Advanced Scouting: Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel points to a friend on the sidelines prior to the start of the NFL game between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012 in San Diego.
Thu Nov 8, 2012.
By Mike Bires
So just how bad are the Chiefs? Consider this: Not once during any of their eight games have they had a lead.
In their only win, a 27-24 overtime decision over the Saints in September, the Chiefs never led until kicker Ryan Succop booted a field goal with 6:27 left in OT.
“We don’t like where we are, but we are the ones who put ourselves in this position,” coach Romeo Crennel said. “We have to work our way out of it. That’s what I’ve been telling the team. We’re trying to eliminate mistakes and trying to play better.”
Today, Times NFL reporter Mike Bires takes a look at the hapless Chiefs (1-7), who are 12.5-point underdogs for their next game, a Monday night encounter against the Steelers (5-3) at Heinz Field.
There are some talented players, namely RB Jamaal Charles and WR Dwayne Bowe. Charles ranks ninth in the NFL with 79.3 rushing yards per game. Bowe is tied for 13th with 45 catches. But collectively, the Chiefs are a disaster offensively.
They lead the NFL with 29 giveaways (15 fumbles, 14 interceptions). They’re giving the ball away 3.6 times per game.
“We’ve done a lot of good but at the same time, in this game in the NFL, it comes down simply to turnovers, penalties and big plays,” QB Matt Cassel said. “Anytime you have a lot of turnovers, you have a lot of penalties and you give up the big plays (defensively), it’s hard to win in this league.
“We have to do a better job of protecting the football.”
Cassel has been the main culprit when it comes to turnovers. He’s committed 18 of them -- 11 interceptions and seven lost fumbles.
Cassel was replaced two weeks ago by Brady Quinn. But before he was knocked out of the starting lineup with a concussion, Quinn served up three interceptions.
With Quinn still not cleared to play, Cassel will start against the Steelers.
One of Cassel’s targets will be WR Jon Baldwin (Aliquippa/Pitt). Baldwin, who’s only started two games this year, has caught 15 passes for 213 yards and no touchdowns.
Defensively, the Chiefs might not be as pathetic as they are on offense. But they’re close.
They rank 30th by allowing 30.0 points per game. They’re last in yards allowed per pass attempt at 8.9 and tied for 29th in TD passes allowed with 17. They’re 26th in rushing yards allowed per attempt at 4.6.
No wonder Crennel fired himself as the Chiefs’ defensive coordinator on Monday and turned over those duties to linebackers coach Gary Gibbs.
“We have a lot of young players on both sides of the ball. I needed to work on that perception and get them to feel like I am coaching the whole team and not just the defense,” Crennel said. “That’s why I removed myself from the defensive coordinator role so I could concentrate on the whole team more.”
Two of the Chiefs’ top two defenders are ILB Derrick Johnson and OLB Tamba Hali, both Pro Bowlers last year. Hali, an ex-Penn State star, has five sacks this year and 58.5 in his career.
The Chiefs’ sack leader this year is ILB Justin Houston with six.
Starting at nose tackle is rookie Dontari Poe, who the Steelers considered taking in the first round of this year’s draft.
Romeo Crennel, 65, may have received the kiss of death recently when Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli gave him a vote of confidence.
“I am still confident in Romeo as the day I hired him,” Pioli said.
Still, there’s speculation that if the Chiefs can’t turn things around or at least show some improvement, Crennel won’t last the year.
Pioli pulled the trigger and fired Todd Haley last year when the Chiefs were 5-8 after 13 games. In 2010, Haley’s second year on the job, the Chiefs won the AFC West with a 10-6 record.
“You know in the NFL and in today’s society, it’s an I-want-it-done-yesterday league,” Crennel said. “It’s gotten to that point, and if you can’t get it done right away, people look for changes and for something different. That is part of the beast that we have to deal with.”
Crennel’s claim to fame was his four-year stint from 2001-04 as the Patriots’ defensive coordinator. In three of those four years, the Patriots won the Super Bowl. In 2005, Crennel was hired as head coach of the Browns. He lasted four years in Cleveland, with one winning season (10-6 in 2007) and an overall record of 24-40.