching for ways to increase the talent level at the position. Running backs are prone to injury; a team can never have enough good running backs.

But in the 2011 NFL Draft, they did not draft a running back. Among the college free agents, they did not sign any backs of note. In free agency, they added fullback Le’Ron McClain, but he’s proven to be no factor in the running game. He’s no factor in the offense at all, with 18 touches for 72 yards on the season.

With the exception of Jackie Battle’s 119-yard performance against a still winless Indianapolis team, the Chiefs running game has gotten nothing done. They had enough rushing yardage going into Sunday’s game to rank No. 9 in the NFL.

But they had just 3 rushing touchdowns and they had only two rushes on the season of more than 30 yards. In four games they gained less than 100 rushing yards, including Sunday. After Battle’s game, the next best rushing day was 76 yards.

It was there for all to see on Sunday, in what may have been the most brutal performance of a very brutal season. That first half offensive performance was one for the ages.


15 Responses to “Column: Impossibly Bad On Offense”

  • December 11, 2011  - Chiefs Get Sacked By Jets, 35-10 : BobGretz.com says:

    [...] COLUMN – Can an offense be that bad? [...]


  • December 11, 2011  - Merwin says:

    Hate to say it but wait till next week and the Packers roll into town. Looking more like Haley will be gone at the end of the year if the Packers win like the Jets did today. Reminds me of Herm Edwards teams, lots of effort but very little to negative results.


  • December 11, 2011  - johnfromfairfax says:

    You just can’t win on any level with only one side of the ball. Our offense is totally inept and I agree with everything you said Bob. The organization sat on it’s collective hands and did nothing to improve the offense. We have weaknesses on both sides of the ball but the offense is inexcusable. I don’t get it. We pulled off a great year last year with the combination of things you mentioned. I’m mystified why we did nothing to build on that. The only one we know won’t be going anywhere soon is Junior. Everybody else should have their head on a swivel.


  • December 11, 2011  - Ragtime says:

    I’m not a fan of Haley or Muir, but at some point the players have to be held responsible and be able to make a few plays. Where’s the blocking? There are NO holes for the RB’s. NO time to make a pass longer than 5 yards. That was not an NFL offense on the field.


  • December 11, 2011  - cychief24 says:

    It all starts up front. Weigmann is feeble, Richardson has poor technique and effort, Albert should be at RT and Lilja is on his last legs.
    Meanwhile Hudson sits and they cut Gaither.

    Pioli has had 3 years to develop depth and has not.
    He drafts Stanzi 5th round who can’t beat out pitiful Palko meanwhile TJ Yates goes later in the 5th and has been average for Houston.

    Just very frustrating for this 34 year season ticket holder. Oh and the Chiefs sent out bills for 2012 this week. First payment due Jan 17, unbelievable!


  • December 11, 2011  - el cid says:

    Make a list of all 53 players and they let us down, so what. Did one guy force the Chiefs to sign them? Did one player force at gunpoint Haley to put him on the field? Did giving hunt 90+ million of player salary money, help this team to preform sundays? No Cy and the rest, the players are not much but who put them in Chief’s uniforms?? That is who is to blame, throw in the really crappy, cheap bastard owner too.


  • December 11, 2011  - Johnfromwichita says:

    I agree that we have a problem with everything from owner to center. I’ve ragged on the O line to the point that I don’t even listen to me anymore. Yes, cychief, I got also my bill for tickets this weeK and my wife commented on the timing. But thinking about it and how rest of the games might even be worse and it sounds like a good business move. Now if CH would learn how to make some good football moves. Before he ruins it.


  • December 11, 2011  - Bobber says:

    I agree with your comments on depth at QB and RB. Its hard to believe they didn’t do more to upgrade the depth there, and I would add TE to that list. But the position I find really puzzling is OL. For those other positions, its a matter of having good starters but not upgrading the depth. At OL, these are the players they chose to go with as starters. We aren’t playing backups and with the exception of a couple games that Lilja missed, they’ve been intact the whole season. I guess they thought this group would be better, but its obvious we have 3 players on the OL that are marginal at best. And again, these are the players they chose to go into the season with. Amazing.

    There’s too much anti Clark sentiment here. There’s no evidence that he meddles with football decisions and Pioli says he doesn’t constrain him on spending, so there’s no reason to hold him directly responsible for personell decisions. I hope whatever dicision is made on Haley, its thoughtful and not an emotional reaction to this horribe season.


  • December 11, 2011  - Tim says:

    Well Bob, the answer to your question is YES! Many of us have been saying it since LAST year about many of our problems: OL, RB & QB.


  • December 12, 2011  - Chuck says:

    Well not to pile on but like cychief 24 says it all starts up front. You can’t put everything on Palko. I agree Albert should be a RT. Get rid of Weigeman (who really was ultimately responsible for that safety!!!!), Richardson and Lilja. That means we need 3 new offensive lineman. That would be a great start for next year when we get Cassel back.


  • December 12, 2011  - David says:

    cychief24 and Chuck have it right about the O-line; it is a catastrophe. Remember the Vermeil days when the Chiefs had a perennially terrific offense? It started with having folks like Shields, Roaf, and Waters on the offensive line. Nowadays, with a weak, porous line that can neither pass-protect nor run block, you get offensive performances like those of the past several weeks.


  • December 12, 2011  - brainsmasher says:

    I believe the Chiefs are trying to put a product on the field that is so bad that the fans will stop showing up and they can use that as an excuse to move to Los Angeles.


  • December 12, 2011  - ED J says:

    Yea all of you is right at what point will Hudson get the start of Wiegman. At what point will Richardson be replaced by anybody. Maneri or whoever can they do any worst. At what point will Stanzi takeover for Palko. He’s been just as horrific as oline. Making horrible throws, forcing balls that are getting picked off, or yesterday just flat out holding on to ball too long. Seriously come on Haley try shake things up.


  • December 12, 2011  - KC_Guy says:

    Anyone remember a guy from the Herm ages called Will Svitek? Just check what happened to him.


  • December 12, 2011  - Johnfromwichita says:

    Uh, Bobber who annouced the firing of Haley. Hunt. He’s into every detail from front office to field. He’s going to make money. And be in charge. Pioli is a puppet. I feel sorry for Lamar because he could’t set an example.




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