Stillers @ Kansas City
If they are truly contenders, then this is just the kind of game that the Stillers need to win.�� The Chiefs are an average, maybe below average, team and as such are imminently beatable.�� On the other hand, they are defending their home and, historically, Arrowhead has been a tough venue.� Playoff teams do beat inferior opponents whether at home or on the road.� In Jagland, the Stillers let one slip away; this week, they must take care of business.
When the Stillers have the ball.� With few exceptions, the Chief defenders are old and undersized.� I like ROLB Donnie Edwards and RCB Eric Warfield.� The Chiefs do have a young aggressive tandem of big-hitting safeties in Jerome Woods and Greg Wesley.� Otherwise, there�s not much there.�
There is no mystery in this tilt; the Stillers are averaging 188 yards per game rushing and the Chiefs haven�t stopped the run.� ��In fact, KC has allowed 506 yards rushing @ 4.3 per crack.� Maybe, that stat is somewhat deceptive since nearly 200 yards came last week against Denver.� Evidently, the Chiefs sold out against the pass in that game; Denver had only a bit over 100 yards through the air but successfully controlled the clock behind Mike Andersen.� The Equines entered that game with only (1) healthy frontline WR, Rod Smith; still the Shanahan passing scheme has to command more respect than the Stillers�.� That so, whatever D-side strategy the Chiefs used last week, in getting run-gouged, will be extinct this Sunday.��
Excluding the Denver game, KC still has allowed nearly 4.0 yards per carry.� Whatever, the Stillers should be able to handle the KC FR.7.� The Chief D-line lacks any anchor; DT Browning and Ransom do have some stuffs as does DE Duane Clemons but, likely, these have resulted more from gap shots than any prowess at the POA.� LDE Eric Hicks has been mystery; this man came out of nowhere in 2000 to have a fine season but in 2001 has, so far, returned to his origins.� The key to this game lies with the KC safeties; if the Stillers can get them off the line then the Bus will roll.� If not, well, we�ll find out. �So far, the Stillers have shown nothing to prevent teams from putting 9 from the box.� IMO, a 3-WR set might help; a 3rd wide would draw some notice from FS Woods.� Anyway, to win the Stillers must:
Run often and run left:� RDE Clemons is weak at the point; ROLB Donnie Edwards does his best work in pursuit.� Run at them; run left, run often.
Abuse Ray Crockett:� Generally this team singles up their CB and asks Edwards, MLB Marvcus Patton and the safeties to run to the ball. �Crockett is 34; Denver let him go because he is just no longer a player you can win with.� �Crockett has heart and smarts but lacks size and speed.� This is yet another opportunity for Spike to justify his existence.
Get out early:� The Stillers can�t play catch-up; nor can they allow the Arrowhead faithful any cause for optimism.� The O-side will need to take care of the ball; they have (10) fumbles this season (with (4) lost).� Traditionally, the Chiefs are a very good takeaway team; the Stillers will need to take care of the ball this Sunday.
When the Chiefs have the ball:� For years, the heart of the KC offense was in the interior O-line with Shields, Grunhard and Szott.� Shields is the sole survivor now and the 2001 Chiefs have real problems inside.� LG Marcus Spears is a journeyman, as is OC Casey Wiegmann; the Stillers have gotten a lot of push from Clancy/Hampton and penetration from Bell; here�s another chance for those men to shine.� The KC tackles are pretty good; ROT Vic Riley is a big hitter but can lose it going for the kill shot; LOT John Tait is very sound. �
KC has some good overall rushing statistics but excluding the Skins game, the Chiefs have not established the run.� Priest Holmes has 240 yards rushing; of those, 147 came against Washington.� Now it is true that KC has played the Raiders, NYG and Broncos.� Those are good defenses but, given their #3 rank, we should expect the Stillers D-side to stuff Holmes and the other Chief backs.
KC has given only (7) sacks in (4) games.� That looks good but, from all reports, Trent Green took a terrible beating from both the Raiders and Giants.� As a result, while the Chiefs got some yards in the air in those games, they really didn�t establish much.� They were 6.00 YPA against the Raiders and below that against the Giants.� That�s losing football; given that the Chiefs best chance to win is to get airborne, it is obvious that pressure is crucial in this contest.� To win, the Stillers must:
Jam the young WR: Ram-ball is all about timing; the Chiefs are down to (3) WR and none have any experience.� Jam them early and jam them often.
Get Porter off:� Joey has played solid all around football but has only (1) sack to show.� There will be opportunities over OC and LG; hopefully, Coach Lewis will show more of the creativity that he first revealed in Buffalo in moving Porter along the line.� Pressure disrupts timing too (see the Eagle-Ram opener section in Schizoid and�).� For sure, it is tough to throw accurately with a helmet in your chest.
Account for Tony Gonzales (and Holmes too):� Lacking bodies at WR, Vermeil will move Gonzales and Holmes around.� Porter, Bell and Scott may be able to match-up with Gonzo but I�ve got my doubts about the Stiller safeties.� I think Coach Lewis will single up Scott and DW against the KC WR and run some varying combinations of safeties and LB at Gonzales.� Vermeil likens Holmes to Faulk but I don�t see it.
Get some takeaways:� The Stillers are a disturbing �3 in this department.� The O-side has (2) INT and lost 4/10 fumbles.� The D-side has (2) picks but only one fumble recovery.