The Rams and Chiefs will battle for the Governor’s Cup tonight. The two teams are expected to play their starters for a majority of the third preseason game. But when the teams take the field both will be donning different identities.
Scott Linehan is the head man in St. Louis now. No more of Mike Martz’s elaborate offensive schemes and vertical pass plays. You won’t see Marshall Faulk lining up any and everywhere on the field. As a matter of fact, only nine players remain from the 2001 Super Bowl Rams team signaling the end has come for the Greatest Show on Turf.
Instead of multiple receiver formations and empty backfields, the Rams are more likely to use two tight ends and line Steven Jackson solely behind the quarterback. Jackson isn’t half the receiver Faulk was and Linehan isn’t blind to the fact. If the Rams are to make it back to the glory years under Linehan, it won’t be as a high powered offensive machine.
Over across I-70, Dick Vermeil is out as coach of the Chiefs. That means no more crying after wins and losses. For Chiefs management, they hope it means no more unfulfilled dreams and underachieving teams. Vermeil led some powerful regular season teams – finishing 13-3 one year – but never had much success in the postseason. He was originally brought to Kansas City to revamp a mediocre team and resurface the success he had with the Eagles and Rams championship teams. That success never came.
Out goes Vermeil, in walks Herm Edwards – fresh off his own failed attempts with the New York Jets – to shore up a leaky defense that seemed to always hold the offense back. Edwards brings more discipline to the team. Many key players complained about Vermeil’s lax attitude towards discipline and felt certain teammates had taken advantage of him. Edwards is just as emotional, minus the tears, but commands far more respect from his players. Let’s just say, there won’t be any players taking advantage of Edwards.
Kansas City is also undergoing changes on the field. All-Pro left tackle Willie Roaf announced his retirement days before training camp. His departure will definitely slow down a running game that has been among the best in the NFL. Add to that, guards Brian Waters and Will Shields have suffered injuries making for a very slim offensive line. Eddie Kennison isn’t getting any younger at wide receiver and who knows how’ll play this season. He’s fuming over not getting paid the equivalent of his peers and even threatened to leave camp if he isn’t compensated. Larry Johnson looks ready to take over for an injured Priest Holmes, but who’s after that. Knock on wood, but what if Johnson goes down early?
Both teams have their work cut out for this season. But look out football fans, tonight could look more like Total Makeover: Rams and Chiefs Edition.