Chiefs offense prepared for shootout
SEP 08, 2012 1:48p ET
Or two. Or six. Or five. Or seven. Or however many starters don’t suit up on defense for the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
No, the magic number to keep in mind is this: 24.
Since 2009, over the past three seasons, the Chiefs have scored 24 or more points at Arrowhead Stadium in six different contests.
They won five.
Since 2009, the Atlanta Falcons have given up 24 or more points on the road in 10 different tilts.
They lost seven.
Your serve, Matt Cassel.
“I think our offense is capable of winning a game in a situation where we have to put a lot of points on the board,” the beleaguered Chiefs quarterback told reporters earlier this week when asked about the season-opening sashay with Atlanta. “I think we have the potential to do that, and again, we’ll see how the game goes and what the game dictates.”
If the game dictates a shootout, if Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and his merry band exploit the holes in a defense that’s likely to trot out several JV options, what happens then?
Can a team built to try to win games 22-16 or 24-20 somehow put up 30 or 35 points if it has to?
Can an offense designed for a monster-truck rally handle life on the Circuit de Monaco?
Can Team Cassel aim straight in a shootout?
Your serve, Brian Daboll.
“I think you have to prepare for all the situations,” the new Chiefs offensive coordinator told the media a few days ago. “And whatever situation comes at your in the first game, you have to handle and adjust and respond to (that), be resilient.”
It’s about resilience. It’s about finding a way. It’s about Cassel playing chess games with linebacker Akeem Dent’s noggin. It’s about Daboll versus Mike Nolan, the Falcons’ defensive coordinator.
And the latter should be fun, considering that both men know each other well. The pair were employed by Miami Dolphins coach Tony Sparano a year ago at this time: Daboll ran the Fins’ offense; Nolan coordinated a defense that allowed the sixth-fewest points in the NFL (19.6 per game) and the third-fewest rushing yards (95.6).
“He has multiple, multiple schemes; it’s been a grind these past 10 days here,” Daboll continued. “Anytime you play the first game of the season, there is a little bit of the unexpected.”
Chiefs fans have had enough surprises the past three weeks, especially on the injury front. Kansas City spent the past few days of regular-season prep work with at least seven defenders on the mend.
Front-line safety Kendrick Lewis and nose tackle Anthony Toribio are unlikely to play at all. Linebacker Derrick Johnson says he plans to suit up, but is suffering from a bum ankle; ditto for cornerback Brandon Flowers, who hasn’t seen the field since an apparent heel injury during training camp back on July 31. Pro-Bowl pass-rusher Tamba Hali is already on a 1-week unpaid vacation for falling on the wrong side of the league’s substance abuse policy.
Throw linebacker Jovan Belcher onto the list of walking wounded — sore groin muscle, apparently — and you wonder if Romeo Crennel’s even slept this week.
“That’s encouraging that the guys want to play,” Crennel told reporters, “and are going to try to play.”
Your serve, Andy Studebaker.
“There are going to be some good things that happen,” Daboll said. “There are probably going to be a few things that happen that you wish didn’t happen right away. But you find a way to be resilient, to bounce back, to attack, to do whatever you need to do to help the football team.”
You need to score. Often.
You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter @seankeeler or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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