Chiefs Blasted in Carolina, 34-0

From the opening whistle, the Chiefs didn't come to play Sunday. The defense was gashed and didn't make enough plays despite coming up with two turnovers. But when you don't have a quarterback, can't rush the passer against two inexperienced tackles and don't score points, generally you don't win.

This was a new low for the Chiefs. Not only did they regress from their upset win a week ago against Denver, but based on the 34-0 blanking at the hands of the Carolina Panthers, Kansas City is back on track for another losing streak.

The problem could have been avoided months ago if the Chiefs had signed veteran free agent quarterback Chad Pennington and cut Damon Huard. They'd likely be at least 3-2 on the season, maybe in first place at this point.

The Chiefs' biggest debacle so far hasn't been losing to the Patriots, Raiders, Falcons or Panthers. It was letting Pennington get away. He wanted to come to Kansas City, but the Chiefs didn't pull the trigger. Whether it was a coaching thing or a management thing, the bottom line is this season could have been different if Pennington was a Chief and not a Dolphin.

Pennington has taken a not-so-talented bunch of offensive players in Miami and put them in contention for the AFC East. If he were in Kansas City, the Chiefs would have beaten the Patriots and Raiders, along with Denver, and be 3-2.

Instead, Sunday we watched Huard, who appeared to be a quarterback who wasn't ready or able to play the game. He was tentative, didn't set his feet at times and threw several passes either up for grabs or towards Panthers defenders. From interceptions, to batted balls, to being hit, this was Huard's worst game of the season and puts the question of who starts from here on out to rest.

Brodie Croyle is the starter for the remainder of 2008. Unless he's in the hospital or out for the season with an injury, he's the guy. Let's see what he can finally do in a Chiefs uniform with a better offensive line and more options at running back.

This bye week should be critical for the Chiefs. Changes need to be made in the starting lineup. DaJuan Morgan should take Bernard Pollard's spot at safety, and Herb Taylor should take over for Damion McIntosh at right tackle.

Running back Kolby Smith also deserves more carries. Sorry, but $45 million running backs who get out-rushed by third-round draft picks (Jamaal Charles – 18 yards) and backup quarterbacks (Tyler Thigpen – 16 yards) should give someone else a chance. Wade Smith could also replace Adrian Jones at guard. He's been a valuable addition on special teams but deserves a shot at a starting spot.

Last but not least, Eric Price should be promoted to quarterbacks coach for Croyle's sake the rest of the season. The Dick Curl experiment is over. He has to take some of the blame for the lack of preparedness his quarterbacks have shown at the beginning, middle and end of games this season. Price previously worked with Croyle at Alabama, was a brilliant offensive coordinator in college and has more to offer the Chiefs than coaching wide receivers.

Five to Remember -

DC Gunther Cunningham - His players either aren't listening or he's not reaching them. Cunningham will eat, sleep and live at Arrowhead the next two weeks because he will fix the defensive problems, but he needs to make some changes either in the class room, the practice field or on game days. I didn't much care for the lack of aggression from the defense when the Panthers had any kind of long third down.

OC Chan Gailey - Sunday he seemed to have the same disease we saw the first two games of the season – an uncreative offensive game plan that was far too predictable. Gailey's quarterback and running back didn't do him any favors, but how about a reverse, flanker pass, pitch play, or anything? Gailey should be more aggressive when Croyle returns. He needs to open up the playbook. It can't hurt at this point.

HC Herm Edwards - I don't often get critical with the Head Coach, but today he should have pulled Huard sooner. He knows he's not the answer and despite the win a week ago, Edwards should have just struggled along with Tyler Thigpen the last two weeks. Wins are important, but Edwards has job security.

QB Damon Huard - There were rumblings all week that he was hurt and those appear to be true based on today's game. Huard was not ready to play and based on the fact he didn't really practice much until Thursday, perhaps the rumored injuries were more severe than disclosed. Huard's a class guy all the way but right now looks like a player who might be done.

RB Larry Johnson - He should have put this team on his back and ran like he did last week. It's attitude and keeping your head up that separates good runners from average ones. DeAngelo Williams totally outclassed Johnson on Sunday as he gashed the Chiefs for 123 yards and two touchdowns. At a minimum, that should have been LJ's game.

The Panthers had some vulnerability on the outside but Johnson never went there, instead running to the backside of his ineffective offensive line. He should have bounced outside instead of once again running between the tackles. That's not his strength anymore. He needs to change directions and go outside if the middle is congested. Sometimes the straightest line isn't the shortest distance to a monster game. Top Stories