We’re putting a different spin on the newest edition of the cover32 Chiefs mailbag. Today, we got many questions from some of your favorite Chiefs players and coaches about their playoff meltdown in Indianapolis. (Ok, maybe they didn’t, but here’s what they probably would be asking.)
Look man, when I got three timeouts, I got to use them up, right? I can’t just let them sit there! – Andy Reid, head coach
Tyler Greever: Now Andy, we’ve talked about this. I thought we got over this problem in Philly, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
If you recall, your team was only leading by three with just over seven minutes to go. It was a crucial third and seven, but the offense was still setting up with four seconds left on the play clock. So you burned your first timeout. Remember, you’re probably going to need these later on since this game has gotten way too close for comfort.
Then you got even more careless. After A.J. Jenkins converted that third down with a 27-yard gain, your offense let the play clock run down again on the next play. So you threw away your second timeout. Maybe you were a little shocked Jenkins came through with his second longest reception of his career, and needed a minute to breathe. But seriously, what is the timeout needed for here? You picked up the first down. Even if the play clock runs out, just take the delay of game.
If you had these timeouts at the end of the game, who knows, your team might have gotten another shot to prolong this one.
Did I prove myself enough on Saturday? – Alex Smith, starting quarterback
Tyler Greever: You may have, Alex. But Chiefs fans actually should have had a little more faith in you going into the game.
Before Saturday’s game, your playoff numbers were not shabby. You had 565 total yards during the 2011 playoffs with the San Francisco 49ers along with six total touchdowns, and you have still never thrown an interception in three playoff games. Everybody remembers you outplaying Drew Brees in that unforgettable first round thriller of a win for the Niners as well.
Honestly, you topped that performance by throwing the most touchdowns a Kansas City quarterback has ever thrown in a playoff game, passing Joe Montana. Even though you’re labeled as a game-manager, you threw a 79-yard touchdown pass and shovel-passed another. You constantly impressed with your mobility and pocket presence.
But that doesn’t mean you were perfect. You’re probably kicking yourself for missing Cyrus Gray down the sidelines at the beginning of the fourth quarter. You probably tried to make a little too much happen when you got stripped from behind by Robert Mathis.
Overall though, you had the greatest performance of your career on Saturday. You lost your best weapon in Jamaal Charles, as well as others throughout the game, but still found a way to put up impressive numbers. Kansas City would still be well served to draft and develop a young quarterback, but you did nothing to make people think you should lose your starting spot.
What are the positions I really need to improve if we want to keep winning next year? – John Dorsey, general manager
Tyler Greever: Out of all the people, I’m flattered you asked me. But I think our newest cover32 columnist Brandon Kiley summed it up well:
— Brandon Kiley (@BKSportsTalk) January 8, 2014
Out of all those positions mentioned, I personally think wide receiver is the most pressing. The leading receiver on the Chiefs was Charles, who had 70 receptions for 693 yards and seven touchdowns. When your running back is the leading receiver, that’s not a particularly good sign.
Dwayne Bowe signed a five year, $56 million contract before the season started, giving him the fourth highest average salary for a wide receiver in the NFL. But he only caught 57 balls for 673 yards and five touchdowns. No other Kansas City wideout was able to gain over 600 yards or catch more than three touchdowns.
I understand the Chiefs are a team built off of running the football, and they should be. But this kind of production from your receivers simply is not going to cut it. They need a guy who can consistently beat man coverage and create separation. This upcoming draft, which the Chiefs have the 23rd pick in, is absolutely stacked at wide receiver. They might not even need to spend a first round pick to snag a playmaker.
I would also add cornerback to that list of needs John, but I don’t want to lecture you here.
What were the best and worst things to take out of the loss to Indy? Find out here.