Cardinals Line Clears Path To Chiefs Victory

"We won yesterday. If we win today, that's two in a row. If we win tomorrow, it's called a winning streak. IT HAS HAPPENED BEFORE." - Cleveland Indians manager Lou Brown, Major League II

I hate to quote a baseball movie in this space, but Lou had a point. The Chiefs are going to need to put together a streak of some sort if they want to make the playoffs this season.

This week is the perfect opportunity to get that pesky "two in a row" part of the equation out of the way. Why?

The Chiefs will meet the Red Sea in Arizona, and I'm not talking about 80,000 fans from Kansas City taking a road trip.

No, I'm talking about what is probably the worst offensive line in the national football league. It resides in Arizona. And it's ready to be parted.

This week, Gunther Cunningham takes the role of Moses.

There's no reason why the Chiefs defensive line shouldn't have its best game of the season. The Cardinals can't get out of their own way on offense, and the line is the culprit.

Arizona can't pass block, and they can't open holes for Edgerrin James, who is averaging a paltry 3.1 yards per carry. The Cardinals offensive line is so bad, I heard they were trying to coax Trezelle Jenkins out of retirement.

And with rookie Matt Leinart starting at quarterback this week, a whole new host of problems has suddenly popped up. The blindside protection now falls at the (slow) feet of Cardinals right tackle Oliver Ross, because Leinart is left-handed.

But you don't have to take my word for it. Just listen to these quotes from former NFL players.

"They're not real fast guys."

- Bill Maas, during the St. Louis Rams 16-14 win over Arizona on Sept. 24.

"These guys are playing like they're on five different planets."

- Tony Siragusa, during Seattle's 21-10 win over Arizona on Sept. 17.

And it gets worse. After a sparkling offseason that brought James to Arizona and tucked the Cardinals in a shiny new stadium, fans were excited. Just one month into the season, that excitement has been pretty much destroyed by a 1-3 start.

I was unable to locate a recording of Arizona's last game against Atlanta this week, and asked a Cardinals fan if he could provide me with a tape. His response?

"Rewatch the Chiefs-Niners game and make believe they scored 10 points."

No excuses. If the Chiefs have playoff aspirations, they should maul Arizona's offense this week. Even Ryan Sims might look like a first-round talent against these Cardinal offensive linemen.

But what about the other side of the ball? Rest assured that it's safe in the hands of veteran quarterback Damon Huard.

You might scoff at my unabashed Huard-backing, but I dug up some interesting numbers this week that might give pause to anyone that still doubts the ten-year veteran.

Consider the following:

Huard has thrown 66 passes this year without an interception. His quarterback rating is a gleaming 106.9

Trent Green has never come close to that level of play through his first 66 passes in any given season while wearing Chiefs red.

His best "66-pass" performance came in 2002. Green tossed three touchdowns against four interceptions and posted a very average rating of 74.5.

That rating dipped as low as 53.91 in 2004, when Green completed just half of his passes in the first two games.

Am I saying Huard is a better quarterback than Green? Far from it. But you can't ignore these numbers. Statistically, Green has never started a season as well as Huard has started this one. That's got to count for something.

So rest easy, Chiefs fans. This one's in the bag. It will take more than Matt Leinart's fabulous California arm to beat the Chiefs this week.

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