Kansas City Chiefs 2012: 5 Keys to Week 8 Win over Oakland Raiders
There's not a lot of faith in the red and gold nowadays, but the next game on their schedule is one they can and should win. For many Chiefs fans, it is the game where their first and second favorite teams are the same—because their second favorite team is whoever plays the Oakland Raiders.
With a 1-5 record, some fans are actually hoping the Chiefs lose out to get a higher draft choice. I have never liked that logic, but I understand the frustration and why it seems like a good idea to a growing number of fans. While I agree the Chiefs need a franchise QB, I do not think having this strong core group of players take on the identity of being losers is the way to acquire one. Trade up in the draft, or whatever, but don't quit trying to win each and every week.
And speaking of winning, here is how the Chiefs can beat the Raiders in Week 8 of the 2012 season:
1. Embrace “Raider Week”
This is Crennel's second Raider Week as head coach. Last year, it ended with the Chiefs' elimination from post-season contention. In the short term, nothing will be better for the Kansas City Chiefs than a decisive victory over their most hated rival. Crennel embracing the fire and passion that typically goes with Raider Week is key to making that victory a reality.
The players are suffering some emotional battering from the boos they hear in Arrowhead. Sure, the anger from fans has been directed mostly at Matt Cassel, but there's not a lot of love flowing towards the players. In a perfect world, NFL players would just suck it up and realize they are paid a lot of money for what they do. As Chief fans were told over and over again with the Eric Winston debacle, players are people, too.
With the Raiders coming to town, Crennel has the opportunity to divert the players' attention from the frustrated fan base to winning a game that in any given season means more to fans than most. Fans are frustrated with coaching, management, and the quarterback who has been the starter the past four years, but there is a common enemy to rally around: The Oakland Raiders.
If the Chiefs give the Raiders a pounding when they come to Arrowhead, the fans will love them for it!
2. Name the Starting QB No Later Than Monday
As fun as it is to speculate on who will be named to start against the Raiders, the team needs to know who their quarterback will be no later than Monday. In practices, one guy needs to get ALL the first team reps instead of this shared reps thing Crennel has going on in the bye week. End the competition so the players can rally around the guy who will be behind center against the Raiders.
I have my own opinion on who should start, but regardless of whether it is Brady Quinn, Matt Cassel, or even Ricky Stanzi... for God's sake, Romeo, name the starter! If this team is to improve, it needs a clear statement of who the starter is as soon as possible. I'd prefer RAC makes the announcement on Friday of the bye week, so players already know going in to next week's practices what the situation is going to be at quarterback. As long as he does it by first thing Monday morning, the Chiefs will have a full week of practices knowing who will be behind center.
3. Name Brady Quinn as the Starting QB
The debate will rage on no matter who is selected, but in my opinion, Brady Quinn has to be the starter against the Oakland Raiders. If for no other reason, the hometown fans will not boo the guy who has yet to be given a full chance. It will be Brady Quinn's first home start as a Chief, and he'll have a lot more room for error. Fan support is huge at home for any team, and if the Chiefs want to regain the 12th man advantage, their only choice for QB is Brady Quinn.
There are other reasons to go with Brady Quinn, too. Going on the road with only one week of work with the first team offense and three months familiarity with the system, Quinn performed slightly better than Matt Cassel. Was it a good performance? No. But the prior week at home, Cassel threw the same number of interceptions AND fumbled twice with less than half the passing attempts as Quinn.
Brady Quinn has an upside, too. Or I should say, he at least has potential. Matt Cassel has been in the system for four years; there's no more potential left. He is what he is. Brady Quinn does not even have a full season of starts under his belt yet. The worst case scenario with Quinn is he plays as badly as Matt Cassel has played. The best case is he improves every week and matures as a starting quarterback in the NFL.
Brady Quinn is the only sensible choice if the Chiefs are going to try to win at Arrowhead against the Raiders.
4. Open Up the Offense
Even if Crennel can inspire the players and get them fired up for one of the NFL's oldest rivalries, he names his starting QB early in the week and he names that starter to be Brady Quinn, it won't mean a thing if he does not instruct Offensive Coordinator Brian Daboll to open up the offense and let Quinn fire away.
Currently, the Raiders are ranked 18th against the run and 25th against the pass, so certainly, the Chiefs should provide a heavy dose of Jamaal Charles, Shaugn Draughn, and Cyrus Gray (or Peyton Hillis, if available for the game). But that running game should be complemented with a few deep balls. The Raider secondary is very beatable, and the Chiefs need to get in the habit of scoring touchdowns and putting points on the board. If Daboll swings for the fences a few times, you'll see a different attitude on offense. This core group of players needs to know their coaches believe in them enough to attempt the big play now and again. Right now, I don't think the players feel their coaches have confidence in them, and this has to change to bring in a win.
5. Put Pressure on Carson Palmer
I confess, I often roll my eyes when I see something as lame as “Put pressure on the quarterback” in articles. Gee, really? Wait, are you saying that in the NFL, it's a good thing if you don't give the quarterback time to throw?
Unfortunately, this needs to be said after the unfortunate defensive game plan put forward against the Bucs last week.
When the Chiefs took on the Ravens, it was blitz and pressure galore. Lo and behold, it worked. Against a much less experienced quarterback in Josh Freeman, they seemed to have a gameplan to let Freeman throw and try to beat the secondary. Well, he did.
Put on the stunts and harass Palmer all day, and the Chiefs will win the turnover battle for the first time all season.
Chiefs Defeat Raiders 24-10
If the Chiefs embrace Raider Week, Crennel names Brady Quinn the starter no later than Monday, Brian Daboll calls a few gutsy plays, and the defense puts pressure on Carson Palmer, the Chiefs will emerge victorious, 24-10. You heard it here first!
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