The Chiefs’ 2017 season is over halfway through and we are still unsure of how good the team is. I have lived and died with the team with the team as I grew up in the ’60s.
I was one of those crazy teenagers who ran onto the runway as the Chiefs arrived home from their victory as AFL champions and an opportunity to play in the very first Super Bowl. The start of this season brought back the memory of their championship in Super Bowl IV against the Minnesota Vikings and renewed hope for the team this year. Hope is eternal.
The 2017 season began with a promising 5-0 start. The only two teams I root for are the Chiefs first and then any team that is playing against the Dallas Cowboys.
My mom sponsored a trip for me and my wife to fly to Dallas to attend the game. Unfortunately, it was a long day and night if you bleed Chiefs red. Jerry World is totally spectacular and is so Dallas Cowboys. It is a money-making circus from start to finish. Old Jerry certainly has promoted that Dallas Cowboy propaganda.
The Cowboys are playing good football with a great offensive and defensive line. Their running back is a stud who goes week to week with national drama about whether he will play or not. The quarterback seems to be a good leader with a lot of athletic ability. Without question, they are good.
The thing we all came out of that game in Dallas with was the question, how good are the Kansas City Chiefs? Even in that loss, Chiefs fans saw many positive things. Tyreek Hill’s electrifying touchdown catch before halftime may be the best play in the league for the entire 2017 NFL season.
The Chiefs came back after being down the entire first half and took the lead in third quarter. They have never quit playing hard in any games this year.
However, as a Chiefs fan you must realize that the team has several key holes in a solid but not great squad. The defensive line bends a lot but does not stop the run. Ezekiel Elliott had 94 yards in 27 carries. Those 94 yards kept Dallas drives alive the entire day. It has been a common trend this year.
The Chiefs were unable to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers for the last three games because they cannot stop the run. The problem is not only the defensive line. Derrick Johnson has been slowed by two Achilles injuries and it shows. He still makes a lot of plays because of his heart and knowledge of the game but is unable to move like he has in the past and like he did to gain notoriety has a possible Hall of Fame linebacker.
In the Dallas game, Reggie Ragland and Kevin Pierre-Louis played a lot a pure run downs. The Chiefs defense that has been one of the best the previous five years is breaking down. Eric Berry, Derrick Johnson, Justin Houston and Tamba Hali are beginning to show signs of the toll age will take on athletes. The loss of Eric Berry in the secondary has hurt the team badly. He has been a great safety and more importantly a great leader.
The corners, Kenneth Acker and Terrance Mitchell, have been tested at the left corner and both players have had some rough times in a difficult position to play.
Marcus Peters may be the most overrated player in the NFL. He will not tackle anyone. Against the Steelers on the second play of the game, they ran a power trap sweep at him and he literally ran to the sideline. He gets beat at key times in the game, and if he does not get beat he will come in with a key holding or pass interference call. He will make big show plays like the fumble recovery touchdown against Denver, but he is not solid in the basics of football. He is a talented showboat with a bad case of the “I” syndrome.
The offensive line is just average and seems to be having more and more trouble blocking for the run. The Chiefs must be able to run the ball to win. If they can run the ball, they can control the clock and keep the defense off the field. That was the key to success in the first part of the season.
The offense has finally got some weapons in Hill, Travis Kelce and Kareem Hunt. The other receivers can make plays in key situations. For all the know-it-alls who love to hate on Alex Smith – you are totally wrong. He has made a lot of things happen this year with both his arm and legs. He would be even better if the offensive line improves. The Chiefs special teams may be the best in the NFL and we win in that area in about every game.
However, to make it to the Super Bowl you must win in all three areas of offense, defense and special teams. Right now, the two best teams in the AFC are the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The darkhorse in the AFC is Kansas City.
The two best teams in the NFC are the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys (if Elliott plays). The dark horse in the NFC right now is the Los Angeles Rams. We still have a lot of season left. Let’s hope the home team can peak at the right time.
• The quote of the week is from Hall of Fame college and professional coach Lou Holtz, “We’re going to practice 2 hours even if it takes 6 hours.”
– Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 6 p.m. every Monday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at email@example.com.