The Kansas City Chiefs defense has been giving up yards in huge chunks, but it’s impossible not to notice the constant effort no matter the situation. Bob Gretz asked cornerback Brandon Flowers about the team’s defensive hustle even though the playoffs were thrown out the window long ago.
“We are doing it for ourselves. We are doing it for each other. We don’t want to let the other guys down. We’ve got a good mix, a bunch of guys that care about getting something done. We don’t always get the offense stopped, but it’s not because we aren’t trying. We want to stop every play and we want to help each other.”
Help for each other needs to be increased against the running game, because the Chiefs already slim chances of winning disappear if they can’t stop the other team’s running game. The front-seven needs to raise its efficiency level. The gaps need to be filled as designed by coordinator Clancy Pendergast. That impressive pursuit needs to be tempered from guys like OLB Tamba Hali, who comes off the edge like a missile and sometimes isn’t able to stop his trajectory as a running back blows past the area he just vacated.
Tackles need to be made, not missed. Undrafted rookie DE Dion Gales got his first taste of NFL action against Buffalo. Twice, Gales blew up the blocker across from him and got his hands on the Bills ball carrier. Both times he couldn’t finish the play and the back gained yardage, when he could have lost yardage.
“We’ve got to do a better job of executing the defense – missed tackles being the other culprit in reviewing the tape,” said Haley. “But I thought the defense gave us a chance to win and kept us in the game throughout.”
It isn’t seen in the final result, but it is refreshing to see this team hasn’t rolled over. Too often (including around here last season) players will just go through the motions on game day when a team is long forgotten from the playoff picture. That hasn’t been the case with this team on either side of the ball.
When you see those killer plays from Gales, it’s clear the Chiefs just don’t have enough talent yet. If things go according to plan, those plays next season will be a 4 or 5 yard loss instead of a big gain.
If the effort of a 3-10 win team is this high, what will things look like when they are in the hunt for a playoff spot. Say what you want about Haley — and many of you have — he has these guys playing hard every week.
Now that the Chiefs “sold out” last week’s game against the Bills now the focus turns to the home finale this Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.
Last week, the Chiefs needed to sell 3,500 non-club seats to avoid a local television blackout of their game against the Buffalo Bills.
This week, the magic number is higher.
The Chiefs said Tuesday they need to sell 5,500 remaining tickets for Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns by noon Thursday. Otherwise, the club’s streak of 156 consecutive sellouts will end and the final regular-season home game will be blacked out within a 75-mile radius of Kansas City, including Topeka and sports bars with satellites.
Last week, the Chiefs received a 24-hour extension from the league until Friday to sell the remaining tickets. But with 5,500 left this week, an extension is unlikely.
I would say the reaction to the sellout streak is close to 70-30 on the side of “who cares”. After seeing the stadium “sold out” but half empty last week I can completely understand that sentiment, I can. I also would never blame someone for not wanting to spend their hard earned money on a 3 win team. But at the same time I do think it’s important to keep the streak going into next season.
Like it was for the Chiefs, beating the Pittsburgh Steelers was the biggest win of the season for the Browns. Cleveland consultant Bernie Kosar thinks the win will help Mangini keep his job.
“I think it’s showing that (Mangini) can coach, and if he gets the scheme and gets the players right, that things aren’t as bleak as people said,” Kosar said on WKNR. “Especially the defensive scheme in the game and the Browns offensive line, the toughness. . . So I think it was something that definitely helped Coach Mangini show that the system’s working … could work.”
I wonder how many people have used that same reasoning for Todd Haley. The obvious main difference is that there was (is) a real chance that Mangini is fired after this season, but Haley would have to physically assault someone to find his way to the unemployment line.