Wednesday marked the Bolts' return to the practice field following their loss Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt spoke with the media and shared his thoughts on the loss of Chris Hairston, having his weapons in tow against KC and what improvements need to be made on offense.
Hairston on Non-Football Illness List
On Wednesday, tackle Chris Hairston was placed on the non-football illness list ending his 2017 season. After playing in 33 games since joining the Bolts in 2015, Hairston has stepped in when his number was called. Whiz explained how although the loss is tough, it's next man up.
"Chris was a great example in the last game. He came in there and played really well for us after Joe (Barksdale) went out. When you have a guy like that, he has value. Plus, he actually has played some of the big tight end position for us when we've mixed that in there. But, that's what you have other guys for. We'll figure out a rotation or a role for that. I feel badly for Chris because he's worked so hard and been so consistent when we needed him. It's a disappoint for him and for us."
Improve on Third Down
In the past two games, the Bolts' offense has converted only 25-percent of third downs. Against Denver, they were in many third-and-long situations, but against the Dolphins, three penalties occurred during their eight third down attempts. That 25-percent conversion percentage is a stat that Whisenhunt says must improve quickly.
"Our third down conversions need to improve. That will help us as far as staying on the field a little bit more. It well help us hopefully in the run game. We as an offense can't get tied up in the whole thing. All we can talk about is some of the things we can control. Being able to have success at the end of the half was a good thing for our guys…. If you convert a couple of those third downs, it's a whole different story for us in terms of how we were moving the football. We've been a pretty good third down team around here, and obviously, I think we've got to try to eliminate some of the third-and-longs. But it wasn't so much of that in this last game. It was really more self-inflicted wounds."
Offensive Weapons at the Ready
In the 2016 season finale versus Kansas City, the Bolts offense was a shell of what it was heading into Week 1 of that year: No Keenan Allen. No Melvin Gordon. No Travis Benjamin. That all changes this week as those three playmakers are healthy and ready to go. While he admits the Chiefs defense presents a tough task, Whiz is glad he has a full range of offensive weapons at his disposal.
"They're a good defense. Coach Reid is an outstanding coach and (DC) Bob Sutton does a great job with those guys. I think that one of the values that their team has is that they've had some good players who have been together for a while. Their ability to do a lot of different things is challenging. They're good rushers, they play physical, they do a lot of different things. Knowing and playing against them, you can kind of anticipate some of the things they're going to do, but it doesn't make it any easier. They're a good front. I'm glad that we have our guys this time. We have some guys on offense who are playing pretty good for us. We were able to spread the ball around a little bit last week so we got everybody involved. It's going to be a touch matchup but we're looking forward to it."