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Chiefs Practice/Injury Update – Thanksgiving Day

Tight end Anthony Fasano and defensive lineman Kevin Vickerson took part in the Chiefs practice on Thanksgiving Day, leaving only wide receiver Junior Hemingway on the sidelines as they continued their preparation for Sunday night’s game against Denver.

Fasano (knee) and Vickerson (calf) were both declared limited participants in the workout. Neither practiced on Wednesday.

Here’s the report for both teams from Thanksgiving Day’s practices:

Chiefs

DID NOT PRACTICE – Wide receiver Junior Hemingway (concussion).

LIMITED PARTICIPATION – Wide receiver Donnie Avery (groin), tight end Anthony Fasano (knee), cornerback Jamell Fleming (hamstring), linebacker Tamba Hali (knee), cornerback Chris Owens (knee/abdomen), defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson (calf).

FULL PARTICIPATION – Punter Dustin Colquitt (calf), offensive tackle Donald Stephenson (shoulder), cornerback Sean Smith (groin).

Broncos

DID NOT PRACTICE – Running back Montee Ball (groin), running back Ronnie Hillman (foot), linebacker Brandon Marshall (concussion), cornerback Aquib Talib (hamstring), cornerback Kayvon Webster (shoulder).

LIMITED PARTICIPATION – Safety Quinton Carter (ankle), defensive end Quanterus Smith (ankle), tight end Julius Thomas (ankle).

FULL PARTICIPATION – Safety David Bruton (finger), tight end Virgil Green (calf), running back Juwan Thompson (knee).

A Flurry Of Special Teams Notes From Chiefs

From the Truman Sports Complex

In the second half of last Thursday’s game against the Raiders, punter Dustin Colquitt appeared to suffer a right calf injury after getting away a kick into the rainy night at the Oakland Coliseum.

The team’s training staff worked on Colquitt on the sidelines and kicker Cairo Santos worked out with a few punts into a net behind the Chiefs bench. Luckily, for the rest of the game the Chiefs needed Colquitt only as a holder for Santos and not as a punter.

It turns out that Colquitt had already gotten in a gut-check evening before that last punt. He actually suffered the injury in the pre-game warm-up period and underwent treatment in the locker room just to get on the field to kick.

That’s just one of several special teams’ related bites that came out Wednesday from the Chiefs facility as they ratcheted up preparations for Sunday night’s game against Denver.

Coordinator Dave Toub said that rookie De’Anthony Thomas would remain as the team’s primary punt returner, despite obvious struggles against the Raiders, including a return for minus-12 yards. Also, Toub spoke of the diminished kickoffs over the last month from Santos. …Read More!

Practice/Injury Report – Nothing New With Berry

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs did not have any update on safety Eric Berry’s condition on Wednesday according to head coach Andy Reid.

Berry continues to undergo a series of tests to determine the characteristics of the tumor that was discovered in the right side of his chest that has been given the preliminary diagnosis of lymphoma. He traveled on Monday to Atlanta, where further testing and then treatment will be handled at Emory University Hospital. Reid said the Chiefs had no new information on his condition.

Three players were held out of Wednesday’s practice because of injury: tight end Anthony Fasano (knee), wide receiver Junior Hemingway (concussion) and defensive lineman Kevin Vickerson (calf).

Among those three players, Reid sounded like Fasano may be able to get back on the practice field this week and possibly play against the Broncos on Sunday night at Arrowhead Stadium.

Fasano continues to rehab the knee injury that he suffered in a November 16 game against Seattle. Hemingway has not yet been cleared under the league’s concussion protocol; he suffered the head injury in last Thursday night’s game against Oakland. Vickerson went down in the same game with a calf muscle strain.

Here’s the report for both teams from Wednesday’s practice: …Read More!

Some Chiefs Thoughts As They Prepare For Broncos

We’ll find out on Wednesday a bit more of what De’Anthony Thomas’ future may be as the Chiefs punt returner. Far be it for me to tell a very good special teams coordinator like Dave Toub how to handle his job, but . . . it’s time to let Frankie Hammond handle those kicks and give DAT his chances with the ball on offense.

