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Chief ConcernsPosted Friday, August 17, 2007, at 12:11 PM
I can't hold it back any longer.
I'm a disgruntled Kansas City Chiefs fan.
I know it's only early in the preseason and the Chiefs, who are now 0-2 after a 11-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins Thursday night in K.C., are trying to figure out which players are ultimately going to make the team's final roster, while dealing with a quarterback controversy and a running back holdout issue that are so dramatic, you would think HBO might have filmed a documentary on the events unfolding this season with the team.
Wait a minute...they already did.
In case you haven't caught it, or you don't have HBO, the premium cable service is airing a five-part series on the Chiefs during their training camp as they struggle to prepare for the regular season under second-year head coach Herm Edwards. And it's actually quite good. Possibly better than the Chiefs will be this year.
As a lifelong Chiefs fan, I have always followed the team; cheering over the years during the high points, and worrying with every other die-hard fan during the low points.
From Bill Kenney and Steve DeBerg to Trent Green and Joe Montana, from Marv Levy and Marty Schottenheimer to Dick Vermeil and Herm Edwards, I have followed them. All the big names; Derrick Thomas, Neil Smith, Deron Cherry, Albert Lewis, Marcus Allen. I've watched as all those guys helped lead the Chiefs to success over the years.
Through the team's stellar regular season success, playoff woes and strong defenses during the 1980s and 1990s, to the high-scoring potent offense the team has displayed this century. I have followed them. Through all the highs and lows, I have been there.
And as a Chiefs fan, you always worry going into the season, because the Chiefs are notorious for having a devastating team on paper, with sports writers and analysts constantly predicting the team to finish 12-4, 13-3, or a record that comes from some far reach of the imagination. Then the team delivers during the season, even if they go 9-7 or 10-6, they still make the playoffs, only to fail when it counts the most.
So as a Chiefs fan, it's understandable why we worry. And this season, for some reason, my worries have kicked into high gear. And after the regular season starts, I hope Edwards, team general manager Carl Petersen and crew prove me wrong, but I have a bad feeling about this season.
As of this writing, All-pro running back Larry Johnson continues his preseason holdout, demanding more money before he once again dons a Chiefs uniform. First-round pick Dwayne Bowe, a wide receiver who eventually signed with the team, is two weeks behind the rest of the team after arriving late to training camp, and has performed below par in his few appearances on the field.
But the problems only begin there.
Rookie quarterback Brodie Croyle looks like a talented signal caller at times, with a gunslinger attitude who makes plenty of rookie mistakes, but still has a strong arm. It might take awhile before Croyle develops into the offensive leader this team needs.
And quarterback Damon Huard, who led the Chiefs to a winning record and the playoffs last year after Trent Green went down in the season opener, is a calm, accurate passer who may find ways for the offense to score points again. Maybe.
But without Johnson, the offense will stutter. Without a strong offensive line, which the Chiefs don't really have, either QB will be hard-pressed to have the protection needed to make timely throws and get the team in scoring position. Croyle or Huard may spend a lot of time on their backs this season behind a pieced-together line following the retirements of All-Pros Will Shields and Willie Roaf, so it may not matter who the starting QB is this year.
Which leaves us with the defense and its "leader," 34-year old Ty Law, who is entering his 13th NFL season and is not the elite cover cornerback he once was. The aging Law is on the decline since his injury following his career with the New England Patriots.
Law and fellow corner Patrick Surtain have been getting burnt by opposing wide receivers on a regular basis. The Chiefs have failed to sign a playmaking pass rushing defensive tackle for the last several years (Ryan Sims, Junior Siavii..do those names ring any bells, or have they already faded from memory?)
The defense looks like it might be solid this year, most likely not a top-ranked defense, but the team might have to rely on it to help the Chiefs score some points this year, because even with LJ, the offense may not be able to get it done.
So, needless to say, I'm worried. I won't say that this is possibly the worst Chiefs team in its history that I've seen take the field, but definitely one of the worst in recent years. But maybe, hopefully, they'll get better. They really have nowhere to go from here but up.
I know it's still only the preseason and come this fall, I hope I eat my words and this year's version of my all-time favorite team proves all of its fans and critics wrong, because in my opinion, nothing would make me feel better than for that to happen.
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