Offense Needs to Get Better

There were times in their Week 4 loss to Philadelphia, when they blew a lead of 18 points at Arrowhead in falling 38-31, when the Chiefs offensive players clearly weren't on the same page.

The most glaring case in point: the interception of Trent Green and subsequent touchdown return that put the Eagles on the board after being down 17-0 in the second quarter. The Eagles showed a Cover-2 defense before changing to Cover-3 before the snap. Green saw it and expected his receivers to break short their routes. When they failed to adjust, Sheldon Brown had an easy Pick Six.

The Chiefs defenders had their problems, too. At times they were not only on different pages, they might have been reading different chapters.

Afterward, when analyzing how the Eagles were able to score 31 unanswered points, Kansas City's defenders fell back on the "we're still getting used to playing with each other" excuse. Valid or not, it is a fact that four defensive starters against the Eagles were playing just their fourth regular-season game together as Chiefs.

Given all of the above-expressed need for getting it together, it seemed incredible to many Chiefs fans when coach Dick Vermeil, with his team reeling after being outscored 67-41 in back-to-back losses to Denver and Philadelphia, elected to give his team and entire week off in the bye week before the Oct. 16 home game with still-undefeated Washington.

Vermeil defended his decision by saying it is best to give players an entire week off rather than have their divided attention during a couple of self-scout workouts without a game on the immediate horizon.

"I found the practices were not as good when they would just as soon not be here knowing it's their bye week," he explained. "I also got a player injured and lost him for six weeks during a (bye-week) practice my first year here, so I now limit that exposure. I just think they just came back fresher mentally and physically."

Even so, it seems a strange time to go on holiday; especially when the Chiefs are trying to work two veterans coming off NFL suspensions -- CB Eric Warfield (suspended four games for alcohol abuse) and G-T John Welbourn (ditto for steroids) - back into contributing roles in areas where their presence is greatly needed.

Moreover, veteran tackle Willie Roaf now appears ready to return to workouts since going down and out with a hamstring injury after the second series of the season opener. The Chiefs offensive line, long considered one of the NFL's top units, has been largely a patchwork operation since Day One of training camp when Pro Bowl RG Will Shields injured his back and was down for four weeks. Then young RT Kevin Sampson dislocated a toe in the first preseason game, and the Chiefs have been playing mix and match in trying to fill holes ever since.

That unsettled situation is reflected mainly in passing offense, where the once potent Chiefs are ranked only No. 18 at the bye.

Kansas City's players, as Vermeil noted, should come back fresh on Monday, Oct. 10, after having a full week off. If their performance against Washington doesn't reflect the fresh legs they'll be playing on, Vermeil's decision to declare a mid-term vacation will be second-guessed endlessly.

CHIEFS NOTES & QUOTES:
The Chiefs found themselves facing another off-the-field embarrassment during their off week when tight ends coach Jason Verduzco became involved in an incident with police in which mace was used prior to the Philadelphia game.

According to reports filed with the Kansas City, Mo., police, Verduzco was trying to make a left turn into the Truman Sports Complex amid heavy traffic. Officers were not allowing such turns on game day, even though the entrance is commonly used by people working at the complex on a daily basis.

When Verduzco continued to make his turn, an officer blocked his way and reported that the assistant coach bumped him slightly with the front of his car and proceeded to swear at the cop while refusing to back up. Other officers then attempted to remove Verduzco from his car and sprayed him with mace when he resisted. The coach had his eyes washed out by medical personnel before he was issued a general summons for "intentionally attempting to inflict bodily injury" upon the officer and refusing to stop his vehicle.

Vermeil, asked about the incident at his bye week press briefing, said he had talked to Verduzco about the incident but declined to say if any disciplinary action would result.

"I would defend him just like I would my players," Vermeil said.

Vermeil has had to do that a lot this season.

During one players' night off at training camp, five Chiefs were involved in brushes with police at three different communities. Three of them -- defenders Junior Siavii and Greg Wesley as well as kicker Lawrence Tynes, were arrested.

Upon returning to Kansas City, running back Larry Johnson was cited for a disturbance in a Plaza bar following a shoving confrontation with a former girlfriend.

The Eagles' winning comeback from an 18-point deficit, 24-6 in the second quarter, has been determined to be the biggest rally against the Chiefs in team history.

Several opponents had come back from 17-point deficits, the most recent being Oakland in the 1999 season finale at Arrowhead in which the Chiefs could have advanced to the playoffs with a victory. Instead, the Chiefs blew an early 17-0 lead and lost 41-38 in overtime.

BY THE NUMBERS:
318 - Average yardage given up by the Chiefs' next-to-worst ranked defense after four games in 2004.

367 - Average yardage given up by Kansas City's supposedly improved and 27th-ranked defense after four games in 2005.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
"I may be part of (NFL) history now, but I didn't help my team win. It negated everything I had done, everything this team had done. That was one bad, bad play at the time." -- Dante Hall, on his fumble at the KC 25 that set up an easy Philadelphia touchdown and took all the joy out of his 94-yard kickoff return that tied him with four other players for the NFL record for career kickoff return touchdowns (six).

CHIEFS STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL:
To make room for the return of suspended players Eric Warfield and John Welbourn from four-game NFL suspensions, the Chiefs released young reserve center Jonathan Ingram and released running back Sam Gado from the practice squad. However on Thursday afternoon, Ingram had been signed to the practice squad to eventually make room for Welbourn.

PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES:
KR returner Dante Hall put his name in the NFL record book with his sixth kickoff return touchdown last week against Philadelphia. Five other players also have six in their careers. Hall now has 10 kick return TD's (six kickoff, four punt returns). Only two other players, Brian Mitchell (13) and Eric Metcalf (12) have more.

T Willie Roaf is expected to return to practice when the Chiefs come back from their bye week and start preparations for their Oct. 16 home game with undefeated Washington. Roaf has missed 3 3/4 of Kansas City's four games with a hamstring injury.

T Jordan Black, who has been filling in at left tackle in the absence of Willie Roaf, could challenge for the right tackle spot when Roaf returns to action, presumably next week. Black started four games at right tackle last year, but second-year player Kevin Sampson opened training camp there and was working with the first unit until his dislocated his toe in the preseason opener and subsequently missed the season opener when Black was the starter.

WR Eddie Kennison has had back-to-back 100-yard games, but both were losses (to Denver and Philadelphia). Kennison ranks fourth in the AFC with 23 receptions.

CB Dexter McCleon, who had a slick interception of Donovan McNabb after battling Terrell Owens for a deep ball, is the odds-on favorite to hold the starting right cornerback job for at least a while following Eric Warfield's return next week from an NFL suspension.

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