Five To Watch: Chiefs vs Raiders II

It's Raiders week and usually that brings Chiefs fans to Arrowhead Stadium in droves. They spill over in their distaste for Al Davis and his band of silver and black pirates.

But this week, with the focus of Chiefs fans centered on the retirement of Priest Holmes and the border war, some have found time to take shots at Herm Edwards. The reality of the situation is that everyone needs to wake up and realize the Chiefs are in transition – there's only so much one man can do.

I like Edwards. He's been easy to talk with, approachable, honest, and is committed to getting this team back to a Super Bowl.

But some people feel the need to create websites dedicated to his dismissal, such as firehermedwards.com. Many people assume Edwards is the problem in Kansas City, but he's exactly the opposite. He's trying to fix problems that bad drafting and poor coaching created before his arrival.

A lesser man might've looked at the division in Kansas City's aging locker room and told Carl Peterson, "thanks, but no thanks." Instead, Edwards took on the challenge of changing everything that's wrong with this football team.

In year one he went to the playoffs. In year two the Chiefs have a chance to win the AFC West.

This is all part of the process, and if this football team is going to make Arrowhead a palace of pain again for opposing teams and learn to consistently win on the road, seasons like this are necessary.

Edwards is in the process of making changes. At the moment he's breaking in a young quarterback for a franchise that hasn't had one in 20 years, and doing it with a lame duck offensive coordinator. The good news is fans won't have to put up with the same thing next year, because this offense will be overhauled in 2008.

To crucify Edwards at this stage of his coaching tenure is insane. It's flat out stupid to be honest with you, because he's paying for the sins of everyone else in the organization right now.

Edwards has done a good job of stabilizing a defense that's playing great football despite the fact it's nowhere close to a finished product. It'll be outstanding next year with another influx of talent through free agency and the draft.

But all everyone wants to talk about is this season. Edwards is expected to make his offense purr like a Ferrari while it lacks its top two running backs and functions with two-fifths of an offensive line, a young quarterback and a rookie wide receiver.

He's not a magician, folks.

He is a motivator, and he has a plan to resurrect this franchise. It generally takes a coach a couple of years to rebuild a roster. Edwards deserves a pass this season, and in my book he's the best man for the job.

Five to Watch

1. QB Brodie Croyle - His home debut should have a better result than his road debut, where he should have won. He'll have to charge ahead despite the fact his offensive coordinator is going to keep the shackles on him the rest of the season. Croyle has to be a gambler and take some chances on his own. He left some big plays on the field against the Colts because he was drilled to look for the short passes. Against the Raiders Sunday, he should have some options deeper down the field.

2. RB Kolby Smith - Smith has talent, good vision and now a little taste of the NFL under his belt. With Larry Johnson recovering from a fractured foot, and Priest Holmes officially retired, the young kid from Louisville has an opportunity to show why he was one of the best running backs in college a year ago. Smith has impressed some already with his ability to adjust to the speed of the game. He struggled in preseason but the Chiefs brought him along slowly and now he's more comfortable. Oakland will knock him around, so it'll be interesting to see how he bounces back from those encounters. When he was drafted I said he'd be a starter someday, but I never thought it would be so soon.

3. WR Jeff Webb - He's the wild card on Sunday. Not only in his kickoff return duties, but also in the passing game. He runs routes well and something tells me the Raiders will sleep on him Sunday. He could find his way to the end zone. Webb is another young guy Herm Edwards is counting on because next year he'll most likely be the third receiver.

4. K Dave Rayner - I thought the Chiefs had finally settled their kicker situation, but they haven't. Rayner is still a work in progress. Part of his kicks are due to issues with JP Darche, but he has to put that out of his mind Sunday. Rayner must stride through the ball. Stop thinking and just kick the darn thing through the uprights.

5. TE Tony Gonzalez - He's complained about the play-calling and the fact he was forced to run short routes against the Colts, but he needs to look at the big picture. This offense is going to be this way the remainder of the season. He needs to do whatever it takes to get into some kind of rhythm with Brodie Croyle. The Chiefs need a leader, so he needs to work with his young quarterback and set an example.

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