Chiefs show uncertainty not all that bad

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LeSean McCoy reacts after his first quarter TD run on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2009 at Lincoln Finanancial Field. ( Ron Cortes / Staff Photographer )

On the other hand, a little uncertainty isn't such a bad thing.

Not knowing exactly how the season will work out for the Eagles, how they will hold together despite injuries and some inexperience at important positions, all of that doesn't seem as terrible after you get a look at the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chiefs know exactly how this season is going to come out for them.

It is still September, but the winds of a long fall and the coming winter have already blown holes in whatever aspirations the Chiefs had for 2009. New head coach Todd Haley might have to scurry just to equal the 2-14 record that got Herm Edwards fired after last season.

There are also a few football issues here in Philadelphia, but just be happy they aren't the same ones facing the team that dressed quickly in a stone-quiet locker room yesterday afternoon and left town without making so much as a wide divot in the field.

"I had high hopes coming into this game that we had a good chance to win the game," Haley said after the 34-14 rout was complete.

Yes, those were high hopes. Those hopes could have registered 0.15 on the Breathalyzer, twice the NFL limit for optimism.

Not only didn't the Chiefs have a good chance to win the game. It looked as if they had no chance. Even though the Eagles were doing the first implementation of the real Spread Eagle offense, with Michael Vick finally joining the parade, the Chiefs were the ones being disrupted. Even though the Eagles' defense and special teams were coming off terrible performances against New Orleans, the Chiefs healed them in a hurry.

It got so bad that Haley essentially forfeited the game after halftime as he tried to make a point to his team. Larry Johnson got just 3 rushing yards on seven carries in the first half, and the Chiefs had only 18 rushing yards in all by the break.

"We are trying to win the game, but at the same time we are trying to establish an identity around here," Haley said. "Three yards of rushing offense at halftime, to me, is unacceptable."

So even though the Chiefs trailed by 24-7 at the half, their offense ran the ball 20 times and passed just eight times in the second half.

"You can call it conservative if you want. I think it had a purpose as far as myself and the team goes, and I will leave it at that," Haley said.

Well, fine. If the situations were reversed, Eagles fans would call the strategy something other than "conservative," but we'll just avert our eyes for the next few years and let Haley impart whatever life lessons he chooses. That's their problem, and, yesterday's result notwithstanding, there are still a few here, too.

For their part, however, the Chiefs think the Eagles might be pretty good. Yesterday, the addition of Vick to the offense was the least of their problems. Vick went oh-fer throwing the ball, ran once for 7 yards and handed off or pitched out the rest of the time.

Kansas City did a lot better stopping things when Vick was the quarterback than when LeSean McCoy was the quarterback. And when the Eagles gave the snap to a standard-issue quarterback, they had a lot of trouble keeping up with the young targets at Kevin Kolb's disposal.

"We prepared, but you can't simulate the way they do it," strong safety Mike Brown said. "They kicked our [butts] today. That's the bottom line. Just think if they had McNabb and Westbrook. They've got some Pro Bowl players over there."

How the offense will change when Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook return - which could be against Tampa Bay, the opponent after the coming bye weekend - is going to be fascinating.

Those two aren't necessarily old and cranky, but for McNabb anyway, it could be like a father who gets the car from the kids, turns the key, and jumps as the radio blares and air conditioner blasts. And who tilted this seat all the way back?

Kolb was a great straight man for the offense yesterday, trotting in and out on cue, lining up at wide receiver when instructed, sitting in the pocket, and picking apart the Chiefs when given that opportunity. McCoy got 20 carries, and each one earned him another.

Are McNabb and Westbrook, who have had such success when Andy Reid's offense was merely pass-happy, going to adjust to an offense that is the football equivalent of an AM radio on scan? Good question.

"A lot of teams are doing [the Wildcat] now," said Kansas City free safety Jon McGraw. "It comes down to who you've got running it, and today Philly had some guys that made it hard to stop. Is what they're doing the right overall strategy? I've got no clue, but it seems to be working pretty well right now."

That's life with the Kansas City Chiefs. Play a game, try your best, end the day saying nice things about the other team. It makes for a long season, knowing that whatever comes next is probably not good.

The Eagles don't know - don't really know - what happens next. There is that uncertainty about it, and that is what makes things very interesting. And, as the man said, it seems to be working pretty well right now.

 


Contact columnist Bob Ford at 215-854-5842 or bford@phillynews.com.

Read his blog at http://philly.com/postpatterns