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08-13-2005, 01:14 AM

New-look defense displays same old problems
Vikings strike for big plays against first-team unit

The Kansas City Star

MINNEAPOLIS — For all of two Minnesota possessions Friday night, the Chiefs’ defense was everything they hoped it would be.

Kawika Mitchell was disruptive against the running game, Derrick Johnson’s speed caused the Vikings some problems, and Patrick Surtain’s superior coverage skills were evident.

The problem for the Chiefs was that on the starters’ other two series, the defense looked too much like last season. Little in the way of a pass rush. Missed tackles. A 50-yard run by Minnesota’s Mewelde Moore.

Sound familiar? It was hauntingly so for the Chiefs, who trailed 14-3 by the time their defensive starters left the game midway through the second quarter and lost 27-16 in their preseason opener.

“I think we’ll find we did some things good individually but not good enough things as a team,” coach Dick Vermeil said. “We didn’t do a good job against a scrambling quarterback. He got out there a couple of times and killed us.”

The Vikings unloaded star receiver Randy Moss on the Raiders during the offseason, but their pass offense hardly suffered on the first drive. Quarterback Daunte Culpepper was four of four for 70 yards. Nate Burleson finished the drive by taking a screen pass 33 yards for a touchdown.

The Chiefs’ defense then came alive, if only temporarily. Eric Hicks got pressure on Culpepper and forced him to scramble. Mitchell was in the backfield to stuff consecutive running plays.

On a third down, Mitchell and Johnson blitzed. Johnson forced Culpepper to throw quicker than he might have liked, and Surtain was able to break up the pass.

The Vikings had great field position on their next series, taking over at the Chiefs’ 42 after a 43-yard kickoff return and a facemask penalty on Gary Stills. But the Chiefs forced Minnesota to go three plays and punt.

The possession ended when Benny Sapp blitzed and hit backup quarterback Brad Johnson as he threw, ending the drive.

Moore’s 50-yard run brought the Vikings back to life on their next possession. Jared Allen had the chance to stop the play for a short gain but failed to make a tackle.

Johnson threw 7 yards to Moore for another touchdown, ending an up-and-down night for the Chiefs’ starting defense.

08-13-2005, 01:15 AM

Tynes consistently inconsistent
Kicker’s preseason drama continues to concern Vermeil

The Kansas City Star

MINNEAPOLIS — Dick Vermeil’s concern over Chiefs kicker Lawrence Tynes increased daily at training camp as Tynes missed the occasional field goal.

What he saw from Tynes in Friday night’s 27-16 preseason loss to Minnesota won’t do anything for Vermeil’s confidence. Tynes made three field-goal attempts, including a 51-yarder.

But he also pushed a 38-yard try wide right and sailed a kickoff out of bounds.

Three of Tynes’ four other kickoffs went into the end zone or to the goal line.

“There’s something about him, and we’ve got to solve that problem,” Vermeil said. “He comes up with one bad play. You can say ‘I’m sorry’ and all that, but you kick off and the ball goes out of bounds and they get the ball on the 40-yard line. Are you kidding me? That’s junior high football.

“He’s better than that, and we’ll stay with him.”

The Chiefs have no other kicker in training camp this year. That’s a change for Tynes, who had to win the job from Morten Andersen last year.

He indicated he wouldn’t mind having some competition.

“If there’s a guy there every day, it brings out the best in you,” Tynes said.

“I’m not saying I get lax out there. But I know when I need to turn it on.

“I like the way I came back after the miss tonight. I should have made that kick, but I like the way I came back.”

Minnesota has competition at kicker, and perhaps it’s no coincidence each of the candidates made his only field-goal attempt. Paul Edinger made a 48-yard field goal, and Aaron Elling was successful from 40 yards.

While Tynes was inconsistent, rookie punter Dustin Colquitt had a better night. He hit three of his four punts well.

One pinned the Vikings at their 15, and another was dropped by Keenan Howry, who quickly recovered.

Colquitt’s punts dance unconventionally and are difficult to field. Punt returners who are usually sure-handed such as Dante Hall and Eddie Kennison have struggled when trying to catch his kicks.

His final punt of the night was his worst. It traveled only 37 yards and was returnable. Minnesota’s Siaha Burley called for a fair catch instead.