My guess is that Dick Vermeil is tired of talking about his defense. A local radio reporter asked Vermeil on Wednesday that he had knowledge that some of the players didn't like the defensive schemes.
Vermeil exercised a few choice words directly at the reporter and wanted to know which player made the comments. He went on to tell him that he'd bring them out of the locker room and he'd give them a ‘little lecture.'
Bottom line. Vermeil was angry and he should be with the repeated questions about the defense. Vermeil doesn't understand the alleged dissention and the fans criticism on his 2003 team.
After all the Chiefs are 12-2; they've won twelve straight home games with the same defense. And oh by the way, his team won the AFC West title in a landslide. In fact, with the new division alignment it's even harder to win the West and the Chiefs did it in their 14th game of the season.
But the Chiefs defense continues to be the talk of the town in Kansas City. Today was even more brutal since USA Today did a feature on the Chiefs defense and it was not the most flattering story in the world. It had rankings, opinion and analysis about how bad the defense was and it further implied the Chiefs chances of winning a Super Bowl were at best slim with a defense ranked this low.
Vermeil already knows his defense is ranked 28th in the NFL. But he also knows that they are 12th in the NFL in points allowed per game. They are giving up nearly 20 points per game. By the way, the offense is averaging close to 30 points per game. Now you do the math!
So Vermeil when asked one more time about the defense made the following statement that clearly summed up his feelings about the way the fans and the media have reacted this week.
"I get irritated," Vermeil said. "We've got 12 wins. What else do they want? That irritates me."
That's good enough for me.
I can tell you that the players are sick of talking about it and the coaches are getting tired of all the talk. It's too bad the fans, the local media and the team itself is not enjoying their success this season. This is one of the best teams in Chiefs history. Outside of the 1969 Super Bowl team, the 2003 Chiefs are more talented, disciplined and playing at a higher level then any other team in the history of the franchise.
In the salary cap world of the NFL, it's nearly impossible to have enough money to spread to talented players on offense and defense. The first two years under Vermeil, the offense got the cash and this past off-season the defense was able to share the wealth. But it is a fact that the 2003 defense is better than the 2002 defense. Based on the numbers on the scoreboard at the end of games compared to last year; it's no contest.
Kansas City is still in the drivers' seat for a bye week in the playoffs. That's more important than anything else right now. Both the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs control their playoff destiny. If the Chiefs win the next two and the Patriots follow suit, then those two teams will be the top two seeds. The Patriots would be number one and the Chiefs number two. What Kansas City does not want is to slip to the third seed. That could happen if the Indianapolis Colts win their last two games and the Chiefs split against the Vikings and Chicago Bears.
That's what this team will focus on for Saturday's match-up with Minnesota. It won't be the pitfalls of the defense but instead how to stop the Vikings on offense. Can it be done? You bet it can.
The Vikings proved by losing six of their last eight games that their 6-0 start was a fluke. The Vikings are hanging onto their playoff lives with the Green Bay Packers breathing down their necks. But on paper, the Chiefs are a more talented team. Even on defense.
Though the teams have the same philosophy in regards to their opportunistic defense, the Chiefs have better talent on both sides of the ball. The Vikings defense has been equally bad against the run but they've shown no ability to stop it at anytime. The Chiefs have at least made plays in crunch time when they've needed to make a stop late in a game.
To the Chiefs credit, they've also played against the best running backs in the NFL where as the Vikings have not. They Vikings will face the very best offensive line, running back, tight end and a hot quarterback this Saturday.
The formula has already been written this season on how to beat the Vikings at home. Pound the ball, use play action and the Minnesota defense will wilt in the Metrodome lights. Kansas City has a high powered offense and the Vikings have not shut down a good offense all season. If the Chiefs jump out early, the game will be over at halftime. But even if the Chiefs fall behind, they have the offense to comeback where as the Vikings really don't have that ability.
The Chiefs defense at least for the most part has made the plays when they've absolutely needed to make them. After all, this team has only lost twice this season and it seems to have a knack for the big defensive play at the right time or in a crucial situation.
Kansas City does not have a dominant player on defense but they have enough talented players who work harder together. If they can step up their intensity and be more aggressive, they'll be good enough to get to the Super Bowl. It's really that simple. Plus without linebackers Mike Maslowski, Monty Beisel and Shawn Barber not playing anywhere near 100%, the Chiefs defense is not as strong.
Though Maslowski and Biesel will both be out this weekend, they'll be back by the time the playoffs start in January and that will definitely have an impact on the teams ability to stop the run and play better as a unit.
Saturday the Chiefs defense will get a big test and they have a chance to silence some of their critics. If that happens, then maybe the local media will focus on something else. I think Vermeil would like nothing more.