Built to Run: Kansas City Chiefs Will Be the Same Team Regardless of Quarterback

Mike SettleContributor IDecember 10, 2010

So much has been put into the thought of "how will the Chiefs win without Matt Cassel?". His Appendectomy has been the hot topic since Wednesday.

Despite how well Cassel has performed this season and his elite ball-protection skills, the Kansas City Chiefs will come out with the same gameplan as they do every week.

Week one of 2009 was Brodie Croyle's last start. It was a solid performance against a tough Baltimore Raven's defense and Croyle did it with Larry Johnson starting at halfback, Sean Ryan starting at tight end and Mark Bradley starting at wide receiver.

Despite Croyle's two touchdown and zero interception day, the Chiefs still managed to lose 38-24 and dropped Croyle's career record to 0-9.

This time the Chiefs and Brodie Croyle go to San Diego with a better offensive line, Dwayne Bowe at wide receiver, rookie Tony Moeaki and the best duo in football of Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones in the backfield.

Kansas City's game plan will be to run the ball, break a couple of big plays such as a 56 yard touchdown run from Jamaal Charles and to convert necessary third downs.

San Diego brings in a defense that has ranked near the top in every category since the week one loss to the Chiefs on Monday Night Football. They typically don't allow teams to pick up big yardage, but last week the Oakland Raiders gashed them with the run for over 250 yards on the ground.

Oakland used the combination of creating turnovers, gashing the front seven of San Diego and Jason Campbell was occasionally called upon to complete a pass.

Kansas City will bring the same attitude to this game. Although teams have only won two games this season directly after playing Oakland, the Chargers will at least know what is coming.

Instead of containing Darren McFadden and Michael Bush, the Chargers will be forced to stop the best running back in the NFL paired with the veteran smarts of Thomas Jones.

Charles currently leads the NFL in yards per carry, boasting an unthinkable 6.2 per attempt. However, his task this week will be no walk in the park. San Diego only allows 3.7 yards per carry and is currently fifth in the league in stopping the run.

If the Chiefs have an X-factor in this game, it will come down to Dexter McCluster or Javier Arenas breaking off a huge return and helping out the Cassel-less offense.

On defense, Kansas City is an inconsistent group to say the least. You never know what kind of game they will bring to the table. They could get destroyed like they did four weeks ago against Denver or they could shut down an offense similar to what they did against Denver last week.

But the most important thing this defense can do is come up with big plays on third down to force a punt. They currently rank sixth in the league on 3rd down and near the top in turnover differential, which is the recipe for a solid team.

The Chargers offense could have a surprise Vincent Jackson in at wideout. He may not make much of an impact, but he would take some of the pressure off of Antonio Gates. Gates has more touchdowns against Kansas City than any team he's faced over his career.

Granted, those Chiefs defenses of the mid-2000's were atrocious, but he's a force to be reckoned with even if he's not 100 percent.

Everyone seems to be questioning if the Chiefs can win without Matt Cassel, but the reality is Cassel is not the heart of this team. Cassel is a fraction of the puzzle that can ultimately be replaced because of the system the Chiefs currently use.

The Chiefs don't need Croyle to become Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers. They need him to be the same game manager that Cassel is, and not turn the ball over.

It's simple really. Pressure Philip Rivers, keep Gates in check and rush the ball on offense.

I'm not going to guarantee a Chiefs victory like I did in week one, but the Chiefs could easily pull off another victory against the Chargers.