Working The Offense … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

The Chiefs offense continues to struggle. It was abundantly apparent last Sunday when they played a mediocre Buffalo defense.

While they were able to produce 354 yards – their second best yardage day of the 2009 season – they were able to score but 10 points and one touchdown. They turned the ball over four times. They allowed four sacks.

In all, they had 20 negative plays, a number they should reach over three or four games, not just one. They are 80 percent through their season and they are still making a remarkable number of mistakes. That total of 20 included four sacks, four interceptions, four offensive penalties, three passes for minus-yardage and five running plays for minus-yards.

Essentially the Chiefs big offensive day came down to a 76-yard touchdown run by Jamaal Charles (above).

“Jamaal Charles continues to be a real bright spot for us,” said head coach/offensive coordinator Todd Haley. “I think there are a lot of good things going on with him in the pass game and the run game, even in the turnover situation when he made the tackle and forced the fumble.”

Charles’ long run allowed the Chiefs to put together one of their best rushing performances of the season, yet they were not able to consistently move the ball on the Buffalo side of the field. They ran the ball 13 times on the Bills side of the 50-yard line and gained just 35 yards, or 2.7 yards per carry. On their own side of the 50, the Chiefs ran 13 times for 117 yards, or nine yards per carry.

The KC defense got three turnovers and gave the ball to the offense at the Bills nine and 49-yard lines. The third takeaway – Brandon Flowers interception – came in the KC end zone and the offense started at their 20-yard line.

The offense gained 24 yards, one first down and no points from those opportunities.

“Offensively, we’ve got to capitalize on those turnovers,” said Haley. “When we get the ball in those areas we’ve got to turn it into points. We weren’t able to do that.”

The Chiefs offense has had more possessions than any other team in the league with 166. Here’s how those possessions ended, along with the league average:

  Possessions    TDs  FGM      FGA   Punt      Int. Fumbles Downs Time Safety
Chiefs

166

19

19

23

82

13

7

13

8

1

NFL  Avg.

152

29

19

24

62

13

8

6

9

0

They have scored on only 23 percent of their possessions, that’s 28th in the league better than only Oakland, St. Louis, Cleveland and Tampa Bay. Those five teams are a combined 11-54. The teams that have scored most often compared to their possessions are New Orleans, San Diego, Minnesota, Indianapolis and New England. The combined record of those teams is 55-10.

Haley and his offensive staff continue to tinker with the scheme in hopes of finding more point production. In the last few games, there has been a significant increase in shifting by the Chiefs offense and less motion. The development of Charles has led to more quick hitting running plays called between the tackles. That long TD run was courtesy of an old-fashioned trap play, as RG Wade Smith pulled and took DT Kyle Williams out of the play and opening a huge hole for Charles.

They are using more personal groups. At any time, there can be one, two, three backs on the field, or one, two, three or four wide receivers and one, two or three tight ends. So far, there’s only been one quarterback per play, but heaven knows that may change as well. They returned a bit of the so-called Wildcat to the offense last week, when Charles took a direct snap on a running play.

And on third downs, the Chiefs have gone to the no huddle. Last week, they caught Buffalo trying to change out personnel and the Bills had to take a timeout. The idea is to keep the defense from changing personnel.

What Haley is trying to do is have the Chiefs offense move at a faster pace, in and out of the huddle quicker, so there’s more time at the line of scrimmage for shifting and changing the play if necessary. If LT Branden Albert can limit the false start penalties, it would help matters tremendously.

Some of what the Chiefs do each week on offense is generated by the opponent. Some is Haley and staff continuing to figure out what they can and cannot do with the talent on hand.

At this point about the only thing that has definitely been settled on is that Charles is the real deal as a runner and a receiver. Haley and his staff have to walk a fine line between getting production out of him and potentially putting him in harm’s way because of overuse. Last week’s 27 touches for Charles were too many, and that was without returning kickoffs. That’s a weapon the Chiefs hate to give up, but must if they are going to keep Charles healthy enough to contribute for three more weeks.

