Report Card: Chiefs On Academic Probation After Four Games
If you would have told me that the Kansas City Chiefs would be 1-3 and lost its games by an average of 17 points before the season, I would have respectfully disagreed. While their expectations weren’t sky high going into the season, they were supposed to be right in the thick of the AFC West with the Peyton Manning-led Denver Broncos. 4 games in, the two teams appear to be headed in opposite directions as the Broncos have two tough losses against undefeated teams but are still looking like a good team. The Chiefs, on the other hand, are currently in position for a high draft pick as the combination of bad defense and too many turnovers have doomed them. Let’s grade them.
Offense: C-. Jamaal Charles has been great for the team so far, and despite his two fumbles last weekend has accounted for the majority of the offense with 512 total yards and 3 touchdowns. His two rushing touchdowns were both highlight reel plays, and he’s still a viable receiver out of the backfield coming off of a torn ACL. The passing game, on the other hand, has struggled to find any consistency this year, and besides Dwayne Bowe, none of the Kansas City receivers have done much of anything.
Matt Cassel already has 7 interceptions and 4 fumbles, and turnovers were the deciding factor in last Sunday’s 37-20 loss to the San Diego Chargers. Cassel threw a pick six, and another one of his 3 interceptions killed a drive that looked promising at the end of the first half. The Chiefs passing yardage ranks high in the National Football League, but that has more to do with them being constantly behind than the success of Cassel. MVP: Charles.
Defense: D. A defense that has plenty of talent, including Tamba Hali, Justin Houston, Derrick Johnson, Brandon Flowers, and Eric Berry, hasn’t been able to stop anyone (34 ppg allowed), especially early in games. The Chiefs have been outscored 41-6 in the first quarter this season as offenses have marched down the field against them. The all-bust defensive line of Tyson Jackson and Glen Dorsey has failed to produce any substantial stats once again, and Dorsey missed last week’s game with an injury. Berry has struggled mightily in pass coverage, and the secondary has just 2 interceptions thus far. MVP: Houston, with 14 tackles and 4 sacks.
Special Teams: B. Other than a botched extra point last weekend, the Chiefs special teams unit has been serviceable. Kicker Ryan Succop has been accurate on his field goals, hitting 7 of 8 including 6 in the team’s comeback win over the New Orleans Saints. Punter Dustin Colquitt has had 10 of his 17 punts downed inside the 20 yard line and just 1 touchback so far. The return game hasn’t been spectacular, but it hasn’t cost them anything. While the offense and defense’s mistakes have killed them, the special teams looks pretty decent in comparison. MVP: Succop.
Overall Grade: D+. The team simply hasn’t played well to this point, and coach Romeo Crennel will need to make some changes before he’s catching a bus out of town. Things don’t get easier with a matchup against the Baltimore Ravens Sunday, and at this point it may take a small miracle to avoid turning the ball over to Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and company at least 4 times.