These aren't the best of times for Chiefs fans. We're at an embarrassing 1-4 right now entering Week 6 (already?). We just got over a brutally close and controversial loss to Baltimore that left a lot angry and sad.
Yes, this season isn't going as well as we had hoped, so bad even that we have begun to cheer our starting quarterback getting knocked unconscious (for at least a few). Others are wanting to tank the season for some QB... Juno, isn't it? I find that completely despicable, but I'm not gonna get into that.
Still, there is hope. Kansas City's running game is all we had hoped for, even without Hillis playing recently. The defense truly been what we had expected as well, no matter what statistics say. Even the best defenses couldn't stand the abuse the turnovers have inflicted on them. Honestly, if it we cut these turnovers in half I think we could be just as easily 3-2 as we are 1-4. The hardest part of the schedule is out of the way, Matty Turnover is likely done for a few weeks and Brady Quinn gets his chance to manage this offense.
A lot of guys on this team have really stepped their game up recently, and they deserve a win or 12 to reward them. You know who has stepped up and really don't get the credit they deserve...?
For me, the emergence of Shaun Draughn has been the biggest surprise of the season. He was always sort of an afterthought last year, not really much of anything.
but when he started taking first team reps in training camp, people began to notice things. He was always the first one done with conditioning, always the last one to leave the field. And when he began to shine in preseason, we noticed him even more.
Going into the regular season with the brutal tandem of Charles and Hillis at the helm, I still didn't expect Draughn to do much. But has that guy ever. He brings a certain tenacity, nastiness, attitude to this offense that no one else has. Hillis may be the better pure power back, but Draughn has been fighting for every yard on every carry. He never goes out of bounds, and always dishes out just a little extra to finish off his runs. He's not an exceptionally big or fast fellow, but he has an aggressive running style and a willingness to play special teams that shows that he just wants to prove himself. If we had 53 guys playing like Shaun Draughn with their various capabilities, we are 5-0, easy.
For now, lets put aside everything about his pure talent and collectively give little Nasty a huge round of applause. Going from small school running back UDFA that everyone overlooked to starting NFL fullback is a massive step up, and boy has he done everything he possibly could to earn it. If you can name me 7 more football players with more heart, I will personally give you a cookie. He amazed in the preseason, averaging over 6 yards per carry by just taking on every defender in his way. He is tough as nails, isn't afraid of anyone, and I'm sorry but can we get him the ball a time or two? Just to see what would happen? Because I think 5 capable running backs sound better than 4 (and 4 sounds better than 1). Not to mention, he's been more than a capable fullback for us, actually earning the spot as the best fullback of Week 3.
Ok, they've been a bit streaky. But preseason we predicted that it might take some time to gel, as this is a zone blocking line and they had 2 new starters.
Well, when Rodney went down we all collectively gave up on the dreams of grandeur for this line that we had such high hope for. I mean, this new center ha never played center, this new guard hasn't played a down in the NFL yet, our left tackle is actually a guard!!!! But when they dominated New Orleans and we ran for 273 yards, we still had high hopes. But then they got pretty badly beat against SD and rookie starter Jeff Allen had an awful day in his first start. The week after, they came together and buried a Baltimore front 7 that is considered best in the league by many, and gathered 214 rushing yards (2nd most allowed by a Baltimore defense ever). That isn't easy, especially for a line with 3 new starters in the early part of the season.
Branden Albert is quietly having himself one hell of a year, ranking out as a top 5 tackle in the league currently. He destroys in run blocking, has been a wall in pass protection, and especially is incredible on the move. Through all the troubles, Albert has been consistently awesome.
"MOAR JEFF ALLEN!!" Many Chiefs faithful cried as Lilja struggled at guard. And for better or worse, we got it. Our preseason MVP was shoved into the spotlight after a devastating injury to the promising Rodney Hudson. His first outing against the Saints was good, next was awful, and now that he had a start under his belt he was incredibly, incredibly badass against Baltimore going up against HALOTI FUCKING NGATA, who he virtually made disappear. All that chatter about him not being physical in the run game in his scouting reports is now officially bullshit as he has done nothing but show a formidable mean streak. How many rookies do you know who, in their second start, got into a fight with both Haloti Ngata and RAY LEWIS. Not very many. He was quite the blocker on the move and Ray Ray more than had his hands full dealing with Jeff Allen, who apparently has quite the knack for blocking to the whistle.
