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Jeff Herr's Blog

Jeff Herr, a finalist in the 2011 Big Gig Contest on 610 Sports Radio, was born and raised in Kansas City. Following the Chiefs, Royals, and Jayhawks all his life has led him to blog about all three extensively at the-jeff-report.blogspot.com. He has also spent time covering the Royals for the blog site kingsofkauffman.com as well as serving for a period as the lead editor of throughthephog.com a blog covering the Kansas Jayhawks. When not writing about the local sports scene, he pays the bills by serving as an accountant.

Jeff Herr: Chiefs Need to Shake Things Up

The media hailstorm from this game will center around the cheering of Matt Cassel when he was down on the turf with an injury.  While you can argue that point both ways, and people most definitely will, what intrigued me most about this game is everything that happened outside of this injury and the cheering that went along with it.

Perhaps the most impressive take away from this game was how well the defense held up against one of the most efficient and effective offenses in all of football.  Something happened in the New Orleans game that has affected this defense for the better.  It seems early in the season Romeo Crennell was trying to get too cute, outsmart himself.  As a head coach Crennell has nobody to check him and that might possibly be the biggest weakness he has in that role.

When things finally got bad enough, Crennell stopped trying to outsmart everyone with his 2-4-5 and 2-3-6 formations and moved back to more normal fronts.  He also stopped using as much zone with the secondary.  The defense began to play more to the strengths of his top cornerbacks with more man-to-man, bump and run coverage.  This benefit was two-fold allowing him to better utilize his talented secondary and allow more men at the line of scrimmage to get more pressure on the quarterback.  

Since this switch in the New Orleans game, they haven’t given up 300 yards of total offense after giving up 376 and 379 the first two weeks, respectively.  The sack totals have gone up as well with 11 of their team total 12 sacks coming since that game against the Saints, including 5 in the last three games by Justin Houston, who is having a breakout season averaging more than a sack per game.

Yet, with his defense performing well, the team hasn’t looked much better offensively with multiple turnovers and still not being able to put points on the board.  The increasing amount of turnovers and the poor play of Cassel had made the Chiefs one of the most inept offenses at scoring points (currently ranked 27th in the league in points scored).  Rumors have been flying about how Crennell doesn’t have much confidence in Cassel, and his performance has only made those rumors stronger.
The only way to even the playing field here was to find a way that this team didn’t have to rely on Cassel and keep the ball out of the hands of the opposing offense.  

With that, the offense came in with the game plan of run, run, run.  If Crennell truly didn’t have faith in Cassel, but remained stuck with him from a higher mandate, he was going to do whatever he can to make him a non-factor.  I’m not suggesting that Crennell is at odds with Pioli for having to start Cassel (although that could very well be the case), but I am suggesting that Crennell is trying to limit the ways Cassel could hurt this team.

We have seen this before in Kansas City.  Not with the team we cheer for, but one cheer vehemently against, the Denver Broncos.  Last year the Broncos were having similar problems, off to a 1-4 start, with horrible quarterback play, they decided to make a change.  As we all know, the Broncos inserted Tim Tebow, went to a run-first, run-second, run-third, run some more and then pass offense, and marched into the playoffs (and won a game when they got there).

I couldn’t help but shake thoughts of that Denver team all game watching what the Chiefs were doing.  The Chiefs philosophy had completely changed.  No longer were they a team trying to capitalize on lots of talent, but a team trying to get their best player the ball (Jamaal Charles) as often as possible and keeping it out of the hands of their worst (Cassel).

Cassel only attempted 15 passes before leaving with an injury in the 4th quarter.  Previously, he had not attempted less than 33 passes in a game this season and threw over 40 in the three previous games.  Even a game in which they rushed for over 200 yards against the Saints, Cassel still slung the ball over 40 times.

With the strong defense the Chiefs played on Sunday, this new offense kept them in the game.  The Chiefs were physical; they outgained the Ravens and dominated the game.  Joe Flacco, the Ravens quarterback who had started to jump into the discussions of “elite quarterbacks” in the NFL, looked pedestrian against a Chiefs D that seems to have renewed life.

Yet, the Chiefs ended the game with a loss.  While these were all encouraging signs, the question is where do the Chiefs go from here?  The possibility of Cassel out means the Chiefs have a real shot at shaking things up.  This team doesn’t have a Tebow like the Broncos did last year, but maybe they could.

If the Jets were looking to trade Tebow perhaps the Chiefs could send them an offer.  And Tebow isn’t the only player out there with a skill set suited to the run, run, run then pass long offense the Chiefs could be converting to.  Colin Kaepernick was a second round pick in 2011 who has run a lot of wildcat for the 49ers.  A call to them and a 3rd or 4th round pick could mean the Chiefs have a talented young QB who could help them move things around.

While I’m not necessarily calling for a trade here, I’m simply saying that the time has come for the Chiefs to think outside the box and Sunday was the best evidence.  With a better QB who could contribute more to the running game and throw some better passes games like this last one could tip in their favor.  It’s been far too long since the Chiefs have been bold and tried to blaze their own trail.  Now is that time.

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Locations : DenverKansas CityNew Orleans
People : Colin KaepernickJamaal CharlesJeff HerrJoe FlaccoJustin HoustonMatt CasselRomeo CrennellTim Tebow

10/08/2012 2:59PM
Jeff Herr: Chiefs Need to Shake Things Up
Please Enter Your Comments Below
10/08/2012 3:43PM
my answer
we need a new quaterback!!!
10/08/2012 4:30PM
why in the world would we try to get tebow? quinn may not be a top-tier QB, but i'd take him over fucking tebow every day of the week, and twice on sundays.
10/08/2012 5:57PM
Not really about Tebow
The idea wasn't really about Tebow specifically, which is why I threw Kaepernick in there as well. It was more about shaking things up and trying something different (for once!) instead of trying to rehash what we already know isn't or won't work. -Jeff
10/08/2012 10:13PM
Don't want to hear about the pain, Show me the baby!
I'm a Ravens fan who was in KC this weekend fr the game. First, let me say that all the people in KC treated me and the group I traveled with the utmost respect and courtesy. No matter who I talked to, a bartender, cab driver, bellman etc. They all either want Pioli,Cassell,Crenell, or all of them gone. The fans are clearly frustrated, and they love their team and they want to see them return to their glory.It was stunning for me to see empty seats at Arrowhead Stadium. There were a few fans in the section where our group was sitting that was cheering when Cassell was down. It reminded me of when Raven fans cheered when Kyle Boller got hurt a few years ago. All fans shouldn't be judged by the actions of a few knuckleheads. KC fans love the Chiefs, and they don't want to hear excuses. They want to see results!
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