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August 24, 2007

Horrible Loss to the Saints in the Chiefs' 3rd Preseason Game « Kansas City Chiefs »

Yeah, it sucked.

Our heir-apparent QB was 5 of 17 for 45 yards. That's scary-bad.

Our LT of the Future (Svitek) was starting for our injured FA pickup starter (MacIntosh) and did a bad job (helping Brodie attain that atrocious completion percentage).

Our WRs dropped everything (helping Brodie attain that atrocious completion percentage).

I'm not happy, no. I'd like for us to go out and have Croyle lead us to 4 TDs in his first 4 series.

And I'm slightly worried, yes.

But nothing counts yet. We've seen teams that looked horrible in the pre-season win the Super Bowl. And teams that have done great in the pre-season have had losing seasons.

Our horrible offensive production worries me, it truly does.

But I'm NOT proclaiming gloom and doom unless we get blown out in our first 3 games.

The thing is, this was preseason. The game doesn't count. The stats aren't entered in any record book. Preseason games are approached very differently than regular season games.
From what I hear:
We ran only one running play. We ran only one coverage scheme on defense, and didn't use stunts or blitzes to get pressure. We didn't use any (much?) of our multiple shifts that get us the favorabel mis-matches in the passing game.

Moreover, we were evaluating lots of players on the bubble. Phinisee got some time with the first-team defense, likely evaluating whether he can contribute outside the return game or not (meaning that he may make the team rather than Ean Randolph, contrary to my prediction in the roster cut-down post; I can live with being wrong on that; moreover, while Randolph still has a significantly better PR average, Phinisee has moved significantly to the lead in KR average).

We know:
1) Our starting, pro-bowl running back did not play
2) We have played 3 games that don't count
3) We got some good evaluation data on how players perform in a game situation (i.e., it looks like Phinisee got some reps with the first team to see if he might be able to do more than just PR/KR)
4) We have not played well on offense in 3 games
5) Our defense has done quite well despite playing only one coverage set
6) We can't do much without our pre-snap shifts to cause mis-matches
7) Our currently starting LT isn't starter-level yet
8) Our defense will be good
9) Improving on paper is not the same as improving on the field....HOWEVER:
10) Sucking in pre-season is not the same as sucking in the regular season
11) We plugged alot of holes with youth; youth makes mistakes...but it can improve from those mistakes. Old players can get old during a season, and get injured more. Having a young team is painful at times, but far better for playoff chances
12) If we don't challenge for the playoffs this year, the experience we get + another draft focused on the O-line (or maybe another FA LT) will make us a strong contender in 2008
13) Surprise! We may have decent depth at CB (more clear in the first two games than against NO)
14) Our defense is best in the Red Zone (when it counts, actually). We aren't giving up long scores, and we can shut down even the best offenses with our base scheme once we have the goalline at our back.

I am on record for saying our offense will be at least #12 in scoring. I made that prediction after the 2nd pre-season game, but even though the game against the Saints makes me feel nervous and sheepish about it, I'm not going to back away from it just because of one horrible game. You can't let one data point shake your analysis.

So I reiterate:
By the end of the year, the Chiefs will be top-10 in yardage and scoring defense, and at least #8 in yardage defense. The offense will be at least #12 in scoring (at about 22 points/game), and probably around #16 in yardage (more scoring from a strong running game than passing).

I stand by it. Don't worry, we'll make the playoffs. Or we might go 4-12. But there's no reason to jump off the bandwagon for any one bad game, and especially not any one bad pre-season game (even if the offensive trends look scary).

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