Column: Reason Why? It’s The Talent

From Invesco Field, Denver

From the start, everybody associated with the Chiefs, or at least those that were not wearing rose-colored glasses, knew that the margin of error for this 2010 squad was very thin.

In the last two weeks, the Chiefs have shown just how thin. Last Sunday in Oakland they made so many mistakes that they could not overcome them in losing in overtime to the Raiders. It was a performance that was at the other end of the spectrum to where they had played the first seven games of the season.

A week later in Denver, they did not beat themselves. They got their ass kicked by a Broncos team that was well-prepared, well-coached and with fresh legs coming off their bye week. They grabbed the neck of this game and never let go. They dug the grave, they put the Chiefs in a football casket, they lowered it in the ground and they shoveled dirt on top. So much did they dominate this game that they had time to plant flowers as well.

The Chiefs had no shot once it got to be 21-0 and there was still time to play in the first quarter. Reason? I know you are tired of hearing this, but it’s another reason why the team’s margin of error is so, so thin – they do not have enough talent.  

No team is built to make up a 35-point deficit; it’s darn near impossible for anybody even if they have names like Manning, Brady or Favre. We know there are not names like that on the Chiefs roster. They are a team that’s built on running the ball, playing their offensive and defensive cards close to the vest, forcing turnovers and not giving any back, not getting hurt on penalties and generally doing it with so called smart football.

They have to play that way because they don’t have the talent. Down by 35 points, the Chiefs went to three wide receivers on nearly every play in the second half. But who does Matt Cassel have to throw the ball too? First, there’s Dwayne Bowe and he had a career best game, catching 13 passes for 186 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

With Dexter McCluster out for the third straight week because of his sprained ankle, the next best game breaking receiver is RB Jamaal Charles. He played almost every down in the second half and ended up catching five passes for 80 yards.

But after that, it was WRs Terrance Copper, Chris Chambers and Verran Tucker. Copper may have played the most offensive snaps of his NFL career, because there really wasn’t much else to choose from.

That’s not a Murder’s Row of receivers and not the type of group that can turn a game around.

But it wasn’t just there that the lack of talent was visible. Denver QB Kyle Orton threw 34 times and was not sacked. With two rookies starting in their offensive line, the Broncos kept the Chiefs defense away from Orton. It hasn’t been that way all season; he was sacked 21 times in the first half of the season.

The post-game stat sheet done at NFL stadiums is not always accurate when it comes to defensive statistics. The numbers are kept by hometown statisticians and they tend to award their employers with more tackles and do not pay much attention to the visitors. So take this for what it’s worth – the post-game stat sheet had a big zero under the category of quarterback hurries for the Chiefs defense.

And how about the secondary that gave up five touchdown passes? The team’s first two free safeties were both inactive for this game – veteran Jon McGraw (knee) and rookie Kendrick Lewis (hamstring). That forced second-year man Donald Washington into the starting lineup. He’s one of those disappointments from the 2009 Chiefs draft class that hasn’t provided much in the way of performance in 25 games. Washington had two tackles in Sunday’s game before he was lifted from the No. 1 defense for Ricky Price, who was just activated from the practice squad Saturday night.

Notice how the Broncos went right at the deep middle of the Chiefs defense for two or their first three TD passes? Josh McDaniels knew who was and wasn’t in the game, and he took advantage of that immediately.

That was true for the Broncos on defense as well. They took LB Mario Haggans and lined him up over RT Barry Richardson. All Haggans did was pick up three sacks in the first half, including one where he forced a fumble that was returned for a touchdown. Eventually, Richardson got pulled and Ryan O’Callaghan was inserted at RT. While Haggans didn’t have another sack, he still was chasing Cassel and causing havoc.

There’s that skinny margin of error the Chiefs face each week of this season. They have improved their talent level and they’ve done a good job of getting production out of the players they inherited. But they don’t have enough … they don’t have enough offensive playmakers, they don’t have enough defenders who can pressure the quarterback and they don’t have enough depth all the way around.

They can’t beat themselves and they can’t fall behind, because there’s little chance they’ll catch up. It leaves them with one way to play and if that doesn’t happen, their chances of winning diminish considerably.

