KANSAS CITY, Mo. – With his team 1-6 and facing two seemingly unwinnable games in the next two weeks at San Diego and at Pittsburgh, Kansas City Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel was asked Monday what he would say to Chiefs fans at this point.
“I’d say that I understand their frustrations because I’m frustrated myself,” Crennel said. “All of us — coaches, players, general manager — are all working to get this right. Just hang with us and, hopefully, something will change.”
Chiefs fans, however, have seen little reason to display any more patience. Each week during this dreadful start, the Chiefs continually look like a disorganized team bent on turning the ball over and committing horrendous mistakes.
They have a league-leading 25 turnovers through seven games, and the one facet of the game they do well — running the ball — was non-existent Sunday in a 26-16 loss to the Oakland Raiders.
Worse yet, the Chiefs’ didn’t seem to develop a game plan to run the ball against the Raiders, even though they boast one of the league’s top rushers, Jamaal Charles.
Charles carried the ball only five times for 4 yards Sunday, and Crennel faced repeated questions at his Monday press conference as to why the game plan steered away from Charles.
“As I mentioned (Sunday), the Raiders came in prepared to stop the run and they did a good job of that,” Crennel said. “If you look at the Raider defense, part of their problem has been the passing game.
“So our game plan was to take advantage of that through the passing game, and we were able to do that some. They loaded up against the run, and so we tried to pass more.”
The Chiefs did throw for 197 yards, but about one-third of those yards came on a meaningless drive near the end of the game. Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn also each threw an interception during the game.
Meanwhile, Cassel was the leading rusher, with seven scrambles for 35 yards. Peyton Hillis was the top running back, with 23 yards on four carries — 17 of those yards came on one carry.
Charles, meanwhile, never seemed a part of the game plan. He also caught only three passes for 6 yards.
Crennel defended the use of Charles on Monday.
“I don’t keep track of the count (of plays for Charles),” Crennel said. ” I stand on the sideline and see the rotation and see who goes in and who goes out. Jamaal definitely got the most touches of any running back in the game. Granted, it wasn’t 33 (like against New Orleans), but it was the most of anyone. It was the most — that’s running and passing.
“If you look back to when he ran the ball 33 times, we were gaining some yards, so sure you’re going to keep running. We had success so we could keep running the ball.”
Crennel, admittedly a defensive-minded head coach, said he does pay attention to the offense during the game and would not hesitate to talk to offensive coordinator Brian Daboll to change up the play calling if necessary.
“If I saw we were gaining yards consistently but Jamaal wasn’t getting enough touches, yes, I’d do that,” Crennel said. “If you gain yards, you keep running.
“Look, it’s really simple sometimes. If it’s working, you keep calling it. If it isn’t, you try something else. That’s what we’re doing. (Sunday), we weren’t running well so we tried something else.”
Crennel also indicated he is involved during the week with the offensive game plan.
“Brian and I sit down every week and talk about how we plan to move the ball,” Crennel said.
The other news Monday, of course, was the quarterback situation. Quinn left Sunday’s game in the first half because of a head injury and would seem doubtful for Thursday night’s game at San Diego, given the NFL’s strict guidelines for testing on head injuries.
“We will know more probably later today or tomorrow,” Crennel said. “But he could play if he practices (Tuesday).”
More than likely, Cassel will make the start, which has to be somewhat frustrating for Crennel, who had been hoping to shake up his team by making the quarterback switch to Quinn before the Raiders game.
“During the bye week, I thought I did do something radical to impact the team,” Crennel said. “And then that change got hit in the head.”