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StcChief
09-21-2007, 09:16 AM
Offensive struggles may continue for Chiefs
By Scouts Inc
Friday, September 21, 2007

Why To Watch
The Vikings are reeling after a last-minute loss to San Francisco (aka Detriot Lions) and are going to be coming out with a point to prove. The Chiefs, meanwhile, are still trying for their first win and statistically, it doesn't look like it will come easily. The Chiefs are one of the lowest scoring teams in the NFL, averaging just 6.5 points per game, while the Vikings have one of the stingiest defenses in the league, giving up just 11.5 points per game. Still, the Chiefs tend to play well at Arrowhead Stadium, so maybe the stats won't matter as much.

When the Vikings have the ball
Rushing: The Vikings have found an exciting running back in rookie Adrian Peterson, who is averaging nearly 85 yards per game and 4.3 yards per carry. As a team, the Vikings are 10th in the NFL, averaging 131 yards per game running behind a very talented offensive line, especially LOT Bryant McKinnie and LG Steve Hutchinson, who are both powerful, athletic and among the best at their positions in the NFL. Minnesota wants to establish the run to take some pressure off of second-year quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell likes to just run the ball straight at opposing defenses, wear them down and control the clock. The Chiefs have been just average stopping the run this season, giving up 108 yards per game. They feature fast linebackers, led by Donnie Edwards and Derrick Johnson, who like to run and hit, but are not great at taking on and defeating blockers. Defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham likes to move his defensive front on the snap to penetrate and disrupt the flow of the offense. While Edwards has lost a step due to age, he is very smart and knows how to come up with big plays.

Passing: Jackson has size, speed, arm strength and leg strength to spare, but the problem is that he is in just his second year in the NFL and after coming out of a small school ( Alabama State ), he is still behind the curve as far as reading coverages and understanding the small things about being a quarterback. Head coach Brad Childress just wants him to manage the game and avoid making mistakes that can kill a drive or cost the team points. So far, he's struggled with a quarterback rating of 40.0 and his five interceptions is tied for the highest in the league. Jackson, who left the Detroit game with a slight groin injury, needs to learn how to protect the ball and come back to fight another series. Pass defense is one area where the Chiefs have shown some success this season. They have allowed just 169 yards per game, ranking them sixth in the league. Johnson is one of the more effective blitzers in the league and has two sacks so far this season. Expect head coach Herman Edwards (an old defensive coordinator) and Cunningham to throw a lot of blitz packages at the Vikings in an attempt to rattle the young quarterback and cause him to make some poor decisions.

When the Chiefs have the ball
Rushing: The Chiefs had one of the more devastating ground games in the league last year with RB Larry Johnson gaining almost 1,800 yards and averaging 4.3 yards per carry. This year has been a different story. After two games Johnson has yet to reach 100 yards total and is averaging just 3.8 yards per carry. Their favorite off tackle play is not producing, party because center Casey Wiegmann is not having much success at controlling the nose tackle over him or the DT on the backside of the play. With the Chiefs facing the powerful duo of Kevin Williams and Pat Williams on the inside of the Vikings front four, it should still be an issue. Another issue will be that both of Minnesota's defensive ends, Kenechi Udeze and Ray Edwards, do a good job of squeezing down on trapping guards, which closes down the hole quickly. The Chiefs will have to have their TEs do a better job of sealing off the edge and try to run more plays to the outside where Johnson can use his size to batter and run over the smaller Vikings linebackers and defensive backs.

Passing: QB Damon Huard is not going to be confused for Brett Favre anytime soon, but he is a functional QB that can manage a team, can read coverages and has a good understanding of what the Chiefs want to do in the passing game. But so far, the Chiefs' passing game has struggled and Huard has been sacked seven times, which is the third highest total in the league. When opponents are able to get that kind of pressure a quarterback, it makes it hard to get into any kind of rhythm. The lack of a running game pretty much makes the play-action fake a non-factor and if you can't freeze the secondary with any kind of run threat, it frees them up to play pass alone. As long as they have TE Tony Gonzalez, the Chiefs have a legitimate threat in the passing game. They like to move him around to try and find mismatches. The Vikings struggled against the Detroit passing game and their large WRs last week and are expect the Chiefs to try and go after the middle of their secondary. Minnesota features decent cover corners, but they're not shutdown types and will need help over the top from safeties Darren Sharper and Dwight Smith.

Special Teams


The Vikings have the advantage in the return game. Led by Aundrae Allison, they average over 30 yards a return on kickoffs and Kansas City kicker Dave Rayner will have to try and kick to the corners to limit the amount of field the Viking return team will have to use. Both Rayner and Minnesota kicker Ryan Longwell are consistent and have good range for FGs. Punter Chris Kluwe is averaging 46.7 yards per punt (40.0 net) for Minnesota, while K.C.'s Dustin Colquitt is averaging 44.0 yards per punt (29.3 net), Kansas City needs to improve its punt coverage.
Take 2: Vikings vs. Chiefs
By Scouts Inc
Friday, September 21, 2007

