View Full Version : Dean: Chiefs struggling in goal-to-go situations

Hammock Parties
11-02-2005, 03:23 AM

Kansas City struggling in goal-to-go situations
By Rick Dean
The Capital-Journal

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Over the last several years, the Kansas City Chiefs have been spoiled rotten when facing goal-to-go situations. They hand the ball to Priest Holmes, watch him patiently set up the blocks of his veteran linemen and look up to see the scoreboard change.

With Holmes leading the way, the Chiefs led the NFL in goal-to-go touchdowns last year with 27 on 33 situations. Their 81.8 percent TD rate was second only to Tennessee, which had a higher efficiency (83.3 percent) but on far fewer chances (15 TDs on 18 opportunities).

"He's as good as the best there's ever been running the ball inside the 5-yard line," coach Dick Vermeil said of Holmes. "But sooner or later things catch up to you. Sometimes things don't go well with your offensive line. Sometimes the defense wins, especially the better defenses."

Later has come sooner than the Chiefs hoped this year.

In 2005, the Chiefs -- whose scoring average (24 points per game) is only one point better than their opponents -- have scored touchdowns on seven of 13 goal-to-go situations, a mere 54 percent.

In 2004 Kansas City failed to score anything on only two goal-to-go situations, settling for only three field goals to complement their 27 TDs. But in just seven games this year, they've already come away empty on two occasions in 13 tries. Four field goals are part of their success rate.

The Chiefs were especially frustrated last week when they came away with only one field goal despite running seven plays inside the San Diego 11 in the fourth quarter of a 28-20 loss.

With a woozy Holmes on the sideline answering questions about what city he was in, backup Larry Johnson was stuffed twice for no gain on plays from the 3. Trent Green was shut down three times on a scramble, a sack and an under-pressure desperation flip that bounced off the back of center Casey Wiegmann.

"We know now what it's like to be a more normal NFL team," Vermeil admitted Tuesday at his weekly media session. "We haven't been normal down there (in recent years); we've been extraordinary. You get spoiled."

Kansas City might be hard-pressed to fix its gold-zone scoring situation this week against Oakland.

Holmes, whose 76 touchdowns in his 4 1/2 seasons in Kansas City are the most of any NFL back since 2001, may not be available.

He was undergoing a battery of tests to make sure he is neurologically sound after sustaining last week's head trauma. It's not unusual for an athlete to miss a game following a mild concussion.

Vermeil thinks Holmes will ultimately be cleared to play, but he couldn't make a qualified prediction Tuesday.

"He needs to feel good about it," Vermeil said.

Whether Holmes feels good or not, the Chiefs, who also are down considerably in third-down conversions from a year ago, simply have to expand their goal-to-go and short yardage playlist, Vermeil acknowledged.

"Some people are taking away some of the things we've done down there. Credit them," Vermeil said. "We can't just run over people all the time. But we think we can solve our problems by changing up some things, utilizing other formations and moves.

"We developed the approach that led the league. I'd like to think we can grow that approach to improve where we are right now."

KC quick kicks

Quarterback Trent Green will miss today's first practice of the week while attending the funeral of his father in St. Louis.

MRI exams on cornerback Patrick Surtain's injured knee show no structural damage, Vermeil said. Surtain, who was walking without a noticeable limp Tuesday, likely will be listed a probable when the first injury list comes out today.

Hammock Parties
11-02-2005, 03:24 AM
Surtain sounds just fine.