“We’ve got to give No. 25 some breaks throughout the game,” Haley said. “And every time a run is called you wish he was in there the way he’s running. That’s more because of him and the big plays he’s making and less about the other guys.”

GONZALEZ TRYING TO DEAL WITH MORE LOSING

“This is what I love to do.”

Those were the words of TE Tony Gonzalez as he talked with the media this week before the Jets and Falcons play this Sunday. Atlanta has lost six of their last seven games and on the edge of being completely pushed out of the post-season picture.

“I was talking to the New York media and they were saying how do you stay motivated knowing you might not make it to the playoffs,” Gonzalez said. “This is what I love to do. I’ve done this since I was 12 years old. This is a dream. We’re playing a dream and if a guy can’t get motivated because we might not be going to the playoffs, then I really don’t want to play with guys like that.

“I know the situation for us to get into the playoffs, it doesn’t look good. It’s a long shot but at the same time we still have a shot so it’s important that we go out there and play. And even if it wasn’t, we’re playing football and this is something that we love to do.

“I don’t care what the situation is, I don’t care if we’re down 45 points in the fourth quarter, it’s important that we go out there and play hard because this is what we do for a living and that’s expected out of us.”

Tony G. says that he’s going to return to play next year for the Falcons. Atlanta coach Mike Smith will welcome him back with open arms.

“I’ve never seen anybody work so hard when he steps on the field,” Smith said.”This is a guy, who’s been in the league for 13 years, has been to a number of Pro Bowls and probably is going to be a Hall of Fame tight end. When he steps out on that field to work at practice, that’s what he does.”

SIGNINGS, HONORS, INJURIES & MOVEMENT AROUND THE LEAGUE

  • AFC –named Broncos WR Brandon Marshall offensive player of the week, Titans LB Keith Bulluck defensive player of the week, named Browns returner Joshua Cribbs special teams player of the week.
  • NFC – named 49ers RB Frank Gore offensive player of the week, Redskins DE Brian Orakpo defensive player of the week and Eagles WR DeSean Jackson special teams player of the week.
  • BENGALS – re-signed DT Shaun Smith; released WR Maurice Purify.
  • BILLS – claimed G Richie Incognito on waivers (Rams).
  • CARDINALS – placed S Matt Ware on the injured-reserve list (knee); signed K Mike Nugent.
  • JETS – signed RB Chauncey Washington off the Cowboys practice squad.
  • LIONS – released FB Terrelle Smith.
  • RAIDERS – released OL Roy Schuening; announced that Charlie Frye will start at QB this Sunday.
  • RAMS – claimed OT Ryan McKee of waivers (Jets); promoted OT Eric Young from the practice squad.
  • SEAHAWKS – said rookie C Max Unger will take over in the starting lineup.

FROM THE PAGES OF CHIEFS HISTORY

On December 17, 1961, the Dallas Texans beat the New York Titans 35-24 before a crowd of 12,500 at the Cotton Bowl, finishing their second season with a 6-8 record. The Texans jumped out to a 28-0 lead, topped by a pair of defensive touchdowns. CB Dave Grayson returned an interception 99 yards for the first touchdown. RB Abner Haynes scored on touchdown runs of two and four yards. Then the Dallas defense added another score, as LB Sherrill Headrick scored on a 56-yard lateral of an interception by S Doyle Nix (right). The Titans answered back with 24 straight points, but the Texans scored last, as RB Johnny Robinson hit the end zone on a six-yard run. Haynes finished the game with 107 rushing yards on 19 carries. Robinson caught three passes for 95 yards and ran 10 times for 62 yards. The Dallas defense had three interceptions, recovered three fumbles and five sacks.

On December 17, 1967, the Chiefs beat the Denver Broncos 38-24 at Bears Stadium. The Chiefs had a 28-7 lead at half-time and rode that through the second half for a big victory. Len Dawson threw three touchdown passes in the first half, with all three going to Otis Taylor (left) for 21, 26 and 58 yards. Bert Coan scored on a four-yard run and the Chiefs got a score in the kicking game as Noland Smith returned a kickoff 106 yards for a touchdown. Mike Garrett finished the day with 169 yards on 20 carries.

