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Turnaround keeps hope alive in Kansas City

Kansas City's Cassel lifts teammate Breaston after he scored on the Colts during an NFL football game in Indianapolis Reuters

We’re checking in with each team as they hit their bye week to look at the state of their season.  Kansas City is on the clock.

We’ve already looked at the Broncos and Chargers this week.

Was rebound a mirage?
The Chiefs looked like the worst team in football the first two weeks of the season, getting outscored 89-10. Their season essentially looked over at 0-3.  Two wins later, Kansas City gets to catch its breath and note that they are only one win away from .500.  (All thanks to a beanbag game.)
Of course, Kansas City’s two wins came against winless opposition (Minnesota and Indianapolis).  The team is still 30th in points scored and 32nd in points allowed. It’s unclear if the Chiefs are any good or whether they just aren’t the worst team in the league.
Running strong
Despite Jamaal Charles‘ season-ending injury, the Chiefs are still a good running team. They are seventh in rushing yards and eighth in yards-per-carry.  Jackie Battle, Thomas Jones, and Dexter McCluster won’t make dazzle you, but it’s been an effective trio the last three weeks. Kansas City’s offensive line can run block.
Linebacker leaders
It’s hard to find a better inside-outside linebacker tandem in the league than Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson. Both are playing at a very high level and have keyed Kansas City’s defensive competence the last three weeks after their rough start.
Need more from the Brandons
Losing safety Eric Berry for the season hurt. But the Chiefs still expect more from their starting cornerback duo of Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr. The Brandons have been good, not great.  Flowers especially has potential to play like a Pro Bowler.
Cassel consistency
Matt Cassel has improved his play of late by limiting his mistakes. But he still doesn’t have great pocket presence and it’s worth wondering if he will ever get much better. Cassel’s performance has actually become consistent, but it’s consistently average.
The Bowe condundrum
Dwayne Bowe dazzles with highlight reel catches, but the Chiefs haven’t always been in love with his approach. He’s set to be a free agent at the end of the year. Even a monster season may not be enough for the Chiefs to give him big money.
Lost starpower
The Chiefs didn’t exactly have a surplus of top-shelf talent. The drop-off in talent when Charles, Berry, and tight end Tony Moeaki were hurt was pretty severe. This was an overachieving team a year ago that was helped by an easy schedule. They don’t seem to have the firepower to deal with losing their stars.
Haley’s last stand?
Coach Todd Haley appears to be on the hot seat. So how much does he have to win to keep his job? Last year’s division championship raised expectations and “playing hard” by beating bad teams may not be enough.
With home games in early November against the Dolphins and Broncos, the Chiefs could hang around .500 a while longer. But we’ll believe they can beat a quality opponent when we see it happen.
Kansas City seems more likely to get involved in the “Suck for Luck” sweepstakes than contend for a playoff spot.
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32 Responses to “Turnaround keeps hope alive in Kansas City”
  1. vallz5 says: Oct 13, 2011 5:47 PM

    This team needs to get Dexter McCluster more touches on offense. That man is dangerous with the ball in his hands.

  2. 7thlombardiontheway says: Oct 13, 2011 5:49 PM

    You just don’t realize how hard it is trying to put 6 rings on one hand. Wow, so amazing…

  3. sniffles sports report says: Oct 13, 2011 5:54 PM

    this is crazy talk!! I like this Chiefs team. They haven’t appeared to go into a shell with the loss Charles and Berry. Poor teams look at those type of things as crutches to lean upon to explain poor play. They will battle back into a divisional race with San Diego and if Rivers doesn’t get his act together the Chiefs could find themselves as the back to back afc west champs!!

  4. jbaxt says: Oct 13, 2011 5:58 PM

    The thing with KC is the division sucks. Sure the chargers are 4-1 but they beat a MIGHTY Chiefs team, barely, and they damn near got Tebow’d in Denver so they are clearly no powerhouse.

    It’s Oakland’s division to lose, KC will likely be about .500 but it could be one of those years where .500 wins the division.

    The bad thing for the Chiefs is .500 takes them out of the Luck campaign. Maybe a mid-round 1st round QB next year or give a 2nd for Ponder, since the Colts are going to lose out. That gives Cassel one more year as a starter, then Bowe, Berry, DJ, Hali, the Brandon’s are all in their prime and we have a young QB at the helm. Even with Berry and Charles I thought KC was a .500 team with the AFC East and NFC North schedule.

    So KC’s set for 2012/2013.

    If Hali gets fired because the owner doesn’t spend the 30 million that he’s currently under the cap, then that’s some BS. Add 30 million to any team and that’s 3 solid pro-bowlers.