DAT was a disaster in Oakland. Whether he was spooked by the rain and wet ball, or had trouble handling the prime-time spotlight and his chance to show the league and the country what he can provide the Chiefs, he was a negative on punt returns.

He was back for four punts and got his hands on two, producing returns of 15 and minus-12 yards. A negative punt return of more than a few yards is inexcusable for any returner. As he did on three other punts, Thomas allowed the ball to hit the ground, two yards in front of him. He caught the ball on the bounce at the 20-yard line, and started trying to run around the coverage that enveloped him very quickly.

Even with that backward return, Thomas got another chance. The Raiders punt could have easily been caught, and at the least he could have called for a fair catch. Instead, he allowed the ball to hit the turf; it bounced at the 16-yard line, and was downed by the Raiders at the 10-yard line. …Read More!

Chiefs Fill Berry’s Roster Spot With D-Lineman

With an open spot on the active roster due to Eric Berry moving to the reserve-non-football illness list, the Chiefs signed defensive lineman Nick Williams off the Pittsburgh practice squad.

The 6-5, 309-pound Williams was selected in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Steelers. He spent the 2013 season on the injured-reserve list after suffering a pre-season knee injury. He’s spent the entire 2014 season on the Pittsburgh practice squad. The 24-year old Alabama native played four seasons at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.

The Chiefs also swapped linebackers on the practice squad on Monday. Darin Drakeford was moved to the practice-squad-injured list and replacing him is 6-1, 235-pound outside linebacker Ja’Gared Davis. A Texas native and product of Southern Methodist University, Davis has spent the last two years with New England. The Patriots released him from their practice squad on Saturday. Over two seasons, he’s been on and off the active roster and practice squad. He was on New England’s active roster for six games. Davis is 24 years old and entered the league in 2013 with Houston as an undrafted rookie free agent.

Lymphoma: It Will Be Eric Berry’s Toughest Opponent

If the early diagnosis is correct, Chiefs safety Eric Berry is about to face the toughest opponent of his young life.

Cancer is a nasty bastard no matter what form it takes. If you have not experienced dealing with cancer whether in your own health, or that of family and friends, consider yourself very lucky. And, also understand that the clock is ticking – your time is coming.

Freakin’ cancer is everywhere. Visit Children’s Mercy Hospital and you can find infants, toddlers and children of all shapes, sizes and ages dealing with cancer in their earliest days. Visit a cancer clinic during an average day of appointments and hundreds of good folks will roll through the waiting room, men and women of all ages and races, all struggling with some form of cancer.

Eric Berry is now part of that group. If there were any remaining doubts about the ability of cancer to hit anyone they should be gone with Monday’s news that Berry has a tumor on the right side of his chest and the preliminary diagnosis is lymphoma.

Cancer.

How are we supposed to understand how a 25-year old in better physical condition than 99.9 percent of the population comes down with cancer? How does that happen? Why does that happen? It’s a reminder that the bastard spares no one. Billions of dollars devoted over the decades, the life’s work of more than a million people around the world, and so much of cancer’s story remains a mystery. …Read More!

Berry Done For Season Due To Mass In His Chest

The Chiefs have lost Pro Bowl strong safety Eric Berry for the rest of the season due to a mass discovered in his chest over the weekend.

“We don’t have a definitive diagnosis, but the leading consideration (for) what he has right now is lymphoma,” Chiefs head trainer Rick Burkholder said on Monday. “The next step in the process is to finish some testing. He’s about 75 percent done with the testing.”

Because of the initial diagnosis, the Chiefs have played Berry on the reserve-non-football illness, and he’s done for the remainder of the 2014 season and playoffs.

Berry complained of discomfort in his chest during Thursday night’s game in Oakland. He was examined by team doctors during and after the game, but continued to play. When he was still reporting pain on Friday, the Chiefs did an x-ray that came back negative according to Burkholder. Doctors decided to expand the testing and that’s when the mass was discovered on the right side of his chest.

