View Full Version : Scouts Inc. KC vs Jacksonville (ESPN Insider)

10-14-2004, 09:02 PM
Reeling Jags will continue slide

Why To Watch
Jacksonville's once stout run defense is showing some weakness and Kansas City RB Priest Holmes smells blood. Holmes will test the Jaguars' discipline with his ability to locate and exploit any of their vulnerabilities.

However, Jacksonville believes that mental lapses are responsible for its problems and not personnel issues. If that's the case and they can eliminate those mistakes, the Jaguars should have success limiting Holmes' production on the ground. Jacksonville will also try to keep Holmes off the field as much as possible by trying to control the clock with a steady commitment to the running game.

Will Holmes be too much for the Jaguars to overcome or will the Jacksonville defense tighten giving the Jaguars an important win at home?

When the Chiefs have the ball
Rushing: Over the past three weeks, Jacksonville's defensive players have been getting caught out of position trying to do much rather than playing within the scheme. The Jaguars' lack of discipline has created seams for opposing backs to exploit, and the breakdowns combined with some poor tackling have resulted in giving up some big plays. Jacksonville will have to do a better job of filling the correct gap and wrapping up upon contact or it will continue to have problems stopping the run.

Holmes has the vision to adjust when he notices defenders overpursuing and the power to run through arm tackles once in the open field. He will also be running behind an offensive line that has the tenacity and mobility to give the Jaguars' fronts seven some problems. Kansas City's front five works hard to sustain blocks and it generally does a good job of sealing off the backside, which opens up excellent cutback lanes for Holmes.

In addition, Jacksonville has had some problems defending the perimeter since losing DE Paul Spicer to a season-ending leg injury and it even moved LDT Marcus Stroud to end last week. Chiefs offensive coordinator Al Saunders can take advantage by frequently often pulling an offensive lineman around the corner and using him as a lead blocker.

Dewayne Washington
Kansas City's balanced offense and the Jaguars' lack of a dominant pass rusher up front puts Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Smith in a bind. If he walks a safety up to the line of scrimmage to help out in run support or blitzes, he'll have to play some man coverage on the outside. Neither Rashean Mathis nor Dewayne Washington is a shutdown corner, making Jacksonville vulnerable to the big play when it doesn't give them safety help over the top.

Holmes could post huge numbers if Smith doesn't play eight men in the box, and Trent Green should have plenty of time to go through his progressions when Smith doesn't send additional pressure. As a result, expect Smith to play plenty of eight-man fronts and blitz regularly. Saunders will counter by trying to get TE Tony Gonzalez involved off play-action and running some screens to Holmes. Gonzalez has the burst to get behind Jacksonville SS Donovin Darius when Darius bites on the play fake and the speed to separate from him when running a vertical route. Finding him downfield early would force Darius to play a little deeper and help open up the running game. Holmes is extremely dangerous after the catch and is a patient runner who reads his blocks well. Getting him the ball on some screens will make the Jaguars' front seven hesitant to fly upfield the next time it reads pass.

When the Jaguars have the ball
Rushing: Jacksonville wants to run early and often working against a Kansas City run defense that is one of the worst in the league. An effective running game will help the Jaguars control the clock and keep the potentially explosive Chiefs' offense on the sidelines. The two keys to Jacksonville's success on the ground will be the play of Fred Taylor and staying committed to the running game. Kansas City defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham will help his front seven by consistently playing SS Greg Wesley in the box. Walking Wesley up to the line of scrimmage will make the Chiefs susceptible to Taylor breaking some long runs if he is able to get into the second level.

However, the Jaguars don't need big plays from Taylor as much they need a steady ground attack that creates shorter third-down conversion attempts and helps them sustain longer drives. As a result, Taylor, who has appeared uncharacteristically indecisive, must stop dancing in the hole. If he hits the holes with authority like he has in the past, he has the power and size to wear Kansas City down with 20-plus carries.

It's also important to note that the Chiefs will attack the Jaguars' struggling defense early in the hopes of jumping out to a lead that takes the crowd out of the game. Jacksonville can't stop feeding Taylor, who has carried the ball 20 times in a game just once this year, if it falls behind early. It simply doesn't have the weapons at receiver or the experience at quarterback to keep pace with the Chiefs in a shootout.

