Chiefs Return To Mediocrity

As former NFL coach Dennis Green famously said, "They are who we thought they were."

In the case of the 2011 Chiefs, what we thought the Chiefs were after three games was one of the worst teams in football. After four straight victories, fans were convinced their Chiefs had turned a corner. Turns out, the first two weeks were a better indication of who this team is as opposed to the last four.

It was fun living in fantasy land the past month. The Chiefs were riding a four-game winning streak and in position to defend the AFC West title. Kansas City was fresh off of a season high point after a thrilling victory over division rival San Diego Chargers. The road to 6-3 looked to be paved but the Chiefs overlooked one important detail - showing up against the 0-7 Miami Dolphins.

I'd like to sit here and tell you the Chiefs got caught in a trap game, that they are a better team than they showed Sunday, but I can't. This team is exactly what they appear to be: a struggling .500 squad.

There are plenty of excuses to go around with injuries and a dysfunctional working relationship between the head coach and general manager, but this team is beyond excuses. The Chiefs' two biggest losses came in Week 1 and 2. Haley has had five weeks to adjust to the losses and has shown the ability to win games with an adjusted roster. They just can't do it every week.

Much like we saw in the Chiefs' first two losses, this team is capable of performing like one of the worst in the league. Today, they might have been just that.

Kansas City's offense was again anemic despite having one of the best groupings of wide receivers in the NFL. In true Matt Cassel form, the Chiefs' quarterback took a step back Sunday after playing one of his best games of the season on Monday Night Football.

But we have exhausted that topic.

The key for this Chiefs' squad is going to have to be the defense. The team has been successful the last two weeks because of their defense playing their best football. When the defense struggles, the real face of this team comes to light, and it's not pretty.

Tamba Hali has played possibly his best football since joining the Chiefs in 2006, but when he is taken out of the game by double and triple blockers, the Chiefs have nobody capable of stepping up. Ideally, third-round draft selection Justin Houston would fill that role, but he has yet live up to expectations. Last year's second-leading sacker, Wallace Gilberry, has struggled since putting on weight in an effort to become an every-down lineman.

This defense has shown it is capable of making the plays necessary to keep even good offenses from scoring, but consistency and preparation have plagued this team from the beginning. In all of the Chiefs' losses in 2011, the team has been woefully unprepared and looked to be out muscled in every aspect of the game. That fault lies with the head coach.

Until the Chiefs address their quarterback, playcalling and communication problems, this team will need their defense to play mistake-free, dominating football. Today, the Chiefs did neither of those things and got exposed.

But hey, it was fun living in a dream, if just momentarily.



WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Are the Chiefs just an average team?


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