Chiefs want to find some offense
By ADAM TEICHER
The Kansas City Star
The Chiefs began their preseason Saturday night in Cleveland much as they did last year’s in Houston. The offensive statistics were dismal and almost identical, and the Chiefs lost both times.
They went on to continue their lousy offensive preseason last year, scoring only 40 points. It carried into the regular season with the Chiefs scoring just 16 points in their first two games, both losses.
It’s too early to draw the conclusion that the Chiefs are headed for another sluggish offensive start. But it’s not too early for the Chiefs to be concerned, and one of their goals in tonight’s game against Miami at Arrowhead Stadium is to locate their offense.
“We need to get some continuity on offense,” coach Herm Edwards said. “We’ll do a little bit more in these next two games to get our offense going. We’ll try some more things. But we’ve got to make more plays because if you go three and out every time, it’s awfully tough.
“There’s a little bit of a concern, but I’m not in panic mode. You look at half the preseason games and every one who lost is probably either mad at their defense or mad at their offense because this didn’t happen or that didn’t happen.”
The nature of preseason makes that the case. Starters shuttle in and out of the game, competing teams often have different agendas and are using stripped-down versions of their offensive and defensive systems.
The Chiefs are also trying to find their way without a declared winner of their starting quarterback derby between Brodie Croyle and Damon Huard, and they’re missing two key offensive players, Larry Johnson and Damion McIntosh.
“Last week we were running a lot of stuff we normally wouldn’t run,” Croyle said. “That’s preseason. That’s the nature of it. There’s going to be guys ready to go.
There’s going to be guys that aren’t there. There’s going to be guys that are hurt. You’ve just got to deal with it. Somehow you’ve got to find a way to make the plays.
“We’re not running our full arsenal. We’re very toned down about it. At the same time, we’ve got guys open. It’s a matter of getting them the ball.”
With Croyle or Huard at quarterback against the Browns, the Chiefs couldn’t sustain a drive. They had no possession of more than five plays until Casey Printers took over at quarterback.
Though the rest of the game was horrific, the starting offense in last season’s preseason opener at least put together one impressive drive, one that made a ball-control advocate like Edwards smile.
It consisted of 13 plays, covered 71 yards and chewed 7:12 off the clock.
The Chiefs had only 19 plays with Croyle or Huard last week, hardly enough for either player to get much benefit.
“You hope to have every situation in the preseason games,” Huard said. “You hope to deal with the third-and-longs, the two-minute drills, the backed-up-to-your goal line. You want to go through all of those situations so come the regular season, you’ve been there before and you’ve experienced it and you’ve watched it on tape and you’ve learned from it.”
While Edwards would like at least one drive tonight like the one the Chiefs produced in Houston last year, he won’t compromise to get it.
“At the end of the day you are preparing yourself for the opener,” he said. “There are certain things that you look at, but you’re not game-planning, you’re just kind of playing football. You’re not trying to be cute with it on offense or on defense. I think this next game, I actually expect we’re going to play better.
That’s just my feeling. We’ll see.”
Edwards isn’t ready to name a starting quarterback and might not do it until after next Thursday’s preseason game against the Saints at Arrowhead.
“When we come to grips to who the quarterback is going to be, that will help us,” Edwards said. “Then you’ll get into some type of flow. We’ll get the quarterback in place and let him do the things we know he can do, I think we’ll be much better.”
No matter the quarterback, the other signs are ominous for the Chiefs. Johnson still hasn’t signed, McIntosh probably won’t be ready to start the regular season, the Chiefs because of injuries haven’t been able to identify a fullback and their blocking tight end, Jason Dunn, still hasn’t practiced because of injuries.
“I won’t say we’re going to struggle when the season starts, but we won’t be the same offense in week one that we are in, say, week eight. We’ll get better,” Edwards said.
“I would think we can do better than 13 points in the first two games but the problem is that we’re playing both of those games on the road. We’ll go to Houston, and they’ll be excited for that game. Then we’ll go to Chicago. They play pretty good defense. I don’t anticipate in my wildest dreams going to Chicago and scoring 28 or 30 points.”