"A Tale of Two Coordinators"
I don't know what people are talking about, calling that 16-14 gem of a game things like "ugly" and a "setback for the game of football". To me there ain't nothing finer then gutting out a hard fought victory on the road (especially on a short week). Other people can have their 38-35 shootouts. Give me 13-10's all day. I'm a product of my environment, and that's how the 1990's Chiefs raised me. I want field position to be a vital part of the game. I like good plays made in punt coverage (or in this week's case, not so good plays). I want weather conditions to be a factor (check). I want to win games with defensive and special teams touchdowns (double check). Somehow, this brand of football has been brought back to our lives through the work of two coordinators, one doing a stand up job, and one with nothing but unanswered questions through two games.
Romeo 'Colonel' Crennel- The main reason we are 2-0 right now is the hiring of this man. We absolutely stifled the Cleveland Browns offense in the second half to the tune of 55 yards, 3 first downs (1 on a BOGUS penalty on Ken Lewis for hitting too hard), and most importantly, 0 points. The touchdowns we've given up so far this season look like this...
~San Diego: 9 plays, 60 yards, legit drive
~San Diego: 5 plays, 91 yards, 59 yard touchdown on broken coverage from a rookie safety
~Cleveland: 10 plays, 98 yards, would've been held to a field goal if not for an iffy illegal contact penalty on Mike Vrabel
~Cleveland: 3 plays, 74 yards, beautifully executed 3rd and 1 playaction with a perfect 65 yard touchdown pass that you have to tip your hat to
We are not getting driven down the field on very much. It's taking big plays to score on us (and people are being too harsh on the Error Bearer. These are the growing pains with a rookie safety). Somehow we are shutting down running games (we held Jerome Harrison to 253 less rushing yards than he had on us last year!), which seemed to be one of our biggest holes coming into this season. Some young talent is stepping up this year: Glenn Dorsey is becoming what we all hoped he would be, and might actually be better suited for the 3-4 (which people even said on Draft day). Brandon Flowers is heading to the Pro Bowl this year barring injury. Derrick Johnson is making plays after needing a year in timeout to get his head straight. These are the potential leaders of the defense for the present and the future, fortunately spread out over each position base. We did not see this kind of development before Romeo, oh Romeo.
Charlie 'General' Weis- The man who I thought had a greater chance of success with the Chiefs than Colonel Crennel has come across some tough sledding. For starters, let me declare that I had little problem with the way he handled the San Diego game given the conditions, the early lead, and the struggles of Matt Cassel. We dared them to score twice, and weren't going to assist them with a turnover of any kind.
The Cleveland game was another story. Obviously, the topic on everybody's mind is the (mis)usage of JamaAL Charles. One touch in the first quarter is simply not enough. I was in favor of running Tom Jones most of the second half, with a close, grind it out game in the works, but I offer no excuse for not running Charles early in the game. I'm not sure if this falls on Weis or Haley, but the power games over players from the old regime need to stop, especially if we expect to contend this year.
My biggest problem with Weis on Sunday was his playcalling on 3rd and short. He kept getting cute with them. He had me wanting to hurl my helmet into the crowd ala Brandon Jacobs. He ran a Charles sweep near the goalline on one. He ran an option with Tim Castille on another (a cool play that has no place occurring on a 3rd and 1). He called an all verticals on 3rd and 2 in the 4th quarter. He's got this weird obsession with Tim "The Wasted Down" Castille. And our go to guy has been Tony Moeaki, who's been pleasantly impressive. But, still, use our weapons: Charles, Tom Jones, Dwayne Bowe, and The Ole Missile, Dexter McCluster.
All in all, the game was won because of a ballsy call by our head(setless) coach (along with a few gratuitous official rulings- definitely not a fumble in the 1st, terrible roughing the passer call. Breaks we haven't seen in some time) to go for it on 4th and inches to cue the fade to black. Todd Haley set a tone for our team that "we play to win the game" via Herm Edwards, who rather ironically, often sacrificed game results in hopes for a better future (and we're finally seeing those results, thanks Herm!). I was very impressed with our Chiefs on Sunday, perhaps even more so than I was with our victory over the Chargers, given the circumstances. If we win enough of these toss up games against all the bad teams we play (and next week is another), we could very well find ourselves in the playoffs, which is what this game is all about.
***Stat of the Week***: The Chiefs have the same number of wins as Minnesota, Dallas, New England and Indianapolis combined.