Chiefs emphasize run game mentality in preseason finale

Posted Aug 30, 2012

Kansas City runs 44 times for 247 yards in 24-3 loss at Green Bay

Green Bay, Wis. – Romeo Crennel ramped up the practice tempo leading into the Chiefs preseason finale against the Packers Thursday night at Lambeau Field.

Back-to-back lopsided losses, including a poor showing by Chiefs first-teamers in three quarters of action against the Seahawks, gave Crennel plenty of reasons to push things during the final week of preseason play.

“The kind of performance that you saw last week against Seattle was unacceptable,” said RB Peyton Hillis, who averaged 7.7 yards per carry Thursday night in Green Bay.

The University of Kansas Training Complex felt a lot like training camp in St. Joseph, Mo. earlier this week. Practices featured unscripted plays, competitive 11-on-11 periods, a spirited head football coach and a run-heavy offensive approach.

It was a calculated plan by Crennel to reset his team’s mindset before Atlanta visits Arrowhead Stadium to kickoff the regular season on September 9th.

 “We’re a team that wants to come out and run the football,” Hillis said. “I think we did that for the most part tonight.”

The Chiefs came out running Thursday night in Green Bay. Then they ran the football some more, and then some more after that.

Brian Daboll’s first 10 plays called for rushing attempts with Matt Cassel handing the football to four different running backs on Kansas City’s opening offensive drive. Daboll even dialed up a rushing play for Shaun Draughn on a third-and-10 snap from the Green Bay 37-yard line.

Cassel exited the game after completing his only pass attempt on the Chiefs 11th offensive snap. Then Daboll called for the run on four of Brady Quinn’s first five plays under center.

“I wanted us to reinforce what we did in practice,” Crennel said of Daboll’s offensive approach.

“That’s the way we practiced on Monday if you recall. We practiced hard on the running game and so we said, ‘let’s take a look at it and see what we can get done.’ So that’s what we did and it was effective I thought.”

Overall, the Chiefs ran the football 44 times for 247 yards (5.6 avg.). Charles and Hillis paired for nine carries and 58 yards with Draughn and Nate Eachus combining for another 156 yards on 31 attempts.

Quinn and Ricky Stanzi added another 32 rushing yards off four quarterback scrambles.

“We just wanted to come out and establish the run game,” said left tackle Branden Albert. “We’d really been struggling the last couple of weeks and felt like we needed to get things in order in the run game tonight.”

If Thursday’s preseason finale is an indicator of anything, it’s that the Chiefs know they’ll need to establish the run game early throughout the 2012 season. They were able to do that in their only victory of the exhibition slate against Arizona.

Offensively, the majority of Kansas City’s starters were lifted before the conclusion of the first quarter and it was clear what Crennel wanted to get out of his final preseason tune-up.

“The official end of the preseason occurred tonight,” Crennel said afterward. “Going into the game I wanted our guys to look halfway decent, to be efficient. When I looked out there on the field I thought that offensively and defensively we were efficient. We got some things done. We moved the ball and got them off the field.

“After that, we started to give other people opportunities to show what they can do and some of them made mistakes. We had far too many penalties and missed assignments. We gave up some big plays and allowed their rush to get to the quarterback, which definitely impacted the game. Overall, I was pleased with their effort.”

With a 1-3 exhibition record, the Chiefs finished the preseason without a winning record for the ninth consecutive year.

Crennel stressed to his team throughout the week that although preseason games don’t count, they do matter. Starting next week the games count as well.

“I’m always confident,” Hillis said. “I like the talent that we have on this team. We just have to put it all together and we are working toward that.”

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