It’s Déjà Vu, Again … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

It’s dangerous to project very far into the future when talking about a football team like the Chiefs. Yes they are 3-1. But this is only the second season of the “process” and this franchise is coming off the worst three-year stretch in its history.

But there’s one part of where this Chiefs sit right now that seems very, very familiar. It’s the part where one aspect of the team seems dominant. It was the case in the 1990s, when during the Marty Schottenheimer Era fans dreamed of an offense to match the Chiefs stout defense.

Best example: the 1995 playoffs, when the Chiefs had the No. 2 defense in the league during the regular season and allowed the Indianapolis Colts just 10 points in the playoffs. The Chiefs ended up losing 10-7.

Then in the 2000s, it was the opposite, as the Chiefs had one of the most productive and prolific offenses the league has seen in the last 20 years. But success in the post-season was hamstrung by a defense that possessed all the qualities of a sieve.

Best example: the 2003 playoffs, when the Chiefs had the No. 2 offense in the league during the regular season. That group came out and scored 31 points against Indianapolis. But the defense that finished the season ranked No. 29 allowed 38 points and never forced the Colts to punt.

Welcome to 2010 and long suffering Chiefs fans, it’s starting to look again like your team is lopsided. This time the pendulum has swung back to the defense.

This week, the Chiefs are No. 16 in the league in yards allowed (320 yards per game) and the defense is tied for No. 2 in points given up (57). But the offense is ranked No. 24 after four games in yards (306.8 yards per game) and 27th in points scored (77).

Of course, the only statistics that really matter are the victories and defeats and despite being lopsided, the Chiefs are 3-1 and leading the AFC West. And among the NFL’s eight teams that have lost just one game so far in this season, they are not the club that’s most unbalanced. Pittsburgh is No. 29 in offensive yards and No. 5 on defense. Chicago is 27th in offensive yardage and sixth in yards allowed. Baltimore is No. 19 in yards on offense and No. 3 in yards allowed.

Those teams are all titled towards the defense. New England is 11th in offensive yardage, but 29th in yards allowed, as the only club built more on offense than defense.

Three other teams with only one loss are pretty balanced. The surprising Tampa Bay Buccaneers are No. 21 on offense and No. 18 on defense, Atlanta is seventh on offenses and 11th on defense and the New York Jets are 13th in yards gained and 10th in yards given up.

It is early in the season, but what have the Chiefs shown so far to provide any indication things might be different over the remaining 75 percent of the season? It’s not like there is some offensive weapon that has been on the injured list or under suspension that is suddenly going to be added to the attack and light up the offense.

But then, based on what’s gone down around the Chiefs, it’s not a surprise that they are better on defense. It always comes down to what type of team the head coach is looking to produce. With Schottenheimer, that was defense. With Dick Vermeil, it was offense.

And to the surprise of some, with Todd Haley it’s back to defense. Many thought since he was taking the job after serving as offensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals through the Super Bowl, that he was more like Vermeil than Schottenheimer. The Cardinals had the high-octane passing attack of QB Kurt Warner and WRs Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. Arizona’s running game was one of the league’s worst and the defense was mediocre at best.

In reality, Haley is more Marty than Dick. The foundations of his football beliefs were formed by the Super Bowl Steelers he watched as a kid and Bill Parcells with his teams at the Jets and Cowboys. His view of football is the need for a strong defense, the running game on offense, play-action passing, takeaways not giveaways, conservative play calling, with a few aggressive risks when it pushes the pace.

So defense was going to be the spot where the Chiefs started rebuilding in the Pioli/Haley process. In fact, that had already started in 2008, under the Peterson/Edwards/Kuharich regime. In the last three NFL Drafts, the Chiefs have used seven of their first nine selections on defensive players:

Rnd.

Pick#

Player

Pos.

Year

1

3

Tyson Jackson

DE

2009

1

5

Eric Berry

S

2010

1

5

Glenn Dorsey

DT

2008

1

15

Branden Albert

OT

2008

2

35

Brandon Flowers

CB

2008

2

36

Dexter McCluster

WR

2010

2

50

Javier Arenas

CB

2010

3

67

Alex Magee

DE

2009

If those picks were not so lopsided towards the defense, consider what that might mean for the other side of the ball. Say they split the above picks down the middle, four on each side and say they were able to hit as well as they did on Albert and McCluster. That would mean a stronger offensive line and another weapon for Cassel and the offense.

The key to success in the NFL is balance, within each unit and overall on the team. If Pioli/Haley successfully build the type of franchise they want, they will have done what Schottenheimer and Vermeil were never quite able to achieve – pull together both sides of the ball.

OWNERS SUDDENLY OPTIMISTIC ABOUT LABOR SITUATION

As the NFL wrapped up its fall meeting on Tuesday in Chicago, several owners were sent out to talk optimistically about the labor situation with the players.

As the NFL Players Association continues to work on getting permission from its members to decertify the union if necessary, Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Colts owner Jimmy Irsay said Tuesday they are optimistic a deal can be reached.

Said Kraft: “We are moving ahead. I’d like to see this get done before the season ends.” Asked if he thought that was a realistic goal, Kraft said: “to me it is.”

Added Irsay: “I don’t think it’s Doomsday. We’re taking it a day at a time. Everybody is engaged and from my perspective the key thing is to find a solution. That’s where both sides are. I know that energy will be there.”

NFL PERSONNEL FILE FOR TUESDAY, OCTOBER 12

  • BROWNS – released WR Sam Aiken.
  • COWBOYS – released S Michael Hamlin.
  • 49ERS – claimed S C.J. Spillman off waivers from the Chargers; released CB Tramaine Brock.
  • PATRIOTS – placed OL Nick Kaczur on the injured-reserve list (back), ending his season.
  • RAMS – placed TE Darcy Johnson on the injured-reserve list (concussion), ending his season; signed FBZ Brit Miller off their practice squad.
  • SAINTS – signed S Matt Giordano and RB Julius Jones; released K John Carney and RB DeShawn Wynn.

2 Responses to “It’s Déjà Vu, Again … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • October 13, 2010  - bhive01 says:

    I just commented in another post about this, but this is what I was referring to. We have a good D, we don’t have a solid O and vice versa. Perhaps you’re never meant to have a perfectly rounded team.

    Bob, has there ever been such a team? Would you say that most SuperBowl winners are either O or D with just enough of the other to squeak by?


  • October 13, 2010  - Jimbo says:

    I think the current regime is building the defense first, by design. We all can agree that a solid & imposing defense with depth takes more time to blossom. Our young defense is starting to blossom & will continue to bloom for many years to come.

    The offense has obviously improved, exception being the QB & WR positions. We are very much in need of additional and talented players. I would venture to guess our 2011 draft choices will reflect those offensive as opposed to defensive needs.

    Plain and simple we need a QB of the future. Cassel is servicable at best. A big disapointment in my opinion. I have no doubts the Chiefs outlook is bright for many years to come. Scott Pioli has a plan. A grand plan… Patience is not my forte, nor losing seasons year after year. We must be patient. Championships & Dynasties require it.
    Go Chiefs.




Get the Flash Player to see the slideshow.


Categories

Other News

Archives


RSS


Pages

Home