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No Cause For Concern: Comparing Kansas City Chiefs 2010 And 2011 Preseason Numbers

The Chiefs were equally as frustrating last preseason at this stage and the results were just fine. There's no reason to sound any alarms just yet.

The final game of the preseason is staring Todd Haley and the Chiefs in the face. The regular season is on the horizon. Memories of the surprise of last year's magical 10-win season are now in the rearview mirror, leaving behind only the expectations of the same. Fans seem grateful yet expectant, and the team's uninspiring performance in three preseason games has many fans worried and local writers like the KC Star's Sam Mellinger saying, "Other teams missed their offseasons, too, and at this point they’re way ahead of the Chiefs."

The words "cause for concern" might be the most appropriate way to describe the popular opinion after the Chiefs's stinker of a loss to the St. Louis Rams. But what should Chiefs fans really believe about preseason performance? Let's turn back the clock one year and take a look at some stats that might turn the tables:

1. Turnovers
The preseason version of the Chiefs in 2010 had 8 turnovers through the first 3 preseason games. The regular season version had 14 in 16 regular season games. The Chiefs were fumbling left and right with all of the familiar names involved -- Thomas Jones, Jamaal Charles, Matt Cassel. There was no shortage of interceptions either, with Cassel, Tyler Palko and Brodie Croyle all throwing at least one. By comparison, their competition committed 2. That's 8 turnovers to 8, or a -6 ratio.

Fast forward to a regular season where the Chiefs commit 14 all year, and that same Cassel goes to the Pro Bowl. Cassel threw 7 picks all year, compared to 27 touchdowns. Charles and Jones both fumbled the ball 3 total times each during the regular season -- or once every 5.3 games. As a team, the Chiefs finished 5th overall in the NFL in turnover differential.

2. Key Players' Performances
At this same point last preseason, Tamba Hali had 2 tackles and 0 sacks. Zero. There was absolutely no sign to come of an outside linebacker who would be second in the league in sacks worthy of a $60 million extension. The same could be said of Wallace Gilberry who had 4 tackles and the same amount of sacks as Hali. These two players went on to lead the team's pass rush.

As for the great young secondary that became such a force for the Chiefs last season. Eric Berry had 10 tackles with no peripheral stats to speak of after 3 preseason games. Brandon Flowers had 3 tackles and 0 interceptions. Brandon Carr had 4 tackles with 0 interceptions. Again, there was nothing impressive here to speak of, no dynamic plays to change games or give any indication of future success.

At this point last year, the Kansas City Chiefs were 0-3 and had the same amount of doubters as this year -- murmurs about how the team's lack of success was going to continue and how the Chargers were likely to dominate the division again. The team's readiness was called into question, just like this season. This is nothing new.

Those who have their doubts certainly aren't without merit. After all, Mellinger is absolutely right that every team was facing the same obstacle in terms of player conditioning and readiness, and each of the Chiefs' opponents so far have been crisper at every turn. If the Chiefs had faced another 4 or 6 win season last year, then their sluggish start to the preseason, lack of conditioning and frustrating techniques would warrant the familiar doubts of the recent past. However, Haley's ability to forge a 10-win season with a roster less talented than the one he's working with now should dispel any doubts in the present.

Unless the Chiefs begin to put up numbers in the loss column that actually count, his work with the Chiefs should serve as proof enough to this point. Until then, fans just have to believe a plan is in place, and that Haley will have his players ready for the Buffalo Bills on the 11th -- the very thing he's been saying is his goal all along.