by Rob Carr - AP
5 days ago: Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Mark Clayton pulls down a touchdown pass under pressure from Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Brandon Carr during the fourth quarter in the NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 13, 2009 in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Rob Carr)
Ok, so I decided to watch the Chiefs Week 1 game vs Baltimore one more time.
I kept reading all of these superlatives on AP like:
"Mays was TERRIBLE in coverage, got burned all day" "Dorsey didn't do anything" "there was NO pressure from the Chiefs D" "Croyle was running for his life, had no protection" "There were NO running lanes" "Niswanger is the weakest link on the OL, he gets pushed into the QB on every play"
I watched play by play, again with the DVR so I could pause and rewind as needed to see what I could see.
Just as I expected, the AP comments are often overreactions and generalizations (with all due respect, of course).
My overall impression:
- The Chiefs were NOT outmatched vs the Ravens. They were in the game the whole time.
- 2 or 3 plays decided the game, and coaching decisions were partly to blame: both Haley and Clancy
- KC is looking at new CB because of Colclough and Leggett, but for different reasons
- the OL played OK- Goff is the weak link.
- the DL played OK- Dorsey and Jackson are going to be good players.
- The run defense was solid, only gave up so many yards because there were just that many plays run by Baltimore
- the pass rush was OK, but was blocked well by the Ravens
- Corey Mays and Niswanger are not as bad as people are saying they are after this game
Details after the jump.
On Dorsey: Generally was where he was supposed to me, got penetration on 2 or 3 plays, one QB pressure, one RB stuffed in the backfield, one tackle on Flacco when he scrambled
On Tyson Jackson: Was well blocked all day long... often double and triple teamed as was Dorsey. I think he'll be fine, was just beaten by a good OL in his first NFL game.
On Wallace Gillberry: He was flat out overmatched, and got run over.
On Ron Edwards: He was outplayed by Tank... Edwards got little push, and didn't make many plays... except for that one QB pressure where he got the sack but not the credit.
* On the Chiefs Pass Rush: there was a consistantly good push and effort being given by the front 7... but they just couldn't get off of their blocks. There were several tipped passes that nearly led to INTs... One sack by Hali, one by Edwards that he didn't get credit for.
* On the Chiefs Run Defense: Most of the time, they stopped Baltimore on less than 4yds. Baltimore is a great running team, but the run defense held up way better than the numbers suggest. I only saw 2 or 3 "big" runs of 10yds or more. Again, when an offense gets to run 85 plays in one game, even at 3-4yds per run, 200yds is a likely outcome. But, don't be surprised if this ends up being a very good run defense in 09.
On Colclough: Not good in coverage... he was burned at least 5 times that I counted.
On Leggett: Played poorly to start the game, but finished very strong. But, he's not a punt returner.
* The Chiefs are looking at CB because Colclough can't be relied upon, and Leggett needs to stay at nickel. Wade was brought in largely to return punts, because Leggett muffs too much.
Mike Brown was EVERYWHERE making tackles. His coverage was OK, not spectacular... but he's a sure tackler. I can see why Pollard was cut, Brown is a complete safety, where Pollard was a big hit guy only.
Page looked very good, making hits and deflections. Nearly had at least 2 INTs. I think the safety position is in good hands with Page and Brown. Morgan made plays on special teams, and seems to be a very vocal guy... could develop into a leader.
On Vrabel: He had several good pressures on the QB, and was involved in LOTS of tackles in the run game. He did miss 2 tackles, but overall, he had a good game.
On Hali: Great motor, was getting a good push into the backfield on EVERY play. Sometimes was well blocked, sometimes overran the play, but overall, played well.
On DJ: He was involved in a lot of tackles in the run game, and a couple of QB pressures. He was fast enough to take that INT to the house, just needed to cut back sooner or catch one more block. He also didn't seem to be running full speed. When he's playing in coverage or blitzing, the Chiefs are a better defense. NO way is he 3rd string, or in jeopardy.
On Corey Mays: He had 2 good QB pressures, 2 good RB hits. Other than that, he did miss one tackle that I saw. Everyone was ranting about how bad he was in coverage... really it was only about 2 plays to Heap... one he was out of position, but on the TD, he was right there, but Heap just made the play. Don't give up on Mays yet.
* On the Chiefs LB unit: Each guy brings something to the table. If they are in the right positions to do what they do best, they will be a good group. DJ is at his best in coverage, Mays can stop the run and hit the QB, Hali is a pure pass rusher, Vrabel is always around the ball and does a little of everything.
On Ndukwe: Most of his missed blocks were in space. Didn't do well on a screen play, whiffed on a pass block. I think he is ok, but not the true answer at RT.
On Niswanger: Yes, he missed a couple of blocks... but he certainly wasn't overwhelmed on every play, as some on AP have said. I saw him whiff a couple of times, and pushed back on passing plays sometimes... but that's pretty normal in pass blocking, you give up some ground but stay between your guy and the QB. He's not the biggest problem on this team.
On Waters: Played OK, but did miss several blocks that I saw.
On Mike Goff: He's still the weakest link on the OL, IMO. He got pushed around, and missed blocks. I really hope that the plan is to get O'Callaghan to start at RT, and push Ndukwe to RG. That would be a big upgrade for this OL.
* On the Offensive Line as a unit: Croyle DID have time to throw, contrary to popular belief. Against a fierce defense, this unit pass protected fairly well. Each guy missed a few blocks, Albert and Waters included, but they did a decent job. The running game never really got going, and there were a few times LJ/Charles got hit in the backfield... but there were also several plays where they gained decent yardage... the bottom line is that the team didn't run the ball on enough plays to really get going.
On Baltimore's OL: they held a LOT, especially on Vrabel and Hali. Other than that, they played VERY well, and did an amazing job of picking up blitzes, no matter how many Chiefs got there
* On Haley's Playcalling: I thought he was too conservative at times... called several draws and dumps to RBs in passing situations. When he opened things up and threw the ball... good things happened. I hope he mixes it up more this week.
* On LJ and the running game: I thought LJ had a couple of decent runs, and several OK ones (2-4 yds) But, 11 carries isn't enough to get him going. I think the Chiefs can and will run the ball with more success this year. Against the Ravens, they are very stout against the run, and the Chiefs were only really able to move the ball through the air.
On Sean Ryan: He still sucks in pass blocking, was mediocre in run blocking, but had a great effort on that TD. The job is still his, though, as I didn't even see Cottam on the field.
On Mark Bradley: He showed the hands and ability to get open that we want in a #2 receiver, he's in no jeopardy of being cut, IMO. On the first 3rd down he came up short... that was a bad decision to run out just short of the marker. On the 2nd 3rd down that he didn't convert... he made a good effort, but was hit by 2 guys. Yes, he should have been a little deeper on his route... but it wasn't that bad of a play.
* On the Chiefs WR corps: Bowe will be great this year, Bradley will be very good. Engram quietly contributes. Wade is brought in for punt returns, but starts to take catches away from Engram. This is a solid group of WR. If they can get Lawrence on the field and contributing, it could be fun to watch.
* On Heap's TD: Everyone is blaming Mays, but he had decent coverage... Heap just made a good play. I think the coaches are partially to blame here... DJ and Vrabel applied good pressure but didn't get to Flacco. IF it was DJ in coverage, Mays on the blitz... I think Johnson makes the play on Heap.
* On the 2nd to last Baltimore TD: This was the game sealing TD... and it was another bad call by Clancy. The Chiefs blitzed EVERYONE, leaving NO safety help for Carr. IF they had left Page deep, and blitzed one less... I think he makes that play, and forces a FG.