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Old 10-10-2006, 02:59 PM  
BigRock BigRock is offline
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ESPN: Surprising Huard leading impressive Chiefs

Sorry if this is a repost, but I didn't see it. Nice article by Michael Smith.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/column...ael&id=2620278

Quote:
Huard surprising everyone but the Chiefs

By Michael Smith
ESPN.com

The Bears are beating the living crap out of people. The Eagles have bounced back from last season. San Diego's still just as strong with Philip Rivers at QB. The Rams' and Saints' talent is shining under rookie coaches.

But the team that surprises/impresses/intrigues me the most right now?

It's a little lower in the power rankings, a member of the league's middle class, a .500 team.

Kansas City.

Two-and-two-damn-near-three-and-one Kansas City. Led-by-Damon-Huard Kansas City.

Damon Huard.

The Chiefs were supposed to be devastated, remember, when Trent Green's head bounced off the Arrowhead Stadium turf in Week 1, forcing them to go from a quarterback who had started 81 consecutive regular season games to one who attempted just one pass -- an incompletion, by the way -- in five years. And maybe that's not so bad if you still have Willie Roaf and John Welbourn protecting the backup at the tackle spots, but both those guys retired in the offseason. Or if you have Roaf's replacement even, Kyle Turley, protecting the backup's blind side, except Turley's been out the past two games with back pain.

The Chiefs are supposed to be hurting under these circumstances. And yet here they are, right in the thick of things.

I know. Some of you will argue that the Chiefs haven't done anything special, beating San Francisco at home and Arizona on the road in Matt Leinart's first start. To that I say again: Damon Huard. Remember three weeks ago? They went to Mile High, where the Chiefs have struggled in recent years, and lost by a field goal in OT to the Broncos.A lot of eyes are on the quarterback situations in Dallas and Miami when they should be looking in amazement at what Huard and the Chiefs are doing.

Herman Edwards probably isn't the consensus "coach of the first quarter" but no head coach has done a better job playing the hand his team's been dealt. He's succeeded in getting his players to buy into a different philosophy, to play more as a team. Edwards has the Chiefs in slugfests as opposed to shootouts. Ball control, field position -- the style of ball that's going to reverse the Chiefs' 16-24 record away from Arrowhead the previous five years.

That's why the win over the Cardinals was significant. The night before the game Edwards spoke to his team about ignoring the obstacles and focusing on the objective. Sure enough, the Chiefs were down 14-0 in the first quarter and trailed by 10 in the fourth. But they hung tough. That's what the Chiefs are now, tough. Mentally tough.

"You've got to be mentally tough to play for me," Edwards said Monday.

The Chiefs experienced the toughest break so far when Green suffered a concussion. But Edwards told Huard when Green went down that all he had to do was manage the game, don't lose it and that whatever he did, avoid turning the ball over. The rest of the team would pick up the slack by keeping the game close so that the offense wouldn't have to play from behind and Huard would remain in a comfort zone. Huard has kept his end of the bargain and heeded his coach's instructions: He's completing 70.2 percent of his passes, with five touchdowns and no interceptions, for an efficiency rating of 107.4. He's even had eight completions of 20 or more yards.

You want to talk about adjustments, the Chiefs know they can't play the same style of offense as they did under Dick Vermeil. With their tackle situation, they can't send five guys in a pass pattern and still expect to avoid playing third-stringer Brodie Croyle. They're pounding Larry Johnson and giving Huard more opportunities each week.

They're making it work.

None of that would be possible, though, without the transformation of the Chiefs' defense under Edwards and coordinator Gunther Cunningham. They've only allowed 52 points (13 a game, 15 total in the second half) and rank fourth overall and fourth against the pass. We're talking about a defense that in recent years has had a place reserved at the bottom of the rankings.

If the Chiefs can pick up a pass-rushing tackle in the offseason, they could really be special on defense. Denver and San Diego's 'backers get a lot of the pub, but the Chiefs' group is pretty good, too. Their No. 1 pick, defensive end Tamba Hali, is a player. Sunday he posted seven tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and two hurries.

It's uncertain when Green is going to be able to return but when and if he does, no matter what Huard has done, Edwards will give the ball back to Green because he makes the offense more potent. Meantime, Huard is doing some kind of job holding down the fort.

K.C.'s really going to be tested over this upcoming difficult stretch of games: at (desperate) Pittsburgh on Sunday, San Diego and Seattle at home the next two weeks, and at St. Louis. Guaranteed they play those guys tough, though. The Chiefs aren't soft anymore.

Not a lot of people seem to be talking about the Chiefs right now, but if Huard stays hot and they get Green back soon, with Johnson and that defense, Kansas City will be a factor late in the year.
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Old 10-10-2006, 03:02 PM   #2
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Nice. Thanks for posting, Mr. BigRock.

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Old 10-10-2006, 03:03 PM   #3
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Old 10-10-2006, 03:04 PM   #4
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Old 10-10-2006, 03:06 PM   #5
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Old 10-10-2006, 03:07 PM   #6
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Old 10-10-2006, 03:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Herman Edwards probably isn't the consensus "coach of the first quarter" but no head coach has done a better job playing the hand his team's been dealt. He's succeeded in getting his players to buy into a different philosophy, to play more as a team. Edwards has the Chiefs in slugfests as opposed to shootouts. Ball control, field position -- the style of ball that's going to reverse the Chiefs' 16-24 record away from Arrowhead the previous five years.
Someone needs to post this on some of the Jets boards. I've noticed the trolls have been pretty quiet lately...
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Old 10-10-2006, 03:10 PM   #8
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Thanks for the post.

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Old 10-10-2006, 03:10 PM   #9
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Old 10-10-2006, 03:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaFace
Someone needs to post this on some of the Jets boards. I've noticed the trolls have been pretty quiet lately...
They are in the fetal position, licking their wounds from a beating worthy of its own movie.
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Old 10-10-2006, 03:11 PM   #11
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Wow, finally someone in the media that isnt drinking the TO-Phill-SD-CHIC-COLTS koolaid.
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Old 10-10-2006, 03:17 PM   #12
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Old 10-10-2006, 03:27 PM   #13
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Very good article, thanks for the read.
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Old 10-10-2006, 03:28 PM   #14
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Old 10-10-2006, 03:29 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L.A.Chieffan
Wow, finally someone in the media that isnt drinking the TO-Phill-SD-CHIC-COLTS koolaid.
The Sandy Eggo Superchargers were the best team not to make the playoffs last year. Really.
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