John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
I mean...can it?
Believe it or not, I don't have a beef with Brian Daboll's game plan from the KC Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens game last week. After you get past the fact that Matt Cassel was going to start the game anyway you have to do what gives you the best chance to win and limiting the mistakes from Cassel was the way to do that.
Others are complaining about the 51-rush, 18-pass game plan but to that I'd say look at the score. The Chiefs were right in the game. They held the ball for nine more minutes than the Ravens offense. They did enough to have a chance to win the game.
I'm generally more conservative when it comes to this sort of stuff, the play calling. I didn't have a big problem with the decision to punt the ball away at the end of the first half, a play many people did have a problem with. I am scared of turnovers. I will do anything to avoid them.
"Historically when it's third and real long a lot of mistakes happen on that down," Chiefs OC Brian Daboll said on Friday, via comments sent out by the Chiefs. "So we were being a little bit conservative there. If we had to punt it we had to punt it."
That's the magic stat for the Chiefs right now so I was content with KC punting that one away, and punting it away in other situations considering the most likely place to turn it over is on third and long.
So this isn't a defense of Brian Daboll's game plan because I don't think you can consistently win like that but for last weekend that game plan brought the Chiefs within a field goal of beating a team who I think is in the conversation for the most complete team in the NFL.
The guy who designed that game plan, Brian Daboll, now has the task of doing the same for the 17th ranked Bucs defense. But probably with more passing.
"If you look at it, Tampa's played four games and I was looking at something yesterday," Daboll said, "they have more negative plays on defense than any team in the league - and they've only played four games. There are 41 plays they have for negative plays altogether (passes or runs)."
The Chiefs had a lot of negative plays against Baltimore, despite the overall success of the running game. This is definitely a concern and, as we saw last week, the Chiefs will go to great lengths to avoid turnovers.
"So their philosophy on defense when you watch it is different than some of the others we've played against," Daboll continued. "They are up-the-field, penetrating, get off on the line-of-scrimmage, they do a lot of different games and twists and they have good players. I think Greg [Schiano] and Bill Sheridan and Brian Cox do a really good job with that front seven. It's a little bit chaotic at times the way they get off on the snap and really cause penetration."
As SB Nation's Bucs Nation told me this week, "The Tampa 2 is dead.
"Greg Schiano's defense is an aggressive attacking style that runs a lot of man and single safety high," Bucs Nation wrote. "The aggressiveness has allowed the Buccaneers to vault from dead last against the run last season to 4th in the NFL."
The best known case of the Bucs' penetration is when they rushed Eli Manning's kneeldown a few weeks ago. This is an oversimplification of Tampa's defense but: solid against the run, not so strong against the pass. Bucs Nation writes that the drawback is that they're susceptible to the big pass play. Maybe with Brady Quinn in there the Chiefs can actually threaten the big pass play.
"I think the [Gerald] McCoy kid has played very well," Daboll said. "I think he is the top defensive lineman in terms of creating those negative plays. And [Michael] Bennett, he's been disruptive the whole entire season. Fast-flow linebackers. They're a very, very good defense."
Well the Chiefs offensive line is coming off of one of their most physical, but also one of their best games of the season. The game, as usual, will come down to how well the Chiefs can run the ball. If they can run it, we know they can be competitive. If they can't run it, they probably can't be competitive.
The Bucs have lost three in a row but not of the Chiefs blowout variety -- all were within one score. So while the Bucs are struggling, it's not quite on the same level of the Chiefs struggle.