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The Chiefs Took the Draft Road Less Traveled (Responding to a Beatdown)

I'm uncertain as to which is the road less traveled, but I would assume it's the unpredictable one. In that case, the Chiefs are the ones on such a path.

To what am I referring? The absolute beatdown two different teams took in their running defense late in the '09 season by an offense that wasn't nearly that impressive in the first place. To be more specific, both the Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs played the Cleveland Browns late in the season in '09. The Browns only won five games all season, but closed with four straight 'W's which included the Chiefs (on the road) in Week 15 and the season-ending victory over the Jags.

What was the damage? The Jags gave up 214 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns on 49 carries. Jerome Harrison had 127 yards alone and Josh Cribbs had another 47 and a TD. The Chiefs gave up an astounding 351 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns on the exact same amount of carries, with Harrison landing an incredible 286 of those yards. Even Brady Quinn had 40 rushing yards in that game. Needless to say that both efforts were embarrassing. And it led the teams to respond -- albeit in entirely different ways.

Consider this from Mike Lombardi today: "The last half of the season was a disaster for the Jags. Gene Smith, their general manager, talked about how the impact of losing to Cleveland drove all their offseason decisions." This involved completely restocking the front line, taking FOUR defensive linemen in the first five rounds of the draft, including DT Tyson Alualu -- largely considered the draft's biggest "reach."

The thought process behind this seems simple enough: Cleveland, of all teams, exposed our complete inability to stop the running game. This cripples the secondary from being free to completely cover the pass and the play-action becomes an incredible weapon in this offense. When one part's broken, the rest of the defense falls apart. Thus, Smith & Co. decided to completely restock the shelves, so to speak, and remedy the problem that plagued them most in losing their last four contests.

On the other hand, the Chiefs taking the road less travelled. It's quite amazing really. Both teams were obliterated by an attack that should have never been that effective in the first place -- a team with a pathetic offense with a running back who'd yet to make his mark. One team decides to insert brand new personnel across the board. The other? How about drafting return men and three new defensive backs. Not exactly what you'd picture.

This season will show which approach was healthiest. Because if you think 2010 opponents aren't watching tape of the nonexistent run defense from the previous year, you're sadly mistaken.

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