November 27, 2007
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The Kansas City Chiefs have four straight losses and a kicker the coach doesn't trust to make a 41-yard field goal.
What they do not have yet, however, is team dissension, or a divided locker room. Coach Herm Edwards said so in the wake of Sunday's 20-17 loss to Oakland and some key players echoed the sentiment.
"Why would the locker room be divided?" defensive end Jared Allen said Monday. "We're all 4-7. It's not like one half is 7-4, the other half is 4-7. Never. When you lose, you all lose. When you win, you all win. It's a team sport. Yesterday, did the offense do its share to win? I thought so."
Nevertheless, a disturbing pattern has set in during this four-game skid that includes losses to the Colts, Raiders, Packers and Broncos. For one thing, when the Chiefs get a lead, they can't hold it.
Also troubling is the fact four of their losses have been at home, very uncharacteristic of a team that prides itself on having the best home record in the NFL since 1990.
"We've lost four at home. So my apologies to Chiefs fans in Kansas City. This is not something we're accustomed to, and it's definitely not something we're accustomed to around here," Allen said. "We're all in new situations around here with this much losing going on."
Edwards indicated Monday the Chiefs will be searching for a new kicker. Dave Rayner, signed before the season after he was released by Green Bay, has struggled all season. He missed a 33-yarder on Sunday and then, with less than 5 minutes left and facing a fourth-and-one, Edwards elected to try for a first down rather than let Rayner try a 41-yarder.
Rookie Kolby Smith, who rushed for 150 yards in his first start, couldn't get that final yard, and the Chiefs' fate was sealed.
"That was the right thing to do in our situation," Edwards said Monday. "If you were going to put the pressure on anybody, you wanted to put it on the offensive line and the runner and not on the kicker. It wouldn't be fair to him."
Rayner's time in Kansas City could be running out. Edwards said the Chiefs took a look at some possible replacements on Monday.
"We worked some kickers out today but we haven't determined what we're going to do yet," he said.
Smith will apparently get another start this week when the Chiefs host San Diego because Edwards said he didn't think Larry Johnson would be ready to play. He injured his foot against Green Bay on Nov. 4 and seemed to be walking without any limp in the locker room on Monday.
Edwards also admitted these are difficult days for offensive coordinator Mike Solari and his staff. Solari had never been a coordinator until Edwards handed him the job last year.
"They've got their heads low. There's no doubt because we've struggled all year offensively," he said. "It's never clicked. It's never had a rhythm all the way through a game. It might go for a quarter then it disappears for a while and comes back. We've had some guys out and then doesn't help you. We switched quarterbacks and that makes things different."
Are they doing a good job?
"Yeah. They're working. They're working their tails off. We haven't stopped working hard," Edwards said. "We haven't cut our hours back because we're 4-7."
Edwards said he's seen progress on Solari's part.
"He's more comfortable in what he has to do. When you're going through what they're going through right now, everything gets second-guessed. But it's two-sided. The players have to help the coaches, too. They've got to execute some things to make it work. It's on the coaches to an extent, but then the players have to take it over and run with it and make some plays when they're asked."