JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Before we begin, I want to stress that I am not a football coach and Im not playing one here on the internet. There is every chance that what I see is not what Andy Reid and the rest of the Chiefs coaches see, every chance that what Im telling you here is flat out wrong and, just as one example, I present this:
By SAM MELLINGER
The Kansas City Star
Dontari Poe made a boatload of plays yesterday, and if this was last year, youd hear a line of organizational propaganda telling you thats not his job.
Jokes aside, the following is basically just a guy^ rewatching the Chiefs game and passing along a few things he sees.
^ Me, in this case. You should also check out Terez Paylor , our terrific new beat writer.
So with that, lets begin our rewatch of a team so beautifully different than the one Chiefs fans suffered through last year:
- Brandon Flowers had a really nice open field tackle on a quick pass out to a receiver on the Jags first possession. Later, Kendrick Lewis did the same thing. Same players as last year, different results.
- Alex Smith went deep-ish on the Chiefs first offensive play of the season. We can quibble about whether the ball was overthrown or Anthony Fasano dropped it I vote overthrown; it wouldve taken a hell of a catch but Im including it here because it was, basically, the only downfield pass Smith threw all day. In fairness, this was mostly because the Chiefs got out to such a big lead so quickly, but this is something well all monitor as the season goes on.
- After the safety, Dustin Colquitt punted from the Chiefs 20 to inside the Jags 5. Thats 75 yards in the air, with good hang time, the equivalent of nice little 63-yard-or-so punt.
- It wasnt just the pressures and the sacks where Poe stood out. I dont know much about Jacksonvilles interior line, it may very well suck. But there was a pretty simple math equation going on most of the afternoon:
One blocker for Poe = Poe is something like the defensive version of Tecmo Bo.
Two blockers for Poe = Poe is merely a Pro Bowler.
There was one play in the first quarter, a screen pass to Justin Forsett. The Jags had two blockers on Poe, but he shed both, and got out wide to stop Forsett for a loss. Just a ridiculous play for a 340-pound man. If not for Justin Houston, Poe wouldve had another sack in the second half. He burst through the line, but Houston just got there first. As Houston was bringing Gabbert down, Poe sort of had his big arm around the both of them.
- Dexter McClusters 36-yard punt return was basically a gift of terrific blocking. Chiefs set up a wall down the left sideline. Dave F. Toub.
- Jamaal Charles lined up wide and running a quick slant near the goal line was a nice touch. Havent seen much of that in Charles career.
- I dont know if you noticed this, but after Donnie Avery caught that touchdown, the Jaguars mascot sort of shoved him. Made me laugh. Also: the Jaguars mascot is named Jaxson, which is obnoxious.
- The Chiefs, generally, got terrific and consistent pressure on Blaine Gabbert without using an abundance of blitzes. This is a great sign, obviously, but one of the things we should keep in mind when imagine how the Chiefs will do against better competition. Better teams will do a better job of protecting their better quarterbacks, who will do a better job of finding better receivers open down the field.
- Like, that play where Ace Sanders missed a wide open catch down the field. Thats the kind of thing that wont happen against good teams.
- McCluster mayve had a chance for another good return late in the first quarter, but I think he lost the ball in the sun. Got away from it.
- On the touchdown catch by Hemingway, it looked like Smith couldve led him a little more but the ball was high enough that only Hemingway could catch it. Another thing that stood out: it wasnt Smiths first read, so, in other words, not a play either quarterback wouldve made last year.
- When the coaches talk about seeing things to improve on, I think theyre mostly talking about a few unforced penalties and the fact that the Chiefs really didnt have a long, sustained, eat-up-the-clock kind of drive. Didnt need to, of course, but football coaches love to be unsatisfied.
- Eric Fisher was mixed, from what I could tell. Got smoked on a bull rush in the first half, a play where Smith bailed him out by scrambling toward the goal line. Held up OK on other downs. You can see the potential in him, and for a reminder on how much growth there is for young offensive linemen, Luke Joeckel got worked.
- One bad pass by Smith stood out. Late in the second quarter, he locked in on Fasano, which allowed UConn rookie defensive back Dwayne Gratz to read the play and nearly make an interception. The ball fell incomplete, so no harm done, but those are the kinds of moments Smith typically avoids. Then again, perhaps the most telling thing is that this is, really, the only mistake that stood out to me.
- The Chiefs went WAY vanilla in the second half, and rightfully so. Jacksonville wouldve needed until Thanksgiving to make up that deficit.
- I wonder how many of the Chiefs downfield passing plays this year will be on those pump-and-gos, where they bait the defensive backs into overplaying the short stuff. Something to keep an eye on, anyway.
- I dont know what Tambas assignment was on the play that ended with his interception and samba dance in the end zone, but it looked like he just made a terrific read and Gabbert made an awful one. What my eyes saw was Tamba getting sort of cut-blocked by Joeckel, but keep his feet, read Gabberts eyes and react quickly to the short pass. Gabbert never shouldve made the throw, of course, but he undoubtedly didnt expect Tamba to be right there.
- Alex Smith was playing deep in the fourth quarter, much deeper than necessary to lock the game. The Chiefs need to keep him healthy.