Special Teams Mirage?

On Sunday, the Chiefs had their biggest confidence building victory of the season. But in the midst of the excitement you have to be a little discouraged at the play of the special teams. They were for the most anything but special.

Kicker Ryan Succop may have been a perfect 6 for 6 on extra points but he was also forced to get in on a few tackles. If I'm Special Teams Coordinator Steve Hoffman, I'm anything but pleased.

Too many times on Sunday both Succop and punter Dustin Colquitt were the last line of defense on kick and punt returns. And serious props go to both of them for having the physical ability to do more than wave at oncoming return men. But having your kickers making tackles is about like having a one armed man juggle chainsaws. The physics simply don't work and over time there is way too much too lose.

The blame for the failures lies at the feet of Hoffman. For the Chiefs, the margin between wins and losses is very thin. Hoffman needs to get his guys back on track before his unit ends up costing this young and sporadic team a victory.

Coming into Sunday's game they held opponents to roughly 16 yards per return. But the Jaguars averaged 26 yards a return. So was this simply a bad day, or part of a bigger problem? It's hard to say. But the coverage unit isn't my only concern.

The Chiefs return game has suddenly fallen down on the job. Sunday's game exemplified the continued regression of Dexter McCluster and Javier Arenas. Both players contributed heavily to the Chiefs 3-0 start. But since then neither has given the offense very good field position.

However to the detriment of special teams, both have been given more prominent roles in their respective positions on offense and defense. And it may be a bit too much for the rookies to chew on at the moment. But it's hard to say that it hasn't been worth it.

Though McCluster injured his ankle on Sunday his impact on the Chiefs offense has been one of the reasons they're playing so well at the moment.

Javier Arenas is playing a lot on defense.
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As far Arenas, he finally got his chance to blitz the QB; something he excelled at in college. But what may have been his biggest contribution this week was the strip he forced after a big return that was nullified when the Chiefs recovered the fumble.

The coaches have a tough balancing act in how to use their all purpose players. They can't let their talents go to waste by giving them too much to do so early in the season. So at some point, they might want free them up and find someone else to fill the spot, even if it's temporary to give one of them a breather from time to time.

Going forward if this team wants to be a playoff contender; they must excel in all three phases of the game. It didn't get them on Sunday against the Jaguars but it surely it could if they don't rebound against Buffalo.

The Bills have shown a weakness in their ability cover kicks and if the Chiefs want their winning ways to continue, they will need to exploit this weakness before it becomes one of their own.

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