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Cheifs Chatter

Armchair QB

Offense holds four aces

Posted 9-13-02

by CK Rairden
Landmark columnist


The Chiefs returned 19 of 22 starters from last season’s team, but if you look a bit deeper, the opportunity for a more developed club may be in the cards for the Chiefs. But the deck must be played correctly.

The Chiefs offense holds four dependable aces.

-A top five NFL RB in Priest Holmes and a healthy all purpose FB in Tony Richardson.

-All-world TE Tony Gonzalez.

-A dependable WR with good hands and quick moves in Johnny Morton.

-An offensive line that can dominate at times.

Then the deck also produces three wild cards.

-Erratic QB Trent Green.

-WR’s Eddie Kennison, Dante Hall and Marc Boerigter.

-Offensive coordinator Al Saunders.

****

Saunders is the ultimate wild card. He now knows Green’s strengths and limitations. He must implement that into a game plan that protects Green, but allows the quarterback to make plays and gain confidence. It worked to perfection in Cleveland. Green was nearly flawless, limiting his mistakes while leading the team. He never gave up, even on the bizarre final play from scrimmage.

Saunders 4th quarter offensive play calling was a thing of beauty. The Browns were on their heels in the final quarter and had zero chance of stopping the Chiefs offense. Wild card Eddie Kennison did exactly what the team needs for success averaging 30 yards a catch.

****


Saunders also made a ton of changes in the offense during the off-season to accent the strength of his aces.

He was all set to implement a passing offense that played to the strength of Gonzalez, but that game plan was limited early due to the extended holdout of the TE. It didn’t seem to matter in Cleveland, as Gonzo didn’t miss a beat.

Fans will also notice changes in the way Saunders uses Holmes and Richardson, and the revamped offensive line. His ace line and blocking fullback wore down Cleveland in the fourth quarter and Homes ran wild. Holmes vision and cutting ability provided three 4th quarter rushing TD’s for the ‘01 rushing leader.

Ace WR Johnny Morton never got on track as a receiver in game one, but wild card Eddie Kennison picked up the slack.

****

The combo of the aces and wild cards delivered in week one on the offense.

It’s a good thing as the defense played from the bottom of the deck, and nearly blew the game with continuous missed assignments. But thanks to boneheaded hot dog Cleveland LB Dwayne Rudd, the Chiefs were able to pull out a victory.

This leads to week two opponent Jacksonville. The Jags still have their version of the triplets, (QB Brunell, WR Smith and RB Taylor) so the suspect defense of the Chiefs may struggle again. Expect the Jags to test the Chiefs pass rush and cornerbacks early.

The Armchair QB predicts the Chiefs offensive coordinator Al Saunders to design another fine game plan. But let’s face it, QB Trent Green will need the same kind of execution for the Chiefs to post their first 2-0 regular season since 1996.

Expect it.

Chiefs 24 Jacksonville 19.

(CK Rairden can be reached by email at ckden@yahoo.com)