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Commentary: Chiefs Beaten Up On Line

From Arrowhead Stadium

It’s a fact of football. If you want to figure out which team is going to win or lose the game, watch the area about two yards on either side of the line of scrimmage. That’s where the nitty-gritty war of infighting takes place, where the offense tries to control the defense, and the defense reacts in a negative fashion.

The Chiefs lost that war on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. They didn’t just lose it … they were destroyed. Constantly, the red and gold defense never got past the line of scrimmage, let alone into the area two yards behind the snap of the ball. Offensively, the Chiefs offensive line was backpedaling like bad cornerbacks as they got shoved around by the Titans defense.

In the end, that was the story of the Chiefs fifth loss of the season and their 14th in the last 15 games.

Right now, the Chiefs have no redeeming quality as a team. That’s unfair to punter Dustin Colquitt who continues to do a good job under difficult and overworked conditions.

But the Chiefs have no offense and they have no defense right now. That was evident in Carolina two weeks ago. It was oh so obvious against the Titans.

They were simply dominated by a Tennessee team that is now 6-0 on the season. The Chiefs knew coming in that the Titans were a rough and tough football team. Former Chiefs head coach Marty Schottenheimer likened their defense to a stubborn old knot, one that has been weathered by wind and rain and now is impossible to untie.

That was definitely the case. The Chiefs ran for 58 yards; it was really less than that. Take out Tyler Thigpen’s 21 yards and it was 14 carries for 37 yards by Kolby Smith and Jamaal Charles. They didn’t rely on the running game much because they fell behind and there simply wasn’t anywhere to run.

Throwing the ball was problematic as first Brodie Croyle started and left the game with a knee injury that means the end of his season. Then Damon Huard left the game with a right thumb injury; future status unknown. That brought in Tyler and on Chiefs Alumni Day, Tony Adams and Mike Livingston were warming up in the Hunt Family suite.

No matter who was the quarterback, there was no time to set their feet and throw. They were sacked three times in 40 passing plays, but they were pounded numerous other times after releasing the ball. That’s how Croyle was injured, after completing a nice throw to Dwayne Bowe.

Nothing got done against the Titans old knot defense.

The Chiefs on the other hand now have a defense that’s like a three-year old who hasn’t learned how to tie his shoes yet. They go flying running around with shoestrings flapping and then boom … they trip over their own feet and running backs are racing past them, doing dashes toward the end zone.

Quite simply, the defense’s performance against the run was yet another embarrassment. Tennessee averaged over eight yards per carry. In the first half, before they ripped off TD runs of 80 and 66 yards, they had a scoring drive where they ran for five, four, two, 12, 10, 24, four and two yards. Throw in a 17-yard pass play and that was a nine-play, 80-yard drive to a TD with eight running plays for 63 yards. That was just below their eight-yard per carry average.

“The bottom line is that we didn’t go out there and do our job,” said rookie defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey. “That’s all there is to it.”

Oh no Glenn, there’s so much more than that. The offense can’t score, can’t even move the ball at times and the Chiefs fall behind. Then the defense tries to make something happen and they forget to do their basic jobs and they get smashed for big play after big play.

Once again, just as the situation was in Carolina, the Chiefs could have played a good football game and still be beaten by Tennessee.

But the Chiefs did not play a good game. They were not only beaten on the scoreboard, but they were beaten up physically across the field. They were beaten up mentally, emotionally, physically and any other ally you can come up with.

Right now the Chiefs are not a young team, a rebuilding team.

They are simply a bad team, one that doesn’t do anything well, can’t get anything done and must still play 10 games in the 2008 season.


29 Responses to “Commentary: Chiefs Beaten Up On Line”

  • October 19, 2008  - Mike in St. Joe says:

    What an absolutely pathetic performance this afternoon. Sadly, I don’t believe management or the coaching staff have a clue what needs to be done.

    Croyle has probably taken his last snap as a Chief, which is a good thing. It’s time to find a legitimate starter.


  • October 19, 2008  - Jon in Dayton says:

    For those of us who couldn’t see the game … was it the right or left side or both? With it being Albert’s first game back how did he do?


