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The Chiefs Aren’t Who We Thought They Were

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It’s only the preseason.

After the Chiefs latest preseason debacle, that should be the favorite phrase of Kansas City fans everywhere. There is some truth to that statement, it is only the preseason, but this is the Chiefs we are talking about.

They haven’t exactly been the model of consistency over the past decade plus and a strong preseason would have been very reassuring for both the team and their fans, but the last two preseason contests have been anything but reassuring.

The Chiefs clicked on all cylinders in their preseason opener against the Cardinals and by doing so they gave fans what they hoped would be a glimpse of what was to come this season, an up tempo offense with many weapons that was going to make 2011’s Tyler Palko/Jackie Battle unwatchable offense an afterthought.

Somewhere along the way the Chiefs up tempo offense reverted back to the more predictable, bunched together, three-and-out offense of Kansas City past.

It doesn’t take a football genius to see that the Chiefs should be spreading their opponents out on defense this season by utilizing their many weapons on offense this season. Players like Dexter McCluster, Steve Breaston, and Jamaal Charles need to have space to maneuver and that is going to be on offensive coordinator Brian Daboll to make happen. If the Chiefs offense expects to be able to come out in I-formation sets and pound the ball, while settling for dink and dunk passes from Matt Cassel again this season then they will likely fail.

The running game needs to be a huge part of the Chiefs offense, but that doesn’t mean they can’t run the ball out of three and four receiver sets much of the time. ESPN.com’s Matt Williamson recently picked the Chiefs to win the West (he might want to delete that column after last night) and one of the things he talked about was Charles having an opportunity to run against nickel defenses because of the matchup problems the team’s versatile offense could create this season.

It’s no coincidence the Chiefs have had their most success moving the ball this preseason by throwing to McCluster who has taken advantage of his elite quickness in one-on-one opportunities. There is no excuse for the Chiefs offense to finish outside the top half of the league in scoring this season with the ridiculous amount of weapons they have at their disposal.

The defense has also been disappointing in the preseason, with very few bright spots thus far. Derrick Johnson looks like he is going to have another huge season, but he appears to be the only Chiefs defender ready for the regular season to begin. New corner Stanford Routt hasn’t been tested all that much but he has played alright thus far. On the other side, Jalil Brown has more than proven that he is not ready for primetime and if Brandon Flowers doesn’t get healthy soon the Chiefs secondary could be in a world of hurt.

It’s hard to imagine that a Chiefs defense that played so well for much of last season even with Jon McGraw replacing Eric Berry and Andy Studebaker starting over Justin Houston, would actually be worse this season with Berry and Houston in the starting lineup.

The KC defense has looked like they are just going through the motions their past two games, especially when you compare their effort to that of the Seahawks defense last night which was flying around the Arrowhead Stadium playing surface. Hopefully the Chiefs will be able to flip the switch once the regular season begins but it’s not that easy to do and that is why fans should be at least slightly concerned with the team’s performance as of late.

If Dwayne Bowe can get his stuff together, Flowers can return from injury for the season opener, and Daboll can get creative to keep defenses honest with his plethora of skill position players, then the Chiefs might just end up being who we thought they were.

But if those things don’t happen, we can point back to another disappointing preseason that was once again a precursor to a sub-par regular season that we can all say we saw coming.