“We got an MRI Friday afternoon and discovered he had a mass in his chest,” said Burkholder. “On Saturday further testing was done with CT scans, blood work and a PET scan.

“His family and our Chiefs family have decided to get him to Atlanta to the Emory University Hospital and see Dr. Christopher Flowers, a specialist in lymphoma. That evaluation will continue tomorrow through the next couple of days.”

The 2014 season has been one of injuries for Berry, starting with heel problems in training camp and then a high ankle-sprain in Game No. 2 against Denver. But all those pale in comparison to what he may be dealing with when it comes to lymphoma.

“I am truly thankful for all of the support from family, friends, coaches, teammates and the entire Chiefs kingdom,” Berry said in a statement released by the Chiefs. ”At first I was in shock with the diagnosis on Saturday and did not even want to miss a game. But I understand that right now I have to concentrate on a new opponent. I have great confidence in the doctors and the plan they are going to put in place for me to win this fight.

“I believe that I am in God’s hands and I have great peace in that. I know my coaches and teammates will hold things down here the rest of the season and until I am back running out of the tunnel at Arrowhead. I am so thankful and appreciative of being a part of this franchise and playing in front of the best fans in the NFL. I will be back!”

The Picture For AFC Playoffs – 11/23

Other than moving the race for the AFC playoffs one more week down the road, the activities of week No. 12 did not clear the smoke that hangs over the last four slots in the post-season bracket.

It’s still New England and Denver leading the way and then another eight teams sporting winning records and dreams they could be playing in January.

That group on top could have included the Chiefs with the Patriots and Broncos, but they failed to win game No. 8, falling last Thursday night to Oakland.

Cincinnati sits just a half-step ahead of the rest of the field at 7-3-1, and then it’s the Chiefs and at least four other teams at 7-3, all with at least three losses in the AFC. That group could grow to six teams with a Baltimore win against New Orleans in the regularly scheduled Monday night game.

The Chiefs ended up losing more in position for the playoffs than any team during the week. But it was not a step back as much as it was the familiar to step forward. That leaves them trying to fight through five tough weeks and at least five other teams. …Read More!

Stats & Snap Judgments – Oakland

Here are the snaps played in the rain and credited by the NFL to the Chiefs in Thursday night’s game against the Raiders, on offense, defense and in the kicking game. Names in bold are those that played 100 percent of their unit’s snaps:

Offense (66)

  • Backs – Alex Smith 66, Jamaal Charles 60, De’Anthony Thomas 33, Anthony Sherman 12, Knile Davis 5, Charcandrick West 1.
  • Receivers – Travis Kelce 62, Dwayne Bowe 61, Frankie Hammond 56, Albert Wilson 17, Junior Hemingway 16, Phillip Supernaw 4, Anthony Fasano 2.
  • Line – Eric Fisher, Zach Fulton, Ryan Harris, Rodney Hudson & Mike McGlynn, each with 66; Jeff Linkenbach 1.

…Read More!

Chiefs Make Roster Change At Wide Receiver

The Chiefs announced Friday that they signed wide receiver Jason Avant to the 53-man active roster.

To make room for Avant, wide receiver A.J. Jenkins was placed on the injured-reserve list due to a shoulder injury he suffered last week in practice.

The 6-0, 210-pound Avant is a veteran of nine NFL seasons, including eight years with Philadelphia. In seven of those seasons he played for Eagles head coach Andy Reid. He began the 2014 season with the Carolina Panthers, catching 21 passes for 201 yards and a touchdown catch. Avant was released on Tuesday.

In 127 NFL games (52 starts) Avant caught 318 passes for 3,847 yards (12.1-yard per catch average) with 13 touchdown receptions. He entered the NFL as a fourth-round choice (#109) of the Eagles in the 2006 NFL Draft. Avant played at the University of Michigan, where he finished third in Wolverines history with 169 catches for 2,247 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Jenkins wrapped up his season with missing the last two games after suffering a shoulder injury in practice. He caught nine passes for 92 yards in the Chiefs offense.

