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10-14-2005, 07:40 AM

Chiefs’ joyride sputters

Offense seeks boost from Roaf


The Kansas City Star

For those who consider themselves mere mortals, the early-season trends would hardly be reason for concern.

For the Chiefs, who expect to be so much more, the offensive numbers are mildly alarming. They are 18th in passing, 13th in scoring, 11th in yardage, middle class in most every respect.

The Chiefs knew their offensive joyride had to end sometime. You might quickly conclude that their four-game pedestrian output is the first sign of such a decline, but that may be premature.

“It’s way too early to say there are chinks in that armor,” ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth said. “All you can really go on is that first game of the season when they manhandled the Jets. That’s more of an indication of this offense because that’s when Willie Roaf played. A lot of what’s happening out there is due to the fact they’ve had a busted-up offensive line. That would happen to any team, and you have to take that into account.”

Sunday’s game against Washington at Arrowhead Stadium might be the best gauge yet of the Kansas City offense. Washington will bring the NFL’s fifth-rated defense, the highest the Chiefs have seen this season.

But Roaf, the Chiefs’ All-Pro left tackle, will play for the first time since the first quarter of the season opener. The Chiefs have blamed his absence for everything from their offensive malaise to the high price of gas.

So getting him back will provide a confidence boost, if nothing else.

“He adds confidence to everybody in that group,” coach Dick Vermeil said. “He adds confidence in game-planning. We’re going to try to benefit from his return.

“Because of concerns we had with pass protection, we didn’t go downfield much with the ball. We didn’t work the tight end down the field as much as we normally do because that takes time. It makes a big difference. It makes a big difference in the confidence of the signal-caller.”

The Chiefs are counting on Roaf to do more than lift morale. They will lean on him to improve faulty pass protection that left quarterback Trent Green battered and bruised after the last two games.

“He allows you to block one defender without assistance,” offensive coordinator Al Saunders said.

“He can handle Dwight Freeney (of Indianapolis) and guys like that, some of the great pass rushers. With Willie back, we can help out the other offensive tackle if we choose to do that.”

Roaf’s absence had a ripple effect on many facets of the offense. Green faced greater pressure, so the Chiefs protected him with extra blockers.

That goes against everything Saunders believes in, but he felt a need to do it to reduce the beating his quarterback was taking.

“For the last three years, that’s been a major part of our ability to be flexible in the passing game,” Saunders said. “You’d like to have five receivers out on every pass you call. Every time you keep in one more eligible receiver, you lessen the ability to take advantage of the defense. That puts more pressure on your individual receivers to be better than the defensive players that are covering them. The numbers aren’t in our favor. They’re in the defense’s favor.”

Tight end Tony Gonzalez has been affected more than anyone else. Gonzalez has been used as a pass blocker more frequently and often ran shorter, quicker routes without Roaf. He has 16 catches, an acceptable number. But he has no touchdowns and a ridiculously low 8.1-yard-per-catch average.

“Not having Willie Roaf was affecting them in a lot of areas,” Schlereth said. “It affects their ability to run the ball and control the clock when they need to. It affects their pass protection. They’ve had to change their protection because he’s been out. Tony Gonzalez has to stay in and block more.

“They’ll make offensive strides this week. You’ll see Tony Gonzalez become Tony Gonzalez again. You’ll see him control the middle of the field and open things up for them on the outside.”

Listen to such talk and it’s easy to conclude that Roaf, and not Green or Priest Holmes, is the Chiefs’ most valuable player. Roaf chuckled at this notion but could see from his sideline view that something wasn’t right with the offense.

“It hasn’t looked the same,” he said. “It hasn’t been the same. I don’t think it’s all because I haven’t been there. Maybe some of it. We went out to Oakland and played a big game without me and beat them out there, and that’s tough to do.

“Take Willie Roaf out of the equation. You’ve still got Trent Green and you’ve still got Tony Gonzalez, you’ve still got Priest Holmes, you’ve still got Larry Johnson, you’ve still got two Pro Bowlers on the offensive line, you’ve still got Eddie Kennison. You’ve still got a football team. We can be effective when Willie Roaf is out.”

For short bursts, they were. The Chiefs scored on their first three possessions two weeks ago against Philadelphia.

They didn’t get another offensive touchdown until the final moments after the Eagles had built an insurmountable lead.

“We haven’t been able to establish a No. 2 receiver,” Roaf said. “They talk about Johnnie Morton and he didn’t do whatever. Well, he came to play every week, and he played hard. We haven’t been able to find a guy to do that, and that’s hurting us. Eddie Kennison is having another outstanding year, but we need somebody else to step up and be consistent.”

That job is Samie Parker’s. In his first year as a starter, Parker got off to a quick start but has done little but drop passes since.

Dropped passes. Spotty pass protection. Inconsistent play from Green. An inability to shake Gonzalez loose.

