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VLTC (Pre-)Grades: Texans
Posted By ChiefsWarpath.com On August 17, 2009 @ 8:27 pm In Commentary | Comments Disabled
Everyone needs the preseason: players, coaches, officials, announcers, and technical crews. Heck, even fans need some exercise to get their best fanatic rants, arguments, and overreactions into high gear. So, for me, I’m going to get things going with some preseason grades. Sure, boiling a game down to just a few grades is a gross over-simplification and over-generalization of the game. But, hey, people love to read them, write them, and argue them. So let’s get fired up for the coming season with some heated discussion on the state of the Chiefs and, more specifically, their performance against the Texans on Saturday. Tell me I’m wrong, tell me I’m right, and tell me what I missed.
VLTC Grades – Pre-Season Week 1: Texans
Offensive Coaching: D
The first half offense was very vanilla – a consequence of it being the preseason coupled with the wet conditions. This brought us “safe” play calling and horrific run-run-pass flashbacks that felt a little too much like the last three years. If this weren’t the preseason, I’d have been looking for Herm on the sideline during the first 20 minutes. At least we actually ran an offense out there for the final minute of the half, something Herm rarely did. Given the timing and wet conditions, I don’t really hold the overall performance against them. I’m just glad there were no serious injuries reported.
The vanilla offense of the early going made it near impossible to grade Matt Cassel’s performance. We know as little about him as we did on Friday. Brodie Croyle, on the other hand, was very impressive, but one good injury-free game doesn’t make you a great NFL quarterback. Tyler Thigpen sure is exciting, but is he any good? It’s hard to say with the “supporting” cast he had on the field with him.
Vanilla play calling makes it hard to fully judge the run blocking. The first group looked fairly solid and showed flashes, but still needs to gel as a unit. Our backups looked worthless. If this keeps up, I expect some turnover on the offensive line when other teams make their cuts before the season starts.
Larry Johnson did what you’d expect in the limited situation. I predict a solid but unspectacular season for Johnson (think Edgerrin James with the Cardinals). Jackie Battle was impressive in limited duty and may just make this team. Jamaal Charles was near non-existent. Dantrell Savage put up some numbers, but watching him run screams “third down back”, and nothing more. Since Charles is more likely to fill that role, I think he’ll have to make the team on special teams, if at all. Cuts at this position will be difficult. Who knows, maybe we’ll still work out a trade of Johnson when some team has a serious running back injury in the preseason.
Wide Receiver is even harder to judge. The “starters” were unreliable while the most promising players (Dwayne Bowe and Mark Bradley?) were playing late in the game and doing well against the Texans’ backups. In general, there were too many drops, more than can be blamed on rain. I did catch some good blocking by the wide receivers.
I have a severe Tony Gonzalez hangover.
Defensive Coaching: B-
Turnovers and the offensive performance didn’t always put them in the best position, but overall they did pretty well for what is, for the most part, a brand new unit and scheme. The appearance of the cover-2 made me a little nauseous, but that’s just because of recent trauma. Zone defense has its place, just not a permanent one.
I saw a lot of promise and a lot of inconsistency. The latter is expected for this new group, new system, and new coaching staff, so I remain hopeful. Glenn Dorsey, Alex McGee, and Tyson Jackson could be a great rotation. I believe Alfonso Boone will be a fantastic backup defensive end in the 3-4. I don’t think we’re going to blow anyone away at nose tackle, but Ron Edwards should hold down the fort while we look for a long-term solution (can Tank Tyler continue to develop?).
I’m pleasantly surprised with how well this group played as a unit given how new the group is. The play of backups Corey Mays, Demorrio Williams, and Monty Beisel also give me growing confidence in our depth. The most watched man was Tamba Hali at outside linebacker, who did not disappoint. He wasn’t great, but for this point in the transition he was acceptable and has lots of room for improvement. Is there room on this team for Turk McBride?
Despite Matt Shaub starting the game 7-for-7, this is clearly the most solidified part of our defense. They are consistent and dependable. Given their age (young), this is a foundation to build the rest of the defense around.
Special Teams: B+
Kick coverage was good. A healthy Dustin Colquitt was the best player on the team and makes punts fun to watch. Mr. Irrelevant (Ryan Succop) was just fine with decent kickoffs and a 47-yard field goal. The only blemish was at returner: we don’t have one.
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