This post started out as a comment about Tyler Thigpen and how he got worse as games went on last year. I was sick of hearing it and I was sick of hearing everyone talk about how the bottom line between Cassel and Thiggy was that Cassel won games and Thiggy did not. I don’t believe that is the bottom line. I think Cassel PLAYED better than Thigpen, but Thigpen, by no stretch played poorly. I think Cassel is a better QB. I was just trying to argue that Thigpen wasn’t really responsible for much of our pain and loss last year. In fact, without him things could have been really, really REALLY bad. Just go back and watch the Tenn. And Carolina games if you don’t believe me. Please note that this post is not an endorsement of Thiggy over Cassel. In this post I try to explain that the reason for almost all of our losses last year was bad defense and why I think we are about to turn it around.
Thiggy may have failed to make some 2nd half adjustments but our defense sucked ass in the 2nd half. The coaches weren't making adjustments either. I am not saying Thiggy is free from blame but I am saying he isn't the only reason we lost games.
He is one of the only reasons we were IN games. I'm sorry but we were a peewee offense before the Arrowspread.
Remember during the Charger game when Thiggy lead us on a 4th quarter drive and gave us the lead? And then our D screwed it up and D Bowe dropped the ball?Then didn't Thiggy complete a pass to get us back into field goal range where we still could have won the game? Yes our offense declined as the game went on but you simply can't prove that this was all Thiggy and didn't have something to do with the D making adjustments that our coaches didn't have an answer to.
Thigpen scored us enough points to WIN football games. FFS we gave up 100 more points last year than we did in 2007.
Look at it like this:
2007 the Chiefs Offense scored 226
2008 the Chiefs Offense scored 291.
So even with the crazy ass start to the season with a billion QB's, Thiggy IMPROVED our offense. In face, had he played the entire season like he did from the Jets game on we would have scored well over 300 points.
It wouldn't have mattered though.
Chiefs 2007 D, points allowed: 335
In 2008? 440 points allowed.
So every time you want to whine about how Cassel won 11 games and Thiggy won one, look and see that New England only game up 309. That still isn't great and Cassel had to lead them to over 400 points to make them playoff contenders, which is what makes his season so extraordinary.
The only teams to give up more points than the Chiefs?
The Lions the Doneys and the Rams.
The Lions gave up a ridiculous 516 points. 0-16.
And in Denver Jay Cutler had to freak out and throw for a billion yards and make the pro bowl JUST to get Denver to finish 8-8. You know what happened to the Rams and they scored FEWER points than the Chiefs.
Thiggy was essentially a rookie. He was remarkable. He had no, let me repeat, NO chance to win games with that defense. Amazingly, and you know this is true, we SHOULD have won the 2nd Charger game BECAUSE of Thigpen’s 4th quarter drive. We should have won that damn Jets game. We lost to Tampa Bay in OT when Thiggy went out and put up 27 points. The Dolphins game? Thiggy put up 31 and the D gives up 38.
Thigpen did enough to win us 6 or 7 games in what was basically a rookie season with a terrible coach. Do you think Ryan and Flaco would have been worth a damn if their teams gave up 440 points?
This is why I am so impressed with what Pioli has done this off-season. I have been worried that the Chiefs have not added enough pieces on offense. I still would like them to add another receiver but consider what we have just learned.
I figure Pioli looks at it like this. He HAS to do something about the D. He has to. Period. If he can knock 100 points off our allowed total, down to 330 or 340 or so and add, say 74 to 100 to the offense, he has a team that can win some games. Also, if he improves the defensive play he gives his offense more chances to score points. He secures himself a QB who he knows can play. Now he has 2 good QB’s for his offense. One he knows can put up about 300 points on a terrible team and another he knows can put up over 400 points on a great team. He brings in a coach that is all offense! There is no reason the Chiefs, no longer under Herm, with Chan Gaily and Todd Haley can’t score at least 350 points. Then Pioli spends most of his time upgrading the D. Bringing in Vets. Focusing on stopping the run. Changing the mindset.
When it boils down to it, football is simple. Score more points then you give up and you will win. I think that is where Pioli is starting with this team. If he can add 100 points of offense and subtract 100 points from the defense…he may be looking at a winning record.
Think of it like this. If we can get the D to give up 300 or so points this year instead of 400…Cassel won’t have to freak out and play like Drew Brees or Jay Cutler. He’ll just have to play a little better than Thiggy did last year.
I am a firm believer that in pro sports the line between good teams and bad teams is pretty thin.
Let’s hope Pioli and the Chiefs are about to cross that line.
P.S. I got the idea for the post title from the Arrowhead Addict T Shirt "Thiggy Smalls, Life After Death." One of the funniest things I have ever seen. If we use him at all in the offense next year I am buying one.