Chiefs Comeback Falls Short In Oakland

The Chiefs five-game winning streak came to an end on a soggy Thursday night in Oakland when the Raiders picked up a 24-20 victory.

It was the first winning performance in over a year for Oakland, as the Raiders are 1-10 on the season. It was the first time the Chiefs lost a game in seven weeks. They are now 7-4 on the season.

The first half of the game was played in a downpour and the Raiders took advantage and jumped to a 14-point lead in the third quarter. But the Chiefs came back with 17 unanswered points and grabbed a three-point lead with just over nine minutes to play. That’s when rookie quarterback Derek Carr pulled together a 17-play, 80-yard scoring drive that finished up with a 9-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver James Jones that posted the winning points.

Here’s our coverage of the game that joins the history of the great Chiefs-Raiders rivalry:

Chiefs-Raiders Highlights New Oakland Quarterback

Another chapter in one of the most historic rivalries in the history of pro football goes down Thursday night when the Chiefs visit the Raiders in Oakland.

Kickoff is set for 7:25 pm. CST at the Oakland Coliseum with television coverage on the NFL Network and in Kansas City on Channel 41.

It will be the 111th time the Dallas Texans-Kansas City Chiefs have faced the Oakland-Los Angeles-Oakland Raiders. Some 40 years ago when the American Football League was rolling through its final days, the Chiefs and Raiders rivalry reached its apex, as one or the other played in three of the first four Super Bowls against the NFL.

That’s all prehistoric times in pro football, especially in today’s world of 144-character rants and immediate analysis and reaction from the Internet and social media. These teams have not played each other in a game that mattered in the month of November or December in many years. Actually, the last critical game was just a few hours into the 21st Century when the Raiders under head coach Jon Gruden showed up for the first game of the 2000s and the last game of the 1999 season. A Chiefs victory in Gunther Cunningham’s first year as head coach would have sent his team to the playoffs but Oakland won in overtime.

Since then, the Raiders have struggled to play with any sort of respectability. The Chiefs have often done the same. Thursday they arrive for the first of two outings this season with the Chiefs at 7-3 and the Raiders at 0-10. Oakland is the only team in the league that has not won a game in this 2014 season and their last victory was 367 days ago.

It’s an interesting situation for the Chiefs. The Thursday night game brought a short preparation week for Andy Reid, his staff and players. They had Monday and Tuesday to think and act Raiders and then left on Wednesday for the Bay Area. That’s about half their normal amount of prep time for a game. …Read More!

4 Keys To Winning For the Chiefs Against The Raiders

     

Four

Volume #3 of keeping Alex Smith’s uniform without a blemish from the Raiders defense

With the exception of the game in Buffalo when Smith was sacked six times by the Bills defense, the protection for the Chiefs quarterback has improved each week, with no sacks allowed last week against Seattle. The Seahawks have a far more formidable defense than the Raiders, who have just 10 sacks in 338 passing plays through the first 10 games. What’s helped is the success of the running game; that’s taken some of the focus off the pass protection issues the team has carried through the season.

…Read More!

Tale of the Tape: Chiefs vs. Raiders

There are 11 categories in our weekly Tale of the Tape comparison, and generally the Chiefs have posted a majority in their favor each game, somewhere around six or seven areas of the competition.

But Thursday night’s Tale of the Tape falls decidedly in favor of the Chiefs. That would have been expected given the seven-game difference in the loss column between the teams. It’s a decided difference, as in our estimation the Chiefs have an edge in 10 of 11 areas, missing only at wide receiver.

That’s on paper; it will be fun to see it play out on that suspect field in Oakland: …Read More!

Chiefs Low On Receivers – Injury Report November 19

The Chiefs will step on the field again Thursday without a full complement of wide receivers; the club declared Donnie Avery and A.J. Jenkins out of the prime-time game against Oakland.

