You might be considering sitting your reportedly ailing quarterback, Tom Brady. The latest news has Brady, who you didn’t play all preseason, suffering from a minor foot fracture.
Sitting Brady might make sense. After all, as the old Snickers commercial goes, who are the Chefs? According to the national media and heck, a lot of Chiefs fans to boot, Kansas City’s football franchise is as threatening as creamy nougat, peanuts and chocolate. A soft, sweet treat for your Patriots as they begin the 2008 season.
Why start Brady? Why risk your franchise player against – supposedly – the creampuff of your schedule? I’ll tell you why, Coach.
First off, let’s look at your offense. You dumped Donte Stallworth this offseason. Wes Welker's got sore ribs. Tight end Benjamin Watson's got a bad knee. With Stallworth gone and Welker and Watson dinged up, your offense winds up attacking a Herm Edwards defense with Randy Moss, Jabar Gaffney and Laurence Maroney.
Here’s the bad news – the Chiefs have Randy’s number. In two years as an Oakland Raider, Moss had one good game against Kansas City, and the Chiefs still won that contest when The Freak failed to show up in crunch time. Then later that year, Gunther Cunningham devised a defensive scheme that featured Dewayne Washington as a shutdown corner. Moss pretty much disappeared that day and was never heard from again until last season.
If the Chiefs stop Moss – and you might be laughing, Bill, but the Chiefs held their own against Chad Johnson and Calvin Johnson a year ago – how is your offense, minus Brady, going to move the ball? Gaffney? Maroney? You don’t even have your reliable third-down back, Kevin Faulk, around to catch screen passes and dumpoffs this week, thanks to his suspension. Yeah, Welker will probably play, but Patrick Surtain can handle him just fine (Welker isn't known for blazing speed, after all).
Oh, but wait, Coach! There’s more. We haven’t talked about your defense. You remember, the one that wilted last year in the Super Bowl, the one with the aging linebackers (all of them over 30, except rookie Jerod Mayo), inexperienced cornerbacks and Methuselah the strong safety (Rodney Harrison)?
Yeah, Bill, it’s bad news. The Chiefs aren’t great on offense, but your linebackers are either too old, or too young to have a prayer of containing KC’s Triceratops Backfield (Larry Johnson, Kolby Smith and Jamaal Charles) in the open field. If Teddy Bruschi gets one-on-one with LJ this Sunday, he might just end up back in the hospital.
Let’s look at that secondary, Bill. Who’s covering Tony Gonzalez? Do you have a plan to stop Dwayne Bowe that doesn't involve 5-foot-9 Ellis Hobbs, your best corner, this weekend?
Heck, you look a little desperate, Coach, signing Deltha O’Neal, a known burn victim, this week and going after Ty Law and John Lynch to round out your retirement home defensive backfield. They remain good friends, but Chiefs Head Coach Herm Edwards and Lynch always have a good laugh when they get together these days, because Herm can outrun Lynch, now.
But, listen, Bill, it’s even worse than you might think. Yes, the Chiefs can stop Moss. They have skill position players who match up well against your defense. But even if Brady plays, you could be in more trouble than you think.
I mentioned Gunther Cunningham earlier, but here’s the real kicker – Gunther may have Brady’s number, too. The last time Cunningham ran into Brady, it was no contest. Somehow, Gunther came up with a defensive gameplan that made Brady look like Jake Plummer. And this was in 2005, when the Chiefs were still giving up huge gobs of points every other week.
Seriously, you remember that day. Gunther put a defense that included Eric Hicks, Eric Warfield, Kendrell Bell, Lional Dalton and Sammy Knight on the field against your offense. They hit Brady, confused him, and he threw four interceptions. Greg Wesley, who’s sitting on his couch combing his dreadlocks right about now, somehow snagged three of them.
What will Gunther come up with now that he has Tamba Hali, Donnie Edwards, Jarrad Page, Glenn Dorsey, a seasoned Derrick Johnson, and several other defenders who put his 2005 unit to shame? Brady hasn’t played in a live NFL game in months. He’ll be doing well just to poorly imitate the player he was last season.
And speaking of Brady imitations, you remember your old bench-warmer, Damon Huard? Yeah, he’s a Chief now. Did you know he’s considered the world’s leading NFL thespian? That’s right, every year he puts on a show in practice during the week when Kansas City plays Peyton Manning, and the Chiefs have stumped Manning pretty good over the years. Now Huard gets another chance to do his best Brady impression (he was with the Chiefs in 2005), and he played with Brady for three years.
By the time Sunday rolls around, Huard is going to have Gunther’s cast of defensive talent tap-dancing and singing duets like a leading Broadway production. They’re going to have every Brady mannerism, every little tick, everything that makes Brady who he is, down pat.
Heck, if Brady’s foot is as bad as everyone thinks, Huard’s already got that part replicated perfectly. He’s not exactly Michael Vick back there in the pocket, but you know that, Coach.
Did I mention spy cameras will be useless against this new Chiefs offense? You watch one series, maybe two, and you’ll know what's coming next time without any subterfuge. The only question is if you can stop it. I’m sure you remember Chan Gailey, KC’s new offensive coordinator, slapping 27 and 23 points on your defense back in 2000 and 2001 with the Miami Dolphins. If Gailey toasted you with Lamar Smith and Oronde Gadsden, what will he cook up for Larry Johnson and Dwayne Bowe?
Yeah, I’d say you need Brady more than some people might think, Bill. Get him ready to start against the Chiefs, because you’re going to need him. Tom Brady might be the difference between losing and winning by three touchdowns this Sunday. You can’t be too careful, Coach!