Monday Morning Quarterback: Knockout

About everything that could go wrong, went wrong for the Kansas City Chiefs in what turned out to be a wet, dreary afternoon on Sunday. After a 23-10 loss, it's clear that this team has a long way to go in finding their identity. They'll also need to find a quarterback to lead this offense if Trent Green's injury prevents him from playing for any extended period of time.

This was no easy game for the Chiefs, but the fact they never found a rhythm on offense was the direct result of poor preparation. But I'm not going to blame this loss on the coaching staff. This one is on the players.

This game ended when Green went down after a vicious and cowardly hit from Bengals' defensive end Robert Geathers.

Before I start slicing apart this loss, the officiating from referee Larry Nemmers and his crew was simply horrific. Samie Parker was called twice for offensive pass interference. On both plays, the defender assigned to cover Parker simply fell down.

Before the game, I was a little worried about the offense. After the game, I'm flat out concerned. I can live with Green missing a week or two because of a concussion, but I can't live with poor execution.

Huard did an admirable job of stepping in, and it's likely he'll be starting next Sunday at Denver. But I think the Chiefs need to think seriously about changing their starter at right tackle. Jordan Black, who was impressive at guard this preseason, struggled mightily when he was asked to play outside. The Bengals defensive line isn't even that great.

Even before Green went down, he didn't have adequate time to throw the ball. I think the Chiefs went away from their strength, the running game. Larry Johnson ran just 17 times for 68 yards. Even though the Chiefs were behind for most of the game, they never really tried to establish any consistency in the running game.

I'm not going to blame the meager running game on Willie Roaf's absence. Sooner or later, someone has to step up. Maybe it's Will Svitek. Black just isn't cut out to be a starting tackle. He's a solid backup at guard. I'm not sure what the reasoning was to play him over Svitek.

The end result of all this offensive ineptness is that Larry Johnson showed a lot of frustration on the field and on the sidelines. That was disappointing to see, especially considering the fact that I've championed his cause since the day he was drafted. I'll just call it a bad day at the office.

On defense, the Chiefs played better than I expected. Outside of two long no-huddle drives in the second quarter, they played much better as a unit than I had anticipated. When rookie safety Jarrad Page took over for veteran Sammy Knight in the second half, it added an element of speed that was missing from the defensive secondary.

Knight should have stopped Rudi Johnson behind the line of scrimmage on his first touchdown run. He had him dead to rights, but took the wrong angle. That shouldn't happen to a veteran like Knight.

The Chiefs also failed to get to the quarterback. Jared Allen, who played his guts out on Sunday, had Kansas City's only sack. Nobody else came close to Carson Palmer. That has to change, and I think it will, because rookie Tamba Hali played pretty well for his first NFL game.

At the end of the day, I felt bad for new head coach Herm Edwards. This was not the beginning he wanted, but now he knows what he does and does not have on this team. Unlike previous seasons, I think Edwards has the coaching staff to make adjustments and tinker with the lineup. The Chiefs will play better.

There is room to improve, and it's only one game. This loss costs the Chiefs a tie-breaker with the Bengals, but it's a long season and anything can happen. I'd rather get an ugly loss out of the way now than suffer one in November or December.

Five to Bench:

1. WR Samie Parker - The problem I have with Parker is that he just seems to have lapses on the field. One of his two offensive pass interference calls was bogus, but the other was simply being lazy. He has the talent to catch balls in traffic, stretch the field and make plays, but he needs to work on his mental approach. The Chiefs need him to step up.

2. WR Dante Hall - Let's get real. It's not 2003 anymore, and Dante Hall needs to play better. There is NO excuse for a veteran like Hall to drop, let alone attempt to field a punt that he does not have a bead on inside the 20-yard line. He needs to pull himself out of this funk and go back to the style that made him the Human Joystick. He needs to start cutting back against the grain after he suckers the opponent into moving to one side or the other. If he'd done that on two occasions on Sunday, he might have gone all the way.

3. QB Damon Huard - Huard put together one solid drive, but I'd still rather see rookie Brodie Croyle in the huddle. This has nothing to do with my opinion of Huard's passing ability. He just doesn't have a good feel for the pocket. The Chiefs probably won't be able to win in Denver with Huard as their starting quarterback, and that means that Kansas City could go into the bye week sitting at 0-2. Let's hope Trent Green is a fast healer and he can play against Denver.

4. S Sammy Knight - The defense played better when he wasn't in the starting lineup in the second half. I already chastised him for not making the play that allowed Rudi Johnson to score his first touchdown. His lack of speed really hurts the defense. Jarrad Page has the speed to make up for his lack of experience. He also knows where to be on the field. If he keeps it up, he'll see more playing time.

5. RT Jordan Black - My mother told me never to go back for seconds, but the Chiefs just need to take their lumps with Will Svitek. The fact that he didn't even get on the field leads me to believe the coaching staff has no faith in Svitek. Either that or they did the honorable thing in giving Black one last shot at being a starter. I'll take the latter, because I know this organization is high on Svitek. The Bengals had seven sacks, and more than half of them came Black's side. Enough said.

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