Chiefsí offense needs more than a QB switch
By JASON WHITLOCK
INDIANAPOLIS | Save it ó the moaning, the groaning and the second-guessing.
This Chiefs football season is what it is, a rebuilding year, an opportunity to evaluate and re-evaluate.
You may not like it. You might be as ticked as veteran Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez. But youíre not going to change anything. Thereís no reason to fire offensive coordinator Mike Solari in midseason.
The Chiefs didnít lose to the Indianapolis Colts 13-10 on Sunday in one of the ugliest games in recent memory because Solari called all the wrong plays and wouldnít let Brodie Croyle wing it down the field.
The Chiefs fell to 4-6 and tallied fewer than 14 points for the seventh time in 10 games because their roster is incomplete, devoid of offensive-line talent and missing a legitimate kicker.
You could turn this offensive unit over to Heidi Fleiss, stuff a 39-gallon Hefty bag with hundred-dollar bills, lather the players in Brut aftershave, ship them all to Nevadaís Mustang Ranch, and they still couldnít score.
It is what it is, so save it. Spend your Sunday afternoons looking for flashes of hope.
Hey, I love to gripe about play-calling, but you have to block even when the right play is called, and you have to have the right personnel.
The Chiefs tried to be aggressive on their second-to-last possession of the first half. They were pinned relatively deep in their own territory when Croyle dropped back to pass and a runaway truck came barreling down Interstate 60, the Chris Terry Expressway. The Indy defender separated Croyle from the football, and gave the Coltsí offense the kick-start it needed.
You canít be aggressive when youíre hamstrung at right tackle. And you look nearly as bad being conservative when your 34-year-old, just-out-of-retirement running back slams into a brick wall after eight first-quarter touches.
Priest Holmes looked damn good in the first 15 minutes. He ran seven times for 32 yards and caught one pass in the opening quarter. He got progressively worse from there, toting it eight times for 20 yards in the second quarter. He kept running sideways trying to get to the corner, and the Colts kept tracking him down and lassoing him. By the third quarter, Holmes was gassed. He hobbled off the field early in KCís lone TD drive, took off his helmet and stood by running-backs coach James Saxon, trying to catch his wind and collect his thoughts. In the second half, he carried it four times for 3 yards.
Thereís a reason modern NFL players train year-round. The game is played at a speed, emotional pitch and level of physicality that is far different from when Lenny and Otis starred. It takes more than six weeks to prepare for todayís game.
And itís going to take more than a QB switch to fix KCís offense.
Brodie Croyle showed us something. His footwork was much better. He stepped into his throws and delivered the ball with confidence, particularly in the second half. He completed 10 of 14 passes for 113 yards and a TD after the break.
Croyle and Dwayne Bowe connected on a beautiful 19-yard fade route in the corner of the end zone with the Chiefs trailing by seven points. It was a perfect pass and even better catch. Bowe continues to justify his draft choice.
Jared Allen continues to justify his salary demands. Letís just go ahead and say it: For eight games, Allen has been the leagueís best defensive player. On Sunday, he knocked down four Peyton Manning passes. He recorded six tackles and was credited with one quarterback hurry, though he chased Manning more times than that.
Allen keyed a front seven that did a fine job of pressuring Manning and shutting down Indyís ground attack. The Colts picked up 66 yards on the ground. Joseph Addai finished with 72 yards in 21 carries. Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson both made big plays in the backfield.
You put two young, physical corners on this defense, and the unit turns from good to great.
Hey, I donít blame Gonzalez and the veteran players for being upset. This team isnít going anywhere, and Gonzalez, Brian Waters, Donnie Edwards, Eddie Kennison and a few others only have a couple of years left to play at a high level.
But a smart football fan should be relatively satisfied with what they saw Sunday. Allen, Bowe, Hali, Croyle and Derrick Johnson went into the house of the defending Super Bowl champions and made plays.
Plus, Chiefs-Colts passed the time and moved us one day closer to Armageddon at Arrowhead, when two well-coached, properly constructed, highly successful football teams will bring meaningful football back to Arrowhead Stadium.