The Morning After: Tampa Bay

Posted Aug 12, 2011

Kansas City's roster didn't resemble last season's division champion, but neither did the execution

ARROWHEAD STADIUM – This was not Chiefs football.

Kansas City’s 25-0 loss to open the preseason looked nothing like the 2010 squad that posted a worst-to-first turnaround and claimed the team’s first division title since 2003.

This wasn’t the same team. Not in the starting lineup and certainly not in the execution.

“I don’t think you ever see that coming; you don’t want to do that, especially on your home turf,” Head Coach Todd Haley said following the shutout loss to Tampa Bay. “That being said, that’s the first one, not the last one so what’s important is that our guys recognize that they’ve got a lot of work ahead of them and a short time to do it because our goal is to be ready to go on September 11th.”

The Chiefs were missing the personality that defined last season’s 7-1 home record. For starters, the Chiefs simply weren’t playing with many.

Much like the start to training camp, Haley opted to ease many of Kansas City’s front-line players into preseason play.

A total of 15 players didn’t see any snaps Friday night. It was a list that included Tamba Hali, Brandon Flowers, Derrick Johnson, Steve Breaston, Glenn Dorsey, Kelly Gregg, Le’Ron McClain, Casey Wiegmann, Wallace Gilberry and Tony Moeaki.

For those that did open the game, they were protected.

Jamaal Charles started at running back, but didn’t receive any touches. The first play from scrimmage was a running play, with Charles in the backfield, but went to rookie FB Shane Bannon.

Matt Cassel started under center, but played just eight snaps. He didn’t attempt a single pass.

“A lot of different factors (went into the decision to rest players),” Haley said. “Some physical conditioning ability and some guys have some little nicks and things that we just didn’t feel comfortable putting them out into a game situation.

“Some of it was trying to find out a little bit more about some deeper, more stacked positions where maybe we had more guys to look at, so a lot of different variables.”

But there were plenty of concerns that went into the home waxing as well. Just as much as the Chiefs roster didn’t resemble last season’s success, neither did the execution.

Seemingly all of the things that made Kansas City a division champion were absent from the preseason opener. The Chiefs didn’t protect the football, or the quarterback, and made poor decisions that factored into a lopsided game of field position.

Kansas City’s average starting position was its own 17-yard line and the Chiefs never advanced the football past Tampa’s 40. The Chiefs also converted just one-of-10 third-down attempts.

“Anytime you go three-and-out and don’t make first downs, it’s frustrating,” QB Tyler Palko said. “It is what it is, with how we executed. We just have to go back to the drawing board and practice and get ready to roll.”

Aside from putting the football on the ground four times and sending Chiefs quarterbacks scrambling throughout the contest, Haley seemed most troubled by the amount of missed tackles.

“You can’t accept certain things and a poor tackling team is not something that we want on our resume´, ever,” Haley said. “Right now it’s on there for this year and a little bit of last year, so I think what’s important is that these guys and our staff that we recognize some of those areas that were glaring and we’ll get to work because again time’s limited and we’ve got a bunch to do.”

Haley held just one full-padded takedown period over the first two weeks of training camp. Most of the players who participated in the six-play scrimmage were on the field against Tampa.

“We’ve coached and we’ve taught it in individual drills and had a bunch of work in that area and again, it’s unacceptable,” Haley said. “That’s one of our points of emphasis for our team, our defensive team, going into this year is we felt like we had to be a better tackling team; missed tackles hurt us in key spots last year and for us to improve, that has to change.”

Kansas City faces a short turnaround with less than a week’s worth of practices to prepare for next Friday night’s game at Baltimore. The Chiefs begin their final week of training camp in St. Joseph with a 3:00 PM practice Sunday afternoon.

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