  • October 19, 2008  - ILChiefsFan says:

    Wow. That’s as pessimistic a column as I’ve seen on this site, Bob.

    I think that, considering the opponent, pass protection was better in this game than it was against either Atlanta or Carolina. Run blocking was a different story, however.

    Can we all admit the Croyle is just a fragile guy? Yes, he got hit hard, but don’t a lot of NFL QB’s have to endure a few hits like that each week? Croyle was throwing the ball pretty successfully up until he got injured, so it’s not like the line was being consistently overwhelmed.


  • October 19, 2008  - Stiv says:

    This is a very, very poorly coached team.


  • October 19, 2008  - ILChiefsFan says:

    Jon,
    In my opinion the right side was still a bigger problem than the left. Herb Taylor played quite a bit at right tackle, but took at least two penalties. Hard to tell if we was an improvement over McIntosh without reviewing play-by-play.

    Albert got beat a couple times on pass protection. On at least 1 play they purposely lined Haynesworth up against him. I thought his run blocking was better than the rest of the line, but given how bad the run blocking was overall that’s not much of a compliment.


  • October 19, 2008  - Colby says:

    Nice article Bob. It was tough to read, but it’s honest. You take a lot of flak for being too easy on these guys, but you are an honest journalist in my opinion. There’s nothing to be happy about after this game. Croyle’s career is probably over, at least as a starter, and the Chiefs now have next to no hope whatsoever. I’ve been against the idea of dumping Herm midseason, but St. Louis has won two straight under their interim coach Jim Haslett and they’ve looked good doing it. It’s time to send a message to the players and fans. Someone’s head needs to roll.

    If not Herm or Carl, then the special teams coach might be a good fire. Getting rid of Gunther mid season might not be a bad idea either. How about Nick Novak getting handed his walking papers? Something needs to happen around here and it needs to happen now!


  • October 19, 2008  - Skrappy says:

    I think we should keep Croyle around as our new back-up. I think he would serve us well backing up our new pick next year. Heck, we might as well draft two quarterbacks on the first day. I think Croyle has good skills and is a character guy, so I think it would be wise to keep him to back up our new starter from the bench.


  • October 19, 2008  - JohnNdallas says:

    I have to ask this tmess, how do you feel about Huard roster spot? He too is hurt again.


  • October 19, 2008  - JohnNdallas says:

    Again Tmess I agree with everything you say, but the Huard question is a valid one, Croyals roster spot offered us hope and a future, Huards is just wasted air, he has no future he packed it in last season.
    I’m not saying that to insult him (well in a way I am) If he doesn’t want to play than he should have retired instead of hoping to ride the bench and draw a check I say again his presence on this roster is a waste.


  • October 19, 2008  - Hank says:

    After calming down here is how I see it:
    1. The defense was on the field way too long and young or not they will give up a big run and that’s what happened at the end of both halves.
    2. Brodie is done as a starter but we can’t afford to draft an unknown. We need to get a proven yet young QB from Houston or Cleveland.
    3. This defense is so young that they will be great with a lead and bad when behind.
    4. Finally, why has there been no passes to Cottam, Franklin or any young guy on a short pattern over the middle?


  • October 19, 2008  - kcnutzinpa says:

    i agree bob right now this team is bad and it seems to me they are not headed in the right direction anytime soon! keep up the good work!!


  • October 19, 2008  - Colby says:

    I think I’ve got it. Herm won’t be in any danger this year. He’ll fire Gun before the year is even over and blame his failed D linemen he drafted on Gunther. No big loss anyway, Gun hasn’t been the same since the league practically banned bump and run coverage. Gun doesn’t have the freedom to blitz like he used to and maybe, Neil and DT made Gunther look like a better coordintator than he really is?


  • October 19, 2008  - JohnNdallas says:

    I betting Gaily goes before Gun does.


  • October 19, 2008  - Mark says:

    That would be Typical Herm. Blame and fire the co-ordinators, when the real problem is himself. When a team gives up 2 300 yard rushing games in the NFL, with perhaps more to come, the Head Coach MUST be fired. His team isn’t playing for him. Carl and Herm must go, then Bob can rightly blame them for this fiasco after they are gone, as he can’t while they are still employed. Break the bank for Scott Pioli of NE, and turn over EVERYTHING to him.