That’s what we’ve seen over the last two games, and that’s not going to change in the final seven.

20 Responses to “Column: Reason Why? It’s The Talent”

  • November 14, 2010  - Edward says:


  • November 14, 2010  - Todd says:

    Good news.. sorta.. I got to watch two of the Chiefs next opponents play each other today. Seattle beat Arizona handily. Next week, we should be able to beat Arizona? After today, I’m not so sure about beating Seattle. I’d like to think we can.

    Let us pray…

  • November 14, 2010  - Edward says:

    Bob I agree with everything you said in this piece except for the talent. We have enough talent on this team to prevent this kind of lost. WE had no business allowing this team to beat the brakes off us like this. Especially with Denver being inferior to us in talent. This speaks to how unprepared our defense was to face this team. At times guys looked lost and out of place. If we’re going to be critical of Charlie when his play-calling we need to do the same with Romeo. He didn ‘t get any pressure on the QB. Washington of course was out of place alot out there in the secondary. We gave up too much of a cushion to Broncos receivers which allowed for alot of underneath routes. As for the run game we got pushed around. I will say this I’m eager to see how we will respond the next 3 games. Because I knew at some point of the season this team will face adversity lets see can Haley coach these guys back up.

  • November 14, 2010  - Nate says:

    Bob I am tired of you saying I told you so! What you should be saying is there is not enough DEPTH OF TALENT. With McCluster, Lewis and Magraw out and the Bronco’s having two weeks to prepare and the chiefs playing road games the last two weeks, I could see this one coming a mile away. ARE YOU SAYING THE BRONCOS HAVE MORE TALENT THAN THE CHIEFS? THAT’S TOTAL BULL!!!!

  • November 15, 2010  - Chiefs Crash In Denver, 49-29 | Chiefs Football at says:

    [...] COLUMN – It’s a lack of talent that’s causing problems. [...]

  • November 15, 2010  - RW says:

    Never as good when you win, never as bad when you lose, or something like that. The off season shopping list for talent grows. Right now, I’m looking for:

    1) A blazing fast WR with good hands
    2) A pocket crushing NT
    3) A DE/OLB pass rusher to complement Hali
    4) Added Oline depth

    I think most of us knew that 2010 wouldn’t be a SuperBowl run for the Chiefs but if some key areas are addressed (see above), there’s hope for 2011 BUT easier said than done, obviously.

  • November 15, 2010  - Chuck says:

    I’ve thought this for a “long time” and now is a good time to get it off my chest. This is what you get when you have an owner that doesn’t want to spend the necessary money in free agency to bring in the guys that can get the job done. And for those of you that will say “just look at the Cowboys” I say YA JUST LOOK AT WHAT THEY DID TO THE GIANTS YESTERDAY IN THE GIANTS HOUSE. If you have tremendous talent eventually it WILL SHOW UP ON SUNDAY!!!!!! EXTREMELY FRUSTRATING LOSS YESTERDAY!!!!!!!

  • November 15, 2010  - Tim says:

    Good article, Bob. The predictions of most people at the first of the year were 7-9 to 8-8… anything else is gravy. This will turn out to be the case most likely. If they play lights out, then playoffs are possible. You never know what may happen to other teams. We are a year or two away should we hit on a reasonable number of draft picks in ’11 & ’12 AND get a FA or two. I know Cassel put up a lot of numbers yesterday, but I’m just not seeing the comfort level in the pocket. To me, he still appears like a deer in the headlights instead of having the eye of the tiger. Compare the demeanor of most of the good QBs – even the young ones: Flacco, Ryan, Bradford, Stafford, Sanchez, etc. They have that comfort level & confidence. I don’t sense that from Cassel. All this talk of he hasn’t played that much is for the birds. You either have that “it” confidence factor or not. I don’t think he does. He’ll be serviceable. We’ll win games, but its a longshot we’ll never reach our potential with him.

  • November 15, 2010  - Michael says:

    I agree with Nate. Also, the team just didn’t look prepared; it didn’t match the intensity level of the Broncos, not even close, and was completely out-schemed.

