In a back and forth battle that could have fallen either way, the Kansas City Chiefs showed they have some fight, despite falling to 0-5.
While many may believe the Chiefs to be “flatlining” their vital signs showed the team is alive and kicking as they went toe to toe with the Dallas Cowboys. Fans have started to fear the “inevitable” loss, but this week there are three positive observations of upward trends for the Chiefs.
The evolution of quarterback Matt Cassel:
Cassel has been criticized for taking too many sacks because he holds on to the ball too long.
Know how to make a quarter back speed up his decision-making? Have that quarterback get hit on over 50 percent of his dropbacks. This isn’t because of holding onto the ball too long, but because of a struggling offensive line.
A bad offensive line that got worse with the loss of Branden Albert and Mike Goff to injuries late in the game. The severity of these injuries will be looked into, but starting left tackle Albert did not return.
However, Cassel has drawn attention for his ability to move in the pocket and his delivery appears to have sped up. He is finding receivers quickly and is distributing the ball around well. Cassel has not thrown an interception since week two and had his best game of the season against Dallas as he threw for 253 yards and two scores.
Ballhawks are good:
There are certain players who play defense that always seem to be around the ball. Possessing a “nose for the football,” these players recover fumbles, catch tipped balls, and change the momentum of the game in doing so. It can be argued these players are the beneficiaries of lucky bounces, or being in the “right spot at the right time,” but for great defensive playmakers these fortunate turns of events happen with scary regularity.
Kansas City now has two identifiable ballhawks. Safety Mike Brown brought this reputation with him from Chicago, but simply hasn’t been able to stay healthy, while Chief’s nickel back Maurice Leggett is proving to have playmaking ability that may sway the Chiefs to run the nickel a bit more.
This is in contrast however to a player whose skills have noticeably regressed in safety Jarrad Page. Still, turnovers will likely be key to any Chief’s victory this year. Half of KC’s points against Dallas came off of turnovers.
Glenn Dorsey: On the radar:
While he hasn’t emerged as the playmaker Chiefs fans would have liked after being drafted in the top five a year ago, converted defensive tackle, defensive end Glenn Dorsey, has proven to be a run stuffing force out of the 3-4 defense.
This is the more-true role of a defensive end in the 3-4, as the blitzing linebackers provide the primary pass rush. Players like Tamba Hali are allowed to thrive when players like Dorsey engage with and require attention of the offensive linemen. In fact, Hali recorded a sack making an inside move on Cowboys star left tackle Flozell Adams. An inside move!
This defense has players who are beginning to discover their niche within the 3-4 defense.
I had hoped to write that, “an anemic offense did just enough,” but alas, another defeat was in the cards for Kansas City today.
The running game is abysmal and there is a tendency to want head coach and offensive coordinator Todd Haley to open up the playbook and showcase an aerial attack, as he is typically known for. However, already under heavy pass rush Kansas City must keep teams honest by feeding the runner.
It is the effectiveness of Kansas City’s two-minute offense that teases fans at what the red and gold hope will become he status quo.