Whitlock: Angry Players Get Through To Coaches
timsatt, here's an article to fo with your post I asked you about earlier.
With about 5 minutes left in the first half, Damon Huard and Larry Johnson erupted in outrage over the “offensive” play-calling that had the Chiefs down two scores to the Vikings and headed for an 0-3 start.
Johnson had been tackled in the backfield, again. He popped up from the ground, spiked the ball and joined Huard in demonstrably yelling toward the Kansas City sideline. A ref flagged Johnson for delay of game.
Two plays later, Huard came off the field and screamed at quarterbacks coach Dick Curl as kicker Dave Rayner completed Kansas City’s seven-play, seven-yard drive with a 39-yard field goal.
“Players were emotionally in the game and got mad,” Herm Edwards explained in the aftermath of his team’s ugly, season-saving 13-10 victory over Minnesota.
“(They) got mad at calls, got mad at what we were asking them to do, they got mad at coaches, coaches got mad at players.”
Huard and Johnson may have accomplished what booing Chiefs fans, angry sports columnists and rational players such as Brian Waters couldn’t. Huard and Johnson shamed Edwards, Curl and offensive coordinator Mike Solari into running an offense that made some sort of sense.
Down 10-3 at the break having featured fullback/tight end Kris Wilson (three receptions, 13 yards) in the sideways passing game, the Chiefs unleashed the downfield Gonzo-Bowe attack the final 30 minutes.
In the second half, Tony Gonzalez and Dwayne Bowe combined for 11 catches, 153 yards and one TD. In the opening 30 minutes, the pair generated one reception for 14 yards. The Chiefs basically ignored Bowe, the lone Chief to score a touchdown this season.
Hey, it wasn’t quite the return of the Dick Vermeil-Al Saunders-Trent Green circus, but the Chiefs were able to move the football, produce first downs, score 10 points and accept the victory the officiating crew handed KC when it wiped out a Minnesota TD catch in the second quarter.
You have to walk before you can jog. The Chiefs took their first positive steps on Sunday. Edwards, Curl and Solari identified their offensive playmakers and made a concerted effort to get them the ball.
“We wanted to get the ball to three guys in our offense,” Edwards said. “It has to rotate among three guys — 27, 88 and 82. I talked about that this week with our staff.”
And Huard and Johnson reminded the staff late in the second quarter. Normally, I’d criticize Johnson for drawing such a silly penalty. But, honestly, this coaching staff needed to be publicly embarrassed. Losing wasn’t enough. Getting booed at home wasn’t enough. Vicious newspaper columns didn’t do the trick.
The Punt-uda Triangle — Herm, Curl and Solari — had to be called out in front of 80,000 spectators to force the proper adjustments.
After the game, I jokingly asked Gonzalez who would be the first to take a swing at Dick Curl — Johnson or Huard.
“Probably Damon because he has to work with him every day,” Gonzalez joked.
Let me be the first to gladly admit that I was wrong about Dwayne Bowe. I had previously suggested he was the second coming of Sylvester Morris. That doesn’t appear to be true. Although we should keep in mind that Sly Mo had a three-TD day against San Diego his rookie year and then disappeared.
Right now, Bowe looks like the outside playmaker the Chiefs desperately need. He scored Sunday on a 16-yard fade pass when he was perfectly covered. He simply leaped in the air, snatched the ball and tapped his feet inbounds.
“Damon made a great throw, and I made a great catch,” Bowe accurately summarized.
When Eddie Kennison returns from his hamstring injury, the Chiefs just might have a formidable passing attack, a threat that might create running lanes for Larry Johnson.
“We can’t get LJ going until (Bowe) makes people respect our passing game,” Waters said.
Johnson had 42 yards in 24 carries. The interior of Minnesota’s defensive line manhandled Waters, Casey Wiegmann and John Welbourn in the running game.
Well, now it’s on to sunny San Diego, where the Chargers are a disappointing 1-2, as well. There are likely to be a lot of angry and emotional players inside Qualcomm Stadium. It’ll be interesting to see which superstar running back snaps first, LJ or LT.