Photo via David Eulitt of the Kansas City Star
From the FanPosts -Joel
"It was Haley's flingin' flarnin' play-callin! He ran too much! If he didn't run, we coulda gotten back into it, fling-flarn it!"
"Cassel can't make the big throws! He's no better than Brodie!"
"LJ can't run worth a lick! Bench him!"
"That defense can't give up that many yards! Period! Our defense is terrible!"
Come along with me after the jump and I'll reveal how the only people in the firing line today should be the five guys up front, and the effect that created in yesterday's debacle.
Everything yesterday can be brought back to the offensive line. All of it. The whole damn debacle. It really, honestly, truly is all their fault.
This isn't to say that the other units played well. They didn't. Good lord they didn't. When our punter, who gets more playing time than some running backs in the league has a bad day? It's one of those days. But as we watch the disastrous fallout and we all turn to our own coping mechanisms, I'm brought back continually to the simple fact. The offensive line screwed us yesterday. And everything fell apart from that point forward.
And oh, the bargaining mechanisms are varied.
Denial: "It was just a bad day. We're not really THAT bad." (There's only about three people that feel this way. They were fans in the late 70's, early 80's.)
Anger: "FIRE THE COACH! HE HASN'T DONE ANYTHING! TRADE CASSEL! HE STINKS! FIRE THE WHOLE DEFENSE! FIRE PIOLI! FIRE CLARK HUNT! FIRE THE FLING FLARNIN GOVERNMENT!" (This comprises about 60% of both the Chiefs' fanbase and the greater Kansas City metroplex this morning.)
Bargaining: "As long as we eventually win a Super Bowl, I'm willing to put up with this. For a while. Maybe."
Depression: "Hey look! The Royals are on..."
Acceptance: "We suck." (About 30% of the fanbase is here. Unfortunately, this 30% feels the need to say it every thirty seconds. "Hey, did you know we suck? Because we suck. Quit fooling yourselves, I'm the only person that's being honest here. We suck. No, that touchdown pass was not good. It sucked! I heard the news today, oh boy, and we sucked. " I feel like it's that weather dude on ABC that spends an hour interrupting programming to tell you the same damn storm cell is where it was five minutes ago.)
We all want answers. This fanbase is dying for a win. DYING. I know the popular movement is to not mention Herm, but I swear, I'll only mention him in this context. We went so long, the fanbase has been reduced to a hunger-starved refugee wandering the desert. When we entered the desert, we wanted a Super Bowl. No more one-and-done playoff appearances. No more wild cards. And we didn't care if we had to cross the desert to get there. We wanted a championship.
Then we got to the desert, and it was dryer than we thought it would be. It was hot. And muggy. And there were scorpions. And cliche storms that would spin you till you were nauseous. And we've been in this desert so long that now we just want water. We don't care if we get to where we were going. We just want water and food and a bed. A nice, comfy 10-6 season and a first round ejection by Indianapolis. We can't remember why we came to the damn desert in the first place.
And so people are angry, and upset, and depressed. And those are all natural reactions. i can't blame anyone for wanting Haley fired today. I'm willing to give him a year, just like I gave Edwards, just like I'll give our next coach. But the miserable existence of this franchise means I can understand the disgust everyone's feeling. But if you want to talk about yesterday's game, not the season, not the team, but yesterday's game, it all comes down to the line. All of it. Let me explain.
Yesterday the Chiefs faced an opponent that is, quite simply, the perfect counter to us. You don't have to be a perfect counter to us to beat us as badly as they did, but it helps. We have a 3-4 defense? Guess what. Philly's used 3-4 a ton over the last ten years, they know that scheme inside and out. Haley comes from the Parcells tree? Guess what? The Eagles staff has been running against those types of offenses in New York, Dallas, and in Philly for just as long of a time. But what really killed us is the staple of Philadelphia's entire system. Blitzing.
