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August 01, 2005

Stop That Nonsense Right Now! « Kansas City Chiefs »

What nonsense, you ask?

Well, lately, I've seen a comment come up, sometimes in the form of a question:

Fans just want the defense to be middle of the pack...

Not this fan.

Okay, here's the thing. Remember the first half of 2003, when the Chiefs started out so well? Sure, we won a few games because Hall broke a return for a TD. But the defense kept us in several games so that Hall could win it with a TD return. The defense can and should be quite good this year.

And we need it to be. Anything less than excellent (top 10) means we don't have a chance to win the Superbowl.

Why is it so necessary? Well, the better the defense, the more dominant we will be. The weaker the defense, the greater the chance for an upset. Sure, teams can win Superbowls despite a bad defensive showing in the playoffs...but the first rule of football is that offense wins games, but defense wins championships. That's because, in most cases, an offense can have a bad day when timing is disrupted, when WRs don't concentrate, when a QB gets a little pressure, but a defense generally can figure out a way to keep hitting and disrupting even when things don't go exactly right. Occasionally the right offensive game plan can totally exploit a defense's weakness, but that's not the way to bet.

But when you really look at the issue closely, the reverse is actually true, as well. Winning teams tend to have good defenses.

Sure, the "Greatest Show on Turf" won a Superbowl. Their offense was so awesome, they were blowing them out by 6 touchdowns halfway through the first quarter...what's that you say? It didn't go quite like that? One of the best offenses in NFL history needed a defensive stop on the 1-yard line to preserve a victory?!? Huh. Who'd a-thunk? And did the St. Louis Rams really have a Top-10 caliber-defense that year?

The stats say so.

I have a feeling that the stats might have been influenced by a number of teams having to pass to try to keep up with the Rams' offense. Against a truly good defensive team (like the Titans), the Rams offense had just enough to allow the defense to win it.

And let's return again to the 2003 Chiefs. We pretty much had a top-10 defense for most of the year. Sure, we were a little porous against the run, but what we lacked in yardage stats, we made up in turnovers. Because the offense would get 10-14 points up on the other team, and they'd switch to passing and we'd intercept or knock loose a fumble on a sack or strip the ball before the WR had solidified his hold.

But a funny thing happened against a good defensive team, right? They didn't beat us by lighting up the scoreboard as much as they showed the entire NFL something: running worked nearly as good as a pass in picking up yards on the Chiefs. It didn't help that our run-sniffing MLB (who also was such a student of the game that he made all the right defensive calls) was hampered and then out with a knee injury. But even though our offense was just as good, it didn't and couldn't make teams panic and go pass-happy anymore. They learned by watching the Bengals that if they kept pounding the run, we'd keep bringing more guys up to the line of scrimmage, and still be unable to stuff a run. That became a self-fulfilling prophecy, as I've argued before. And even worse, it made us way to vulnerable to a run-fake, like the one Cincinnati pulled when Warfield had no safety help, and a bad turn gave up a TD.

Bad juju.

It won't be that way this year.

Last year, when we stuffed the run on the first two series, it didn't win us anything. We could stuff the run on the first six series and they'd still keep going, knowing that eventually we would buckle. This year, when we stuff the run on the first three series, they can have no such confidence that we might still buckle.

Because we now have Derrick Johnson and Kendrell Bell. Because Kawika Mitchell and Keyaron Fox are healthy and eager to show they have caught on to the NFL. Because Sammy Knight is just salivating to pick off a pass or knock the ball loose like he always does. Because Surtain comes from nowhere to snag interceptions...even worse when Warfield comes back and does the same thing. Because Siavii had a full off-season with the Chiefs, and should be fully recovered from the Bronco Cheap Shot*, and Sims is playing for pride. Because Jared Allen added strength and weight and experience in the offseason and will still be a force even when double-teamed. Because Carlos Hall adds a good rush.

So now our opponents have to respect our defense. And our offense may be even better, with a full complement of WRs, the return of Kris Wilson, and the 1-2 punch of Holmes and Larry Johnson. Panic-mode for the opposing team should come earlier and more often...and our defense should benefit from that. They should look good, they should do more than just be mediocre.

We could very well have a team for the ages.

Cross-posted here.

*sorry for the redundancy

Posted by Nathan at 11:40 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

The chiefs will finish 8 and 8. There defense is not any better than it was last year. The problem with the Chiefs, and Redskins alike, they go after "has been" players that have a big name and a bigger paycheck. I was looking at the Chiefs depth chart and I came to the realization that I would not want a single one of their defensive players anywhere near a team I was chearing for. As for that "high powered offense," old and slow are good terms to describe them, sure Priest has about five games a season left in him for about 2 more seasons, but their recieving corps is the only thing worse than their defense. So this offense I keep hearing about, they will be terrible.

Posted by: Ivan Drago at August 4, 2005 02:13 PM

You wouldn't want Derrick Johnson on a team you were cheering for?

Hmmm, that pretty much establishes the quality of your judgement, eh? [grin]

Posted by: Nathan at August 4, 2005 02:42 PM

Chiefs will finish second in the afc west this year at 9-7. There's just to many pieces of the puzzle to put together here. They don't mesh in time.

Posted by: The Master at August 11, 2005 06:41 AM
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