They’re all problems but even taken together probably aren’t symptoms of a downhill slide.

“You start to wonder about that when guys can’t separate from coverage, if Gonzalez can’t get away from a safety anymore or can’t make the big catch over the middle,” Schlereth said.

“You start to wonder if Eddie Kennison can’t break one-on-one coverage or if Priest Holmes doesn’t have that extra burst, if Trent Green is slow in his drops and slow in his reactions. If you see those things, then I think you can say, ‘This doesn’t look good.’ I don’t see those things right now.”
Losing ground

For the first four games, the Chiefs’ points and rushing numbers are down compared with the last few seasons. The passing game may be poised to get on track, though.

10-14-2005, 07:44 AM
Sweet. Willie's calling out Parker. Maybe that will get him off his ass.

10-14-2005, 07:49 AM
Yep, Parker's reaction to Big Willies comments should be a pretty good indication of his future here.

10-14-2005, 09:25 AM
Sweet. Willie's calling out Parker. Maybe that will get him off his ass.

No doubt. If you play soft in comparison to Morton you have issues.

10-14-2005, 09:37 AM
The media (hopefully not the Chiefs) is putting way too much empahsis on Roaf -- if he gets hurt again this team may believe they have no chance to win

10-14-2005, 09:48 AM
Sweet. Willie's calling out Parker. Maybe that will get him off his ass.

Whats he goona do but say yes sir I'll try harder? Wille is one huge mountain of a man. I'd hate to have him pissed off at me.

10-14-2005, 10:12 AM
Whats he goona do but say yes sir I'll try harder? Wille is one huge mountain of a man. I'd hate to have him pissed off at me.
Yeah - anyone placing bets on how many games it is until Parker gets "stepped on"?

10-14-2005, 10:20 AM
Somebody needed to call Parker out

Better catch it if Green has the time to throw.

10-14-2005, 10:51 AM
I'm just glad Roaf is back. Let's hope this gives the Chiefs some confidence and momentum. I'm sick of losing. It's time to get back on track. I hope Priest has a huge day and we shove that belt up Portis' ass-He's still Bronco scum to me.

10-14-2005, 11:23 AM
There always alittle slow at the start of season.

10-14-2005, 12:02 PM
This has to be a huge concern for all Chiefs fans for the future though. Willie won't be around much longer and it is obvious that we do not have a replacement for him on this roster.

10-14-2005, 02:45 PM
I don't think Willie was calling out Parker I think he was calling out the Morton haters. Teicher's the one who called out Parker if you wanna call it that. IMO Parker doesn't need to be called out. I'm sure he wants to make the plays he's supposed to and probably worse then any of us want him to. I think he'll have a break out game sometime soon and after that he'll be fine.

Here's to Big Willies return and health for the rest of the season :toast:


10-14-2005, 02:52 PM
This has to be a huge concern for all Chiefs fans for the future though. Willie won't be around much longer and it is obvious that we do not have a replacement for him on this roster.

at least we know what one of our biggest holes is going to be going into next season. By draft or free agency, we have to address the LT position.

10-14-2005, 02:57 PM
This has to be a huge concern for all Chiefs fans for the future though. Willie won't be around much longer and it is obvious that we do not have a replacement for him on this roster.

Not many on that offense will be around much longer.
2 years from now this team will be lead by it's defense. :shake: :( :hmmm: :banghead: :cuss: :mad: STFU

10-15-2005, 02:33 AM
Willie Roaf has every right to call out Samie Parker. He's been around the block a few times.

Roaf is one of the best in the business at his position. He goes out there, and busts his ass every single play to make sure he does everything he possibly can to make sure that Holmes and Johnson have their running lanes, and Trent Green has the time he needs to throw the ball.

Willie's got so many pro-bowls Ive lost count. I think its 10, it could be higher.

So when he sees a guy like Parker go out there and drop a pass that is put right on his f'ing numbers and then comes away laughing and smiling about it, he's got every right to call him out.

Some of that is Parker, and some of that is a reflection on Dick Vermiel. Ive said before that Dick is too easygoing with these players, the "I love you, you love me" bs. Separate business from personal relationships, and get the damn job done.

How many times have we seen Kennison, or Hall drop a wide open pass and the camera cuts to Vermiel on the sideline who is smiling and patting them on the shoulder telling them that its fine.

Its NOT fine.

Youre a receiver.


You catch the ball. Your number one job is to catch the ball. If you cant do that, you have no use on the field. I could get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to run an out route and drop the football, laugh and smile about it on my way back to the huddle. Any clod can do that. They dont pay these guys for dropped passes.

Screaming at a guy all the time isnt good either, but youve got to let these guys know that if they drop an easy pass, they need to not be comfortable with that when they go to the sideline. There has to be some motivation there to not drop the damn ball when Green puts it right on them.

10-15-2005, 02:44 PM
First play of the game. Toss sweep to Holmes on the left side.