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Archive for Wednesday, September 5, 2007

No offense, but Chiefs haven’t shown any

Kansas City scored just two touchdowns in four - winless - exhibitions

September 5, 2007

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— Sure, Larry Johnson had just three meaningless carries, and quarterback Damon Huard hardly played at all. And yes, everyone knows head coach Herm Edwards is partial to defense, the side of the ball he played on during his younger days.

But, come on. Two touchdowns in four exhibition games? Four winless exhibition games?

Is this the offense the Kansas City Chiefs will trot out in Houston on Sunday in their season opener, fretful fans wonder?

"I don't think they should be worried," right guard John Welbourn said. "You have to remember, we kept everything pretty vanilla. We didn't really do anything. We showed about 10 percent of our arsenal."

Nevertheless, not one aspect of the offense showed any hint of flow or consistency in losses to New Orleans, St. Louis, Miami and Cleveland. Second-year quarterback Brodie Croyle, handed an opportunity to win the job, failed. His three turnovers elevated Huard, a career-long backup who played well in eight starts last year in place of now-departed Trent Green.

The running game with Pro Bowler Johnson, working out in Arizona during a contract dispute, was terrible. The only big play anyone on offense made all summer was a long run by rookie Kolby Smith.

Rookie first-round draft pick Dwayne Bowe made one good catch at wide receiver, but he dropped another ball and failed to crack the starting lineup.

The offense scored only two touchdowns altogether. Moreover, rookie kicker Justin Medlock struggled - so much so, the Chiefs had six kicking prospects in camp Monday.

Johnson, who has broken the team rushing record each of the past two years, is back now. And so is left tackle Damion McIntosh, who practiced on Monday for the first time since injuring his knee on Aug. 1.

Also back Monday was backup tight end Jason Dunn, a terrific blocker who had been held out with an injury. Monday, in fact, was the first time the Chiefs have had all eleven of their starters on the field together since minicamp.

"It's nice to have your running back again," said Welbourn, who has moved from tackle to guard, his more natural position. "I'm sure we'll take a little bit of time, but we're not worried. Preseason is a poor indicator. How many times have you seen a team go 4-0 in the preseason and then go 5-11? I don't put much stock in the preseason."

The winless preseason and dismal offensive stats are not a source of confidence, however. While it's true Kansas City was running only its base plays, those base plays looked bad.

"I don't see us struggling," said left guard Brian Waters. "But, again, we don't know what we're going to do. That's the good thing about it: We've yet to see this whole football team run our offense with all our players in there. That's something we can feel positive about."

An early worry is Johnson's game-worthiness. Nobody expects the man who carried an NFL record 416 times a year ago to be at his peak at Houston. He missed too much time during a 25-day holdout.

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