The Kansas City Chiefs love to live life dangerously, and they proved it once again with another loss in Florida when the defense couldn’t stop Brian Griese of all people! The faces of the Chiefs defenders should have been as red as their helmets after allowing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to score 34 points on them.
It is now painfully clear that the lack of moves from the front office to attempt an upgrade on the defensive side of the ball have greatly reduced the chances of the Chiefs getting back to the postseason. The much talked about trade of Larry Johnson before the deadline that could have brought them a defensive player that would have added a spark never occurred, and the loss of Mike Maslowski before the season started should have forced Carl Peterson’s hand to add another veteran linebacker as insurance. Why the Chiefs front office refused to address these issues is one of the greatest mysteries in sports right now, and people need to be held accountable.
The saddest part of the Chiefs 3-5 record is that similar to last season, they are wasting one of the most prolific and high powered offenses in National Football League history!
Having said all of that, the surprising thing is, the Chiefs could possibly be a factor later in the season if they can steal a couple of wins on the road and put all of their remaining home games in the win column. A record of 7-1 is now needed in the final eight games to achieve the goal of making the playoffs.
The wonderful win over the Colts at home was nullified by the loss to Tampa Bay. Now, in order for the Chiefs to put themselves in a position to make a run at a 7-1 second half, they must go on a roll and win a few straight to allow this to be a possibility. This is a tall task indeed, and one that may not be reasonable to expect, especially with such a porous defense, however it can be done with the talent that suits up for Kansas City.
The first half of the season has been a huge disappointment, however there also has been some outstanding individual play. So with that said, here are my first half grades for all phases of the Chiefs organization.
Trent Green is having another very good season. He is operating the offense very efficiently and is limiting his mistakes. His ability to wiggle out of inevitable sacks during the first eight games has been amazing! The only thing that keeps this grade from being an A are his occasional interceptions. Those however are mainly due to trying to force the issue and having the pressure of knowing that the offense must score on every possession to make up for the defenses inability to stop the opponent.
RUNNING BACKS: A+
Priest Holmes is Priest Holmes and nothing more needs to be said! The surprise is the performance of Derrick Blaylock in a reserve role. His future is very bright and he is a very hard worker. Tony Richardson is heading to another Pro Bowl. Why is Larry Johnson still on this roster?
OFFENSIVE LINE: A-
This is hands down the best offensive line in the NFL. Brian Waters is having a Pro Bowl year, and both Will Shields and Willie Roaf should also be heading to Honolulu. Casey Weigmann and John Welbourn have also played well, although the two of them have had some mental breakdowns.
WIDE RECEIVERS: C+
This has been a bounce back year for Johnnie Morton. He has been consistent, and he is making his appearance in the endzone again. Eddie Kennison is inconsistent at best. He has some moments of brilliance and some moments where you have to wonder if his head is in the game. The fumble near the endzone against Tampa Bay turned the tide of the game in the Bucs favor. This is an area where the lack of a big time playmaker has really hurt the Chiefs, especially late in games.
TIGHT ENDS: A-
After a somewhat slow start, Tony Gonzalez is once again proving that he is the class of the league when it comes to tight ends, and Jason Dunn is once again proving to be not just an excellent blocker but also a receiving threat in the Red zone.
DEFENSIVE LINE: C
There have been some pleasant surprises in the first half of the year. Jared Allen has been very impressive in a limited role, as has Lional Dalton. However, Vonnie Holliday, Eric Hicks, John Browning and the rest have been very inconsistent in both pressuring the quarterback and stopping the run.
This group as a whole has been very disappointing. Monty Beisel, Scott Fujita and Shawn Barber have had some sparkling plays, but on the whole they have played far below expectations. Kawika Mitchell should be counting his blessings that he is even on an NFL roster.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: D
Eric Warfield is beginning to show the signs of a first class cornerback in the NFL, however he still has mental lapses that cost the Chiefs at pivotal times of the game. Dexter McCleon is beginning to show his age and William Bartee and Julian Battle are two more players who are fortunate to be on an NFL team.
SPECIAL TEAMS: F
This group has been extremely disappointing during the first half of the year. The kicking and punting have been far below NFL standards and the Dante Hall of last year has been nowhere to be found this season. If the Chiefs expect to make a second half run, the special teams will have to be greatly improved.
Dick Vermeil, Al Saunders and Gunther Cunningham have for the most part devised strong game plans, however their in-game decisions must be questioned and at least one loss so far this year can be attributed to mental coaching errors late in games.
FRONT OFFICE: F-
If it is possible to give a minus after you’ve already been given an F, it is appropriate here. Carl Peterson and staff have quite possibly blown an opportunity to create a mini-dynasty by remaining stagnant and not tweaking a vulnerable defense when it was obviously necessary. If the Chiefs don’t go on an enormous second half run and make the playoffs, Carl Peterson should be run out of Kansas City on a rail!