Time For Some Guts

It never ceases to amaze me how ready some Chiefs fans are to give up on the team so early in the season. Sure, Kansas City hasn't made the playoffs that often in recent years, but I'm not one to concede to the doom and gloom a number of enthusiasts predict.

Last season, the Chiefs started out 2-2, and based on things I heard, I would have thought it was a five-game season and the team had no shot. Although Kansas City did not make the playoffs, they were within reach and it came down to the last game of the season. At 3-3, the battle is an uphill one, but there's still a lot of football left.

After the team's performance in Pittsburgh, it is difficult to hold onto the hope that Herm will turn the team around in one year and lead the Chiefs to the playoffs. The Steelers exposed problems many fans had reason to believe were corrected, such as the defense. Granted, the offense did not do much to keep them off the field; a blowout happens when your defense never rests and is exhausted. Pittsburgh looked like the Super Bowl champs they are, not like their 1-3 record indicated at the time. I just hate the fact that the Chiefs bore the brunt of their coming out party.

The remainder of this year's road schedule will be tough, ‘road' being the key word there. Yes, the team showed guts and pulled one out in Arizona, but the road will get tougher than the Cardinals. The Chiefs still have to face St. Louis and San Diego on the road, as well as play host to Seattle, Denver and Baltimore – that's enough to make my stomach turn.

All one needs to do to see that the Chiefs have a daunting task on their hands is to take a look at their division. Denver has a one-game lead after the Chiefs defeated San Diego on Sunday. This was a huge victory for the Chiefs, who could have fallen three games behind the division leaders if they had lost. The good news (or bad news, depending on your perception) is that the Chiefs will face each team one more time this season. Victories against division rivals are the fastest and surest way to climb the ladder.

The AFC West has arguably been one of the toughest divisions in the NFL. Some may dispute that, given Oakland's record this year, but the Raiders can always pull out a good game, especially at the Coliseum against a bitter rival. Getting out of the division will be a dogfight this year, but there is one positive thing – the Chiefs are not at the bottom. I think Oakland has secured that spot.

One of the many things the Chiefs need to improve on for the rest of the season is the offense. I realize that Mike Solari and Al Saunders have different styles, but some of the recent play calling is doing nothing to better KC's chances of winning games. The running game is struggling, and Damon Huard is not being given the freedom to air it out. And I'm not too sure that Trent Green's return, whenever that may be, will drastically improve the situation. Huard has done all you can ask for from a backup. He has one of the highest quarterback ratings in the league and did not throw an interception until the Steelers game. If the running game is obsolete and the quarterback isn't "allowed" to take to the air, how are the Chiefs supposed to win?

Yes, the running game looked good against San Diego's top-ranked defense on Sunday, but the offensive line is not playing at the level required to establish the run in future games.

At times, conservative play calling can save a game – I'll give Herm that one. What I don't agree with is the idea of keeping every game close and going for the win at the end, or being ultra conservative at the end of the first half, as Edwards did on Sunday against the Chargers.

If the offense can't get going, that conservative method will backfire. I am fine with playing it safe if it puts a "W" on the board, but when things aren't working, I would like to see some gutsy play calling. If nothing's going right, what do you have to lose?

Although Kansas City faces an uphill battle to get into the playoffs, I still have a hard time throwing in the towel just yet. The Chiefs have shown mental toughness at times this year, and it will take the strongest of wills to pull it out, but I have faith in the team.

I believe that the team can string together some victories and tip the scales back to the win column – all it takes is heart and a belief in the team…and some gutsy play calling along the way wouldn't hurt either.

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