  • October 19, 2008  - Tim says:

    I hope the backers of this organizations woeful decisions, can answer just ONE MORE question: How much worse could it possibly be the rest of the season, if they got rid of Herm & Gunther? The organization has nothing to lose – really.


  • October 19, 2008  - Lloyd says:

    Someone said Herm is in over his head. HERMMMM, I hear the train a coming , comming round the bend.Dont do anything now , if its already screwed up , dont make it any worse ! JUST SMIPLEY HAVE ALL THE PLAYERS THAT ARE NOT BLOCKING – DASH OUT OF THE WAY , SO WHO IS TRYING TO MOVE THE BALL , DO NOT HAVE THEM TO DEAL WITH , STANDING AROUND , IN THE WAY , DOING NOTHING , NOT A DAMN THING , MAKING IT IMPOSSIBLE TO GET AROUND THEM .—FILMS !!!??


  • October 19, 2008  - DavidS says:

    I have tried to remain positive and understanding in every way, but after this, I agree with the majority. The GM and Coaches are responsible for preparing the team to play. This season has turned into a record breaking season and it is all negative records. The way Gonzo was handled, the lack of foresight at the QB position, the placement of players into positions they can’t handle, and the total lack of motivation, is management and coaching issues. They must be held accountable. It really can get worse, so the key is to stop it before the good players we have are ruined. It is time for Poli and Cowher to ride in and save the day.


  • October 20, 2008  - Harold C. says:

    Who was it that was comparing our rebuild to the Dallas rebuild back in the Aikman days? I’m wondering…..were they as bad as this? Of course this year is hopeless. All we have left this year is to sit back and try very hard to see anything good that we can maybe build on for next year (not much there right now) and hope that nobody else from our division makes it to the Superbowl.


  • October 20, 2008  - dklogue1 says:

    I think some fans may not make it through the season! Yes they look bad at times, a lot of times, but they were already at a disadvantage with this young team add no legitimate QB for more than a half and it is a recipe for disaster.
    We need a legitimate QB now! We will probably not get one during the year. We get the Tyler Thigpen experience!


  • October 20, 2008  - MarkInTexas says:

    Harold, the 1989 Cowboys were 1-15, averaged 12 points/268 yds on offense and 25 points/347 yds on defense. The Chiefs to date average 12 points/257 yds on offense and 27 points/402 yds on defense.

    The Cowboys, however, still had Herschel yet to trade, and a rookie named Aikman.


  • October 20, 2008  - Harold C. says:

    Thanks Mark….I’m encouraged by the comparison. Thigpen hasn’t been great so far but maybe he will morph into something more by the end of the year.


  • October 20, 2008  - DanKCFan says:

    I don’t think Thigpen is the answer but at least he gets us in the endzone. Huard is not the answer so in less we go get a free agent this week are best choice (IMO) is Thiggy


  • October 20, 2008  - Merwin says:

    The best part about Thigpen is at least he can run out of the pocket to avoid the rush. I’m not convinced he is the answer at QB as he has a lot of errant passes. The team does seem to move with him in there but it’s usually late in the game with the other team protecting a good sized lead. I would be interested to see who is available to bring in as a replacement for Brodie Croyle.


  • October 20, 2008  - DOUBLE D says:

    CRIS SIMMS he’s young and tough.


  • October 20, 2008  - Skip says:

    Bob,
    Been a Chiefs fan since ’66. Lived and died with them through all of my adult years, mostly died. My custom plates say ‘Chiefs’.

    I have a simple question; Why is Gunther Cunnigham still the defensive coordinator? I ask this with no malice at all towards the man. I actually live about 20 miles from where he attended high school. This is his 4th or 5th year back and the D is the worst I’ve seen in my 42 years supporting the team. Shouldn’t the fans be seeing a better product?

    One more thing, if the Chiefs show no marked improvement over the course of the season, and at this point there’s no indication they will, do you envision any shake-up in the organization?

    Thanks for your great coverage of the Chiefs and in the oft-used lexicon of Chiefs fans everywhere, ‘maybe next year’….. when I’ll still be a fan. Hey, it can’t get any worse, can it?

    Skip in CA




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