QB is still the key


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Jan 22, 2006
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There's a new offensive mindset, but QB is still the key

By Tully Corcoran
The Capital-Journal
RIVER FALLS, Wis. -- That gushing sound you heard was the air brakes. It was Trent Green, both literally and figuratively, letting some air out of the Kansas City Chiefs offense. Those 37-31, 45-35, 49-38 games (actual Chiefs scores in the last two years) are mere memories now. The following seasons will determine how fondly those days are remembered. Green isn't ready to reflect on the old days yet.

"I don't want to because I'll save that for when my career is over reflecting on that," he said. "Yeah, it was a fun run, but now we have a whole new group that we need to start our own run."

Run will be the key word. Under coach Herm Edwards and offensive coordinator Mike Solari, a former offensive line coach, the Chiefs will hand off to Larry Johnnson a little more, throw the 15-yard out a little less.

Edwards, a former defensive coordinator, doesn't want to change the offense. He just wants to change the overwhelming need for it.

"There are going to be times where we've got a 10 point lead in the fourth quarter and there are six minutes left where we feel we've got to score 17 (points)," Edwards said. "The defense has to go out there and stop them and the offense has to believe when we have that kind of lead we can run the ball and the game's over. We don't have to throw passes. We've got to play the clock a little better and protect each other."

Part of the reason for transition is smack-your-forehead obvious. Johnson ran for a franchise record 1,750 yards and 20 touchdowns in just nine games last season. And the Chiefs remain thin at wide receiver. Eddie Kennison and Samie Parker are Nos. 1 and 2. Dante Hall will play the slot. But a fourth receiver hasn't emerged.

Another part is that the offense just isn't the same unit that led the NFL in total offense last season. Willie Roaf has retired, meaning the Chiefs will start two new tackles this season. Priest Holmes has a neck injury and hasn't practiced since last season. Tony Richardson is with the Minnesota Vikings.
And Green, who's been healthy for all of his five seasons in Kansas City, is 36. "Is my grey hair showing up in the lights here or something?" he said, asked if he felt old. "I feel really good. People ask me how long I want to keep playing. I was fortunate or unfortunate depending on which way you look at it, I had a lot of time early in my career to try and establish myself so I didn't have to take the beating that Brett Favre did. We're only about six months apart in age, but he's started over a hundred more games than me so he's taken quite a bit more pounding."

With Damon Huard and a pair of rookies backing him, the Chiefs' season could hinge on Green's ability to avoid the pounding. Not only is he a two-time Pro Bowler. He's their leader.

"There's nobody better," offensive coordinator Mike Solari said. "I mean he's got all the intangibles. Trent Green is an outstanding quarterback and for people who appreciate the quarterback mechanics and techniques, it's outstanding the way he does the play action, the fakes and the little things he does.

"Trent Green is the Kansas City Chiefs offense." If Green feels any extra urgency as he enters his 13th NFL season, he's not letting it show. "There's no greater sense of urgency this year than there has every other year because of my experiences in the league nobody has promised me that I'm coming back next year," he said. "I want to, but nobody's promised that in terms of staying healthy and changes that occur."

Green is certain about one thing. The track meet era in Kansas City is over. "I think the era is over because coach Vermeil is gone, T-Rich is gone, Priest is gone, Willie is potentially gone, yeah that's a whole lot of people missing off of that five year run we had success with as an offense," he said. "We're still running the same offense, but you know, different coordinator, different head coach and potentially four or five new starters on offense, yeah that era is over."

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