Direckshun helped me crystallize my feelings in his post this morning- "The We're Rebuilding! Card is easy to play right here. Well let's face it, it's going to be easy to play all year. But I don't think it adequately explains what happened."
Exactly what I would have loved to say but wasn't able to put into words over the weekend. Yes, I'm more willing than most to forgive indiscretions like Saturday because of the condition of the franchise. But Direckshun is exactly right- that doesn't forgive Saturday's performance and it shouldn't forgive any mistakes that are outside of the realm of "a young, rebuilding team." There aren't any free passes in my mind, only leniency. And that leniency isn't absolute. I may be more patient than most so remember that.
We can't dismiss all of the team's mistakes as ones of a rebuilding franchise and we can't call for the coach's heads after every preseason loss. The correct path, maddeningly, lies somewhere in the middle.
So, for those who have been battling it out on this site, take a second and make sure you're not on either extreme. I know I've reevaluated my stance a bit over the last few days and I feel better for it.
Offensive Line struggles
Let's get something straight. During the 2007 preseason, many fans (and even the coaching staff) simply hoped that the offensive line would come together in some magical way and play as an acceptable unit. I was one of those fans. That better not happen this year. Herm Edwards and his staff need to make doubly sure that the 2007 freak show of an offensive line doesn't show its ugly face in KC anymore. You don't create a massive personnel failure one year and not go freakin' crazy trying to not repeat that same mistake.
Aside from allowing five sacks to an unspectacular Dolphin defensive line, the Kansas City Chiefs offensive line had run blocking issues as well.
With 9:27 left in the third quarter, a Miami penalty gave the Chiefs a first and goal at the Dolphin 3-yard line. After one incomplete pass and two Larry Johnson runs for only two yards, Johnson again was handed the ball and again the offensive line let him down.
Turnover on downs, and for many fans, the television and radios shut off.
The Chiefs ended the game with 90 yards rushing on 25 carries. A meager 3.6 yard per carry average. Larry Johnson's longest runs were thirteen and six yards. Of LJ's thirteen carries in the game, seven of them went for fewer than two yards.
The offensive struggled with the Dolphin pass rush and with securing running lanes for Larry Johnson. From the first quarter to the fourth, from the first team to the third, the Chiefs offensive line did not do its job.
Young run defense shows little progress
I won't spend much time dissecting the play and rotations of the defensive line because, again, these players have only been teammates for three preseason games. I'll give the Dolphins' running game and offensive line respect too. I think Ricky Williams could be really good for a few years and don't forget who the Dolphins drafted #1 overall - Jake Long.
The Dolphins tallied a 5.4 yard per carry average spread over 31 carries. 104 of their 164 yards rushing came in the second half and 80 of those yards came on one play in the third quarter. Aside from that play, the Chiefs run defense got a bit beat up early but ended up neutralizing the Dolphins for the most part on the ground. The performance by Tank, Turk, Dorsey, Boone, Hali and others left a lot to be desired but wasn't nearly as chaotic as the mess on the offensive line.
Brodie Croyle's story doesn't change
12/21, 110 yards. An INT plus a lost fumble didn't help quiet any doubters of Brodie Croyle's ability. But it wasn't all his fault.
He was hurried, sacked, hit and the four or five drops by his receivers didn't help either. Croyle seems to have this ability to always come out about even after a win or a loss. He makes weekly mistakes that are 100% on him and is still held back by his teammates poor play. You can find reasons to both excuse and indict his poor play. He's a wash at this point in the preseason and his career quite frankly. This is purely an objective look and not meant to steer you in one Croyle direction or the other. I really like the guy in fact.
That's all I have for you this morning. This game isn't fun to recall in detail. For those new to the site since the end of last season, when the games are on Sunday, we'll have our game recaps and break downs for you on the following Monday. Stat day is Tuesday and we go from there.