For a lot of fans, the games against Kansas City, are more about redemption, than straight out revenge. A look at KC's history in the super bowl, illustrates their problem with winning.
Last season, Oakland broke it's AFC West losing streak, of all places, in KC. Part of this, was on the shoulders of their coach, who opted to try for a close 4th down play, challenging a spot, then badly failing in the effort.
End result, Oakland held onto the ball for the rest of the game, and Oakland won.
This season, a lot of people are trying to say, that with all the draft picks KC has, they'll be much improved, however, KC failed to take care of several key items.
First of all, is the QB. Ok, let the Chief fans boo on this one. However, if you went from Trent Green, and his high powered offense, to what Huard and Brodie Croyle brought to the game.
It could also be noted, that while Oakland lost 12-10 in the first meeting, Oakland won the second game, 20-17...yes, we actually outscored them in the two games.
To give an idea, on why I think the KC QB situation needs a fix, look at these numbers.
Last year, the two QBs had 17 TDs....and 19 INTs.
Green's last major year, 2005, had 17 TDs by himself, and only threw 10 INTs.
Of course, that year, the Chiefs had a 10-6 record...and missed the playoffs.
Now, granted, Croyle can't take full blame for this last year, since he only had 6 starts, and 9 total games. But he also had 17 Sacks, and 4 fumbles.
Huard didn't fair much better, going down 36 times, and coughed up the ball 5 times too.
Kansas City's idea, of protecting the QB?
They picked up a Guard, and a Tackle via the draft.
Needless to say, if Burgess schools the line on the first meeting, then by the second meeting, Herman Edwards will probably be chewing on his line for their poor performance.
Second point, is the running game. Larry Johnson, is the wild card on this team, as last year, injuries shot holes in his season, and left KC looking for a replacement. Kolby Smith filled in, but his performance was similar to what an injured Johnson looked like. 3.5 yards per carry, and both combined for 5 TDs....a far cry from the usual. If Oakland can get the pocket filled in, thanks to the Cornerbacks, Johnson is going to find it hard to hit 100 yards, in either game.
Wide receivers, and Tight Ends, is a point usually exploited, in this series. However, this offense is now down to two threats, Bowe, who was a teammate of now Raiders' QB Russell, and Gonzalez. With these two, the primary method, is letting Gonzalez get about midfield, and his speed will create a first down. To slow this up, sending blitzes will force the pocket down, and make passing more erratic. Also, sending Morrison into a deeper spread, will give him a chance at some interceptions....just gotta keep your eyes on the QB.
A second concept, on the WR/TE theory, is running an older style of play, with the Corners blocking off the long threat. What this does, in general, is forces the KC players to run across, and up. Advantage? If we blitz with 3-4 players, we'll find the QB a lot faster...Kelly, Burgess, even an extra safety blitz at times, will keep them guessing.
Lastly, is the Kicking game. After last year, it's a flip of the coin, 15 of 22 fg didn't sit well with Edwards, and last year's draft pick, Justin Medlock, did see a games' worth of looks...and went 1-2.
I'd say, in this case, the occasional block is an option. Same thing goes for a punting option, with Colquitt. 95 punts last year, he had one blocked, but also had an 81 yard boot....so distance can be expected....move fast.
As far as special teams go, now that Dante Hall is gone, their primary weapon is Eddie Drummond. No comparison, the longest run he had, 39 yards on a kick return, 22 as a punt returner. Playing smart defense, first man tackles, and closing the lanes down on returns will be needed. See Tony Stewart.
All in all, KC's offensive scheme will only work, if there's a complete mental collapse on the Raiders' defensive line.
Bold prediction? Sweep in store for 2008, by the Raiders.
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