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Chief Carl Has Lost a Step


Larry Johnson had 10 carries on Sunday. Ten carries!

Let's go back three weeks. I was sitting on my couch, with this very computer on the coffee table in front of me. In my hand was a hammer that I was continuously bashing into my skull because I foolishly laid points with Herman Edwards. The Chiefs lost to the Dolphins, 11-10, but I'm not using this space on my Web site to complain about the money I flushed down the toilet. I've done that enough over the years.

Instead, I'm going to flash back to a conversation Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson had in the booth with Mike Tirico, Tony Kornheiser and Ron Jaworski. Peterson was gushing over Brodie Croyle, who had just thrown a 21-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Jaworski, meanwhile, was batting his eyes at Peterson, boasting about how horrible Kansas City was prior to his arrival. I have to give Jaws credit for not giving the general manager a love sonnet he had written for him that was tucked away in his jacket pocket.

Peterson left the booth, Croyle threw an ugly interception and struggled the rest of the preseason, Damon Huard was named the starter, Edwards orchestrated a bizarre NFL fashion show for kids that Deion Sanders apparently enjoyed, and the Chiefs were completely embarrassed by the Houston Texans in the first week of the NFL campaign, 20-3. Not a good start for one of the NFL's proudest franchises.

When things look bleak, especially when millions of dollars are involved, someone has to take the blame. And someone has to give it. As you can probably guess, I'm calling out Peterson.

To be fair, I have to mention the positive moves he has made over the years. He found Priest Holmes when no one else wanted him. He had the foresight to draft Larry Johnson when he already had Holmes. He put together a prolific front that included Willie Roaf, Will Shields and Tony Gonzalez. However, that's all in the past. I feel as though Peterson has lost a step.

My biggest gripe with some of the recent acquisitions he has made - or lack thereof - is that he has failed to replace some of the former Pro Bowl linemen who have retired. Roaf has become the lackluster Damion McIntosh. Shields is now the inept John Welbourn. Right tackle John Tait, who left for the Bears a few years ago, hasn't been replaced either. Am I shocked Mario Williams was able to dominate Kansas City's offensive front? You tell me.

Another thing I can't quite understand is Peterson's infatuation with his mediocre receivers. Eddie Kennison, who has been the Chiefs' No. 1 wide out for years, has been, and always will be nothing more than a secondary option. Peterson finally drafted a receiver in the first round, Dwayne Bowe, a move which was about five years overdue because Samie Parker has inexplicably started for what seems like eight decades. I can't think of another organization that would have Parker on its team, much less its starting lineup. And who is Jeff Webb? That guy, whoever he is, was responsible for a fumble returned for a touchdown on Sunday.

And speaking of players who wouldn't be able to make the cut elsewhere, how many more years do the Chiefs plan on having a defense that can't tackle? The cupboard isn't bare on the stop unit, as Jared Allen and Tamba Hali are stars, but there have been way too many bust signings and draft picks.

As Peterson stood in the booth next to the rosy-cheeked Jaworski, he explained how he was doing everything in his power to get Larry Johnson into camp. Peterson fulfilled his promise, but vastly overpaid Johnson, who wasn't able to carry the load against the Texans because he was out of shape after a summer of just sitting on his couch and spending the money he hadn't obtained yet. Johnson carried the ball just 10 times for 43 yards. And I'm not sure if he wasn't able to break a run of longer than eight yards on Houston's beleaguered defense because of his own lethargy or the ineptness of his offensive line.

I'm not really sure which, so I'll just keep on blaming Peterson. I guess you can say he's responsible for both.



EXTRA POINTS

Kansas City Chiefs: Not to pile on Carl Peterson, but his rookie kicker Justin Medlock missed from 30 in the first quarter. Peterson took Medlock over Mason Crosby, the higher-rated kicker in the draft whom the Chiefs passed over. Crosby nailed a 53-yarder against the Eagles.

