Chiefs Report

Nearly a week has gone by since the Chiefs' playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts, and everybody has had time to separate themselves from the knee-jerk emotional reactions that blamed coach Herm Edwards and his straight-forward, conservative game plan for the loss.

After much scrutiny, it turns out that, yeah, it was the fault of Herm Edwards and his straight-forward, conservative game plan.

The basic premise of the plan was sound: run the ball against perhaps the worst run defense ever to compete in a playoff game. But the Chiefs' plan violated an age-old scientific law that says seven guys cannot block nine guys.

Of course, two guys cannot cover three guys, either. But the Chiefs slept through that portion of Football Mathematics 101. They didn't take a downfield shot in the first half, rarely used play-action passes and generally just slammed Larry Johnson into further deterioration after a 416-carry season.

"We played into their hands," Edwards said after the game.

Pretty much.

The embarrassing offensive showing in Indianapolis has Edwards indicating changes on that side of the ball are imminent, perhaps even at quarterback where, until this season, Trent Green had the position as firmly in his grasp as any quarterback in the league this side of Peyton Manning.

But Green struggled all season. The Week 1 concussion may have thrown him off, but even after he returned reporting no lingering effects, he was, frankly, a bad quarterback, tossing 11 picks in nine games (including the playoffs). He turned it over three times in the playoff game.

The Chiefs now have to decide whether to resign free agent Damon Huard, who had a much better season than Green, whether to bring Green back as the starter or whether to blow the whole thing up and turn it over to rookie Brodie Croyle. If guard Will Shields retires and tight end Tony Gonzalez signs elsewhere, the Chiefs have no choice.

Defensively, the Chiefs proved in the season's tail end that they haven't arrived yet. They finished the regular season ranked No. 16, an improvement for sure, but a work in progress. The good news for Kansas City is that the defense is young everywhere except at cornerback.


--Larry Johnson's 32 yards on 13 carries was the focal point of the coverage of the Chiefs playoff loss in Indianapolis. Though those numbers are rare for a guy who has run for 3,500 yards in two seasons, they aren't as rare as one might think.

That wasn't even Johnson's worst game of the season. That distinction was the 26 yards on 15 carries he put up in Pittsburgh. He also had a 16-carry, 36-yard day in Arizona.

"I knew it was going to happen," Johnson said. "I don't care who you are, when you've got somebody on TV telling you this is gonna happen to you, you gotta have enough pride in you."

--Kansas City's 2006 draft class, roundly ripped at the time, ended up being a productive one for Edwards.

Rookie DE Tamba Hali led the Chiefs with eight sacks. Seventh-round pick S Jarrad Page intercepted four passes and second-round S Bernard Pollard got his hands on three punts and scored a touchdown.

"We're just hungry little guys," Hali said. "We want to play."


"That's Tony. Tony can get away with that. If I do it, people think I'm being a jerk."

-- RB Larry Johnson on Tony Gonzalez criticizing the play-calling in the Chiefs' loss to the Colts.


Kansas City's priorities are mostly on defense, despite the playoff game. Edwards would love a disruptive defensive tackle the Chiefs haven't had since Keith Traylor in the mid-90s. Outside linebacker and cornerback could also figure into the Chiefs' draft plans.

Offensively, tackle and wide receiver are the two biggest concerns, though if Shields retires, the Chiefs will need a right guard as well.

It's hard to say which position is a bigger problem for the Chiefs.

Starting wide receivers Eddie Kennison and Samie Parker were both shut out of the playoff game and Dante Hall is virtually useless on offense. But at tackle, the Chiefs have Jordan Black on the left, where he's been consistently mediocre and John Welbourn on the right, where he has been more bad than good this season.

The Chiefs' coaching staff should remain relatively stable. Edwards voiced his approval of the jobs offensive coordinator Mike Solari and defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham did this season. Furthermore, neither is an attractive head coaching candidate. Both should return next season.

The biggest name, perhaps in the entire NFL free agent market, is Tony Gonzalez, who has become frustrated with the Chiefs' mediocrity and with his role in the offense. Gonzalez wants a big contract and has publicly complained about being paid less than 49ers rookie TE Vernon Davis. Gonzalez and the Chiefs have been negotiating since last offseason and have not made much progress. He is a strong candidate for the franchise tag.

QB Damon Huard is also a free agent this offseason and is a virtual lock to sign elsewhere, unless Green retires (unlikely) or the Chiefs tell him he's the new starter (also unlikely). DE Jared Allen is set to become a restricted free agent as well. At 24 years old with 27.5 sacks in three seasons, Allen could receive a substantial offer.

The Chiefs will draft in the early 20s, and will probably be looking for a defensive tackle with that pick. Wide receiver and offensive tackle are also needs and if an extra talented player at one of those positions falls to them, they could jump on him. Later in the draft, tight end and/or fullback could also be a good choice for the Chiefs.


Defensive tackle:
The Chiefs got no push up the middle, which was easily their weakness on defense.

The Chiefs pass protection was inconsistent all year, especially against quick outside rushers.

Wide receiver:
A play-maker to take focus off Larry Johnson is a priority.

RB Priest Holmes spent the whole year on PUP and Injured Reserve and could retire, although keeping him on for another year will ease the Chiefs' cap hit.

--TE Jason Dunn will get surgery on his back this offseason, but should recover fully.

--S William Bartee also spent the entire season on PUP and Injured Reserve. He might return, but the Chiefs will cut him if he does.

--FB Ronnie Cruz is spending the offseason rehabbing from a torn ACL, but is expected to return and compete for the starting fullback spot.

--T Kyle Turley ended his season on IR with a shoulder injury and might be done for his career. He played in just six games this season and was severely underweight and banged up when he did.

--T Will Svitek hit IR early in the season and should compete for a starting spot at right tackle next season.

--T Kevin Sampson is another right tackle who went down early in the season. He'll return next year as the favorite to start at right tackle, the spot he vacated went he got hurt this season.

--LB Rich Scanlon, a seldom-used outside linebacker, should return to Chiefs camp next season after finishing the year on IR, but he'll have no guarantee of making the team. Top Stories