Monday Morning QB: Ravens Deliver the Goods

The only way to describe KC's effort against Baltimore yesterday is pathetic. With the Chiefs' season on the line after laying an egg in Cleveland a week ago, the team in red seemingly went away from their strengths and didn't show the heart necessary to win.

This game marked the end of the Chiefs playoff hunt. They're two games down with three to play because they have no tie-breaker advantage over the other teams in the AFC. They have to finish with a better record than everyone else but Denver, and it's doubtful the Chiefs can scratch out nine wins. If 10-6 didn't get it done last year, 9-7 won't get it done this year.

Blown assignments in the secondary, slow-to-react cornerbacks and an inability to hit or sack a slow and old quarterback spelled doom on defense for the Chiefs. The offense was worse. Trent Green threw a pair of interceptions, was sacked five times and fumbled once.

Herm Edwards has to be scratching his head at this loss. The Baltimore Ravens had the top-ranked defense before this game but so did the San Diego Chargers when they strolled into Arrowhead back in October.

You look around the NFL and you see teams with less talent playing with more passion and urgency. The offensive game plan was ill-conceived. The Chiefs showed zero creativity and before the ball was snapped the Ravens clearly knew where the offense was going – that would be nowhere.

Green looked dazed and confused. Even worse is that he didn't act like a leader. When you know that the plays coming in from the coaching box aren't working, you have to adjust. When you call for a run to the right and before the ball is snapped the entire Ravens defensive line shifts to that side, you have to call an audible.

But the amazing part of the offensive performance was the Chiefs interior line of Will Shields, Casey Wiegmann and Brian Waters. They were unable to stop the Baltimore's front four. When the linebackers blitzed the line never chipped, and that put the Chiefs in a precarious position that played right into Baltimore's hands.

With three games left to play, it's time for Edwards to adjust some of the personnel on the field and, at season's end, in the coaching box. This game was eerily similar to each of the Chiefs other five losses. One side of the ball let the other down. The bottom line is that this football team has put together only one complete game this season. That was back in Week 4 against the 49ers at Arrowhead.

It's not a matter of talent at certain positions but there are players who aren't buying into what Edwards has been preaching. For all practical purposes the season is over. With a loss likely ahead of the Chiefs next week in San Diego, the words rebuild, overhaul and exorcise will be a common theme when the offseason starts.

With money to spend this year, the Chiefs need to take a cue from their parking lot neighbors, the Kansas City Royals, and secure some big-time talent on offense and defense. Outside of a handful of guys, any players that resemble the Dick Vermeil group that Edwards inherited need to be released. Management needs to announce to the fans that 2007 is a rebuilding year.

Just two weeks ago the Chiefs stood 7-4 and on top of the wild card hunt. Now they're a team that's reeling. Say what you want, Chiefs fans – we're officially in a transitional period.

If you want more indication that the Chiefs aren't that good, check out the Baltimore's final drive of the game. The Ravens held the ball for over nine minutes, ran 16 plays and scored a touchdown. That's what a real playoff team looks like.

FIVE TO BENCH:
1. QB Trent Green - For the first time since his first game as a Chief in 2001, he looked like he was overmatched on the football field. He's had some bad games in his career but none was worse than the one he played against the Ravens on Sunday at home. Green was under tremendous pressure but he didn't make the passes he needed to make in the fourth quarter, unlike his counterpart Steve McNair. If Green ever wants to be a playoff quarterback again, he can't fail to deliver the goods, especially at home.

2. S Greg Wesley - He wants to be a Pro-Bowl and Hall of Fame Safety but he doesn't have the ability to back it up. His failure to cover his man on Mark Clayton's 87-yard touchdown pass is indicative that he won't reach either goal in his NFL career – at least not in a Chiefs uniform. With Jarrad Page and Bernard Pollard set to take over in the secondary for Wesley and Sammy Knight next season, it's time for the Wesley to move on.

3. CB Ty Law - There isn't a man, woman, child or fan that wanted Ty Law to become a Chief more than I did in the offseason. But he's lost his ability to make plays, at least some of them – the ones that count. When a player like Law loses his footing it means his body isn't able to move as fast as it needs to anymore. Last week's whiff against the Browns was a clear sign that Law doesn't have the right stuff. His inability to play bump-and-run coverage and the lack of aggressiveness by the defensive coaching staff don't equate to a winning formula. Law is only as good as the front seven allow him to be. When they don't get the job done Law and the rest of the secondary are unproductive.

4. DC Gunther Cunningham - This is a repeat from last week. There is NO WAY the Baltimore Ravens should have had that much success on Sunday playing against a defense led by what was supposed to be a great defensive mind. Cunningham's decision to play Kendrell Bell and Greg Wesley cost him dearly this season. Younger players, like the two safeties and Keyaron Fox, need to get on the field so they can be counted on in 2006. For the second straight week, Cunningham didn't do anything creative to get into the offensive backfield. This team can't rush four and expect to play an effective Cover Two/Tampa Two scheme. It's Cunningham's reluctance to change things that puts this defense in bad positions. If he didn't' learn from his mistakes in Cleveland last week you have to question if he's the right man for the job.

5. OC Mike Solari - Another back-to-back victim on my list. The Ravens left the middle of the field open every time they blitzed, and Solari needed to make adjustments. In the Ravens locker room after the game, some of their defensive stars indicated they could predict the snap count. This is a game that Solari needs to study over and over again. This was a game where he didn't play with any aggressiveness and his play-calling never really confused the Ravens. They knew when the Chiefs were going to run to the right, middle and to the left. He didn't really attempt any plays to neutralize the blitz. No screen passes. No shovel passes, trick plays or reverse. It's almost like he gave up.

WarpaintIllustrated.com Top Stories