Monday Morning Quarterback: Ouch

If you would have told me before Saturday the Chiefs would intercept Peyton Manning three times and still lose, I would have responded that you were crazy. This game was lost because Mike Solari was far too predictable. He played right into the hands of Indy's defense.

The result was a 23-8 loss that won't likely sit well with the coaches and players. The organization should not forget this if they want to make another playoff run next season.

We're going to hear a lot about next season in the seven months before the Chiefs set sail for River Falls to prepare for the 2007 season. On Saturday they showed they have a ways to go to be a legitimate playoff team and one that contends for an AFC West crown.

The offense let the entire organization down. The Chiefs dropped several passes just as they did in the last playoff loss to the Colts. The usually sure-handed Eddie Kennison dropped two, Tony Gonzalez dropped one and Dante Hall another. It's a sad testament to your offensive philosophy when the game is midway through the third quarter and you haven't picked up a single first down. That's not on the players. It's on the coaches for being far too predictable. There is no excuse for being this unprepared in a playoff game. The team didn't play well on offense, but there were no adjustments made.

There were several players who gave it their all on Saturday, but others who secured their ticket out of town. The middle of the Chiefs defense was a leaky valve that burst into a flood because safety Greg Wesley and middle linebacker Kawika Mitchell were too slow to the ball. They just don't have the speed to play in a Cover Two. Both are big question marks to be in a Chiefs uniform next year.

But I can't harp too much on the defense because the primary culprit was the offense. It's sad to think that the loss of left tackle Willie Roaf would mean so much to this football team. Without Roaf this offense sputtered under Trent Green. There is little question the Chiefs better rethink their decision to pay him $7.5 million next year. He's nowhere near the same quarterback he was before his injury and he'll be 37 next season. It might be time to rebuild the offense from scratch.

Head coach Herm Edwards has to be beside himself this morning. He did an outstanding job of resurrecting the defense, but he did so to the detriment of his offense. That might be a bit harsh, but he trusted his offensive staff, and I think he needs to make some changes in both coaching and personnel over the next three months.

The fact he didn't pull Green from the game leads me to believe that he left him in so he could finish out his career as the Chiefs starter. If he comes back next year it'll have to be with a restructured contract. He'll have to earn every snap the team gives him in the exhibition games.

At the moment, It'll be tough to convince anyone that Green can get the job done next year based solely on the way he played down the stretch after his hiatus. But at least he showed some fight in cutting the deficit to eight points at the beginning of the fourth quarter. I was even more perplexed that in the third and fourth quarter the Chiefs and Green didn't go to a no-huddle offense. He has to take control. Clearly, either the coaches don't trust him anymore or he's not capable of running the offense any longer.

This game was a microcosm of KC's overachieving or underachieving season. I really can't lay claim to ether theory at this point in time.

You could say the Chiefs were opportunistic to get in the playoffs, and I thought they were as prepared as I've ever seen them this past week. But something happened along the way, because I can say with certainty that the two teams that played on Saturday aren't as far apart as some would think.

The Chiefs simply didn't make plays and seize the opportunities the Colts gave them via turnovers.

On the other hand the entire team wasn't on the same page at times, on both sides of the ball, especially the offense. Late in the game the defense was just too tired to make any plays. The Chiefs lack of speed finally caught up to them. But they should not have been in that position because of the offense.

So as I sum up Saturday's playoff loss to the Colts, I'll say that Edwards took this team about as far as he could with the talent he had. He knew going into the job that this team was old at numerous key positions. If it had been up to him he would have blown up more of the roster than he did. But you have to have enough players to fill out your roster, and so some of the players had to stay despite the fact they may not have been his cup of tea.

Now might be a good time to brew up a new batch.

Five to Bench:
1. KR Dante Hall - Thanks for the memories. Three years ago you had this city in the palm of your hands, but when you're afraid to take hits on the football field you don't belong on the field. He's lost his return skills and he's virtually useless in the passing game. What more can we say about the former ‘Human Joystick,' once the most feared return man in the game.

2. OT John Welbourn - He lost a considerable amount of his skills after his return from his six game suspension. I thought by the end of last season he was as solid as they came on this offensive line but he really has no future on this team. The Chiefs will likely give Chris Terry a shot at the right tackle spot next year. That change should be one of four Kansas City makes in 2007 along the offensive line. Only Brian Waters get a pass for next season.

3. OC Mike Solari - Sorry, but I just don't see it. I really believe the Chiefs should promote quarterbacks coach Terry Shea to offensive coordinator. He's up to the job. He received a bum rap in Chicago, where he was cut loose after only one season.

4. OG Will Shields - Strike me dead for saying it, but I really think it's time for him hang up the cleats. He was beaten several times today by nose tackle Anthony McFarland, who had been a complete bust for the Colts since coming over in a trade from Tampa Bay. Shields should ride off into the sunset and call it a career after the Pro Bowl in February. At this point I'd put either second-year man Tre Stallings in or convert Jordan Black to guard.

5. CB Lenny Walls - The Chiefs should not bring back Walls for another season. He just doesn't have the cover skills to be as aggressive as he needs to be in this defense. His closing speed is suspect, and if you can't play bump-and-run coverage then you will fail at the corner position in this defense. He's tall, but can't play 10 yards off a receiver and react fast enough to narrow the distance. The Chiefs need to sign another top-notch corner or draft one who can play outside when Patrick Surtain covers the slot.

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