Issues Surrounding The Chiefs: Week 3

This week Michael Ash discusses roster movement, the offensive line and takes another look at KC's run defense.

It was good to see the Chiefs make some changes this week.

Speaking to the media Wednesday, Todd Haley said recent roster movement wasn't a knee-jerk reaction to last week's loss. Frankly, though, that game was bad enough that it should have resulted in a shake-up.

We obviously don't want to see the team panic and make moves out of desperation, but we also know how frustrating it was to sit through the first half of last season when it seemed little would change no matter how badly things were going. It wasn't until late October, for instance, that the coaching staff finally admitted – after several weeks of futility – that Tamba Hali wasn't working out at Jared Allen's old spot.

But none of that is to suggest that a bunch of drastic alterations have been made to the team. At first glance the only notable moves seem to be the addition of Leonard Pope at tight end and a switch on the offensive line. Ike Ndukwe appears to have lost his grip on the right tackle spot, which is probably for the best. Granted, that opinion may change once we get a look at his replacement - the recently claimed-off-waivers Ryan O'Callaghan - but it seems hard to imagine this becoming a move the Chiefs regret.

Given that Ndukwe started 15 games at guard for Miami a year ago, one has to wonder if he'll end up getting a chance at that position. Of course, the Dolphins' moving him to tackle may speak volumes about how effective he actually was at guard, but the Chiefs aren't in a position to be picky.

Much has been said about the Chiefs' decision to stand pat and not pursue more linemen over the offseason.

The question many fans have been asking is simple: why wasn't more done? Everyone knows the offensive line has been a constant source of problems since Willie Roaf and Will Shields rode off into the sunset. So during his first offseason in charge of the Chiefs, why didn't new general manager Scott Pioli make improving the line a bigger priority?

As we get deeper into the NFL season, Pioli will surely grant some interviews here and there, and that question will almost certainly be asked at some point. But until that day comes, we're left to speculate.

Right up front, it's seems safe to conclude that the Chiefs' front office wasn't particularly enamored with any of the players who were available in free agency. This year's free agent crop may not have been filled with great linemen, but there were a few names out there who would have been immediate upgrades for the Chiefs.

One such name, for example, was Jason Brown, the former Raven and current Ram who we wrote about here at Warpaint Illustrated back in February. Did the Chiefs view Brown as a stop-gap player who wasn't worth the type of large contract he received from St. Louis? Did they see him as a solid player who, for whatever reason, just wasn't a good fit in Kansas City?

Since the Chiefs were never reported to be in the mix for Brown's services, we can only assume their reasoning was something along those lines. Despite the team's seemingly limitless cap room, if they didn't feel Brown would be an anchor on the offensive line for the next several years, not giving him a deal upwards of $37 million is understandable.

What about adding linemen in the draft? According to numerous scouting reports, this year's college class was particularly deep at positions along the offensive line. In theory, for a team in need of linemen like the Chiefs are, some solid players could have been available in the later rounds.

For those who have repeatedly endorsed the idea of drafting the best possible player, it would be hypocritical to turn around and complain about the Chiefs not drafting to fill their needs. Still, given the reported depth of this year's class, it's unusual that Kansas City only came away with one lineman – Colin Brown.

Ultimately, though, it seems like the most important evaluations didn't surround the players the Chiefs could have added. Instead, the critical decisions were made regarding the players who were already in Kansas City. After all, if Pioli and those around him had written off the team's current stable of linemen, there probably would have been more urgency to find their replacements.

Speaking about the offensive line on Monday, Haley made repeated references to breakdowns and poor technique against the Eagles, and perhaps those comments shed some light on what was seen in evaluations. Could it be the Chiefs saw some talent in the players who were here, but didn't think they'd been coached up enough by last year's staff?

Could they have thought there was enough talent here to get through the season, provided the linemen were better instructed on their fundamentals and technique?

If that's the case, three games through the season it appears Pioli and Haley may have been a little generous in their estimation. Unfortunately, it may be quite some time before we realize who they overestimated - the players who are here or the coaches teaching them.

We'll save our weekly look at the Chiefs' run defense until after the Giants' game.

After three games the Chiefs' defense has allowed 3.8 yards a carry, which currently ranks 12th in the league. A year ago, after a full 16 games, it would have tied them for eighth.

But the Giants come to Arrowhead with a top 10 rushing attack and it's hard to imagine them getting cute with their game plan. If the Chiefs can hold New York's ground game under control, we might finally be able to say with certainty that the run defense has improved.

Well, at least until the Dallas Cowboys and their #1 rushing offense comes to town. Top Stories