Rams Leave Chiefs 0-4

What do you take from a game where you outrushed and outpassed your opponent but still lost, 17-9? Because it came against the equally hapless St. Louis Rams you have to wonder where the Kansas City Chiefs sit with a massive roster cut due in the next 24 hours.

By Nick Athan The Chiefs actually played their best preseason game in quite some time. There is no question they were more aggressive on both sides of the ball. We saw the running backs make great plays, but we also saw some terrible quarterback play.

Croyle was average, but his night would have been stellar had he not overthrown Dwayne Bowe once in the first quarter after scrambling out of the pocket. A second time, Croyle had Bowe open in the end zone but once again he was high with the pass. He just needs to tone down that rocket arm and put some more air under those passes.

Perhaps Croyle was rusty but there was no excuse for backup Tyler Thigpen. He looked awful and his interceptions probably pushed him either off the roster or to another team. He just can't run this offense effectively. He's not a pocket passer.

Granted, Thigpen's protection was terrible and the play of right tackle Damion McIntosh – who was cut Friday afternoon - was pathetic. General Manager Scott Pioli better have some tricks up his sleeve in the next 48 hours to acquire some better talent along that offensive line. If not, it's not going to matter when Matt Cassel returns.

The rest of the offensive has to play better as the Chiefs now sit in the sights of the Baltimore Ravens, who might have the best defense in the NFL. It's going to take some creativity from Haley to even make this game close in the first quarter.

What we've learned in four preseason games is that Haley has a way about him that has clashed with his players. We've learned he's willing to go against the grain and talent meter, ala starting wide receiver Terrence Copper ahead of Dwayne Bowe (a colossal mistake), and he's willing to dump coaches.

I've been asked on one radio show after another the last two weeks about the Chiefs' 2009 record. After watching them get blanked in the preseason it's hard to imagine that they can climb far above the two wins they achieved last year under Herm Edwards.

In places the talent level is better, but the approach to revamping the offensive and defensive lines will be the team's downfall in 2009. I'm not sure Pioli can find two-fifths of an offensive line and another defensive end to accompany Tyson Jackson. If he can, maybe this team can climb to .500 and surprise many people. But if not, we're likely headed for more of the same and in these parts we might see the best football being played on Saturdays in the Big XII. Let's hope I'm wrong.

Five To Remember
1. K Ryan Succop - Since he might be the scoring leader for this football team, it was important to see him nail all three of his field goal attempts. Succop showed that last Saturday's string of misses was a fluke. The bonus is his ability to put the ball into the end zone on kickoffs.

2. LB Tamba Hali - I'm officially giving kudos to Haley for moving Hali to linebacker. He's played well this preseason despite the doubts that he could make the switch. That's a credit to Hali who shed some weight and re-dedicated himself to getting into real NFL shape. If Hali can continue to play like he has the final two preseason games, there is a chance he can actually get double digit sacks this season.

3. RB Dantrell Savage - I've always liked the former Oklahoma State product. At the Senior Bowl a few years ago, he was the best running back on either roster. He's flirted with the Chiefs' roster now a few seasons and I'm hard pressed to think he won't be third on the depth chart this year. If he can somehow elevate himself to returning kickoffs or punts, Savage could be something to watch all season long. His 70-yard run was a thing of beauty. He got a great block from wide receiver Mark Bradley and he was off to the races. He has power, speed and determination.

4. HC Todd Haley - I'm fully on board with Haley calling the plays from the sidelines. The playcalling moved the ball and it was clear Haley has a better feel for his offense and his players than Chan Gailey ever did. Haley looked far more comfortable on the sidelines in his dual role than he was just being the head coach.

5. GM Scott Pioli - Show us something the next 48 hours, Mr. Pioli. With major weaknesses on this football team and little expectation for a winning season, you need to add a top shelf receiver. I know you never want to sell or mortgage your future but the Chiefs are facing a 2010 season with a new stadium, no salary cap and a potential work stoppage. But they can't lose sight of 2009, where they have a chance to win the AFC West, because this is the worst division in football. If Pioli can grasp that fact, he should sell a piece of that future to win this year at all costs. Take some risks and be bold.

WarpaintIllustrated.com Top Stories