  5. 7thlombardiontheway says: Oct 13, 2011 6:05 PM

    Whoa… Did you say 6? Wow…

  6. kwoodc says: Oct 13, 2011 6:08 PM

    6-10

  7. dannymac17 says: Oct 13, 2011 6:09 PM

    wow @ this delusional dude sniffles, quit drinkin the kool aid

  8. baltimorons says: Oct 13, 2011 6:10 PM

    Boy they suck. Todd Haley is top 5 worst coaches in the league. They threw a poop load of money at Brady’s backup. Why? Because he had a few good games in a system that a mummified Marge Schott could excel in. It’s Bush league up there.

  9. jimmysimpson55 says: Oct 13, 2011 6:10 PM

    Screw this noise, I want to hear more about the NFL golden boys, Vick and Romo. They’re winners.

  10. madczyk says: Oct 13, 2011 6:13 PM

    I “won’t make dazzle you” either. Although, I suppose depending on who you are I may want to.

  11. theripster30 says: Oct 13, 2011 6:16 PM

    When all the ‘experts’ kept saying the chiefs were the worst team in the nfl the first few weeks of the season, not only didn’t I buy it, but it made me question the knowledge of those holding that opinion. Basing an opinion on a team who had a bad pre-season followed by key injuries is judging a book by the cover. Ultimately, it proves how shotty these people who are supposed to be superior to the average fan really are. Wish I could get paid to watch football and be wrong half the time while catching no flack for it.

  12. polishkingski says: Oct 13, 2011 6:19 PM

    no, no, no, no, no….the chefs are more than good, their tasty! haley, pioli, ravioli, stromboli, cannoli….mmmmmmmmmmmm.

  13. chowface86 says: Oct 13, 2011 6:21 PM

    Somewhere Brodie Croyle is laughing real real hard.

  14. thechieftruth says: Oct 13, 2011 6:38 PM

    This is nearly laughable. Sniffles likes this Chiefs team….interesting.

    This team has been put together on a David Glass type budget. Missing effective backups at nearly every essential position is a recipe for suck 4 luck. You know because bringing people out of the broadcast booth is going to help the Chiefs get anywhere. As a lifelong Chief fan I find myself unable to continue celebrating mediocrity. I want a QB capable of not under throwing our star WR by 20 yards, I want the Chiefs to stop debating whether to resign our star WR and give the man his money. This system of taking players off the scrap heap and praying for pro bowlers hasn’t and won’t work.

    I find it so very interesting how after beating two bad teams people are suggesting back to back AFC West Champions? This idea is laughable, Oakland will run all over the Chiefs just like they did last year. I see maybe 2 more wins for the Chiefs (Miami and split w/Denver) that leaves us at a 4-12 record and well, this isn’t the NFC West so I don’t see the playoffs as a possibility.

  15. kcfanatic says: Oct 13, 2011 6:42 PM

    Somewhere Brodie Croyle is laughing real real hard.

    ___________________________________

    Really? I doubt it since the lowly, winless Dolphins didn’t even sign him after his workout last week.

  16. therolandobottom says: Oct 13, 2011 6:46 PM

    @sniffles- your post shouldn’t even be worth my time to comment on, but you are seriously delusional. Out of all that drivel you wrote you still neglected to mention the Raiders, who own the Division right now. Stick to beating winless teams b/c you will get destroyed by the Raiders twice, Packers, Bears, Jets, Steelers and the Chargers this year.

  17. wfh88 says: Oct 13, 2011 6:52 PM

    “Somewhere Brodie Croyle is laughing real real hard”

    Ummmm, why? The guy can’t even get an NFL team to give him a 3rd string QB job. I kind of doubt he’s laughing much.

  18. pj38 says: Oct 13, 2011 6:56 PM

    Somewhere Brodie Croyle is unemployed, & still winless in the NFL

  19. baltimorons says: Oct 13, 2011 7:02 PM

    Somewhere? My guess is in his van down by the river.

  20. cballlv11 says: Oct 13, 2011 7:22 PM

    I’m a life long Chiefs fan who wears a Chiefs ball cap every day and I have a helmet on my desk. That said, this team has good enough players to win, but the worst coach in the NFL. We squeaked past 2 lousy teams and won’t win another game this season. It’s not the talent on the green grass, it’s the arrogance on the white grass…of a wide receivers coach who got a lucky break and now thinks he is an OC. The instant Charlie Wiess took a new job, this team was in trouble. Haley has to go. Why does Matt Cassel yell at him after he comes off the field? Because the jerk can’t call plays! Matt ain’t great, but he’ll do if he is given the right calls, like he did in NE!

