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Cheifs Chatter

Take a Memo

Johnnie Morton, the X-Man, looks comfortable

Posted 8-18-03

by CK Rairden
Landmark columnist


So many receivers, only one football.

Dick Vermeil’s first game as head coach of the Chiefs against the Oakland Raiders on September 9th of 2001 saw Marvin Minnis as the starting “x” receiver while Derrick Alexander started at the “y” receiver.

They made a total of one catch between them in a losing effort. How far the passing game has come. Alexander was cut and is out of the league for the time being, Minnis is still with the Chiefs, but is in danger of being released and fighting for a roster spot.

The Chiefs now have four quality wide receivers (Johnnie Morton, Eddie Kennison, Marc Boerigter and Dante Hall) that can each present match up problems for most defenses. Add to that a happy all-world TE in Tony Gonzalez, RB Priest Holmes and a healthy FB Tony Richardson out of the backfield—and the mismatches multiply.

It was never more evident than on Marc Boerigter’s 59-yard TD catch for the Chiefs first TD of the pre-season in the second quarter against the Vikings. TE Tony Gonzalez and back-up FB Omar Easy ran underneath routes and drew the attention of two Viking linebackers and Vikings cornerback Denard Walker. Boerigter slipped behind the confused defense and found the seam behind the corner, then showed off his speed in blowing by three Vikings defensive backs. Now that the Chiefs have skilled receivers in all positions, all with different talents—it makes this passing game even more dangerous.

A fun game to watch on a 100-degree night in KC brings notes a plenty.

****

—The Chiefs new ‘x-man’ Johnny Morton finally seems comfortable. He had four grabs for 57 yards. And all four receptions by Morton resulted in first downs.

—It also looks as if the new ‘x-man’ Johnny Morton is finally having fun. His de-cleater block on Vikings DB Corey Chavous is the kind of downfield blocking the Chiefs need from the wide receivers.

—While many fans are now calling for Marc Boerigter to crack the starting lineup, it really doesn’t matter in this offense. Bo is going to see the field in a variety of packages, and the mismatch he presents is the key.

—And enough already with the Ed McCaffrey comparisons for Bo. While Ed McCaffrey is a great receiver, and Bo is an up-and-coming star and they are both big white guys, the comparisons end there. McCaffrey doesn’t have the big play ability that Bo possesses anymore, and never possessed Bo’s speed.

—Derrick Blaylock solidified his hold on the number two RB with a few nice runs. His 17-yard scamper around the left end in the second quarter set up the Trent Green to Marc Boerigter 59-yard TD.

—Rookie WR Chris Horn showed his versatility with 3 catches for 76 yards, two punt returns with no mistakes and a reverse for 5 yards. That versatility should land him the number 5 receiver spot ahead of Marvin Minnis.

—Priest Homes ran well again in limited action, and took a serious shot directly on his right hip on the Chiefs first offensive series when he ran for eight yards up the middle on a 3rd and two. As Holmes was tripped up, 215-pound safety Willie Offord drove into Homes right hip with all his weight as Holmes landed on the Arrowhead turf. No problems, Holmes bounced right up.

—What a difference a year makes. The Chiefs starting front four played mean and nasty. The Vikings first play from scrimmage saw QB Daunte Culpepper sacked on a three-step drop.

—DT Ryan Sims is already commanding double teams and that is opening it up for the other D-linemen. Make no mistake, Sims will be the key.

—R-Kal Truluck has now made enough plays to become inserted into the regular defensive line rotation. Another plus is when the Chiefs zone blitz, Truluck has enough speed to actually cover a fullback or a tight end as he did on the third play from scrimmage when the Chiefs got a sack on Culpepper by LB Shawn Barber. He should quickly move to number 2 on the depth chart at right defensive end ahead of Gary Stills.

—It was nice to see the front seven play so well and protect the Chiefs' suspect defensive backfield.

—The Chiefs are really not deep enough to have the luxury of carrying a kickoff specialist, but Jose Cortez boomed three kicks into the end zone (one called back by an offsides penalty) and one to the Minnesota six-yard line.

—And speaking of kickers, Morten Andersen is still money.

—On the punting side, don’t be surprised if the Chiefs bring in P Darren Bennett if he is cut by the San Diego Chargers. Right now, the SD punting game is dead even but the smart money is on the Bolts keeping rookie Mike Scifres as their new punter as Bennett is a more expensive player.

—And as most Chiefs fans know Chargers head coach Marty Schottenheimer is nothing if not cheap when it comes to the kicking game.

****

The Chiefs had a nice game against a weak team in the Vikings. Both the first team offense and defense played well. The defense was nasty and the offense spread the ball around and finally found the end zone. The distinct difference was the ‘x-man’ Johnnie Morton, who moved the chains on four separate occasions. The clear difference on defense was Ryan Sims.

If these two continue to perform at this high level, it opens everything up for their teammates on respective sides of the ball. The ‘x-man’ moving the chains for first downs, and Ryan Sims commanding double and triple teams may be just enough to push the Chiefs not only into the playoffs, but deep into the post-season.

Really.

 

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