Atlanta Falcons: This offseason after Matt Schaub was traded, ESPN's Len Pasquarelli was asked if the Falcons had a contingency plan if Michael Vick were unable in 2007. Pasquarelli, amid stuffing a meatball sandwich into his mouth, bellowed, "Of course they do! Joey Harrington!" Credibility shot (yet again). The Falcons failed to score a touchdown against the Vikings, as Harrington threw two interceptions. He was 23-of-32, but most of his tosses were short, dump-off passes.

Buffalo Bills: Here's a surprise: The Bills couldn't stop the run. Or the pass. Travis Henry rushed for 139 yards on 23 carries, while Jay Cutler compiled 304 through the air. Denver only managed 15 points, but I think that's more of a matter of circumstance. The Bills' defense is going to be drilled for 30 sometime soon, and it will become evident that they need upgrades at defensive tackle, corner and outside linebacker. Oh, and J.P. Losman was very mediocre (14-of-21, 97 yards, one interception.) His 1-year trial is off to a rocky start.

Cleveland Browns: Charlie. Frye. Sucks. Derek. Anderson. Sucks. More. Please. Start. Brady. Quinn. - A. Multi-Word. Challenged. Browns. Fan.

Green Bay Packers: Throughout the Packers-Eagles telecast, Dick Stockton and Moose Johnston pointed out that the Packers had no weapons other than Donald Driver. Duh. I only mentioned that out a few months ago in my season preview, only to be laughed at by Green Bay fans. That said, I like what I see out of Brandon Jackson and James Jones, both of whom are on all five of my fantasy teams. Bubba Franks, meanwhile, continues to be a sloth.

Houston Texans: When the Texans upset the Dolphins to start 1-0 in 2003, it was a fluke. Houston's 20-3 victory over the beleaguered Chiefs, however, definitely wasn't. Mario Williams dominated Kansas City's weak offensive front, while Matt Schaub looked very impressive, completing 16-of-22 passes for 225 yards. Andre Johnson caught seven passes for 142 yards and a score.

Jacksonville Jaguars: It may sound silly to say this in the wake of Jacksonville's loss to the Titans a 7-point favorites, but it looks like they made the right decision with David Garrard. Garrard went 17-of-30, 204 yards and a touchdown. If Leftwich were under center, he definitely would have finished 1-of-353, -494 yards and -9.4 touchdowns.

Miami Dolphins: A couple of weeks ago, I reported that Ronnie Brown was in danger of losing the starting job. Well, it looks like Miami is going to utilize the loathed running-back-by-committee attack. Brown carried the ball 11 times for 32 yards, while Jesse Chatman had seven rushes for 15 yards. If the Dolphins are truly one of the three worst teams in the league, they'll be looking at Darren McFadden in April.

Minnesota Vikings: So much for my prediction that Marshawn Lynch will win Offensive Rookie of the Year. If Adrian Peterson keeps up what he's doing, he'll lock up that award by Week 10. Peterson carried the load for Minnesota, rushing for 103 yards on 19 carries. However, his top play occurred through the air, as he scored on a 60-yard reception.

New England Patriots: Yeah, so, I think this Randy Moss experiment thing is going to work out in New England. All Moss did against the Jets was catch nine passes for 183 yards, including a 51-yard score. Moss also opened up opportunities for the newly signed Wes Welker, who had six receptions, 61 yards and a touchdown.

New York Jets: Tom Brady could have probably put together a Rubik's Cube, browsed through Al Saunders' playbook and watched every single DVD of the Sopranos on each play. The Jets simply couldn't put any pressure on Brady. He seriously had seven or more seconds to find his talented receivers on nearly every possession.

New York Jets Fans: Wow, you guys suck. Not everyone - I'm referring to those who cheered when Chad Pennington limped off the field to save a timeout. It's not even like Pennington played poorly; he finished 16-of-21 for 167 yards and two touchdowns.

