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Cheifs Chatter

Monday Morning Quarterback:
Why is Dick Vermeil smiling?

12/10/2001

by CK Rairden
Landmark columnist

1:00 left in the game. The score is 28-26 and Raiders head coach Jon Gruden has a scowl on his face. He looks angry. Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil has a smile on his and looks at a play list before shoving it back down the front of his pants.

Which team is leading and kneeling on the ball to secure the victory?
From the described scene you would think it was the Chiefs.
By now we all know it was the Raiders.

• • •

Yes—it is understood that coaches have different styles and deal with situations in different ways. But the scene of Vermeil rushing onto the field after the game with a smile on his face to hug ex-Rams and now Raiders TE Roland Williams spoke volumes.

This is the AFC West. These are the hated Raiders. I still am not sure it is clear to this coaching regime how heated and nasty these rivalries, and this specific one is.

Throw out the records, five straight losses to the Raiders should hurt at least for a few minutes after a game. Especially after giving away a game that could have been won.

• • •

This game—the type of blunders that brought this 28-26 loss is why this column was formatted.

Monday Morning QB anyone?

• • •

An abysmal 3-9 record is now what the Chiefs own. They will have to win four straight to achieve my pre-season prediction of 7-9. That won’t happen.

This ball club has now decided to ride the back of RB Priest Holmes as far as he can take them. It’s a good strategy, but he will need a bit of help on defense and special teams. He didn’t get it here.

Special teams coach Frank Gansz, Jr. now has fans longing for...gulp, Mike Stock to return. The coverage teams are awful. The kick-offs are short, and the FG kicker misses big kicks. Wait—that sounds exactly like Mike Stock’s special teams.

The return guy, Dante Hall, has improved a bit, but still can’t outrun anyone once in the open field. If he had one move, he could have turned this game around on his one decent kick return. It was a good return that gave the Chiefs field position, but he was tackled with one arm by the Raiders defender and the Chiefs got 3 points instead of 7.

How many ways can you say it? The Chiefs special teams stink.

• • •

The fourth and inches call was predictable to anyone who has watched any film on the Chiefs. The fullback dive to T Rich.

The Raiders apparently had popped a tape in the VCR sometime last week, figured it out and stuffed it.

An awful decision by the coaches.
The game could have been over at that point, but to many of the players' credit—they never quit.

• • •

The call on the two-point conversion attempt was also foolish. Spread the field and hand the ball to your horse, Priest Holmes, and win or lose with him.

• • •

The play by Green on that attempt shows that he still clutches up under pressure. Yes—I could see that no one was open (what a surprise with this group of receivers) but it had to be thrown up for grabs. There was no time to go through the progression that he attempted to do on the play.

• • •

The negatives—
All aspects of the special teams.
Coaching in every area.
Inadvertent whistles from the Raider’s crowd?
Union ref Ron Blum’s do-over punt return for Tim Brown.
Not defending the naked bootleg Rich Gannon loves to run.
Dropped passes.

The positives—
Priest Holmes. The Chiefs now have something to base their offense on for next season. If Holmes is healthy he can no longer be considered a poor man’s Marshall Faulk.
More like upper middle class.
Trent Green. He is still far too indecisive, but is starting to protect the ball better. There can now be no argument that he has no dominant WR to work with. Right now—a competent one that stays healthy would be nice. Bring in some receivers with speed, and let’s see what happens.

The offensive line on run blocking. Still missing too many assignments on pass attempts, but a comfort zone has been reached with Priest. Something to build on.

• • •

The Chiefs remaining schedule is not exactly difficult. Two at home with the Broncos and the Chargers, then finish on the road with Jacksonville and the Seahawks. The team now has one of the premier running backs in the league to build around, and these final four games are a starting point.

The question.
Does this coaching staff have the ability to start now?