For an offense that has struggled most of the early season, it was a surprise to just about everyone when their no-huddle approach worked on the final drive of regulation against the Cowboys. Why exactly did it work?
“They pulled together, sucked it up,” Haley said. “They made the plays work.”
Somehow, that’s what happened. The Chiefs faced a heavy Cowboys pass rush that sacked Matt Cassel four times and kept him rattled and indecisive for nearly 58 minutes of regulation. To make matters worse, Kansas City’s offensive line was without two starters, left tackle Branden Albert and right guard Mike Goff, both of whom left with injuries. The Cowboys had just scored a quick touchdown to take their first lead, adding comeback pressure to the Chiefs.
With all those factors working against Kansas City, Cassel and that beleaguered, battered and pieced-together offense scored a tying touchdown. Cassel made it look easy, too.
“Guys used technique,” Haley said Monday. “They did it the way we’re coaching them to do.”
And now the question becomes how do you get the offense to repeat the results of that final drive in regulation. They certainly didn’t carry any of that momentum into overtime when Matt Cassel had the ball twice and couldn’t move the ball, though penalties certainly played a role in the second drive.
It sounds cheesy no matter the source, but it’s all about execution. All the Chiefs have to do is cut down on the stupid penalties and Todd Haley would have no problem going to no-huddle, wildcat or whatever other wrinkle he wants to install.
The Raiders beat the Chiefs in Week 2 and sit above them in the AFC West, but few people would say Oakland is in a better position than Kansas City. Just ask Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce, who grew up an Oakland Raiders fan.
“I do not like knocking teams. But right now, they’re struggling. We’re playing that game the other day and, honestly, it felt like a scrimmage, like a practice. It felt like we were going against our offense (in a controlled setting) as far as the tempo. There was no vibe of trying or effort from the Raiders at all from a defensive standpoint against their offense. We’re getting three-and-outs. You don’t hear nobody (saying), ‘Hey, let’s go!’ trying to pick the guys up, rallying them, getting guys fired up. There was nothing. It was quiet. A guy gets sacked or somebody gets beat, they just get up. It’s not like there’s yelling or no kind of (emotion) about the way they were playing.
“It was shocking to be out there in that game and get that kind of feeling.”
Say what you want about the Chiefs failure to pick up a victory so far this season. You have not heard any player, from any team come out and destroy the team or any player the way Pierce did the Raiders. Effort has not been an issue. It breaks down to — again — execution and getting better talent. As the talent gets better, hopefully so will the execution.
Another franchise that is dealing with too many issues to list is the Washington Redskins. And according to Michael Wilbon, to understand the problem with owner Daniel Snyder is to listen to former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson.
“Realize that a great 53-man roster is what wins championships, not five or six high-priced stars. Dan Snyder builds his team like its fantasy football and that’s a big negative. The Redskins need a GM who can prevent Snyder from making decisions while letting Snyder think he’s involved. Who can work that magic? I don’t know.”
Game over! That’s it. That’s the only analysis you need to consume about what’s wrong with the Redskins over most of the past 10 years and why it starts with Snyder.
See, Snyder is great at the business side of the Redskins but the exact opposite when it comes to the football operations side. Football isn’t instinctive to Snyder and it’s never going to be, no matter how many fat checks he signs, no matter how many times he sits and stares out at practice.
To feel better about the Chiefs future all you have to do is look at the Washington Redskins and Dan Snyder. Kansas City will never have to look for a GM that has to worry about dealing with Clark Hunt. Instead — be it Scott Pioli or whomever ends up being his successor — there will always people that want to work for Clark and the entire Hunt family.
I know it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel with the Chiefs sitting at 0-5, but trust me when I say things could be much, much worse.