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Stillers @ Kansas City Pregame Analysis

October 12, 2001 by Steel Phantom

Stillers @ Kansas City

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.





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