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Old 09-11-2007, 09:40 PM  
Count Zarth Count Zarth is online now
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Take Charge, LJ

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Last Sunday’s game in Houston was supposed to be a primer of sorts for Chiefs running back Larry Johnson, who accounted for 43 percent of Kansas City’s offense a year ago. After his holdout kept him off the practice field for the majority of training camp, head coach Herm Edwards didn’t want to bestow upon LJ a full workload.

In a vacuum, that makes all the sense in the world.

What doesn’t make sense is thinking half an LJ Burger would satisfy the football gods’ appetites and bless the Chiefs with a win.

For a coach who said, “You play to win the game. You don’t play it just to play it,” the approach on Sunday seemed rather contradictory. That onus isn’t entirely on the head coach - for the most part the boys in red looked like they were playing just to play it.

This team was leaderless in Houston and it seemed like everyone thought someone else would assume the role instead of just taking it themselves.

Larry Johnson needs to be that guy.

He knows better than anyone that his game isn’t at its finest until that second half when he already has 20 carries under his belt. Sunday, he never got close to that point. The 10 carries he had were by far the lowest workload of his career since taking over as the starter. Ironically, the last time he had fewer carries (seven) came against the San Diego Chargers in 2005, when Priest Holmes’ season was ended.

Johnson averaged 4.3 yards per carry on those 10 carries on Sunday - a pretty respectable average which wasn’t padded with meaningless draws in the second half (he only carried twice after the break). So, first down LJ...second down, LJ. That leaves the offense in a third and short where the playbook is wide open.

Yes, I know, hindsight is 20-20. However this isn’t hindsight. This is how Herman Edwards likes to win games, isn’t it?

It seemed as if the Chiefs were passing to set up the run in the first half. What? Did Dick Vermeil snatch Edwards’ body on Sunday? One can only wish. I can guarantee there wouldn’t have been a three in the visitor’s column, but I digress.

It’s staggering to see that in the third quarter the Chiefs held nearly a five and a half minute advantage in time of possession over the Texans while Johnson only carried the ball twice.

After Mario Williams scooped up a fumble and returned it for a touchdown with 14:01 to go in the third, Edwards and offensive coordinator Mike Solari panicked. With nearly a half of football left to play, a team built to pound the football on the ground ran the ball a grand total of two times in the second half. They gave up on Johnson and Bennett, who finished the game combining for 4.5 yards per carry.

That’s when Johnson needed to say, “Give me the ball,” put the team on his back and move the ball down the field.

Heading to Chicago this Sunday to face the Bears (a team who held San Diego’s high-powered rushing attack in check last week) presents the perfect opportunity for someone to grab the reigns of this team and steer them in the right direction against a tough opponent. Johnson has that ability, and a win at Soldier Field would quickly dissolve the bad taste left from Houston.
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Old 09-11-2007, 09:46 PM   #2
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Old 09-11-2007, 09:50 PM   #3
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Old 09-11-2007, 10:09 PM   #4
B_Ambuehl B_Ambuehl is offline
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I'm afraid Solari and Herm are gonna come out and go totally against the game plan they had in Houston. They had an excellent offensive gameplan. That was actually one of the better offensive gameplans I've seen since DV. The problem was all the drops - they threw a lot of easy passes on first down that were dropped. They should've been in a ton of 2nd and short situations but instead got in a bunch of 2nd and long. If they come out and try to run the ball against chicago it's not gonna work so you might as well throw it.
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