Season winding down to the ultimate prize







BY JOSE FAUS


Two games left in the regular season and then the post season starts. The Chiefs sit with the third seed in hand and winnable games against the Chicago Bears and the Los Angeles Chargers before the run to the Super Bowl.


The defense has been humming like an oiled machine. Not well oiled because I still want to see more from them, but it feels good to think that there is a chance this defense can make the crucial stops they were not able to make last year. It is not wishful thinking either.


The hallmark of all the great Chiefs defenses has included a strong leader at safety. I can’t imagine the great Marty Schottenheimer defenses with out the likes of Deron Cherry in the middle. Tyrann Mathieu has stepped into that role seamlessly. He leads by example and the Honey Badger does not waste time letting you know what needs to be done, he does it.


Add Frank Clark and Chris Jones to that defense and this looks darn good. I love watching the joy Jones plays with. He is a big man with a motor that does not stop. I met him once and he put his arm on my shoulder. It felt like someone had put a slab of bricks on me. My shoulder sank slightly, my whole body fighting to keep me straight. The man is huge.


The other thing about this defense besides moxie is depth and speed. I remember a game when the Seattle Seahawks visited Arrowhead. I marveled at the speed of that defense and especially the secondary. I see some of that here.


Free safety Juan Thornhill, cornerback Chavarious Ward, and cornerback Bashaud Breeland have been impressive in the last three games making key plays along the way. They are athletic and tenacious. Their play is a big result of the pressure the front line is putting up. They are also benefitting from a scheme that makes the most of their talents.


And speaking of scheme, how refreshing it has been to see the Steve Spagnuolo defense gambling and attacking, blitzes with purpose and results. Yes, one can get burned but so far I am happy to see the swagger that comes from a defense that attacks, than one that reacts.


Of course all this has come with a price. The injury monster hit the defense as well. Last week saw defensive end Alex Okafor tear a pectoral muscle after a crucial sack. Now the reports indicate that Terrell Suggs has been claimed off waivers after being released by the Arizona Cardinals.


As of press time this had not been confirmed but all indications are that Suggs will report. After 16 years in the NFL one has to wonder how much he has left to contribute to this team. I am not a seer but I don’t think there is a measurement for the heart of a player like Suggs. I have seen the man take on a whole offensive side and make plays. I won’t be surprised to see that tenacity showing up in the post season.


The man also has a hard won Super Bowl under his belt and that has to impress, especially as I expect, he will be contributing and not just taking up space. Some people would say this is delusional on my part, there is nothing left in that tank that can benefit the Chiefs. Time will tell and it will be quick, maybe as early as this week against the Bears on Sunday night football.


I have not said much about the offense because honestly I have no problems with them. I think they have all the ingredients to be a premier offense for years to come. My only concern is the offensive line and how I wish we had the line that defended Trent Green. Oh my, they don’t make them like that.


Two Hall of Famers were the best shield. Guard Will Shields and tackle Willie Roaf were monstrously good and a joy to watch when they moved down field in the running game. One can’t always have what they want and that was something beautiful.


Should we worry that the Chiefs running game has been anemic at best? This may be the weakest excuse for not being worried but I really have faith that the coaching trust of Andy Reid and Eric Bieniemy will solve this with a series of creative mixing. The next two games will show some of that. I think the offense has some nice tricks up the sleeve we have not seen yet.


So, I am just sitting here waiting for the post season to start and feeling as calm as I ever have going to the end of the season. Talk to me when the playoffs start. I will be a nervous Nelly all the way to the Super Bowl.