Avery and Jenkins missed last Sunday’s game against Settle. Avery practiced this week, but apparently has not improved enough in the eyes of the team’s medical staff to be able to play a full game. He’s coming back from a sports hernia injury/surgery. Jenkins did not practice after suffering a shoulder injury in practice last week.

Also declared out of Thursday night’s game is cornerback Chris Owens as he continues to work at getting back from a knee injury he suffered on October 5th.

Chiefs

OUT – Wide receiver Donnie Avery (sports hernia), wide receiver A.J. Jenkins (shoulder), cornerback Chris Owens (knee).

QUESTIONABLE – Tight end Anthony Fasano (knee), cornerback Jamell Fleming (hamstring).

PROBABLE – Right guard Zach Fulton (ankle), cornerback Phillip Gaines (ankle/quadriceps), outside linebacker Tamba Hali (knee), tight end Travis Kelce (ribs/shoulder), left guard Mike McGlynn (knee), right cornerback Sean Smith (groin).

Raiders

OUT – Tight end David Ausberry (foot), cornerback T.J. Carrie (ankle), safety Jonathan Dowling (back), left cornerback Carlos Rogers (knee).

QUESTIONABLEG Gabe Jackson (knee).

PROBABLE — Linebacker Miles Burris (hip), quarterback Derek Carr (quadriceps),

Expected starters in bold.

Why Everybody Is Trapped Into Talking Trap Game

It’s one of the favorite terms of the short week for the Chiefs:

Trap game.

As in – will the 7-3 Chiefs fall into the trap of taking the 0-10 Raiders lightly in Thursday night’s game in Oakland?

It’s a silly premise, especially in today’s National Football League. Every time a big underdog pulls a surprise victory does not mean it was a trap game. Every time a heavy-favorite stumbles and ends up on the wrong side of the score does not define the term trap game.

From this man’s well-worn football seat, a trap game requires as part of the equation a team that’s actually accomplished something. That would eliminate the Chiefs from the equation right off the bat.

Yes, the Chiefs went 11-5 last year and made the playoffs. And, they’ve comeback this season after an ugly 0-2 start and are now 7-3 with a share of first place in the AFC West. That’s impressive and makes for plenty of hope in the Chiefs nation.

But they haven’t accomplished anything that should make them think they are superior to their other brethren in the league. They’ve accomplished nothing of significance. They have no recent championships, whether the titles are from a division, conference or league.

For the 2014 Chiefs to overlook an opponent would be an act of stupidity that does not fit the profile of this team. They win football games with smart play and limited self-inflicted blunders. It’s not going to happen, not even with a game against Denver looming just ahead on the schedule. …Read More!

Shields Advances In 2015 Hall of Fame Process

Will Shields advanced yet another step Tuesday in the process for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as he joined the semi-finalist group of 26 names that will be considered for induction early next year.

Hall of Fame voters will cut that number down to 15 before the final voting takes place on Saturday, January 31, the day before the Super Bowl in Arizona.

It would be an upset if Shields did not make the final 15. He’s been there in the previous three years. In voting for the class of 2012 and 2013 he was eliminated in a cut from 15 to 10. In voting this past February for the class of 2014, he was eliminated in the vote from 10 to 5.

The only other semi-finalist with ties to the Chiefs is kicker Morten Andersen. Here’s the complete list of men still under consideration for Canton’s Class of 2015: …Read More!

Chiefs/Raiders Practice-Injury Report – November 18

Although wide receiver Donnie Avery participated in practice on Tuesday afternoon, head coach Andy Reid indicated it was unlikely Avery would be ready to play on Thursday night against Oakland.

Wide receiver A.J. Jenkins and cornerback Chris Owens did not practice. Earlier in the day, Reid said Owens would practice, but the participation report indicated otherwise.

Out in Oakland, quarterback Derek Carr was a limited practice participant for the second consecutive practice because of a strained quadriceps.

