Mid Terms!

As the Chiefs charge into the second half of the season on Sunday at Denver, what should we take from their first eight games? Does the team get passing or failing grades?

Offense: C
It's hard not to reward the leagues best rushing offense with a better grade, but the Chiefs passing attack is so horrible thus I'm working on a grading curve. This is not ninth grade biology. The Chiefs are paying offensive coordinator Charlie Weis a significant salary to turn this offense into a productive one. And thus far it's been a bag of mixed results.

The offense has been anything but balanced and it is starting to catch up to the Chiefs win-loss column. The Raiders loss is a perfect example of what Chiefs fans should expect to see the second half of the season if this passing game continues to struggle.

Matt Cassel is simply not getting the job done. And there is little Weis can do improve parts of his play. There are potential excuses a plenty but that does not change the fact that, at the end of the day, he is not producing in all four quarters every time out.

Often times, as fans and journalist, we want to have our cake and eat it too. We complain that Weis is not opening up the passing game more then turn around and villainies Weis for not giving Charles enough carries.

Overall, Weis deserves credit for the offensive improvement. But with the 30th ranked pass offense, he still has a lot of work left to do.

Defense: B+
As much as I would love to give this new and improved defense an A-, I just can't. They won't get an ‘A' until they can close out games like they did at home against San Diego and on the road at Cleveland. The Chiefs allowed the Texans, Bills, and Raiders to crawl their way back into games they never should have been in to begin with.

And as happy as I might be about this unit giving up just18 points per game, there are still some holes to fill in their Swiss cheese defense.

Look, I understand that Romeo Crennel has instilled a "bend but don't break" philosophy into his defense, but their inability to close out drives has been hazardous at times. It's already cost them two wins.

What this defense needs is consistency. And that means its prime time players have to get it done in crunch time. That means Brandon Flowers, Tamba Hali, Glenn Dorsey, and Derrick Johnson can't be anything less than dominate – especially in the fourth quarter. I believe Crennel is one of the best defensive minds in the NFL and by the end of 2010, I think he should have these guys playing up to their ‘A' potential.

Coaching: A
Head coach Todd Haley in my eyes is the front runner for the NFL Coach of the Year. He has taken a 4-12 team and turned them into a legitimate playoff contender with little more than ingenuity and an "outside the box" approach.

Haley checked his ego at the door when signing off on adding both Weis and Crennel to his coaching staff. Most inexperienced NFL coaches don't have the loins for such a move, but Haley didn't allow his ego to get in the way of making what he thought was the right move for the football team.

I know that Haley's aggressiveness on fourth downs has caused some football purists to roll over in their graves, but regardless of what your theories are, Haley has stuck to his plan and so far it is paying off.

By walking the fine line between motivator and big dog, Haley has converted underachieving players like Johnson and Bowe into vital pieces of their respective sides of the ball.

Special Teams: D >
By far this is the most disappointing aspect of this football team.

Javier Arenas and Dexter McCluster each posses elite ability but thus far they fall somewhere between disappointment and unlucky. Arenas had a touchdown called back against the Raiders on a suspect block in the shoulder. But that's something he has to overcome. McCluster hasn't been given too many opportunities since the Chargers game so it's really hard to rate his performance thus far.

Still I put the blame on special teams coordinator Steve Hoffman. He has an arsenal of talent to work with and has yet to get them to perform up to their potential. The special teams unit was instrumental in wins early on, but has regressed from one of their strongest units to one that is becoming a liability.

A year ago Ryan Succop was the Chiefs' Mack Lee Hill award winner but has been given the chance to be reliable this season. The Chiefs kicker is very capable and Haley continues to defend him so I will continue to give Succop the benefit of the doubt until he costs the Chiefs a victory.

The coverage units, on the other hand, don't deserve much respect. They have been terrible and considering that front line players such as Eric Berry and Demorrio Williams are on those units, I have to assume the problem is not talent, but rather mental errors.

Again, this is an area of the field where the Chiefs have the talent to dominate, but the coaching staff needs to put these players into a position to succeed.

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