Inside Slant: Chiefs Will Have to Stop Brooks

The frustration is boiling in Kansas City. The Chiefs have lost three in a row, which is bad enough. But the biggest source of concern has been the once-prolific Chiefs offense, which has produced 19 combined points in the last two games.

"That's not good," Chiefs coach Herm Edwards said. "I just think we're pressing a little bit. We've hit a little lull here offensively."

The problem is actually determining the cause of the problem. In the Ravens and the Chargers, Kansas City has faced two of the NFL's best defenses, but that never used to matter.

"It's been frustrating for us and we've played two pretty good defenses the last couple of weeks," quarterback Trent Green said, "but this offense has set a standard over the past few years that it doesn't really matter what defense we're playing."

Running back Larry Johnson started the stir when he said Sunday that the offense had become predictable. Though some of his teammates and Edwards said Johnson's remarks were the result of post-game frustration, it's a fact the Chiefs have dramatically slashed their playbook from years past.

Edwards didn't blame the game planning.

"I just think we're pressing a little bit," Edwards said. "When you play good defenses you feel like you've got to make a play. At times we've tried to do that. We haven't had a lot of explosion plays on offense when you watch us play, in my estimation. I think we've got 10 pass plays of 30 yards or more. That's not a lot of big plays. It's hard in this league to constantly go on 10 to 12 plays drives and score touchdowns."

SERIES HISTORY: 96th meeting. Kansas City leads the series 50-43-2 and has won the last seven matchups. The Chiefs won the last meeting in Arrowhead Stadium this season, with rookie Jarrad Page intercepting a pass in the end zone to secure a win.

NOTES, QUOTES


--Chiefs guard Will Shields, who earlier this week was selected to his 12th straight Pro Bowl, is the subject of concern as the season winds down.

Shields has considered retirement in the past and is concluding his 14th NFL season. Two years ago, former tackle Willie Roaf talked Shields into returning and last off-season, Shields tried and failed to talk Roaf into a return.

"I'm gonna always be begging for him to come back," guard Brian Waters said. "He's still one of the best in the game."

--Kansas City sent four players to the Pro Bowl this season, all of them repeat selection from the Chiefs' offense.

Asked if the Chiefs' defense had any deserving players, coach Herm Edwards answered shortly.

Jared Allen?

"Nobody on defense," he said.

Anybody?

"Nobody on defense."

BY THE NUMBERS:
7 -- Both the number of consecutive Chiefs wins over the Raiders and the maximum score differential in any of those games.

QUOTE TO NOTE:
"There's nothing like the great bird variety when everybody's showing you the bird." -- G Brian Waters, on the greeting the Chiefs receive when they take the field in Oakland.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL


Tackle Chris Terry could start at right tackle Saturday if John Welbourn cannot recover from an injured ankle. Kyle Turley is out with a shoulder ailment and the Chiefs have Welbourn listed as probable. The Chiefs signed Terry as a free agent on Oct. 25.

PLAYER NOTES


--WR Dante Hall did not practice Wednesday, sitting out with flu-like symptoms. He is expected to play Saturday.

--RB Michael Bennett is questionable with an ankle injury he sustained in last week's game. He did not practice Wednesday. If he cannot play, Dee Brown will replace him as Larry Johnson's backup.

--T Kyle Turley is out with a shoulder injury. Turley, who is playing at about 265 pounds, has battled injuries all season and has played just seven games.

--DE Jimmy Wilkerson, who rotates at tackle and end, will miss Saturday's game with a hamstring pull that has lingered for three weeks.

GAME PLAN:
The Chiefs have to find some way to get into the end zone and, though it's clear Trent Green has not played well recently as the Chiefs have struggled to protect him, it also seems the Kansas City offense has grown predictable. To score on a good Raiders defense, the Chiefs will have to mix it up, which had always been their strength in past seasons.

Defensively, the Chiefs should have little problem with the poor Raiders offense. Much like they did in the last meeting, Kansas City should play solidly and wait for Oakland to mess up.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
Raiders QBs Aaron Brooks/Andrew Walter vs. Chiefs secondary -- This could be a futility contest, as both sides of the matchup have under-performed this season. Nonetheless, the Raiders will probably have to throw extensively against the Chiefs, who normally defend the run well.

Chiefs offensive line vs. Raiders defensive line -- Kansas City could be down to its third right tackle if John Welbourn can't play Saturday and the Chiefs have struggled to protect Green in recent weeks. Without time to throw, Green has been highly ineffective.

INJURY IMPACT:
Tackle John Welbourn will probably play Saturday, but if he doesn't, the Chiefs will have a major question mark at right tackle in Chris Terry, where they've started four different players this season. Fortunately for the Chiefs, Trent Green is right handed, so his backside protection is not at stake. Terry is a veteran, but has played only 13 games in the last three seasons.

WarpaintIllustrated.com Top Stories