Chief Concerns: Stephen Brown
If I were to criticize … you know… jab the 8-0 bear with a stick (don’t slay me), the Chiefs’ offense gets the poke.
Steve! The Chiefs are 8-0… enjoy it, love it, and eat it up… like it’s the BEST saltine cracker you’ve EVER tasted! Yeah, chews WONDERFULLY!
I’ve been starving like the rest, enjoying Kansas City’s second-best start (Dick Vermeil’s 2003 Chiefs started 9-0) and possibly the Chiefs best start (have to beat the Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos to go 10-0) in team history.
Hey, it’s been breakfast, lunch, and dinner all rolled into one… so far.
I love the collective TEAM effort, BUT… I can’t get past the “stuff” that needs fixin’, loose ends before the Chiefs face their AFC West killer stretch. It’ll be here before you know it.
So yeah, the offense has me asking questions.
THE GOOD…Top 10 Stats
Offense: Few mistakes (just 8 giveaways in eight games, 4th fewest in NFL) and ball control (Chiefs 32:32 5th best). When Alex Smith and the offense needs to make plays in the fourth, extend the clock, and hold the lead they have, they haven’t lost it yet in the fourth quarter.
“They’re more designed to control the tempo of the game, win time of possession and take their shots downfield through surprise and trickery,” says Chief Concerns David Schroeder. ”So far they haven’t been able to connect too often. And I think you can chalk that up to timing.”
Hard to establish timing when Smith has been sacked 24 times, 8th most in the league. Smith’s cautious play sometimes leads to it, but more often than not Smith is forced to scurry. In comparison AFC West foes Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers have been sacked just 11 times, Manning has 29 touchdown passes and Rivers 15. Smith has 9.
Kansas City is 10th in scoring, that’s team scoring. The offense has 21 touchdowns, 3rd best in the AFC. Kansas City has 7 TD’s via the run (not bad), 9 by catch, and 5 total from defense (3) and special teams (2).
The offense has fumbled the ball just 8 times, 9th fewest in the league. The Broncos lead the NFL with 18 fumbles, 11 lost. The Chiefs have lost the ball 4 times. The Seattle Seahawks (another NFL favorite) have fumbled 17 times, lost it 8.
Mistake free has been this offense, might drive folks nuts, but Smith and crew aren’t hurting themselves or the defense. With 18 fumbles Denver shows there’s room to take advantage, that’s where having an excellent defense like the Chiefs have comes into play. Kansas City has taken the ball away 20 times, second behind Seattle’s 21.
Overall the offense has played it safe, hasn’t hurt the strength of the Chiefs, which is defense. Smith has “managed” the offense well.
OK… now the “un-fun” part.
WHAT ISN’T WORKING
CBS Pete Prisco’s Tweet over Twitter about Kansas City being the worst 8-0 he’s “ever” seen is now lore. It’s been spoken, Tweeted, Facebooked, and shared millions of times. Chief fans have told Prisco EXACTLY how they feel. Prisco ranked the Chiefs #1 in his recent NFL Power Rankings, but had this to say.
“Eight teams that opened the season 8-0 went on to win the Super Bowl. Can this be another? Doubt it,” said Prisco in his rankings.
Prisco said he was given “a lot of crap from some of the guys” for keeping the Chiefs first, but the 8-0 record is the ONLY leg experts give Kansas City to stand on for keeping that top spot. The rest, meaning the offense, has created the feud of where Kansas City really belongs.
Nothing to discuss for devoted Chief fans, but not so for “non-believers”… or ones taking in the total package.
My personal opinion… m’kay, here it goes.
Andy Reid’s phase needs to tighten up, batten down the hatches, and in Reid’s words “execute” much better than they have been, especially before facing the AFC’s offensive heavyweights.
Understood, the Buffalo Bills are next, but I’m looking down the road at the AFC’s big dogs. A different challenge Kansas City has yet to face, true offensive firepower.
I’m talking the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers, who represent four games for the Chiefs after their Week 10 bye. My fingers resist it, but they’re the elephant in the room.
The Chiefs first stretch was opportunity to “adjust” and “tweak” the offense while the defense held it down, which Tamba Hali and Justin Houston have done fantastically, the entire defense has, but calibration time is nearly through.
After the Cleveland Browns, honestly, I didn’t see the gains I was hoping to see since Week 1. That’s my true observation.
The other guys (the Broncos, Chargers, even Colts) have the O, the Chiefs have the D.
What’s keeping Kansas City from full acknowledgment of being 8-0 (all honors that come with such a GREAT start) is the 9 touchdown passes, yeah, Alex Smith.
Smith has the smarts, ball control, legs, and doesn’t put the Chiefs/defense into difficult spots… I appreciate Smith’s other qualities, but Kansas City’s netting 3′s instead of 7′s.
Like I pointed to earlier, the offensive line isn’t helping; it’s hurt Smith’s passing success. Smith completion percentage of 59.1 isn’t good, definitely not a top-10 QB stat.
Moving forward has been difficult (harder than it feels like it should be) for the Chiefs’ offense, especially when they need the touchdown and on third downs.
The Chiefs improved from 35 percent before the Browns on third downs to 37 percent (17th), but far behind the Broncos 50 percent and Chargers 49.4 percent on third down conversions. The Broncos are #1 and Chargers #2 in this NFL department.
The Chiefs have scored 192 points (9th after eight games), on the outside good, but the Chiefs stall, they settle for less too much. Ryan Succop is a top kicker this season, has 15 FG’s made, good, but Chiefs need 7′s.
Smith’s QB rating is 82.1, 24th in the league, and his 59.1 completion percentage is far below Rivers (73.9) and Manning’s (71.1), Rivers and Manning are the best in the NFL.
While Jamaal Charles is off to his best start catching the ball (41 catches) and moving towards having a career-high in total output (1,018 total yards after 8), the rest of the offense is just “getting by”.
Dwayne Bowe was on 610 Sports Radio Monday morning. Bowe talked about players remaining “unselfish”, family, and pointed to his blocking that fans don’t always see.
Bowe’s on pace for 604 yards. Bowe had one catch on two targets for seven yards Sunday against the Browns. In eight games Bowe’s best effort has been 66 yards Week 7 versus Houston. It’s game eight, Bowe has 302 yards on 26 catches.
So yeah, there’s questions… it’s truthful that the offense has to do a better job of complementing the defense. Pete Prisco or whoever else brings up the offense isn’t wrong.
Kansas City held Denver to 17 last season at Arrowhead Stadium, so not impossible to keep Manning down and the Broncos do make mistakes, but while the offense is light years ahead of last season’s embarrassment to compete further and into the postseason the Chiefs need to score.
There will come a time the Chiefs’ defense will only be able to do so much and will need Smith and the offense to do the rest. That time is almost here.
Can’t determine the future, the offense can still improve and Reid says they’re working on it, but it’s getting to crunch time. Coming to the point they “have to”, time to figure it out.
Good day, Chiefs fans!