Lilja has done all we could've asked him to (aside from the fumble on the goalline, ugh). He's moved over to center and dammit, he's been pretty good there. Probably better than he was at LG. He can use his experience to make good line calls and now that he's playing center his size isn't such a detriment. Can't really say much bad.
Big Jon, much like last year, has been incredibly inconsistent. One day, Kyle Wlliams completely manhandles him, next game Jon makes Haloti Ngata or Broderick Bunkley his bitch. Unlike last year however, he has somehow transformed into a road grader. Former pass blocking extraordinaire, now he's a mauler. He's been having a good season so far and who really needs passing anyways?
Say what you will about Winston throwing the fans under the bus,or his pass blocking. But the fact of the matter is he's been a leader in the locker room and on this line all year long and our numbers for running off right tackle are among the best in the league. As stated above, who needs passing?
Whatever you wanna say about em, we've faced a few very formidable defensive fronts, and still are bottom five in pressures and 2nd in rushing. And they're just getting warmed up.
Steve Maneri and Jon Baldwin
Its sorta a weird combo to put them together, and a lot of people won't trust me here. But the facts don't lie, having Maneri in at tight end makes our running game 10x better and he is about as good a blocker at the tight end position that you're gonna get.
as for Baldwin. You can say what you want about his lack of monster stats and his celebrating of first downs, but he's made big, important plays when we've needed him. And much improved from last year is his run blocking, he actually seems to try to use his size as an advantage now. And you can't doubt the guys enthusiasm.
These guys as as whole have been awesome, and the depth covering Dorsey have been phenomenal.
Poe is everything I could possibly hope from a guy coming out of his position. He's giving it his all and doing just what he needs to. Not to mention, he's faced 5 of the best interior offensive lines in the NFL, just wait until he faces some less talented guys. If you think he's been a force so far, just wait a few more years, or even months. He flashes so much, whether its him chasing down a receiver from 20 yards back, or bulldozing Joe Flacco's weak unibrow to force a safety (strike that, everyone hates the Chiefs), or the TFL in his first game, he's been phenomenal for a rookie out of Memphis.
Tyson has been a wall in the run game, as always.
Powe has flashed great ability at NT, Ropati has been nothing but good for us out of a signing tha I didn't think anything of at the time. The defensive line has stopped the run pretty damn well and as Hali and Houston will tell you, they haven't created much of a pocket to step into.
Hes Jamaal Charles.
Puff Puff Pass Rush
Bet duo in the league, 'nuff said.
DJ and Belcher
DJ is DJ and Belch is quietly having a really good season. Both have been awesome in run support and better in coverage than they were early in the season. DJ has been pulling his trademark "dive under the blocker and drill the RB" move a lot recently, and Belcher has been utilizing his "stand over your fallen opponent menacingly with your sick cowboy collar" maneuver a lot as well. And as well as they have been in run support (aside from that Buffalo game... *shudders*), I don't really care if they do backflips.
Routt and Flowers
Who's Brandon Carr? I dunno, neither does Flowers. Routt has been just as good if not better than Carr this season (although the penalties are a bit frustrating), and I'm so glad we didn't sign Carr to a huge deal so far. And anyone else noticed what happened to the defense once Flowers came back fully healthy? They became a force to be reckoned with.
Hell, throw in Elam too. Hes done an admirable job filling in for Kendrick Lewis.
Do you guys get me here? There aren't many people on this team having bad seasons, and as a whole they've been pretty freaking good. This isn't an awful team, this isn't a team that should be taken lightly. This isn't a team that should throw in the towel. If Brady can do nothing less than just turn the ball over only once each game, not only should the Chiefs not be taken lightly, they should be feared beyond feared. They could beat any team in the league. They could go 12-4 from here and you know what I think? I think everything's going according to plan. I said preseason we wold enter the bye 2-4, which is doable from here. The hard part is over, now its time to put it in hear and for KC to play their best. Because dammit, I think they're as close to the playoffs as anyone else in this division.
Tampa NFL, there's a storm coming. And its name is The Chiefs.