It's tough to lose a friend like Dave Rayner. I was his roommate at the Indianapolis combine, so I've known him since early in 2005. We've kept in touch since then and once he got on at Kansas City he was kind of a positive friend to me. He's a good Christian guy and it hurts to see him go, especially like this.
There were just a number of factors why he struggled. I think he couldn't figure out what was going on with his swing. Sometimes kickers get into ruts - obviously Tiger Woods lost his swing, and was determined to knock it down. This is a similar thing. He has a strong enough leg to be able to come back and kick in this league, there's no doubt about that. He was number one in kickoffs in the league, so he's just got to figure that out and see what other teams will give him a chance.
But now I have to get ready to work with John Carney. The first time I met him was in 2006 when he was with the Saints, I just kind of introduced myself and said it was fun watching his career, I know you've played for a number of different teams, and just congratulations on this longevity. The cool thing about Carney is he actually called set and stuff for field goals. You feel like you're the leader of it as a holder, calling set and making sure everybody's set on the line, but he actually takes complete control of that play. He's really a leader and from everything that I'm hearing he's a good guy to have in your locker room.
I remember when I was growing up as a kid, when you lose a game you want to cry. You don't want to go home, you want to play them again right now, so I think that's what everybody was feeling after that game.
Raiders at home? Come on, we've got wake up. This is a bad dream.
Going back to Herm's call, we had a similar call in 2005 at home against the Raiders ironically, when we had fourth and goal and Larry jumped over the defense and scored a touchdown. Dick Vermeil and the coaching staff were the heroes, in this situation it didn't work out like that. The Oakland defense stopped us. When I go back and look at that play though, there were two right calls. If we go for that fourth and one and get it, we're in field goal range and we control the clock. With the way Kolby Smith's running, we could have taken control after that fourth and one and scored some points and they'd be playing catch up.
I really look at it as a play where there were two right answers. You go for it and you get it, or you kick it and get the points, so either way it was just something that we kind of missed out on and lost the game.
Somehow we've got to stop the bleeding and it starts in the meeting rooms. It seems like there's always a play here that defines how we lose these games. We've got to put the nail in the coffin it seems like. We always go into halftime with the lead. This is from a meeting today, I'm not speaking out of turn as I know my job is just to punt and hold, but the coaches were emphasizing that we've got to finish games. When we have them, we've got to finish, and what's been going on these last couple games is big momentum plays not in our favor. It happened in the Chicago game with the punt return and a bad punt, and it they ended up getting 10 points off of that.
We've got to stop the bleeding and the mistakes because Herm tells us it's going to come down to the fourth quarter, we're going to have a chance to win, and we've got to make sure we don't make any mistakes. Every one of these past four games that was very true, so he's starting this winning tradition. He's got all his pieces starting to align, we've just got to stop making mistakes at critical times.
We were in a similar situation last year at the end of the season, and the thing about Herm is he is very much a student of the game. He's been in every situation that you can possibly think of, and he always can put guys in a situation that will make them the most successful. It just comes down to us really doing that job and carrying out the tasks that he puts us in.
Last year we didn't think we had a prayer of getting into the playoffs. Herm said, "listen, we can still make the playoffs, we've just got to do certain things. You just need to listen to me and listen to coach Curl." Sure enough we came around and ended up making the playoffs.
Obviously this year is a little different, we've had a major injury to our starting running back in Larry Johnson, we've got Will Shields retired, but the biggest thing is we've not capitalized on opportunities that we really need to. It just seems like we've had some bad luck.
But Herm, through the whole thing, he's always right. I still can't figure it out, because in the course of these games it's not like we're getting blown out, it's not like Pittsburgh last year. We've had legitimate chances to win games against the 10-1 Packers, we've had an opportunity to win but we're just not carrying out our assignments.
Thanks for checking out this week's blog. Hopefully we can bring home a win to the fans of Kansas City on Sunday against the Chargers.
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