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Tribal Warfare
11-17-2008, 12:56 AM
Overmatched Chiefs can’t stop Saints (http://www.kansascity.com/sports/chiefsstory/894246.html)
By KENT BABB
The Kansas City Star

The Saints’ Pierre Thomas was stopped short of the goal line by the Chiefs’
Cornerback Ricardo Colclough sat at his locker after Sunday’s game, another Chiefs loss, and reflected on what he could have done differently.

One thing was still bothering him: the long touchdown he could have prevented if he hadn’t been paralyzed by a flashback. The play was a 47-yard catch-and-run by New Orleans wide receiver Lance Moore. Instead of staying back, as Kansas City coaches had taught Colclough the last two weeks, he took a step forward. That’s what he’d learned in Pittsburgh, where he spent four years. The mistake gave Moore an opening, and Drew Brees didn’t miss it. The Saints didn’t miss a chance to pick on the Chiefs’ battered defense for a 30-20 win.

“In my mind,” Colclough said, “I’m thinking I play it the way I was coached before I came here. I’ve got to get that out of my mind.

“I’m still trying to cleanse it away.”

Colclough entered Sunday having been in Kansas City for 11 days. As much as he’s tried to forget the old ways, it’s just not that easy to change old habits in less than two weeks. And the Chiefs’ defense is filled with players like Colclough, defenders who have taken a crash course in Kansas City’s defense. There are injuries, and someone has to play defense, right? The Chiefs played five defenders Sunday who weren’t on the team two weeks ago.

Colclough is one of those players. He signed 13 days ago, played in last week’s loss at San Diego and started against New Orleans. He admitted he’s not yet comfortable with the Chiefs’ defense, and he wouldn’t be surprised if others had the same problem.

“When you’ve got guys out there that have only been here a couple of weeks, just getting thrown in there,” he said, “it’s hard because they’re actually out there just thinking on the run. But we can’t use that as an excuse.”

The Chiefs had a rash of injuries the last two weeks, and it strained the linebackers and the secondary most. Now it is affecting Kansas City’s offense. When the Chiefs’ defense couldn’t slow the explosive Saints on Sunday, it left an inexperienced offense trying to keep up.

Tyler Thigpen, Dwayne Bowe and Larry Johnson had encouraging days, but Bowe said the offense needed to be something more than encouraging to make up for the team’s neophyte defense.

“Right now,” Bowe said, “we’ve got to play perfect. The offense has to put more points up, evidently.”

The Chiefs’ pass rush is not improving, and that’s the thing that most troubles coach Herm Edwards. Sure, left defensive end Tamba Hali was out Sunday because of a knee injury, but Kansas City wasn’t getting to quarterbacks when he was healthy. So without Hali and with two new defensive ends — “I just got here Wednesday,” said Jason Babin, who joined the Chiefs a week after Wallace Gilberry — in the rotation, Saints quarterback Brees had all the time he needed Sunday — five Mississippi, six Mississippi, and there was Moore streaking past Colclough.

“My fault,” Colclough said.

The Chiefs have lost six in a row and are 1-9, and who knows when they’ll improve? The defense still isn’t healthy, and to make matters worse, Turk McBride and Donnie Edwards aggravated old injuries.

Kansas City will start another week with more questions than answers on defense, even as the offense seems to be improving. The Chiefs found a way to integrate Johnson back into the scheme after a four-week absence, using him in several formations as he rushed for 67 yards, and again watching as Thigpen was an effective, if not a dazzling, game manager.

None of it mattered. The Chiefs needed a stop in the fourth quarter to give the offense a chance to tie. Instead, New Orleans went 71 yards in more than 6 minutes, finishing it with an insurance field goal.

That defense, packed with players who a handful of weeks ago were NFL castoffs, let it happen.

“You can’t say it doesn’t affect you,” safety Jon McGraw said. “We get paid to win ballgames, and we’re not getting it done right now.”

But for now, the Chiefs are stuck with those players and that defense. The team committed months ago to live and die with young players, and because of injuries and circumstances, Kansas City now will test its luck with a group of unproven defenders still trying to get their bearings — or hope the offense can outgun teams better than it did Sunday.

“In my mind,” Colclough said, “we’re going to be all right. It’s tough, but we’ve just got to use what we’ve got.”

chiefs1111
11-17-2008, 12:58 AM
Oh for the love of God...

Bob Dole
11-17-2008, 04:06 AM
None of it mattered. The Chiefs needed a stop in the fourth quarter to give the offense a chance to tie.

Or maybe what they needed was a head coach who isn't clinically braindead and went for it on 4th and 2 instead of punting for 28 yards.