Earlier this week, our scouts filed their advance scouting report on this week's matchup between the Vikings and Chiefs. Now they're back with a second look
Matchup to watch
Kansas City TE Tony Gonzalez vs. Minnesota LB Chad Greenway
The Vikings Will LB Chad Greenway has become, in his second year, one of their best tacklers as well as one of their best linebackers in coverage. He will be locked on to Gonzalez, one on one, a good share of the time, especially when Gonzalez runs underneath patterns. He will have help, over the top, when Gonzalez stretches the secondary, deep but he needs to try and prevent the short catches that Gonzalez can turn into long gains after the catch. Greenway will often try to jam Gonzales at the line of scrimmage and try to reroute him, to take him out of his game. If Gonzalez is able to avoid the press and get into his routes quickly he can tear a secondary apart as most safeties struggle when trying to tackle him in space, by themselves. Gonzalez is consistently the Chief's leading receiver and their go to guy so they are apt to look to him early and often in this game to try and generate a spark for their offense.


Can Larry Johnson top 100 yards against the Vikings?
Johnson, who ran for almost 1,800 yards last year and was the second leading rusher in the NFL. This year, he has a total of 98 yards. When you average less than four yards per carry (he is at 3.8), there is a problem. The Chiefs lost left OT, Jordan Black, to the Houston Texans and that didn't help. However most teams are right-handed when it comes to running the ball, meaning they run over the right OT. The bigger problem is in their first two games, the Chiefs have run the ball 45 times while throwing it 61. Sometimes you just need to force the run down your opponent's throats even if it is not going great. Against the Minnesota Vikings, the Chiefs may find it difficult to break that 100-yard mark. The Vikings are the sixth best team in the league at stopping the run, giving up just 76 yards per game. But Arrowhead Stadium will be very loud and that should add a spark to the Kansas City offense. The Chiefs need for their offensive linemen to sustain their blocks for just a second longer than they have so far so Johnson can have time to scan the point of attack and find the little seam that he needs to get through the line. Expect head coach Herman Edwards to put a special emphasis on the run game this week and for the team to finally get the ground game untracked.
Can QB Damon Huard keep his job for another week?
Second-year pro Brodie Croyle came in during the fourth quarter last week after Huard experienced some wooziness from a blow to his head. He connected on all four of his passes in their last series and fans are starting to make it known that they want a change. Edwards is not about to make that kind of change this early in the season. First of all, Croyle is not ready to face one of the toughest defenses in the league. Secondly, Huard can hardly be blamed for the anemic run game. Add to that K.C. does not exactly have one of the strongest corps of receivers in the league. Other than TE Tony Gonzalez they lack a big time, go to receiver. Against the Vikings, who are susceptible to the pass, it only makes sense to use the quarterback that has the best grasp of the offense and the potential to exploit the weak links in the Viking secondary. While Croyle may be the future of the Kansas City franchise, it is too early to make that kind of change.
Will the Vikings be able to avoid turnovers against the Chiefs?
While the Chiefs are struggling on offense, there have been some things to cheer about defensively. They have been able to create turnovers, which gives the offense a short field to work with. So far, they have forced three fumbles and three interceptions. Last week, against the Detroit Lions, Jackson threw four interceptions before leaving the game with a groin injury that may force him to miss Sunday's game against the Chiefs. This is a defense built on speed, its ability to pressure the quarterback and cause mistakes, which often end up in turnovers. Whether it's Jackson or Kelly Holcomb or Brook Bollinger at QB, he needs to be able to recognize when the Chiefs are going to blitz and when he will have time to survey the secondary. He will also need to locate the Chiefs free safety Jarrad Page, who is a good, ball-hawking, centerfielder that can cover a lot of ground. If Page is able to read the QB's eyes and the front seven are able to put some pressure on him, expect more turnovers. Turnovers are likely going to determine how the outcome of this game.

The Chiefs have scored a total of 13 points in their first two games. Unfortunately, they are hosting the Vikings, who have one of the better defenses in the league. Expect the Chiefs to work the running game hard. They need some kind of production running to get their passing game going. The Chiefs should be able to finally get some production from their ground game behind Johnson's ability to break tackles and get positive yardage. The Vikings will probably stack the defense to stop the run, putting eight men in the box for a good part of the game. If they are able to contain Johnson, the Vikings will have a chance to hold the Chiefs under 10 points. Like the Chiefs, the Vikings will need to establish an effective running game in order to take some of the pressure off of Jackson . They feel like they struck gold in rookie RB Adrian Peterson and should be able to move the ball on the Kansas City defense. It is hard for visiting teams to win at Arrowhead Stadium, but the Vikings should prevail in a defensive struggle.
Prediction: Vikings 17, Chiefs 14

Count Zarth
09-21-2007, 09:17 AM
The Vikings are reeling after a last-minute loss to San Francisco

Some accuracy would be nice. Jeez.

Simply Red
09-21-2007, 09:22 AM
Some accuracy would be nice. Jeez.
? explain.

Count Zarth
09-21-2007, 09:23 AM
? explain.

The Vikings lost to the Lions.

boulder chief
09-21-2007, 09:23 AM
ESPN loves the Chiefs, always have!

Simply Red
09-21-2007, 09:26 AM
The Vikings lost to the Lions.
ROFL I see.