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DeepSouth
08-02-2006, 03:08 PM
http://www.kcchiefs.com/news/2006/08/02/gretz_fixing_the_road_trip_problem/GRETZ: Fixing the Road Trip Problem
Aug 02, 2006, 8:34:41 AM by Bob Gretz - FAQ


RIVER FALLS, WI Ė The Chiefs will travel over to Mankato, Minnesota on Friday to spend the evening working against the Vikings.



Itís not just a scrimmage. Itís a road trip, and that makes it very important in the world of Herm Edwards.

One of the biggest problems Edwards must solve with this team is their ability to win on the road, and most especially their ability to win on the road in the second half of the season. Over the last eight seasons, through three different head coaches, the Chiefs have been bad on the road and horrible in November/December/January away from Arrowhead Stadium.

Here are the overall numbers:



In the Dick Vermeil Era (2001-05), the Chiefs won on the road against a team that made the playoffs four times: in 2002 against Cleveland and the New York Jets and in 2003 against Baltimore and Green Bay. All of those victories came before the middle of October.

The last time the Chiefs beat a team that made the playoffs on the road in November was 1996, when they topped the Vikings at the Metrodome. The last time they beat a team on the road in December that made the playoffs was 1991, when they beat the Raiders in the last game of the season. The Raiders finished 9-7 and came to Kansas City for a first-round game in the playoffs, the first ever at Arrowhead Stadium.

Those are the facts that Edwards has come to understand. He also knows itís not easy to win on the road at any time, especially against the leagueís best teams. In five seasons in New York, his Jets teams were an overall 17-23 on the road, a .425 winning percentage. In November/December/January his teams were 9-13 away from the Meadowlands. Before last yearís injury riddled campaign, his New York teams were 9-9 on the road in November and December. In his first season, the Jets went 7-1 on the road and were 3-1 against teams that made the playoffs, beating the eventual Super Bowl champion Patriots in Foxboro, the Dolphins in Miami and the Raiders in Oakland.

So whatís the key to winning on the road in November and December and what can be done about it in August?

First, itís addressing the fact that there is a problem. Edwards did that within the first 24 hours of the team arriving in River Falls.

ďI threw the numbers up on the screen: 3-7 and 3-9 in November and December,Ē Edwards said. ďThey are glaring.Ē

Next, itís building the type of team that can go on the road and win. That means being able to run the ball, milk the clock and control the game. That requires a stout defense as well. Those are the pillars that Edwards is using for the foundation of his teams.

And then thereís the psychological approach, and thatís something Edwards has already begun and will stress heavily on Friday with his team with the short two-hour bus ride to face the Vikings.

ďItís inconvenient and thatís what we are going to push,Ē said Edwards. ďItís a road game. We are going over there and they are going to be waiting for us, and their fans are going to be there, and they will be making a lot of noise and their players will be all fired up.

ďThatís a road trip. Itís August, but itís never too early to start. Itís an important trip for us.Ē

There will be evaluation of players, as they go up against the Vikings, but Edwards will be doing more than just grading the tape. Heís going to take the temperature of his football team and see how they handle themselves. Heís determined to build a club tough enough to win on the road, and especially win on the road in November and December.

That work starts now in the heat of August.

DeepSouth
08-02-2006, 03:11 PM
Here's the chart

Predarat
08-02-2006, 03:14 PM
Cool, they always get in fights at the Minnesota camp!

jspchief
08-02-2006, 03:19 PM
The last time they beat a team on the road in December that made the playoffs was 1991 That statement says it all. This team has never been dominant late in the year.

tk13
08-02-2006, 03:57 PM
Yeah, but you have to realize what the league is like now. Gretz probably needs to go deeper into this. You have to look at the rest of the league. No, we haven't won a road game against a playoff team in December in forever. But winning tough road games in this league is not a common occurance.

You know how many playoff teams last year won a road game against a playoff team in December? By my count, three. That's it. And all three all lost their first playoff game... at home. All three of them. And two of those wins were by Cincy and Indy, two teams who are definitely not the type of smashmouth team described in the article. And none of it had any bearing on playoff success.

I mean he's right in a sense, because the key is you have to be stupid. That's the key to winning in this league. Dick Vermeil was not stupid. He knew the numbers. He knew the league so balanced now that the teams who simply had a weaker schedule usually had an advantage. And when you have 4 sets of back-to-back road games like we did, you have a much larger hill to climb. I'm pretty sure we were the only team in the league to have that. That's why Vermeil complained about it... he knew we had been shafted. The two bye teams in the AFC last year, Denver and Indy, both only had one set of consecutive road games.

You go look at everybody's schedule, I'm not talking crazy here. The teams that finished strong did not have the type of Dallas/Giants road finishes we had. And when they did, they got clobbered. The Steelers did have a set of back-to-back road games... in that 2nd game, they played Indy, and they got completely slaughtered on MNF. Tampa Bay had the same thing... they went on the road and won in Carolina. Then the next week they had to go into Foxboro... and they got completely slaughtered by the Pats, 28-0. Or you even look at San Diego... they went and got that HUGE win in Indy, everybody was talking them up. The next week they had to come to KC, and we dominated them.

Go look through the schedules of playoff teams the last couple years... they don't play good teams on the road late in the year... and they don't play many back-to-back's. When they do against decent teams, they lose. Often times that 2nd game is like those blowout games described above. Considering we actually had a chance against the Giants last year, we did pretty well. Now the team shouldn't go in there with that mindset, but that's the reality of the situation. I almost think we're to the point where the league is watered down in parity that one bounce here and there makes a huge difference, and some of it just comes down to luck more than skill.