PDA

View Full Version : "Larry Legend? Not So Fast"


vailpass
09-14-2006, 12:33 PM
An LJ article from the Denver Post in case you care what the other side is writing for Chiefs-Broncos week...

http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci_4328219


chiefs
Larry Legend? Not so fast
Johnson still Chiefs' star, but stats taking hit
By Jim Armstrong,
Denver Post Staff Writer
DenverPost.com

Memo to fantasy leaguers near and far who selected Larry Johnson with the first pick in their drafts: You might want to demand a recount.

Kansas City Chiefs coach Herm Edwards has heard the projections in the aftermath of Johnson's incredible run in 2005, when the tailback finished the season with nine consecutive 100-yard games, including two for 200-plus.

It's not that Johnson will fall off the map this season. But 2,000 yards, the figure Edwards has heard so often since replacing Dick Vermeil? He's going to rely on Johnson to help the Chiefs control the ball, but not that much.

"Everybody tells me he's going to run for all these yards," Edwards said. "I told Larry: 'You know what the key for you is right now? You have to help us win games. Here's the first question they're going to ask you after we win a game and you ran for 80 yards. They're going to say, 'What happened, you didn't run for 100 yards?' That's what the press is going to ask and you're going to say, 'But we won the game."'

And that was before Chiefs quarterback Trent Green suffered a severe concussion during Kansas City's season-opening loss to Cincinnati, a condition that figures to sideline him for two weeks. Now comes the tough part: Kansas City plays the Broncos on Sunday at Invesco Field at Mile High, where the Chiefs never have won a game.

For that matter, they haven't come particularly close. The Broncos have outscored them 160-91 in five games at Invesco Field, which breaks down to an average score of 32-18. Last season was typical of the Chiefs' lack of success in Denver, where they lost 30-10 after opening the year with back- to-back victories.

As if venturing to Denver weren't daunting enough, the Chiefs will have to play their backup quarterback, Damon Huard, a 10-year veteran who before the opener against Cincinnati had thrown all of one pass in his previous five NFL seasons.

A backup quarterback making his first NFL start since 2000? Despite what the Broncos' coaches might say for public consumption, Green's absence has to affect their strategy in stopping Johnson. As in, if there was any doubt before that they would play eight men in the box, it probably evaporated when Green's head hit the turf.

"He's going to be a big part of their offense," said Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams, when asked about Johnson. "We're going to really have to concentrate on him."

But then, the Broncos always concentrate on stopping the run, using safety John Lynch as a virtual linebacker against quality running teams. That strategy has been particularly effective at Invesco Field, where they allowed 78 yards rushing per game in 2005, second-best in the league at home behind the Chiefs, who allowed 76.1 per game at Arrowhead Stadium.

So what changes does Edwards have in mind to try to compensate for the loss of Green?

"We'll find out Sunday," Edwards said during his regular Tuesday news conference. "I don't want to reveal that right now. I don't think that's fair to us. I don't want to give Denver any more of an edge. They've already got one playing at home."

This much is certain: If Johnson isn't ripping off sizable chunks of yardage, the Chiefs aren't the same team. He started nine games in 2005 after Priest Holmes was lost for the season, and finished with an incredible 1,750 yards rushing and 21 total touchdowns.

"He's a big, physical guy who can pound you," Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson said. "Pick any defense, they don't like that. That's why this division is so tough. The running backs are so good, we literally beat each other up."

Said Chiefs linebacker Kawika Mitchell: "We always called Priest 'The Ticket.' Now Larry is 'The Ticket.' He's a big running back, so we look forward to him putting us all on his back and carrying us."

That didn't happen in the Chiefs' opener. Johnson finished with 17 carries for 68 yards, preventing him from becoming the third running back in NFL history - along with Marcus Allen and Barry Sanders - to reach double figures in consecutive 100- yard performances.

Now for the numbers within the numbers: Johnson had 11 carries for 52 yards before Green went down, and six carries for 16 yards after Huard entered the game. By game's end, the Chiefs had attempted 35 passes and run the ball 25 times, numbers hardly typical of an Edwards-coached team.

As elusive as Johnson is - including off the field, where he couldn't be tracked down for an interview for this story - things figure to be different for him this season. Teams already were gearing up to stop him. Then his fullback and both of his starting tackles deserted him.

