Insight from the Real Experts: Skins vs. KC

It's that time again for our weekly conversation with the real experts of the Chiefs upcoming opponent, the fan who follows the team day in and day out. The Chiefs come out of their bye week hoping to end their two game losing streak against the 3-1 Washington Redskins.

The Redskins are tied for first place in the NFC East division and feature the fourth best scoring defense in the league, giving up only 14.5 points per game. Redskins fans are very excited about their team's chances of making the playoffs and possibly winning the NFC East.

Our panel of Redskins experts consists of the following:
• Jason Fenton, 24-year-old Federal Government employee from Arlington, VA, a Redskins fan for 17 years.
• Simon Montfort, 26-year-old graduate student from Johns Island, Republic of South Carolina, a Redskins fan all of his life.
• Norm Gore, a software business owner, from Gaithersburg, MD, a Redskins fan for over 30 years.

Our panel of experts watched the Broncos completely dismantle the Chiefs defense and the Donovan McNabb led Eagles dominate the Chiefs defense in the 2nd half of their 37-31 comeback victory. Those performances have these Redskins fans convinced the Chiefs defense is ripe for the picking for the Redskins offense. While previous experts spoke of one aspect of their offense dominating (such as the Jets rushing attack featuring Curtis Martin and the Raiders passing attack led by Randy Moss), the Redskins experts believe it is the mixture of run AND pass that the Chiefs will be unable to stop.

Question: What aspect of the Redskins attack do the Chiefs not have an answer for?
Answer: "I don't think the Chiefs have the ability to stop our running game. With the emergence of our deep passing game against the Cowboys and our intermediate game in recent games, defenses will have to pay close attention to Chris Cooley, David Patten and Santana Moss rather than putting 8 and 9 men in the box to stop Portis. I expect Portis to have a big day for us on the ground." – Jason Fenton

"The Chiefs have struggled this year against balanced offenses. Whether this is symptomatic of bad defensive talent, bad scheme or just the opponents they have played is a good question. They shut down the Jets and Raiders, but neither of them are offensive juggernauts or "balanced" offenses. Even with the return of CB Eric Warfield (who might not play), the Chiefs will struggle with choosing whether to commit to stopping Portis (who is playing extremely well), commit to blitzing Brunell or commit to stacking man/zone coverages to stop Moss and the Skins passing attack. I have serious doubts that the Chiefs can make the correct choice on defense based on what I have seen from the Chiefs over the last couple weeks." – Simon Montfort

"Offense. The 2005 Chiefs have not shown the ability to stop teams any better than the 2004 Chiefs." - Norm Gore

Analysis: Can you blame these experts? The Chiefs defense has yet to prove they are up to the task of being a playoff caliber defense. The Chiefs defense ranks 27th in total defense, 30th in pass defense and 22nd in scoring. The Redskins offense features the running of Clinton Portis and the passing of mobile QB Mark Brunell. Portis has had huge games against the Chiefs including a 218-yard, five-touchdown performance in his last performance against the Chiefs in 2003. He's averaging 90 yards per game this season, but has yet to score a touchdown. Brunell's mobility allows the Redskins to bootleg and move the pocket quite a bit. However, he is most effective when rolling and passing to his left. During the broadcast of the Broncos/Redskins game last Sunday, a graphic was displayed showing over 75% of Brunell's completions are to the left side of the field. While the Redskins have a balanced attack between rushing and passing, they are clearly a left-handed team in their passing attack. The Chiefs and defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham should be able to anticipate and exploit that tendencies.

Question: What aspect of the Chiefs concerns you the most?
Answer: "Dante Hall's kick returning worries me the most coming into this game. This isn't because I don't trust our players in coverage, but rather I think Dante Hall really is that good. He is the one part of your team that I don't think we have an answer for. All he needs is one good block and he's gone. While this doesn't seem to be a huge issue as he only handles the ball a handful of times, each of our games has been decided by 3 points or less, so each play is magnified. One big return, even if it doesn't result in a Special Teams touchdown, could be the difference in the game. "– Jason Fenton

"The Skins have been extremely inconsistent on Special teams all year. They have a rookie kicker who has had a kick blocked each of the last two games and rookie punter who has been less than stellar. Getting a big return from Dante Hall or consistently good returns from Hall (20+ yards) makes the Chiefs' game plan that much easier." – Simon Montfort

"Special Teams. Dante Hall is a beast and the Redskins special teams are suspect." - Norm Gore

Analysis: Dante Hall has already shown that he is still the best return man in the NFL today. He is second in the league in kickoff returns averaging 28.1 yards per return. His kickoff return for a touchdown against the Eagles snatched momentum away from the Eagles and could have put the game away for the Chiefs had the Chiefs not fumbled just before halftime. Hall is a threat to score every time the Redskins punt or kickoff.

Conclusion: This game is an opportunity for the Chiefs to prove they are a serious contender for the AFC West crown. Portis is a tremendous running back who embarrassed the Chiefs the last time he played against them and proclaimed himself the heavy weight champion of running backs, even going so far as to wear a championship belt on the sidelines during the 4th quarter of that game. Brunell will test the Chiefs defensive ends on rollouts and boot legs especially Jared Allen (starting right defensive end) who has shown a propensity to get sucked in.

It will be very important for Allen to maintain his assignments as Brunell will be rolling his way most of the time. The Chiefs will also need to contain Santana Moss. He has blossomed into a big play wide receiver having had at least one reception over 30 yards in every game this season. Chris Cooley will put pressure on the linebackers in coverage as he has proven to be a very consistent receiving threat. The Chiefs have struggled covering tight ends this year so Cooley could have a big game.

The offense will be going against a very strong defense. That presents a tremendous opportunity to get back to being one of the most feared offenses in the league. I look for Tony Gonzalez and Priest Holmes to get more involved in the passing game this week. If Gonzalez and Holmes are effective in the passing game early, Kennison and Parker will be freed up to make big plays down the field.

The season begins again for the Chiefs on Sunday. Coming out of the bye week, it is almost like having another season/home opener. The Chiefs survived the first 4 games of the season that included a difficult schedule and numerous injuries. However, it's not about survival over these next 12 games. Now it's about proving the Chiefs are a legitimate contender. Top Stories