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Old 07-11-2005, 08:49 AM  
UTChief UTChief is offline
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Good reed finally someone wrights an article that seems to have a clue.

Sorry if its a re post.

http://www.sports-central.org/sports...n_the_outs.php

Friday, July 8, 2005

Chiefly Ignored: Kansas City on the Outs?
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By Jason Kendall

Last season, one AFC West team came out of nowhere to shock the league with a surprising ratio of wins to losses, leaving pundits fumbling over their preseason predictions. The same club led the West — and the NFL — in total offense, with the league's best offensive weapon on crutches for half the year. Amid a series of crippling injuries, the team still managed to produce two 1,000-yard receivers and three runners with at least 500 yards and 8 touchdowns.

So why did the Kansas City Chiefs miss the playoffs? Why did the team pegged to grab 12 wins put up a mediocre 7-9 while the upstart San Diego Chargers steamrolled the division?

Good question.

The easy answer is the Chiefs' defense ranked 31st in the league, better than only the anemic Saints, coughing up an embarrassing 435 points in 16 games. The Kansas City defense was so bad it only held opponents under 20 points in two games all season. The secondary was the NFL's worst, getting torched for 267.7 yards per game, while giving back only 13 interceptions.

Yet, the front seven actually ranked 12th league-wide stopping the run in a division that included Denver and San Diego (though that number was helped by Oakland's pitiful ground game). The team registered 41 sacks against opposing quarterbacks, including 9 from standout rookie Jared Allen of Idaho State, while linebacker Shawn Barber, arguably the Chiefs' best playmaker (112 tackles and 5 sacks in 2003), missed the second half of the season.

For Kansas City's league-best offense, things weren't much better. Priest Holmes, on pace to set career records in rushing yards and touchdowns (1,724/28), also went down in Week 8. Runners Derrick Blaylock and Larry Johnson filled in admirably, both rushing for over 500 yards and 8 touchdowns, but still the team went 4-4 to finish the year.

While San Diego's Antonio Gates drew headlines at tight end, Tony Gonzalez quietly proved he was still the NFL's best at the position. Gonzalez caught a record 102 passes for 1,258 yards and 7 touchdowns, logging six 100-yard games along the way (Gates only had two). The Chiefs' other 1,000-yard receiver, journeyman Eddie Kennison, also had a breakout year and hauled in at least 50 receptions and 850 yards for the third year in a row. Kennison's numbers over the past three seasons are actually much better than those of division-mate Jerry Porter of Oakland, who continues to draw reviews as an underrated receiver in league circles.

Meanwhile, Trent Green continued to prove he's one of the best in the business. Green set career marks in three categories, throwing for 4,591 yards and 27 touchdowns while completing over two-thirds of his attempts. Green also proved he's still one of the NFL's most durable quarterbacks, starting his 64th consecutive game in four years, a period during which he has accumulated over 16,000 passing yards.

With the Chiefs' poor performance in '04-'05 still largely a mystery, it's no wonder Vegas odds makers have them pegged higher than their three division rivals. The latest odds to win the next Super Bowl have Kansas City at 14/1, better than all but five NFL clubs.

Certainly, Kansas City's prospects for the coming year are on the rise. With Denver and Oakland sliding down the division ladder despite high hopes and San Diego hard-pressed to repeat last year's success with this year's tougher schedule, the Chiefs can afford a run minus past expectations.

Priest Holmes in the picture for a full season would help — but perhaps more important is that Gunther Cunningham's defense shows up to play week in and week out — even a little. If the defense can manage to help the offense win even half of the close contests the team missed on last season, Trent Green and Co. are staring 10-6 in the eye.

Still, prospects for a quick return to 2003's glory may be even stronger. This offseason, the team has added some talent on defense, including half of Miami's secondary from a year ago, corner Patrick Surtain, and safety Sammy Knight. At linebacker, the Chiefs have brought in Kendrell Bell, who continues to battle injuries, and Texas rookie Derrick Johnson, one of the draft's best defensive playmakers. The knock on Johnson, that he's a run-around style 'backer who tries to dodge big lineman at the first level, is actually a plus in the AFC West, where he can monitor the line and seek the cutback against teams like Denver and San Diego.

Kansas City will face tough competition opening the '05-'06 season, hosting the Jets in Week 1 before playing Oakland, Denver, and Philadelphia in the next three games. However, if K.C. can head into its Week 5 bye with at least two wins, watch out. The team should have little problem trouncing teams like the Redskins, Dolphins, Texans, and Giants, who will struggle to match the Chiefs' offensive output in weeks to come.

The team will face New England, Denver, San Diego, and Cincinnati at Arrowhead in the closing weeks, but expect Vermeil to have his players ready to pull out some close finishes.

Only in Your Fantasies...
With runners like Willis McGahee and Shaun Alexander shooting up draft boards thanks to those nerds at ESPN, take advantage of players like Priest Holmes slipping. If you play in a keeper league, there's a good chance you haven't had a shot at Holmes in years past, but some dumb owner stricken with the injury bug may be prepared to let one of fantasy football's most productive players go. Holmes shouldn't be the first pick in your draft, but if he slips past four or five in the first round, consider yourself blessed.

If Holmes does fall into your lap, keep an eye on backup Larry Johnson, who performed well last year, as a late-round insurance policy. Derrick Blaylock is the better player, and the Jets got one of the offseason's best steals signing him to sub for Curtis Martin, but Johnson will get snatched up quicker than you can “Zygmunt Wilf” if Holmes goes down.
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Old 07-11-2005, 08:51 AM   #2
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Who knew he could play baseball AND write?

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Old 07-11-2005, 08:57 AM   #3
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Old 07-11-2005, 08:57 AM   #4
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Old 07-11-2005, 09:14 AM   #5
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Nothing let getting all the facts out about our division foes. Not just opinions.

14/1 I like that.

Vegas plays for keeps so their analysts, odds makers working there are sharp.

Nice read.
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