Five to Watch: Chiefs vs Jets

Sunday marks the official end of the 2007 season for the Kansas City Chiefs. Herm Edwards, who just two years ago was coaching his last game in New York, has come full circle.

On the other side, the Jets limp into Sunday's contest with a worse record, a head coach in limbo and a huge TV market that has gravitated toward the other team in town, the Giants.

Outside of their enormous fan bases, neither of these two franchises has come close to regaining the form they flashed in 1968 and 1969, winning back to back Super Bowls.

Edwards, however, can't worry about the past today. He has to lead his team to a win after losing eight games in a row. It won't be easy for the Chiefs, who have been abominable in the Meadowlands, regardless if they've faced the Giants or Jets since the 70s.

This has been a disappointing season for the Chiefs. Any way you look at it this team was caught in a trap heading into Week 1. They did not properly evaluate the talent or the competence of the coaching staff before assembling their 2007 offseason plan.

The approach has to be revamped going into 2008. At the center of the issue is just how well Edwards and Carl Peterson are getting along. Ask four different people in the organization and you might get four different answers.

But ultimately, it's pointless to lay blame at the feet of anyone for the problems of 2007. All that matters is getting better and fixing those problems. The important decisions may already have been made by team owner Clark Hunt, who has yet to inform the fan base as to what he'll do this offseason to fix the mess.

Five to Watch:

1. QB Brodie Croyle - This is a big game for KC's second year quarterback. He's been taking a beating in the local media over his durability after missing a couple of games this year – one due to a knee in his kidney and a fractured rib, and the other over a jammed wrist. I can pretty much guarantee the second injury he suffered won't likely be repeated anytime soon. He doesn't have to win Sunday's game on his own, but needs to make some plays and keep his team in the game into the fourth quarter.

2. RB Kolby Smith - It appears that the Chiefs have big plans for Smith in 2008. With persistent whispers about Larry Johnson and the possibility he might be traded, Smith seems to be the real deal. It's not only the way he runs, but more importantly the way he carries himself in KC's locker room. He's quickly earned the respect of his teammates and has a quiet swagger that indicates a man who is about do some great things.

3. DT Turk McBride - Sunday is huge for KC's second-round pick, who started his first NFL game last weekend in Detroit and played pretty well. He and third-round pick Tank Tyler need monster offseasons if they're going to be a force inside for this football team next year. The Chiefs will have a high draft pick and one name to keep an eye on is USC defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis, who is a beast. This team has other glaring needs, however, so if McBride and Tyler show the coaching staff they can afford to pass on Ellis, Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long could be a possibility.

4. WR Jeff Webb - For some mysterious reason he's been demoted from his kick return duties and been replaced by Eddie Drummond. I don't understand the move, but for some reason the coaching staff is not all that thrilled with Webb. He's a key piece to the team next season but it has to be on offense, not special teams. The Chiefs appear to have already cut ties with veteran receiver Eddie Kennison, and won't bring back Samie Parker. That means Webb has to step up as a number three or four wide receiver next year. He's also going to have to beat out Bobby Sippio, who will get every shot to make the team in 2008. Webb needs to commit to the new offense and show something early in the offseason.

5. OC Mike Solari - This will be his last game as KC's offensive coordinator. Solari has a great football mind, and had some outstanding tutors along the way, but his reluctance to change the offense from how it was run under Al Saunders will ultimately cost him his job. The number one job of any coordinator is to design a game plan that fits the personnel on the team. It's the players who execute that make the system work - it's not the system that makes the players execute. That has been my main problem with the way he calls games and evaluates the opposition each week. Dumping Solari is the easiest decision Edwards has to make because it's already been made for him via the results on the field.

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