  • November 15, 2010  - Petey says:

    Disagree Chuck…you can’t or shouldn’t bring in any big free agents until you’ve got a solid base, which we are building. We will go out and be in line for some of these guys in the future if they fit our profile. But bringing in a guy just because he’s a name is a recipe for disaster.

  • November 15, 2010  - Andy says:

    Maybe if we dont get rid of pollard and page, we could have drafted dez bryant or other play makers berry looks slow and cluless.

  • November 15, 2010  - timinac says:

    Bob – Any word on the condition of Tony Moeaki? He took a vicious hit and possible blow to the head during the first onside kick. He got up, but was so off-balance, sideline players/coaches ran to him to hold him up.

  • November 15, 2010  - Husteak says:

    timinac – good point – I saw that hit too. He got blasted.

    We have better/more talent than the Broncos????
    ‘Take off the rose colored glasses.’

    It’s not even close –
    Receiver – Broncos (by FAR)
    O-Line – Broncos
    RB – Chiefs
    QB – Broncos (IMO – All 3 Broncos QB’s are better than Cassel)
    D-Line – Broncos
    Linebacker – Broncos
    DB’s – Broncos
    Special Teams – Broncos

    You can’t JUST look at team record.
    San Diego also has FAR more talent than the Chiefs.
    Maybe even Oakland.
    I predict we will be in last place by the end of the year. We have the least amount of talent.

  • November 15, 2010  - Gerardo says:

    Living in mexico I don’t get a chance to watch all games and for this one I’m glad I can’t. Looking at the numbers I was trying to figure out what happened and is clear we don’t have enough talent, the yards and receptions for broncos receivers looked more evenly distributed, the chiefs with only bowe getting the load. The same goes to the defense with DJ on top in tackles. How do big teams get it done? The colts are a hospital and keep finding ways to win, better coaching?

  • November 15, 2010  - Roger says:

    Bob what you said is true. The only thing I could think that was different from last year’s team was that last year’s team couldn’t have scored 29 points.

  • November 15, 2010  - Craig says:

    Hey Bob Good Article.

    My only caveat is that we dont have depth. We are comparable to many teams in starting talent, but we dont have backup players who can step in and compete. Give Cassel credit he did good other than fumble which is all on him. He can wing it and maybe we need to do some more of it. There may be a silver lining to this. We did better when smith started at end instead of Jackson. We need another nose to give ron edwards some rest time. Carr looked like toast yesterday. But the mile hight air is tough to play in no matter how good of athelet you are.

    We will get better. GO Chiefs.

  • November 15, 2010  - Clarence says:

    Bob, I agree with your assessment of the Chiefs’ talent, but wonder why you neglected to mention the QB. At that position, the Chiefs are definitely lacking. None of the receivers, with the exception of Bowe and Moeaki, have been thrown to enough to judge their talent, please don’t give me BS about our recievers not getting open like Len Dawson spouts on the radio. Len seems to forget that most of his passes were in anticipation of his receivers getting open, with timing and accuracy, which good QBs do. Some would say that I watch football too much (my wife in particular) because I replay the Chiefs’ games several times and watch replays of several other games (I’m retired). Most passes by good QBs are completed because of placement and accuracy. I also see easy drops by most of the best receivers. It’s all about savvy and ability.

    Thanks much for your great site and contribution to us fans.

  • November 15, 2010  - Nate says:

    Hustek you should take up another sport if you think the Broncos have more talent than the Chiefs. I live in Colorado and follow both teams closely. Josh McEgo has released several good players that he inherited. Can you say Peyton Hillis? There is a reason that they have lost 14 of their last 19 games and are 3W and 6L this year. McEgo’s 2 drafts have been strange and unproductive. If you think the Bronco’s will finish ahead of the Chiefs you and lost in the dark man.

  • November 15, 2010  - TDKC says:

    I figured the Chiefs would be embarrassed sometime this season. Actually I thought the Texans would do it.

    It might just make them better.

    It was good to see them still fighting to the end of that horrible game.

  • November 15, 2010  - Michael says:

    The negative ninnies are out.

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