Eric Berry is coming on strong over a year removed from ACL surgery.
The season has been a disaster for the Kansas City Chiefs, but fans can take solace in the fact that the Chiefs have basically secured the No. 1 overall pick. If the Chiefs don’t win another game, it will be very hard for the Jacksonville Jaguars to overcome the edge Kansas City has in strength of schedule.
It’s hard to imagine the Chiefs winning again when they face two teams headed for the playoffs in the Colts and Broncos. Both opponents also are motivated to win to secure their seeding, so neither opponent will rest starters until it has a comfortable lead.
Getting shut out by the Raiders demonstrated how bad the offense would be without Dwayne Bowe, but the defense deserves credit for keeping the Raiders out of the end zone.
Considering the circumstance, the defense actually performed quite well. Kansas City’s defense is not without holes, but the unit is good enough if the offense is performing.
Fix the offense and the Chiefs are instantly a better team, but there are plenty of other issues that need to be addressed. We'll get into that when the offseason begins in two weeks.
Talking Point for Week 16
Do the Chiefs select Geno Smith or sign a free agent? Will there be a quarterback available who can turn around the Chiefs? If the Chiefs don’t draft a quarterback, who will they draft? The top of the draft is very heavy on defensive players.
Nick Wright of 610 Sports in Houston tweeted that Scott Pioli and Romeo Crennel have been informed that they will not be back next year according to a reliable source. Wright is from Kansas City and well-connected.
There is a conflicting report by Ian Rapoport of NFL.com citing another source that says they haven’t been informed and the decision will be made after the season.
It really doesn’t matter if Crennel and Pioli have been told because both men have (at least) half a brain. Crennel and Pioli are smart enough to know they only have two games left and that Clark Hunt probably will not wait long to fire them at the conclusion of the season.
Coaches and general managers have survived bad seasons, but there is a combination of factors that makes it nearly impossible for the two men to remain employed by the Chiefs. Being told something you knew was coming doesn’t change anything.
The injury list in Kansas City is getting long. Players get banged up this late in the season, and with nothing to play for the veterans are more likely to sit out than play hurt.
Javier Arenas, Ryan Lilja, Tony Moeaki, Jerrell Powe, Russ Hochstein and Jon Baldwin didn’t practice Wednesday. That’s four starters on a bad team. If the starters aren’t able to produce, the backups are likely to be even worse.
Four more players were limited in practice, including Branden Albert, Abram Elam, Rich Ranglin and Brandon Flowers. That’s two more starters and a key role player. Some of these players will be able to play come Sunday, but that doesn’t change that the Chiefs aren’t exactly the healthiest team right now.
Player on the Rise
Eric Berry had one of his best games of the season on Sunday with 11 tackles. Berry came up to support the run and also had a nice day in coverage, which has become somewhat rare. Berry has come on strong since about midseason and he’s starting to resemble his pre-injury self.
Berry is coming off an ACL tear like so many other players this season. Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles's success has changed the expectations for a player coming off the injury, but Berry is following the more traditional recovery timetable.
Stat Trends: Offense
It doesn’t get much worse, but the Chiefs keep finding ways to make it look worse. The Chiefs are ranked 24th or lower in just about every offensive statistic used as part of the weekly progress report.
There are two exceptions: rushing yards and yards per carry.
It’s hard to imagine how bad the Chiefs would be without Jamaal Charles. The Chiefs got a glimpse of life without Dwayne Bowe on Sunday, and it wasn’t pretty.
The offense is a travesty, and it’s more than just the quarterback. The receivers are also suspect and the blocking was terrible last Sunday in Oakland.
The fans in Kansas City deserve better, and that’s why something needs to change.
Stat Trends: Defense
The defense ranks 25th in points allowed, and that’s the bottom line, but how they are allowing the points tells you which areas need improvement and how much is the result of bad offense.
The Chiefs allow most of their yards on the ground and then give up scores through the air. This is one common sign of a really bad offense that is compounding the defense’s issues.
The Chiefs and Jaguars are the only two teams in the league whose opponents have rushed on them more than they have passed. The bottom seven teams in pass/run ratio are the Chiefs, Jaguars, Cardinals, Jets, Eagles, Ravens, Titans and Bills.
Exclude the Ravens and it’s basically a list of the worst teams in the NFL, with a few teams missing. This is not some complex data analysis. Bad teams get behind early and teams run the ball for the rest of the game. Eventually the defense wears down and the offense switches to get the score.
With a leadership change imminent and a top draft pick, the Chiefs are poised for a rebound season in 2013. There is a level of uncertainty, but things can’t really get any worse. The Chiefs are now expected to get embarrassed in Weeks 16 and 17, but that will only further cement the No. 1 overall draft pick.