Tony Richardson, a former Pro Bowl fullback, signed with Minnesota and left tackle Willie Roaf, a likely Hall of Famer, retired before training camp. Then there's right tackle John Welbourn, who may not return after being suspended a second time for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

That was before opening day. After the ugly scene at Arrowhead on Sunday, the Broncos' defense won't have to contend with Green's play action, either.

Edwards doesn't call the Chiefs' plays. Those duties fall to former offensive line coach Mike Solari, who replaced longtime offensive coordinator Al Saunders after Vermeil's retirement. But from the sounds of his news conference, Edwards will have an influence on how the offense runs against the Broncos.

Stuff happens when you lose 23-10 and watch your quarterback get blown up in your home opener.

"We scored 10 points," he said. "I'm going to say it again: We scored 10 points. So people who say I've changed this offense, I didn't change this offense. ... I fell for the trap. I fell in love with this great offense. ... When people came to see the Kansas City Chiefs play, they saw the same offense they've watched for the last five years. Shifts, motions, we threw the ball more than we ran, which I hate. Generally, when you do that, you're going to lose the game."

Things obviously will change against the Broncos. The results may be similar, but, at the very least, the Chiefs will alter their approach.

"We scored 10 points - at home," said Edwards. "Maybe I should use three backs this week. You can take a lot of time off the clock, so maybe I should do that this week."

Staff writer Jim Armstrong can be reached at 303-954-1269 or jmarmstrong@denverpost.com.

JBucc
09-14-2006, 12:36 PM
That's that guy that's on ATH occasionally right? He's kind of dull but he usually has OK opinions.

PunkinDrublic
09-14-2006, 12:37 PM
Not as negative as I thought the article would be.

Warrior5
09-14-2006, 12:40 PM
An LJ article from the Denver Post in case you care what the other side is writing for Chiefs-Broncos week.

I can read that in my own paper.

Thanks for nothing, you stinkin' Donk fan.

BigChiefFan
09-14-2006, 12:42 PM
I expected more bad blood in the article. I guess the Bronco faithful are a little concerned. Usually the smack is flying by now.

vailpass
09-14-2006, 01:05 PM
I expected more bad blood in the article. I guess the Bronco faithful are a little concerned. Usually the smack is flying by now.

If anything, given all that has gone wrong for KC, Bronco nation is too complacent about this week's game. You can get all the sh*t talk you want from Woody Paige. I posted this because it seemed relatively objective.

I'm on record here as saying (and have taken a TON of sh*t for it) LJ has not yet earned the right to be considered an elite, or special, RB. IMO you need to complete an entire season as the starter and endure injuries, retirement, etc. It takes an entire season to show what you can do. There are still 15 games left before any reasonable assessment can be made, either positive or negative. I believe LJ can have a very solid season and prove he is among the top RBs in the NFL but the proof is in the long haul.

And I'm not just saying that because I drafted him with the 6th overall pick on our fantasy league.

StcChief
09-14-2006, 01:11 PM
Smack will appear here soon enough,

Donxs Troll alert till Monday 18th.

beer bacon
09-14-2006, 01:20 PM
Somebody needs to contact Jim. LJ actually had 22 touches for 148 yards.

King_Chief_Fan
09-14-2006, 02:31 PM
I expected more bad blood in the article. I guess the Bronco faithful are a little concerned. Usually the smack is flying by now.

I think they might be pre-occupied with worry wondering if the Jake of last week is present this week. Tynes can kick 6 FG's also.

vailpass
09-14-2006, 02:46 PM
I think they might be pre-occupied with worry wondering if the Jake of last week is present this week. Tynes can kick 6 FG's also.

That is something to which I will be paying attention, along with theRB situation. I'm looking forward to seeing the D play as well as they did last week.

svuba
09-14-2006, 02:57 PM
"We scored 10 points - at home," said Edwards. "Maybe I should use three backs this week. You can take a lot of time off the clock, so maybe I should do that this week."

-F**K You Marty!

SNR
09-14-2006, 03:27 PM
That's that guy that's on ATH occasionally right? He's kind of dull but he usually has OK opinions.You mean this guy?

http://images.quizilla.com/T/TH/THE/thehatz/1133951311_CMyMusic1337carl3.jpg