Inside the scouting report, Chiefs at Ravens

An inside the scouting report breakdown of the Kansas City Chiefs / Baltimore Ravens game in week-four.

The Kansas City Chiefs are fairly certain what to expect Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.

Without any doubt, the Ravens will attempt to force-feed a steady diet of Jamal Lewis at an improved Chiefs' defense that has played well against the run thus far in the 2003 season…. Starting rookie Kyle Boller at quarterback, Baltimore is limited in their big-play ability outside of Lewis and tight-end Todd Heap.

Jamal Lewis is a load and he is healthy. Playing with confidence and fully recovered from two significant knee injuries, Lewis combines an uncanny amount of speed and quickness into a 250-pound frame.

To stop Lewis is a major chore, containing him is what the Chiefs have set out to accomplish.

Lewis is too physically strong and powerful of a runner to be knocked off his feet with an arm tackle or a body shot. To deal with him effectively, the Chiefs must be physical and active in their approach to Lewis. A major part of Lewis' game is his ability to bounce off defenders and gain critical yards after contact.

The Kansas City defensive front-seven has been solid thus far in the 2003 season. If the Chiefs have weakness, it is the pass defense where Kansas City may be vulnerable. But, the passing game is the obvious weakness of the Ravens. Simply, the Chiefs are gearing up to contain Lewis, putting the ball and pressure squarely on the shoulders of the Ravens young signal-caller.

Boller must become more efficient in Brian Billick's offense. Having problems getting the wide receivers into the game, the Ravens must find a way to improve the pass offense and get the receivers involved. Accounting for only 14 receptions thus far in the 2003 season, Baltimore will need production in the passing game to prevent the Kansas City safeties from pressuring the line of scrimmage. Kansas City has shown the tendency to utilize their safeties in run support, providing Baltimore with significant opportunities for single coverage in Travis Taylor and Frank Sanders.

Heading into this game, the Ravens will look to control the clock. To accomplish this, the Ravens must run the football and be effective in the short passing game. The Baltimore offense is predicated on power football and ball-control, Boller is not expected to make many big plays, but is expected to manage the conservative Ravens offense. Against the Chiefs, getting the ball into the hands of the receivers early will be critical to thee success of the Ravens offense. If Boller can accomplish this, Kansas City will be forced to move their safeties (Greg Wesley) out of the proverbial box, which should create opportunities in the running game.

If the Chiefs struggle defensively against this Ravens offense, they sport an offense that should continue to light-up the scoreboard. Averaging over 36-points per game, Kansas City is a force on the offensive side of the ball.

Trent Green has been efficient, but is prone to throwing interceptions, mainly due to his aggressive approach to the game. Against a Baltimore defense that has some vulnerability, Green will need to take what the Ravens defense gives him. The speed and scheme of the Kansas City offense coupled with an offensive line that provides Green more than ample time to throw the football can exploit a Baltimore defensive backfield that is short on depth and speed.

Throwing the underneath crossing routes should be an avenue the Chiefs take to get the ball in the hands of their receivers, who run well after the reception. If patient and successful, the Chiefs should have the opportunity to beat the secondary in single-coverage.

For the Chiefs to be successful against this Ravens defense, they must run the football, a task that can be difficult against a group of Baltimore linebackers that are quick and attack the ball-carrier, in this case the explosive Priest Holmes. If Kansas City is to win this game, the offensive line will have to control the line of scrimmage and neutralize the physical and overly aggressive Ravens linebackers with misdirection and cutback blocking scheme assignments.


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