Nuge's Nuggets

The winds of change are blowing around Arrowhead stadium.

Of course, with an 0-2 start, those winds have now become a tornado, complete with reports of Marty Schottenheimer flying on a broomstick somewhere over Kansas. Everything you once knew about your Kansas City Chiefs is no more. Last season, the Chiefs offense was the toast of the NFL. Quarterback Trent Green was flinging the ball downfield to tight end Tony Gonzalez and wide receiver Eddie Kennison. Running backs Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson tore through defenses like they were frolicking through a field of daisies.

And the defense? It was terrible. Five consecutive seasons ranked near the bottom of the NFL killed the Chiefs chances for playoff glory. In fact, the Chiefs got to playoffs only once, and in the first game, the only game…well, you know the story. Under head coach Dick Vermeil, defense was not a priority, and it showed on the football field.

Times have changed.

Here's the short version. New head coach Herm Edwards comes in with a philosophy that features a strong defense and conservative offensive gameplans. The Chiefs sign All-Pro cornerback Ty Law. Hall of Fame left tackle Willie Roaf retires. The Chiefs went from Super Bowl aspirations (which were probably not realistic), and dreams of 2,000-yard seasons to an 0-2 defensive team. They're a team in transition, and at this point, making the playoffs would be a victory.

Funny how things work out. For years, Chiefs fans and media clamored for a better defense. They got it. It's still early, but all indications are that they are much better than the units we've been seeing in recent years. The offense has declined, but we all knew it was coming.

This is still a good offense, it just has some issues. It's still recovering from the retirement of Willie Roaf, the learning curve of a new offensive coordinator and getting accustomed to a new offensive philosophy. And that was before Trent Green got hurt.

Coming off the bye, the Chiefs still have a shot. They've got a couple of winnable games, starting with San Francisco in Arrowhead. I wouldn't say they're a playoff team yet, but at mid-season, who knows? As long as they can stay competitive and in the hunt, maybe they can sneak in at the end of the season.

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The problem with the offense is two fold. They're moving the football, they're just not getting any big plays and they're not scoring points. Say what you want about the conservative game plans, the Chiefs have been moving the football. When you play a game as close to the vest as the Chiefs have, you have to get the ball in the endzone when you get opportunities.

So far in the red zone this season, the Chiefs have scored a single garbage-time touchdown, turned the ball over once, and settled for two field goals. That's not going to cut it. I know head coach Herm Edwards has acknowledged that, but this week, the Chiefs need to focus on getting into the red zone and getting touchdowns. The Chiefs have three weapons close to the goal line: Larry Johnson, Tony Gonzalez and the uncertainty of which guy to key on. There's no reason why the Chiefs shouldn't be able to score touchdowns when they get close.

As far as big plays, what happened to the play action? What happened to the screen game? Teams are itching to get in the backfield against the Chiefs. Why not use that aggressiveness against them? Teams are definitely playing the run, so a few play-action passes are just what the doctor ordered. Samie Parker is a former sprinter. Eddie Kennison still has his speed. Why not loft one out there and let a guy get under it? No one can seem to answer that one yet.

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