Eavesdropping On The Enemy: Chiefs-Broncos I

Each week this season I go undercover and spy on the opposing fans of each Chiefs opponent. I believe the fans of the individual teams are the true experts on the strengths and weaknesses of their team. Each week I'll attempt to find out how they view the upcoming game, how their offense will fair against the Chiefs defense and how their defense will fair against the Chiefs offense.

This week the Chiefs take their annual road trip to Denver to challenge the Denver Broncos. In recent history, that road trip has been a source of disappointment, pain, frustration, and even embarrassment for the Chiefs and their fans. Ordinarily I would spy on at least two different boards from the opponent to get a complete analysis of the upcoming game. However, this week I was so impressed with the detailed analysis of one fan on one board that I decided to focus this report on that analysis. The analysis comes from Mediator12 on The Orangemane board at http://www.orangemane.com/BB/forumdisplay.php?f=6. The fans on this board completely agree with his assessment.

Broncos Offense vs. Chiefs Defense

"The Chiefs are going to bring pressure all day versus Plummer unless they actually implement some decent Max Protection schemes. The guys who could have a good day would be Scheffler and Alexander on Kendrell Bell. The RB's are going to have to do Better in Pass Pro this week to allow Smith and Walker time to get off Press coverage. The Broncos do NOT press coverage with their defense at all and the WR's looked like they had never faced it last week versus STL. I hope they got smacked around a lot in practice this week getting prepared to see it this week. OL is also going to have to do a lot better in blitz recognition." Mediator12 – The Orangemane

"Look for the Broncos OL to assert themselves on stretch plays early and get some Confidence. Also, look for the reverse and fake reverse packages to keep the Chiefs defensive containment honest. Also, the reverse pass option play has been used against the Chiefs in the recent past. I would definitely expect Shanahan to initiate some trick plays early to get the offense a spark and get KC's defense off balance. Then, pound the rock until the holes get bigger." Mediator12 – The Orangemane

"Potential Game Plan for the Offense: Start out with Two TE, two RB sets. Split Scheffler out as a WR and Johnson as a Slot receiver. Check one of them or both into Power strong, weak, or traditional I formations and pound the Ball on stretch plays and inside zone. This allows Plummer to get better Pre-snap reads and allows the OL to set up their Zone blocking better. PA pass or max Protect for Scheffler and WR with RB's having read routes. Throw in a few Screens, especially to the TE's. Wash, rinse, repeat." Mediator12 – The Orangemane

The Spy's analysis

MISDIRECTION!!!! This is the key word for the Chiefs defense and Chiefs fans. In the past few years against the Broncos the Chiefs have failed to adequately defense the misdirection utilized by the Broncos. Stretch runs, bootlegs and reverses have been the foundation of the Broncos attack on the Chiefs and it has yet to fail. The Chiefs must prove they can dismantle that foundation if they hope to secure a victory in Denver. In fact, if history serves as an indicator we can expect to see a bootleg or a reverse within the first three plays. The key players in defending those misdirection plays will be the Chiefs young defensive ends, Jared Allen and Tamba Hali, as well as the outside linebackers, Kendrell Bell and Derrick Johnson.

If the Chiefs can finally handle the misdirection they must also show they can stop the run. The Broncos are perhaps the best rushing team in the league over the past few years. They are very consistent year in and year out. Running back Tatum Bell will get the start this week and is a homerun threat every time he touches the ball. The Chiefs must contain him and tackle well.

Finally, wide receiver Rod Smith has been a Chiefs killer. He has put up several big games against the Chiefs and the Chiefs must find a way to neutralize him. The Broncos also added playmaker Javon Walker this offseason providing them with a very strong receiving corp. The Chiefs countered by adding pro bowl cornerback Ty Law to the defense and a new cover two base scheme to help stop big plays in the passing game.

Broncos Defense vs. Chiefs Offense

"DEN should try to pressure KC's OL in the run and in the passing game and Make Huard make perfect throws deep downfield to average WR's. Expect Gonzalez to draw a lot of Double Coverage in conventional sets and the Broncos to continue to play the Screens to Johnson tight. The DL does an outstanding job of covering the screens passes as Denver got burned on one last week where the Ram's called a screen into a CB blitz. Do not expect the broncos to need to CB blitz in this game though." Mediator12 – The Orangemane

"I really expect the Defense to be aggressive against this OL, especially on first downs. I expect the DL to Stunt more from the DT position in order to not allow clean blocks for trap plays. I also expect Lynch and Ferguson to play in the box early and often. Expect Sam Brandon to also get a bunch of snaps in the Big Nickel on Gonzo. Heck, after DJ's lack of performance last week will he do any worse in stopping the run?" Mediator12 – The Orangemane

"Potential Game plan for the Defense: I would bring the Blitz packages the broncos unveiled in TC early versus KC, getting a safety into the gaps between guard and tackle and a LB off the Edge of the Weak Side Tackle. Then, blitzing one or the other and another LB up the middle to occupy the Strength of the OL and allow free shots at RB's or QB's for Wilson and Lynch. Play some cover one shell's out of this set with Gonzalez getting doubled by the extra safety." Mediator12 – The Orangemane

The Spy's Analysis

I agree with Mediator12 in that I expect Denver to attack the Chiefs offensive line with run blitzes and pass blitzes. With quarterback Trent Green missing his first start in 5 years it makes sense for the Broncos to crowd the line of scrimmage to stop Larry Johnson and to go after quarterback Damon Huard. Huard did not handle pressure very well last week against the Cincinnati Bengals fumbling twice when forced to move in the pocket.

The return of offensive tackle Kevin Sampson to the starting lineup could be huge to the Chiefs offensive line. Certainly he is an improvement over Jordan Black in the running game. If he can solidify the right side of the line the Chiefs can use the best blocking tightend in the league, Jason Dunn, to support Kyle Turley on the left side of the line. The two tight end set may need to be the base personnel grouping for the Chiefs in order to improve the run blocking and the pass protection.

During the offseason I was a huge proponent of the Chiefs going after wide receiver Terrell Owens. In hindsight his bicycle training camp was probably more of a distraction than I would have wanted to see. However, my reasoning for wanting the acquisition will be magnified now. The Broncos and future opponents will crowd the line of scrimmage attempting to stop Larry Johnson and will focus their pass coverage on tight end Tony Gonzalez. The Chiefs wide receivers, Eddie Kennison and Samie Parker, must be able to beat man on man coverage if the offense is to consistently move the ball. Kennison and Parker failed to do make the Bengals defense pay last week. If the Chiefs are going to win this Sunday, they must produce to help the running game produce.

The Spy's Summary

During training camp this year in River Falls the campus lost power as the Chiefs returned from their scrimmage with Minnesota Vikings in Mankato, Minnesota. Chiefs Head Coach Herm Edwards spoke of loving having the inconvenience and adversity because the team would have to deal with adversity during the season. The ability to handle adversity would dictate their success this season. Well coach, adversity is here. The Chiefs were very disappointing in the season opener and lost their quarterback and leader to a controversial, concussion causing hit.

Beyond the x's and o's this weeks performance by the Chiefs is about heart, grit and fortitude. The Chiefs need to bounce back with physical and mental toughness as they face a division rival. The offensive line must man up and win the battle up front. The defensive line must create pressure and be effective in the run game. Larry Johnson must run tough and the receivers must make plays. This will be a tough game, in a tough environment against a very tough team. It will take a tough team competing on blood and guts to pull off the victory.

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