The Chiefs first offense has yet to find it’s groove and Todd Haley saw Matt Cassel get sacked three times on Friday night. As Adam Teicher reports, Haley liked how Cassel responded to the constant pressure.
He also acknowledged that because of offensive-line problems, it may be something Cassel has to get used to.
“That’s going to be life for Matt a little bit early on. He needs to be able to get out and make plays like that. That’s one of the things I said about him from the start that I was excited about that maybe I didn’t have where I came from was a big guy that can run. That’s a weapon we’ve got to utilize from a scrambling point of view if not a design point of view.”
Even so, Haley may see Cassel scrambling more than he’d like. The Chiefs had designs on frequently throwing down the field against the Vikings but had to change plans because Cassel was so often harassed.
He dropped back to throw 19 times but was sacked the three times and tucked the ball and ran twice. His longest completion went for only 20 yards, and he played only the first half when the Vikings didn’t use two of their better defensive linemen, Pat Williams and Jared Allen.
“That’s a pretty good defense we played against,” Haley said. “They didn’t have all of their big guns in there, but they’re going to be one of the better defenses.”
Many of the pass-protection problems emanated from the right side of the line, where the Chiefs gave Barry Richardson the first start of his NFL career at tackle. A sixth-round draft pick last year, Richardson played only on special teams in six games as a rookie.
Unhappy with veteran Damion McIntosh, the Chiefs promoted Richardson into the starting lineup last week. Richardson was responsible for blocking defensive end Ray Edwards, who hurried Cassel on each of his first two passes.
Cassel will definitely have to be inventive for a while before the Chiefs figure things out along the offensive line. Last year the team had the same problem and that’s why Damon Huard and Brodie Croyle didn’t last very long and it’s why Thigpen thrived. Cassel will earn his money running around this season while he keeps himself in one piece.
The biggest issues Friday night on the line were Mike Goff and Richardson. You have to expect Richardson to continue struggling as he gets his feet under him, but Goff really surprised me. I’m still confident he’ll bounce back and be reliable during the season. He’ll have to be if the line is ever going to be successful.
As we approach first cuts, there are a handful of Herm Edwards holdover that appear headed for the unemployment line. DaJuan Morgan could be one of those players, but according to Chris Thorman at Arrowhead Pride, the Chiefs have already tried to trade the second year safety.
The word on the street is that after the Detroit Lions first preseason game, Kansas City Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli offered Lions head coach Jim Schwartz a 4th round pick for DaJuan Morgan.
Schwartz didn’t bite. Former Chiefs defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham now holds that positions in Detroit. Presumably, the Chiefs went to the Lions with the trade because of Gunther’s presence and the team still said now.
I absolutely believe the Chiefs have been trying to move Morgan and any of the other recent high draft picks that haven’t fit in with the new regime (Hello, Turk McBride). The issue with most — if not all — of the players will be getting any real value in return.
Was Morgan worth a third round pick last season? Even if he was, a year of limited impact clearly hurt his value and the team would be lucky to get a 6th or 7th round pick for him. I believe McBride was worthy of a second round pick, but I’d be surprised if Pioli could get anything higher than a 5th for him.
Everyone around the league knows some guys just won’t fit with the program and that they will more likely than not be cut. So a couple teams might be willing to sacrifice a late round selection in order to secure a player they really like, most will just take their chances on the open market and hold onto their picks.
Just like the Chiefs, their next preseason opponent has also had trouble running the ball. Just like Kansas City, the Seattle offensive unit is learning a new system under Jim Mora.
With Julius Jones held out to rest a bruised thigh, nobody stepped up. Take away Seneca Wallace’s two scrambles for 20 yards and the trio of tailbacks — T.J. Duckett, Justin Forsett and Devin Moore — totaled just 52 yards on 21 carries for 2.5 yards a crack.
Both teams will be working on their offensive line Saturday night at Arrowhead. We just talked about Cassel being forced to run for his life, but Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was also sacked three times last weekend.
I think it’s important for all of to remember in the middle of panicking that it’s normal for an offensive line to struggle as they pick up a new scheme. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe the Chiefs have real problems along the line, but they aren’t as bad as it looked Friday night against Minnesota. Between picking up the new offense and finding an answer at right tackle, there is going to be a period here that is less than stellar.