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News » Kansas City Chiefs Inside Slant 2008-10-30

Kansas City Chiefs Inside Slant 2008-10-30

Kansas City Chiefs Inside Slant 2008-10-30
Reporters keep asking Herm Edwards if he'll activate Larry Johnson for the Tampa Bay game this week given the ankle injury to backup Jamaal Charles and the team's woeful running performance in the past two weeks when Johnson hasn't played.

Tired of talking about how he's not going to play Johnson, whose off-field conduct may be subject to a league suspension, Edwards came up with another way of dealing with the question Wednesday.

"We're a run-and-shoot team now," he said with tongue planted firmly in check. "Got a running quarterback too. Why do we need running backs? We'll use five wideouts, throw it all over the place."

No, the Chiefs aren't ready to become, say, Texas Tech of 2008, or even the Houston Oilers of 1993. But their moribund offense, one ranked 27th in total yards this week, did get an appreciable lift last week when the Chiefs employed a variation of the spread offense that has become the rage here in Big 12 country.

In an effort to put replacement quarterback Tyler Thigpen in a comfort zone, the Chiefs spread the field, tossed in some no-huddle and let Thigpen run the shotgun rollouts he knew as a collegian at Coastal Carolina. And while it didn't result in a win, the 13-point underdog Chiefs pushed the Jets to the final minute before falling 28-24, their highest point output since getting 33 in their upset of Denver for their only win.

Of course, seven of those 24 points were scored on defense. But let's not ruin a good fairy tale.

For public consumption, Edwards says he doesn't think the true spread can be effective as an every-down offense in the NFL.

"Linebackers are a lot faster in this league," he noted, "Defensive linemen are faster than in college. The closing speed is a lot different.

"If you spread your tackles out in space, you leave your edges too open; you become vulnerable to blitzes unless you get the ball off fast. And when you leave your quarterback vulnerable, they get hit a lot."

Having made his case for not using a college-oriented offense more than infrequently, Edwards may be guilty of protesting too loudly.

After all, how many other offensive options does he and offensive coordinator Chan Gailey have for a unit that is averaging 104 rushing yards and only 164 passing on a 1-6 team?

Really, what does he have to lose? Especially when going against one of the league's best defenses (fifth in total yards) this week against Tampa Bay.

"I know we didn't plan to use it the whole game, but we mixed it in a little and it worked, so we went with it," said tight end Brad Cottam, who caught the first four passes of his NFL career against the Jets. "If you find something that works to someone's strength, maybe we'll add some things to it and see where it takes us.

"It seems like one of those trends that is working for some people, so more are trying it out," Cottam added. "It seemed to work for us, so maybe we'll continue to do it."

Added Edwards: "I'm for anything that will move the football. But though the spread helped us, I don't think you can live with it."

SERIES HISTORY: 10th regular-season meeting. Chiefs lead 5-4 but have lost the last two infrequent meetings. The Bucs won 34-31 in November 2004 at Raymond James Stadium. They haven't played at Arrowhead since 1986.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 30, 2008

Rashad Barksdale Name: Rashad Barksdale
Position: CB
Age: 24
Experience: 2 years
College: Albany
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