Kansas City Chiefs Weekly Progress Report: Where They Stand Headed into Week 15

Christopher Hansen@ChrisHansenNFLNFL AnalystDecember 11, 2012

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 09: Running back Jamaal Charles #25 of the Kansas City Chiefs runs for a gain during the first half against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

So the Kansas City Chiefs are not a good football team. We knew that, and by now everyone has accepted it. The Chiefs are on the fast track to the No. 1 overall pick in April’s draft, and only multiple wins or a win this week against the Raiders can change the order significantly.

The Chiefs are 2-11, and if Sunday’s game in Cleveland is any indication, they are clearly the worst team in the entire league by a larger margin. If it weren’t for the 2-11 Jaguars and the 3-10 Raiders, the Chiefs would be alone in the cellar.

In what is sure to be one of the worst and least-watched games of the weekend, the Chiefs travel to Oakland on Sunday. Last season the Chiefs crushed the Raiders in Oakland, but that was with Kyle Boller at quarterback and Carson Palmer just days removed from his couch.

Over the past six weeks, no one is playing worse than the Raiders, which means the Chiefs should keep it competitive and have a legitimate shot and winning the game.


Talking Point for Week 15

This is likely to be hashed and rehashed dozens of times before April, and I’ve avoided the topic long enough. If the Chiefs are bad enough to get the No. 1 overall pick, who do they take? A quarterback seems to be the logical answer, but are any of the top options worth the No. 1 overall pick.  

Missing on a quarterback in the first round doesn’t set back a franchise nearly as much as it did before the rookie wage scale, but it still hurts. The draft isn’t as stocked as it was last year, but there are a few quality options and the class is relatively deep. Geno Smith, Tyler Wilson and Matt Barkley are mentioned a lot as the top three, and there are several other options to consider as well.

The other option would be to bring in a veteran—Alex Smith has been mentioned—and draft an impact player at another position. There are a lot of ways the Chiefs could go, and the evaluation process will start late if the team decides to fire Scott Pioli.


Injury Outlook

Dwayne Bowe has broken ribs and is likely out for the season. He’ll at the very least miss Sunday’s game and could go on injured reserve. Bowe will be a free agent at the end of the season if the Chiefs don’t put the franchise tag on him again.

Kendrick Lewis and Abe Elam didn’t play on Sunday, and Tysyn Hartmen started at free safety. Eric Berry and Brandon Flowers were able to play after being listed as questionable and not putting in a full game of practice all last week.

Derrick Johnson and Branden Albert were also able to play, even though neither had practiced fully last week. It seems like the Chiefs have several key players banged-up, but few of the injuries have been severe enough to keep the players out of the game.


Player on the Rise

The Chiefs really didn’t have a standout performer in Week 14. Hartman didn’t look out of place and Tyson Jackson had a sack, but the performances weren’t enough to call them players on the rise.

Ryan Lilja had another nice performance, and rumors of his demise with the drafting of Allen last April were greatly exaggerated. Lilja performed well and left guard and has been just as good at center. Lilja is the leader of the entire offensive line and one of the main reasons the Chiefs have been able to open holes for Jamaal Charles on a consistent basis.


Stat Trends: Offense

The Chiefs offensive line as a whole hasn’t been protecting Brady Quinn nearly as well as it did earlier in the season. The Chiefs allowed five sacks last week to the Bengals, and the result was a drop for 18th in sack percentage to 22nd.

In the offensive line’s defense, a lot of sacks have come as the result of good coverage or Quinn holding the ball too long. The Chiefs keep finding creative ways to get worse as they have regressed in more areas than they have progressed.

The Chiefs also dropped to 23rd in the league in third-down conversion percentage after last week’s 1-for-11 effort. The loss of Bowe is a big reason the Chiefs struggled on third down, and they are going to have to figure out a different way to keep drives alive. Maybe throw more passes to Charles? It’s hard to say what they can do.


Stat Trends: Defense

With five sacks in the past two weeks, the Chiefs have moved up the sack percentage rankings. An average performance rushing the passer was not enough to help the defense make plays in the secondary as the Chiefs have no interceptions over the last two weeks.

Outside of these two, Kansas City’s defense is really sitting about where it has been. The run defense has taken some abuse over the last two weeks. First, the Chiefs had to face a running quarterback and then they fell behind the Browns.

The defense has some weaknesses, but it is probably good enough to compete in the NFL if the offense is capable of sustaining drives and putting points on the board.


Outlook: Falling

It appeared as though the Chiefs could be pulling out of a season-long funk, but after getting beaten badly by the Browns, that is clearly not the case. The recipe for losing in Kansas City is nothing new, and it’s been largely the same all season.

The turnovers part of the equation has improved, but the Chiefs still can muster much of a passing offense and that puts the pressure on Charles and the defense to win the game. Charles can’t carry the entire offensive load alone, and the defense has just enough problems that it only plays well in spurts.

It seems silly to think that the Chiefs can get worse considering they are 2-11 and are close to securing the No. 1 overall pick, but they keep finding ways to do it.   


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