Commentary: A Slightly Better Ugly

From Raymond James Stadium

I doubt that the average Chiefs fan walked away from the television set on Saturday night feeling like their favorite team made a giant leap forward.

Rather, call the Chiefs performance against the Buccaneers one small step for Chiefskind.

Call it an outcome where it was sort of … a slightly better ugly.

More than anything what the guts of Todd Haley’s team needed to show in pre-season game No. 2 was that it could play better than it did in pre-season game No. 1. The Atlanta performance did not qualify as a debacle, rather it was just so disappointing for Haley, his staff, his players and those folks around Arrowhead Stadium who are charged with selling everything from tickets, to suites, to sponsorships.

That made this second outing important, and that sense of urgency was apparent during the week of practices in St. Joseph. Haley hammered away at his team on items like tempo and getting out to a faster start, cutting down the mistakes and forcing the other team to make mistakes.

Then in their first possession, they turned the ball over, with the normally sure-handed Thomas Jones putting the ball on the ground where it was claimed by the Buccaneers and set up their opening field goal.

It was in some ways a better performance for the Chiefs but it was not the kind of evening that is going to convince the folks of the Show-Me State and their Jayhawker neighbors to put their hard-earned greenbacks on the line for tickets. Let’s remember, they were playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team that won even fewer games during the 2009 season than the four victories accumulated by the Chiefs.

The Bucs were not an opponent of the quality of the Atlanta Falcons. With the Chiefs coming out of 30 minutes of play with the No. 1s against their No. 1s and a 10-10 tie at intermission … that was not good. It stings even more when you realize all 10 Tampa Bay points came because of Kansas City mistakes. Jones’s fumble gave the Bucs good field position and they produced a FG. Then, normally reliable CB Brandon Flowers did not secure his tackle on a simple out pattern and it ended up being a 53-yard touchdown for the Bucs offense.

Later in the second half, the Bucs intercepted a pass by QB Tyler Palko that set up another field goal. That’s 13 points courtesy of the Chiefs. That’s going to make them very sick on the plane ride home.

Yes, the Chiefs were better on this night than they were a week before against Atlanta. But no, it was nowhere near the spike in improvement that they needed to display for themselves and their fans to show this is truly going to be a different type of season than the one they lived through last year, and the year before that, and the year before that.

This was progress – snail’s pace progress and right now the Chiefs need to be showing us some Jesse Owens-Bob Hayes-Carl Lewis type of progress.

8 Responses to “Commentary: A Slightly Better Ugly”

  • August 22, 2010  - Different Story, Same Results In 20-15 Defeat | Chiefs Football at says:

    [...] COLUMN: Sort of better … maybe. [...]

  • August 22, 2010  - Rick says:

    Plain and simple Charles needs to be running the ball which will move the chains more. Charles did whiff on the blitzer that sacked Cassel for a huge loss. Cassel did play better and made smarter decisions I thought. I was dissapointed when they spiked the ball on 2 and 3 to go instead of running a play. I thought they had enough time there.

  • August 22, 2010  - Tenand6 says:

    This team will have to win the turnover battle. That will be hard if they can’t get to the QB. We can force some fumbles, but sacks and INT’s have to happen.

    On passing downs, what would be the best front 7? What about Gilberry, Dorsey and Magee on the line and Sheffield, Belcher, DJ and Hali as the LB’ers? Studabaker for Sheffield? Is Magee a better pass rusher than the rest? Or, put an OLB as an end?

    Pioli needs to work the phones and RAC needs to rack his brain on how to get more pressure on the QB. This defense must produce turnovers.

    Hey, Bob. Got some ideas here? How about a depth chart and some personnel thoughts on a nickle package?

  • August 22, 2010  - Michael says:

    I disagree some with Bob’s assessment, but then again I’m not expecting to see gigantic progress from this team suddenly. The Chiefs were 4-12 last year, and at times had trouble even looking respectable against anyone, including less than stellar opponents. They’re still an extemely young team, and are just beginning to build some depth at some positions.

    I’m seeing the kind of progess I thought was possible, and that I hoped to see. Frist, except for that first part of that first drive against Atlanta, they have not looked like minor leaguers with no clue. There were many times last year when they looked like they didn’t even belong in the NFL. I don’t ever want to see that again, and it’s looking like the chances seeing that again are fading.

    I’m seeing noticable, if not spectacular, improvement from most of the young veterans; steady development that I believe will lead to break-out type seasons for some. I think as this season goes on we will see some more redemption for the ’08 and ’09 draft classes, and this year’s rookie class looks like it can really contribute this year.

    I guess it just depends on your perspective and expectations. Maybe mine are too low. I don’t want opponents to look at their schedule happily when they see KC on it. I don’t want to see any more of that gut-wrenching, mickey-mouse, is this the NFL kind of play (as in the Browns setting rusing records against you!). I want to see a good, young team on the rise that cannot be taken lightly. To me, this team looks like it’s going in the right direction, and can be the kind of team I want to see this year. Many other fans might not be happy with that, but I will be because I know once that happens, gigantic improvement isn’t that far away.

  • August 22, 2010  - Tenand6 says:

    Too bad Brodie can’t stay healthy. He is a good #2 QB and he most likely would have made a difference in how the offense functioned in the second half.

  • August 22, 2010  - Edward says:

    Agreed Tenan6 definately think Brodie would’ve made a differnce with the second team if he had played in this game. As for improvement I’m like Micheal I see huge improvement over last yr. We’re looking better against the run. Our return game is night and day compared to last yr. Having Arenas over Bobby Wade is refreshing to hear. As for the run game it looks top 5 which is far better than where it was in 2008 and 2009. As for the defense we have two young, athletic, speedy safeties back there that can cause some turnovers compare to last yr watching McGraw and Mike Brown getting sliced and diced last yr. We’re looking strong against the run game compared to last yr. Its been less drops this preseason. There’s improvement if you take the time to really examine this team compared to the last 3 yrs.

  • August 23, 2010  - dan in joplin says:

    If that would have been a regular season game, I think we would have beat them! We were moving the ball really well on offense and the defense was looking good! I just feel that “strait up” our (4-12) team from last year WOULD HAVE beat that (3-13) team! Did you guys what they were doing w/ Studebaker? At one time he was lined up in the middle right behind the nose tackle!

  • August 23, 2010  - Michael says:

    Yes, Vrabel was moving around quite a bit, too, inside and outside.

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