On December 17, 1972, the Chiefs beat the Atlanta Falcons 17-14 at Fulton County Stadium. The Chiefs drove 81 yards to score the winning touchdown with just over two minutes to play when QB Len Dawson and RB Ed Podolak connected on a seven-yard pass. Dawson threw a 15-yard scoring pass to WR Otis Taylor and K Jan Stenerud kicked a 28-yard FG. The Chiefs finished the 1972 season with an 8-6 record.

On December 17, 1978, the Chiefs lost to the Seattle Seahawks 23-19 at the Kingdome. The Seahawks got on the board first and stayed in front the entire game. It was a 57-yard TD pass from QB Jim Zorn to WR Steve Largent (right) that was the first score. The Chiefs got scoring runs of one-yard by RB Arnold Morgado and 62 yards by RB Tony Reed. In the game, Reed finished with 121 rushing yards on 11 carries, pushing him over the 1,000-yard mark for the season. He was the first back to top that number since Mike Garrett in 1967. The Chiefs also got a 33-yard FG by K Jan Stenerud and a safety when Seattle’s punter Herman Weaver ran out of the end zone late in the game. QB Mike Livingston threw three interceptions in the game.

On December 17, 1989, the Chiefs lost to the San Diego Chargers 20-13 at Arrowhead Stadium in front of 40,623 fans. The Chiefs blew a 13-7 lead at half-time, as the Chargers scored 13 second half points to earn the victory. San Diego’s defense held the Chiefs to 214 yards in total offense, while forcing three turnovers and allowing only one touchdown: an 11-yard scoring pass from QB Steve DeBerg to RB Todd McNair (left). K Nick Lowery had a pair of FGs. The Chiefs gave up 176 rushing yards on 39 carries to RB Marion Butts. CB Kevin Ross had an interception of San Diego QB Billy Joe Tolliver and they had sacks by DE Leonard Griffin, LB Chris Martin and DE Neil Smith.

On December 17, 1995, the Chiefs beat the Denver Broncos 20-17 at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs defense shutdown the Broncos running game in front of 75,061 fans. Denver finished with just 64 rushing yards on 16 carries. The Chiefs got touchdowns from WR Webster Slaughter, who caught a five-yard TD thrown from QB Steve Bono. DE Vaughn Booker returned a fumble 14 yards for a score and Bono had a five-yard touchdown run. Bono finished the game hitting 23 of 37 passes for 232 yards.

On December 17, 2000, the Chiefs beat the Denver Broncos 20-7 at Arrowhead Stadium. A crowd of 78,406 saw the Chiefs trail 7-3 at half-time, but they scored 17 points in the second half to gain the victory. RB Tony Richardson led the way for the Chiefs offense, carrying the ball 23 times for 156 yards and a 28-yard TD run. RB Frank Moreau added a two-yard scoring run as he carried 14 times for 59 yards. The KC defense did not allow a touchdown, as Denver’s only score came on defense. DE Eric Hicks had two sacks of Broncos QB Gus Frerotte.

On December 17, 2005, the Chiefs lost to the New York Giants 27-17 in a Saturday afternoon game at Giants Stadium in New Jersey. Giants RB Tiki Barber (right) ripped the Chiefs defense for 220 rushing yards and a pair of touchdown runs, scoring from 20 and 41 yards. The Chiefs got a good game from RB Larry Johnson, who scored twice and finished with 167 yards on 31 carries. It was a seventh straight 100-yard game for Johnson. QB Trent Green was 15 of 28 for 176 yards and an interception. Giants QB Eli Manning was 17 of 32 for 186 yards with a TD pass to WR Amani Toomer and an interception, picked off by CB Dexter McCleon.

SAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY …

Born on December 17, 1971 in Frankfurt, Germany was FB Tony Richardson (left). He joined the Chiefs as a free agent in 1995, after spending the previous season on the Dallas Cowboys practice squad. Richardson spent 11 seasons with the Chiefs (1995-2005), appearing in 163 games, with 96 starts at both fullback and running back. He carried the ball 395 times for 1,576 yards and 15 touchdowns. Richardson caught 168 passes for 1,230 yards and eight touchdowns. His most productive season as a runner/receiver was 2000 when he had 205 touches for 1,165 offensive yards and six touchdowns. He made two trips to the Pro Bowl after the 2003 and 2004 seasons. Richardson played two seasons in Minnesota (2006-07) and now two seasons with the Jets in New York (2008-09).

Born on December 17, 1929 was DE Dick Fry. He was a member of the original Dallas Texans, playing in all 14 games in the 1960 season. Fry played in the 1961 season for the Houston Oilers, appearing in seven games.

Born on December 17, 1975 in Belle Glade, Florida was OT Willie Jones. He joined the Chiefs in 2001, after spending two seasons with the St. Louis Rams under Dick Vermeil. Jones played two seasons with the Chiefs (2001-02), appearing in 19 games.


15 Responses to “Working The Offense … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • December 17, 2009  - el cid says:

    Sort of wished the Chiefs took a look at Incognito before the Bills grabbed him. He was good coming out of college but did not help the Rams much, a change in location might have helped.


  • December 17, 2009  - Mad Chief says:

    el cid,

    Incognito? The man voted the “dirtiest” player in the league not long ago? A guy who consistantly blows his cool on the field?

    Seriously?

    No thanks.

    Too bad for Tony G. Just goes to show, when you want to go play for a “contender”…there are no guarantees. Can’t help but wonder how many games he might have helped us win this year, had he stayed.


  • December 17, 2009  - el cid says:

    Conrad Dobler was a dirty player also but had a long career once a team got him under control. I do not necessarily want that type but goodness knows we need some edge on our OL. Can’t pass block or run block, maybe meanness would help.

    As for Gonzales, he got what he wanted, more power to him. Look as what we have at TE so not sure he was Haley’s kind of guy but it would of at least saved one draft pick and maybe one roster spot. He would have played, no problem there.


  • December 17, 2009  - JohnNdallas says:

    JC needs to get a big life size photo copy of that pic of Barber above,and study how he’s carrying the ball!

    Barber had a real problem fumbling too, until Coflin (sp) taught him to carry the ball vertical and high on his shoulder pads! Heard Barber say that himself.

    HAPPY BD T.Rich! Wish you were still a Chief.


  • December 17, 2009  - JohnNdallas says:

    Look at the Photo of JC at the top of this thread and then look at the pic of Tickki, Charles has the ball in perfect position for it to be punched out from behind or striped from front and side. Barber not so much.


  • December 17, 2009  - Jim Lloyd + says:

    MC-
    Tony leaving when he did has now put #45 & #78 in the game and their develompt has helped a lot .
    I think that helps when everyone start’s hitting on all 8 at the same time ,


  • December 17, 2009  - jimbo says:

    I think the real eye opener of the Chiefs leading the league in possessions is that the defense is doing their job of getting the ball back, via 3 & outs, fumble recovery & interceptions. It’s a real shame that we have a so called franchise QB & OC that can’t get the job done.
    I’m sick & tired of all the excuses of why we were one score away in 5 games that we lost & should have won.
    I sure as hell hope this gets corrected next year.
    Go Chiefs.


  • December 17, 2009  - colby says:

    That 2nd round pick we have coming keeps getting better and better. Most of us thought that would be late in the round with Atlanta looking like a possible SB contender. Now, it should right in the middle, right around pick 50. Not bad. I don’t feel bad for Tony though, the NFL is a crap shoot and you never know who will be good in any given year. Can you imagine how cranky he would be if he still played here? Although, if Cassel had a guy like that to throw to, (a guy who doesn’t DROP every other pass) he might have much better numbers.

    To me, the biggest disappointment among the position groups is WR. Lots of drops, lots of bad route running, heck they even get penalized frequently for holding or illegal shifting or illegal man downfield etc. I know that that position has been somewhat of a revolving door, but look at what you have.

