Five To Step Up: Chargers vs. Chiefs

With the bye week upon us after another embarrassing loss at the hands of the San Diego Chargers Sunday, we're going to modify our post-game award column and pick five players who need to step up before the Chiefs travel to Jacksonville for their next game.

1. RB Kolby Smith - He needs to get back on the field in two weeks. The Larry Johnson experiment in this offense is done. He didn't run hard Sunday and in short-yardage situations he was not attacking the hole. Johnson tip-toed around as if he was trying to avoid land mines. The Chargers were floating eight men in the box but there was no power to any of LJ's runs. He wasn't lowering his shoulder for the extra yard and wasn't delivering any contact. It's time to see what Smith has.

2. QB Matt Cassel - He should spend every single day at the indoor practice facility this week working on his accuracy. The Chiefs should prop up tires from all distances and until Cassel hits all of them 10 times in a row, he should not be allowed to practice. His completion percentage is poor enough that there should be a quarterback controversy brewing at Arrowhead the next two weeks. Cassel has been running for his life but had open receivers Sunday that, had they had a chance to catch the ball, could have made enough big plays that it might have changed the outcome. We can't blame KC's offensive woes all on the offensive line. Some of it has to fall on Cassel.

3. HC Todd Haley - Please walk into Scott Pioli's office Monday morning and ask for help. Let the offensive coordinator search begin and while you're at it, ask for a quarterback's coach. Haley is in way over his head and he has to get some help. If Pioli doesn't provide it, then maybe he's already talking to potential veteran head-coaching candidates who might be available in early January. Haley has to admit that he can't wear all these hats and if he is allowed to continue doing it, is Pioli really is supporting his head coach? The two must find a solution together.

4. CB Brandon Carr - What happened? He was awful for most of the game Sunday. I thought Carr would be the one player who would avoid the sophomore slump but he's been bad all season long. He's not physical enough and is playing tentative. When he was at his best last year he was aggressive. Carr can't play on his heels and right now average receivers are making him look bad. He should be more of an in-your-face corner instead of playing 10 yards off the line. I'm not sure if that's coaching or talent but something has to give during the bye week.

5. Chairman Clark Hunt - He needs to publicly thank all the fans who stayed in Arrowhead to the bitter end Sunday. There were only a few thousand but they will die with this team and right now they're going down with the ship. Hunt has a lot of balls to juggle and right now public relations should be his forte. The fans need to hear from him in some way. He spoon fed an article to the Kansas City Star last week, but we need to hear what he's thinking directly. I'm not convinced he's a hands-off owner, even with the hiring of Pioli.

Hunt needs to be a public figure the fans can relate to and he should voice his frustrations. He's going to support the people he's chosen to run his organization, but the fans don't care about that. They want the owner to be like them. They need to see his frustration mirroring their own or they'll stop caring. Arrowhead has yet to sell out and with only one big home game left this season, against the Steelers, blackouts are looking more likely for each of the Chiefs' three home games in December. Now is the time for Hunt to get in front of the media and let everyone know what he is thinking.

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