The Kansas City Chiefs’ week 2 of the preseason raised some major issues for this Chiefs fan. I came away from Saturday Night’s game against the Los Angeles Rams (which on a side note just feels right to say, the Rams moving back to LA makes sense and is great to see) with a lot more frustrations and concerns than I did bright spots.
I came into the game looking for 3 things:
- Could the first team offense continue their good execution against a tough defensive front? Yes, by all means! Alex Smith and the first team offense came out like a house a fire and marched straight down the field and, just like the previous week, capped it off with a touchdown by Spencer Ware. They used multiple personnel packages to keep the Rams off balance, got the ball out of Smith’s hands quickly, and really took it to a very solid Rams first team defense. After the opening drive, some concerns arose, as the offensive line struggled to give Smith consistent time; however, I think that has more to do with the talent the Rams have in their front seven than actual problems with the Chiefs offense. Overall though, it was an impressive outing by the first team offense and I don’t have much to complain about with Alex Smith and company.
- Who’s going to start opposite Marcus Peters at Corner? Steven Nelson, D.J. White, or KeiVarae Russell? I don’t think this was answered at all. Both Nelson and White looked mediocre at best and Russell didn’t get on the field until late in the game. Marcus Cooper looked decent, but we’ve seen what Cooper is capable of over the past few seasons and we all know that he’s best used as a hybrid Corner/Safety type of player who doesn’t have to be relied on in 1-on-1 situations very often. Good support player but he’s not a full time starter. I’ll continue to be looking for this in week 3 against Chicago.
- Would Dadi Nicolas continue his momentum as a potential draft steal as a 6th round rookie at OLB? Nicolas had a very pedestrian game. The pass rush as a whole, for the most part, was non-existent. Outside of a strip sack by Dontari Poe on the Rams 3rd possession, Rams QBs had all the time in the world it seemed to throw. Not that major of a concern for me because there was no Tamba Hali or Justin Houston and the scheme was very vanilla without much blitzing, but finding someone else who can rush the passer besides Hali and Houston is an absolute necessity before week 1.
Beyond those things however, I found myself getting extremely frustrated with Coach Reid. As any Philadelphia Eagles fan will tell you, it can be maddening to be lead by Andy Reid at times because clock management isn’t his strong suit (to put it kindly). I took to twitter with my frustrations both at half and after the game:
After all that a Field Goal!?!?!?!?! What a pathetic display of play calling and clock management by the #Chiefs
— Justin McLuckie (@m_c_luckie) August 21, 2016
Preseason is preseason, but this loss hurts. Play calling & clock management before half time took 4 points off the board. Lost by 1 #Chiefs
— Justin McLuckie (@m_c_luckie) August 21, 2016
I’m not sure if it was the play calls necessarily or if it was just Nick Foles not being confident in his line to give him time to look down field. But on the Chiefs’ final drive of the first half, once they got into Ram territory everything went down hill. In total it was a 16 play drive, of which 9 plays went for 3 yards or less. Not due to anything other than an outright refusal to throw a pass beyond 3 yards down field. It was insanity. 3rd and 5 from the 12 yard line – 3 yard crossing route. 4th and 2 from the 9 – 2 yard dump off to the RB, 1st and goal from the 7 – 2 yard swing pass, 2nd and goal from the 5 – 2 yard swing pass. How about… just once… TRYING to throw it in the endzone?!?! Then after all of that, with 12 seconds and 1 timeout left you get first and goal from the 1/2 yardline (IE inside the 1!). What does a normal football team do? Line up, try a quick fade pass to let your WR make a play, if that fails, try to run it in on 2nd down, if that fails, call timeout and kick a field goal (not hard). What do our Chiefs do? Come out in the SHOTGUN, run a play action roll out pass (IE a very time consuming play); have the QB hold the ball for 6 seconds and try to force it into triple coverage, then with still 5 seconds and a time out left and half a yard to go just settle for a Field Goal on 2nd down and don’t even attempt a quick running play. To me, that sequence cost the Chiefs the victory. What’s scary though is we’ve seen Coach Reid and the Chiefs mess up these situations before in games that DO matter and this example breeds concern of what could happen when it does matter. The loss didn’t matter, but that fiasco at the end of the half left me very perturbed at the end of the night.
Other observations and concerns from Saturday:
- Run defense needs work. Todd Gurley is great, but Benny Cunningham is no world beater and the Chiefs’ first team defense was shredded by the Rams running game. This is 2 weeks in a row the run defense has been less than stellar. I’d like to see some semblance of competence from them before the end of the preseason.
- Thank-You Dontari Poe for getting us free Big Mac’s with your strip sack of Jared Goff.
- Chris Conley looks like he could be making huge strides in year 2. The kid made a couple nice plays and looks very much like he could be a legitimate weapon for this offense.
- Liked seeing Tyreke Hill back to return Kickoffs, I’m hoping our Knile Davis experiment is done.
- Jeremy Maclin getting ejected was hilarious. That really looked to me like the officials were just like “eh, screw it, it’s preseason let’s kick em out”.
- Daniel Sorenson played very well, he’s great depth to have.
- Cairo Santos missed a 43 yard field goal that also could have won the game in the 4th. Don’t like to see that. He missed 7 field goals last year but only 3 under 50 yards. That’s going to happen from time to time, but it never should have come down to that anyway in this one.
Next up for the Chiefs, a trip to Chicago in the “Dress Rehearsal” game against Jay Cutler and the Bears. Kickoff at Noon, pregame beginning at 11:00 AM this Saturday on the Home of Chiefs and Topeka’s Rock Leader V100! Don’t forget our Chiefs Kickoff Party at The Lazy Toad with the Kansas Lottery coming up on September 1st against the Packers!