    Bowe: Hands should be better now that he’s in his third year. He may never be a consistent catcher.
    Wade: Has exhibited great hands everywhere else he’s been, but leads the NFL in drops here.
    Bradley: I don’t recall him dropping nearly as many last year as this year.
    Chambers: Had his first problem with drops last Sunday.
    Long: Is on the team because he’s the only guy that can actually catch. Doesn’t mean he’s good in any other area though, but he can catch dammit.

    Haley is/was a highly respected WRs coach. This lack of WR production is even more frustrating as a result.


  • December 17, 2009  - el cid says:

    Just heard something worth talking about. First we have to agree that Pioli’s first draft needed time to develope. The Chiefs have said they did not expect Jackson to be effective for 2-3 years and the rest except for Succop, are not much AT LEAST THIS YEAR. The future is still to come for the 09 draft. if you accept this, THEN, what about the next draft?? Most of you have said after the next free agency and draft, watch out the Chiefs will be better. Now here is the point….. If Pioli wants 2-3 years to put the roster together, the next draft will not have to impact the team for 2 more years. Or If Pioli blew the 09 draft, he must hit dynamite in 10 and their must be several starters (somethng he did not do in 09). Or what if Pioli is just a bad drafter.

    I am not saying any of it will happen but WHAT IF? The Chiefs may be as bad in 2010 as 2009 because the “plan” does not require results yet. That is flat scarry to me


  • December 17, 2009  - gorillafan says:

    colby,

    What a difference T.G. could have made this year for Cassel and his confidence too. Without T.G., d-backs can now double team the recievers more since they dont have to double cover tony any longer. thats one thing I think has made more a diff in lack of production from last year to this year

    JohnNdallas
    as for the way charles is carrying the ball, you dont think the difference is in the stride position when the pic was taken. obviously charles left hand is on the back stroke and barbers is on the top of his front stoke with that arm??????


  • December 17, 2009  - gorillafan says:

    el cid,

    The plan is to win now, but not in the means of washington and sign a bunch of high dollar players just to have players. I dont think there is one fan,player, or coach that is expecting us to be this bad next year. It is a process, 2-3 years is a super bowl contender, not just a team that got to a 500 reccrd or barely makes the playoffs. Ithink , and they have stated, they want to win now and turn it around now, but it may take some time to be init the S.B.

    As far as Pioli being a bad drafter??? no, thats why he was the #1 man in the nfl for the job. Not just the Chiefs, but any team would have wanted him, and its because of what he has done in the draft, free agencey,yada yada..

    But yes, right now it doesnt look like a home run draft, and it had better be a lot better one next year.


  • December 17, 2009  - el cid says:

    gorillafan – Your last sentence says alot. Hope you are correct. It will be a interesting off season.


  • December 17, 2009  - Behind Enemy Lines says:

    Like others, I don’t feel bad for TG. I like the guy, but I like the Chiefs more. I hope the Falcons lose out and so should the rest of Chiefs Nation. Considering they traded him to a “contender” the Chiefs look like they could get amazing value for him at roughly #50 overall. I’ll take 3 picks in the top 50 any day.


  • December 17, 2009  - JohnNdallas says:

    gorillafan,

    That pic is not the only example I’ve noticed of Charles carrying the ball out in the open, or is the pic of Barber a selective sample, Later in his career anyway.

    Barber carried the ball high and tight against his shoulder pad, always (according to him) keeping the ball as vertical as possible. HE claimed that he resisted the idea of carrying the ball this way for along time because he felt it would hurt his balance and speed, but said after coach hammered at him long enough, he started experimenting with, and liked it. He felt it actually helped his balance and cutting ability and, that if it did slow him down it wasn’t enough to notice.

    There is obviously a flaw in the way Charles is carrying the ball, now if Barbers technique is right for Charles or not, that’s for a coach to figure out.

    I’ll admit, it looked unorthodox as hell, but it was obviously effective.




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