Once again it is a pretty easy week to do a Kool Aid post. I mean come on, after 10 wins in 3 years it's pretty easy to feel good about things when we start off the year 2-0. Are we up there with the "Big Dogs" of the NFL? No. Are we probably the worst 2-0 team in the NFL? Yes, although you could have a pretty good debate between us and Tampa Bay. My point is, when you have set up camp in the NFL's cellar it's hard to get out. Just ask Cleveland, or other regulars in the NFL's "loser club" like Detroit and Oakland. Even I, AP's self appointed Kool Aid man have to admit that we had become one of those teams. Before you can really become a NFL power and challenge for divisions and Super Bowls, you first have to just get yourself out of the basement. The Chiefs still have some major worts. They still have to improve, A LOT. I'm just excited because it looks like we've taken those first important steps out of the cellar.
How many games were we in last year where we had a shot late but found a way to lose. Two games into this season we have been in those exact same situations and found ways to win. Don't look at punt returns and interceptions as some "excuse" for why we won. Look at it as guys are stepping up and making plays that didn't happen in the past three seasons. This year our defense stopped San Diego at the goal line instead of allowing the TD. This year our defense was able to stop Cleveland late in the game and then our offense was able to run the clock out. Teams that have their mail delivered to the NFL basement don't close out games like that. That is a huge step and it's okay to feel good about it even though we still have a long road ahead of us.
I've got two main points I want to make after the break.
I should know better then to bring this up, but I'm a sucker for punishment. Let's talk about our number one problem and everybody's favorite debate here at AP, the passing game. Yes, it needs A LOT of improvement. I'm not here to discuss if you think Matt Cassel should be our long term QB. I have NO (and I mean ZERO) interest in having that debate for the 2,000,000 time already this season. What I want to point out is that our ENTIRE passing game needs work. Multiple times today you could see Cassel motioning to the sideline to get the play in. The announcers even commented on it once. I don't know if Weis was being indecisive, if he and Haley were arguing over what to do, or it was just a communication breakdown. The point is, the Chiefs offense has kinks to work out besides Cassel's play. I have also noticed in both games so far that Cassel often has to correct where the WRs and TEs are lining up at. So at least Cassel seems to know what the play and formation is. The last time I remember a Chiefs QB having to correct the WRs and TEs that much was in Trent Green's first year. Finally, it seems like our WRs (I'm looking at you Chambers) could do a lot better job of getting separation so Cassel wouldn't have to try and force it in or check down to a safe dump off route. Again, I'm not saying Cassel is playing well, but please don't try and sell me on the "everything else is just skippy, but Cassel is messing it up" concept. I'm not buying.
The good news is, despite the obvious growing pains in the passing game, we're 2-0. We've found ways to win while we're still working the bugs out. Now maybe the passing game will never be great this year, but maybe it will start to gel half way through the season. If we've found a way to win 4-5 games before the passing game clicks we'll be in great shape if the other areas hold ground. Speaking of holding your ground, let's talk about....
The defense just flat out looks like a different team then the defense that took the field last year and the stats so far back that up, particularly the run defense.
Here are how our stats through two games compare to last year.
|Rushing Yards / Game||156.5||91|
|Rushing Yards / Carry||4.7||3.31|
|Total Yards / Game||388||344|
|Points / Game||26.5||14|
Dramatic improvement in everything except Total Yards / Game, with the rushing yards and points being major upgrades.
Now I know what you're thinking. "Easy Porkchop, it's two games."
Fine, then let's compare how those two games against San Diego and Cleveland compare in those same areas with our three games against those same two teams last season.
|Rushing Yards / Game||193.3||91|
|Rushing Yards / Carry||4.87||3.31|
|Total Yards / Game||415.3||344|
|Points / Game||40.3||14|
The difference is even more staggering. Over 100 yards less rushing per game and 26 less points allowed against the same two teams. The defense is better, I don't how much, but it is clearly better.
Now I'm not drinking so much of my own Kool Aid that I think this team is great. I do think we have improved a lot. We just still have a long ways to go. Your official AP Kool Aid this week is that there is now an open room available in the NFL basement. The Kansas City Chiefs don't live there anymore.