Jimmy Smith
Although Byron Leftwich threw two interceptions last week, he is doing an excellent job of spreading the ball around and it has helped keep opposing defenses off balance. With Leftwich generally taking what the defense gives him, don't expect Cunningham to drop seven or eight men into coverage much. Look for him to blitz repeatedly instead. Cunningham can afford to leave his corners on islands when he blitzes because Jacksonville lacks a receiver who can make him pay for it. WR Reggie Williams has been a major disappointment thus far and WR Jimmy Smith has clearly lost a step with age.

With the aggressive Cunningham frequently bringing additional pressure, the Jaguars' pass protection will be critical to their success. The backs must attack their blocks, giving Leftwich enough space to step up to his throws, and the tight ends must pick up the most dangerous defender when they are asked to help out. However, it's also important to realize that Cunningham will send more defenders than Jacksonville has blockers on certain downs. It will be the responsibility of Leftwich to recognize when the protection isn't sound. Leftwich must find a receiver quickly or throw the ball away when this happens, as he lacks the mobility to avoid the rush.

Scouts' Edge
Holmes won't have a career day, but he should be productive and Kansas City's balanced offense will be the difference in this game. With Holmes creating shorter third-down conversion attempts, the Chiefs should be able to sustain some long drives that allow them to build a significant lead heading into the second half.

While Taylor should have success early, a big deficit will cause Jacksonville to abandon the running game in an effort to come back. Once the Jaguars' offense becomes a one-dimensional passing attack, Cunningham will be extremely aggressive and Kansas City should have some success getting to Leftwich. The result will be some stalled drives and possibly some turnovers for Jacksonville.

10-14-2004, 09:10 PM
Wow, seems the experts are expecting the CHIEFS to put up some points early on Sunday, I know this, they are due for a breakout in the points catagory. It would help if they would quit killing the big plays with penalties, but I wouldn' be surprised if the CHIEFS get the Points Machine going this week. GO CHIEFS.

10-14-2004, 09:23 PM
Thanks for the info...

10-15-2004, 05:16 AM
I bet we see a flea flicker at some point by Trent & Priest to Kennison.

10-15-2004, 07:51 AM
Thanks Saul!

10-15-2004, 08:06 AM
Thanks for posting this, Saul.

It's an interesting viewpoint, even though it sounds like it could have been written the same if this game were played last year. The writer seems to have no doubts in the Chiefs' ability to put up bunches of points against a good defense. While he gives the Chiefs D no credit for the improvements we've seen the last 2 games.

10-15-2004, 08:07 AM
A nice analysis.

I am worried about Fujita’s injury. Gunther likes the blitz, and Fujita is our fastest LB. That equation is troublesome.

We were able to stop Lewis because Boller and the Ravens WRs were not a real threat. The same situation does not obtain with Leftwich and the Jaguars WRs. Jacksonville is a more balanced Offense than Baltimore, which will probably give our D a lot more trouble.

Once again, it will be up to the Chiefs Offense to uncork a can. They have done that in only [1] game so far, so I remain concerned. It is foolish to depend on the Chiefs D to win the game. The onus is on the O and they need to deliver. Will the return of Kennison make a big difference?

More concerned than he was about Baltimore.

Mark M
10-15-2004, 08:11 AM
It's also important to note that the Chiefs will attack the Jaguars' struggling defense early in the hopes of jumping out to a lead that takes the crowd out of the game.

Um ... doesn't there actually need to be a crowd before you can take it out of the game?


10-15-2004, 08:16 AM
I am worried about Fujita’s injury. Gunther likes the blitz, and Fujita is our fastest LB. That equation is troublesome.


I did read in a DV Q&A that Fujita was practicing and looked like he might be able to go on Sunday. I hope so.

10-15-2004, 08:40 AM
I'm worried about missing Fujita too (and Sims). But I'm more concerned about missing his general contribution than his blitzing. Fujita is doing a good job reading plays and breaking them up, and is one of our more reliable tacklers too. We could miss him in many ways if he is not available, or is less than 100%. We'll need Mitchell to play his best game by far if Fujita is out....and hope that Monty can play OLB as well as he does MLB.

10-15-2004, 09:07 AM
I'm praying for a blowout.