Oakland Raiders: I was disappointed that the Raiders didn't start Daunte Culpepper after the former Viking had such an excellent preseason. Josh McCown had a nice game on paper - he was 30-of-40 for 313 yards - but he fumbled thrice and threw two crucial interceptions late in the fourth quarter. If Oakland wants to get out of the NFL's cellar, it can't lose to the Lions, especially at home. And if McCown can't beat crappy teams, Culpepper will start sooner than later.

Philadelphia Eagles: My friend Jon IMed me after the game, "I hate this city. The Eagles suck." More like, the Eagles are stubborn. Everyone criticized Andy Reid for neglecting the punt returner position when he waived Jeremy Bloom. Instead, Reid decided to use Greg Lewis, a horrendous receiver who had no experience at the position. Lewis fumbled once, and then was replaced by J.R. Reed, who muffed the punt that set the Packers up for the game-winning field goal. Reid's a great coach, but his Achilles' Heel is his stubbornness, which has prevented the Eagles from taking the next step more often than not.

San Diego Chargers: If I hear one more person questioning LaDainian Tomlinson's preseason regimen one more time, I'm going to jump off a bridge. Tomlinson didn't run for just 25 yards because he didn't play in any exhibition games; he was simply going against one of the top defenses in the league.

St. Louis Rams: I don't want to take anything away from Carolina's 27-13 victory over the Rams, but the Panthers were finally able to slow St. Louis down after Orlando Pace left the game with an arm injury. Everyone always talks about Marc Bulger, Steven Jackson, Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce, but Pace is the most important player on the Rams' offense. They have no shot at the playoffs if he misses an extensive period of time.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: I mentioned this stat in my picks page, but in case you missed it, the Buccaneers are now 4-25 on the West Coast in their franchise history. What's with these dubious stats Tampa Bay likes to assemble? They can't win near the Pacific Ocean, and they have never returned a kickoff for a touchdown. I'm amazed they won a Super Bowl.

Tennessee Titans: If you asked most people what they thought about the Titans' chances in 2007, they would have told you that the team didn't have much of a chance because it lost Travis Henry to free agency and Pacman Jones to pure stupidity. Yet, everyone seemed to forget about Vince Young. The former Longhorn didn't put up amazing stats, but he once again led his squad to victory.

Washington Redskins: Jason Campbell's first pass attempt versus Miami was an interception. He threw one more pick, but he was effective otherwise; Campbell finished 12-of-21 for 222 yards in a 16-13 overtime victory.

Congratulations to...: Ellis Hobbs, who set an NFL record with a 108-yard kickoff return, the longest in league history.

ESPN: First, ESPN foolishly got rid of the real NFL Primetime because it didn't realize it could shoot the show on Sunday evening and air it after midnight on the next day. Now, on NFL Countdown they have a 10-year-old as an analyst. Let's wait until the kid stops wetting his bed and playing during recess to put him on TV.

The Odd Play Call of the Week: The Titans had a fourth-and-goal on Jacksonville's 1-yard line early in the second quarter. They decided to go for six. You're thinking Norm Chow's play would have involved Vince Young, right? Nope. LenWhale White. Up the middle. No gain. Tons of cheeseburgers after the game.

The WTF Stat of the Week: Chris Brown rushed for 175 yards on just 19 carries. How did that happen? The only reason the Titans signed Brown is because LenWhale White was something like 249,420 pounds overweight in training camp. No one was even looking at Brown. By the way, does anyone else find it weird that Tennessee surrendered 3.7 yards per carry, while the Jaguars permitted 6.5? I thought Jacksonville was supposed to have the good defense.

Incompetent Referees: In the third quarter of the Bears-Chargers game, I called my dad and told him that there was no way he was going to win his San Diego bet. I was convinced the officials had money on Chicago. Could you blame me though? The Bears were blatantly offside twice, including once that caused a fumble at the goal line, yet weren't whistled for it. Well, the Chargers covered, so I guess the refs were just inept and didn't understand what an offside penalty was.

Jon Kitna's Quest for 5,000: Jon Kitna said he will throw 5,000 yards this season. He compiled 289 yards against Oakland. He's currently on pace for 4,624. C'mon Kitna, time to stop slacking.

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