  21. TheWizard says: Oct 13, 2011 7:51 PM

    Cassel has proven that, with enough of a supporting cast, he can succeed.

  22. thetechnocrat says: Oct 13, 2011 8:03 PM

    “Jackie Battle, Thomas Jones, and Dexter McCluster won’t make dazzle you”

    I hope not, it sounds freaky!

    ooh, that taco bell’s not agreeing with me…I gotta go make dazzles.

    The GM has found some decent guys in FA and the draft, but has some misses as well. Haley doesn’t seem like a guy cut out for NFL head coaching. For an angry guy he seems to be very thin skinned. Maybe he could be an assistant at Nebraska.

  23. couldntthinkofaname says: Oct 13, 2011 8:14 PM

    7thlombardiontheway says: Oct 13, 2011 5:49 PM

    You just don’t realize how hard it is trying to put 6 rings on one hand. Wow, so amazing…

    __________________________________

    I know where you can put them if you’d like a few suggestions.

  24. savannahrose44 says: Oct 13, 2011 8:56 PM

    7thlombardiontheway says:
    Oct 13, 2011 6:05 PM
    Whoa… Did you say 6? Wow…

    Whoa… Did you say obnoxious bandwagon Steeler fan? Wow…

  25. savannahrose44 says: Oct 13, 2011 8:58 PM

    baltimorons says:
    Oct 13, 2011 6:10 PM
    Boy they suck. Todd Haley is top 5 worst coaches in the league. They threw a poop load of money at Brady’s backup. Why? Because he had a few good games in a system that a mummified Marge Schott could excel in. It’s Bush league up there.

    I wonder if you would say the same thing if Cassel actually had the level of talent to work with that Brady does…Thus far injuries have dictated he does not have the level of talent to work with that Brady does let alone the Coaching talent that NE has and KC has not.

  26. txxxchief says: Oct 13, 2011 9:14 PM

    The Chiefs have only played about four or five decent quarters of football. Calling the current two game win streak against winless opponents a turnaround is extremely premature. I have no confidence in the head coach, and I believe he has demonstrated his incompetence by how poorly his team has been prepared and how it has performed on the field. He has also shown that he cannot work with others such as Chan Gailey, Charlie Weiss, Tony Gonzalez and Brian Waters.

    I want the Chiefs to win, but the most glaring need for the team is a franchise quarterback who can change a game on his own. Sadly, the two essentially meaningless victories may have taken the team out of the running for a player who may be the best quarterback prospect in almost a generation. A competent head coach is of equal importance.

  27. papertiger418 says: Oct 13, 2011 9:21 PM

    Wow, they’ve completely turned around their season by beating two winless teams. Yeah, there’s no way the Chiefs are terrible; injuries obviously took their toll and bad coaching has nothing to do with it. As a matter of fact, let’s just pencil them in for the Superbowl.

    Two winless teams. Come on, the Chiefs are just as bad as we all thought.

  28. bwaredware says: Oct 13, 2011 10:08 PM

    Haley needs to keep yelling at the opposing coaches when they get blown out. That way they ease up and the Chefs can beat them next time.

  29. polishkingski says: Oct 13, 2011 10:28 PM

    some of you that have a valid sense of humor give me a thumbs up when i make my “haley, pioli,….etc” comment and i thank you. the reason i mock the chefs is two fold. haley is a total boob. never played the game, just sniffed jocks through association and it gave him the idea that some how he could coach an nfl team. the whole reason i even bring this up is this dumb ass had the balls to fire chan gailey a couple weeks before the season and think he had better ideas than a southern oldtimer coach! i was one of the few who thought gailey was a huge upgrade over jaron and it is showing correct. todd, do me a favor please? fxxking actually shave befoer game day or do you just like the caveman look? you are a loser and the cheifs fans desrve much better.

  30. rammer27 says: Oct 13, 2011 11:22 PM

    Cassel is a above average QB when he gets a little time to throw. His line can run block fine but they are horrible pass blockers. When he drops back by the time he hits his third step he has to duck or he is gonna get killed. I don’t think he is a guy that is gonna create but for god sakes give the guy a couple seconds. Haley is probably gonna be gone next year and that will mean the fourth OC for Cassel since he has been in KC so it is hard to find the consistency that you need in an offense to get it going.

  31. sniffles sports report says: Oct 14, 2011 1:57 AM

    i’m not even a kc fan. i just think the offense will be able to put up points and that division isn’t exactly made up of the most consistent teams.

  32. robcypher says: Oct 14, 2011 3:43 AM

    How many rings do the chiefs have

    How many rings do the Steelers have

    DO THE MATH

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