For now, at least, Chiefs offensive coordinator Brian Daboll is one of the most popular men in Kansas City. He orchestrated an offense than scored 27 points in last week’s preseason opener, the Chiefs’ highest total in an preseason game in nine years.
This happened his first time out, so it’s little wonder Daboll has been elevated to rock star status on Twitter, in bars and wherever people gather to discuss the Chiefs.
If Daboll wants it to continue, the Chiefs need to score a bunch of points again Saturday night when the preseason continues with a game against the Rams in St. Louis. To that end, last week’s accomplishments against Arizona were ancient history Monday when the Chiefs returned to training camp at Missouri Western.
“Our focus was on today,” Daboll said. “Rearview mirror, next practice, day to day deal. We had a pretty good practice out here, I thought.
“That was a start. What we were focused on was getting off to a fast start. It was good to get out there and get a couple of touchdowns.”
Not that their quick offensive start wasn’t encouraging to the Chiefs. They struggled all of last season to score points and put an emphasis on being more prepared on Sept. 9 when the regular season begins against Atlanta at Arrowhead Stadium.
But this quick start — the starting offense had just two possessions, but they both went for 72 yards and resulted in touchdowns — was beyond what the Chiefs expected.
“Generally, you don’t think you’re going to drive it 12 plays and score on the first drive,” coach Romeo Crennel said. “You figure that if you can get a first down and maybe two first downs, that would be a good start. To drive it all the way down and score, that was better than usual, better than I expected.
“You temper it because this (game) didn’t count. But I think you have to acknowledge that what they did was good. The first half was a good half.”
The Chiefs found other things to like about the way their offense operated. They were efficient in getting the play calls to quarterback Matt Cassel and having the proper players on the field for the particular play.
Those things have been problems for the Chiefs in recent seasons.
“Obviously you want to see touchdowns, you want to see points,” tackle Eric Winston said. “Preseason games, there’s an argument to be made whether it matters or not. But what I think does matter is the way we were running the operation of the plays — getting in and out of plays, checking into plays — things that we need to do to be successful. I was more impressed with how on-point we were with that more than anything else.”
The Chiefs had some advantages against the Cardinals they won’t have this week in St. Louis. Arizona looked like a weary team, having played its first preseason game five days earlier and then having stayed on the road to practice rather than returning home before the game at Arrowhead Stadium.
“There are going to be ebbs and flows,” Daboll said, sounding a note of caution.
The Chiefs believe they have built a versatile offense that can cause problems for their opponents each week. As evidence, they point to the differences in the scoring drives on their way to their first two touchdowns against Arizona.
The first drive featured ball control. It consisted of 12 plays and included two conversions on third down and one on fourth down. Other than an Arizona penalty, the longest gain was 11 yards.
The next drive was quick strike. The Chiefs had gains of 28 and 29 yards and scored in just four plays.
The Chiefs are hopeful having that kind of offense will make them more difficult to defend.
“When we game plan, we look at the opponent and try to figure out what we need to do against the opponent,” Crennel said. “And then try to take advantage of their weaknesses. Is it ball control this week? It could be an empty, throw the ball all around next week. You just never know from week to week.
“Defensively, you have to cover all your bases all the time. If they can run the ball and have the ability to beat you deep and get some (big) plays, you have to defend everything all the time. You’re not able to eliminate anything.”