Chiefs' problems exposed in Miami

I'm not a big fan of preseason games. First, they are generally boring, and depending on which side of the fence you sit on, you take away one of two things.

When a team like the Chiefs loses two of these games in a row it makes you wonder if they are really that bad or simply had an off night. What scares me is that the last two weeks have reminded me of the nine that ended KC's 2007 season.

For starters, the quarterback play wasn't good. I've been on the Brodie Croyle bandwagon since he was drafted, and I'm not about to jump off based on his last two preseason, but you have to blame the offensive players for not executing the offense. The Chiefs didn't show up. There were dropped balls, bad passes, missed blocks and little energy or urgency.

As mentioned by Pat Clifton in his Cliff Notes, Croyle looked uncomfortable no matter what offensive play was called. I believe that had more to do with the pressure in the backfield and KC's poor field position, rather than talent or the ability to execute a particular play.

On defense, we saw a big problem during the Dolphins' first series on offense. Facing a critical third down, Chad Pennington stepped up in the pocket and completed a pass that enabled Miami to extend what would become a 10-minute drive.

That single play showed one of the Chiefs' biggest defensive weaknesses - that being defensive end Tamba Hali. Like he did so many times last season – five or six if memory serves – Hali had the quarterback in his arms but could not finish the sack.

Hali made a great move, but went up the field too far and he repeated that mistake several times Saturday night. This was a problem not only in passing situations, but also on running downs, as he was attacked all night.

Hali wasn't all to blame, because right now KC's entire young front four isn't capable of getting enough pressure on the quarterback. The Chiefs need the linebackers to step up but that group has been besieged by injuries. If not for Derrick Johnson, this group would deserve poor grades from top to bottom, and he can't do it all himself.

Special teams were simply bad. Dolphins kick returner Ted Ginn, Jr. should never have been allowed to run nearly 50 yards across the field untouched before he changed direction and ran past the entire Chiefs coverage unit for a touchdown return in the second quarter.

It's unclear who will be the kick and punt returner for the Chiefs this season, and the place kicker battle is also unsettled. My gut tells me the answer for both might lie on the upcoming waiver wire. Despite all those negatives, it's not time to panic. The Chiefs received some good news in the form of reports that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady might not be ready for the season opener.

Nick's Notes:

RB Larry Johnson - He looked tentative at times. I'm not sure if it was the offensive line, the humid Miami air or just one of those nights. We may not see much of LJ this week against the Rams, but I'd like to see him bust out a big run. The Chiefs can and should be able to run against the Patriots in week one.

Chiefs Quarterbacks - You know it's bad when each of your three quarterbacks throws an interception. Brodie Croyle, Damon Huard and Tyler Thigpen needed to take a cue from Chad Pennington, who completed 11 of 15 passes and only made one bad throw out of four incompletions. If it's not going to be caught by your guy, throw it away. The problem with the Chiefs quarterbacks is that they focused on one target and didn't look for options B, C or D.

Punter Dustin Colquitt - Once again he was stellar, averaging over 48 yards per punt. But his tackling needs some work as he had Ginn, Jr. in his sights but didn't get in his way to slow him down so one of his teammates could catch up. That's not really Colquitt's fault because the return units didn't do their job. He's the last resort for a reason.

WR Will Franklin - As we mentioned before the game, he did have knee surgery Saturday. It's probable he'll miss at least two games, but we hear the surgery was a minor procedure and he could be back on the field for KC's home opener against the Oakland Raiders. The Chiefs need him badly.

WR Dwayne Bowe - If the Chief are going to win football games this year, Dwayne Bowe has to catch the ball before he runs. His first quarter drop Saturday night was huge, because Dolphins cornerback Will Allen had slipped. If Bowe had held onto the ball, he might have turned upfield and scored. Bowe also saw only three balls thrown his direction all night. That can't happen when the games count.

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