Commentary | Chiefs have offensive philosophy Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano covets

adell@bradenton.comOctober 14, 2012 

Want to see what's at the top of Greg Schiano's wish list?

Then find a way to watch the Kansas City Chiefs today against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, even if you have to pack the van and head to Missouri, which should be far enough away to avoid another Raymond James Stadium blackout.

For company, you can take Bucs cornerback Aqib Talib following Saturday's announcement of the cornerback's four-game suspension for consuming performance-enhancing drugs.

He is a great talker and can tell you how much fun it is to cover Hakeem Nicks.

The Chiefs offense -- minus the turnovers, and there are plenty of those -- is everything Schiano wants his Bucs to be. They run it, often right where you are without deception, daring you to stop it.

They turned in the ugliest game of the NFL season last week in losing 9-6 to Baltimore with neither team crossing the goal line.

You can bet Schiano saw a da Vinci.

This is Tony Soprano-style football right off the Jersey docks.

But the rookie head coach has a slight problem. He doesn't have Jamaal Charles, the Kansas City running back who leads the NFL in rushing. Charles is averaging 5.3 yards per carry and has 551 yards.

Schiano has rookie Doug Martin, who is averaging 3.5 yards on 71 carries for 247 yards.

It's like going into your garage and choosing between a Corvette and that four-cylinder you're saving for your kid when he grows up, the one that won't go too fast in case he gets reckless.

That is no disrespect to Martin. Charles' 6.38

yards per carry average in 2010 is second only to Jim Brown's 6.4 in 1963.

A torn ACL in the second game ended Charles' season last year. He has come back with a vengeance.

"Jamaal knows how to run. He doesn't take a lot of time once he finds a seam," Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said. "He is patient waiting for the seam, but once he does he is gone. Their offensive line makes the holes. We have to be good upfront because he is a home run hitter."

Charles also has proven he is human. He ran for 140 yards on 30 carries, and, as a team, the Chiefs produced 179 yards on 34 plays in the first half against Baltimore.

They must've worn themselves out. After averaging 6.3 yards per carry in the first half, Charles was held to 1.5 after intermission, and the Chiefs' run game produced 35 yards on 16 carries after the break.

Kansas City ran the ball 51 times and passed 17 against Baltimore, which is why Schiano is looking a little starry-eyed this week. He is as old school as they come in an NFL that for the most part has thrown out that thugish brand of offense.

Schiano also has been saying Kansas City has the best offensive line since the undefeated 1972 Dolphins.

This sounds more like the fear of falling to 1-4.

He is worried about Charles, but has to be losing sleep at the prospect of going 1-4. A win makes his club 2-3, and the difference is between wearing Cinderella's golden slipper instead of flip-flops.

This is Schiano's first must-win game in the NFL.

Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel is out, and Brady Quinn, who hasn't played in an NFL game since 2009, is his replacement.

The Chiefs are 1-4, and their season is standing at the end of the plank on a windy day. But they know their main problem. They are last in the NFL in turnover margin.

Schiano has been preaching blood, sweat and pain since he arrived. He has a fragile group of psyches, and a 1-4 record will make his sales pitch that much harder.

Bucs rookie safety Mark Barron says dealing with savvy NFL quarterbacks has been his most difficult adjustment, so having to deal with Quinn should be a blessing. He has lost to Eli Manning and Tony Romo.

"The biggest challenge for me is some of these quarterbacks. There are a lot smarter and don't make as many mistakes," Barron said. "They will look you off more than what I am used to. Ronde (Barber) tells me it's all about your keys and your eyes. Kansas City can sustain drives and extend the time of possession by running the ball, and we have to be prepared to be on the field longer."

The Chiefs are second in the NFL in rushing (180.8 yards per game), and the Bucs are fourth in run defense, giving up 73.8 yards per game. But that is misleading because at times their pass defense has been shredded as teams preferred to pass.

The Bucs' run defense got exposed against the Washington Redskins, who at times made Barber look every bit his age. Now he may have to switch back from safety to corner with Talib out.

Tampa Bay doesn't want Charles to get out in the open and force Ronde to make a tackle. He is second in the league in yards after contact with 302, and his 91-yard run against New Orleans is the longest touchdown from scrimmage this season.

Alan Dell, Herald sports writer, can be reached at 941-745-7080, ext. 2112. Follow him on Twitter at @ADellSports.

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