Trent Green is quietly turning his season around. Green has a quarterback rating of 86.7% which is a major improvement after his dismal start. He might have graded out better but he still has thrown seven interceptions and had many others dropped by the opposing defenses he's faced this season.
On the bright side, and there are many highlights, Green's performance against the Packers and Bills give him plenty of chances to get higher marks. Green has to get more touchdowns in the second half of the season and he needs to continue to show his Len Dawson type leadership. Green's poise in the pocket the last three games has many Chiefs fans comparing Green to Lenny the Cool.
If Green can elevate his game even further and take the success from the Bills game, then the Chiefs might not lose another game this season under Greens watch.
Back up Todd Collins has seen limited action in games against Houston and Buffalo. Collins a one-time NFL starting quarterback has a solid grasp of the offense and has proven that he's more than capable of running the offense.
Running Back (A)
The man is back. Priest Holmes is on pace to rush for 1500 yards and his 12 all-around touchdowns put him back on pace to shatter the all-time touchdown mark that he should have beaten last year. Holmes has ran for 770 yards on 165 rushing attempts and managed to haul in 34 passes for 333 yards this season. Holmes combined yardage from scrimmage puts him at 1103 all purpose yards for the season. He has accounted for about one-third of the Chiefs offensive output.
Though it appears that Holmes is fully recovered from his hip-injury, it was not until his three touchdown performance against the Bills that he he looked like the old Holmes. With a stretch of four games against teams that can't stop the run, Holmes should be able to reach the 20 touchdown mark without much of a problem.
Derrick Blaylock is listed as the back-up running back and he did get his first career rushing touchdown earlier this season against the Texans. But he'll likely lose that position to rookie running back Larry Johnson. Dick Vermeil has vowed to use Johnson in the second half of the season. He has too much skill to be the third back. And if Holmes is hurt, Johnson could share the load with Tony Richardson.
Tony Richardson is pound for pound the best fullback in the NFL. He plows the road for many of the touchdown runs by Holmes and he's a capable running back on short yardage situations.
Though Richardson does not catch the ball out of the backfield like he has in the past, his value in clearing a path for Holmes and protecting Green in the pocket on passing plays, makes his value immeasurable in the Chiefs offense. Richardson is the heart and soul of the offense.
Back-up fullback Omar Easy had shown some flashes in the pre-season but has been limited to special teams mostly this year. There is no doubt that he can catch the ball out of the backfield but he still has difficulty in taking on blockers in pass protection schemes. Though he might be the air apparent to Richardson, he still has a lot to learn in order to carry that torch.
Tight Ends (A)
Tight end Tony Gonzalez leads the Chiefs in receptions (26), yards (411) and touchdowns (4) at the midway point of the season. There is no doubt that Gonzalez has had better numbers in past seasons but he's a more complete player than at anytime in his career.
Gonzalez is a fixture in the passing game now that he's recovered from knee and ankle injuries. But his run blocking skills are almost as equal as his mate Jason Dunn.
With that said the development of Dunn in the passing game has been a huge plus for the Chiefs. He only has a few catches, one for a touchdown but besides from being the premier blocking tight end in the NFL, he has the ability to catch a third down pass under pressure.
Wide Receivers (B+)
Johnnie Morton has been the biggest surprise. After his first year in Kansas City, everyone questioned if he was a bust. But in 2003 he's second to Gonzalez in receptions and has shown an ability to get the ball into the end zone. He's been a go to performer on third down for Green and he has the ability to separate himself from cornerbacks once he gets past the line of scrimmage.
Eddie Kennison's catch in Green Bay was the kind of play that Chiefs fans hope he duplicates in the second half of the season. Kennison still has trouble with the easy catches and that must be corrected.
Dante Hall enjoyed his first 100-yard catching performance of the season against the Bills. Marc Boerigter has been on the Chiefs Most Wanted List. He's had a handful of catches and has yet to get a whiff of the end zone.
Offensive Line (A-)
Nobody does it better than Willie Roaf (LT), John Tait (RT), Will Shields (LG), Brian Waters (RG) and Casey Wiegmann (C). These guys have now played for one and a half seasons together and they've fortified themselves as the best offensive line in the NFL. They are the Five Horseman! Each of them is nimble, smart and they never stop blocking. Even if they pancake their assigned target, they often are downfield on running plays leveling linebackers and cornerbacks.
Tait has successfully made the transition to right tackle and Roaf amazes me. At that size, he simply levels people and his footwork is second to none to any other tackle in the NFL.
Waters, the former fullback and Shields pull better than any other guard combo in the NFL. Wiegmann has solidified himself as the best center in the game. He is the leader of the line and has kept up the rich tradition of great centers in Kansas City Chiefs history.
In summary, the Chiefs offense is ranked only 12th in the NFL in total offense. They have yet to put together a complete four quarter game. But if they do, this team could score 60 points. The offense has struggled on third down and that has to improve. They currently sit at 37% efficiency and if that number gets any lower, the defense will be forced to play even longer.
I expect the Chiefs to improve their offensive numbers in the second half. They do league the NFL in scoring and they can score a touchdown on any given play. For that and the improvement that still can be achieved, I give them an (A-) as a unit.
Saturday we'll grade out the defense.