Yesterday in Part One, we took a closer look at the individual members of the Ravens defense, the personnel who've both come and gone and the sheer level of talent the Chiefs will be facing in Week One. Here in Part Two, the question is: what can the Chiefs do about it?
As we noted in Part One, the sketchiest part of the Ravens defense is their secondary - for reasons we already broke down here. Thus, it seems the Chiefs would be best getting open early and disrupting the defense with their passing game. This is easier said than done without a tight end over the middle like Tony Gonzalez. New tight end Sean Ryan's greatest asset is his run blocking skills and no other candidate showed much of anything this preseason.
Dwayne Bowe should enjoy his primary match-up against Domonique Foxworth or Fabian Washington. He has the physical talent and experience to really put on a show against either one, assuming the quarterback can get him the ball. Mark Bradley could also become a factor here with his size and long arms. The Ravens play physical football but their corners must "play up" and the Chiefs could win this aspect.
But that whole "getting the ball thing"... therein lies the problem.
More after the jump:DT Kelly Gregg will win almost any one-on-one match-up and can actually usually eat up two offensive linemen by himself in the interior. Judging by what Kansas City will be throwing at him, that shouldn't be a problem. Branden Albert will definitely hold his own on the left side and Brian Waters will rise to the occasion come game time so the Chiefs might be able to buy some time. But I would imagine new defensive coordinator Greg Mattison will be quite excited to play with these new toys and varied blitzing schemes will keep Brodie Croyle (or Matt Cassel or Tyler Thigpen or Jeff George) running around all day.
Simply put, the Chiefs line will not be able to hold off the explosive talent of the Ravens for 60 minutes on the gridiron. Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Trevor Pryce, Jarret Johnson and new addition Paul Kruger all hold more talent for rushing the passer than anything the Chiefs have put on the field against their own offense in training camp. Thus this could get ugly really quick.
The good news is that Todd Haley's recent takeover of the offensive game could be a good thing. He's creative, he's quick to adjust and if anyone is working overtime to find possible holes to exploit, it's Haley. It will be nearly impossible to establish much of a run against a defense that allowed the fewest rushing touchdowns in football all of last season (4) and ranked third in fewest yards allowed (only the Vikings and Steelers allowed fewer). Larry Johnson must move the chains as much as he can and show his brilliant offseason could lead to what we know he's capable of on the field.
The wild card here could be Jamaal Charles. He's absolutely blazing out of the backfield and I've always felt the Chiefs could get creative in their use with Charles and surprise a team like the Ravens - who might be looking past Kansas City on their schedule. I would guess not since it's the season opener, but you never know. If Charles gets loose into the secondary, he could easily change the tone of the game.
The likely outcome is that it won't be pretty. The Ravens are several years ahead of the Chiefs in terms of player development and serve as a model franchise in the NFL. But as they say, you never know who will win from week to week in the NFL and it's that statement alone that provides any semblance of hope for the Chiefs in Week One.