Here are the details for each team:

Chiefs

DID NOT PARTICIPATE – Wide receiver A.J. Jenkins (shoulder), cornerback Chris Owens (knee).

LIMITED PARTICIPATION – Wide receiver Donnie Avery (sports hernia), tight end Anthony Fasano (knee), outside linebacker Tamba Hali (knee).

FULL PARTICIPATION – Cornerback Jamell Fleming (hamstring), right guard Zach Fulton (ankle), cornerback Phillip Gaines (ankle/quadriceps), tight end Travis Kelce (ribs/shoulder), left guard Mike McGlynn (knee), right cornerback Sean Smith (groin).

Raiders

DID NOT PARTICIPATE – Tight end David Ausberry (foot), cornerback T.J. Carrie (ankle), safety Jonathan Dowling (back), left cornerback Carlos Rogers (knee).

LIMITED PARTICIPATION – Linebacker Miles Burris (hip), quarterback Derek Carr (quadriceps), left guard Gabe Jackson (knee).

Expected starters in bold.

Sometimes Versatility Makes For A Tough Road In NFL

This is a story about Chiefs defensive end Allen Bailey.

But first, it’s a story former long-time Chiefs guard Dave Szott.

In the 1990 NFL Draft, the Chiefs selected Szott out of Penn State University in the seventh round, pick #180. He would spend the next 11 seasons with the Chiefs, appearing in 143 games, starting 135 games at left guard, next to fellow ’90 draft-class member Tim Grunhard.

Szott seriously outplayed his draft position; seventh round choices don’t spend 11 seasons in the league, with more than 100 starts. Did the Chiefs and the rest of the NFL poorly evaluate Szott coming out of Penn State? No, they really never got the chance to accurately assess him. Szott never had a home with the Nittany Lions – he played on the offensive line and defensive line for head coach Joe Paterno. He was such a good athlete – impressive upper-body strength and remarkably quick feet – that when the Penn State staff needed to plug a hole, they would usually shift Szott to the other side of the football.

It wasn’t until he landed with the Chiefs that he became strictly an offensive lineman, strictly a guard and a pretty darn good one.

Back to Allen Bailey, a third-round choice by the Chiefs in the 2011 NFL Draft. It has taken almost eight years for Bailey to find a home on the football field. In four seasons playing college ball for the University of Miami Hurricanes he was constantly moved on the roster, from defensive end, to defensive tackle, even some spring ball at tight end. Then, there were three more years of being a jack of all trades on the Chiefs defensive line, where he played defensive end on both the left and right side, and defensive tackle in sub-defenses at both the right and left side.

This was a player without a home, but with playing time. The old saying “Jack of all trades, master of none” might as well have been written about him. …Read More!

Alex’s Not Running; Snap Judgments From Seattle

One of the aspects of Alex Smith’s game last season that was so important to the Chiefs offense was his running ability.

It wasn’t just his talent to step away from pass-rush pressure and stay out of the grasp of defenders. It was how Smith could take off and gain important yardage for the Chiefs offense, turning potential disaster into big plays. He set a franchise record for rushing yardage by a quarterback and he finished sixth among starting NFL quarterbacks with 431 rushing yards.

Every season is different for every NFL team and while the Chiefs have returned to contender status after opening in a 0-2 hole, they have not done it the same manner that produced last year’s 11-5 season. That’s especially true of Smith. Despite sometimes shaky pass protection, Smith is not taking off on the run like he did last year. Whether he’s been asked to pull back, or it’s just how circumstances have fallen together over 10 games, he’s run 25 fewer times for 131 fewer yards through 10 games than he did last season.

Overall, he’s run 33 times for 186 yards. That still has him No. 6 among running quarterbacks in the NFL this year, behind Russell Wilson (571 yards), Colin Kaepernick (322), Cam Newton (293), Ryan Tannehill (261) and Blake Bortles (204).

In the Chiefs last three games, Smith has run just six times for 24 yards. Against Seattle, he had two runs for minus-1 yard. Three games ago against the New York Jets, he did not have a single run. …Read More!

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