Our offensive line still is not very good.
Yes the offense has been playing better the last month. Chalk that up to Thigpen having more talent than anybody thought he did and Chan Gailey being able to come up with creative enough plays to disguise our deficiencies. That's an enormous job on this squad and kudos to Gailey for figuring out a way to do it.
In the end though, in the NFL if you cannot run the ball, you are not going to win many games.
Everybody loves the passing game. It's exciting. It moves the ball down the field quickly. And if you have a QB the coaches have faith in and that is capable of executing intermediate to long passes, which it looks more and more with each passing week that we might, it can result in your team actually trying to dig out of 3rd and 15s like we did today rather than just resigning to try to get 5 yards and punt.
Having a QB capable of running the passing game is fantastic. But in the end, you STILL have to be able to run the football. You have to be able to trust that your offensive line is going to get enough push to convert that easy 3rd and 2 by running it rather than throwing to Tony Gonzalez in triple coverage or having the inevitable ball bounce off the WRs hands. You should be able to depend on your running game to spin time off the clock when you have the lead at the end of the game without it making it look like the coaches just wanted to punt the ball away as soon as they could.
And most of all, when you are in 1st and Goal at the one yard line, you DAMN WELL better be able to get in the end zone in three tries by running it without having to resort to low percentage fade passes that don't work 50% of the time. The Chiefs failed to do that twice today.
There's two things in the NFL that if you cannot do will make you a loser. Not being able to rush the passer and not being able to run the football. The Chiefs can't do either right now. The sad thing is, there really isn't anything to be done about it the rest of the season. It all comes down to not having the personnel to do it on the squad. It doesn't matter what defensive scheme you're in or what exotic formations and plays the offensive coordinator calls in, if you don't have guys that can maul the oppossing defense and push them a couple yards off the line of scrimmage, or if you don't have a DE that has the speed to get around the Tackle, its not going to happen.
As the season has progressed we have found some answers to questions we had at certain positions. Mark Bradley seems to be a good option as the #2 WR and if we keep our fingers crossed and hope real hard, maybe Thigpen will be as good as what we're hoping he is. The answers for the O-line and DE though, are not on the team. Those issues are going to have to wait until the offseason to be addressed either in free agency or the draft.
For this reason as much as any other we are likely to continue to see games like we have the last month. A team with tons of holes cobbled together with guys brought in off the street to replace the injured guys we picked up off the street earlier in the year showing they have some fight in them and seeing improvment in individual players, but the team as a whole failing when they get to the end.
90% complete teams (no team is ever 100% complete) will beat 45% complete teams every time.