"I didn't see that coming at all. We were a confident team after last week's game," Edwards said. "Then we come in here and we acted like we've never played before."
Part of me saw this coming. A young team fresh of an upset goes on the road and has a letdown game against a very stout Panthers team. But, part of me saw the Denver game as a confidence builder and a stepping stone to better games. I expected the Chiefs to lose on Sunday and maybe even by ten to fourteen points (spread was 9.5). What I didn't expect was such a flat performance. They may as well have not showed up. The blame there goes to Herm Edwards and the coaching staff. Not sure what you learn from this game as a young player. That it's ok to quit? The Chiefs quit on Herm in this game and that is the most troublesome part of this loss. I will say the young cornerbacks Brandon Carr and Brandon Flowers didn't quit but the rest of the team did. Muhsin Muhammad is not faster than those Chiefs defenders at his age is he? Yet he outran them to the endzone. That is a lack of desire or even more incriminating to a "fast young defense" is that a 36 year old possession receiver is faster than your twenty-something corners and safeties. So pick your poison. Either the Chiefs defenders gave up on the play or Muhammad is faster than a collection of young guys.
A prime example of the difference between a good coach and a mediocre one, Tom Coughlin. Coughlin is a hard-nosed old school disciplinarian football coach. He benched his best receiver before the game yesterday (Plaxico Burress) for being late. Coughlin's team has a huge upset win in the Super Bowl last year and Michael Strahan retires and Osi Umenyiora is injured yet they still come out and play at a very high level. If any team was due for a let down season it was the Giants. They won it all in one of the biggest upsets of all time. Their franchise defensive end retires and their other star defensive end is lost for the season. Mailing in the 2008 season would have been acceptable. How do you motivate a team like that? Yet Tom Coughlin has it figured out. Herm can't even motivate a young, hungry team with many guys playing for future contracts. Losing is 'ok' if the heart is there. The Chiefs coaching staff really needs to re-evaluate what they are doing in mental preparation. I have seen heartless performances in two of the last three weeks. That is not acceptable from a fan base that is trying to be patient with rebuilding.
The Chiefs have a bye week to regroup and for the coaching staff to make some tough decisions. I have come to two decisions that in my mind need to be made. First, move Hali back to left side defensive end. He is jumping around standing straight up and not even playing the run on almost every down. He lacks the burst to beat a left tackle and lacks the power to get off blocks. He needs to play on the left side to face some inferior competition. On the right side they need to play a guy that is more stout against the run. We can't get a pass rush anyway, don't compound the problem by letting Hali struggle on the right side against the run too.
Second, McIntosh needs to be replaced by Herb Taylor at right tackle. I understand the desire for consistency on the offensive line. Right now they are consistently awful. McIntosh needs to be a backup left tackle or even moved to right guard where his lack of quickness isn't as exposed. He is supposed to be a decent run blocker so why not move him inside at this point in his career? Brandon Albert at left tackle and Herb Taylor at right tackle needs to happen and happen in the bye week to give Taylor a chance to get acclimated.
Offensively the Chiefs are not any more imaginative with Chan Gailey than they were last year with Mike Solari as the offensive coordinator. First play of the game a play-action deep pass is a great way to put a little doubt in the mind of the defense. Hell run an end around or a half-back pass from Larry; something to slow down the run blitzing safeties and linebackers that are gang tackling Larry Johnson behind the line of scrimmage. Another play that slows down the rush is the shovel pass. If the defensive line and linebackers are coming so hard to the line of scrimmage squirt your back in behind them for a nice 4-7 yard pickup with a shovel pass. It's safe so it could be effective and again it shows a new look to the defense. Where are the slant passes to Bowe/Darling? I know the Chiefs offensive play book is limited with noodle-arm, no mobility Huard but don't compound the issues by being unimaginative with what weapons you do possess. How about Charles and LJ in at the same time? fake run to LJ up the middle and a toss outside to Charles? I know that might *gasp* put Georgia Tech fullback Mike Cox on the sideline for a play or two but I think the Chiefs will be just fine without him. There are a lot of ways to give some new offensive looks. With arguably the finest defense in the NFL coming to town Chan Gailey needs to use many of them if they expect Brodie to stay upright for more than a quarter on October 19th. Haynesworth and the Titans are coming into town and it could be very ugly very fast if they don't.