It's no secret the Kansas City Chiefs have had trouble covering the middle of the field thus far in the 2009 season. Between an over-matched Corey Mays against Todd Heap, DeSean Jackson's 64 yard touchdown reception and Brent Celek's 104 yard day, the Chiefs haven't had much success stopping, or even slowing down, defenders in the middle o the field.
In game on, the Ravens' Heap caught five passes for 74 yards and a touchdown. In game three, the Eagles' Jackson scored on a long touchdown across the middle and tight end Brent Celek caught eight balls for 104 yards and a touchdown.
The Chiefs only success against tight ends in their first three games came against the talented Zach Miller and the Oakland Raiders. Miller, one of the rising stars in the NFL, was held to zero receptions. That can be looked at one of two ways:
A) The Chiefs stepped up their game and defended the middle of the field or B) JaMarcus Russell had trouble hitting the broadside of a barn.
You can look at either way you want, but it's hard to ignore the latter, especially when other teams have had so much success in the middle of the field against the Chiefs. Opponents have gone deep across the middle against the Chiefs more than all but one opponent. The average gain on those plays is 15.5 yards.
That statistic about opponents going deep across the middle is troublesome for the Chiefs against Boss because he's averaged 20, 13 and 13.5 yards per reception in three games this season. Though he doesn't catch the ball very often, it's usually not a short dump-off.
"That’s a good thing," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said when asked about Boss' big play production. "Some of it is design. And he’s a big target and once he gets rolling he’s able to cover some ground."
The Giants offensive coordinator not only likes Boss' hands, but what he can do once he gets the ball.
"The amazing thing to me is always (how) he can run after the catch," Gilbride said of the 6-6, 270-pound former fifth-round pick. "Looking at him you wouldn’t label him or categorize him as a good after-the-catch runner. He is. He almost makes positive yardage every time. So we certainly try to get the ball in his hands."
Gilbride said Boss "usually catches it and does some things with it."
Haley tried to justify the performances by Heap and Celek this season calling them "a couple of the better tight ends in the league," but in reality Heap hasn't been a real threat in three years and Celek has yet to prove he's a Pro Bowler.
Boss usually isn't mentioned in the same breath as the elite tight ends, nor even with Heap or Celek, but he's still a threat the Chiefs will be looking to stop. This game is going to be an intriguing matchup in this regard. This is an obvious problem for a much-improved Chiefs defense, now that they have some time to recognize that and game plan, will they stop it?