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Scaga
09-20-2004, 08:13 AM
Want wins? Sit the kicker on 4th-and-1

BY BOB LUTZ


KANSAS CITY, Mo. - It's safe to assume that in their current state, the Chiefs aren't going to beat anybody with defense.

That means they need offense, and a lot of it. They need to be free-wheeling gamblers, ready to pounce on every opportunity. They need to throw caution to the wind and have faith that their offense will win games.

So what was Kansas City doing attempting field goals on fourth-and-1 situations deep in Carolina territory Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium?

Touchdowns, fellas. You need touchdowns.

On their first possession, the Chiefs drove 73 yards in eight plays. They were clicking. Quarterback Trent Green connected on 6 of 7 pass attempts. They were at the 10-yard line, fourth-and-1.

On came kicker Lawrence Tynes to kick a field goal.

Leading 10-7 with less than a minute remaining in the first half, the Chiefs marched to the Panthers' 29 and faced another fourth-and-1.

Everybody in the house thought they would go for it, then set their eyes on a touchdown. Instead, it was again time for Tynes. His 47-yard attempt was wide right.

The Chiefs lost to Carolina 28-17 and dropped to 0-2. In the meantime, Vermeil lost his way.

This team is all about offense. But he's acting as if Kansas City is going to be in a bunch of 13-10 games.

With this defense, which gave up another 358 yards Sunday, Kansas City is not going to be in a bunch of 13-10 games.

The Chiefs have to go for the knockout. They have to get behind this offense, which has not been nearly as dynamic as a year ago.

Still, what kind of message was Vermeil sending by sending his field-goal unit on the field in those fourth-and-1 spots?

If Kansas City scores a touchdown to cap that opening drive, the place is up for grabs. Carolina, reeling from an opening-week loss at home to Green Bay and playing without two of its most lethal offensive weapons, starts to doubt itself.

A field goal?

Ho-hum.

It told Carolina that Vermeil is hesitant about the Chiefs' offense. Does he really think it's too much of a gamble to go for one yard at the Panthers' 10?

Kansas City has Priest Holmes in the backfield. He has made a career of getting the tough yards.

And what did the Chiefs have to lose by trying to move the chains late in the first half?

Vermeil admitted he kicked himself for kicking the field goal on the second fourth-and-1. But he stood by his decision, although wobbling just a bit, to get the three points early in the game.

"I thought about it," Vermeil said. "But my basic thinking was that it's early in the ballgame and when you get down there, you've got to come out with points. Maybe we would have made it, but if we hadn't made it then we would have taken a big chance. If I'd have known we were going to lose by 11, gosh, I would have gone for it. But you can't predict that."

Don't tell me Vermeil has gone soft.

The early field goal was a letdown, perhaps even to the Chiefs' offense.

They were never the same after that. Those 73 yards Kansas City erupted for on its first drive were roughly 25 percent of the team's offensive production for the day.

Some of it is that the Chiefs are losing receivers faster than Mike Tyson loses money. Some of is that Carolina, the defending NFC champion, is no slouch defensively.

But some of it has to be the more-than-subliminal message Vermeil sent to his offense early: "Boys, I'm just not sure you can get a yard."

Green, who had his second straight average to below-par game, wanted to go for both fourth-and-1s. But what quarterback doesn't?

"The first one, we had some momentum going and that drive was such a good drive," Green said. "But I understand where (Vermeil) is coming from. Being the first drive of the game, he wants to get something positive out of it.

"The second one, I wish we'd have gone for it again. But he makes the final decisions. It's not my call and we stick with him and support him just like he does for us."

Green is quite the diplomat.

But when the Chiefs' offensive personnel meets today, the fourth-and-1s will definitely be a topic of discussion.

This team isn't going to cure its ills by kicking field goals. These are the Kansas City Chiefs, the most potent offensive team in football. That has to be the way they think, from Vermeil on down.

"Maybe I should be more gutsy and just say, 'Do it,"' Vermeil said. "Take the chances with a great offense."

Yes, Dick, now you're talking.

OldTownChief
09-20-2004, 08:20 AM
That's three times now DV's played the coward card.

siberian khatru
09-20-2004, 08:22 AM
I supported the decision on the first FG. Take the points on the opening drive, then see how the D responds, playing at home against a banged-up offense.

Well, obviously the D didn't respond too well.

The second FG attempt, that was pure chickenshit. 47 yards is not a gimme FG, and it's ludicrous for DV to think he's got a better chance nailing a 47-yarder than he does making 1 yard.

Phobia
09-20-2004, 08:26 AM
Dick Vermeil is going to say all the right things to the media and to the team, but the fact remains that when we run into a similar situation, he's going to kick a FG again. Then he will again apologize for it and talk about predicting the future and all kinds of other crap. The media eats it up and prints it and then we punt or kick a FG when we need a TD in the next game.

We've been down this road. We lost multiple games due to decisions like this in 02. Now we're plagued by the same decisions in '04. Why does history continue to repeat itself?

The Rick
09-20-2004, 10:14 AM
I'm ready to say that any time we're looking at 4th down and 3 yards or less to go, inside our own 50 yard line, we should go for it...no matter the game situation.

That will probably kill the moral of our defense, but at this point, do we really care?

NewChief
09-20-2004, 10:18 AM
We've been down this road. We lost multiple games due to decisions like this in 02. Now we're plagued by the same decisions in '04. Why does history continue to repeat itself?

Agreed. I was getting deja vu when people were talking, on the radio yesterday, about "any time we're inside the 50, we need to go for it on 4th down." It was the same exact talk from before, except people were putting even more pressure on Vermeil back then. To my recollection, he continued to punt inside the 50 the entire season, despite knowing that our defense couldn't stop anyone.

Scaga
09-20-2004, 10:19 AM
That will probably kill the moral of our defense, but at this point, do we really care?

Agreed....
Watching the "D" is killing the moral of the fans :cuss:

kcmecker
09-20-2004, 10:35 AM
I think the fact that Vermiel now has a kicker that can kick from 45yds out has taken away some of the killer instinct we had last year. Since we all knew Morten couldn't kick it from that far, we were forced to go for it, often with great success. Now we don't have to and Vermiel is perfectly fine with just a field goal than 6.

I know that Tynes is a better kicker outside than Mort but it's also a curse to our offensive mentality.

ChiefsCountry
09-20-2004, 11:11 AM
I agree we should go for it. But it is kind of nice to see long field goals attempted again by the Chiefs.