That team blitzes better than any team in the NFL. Better than the Steelers. Better than the Ravens. The Eagles have been known since Andy Reid took over, to bring the house, every down, as much as they can. The entire objective is to kill the quarterback. Not rattle. Not pressure. Kill. And against most teams, it means that it's a danger the offense has to contend with, and there will be sacks, and you have to push them off of you by getting a block from your line long enough to start hitting some receivers.
Well, our offensive line is the worst in the league. Hands down. No questions asked. And what that meant yesterday was that our offense had half the time those other teams had, which was only about four seconds. And you saw it from the beginning. If Cassel dropped back to pass, he had someone in his face, immediately. Someone pushing past our guards, and then a blitzer rushing the gap. Cassel was sacked from the very first possession, and that set the tone. And Philly, in typical Eagles fashion, kept it up all day. They never backed off, never let up, never sat down in zone. They just kept bringing it. Because they knew it would work.
Now, I think LJ's done as much as anyone. I think he runs with no heart, I think he runs as if he's already falling down, I think he's a malcontent and no longer effective. But the Eagles' blitz package meant that there was simply nowhere for him to go. If you get a single solid block against that blitz technique, you can break five to eight yards. LJ never got one. Charles had the speed to break outside, but then we'd hold to wipe it out. So there goes the running game. Victim 1.
Cassel couldn't hit anyone, because he didn't have time. At all. Nevermind the fact that his best receiver wasn't playing, which contributed to the disaster, you need speed guys with hands to catch slant routes off that blitz. None of our receivers have that kind of ability. And if they did, it wouldn't matter, because Cassel usually had to start avoiding the rush as soon as he took the snap. The passing game: Victim 2.
Our defense looked horrible at times. But look at TOP. Look at how many drives we had. Our defense came up with a handful of stops yesterday. This defense is not 'good.' But it's capable. But if you make it to where every three plays, they have to go back out there, they're going to give up yardage. You cannot depend on this defense to win you football games. It's got to be both sides of the ball. And with no offense due to our terrible o-line, the defense was hung out to dry, and gave up more than 30 points. Again. Victim 3.
Haley is being roasted today. "He quit." I never got that from the game. I got this. "If I sell out on offense trying to get us back in it, Cassel's going to get killed. I can't throw the ball because he'll get killed and it'll get picked off. My only option is to run the ball and try and wear down the defense, because right now, we're outmatched."
You can talk all you want about fighting like champions, or playing like men, or heart, or guts, or whatever. None of that will change the fact that yesterday at every position, the guy in green was stronger, faster, smarter, more experienced, and more talented than his opponent. But even then, we would have had a chance, just like we had a chance the previous two weeks. But the offensive line, against that blitz, failed miserably.
If you want to see me angry, or demanding something? I do have one. We watched offensive linemen slip by us this offseason. That CANNOT happen again. We have to either sign, or trade for, the best available offensive lineman, and we have to draft the best available offensive lineman. They have all got to go. Albert I'm okay with staying. He had a terrible game yesterday. But he's shown enough positives. The rest of the crew, including Waters? GOT. TO. GO.
Yesterday was a lowpoint, even for us. And I've come to recognize I was wrong. I wanted us to draft Bowe. I wanted us to draft Dorsey. I wanted us to draft
Curry, Jackson. We should have been drafting linemen. And now we're paying the price.
We're going to start winning again. It may not be till after the bye. But it's simply too unlikely to go 0-16. "THE LIONS DID IT!" but that was an outlier. Just as, and I really want people to start thinking about this, the Dolphins were. All this offseason, I heard constantly "Yes, you CAN turn around a team in one season! Look at the Dolphins! LOOK AT THE DOLPHINS OMG THEY WENT 0-15 THEN MADE THE PLAYOFFS, WE SHOULD BE THEM! BE THE DOLPHINS, DAMN IT!" And now, we see in fact, the Dolphins were a mirage. They're 0-3, and haven't been competitive in any of their games. That's worse than us. It is a process. It will take time. We've still got some desert to go. But the oasis is out there people. And we can't turn back now.
But it's time to leave the offensive linemen to die in the desert. They're only slowing us down.