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Snap Judgments/Miami: TEs Changing Chiefs Offense

As an offensive play-caller there’s one thing Andy Reid craves each Sunday – options. Give an offensive mind like the Chiefs head coach a toolbox full of different implements and there’s no predicting what he can build when his team has the football.

The game within the game that’s played out in every game on Sunday is where the offensive and defensive coaching staffs try to decipher what the other guys have shown in previous games, and then create a game plan to leave the other guys guessing.

Over the last two weeks, Reid and his offensive coordinator Doug Pederson have not put together cookie-cutter game plans. They have taken their basic offensive scheme and continue to make subtle changes. That comes with the motion and shifting of players when the offense comes out of the huddle and there are the personnel packages created to run the plays.

On Sunday in Miami, the offensive game plan included a heavy dose of the Chiefs running a three tight end alignment. But this wasn’t the standard short yardage/goal line three tight ends. Due to the skills of Anthony Fasano, Travis Kelce and Demetrius Harris, the Chiefs can put formations on the field that don’t provide any clue of what’s about to happen.

“They give you some flexibility because they’re all good receivers,” Reid said Monday. “We put that in for OTAs and then we ran it a little bit last week (against Denver) where we threw the ball. We thought we could get a decent match up there with them in the run game.”

The Chiefs had 11 snaps on offense with all three tight ends on the field. It always started with all three lined up to the outside of right tackle Ryan Harris, usually with Fasano, Harris and Kelce in that order. In effect, it gave the Chiefs five blockers on the right side of the center. On several of those plays, Kelce went in motion from right to left. …Read More!

Chiefs Earn A South Beach Victory Over The Dolphins

The odds are nearly impossible for an NFL team to reach the playoffs after starting the season 0-3. The numbers since 1990 show only 2 percent improve enough to make the tournament.

Andy Reid and his Chiefs will not have to worry about those numbers, as they picked up the season’s first victory, bouncing the Miami Dolphins 34-15 in a Sunday afternoon meeting at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Without running back Jamaal Charles, inactive because of his sprained ankle, Davis became the offensive engine, running 32 times for 132 yards. Quarterback Alex Smith threw three touchdown passes, including a pair to running back Joe McKnight. The defense didn’t get a takeaway, but the pass rush pressure on Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill produced four sacks.

Now 1-2, the Chiefs host the New England Patriots next Monday night at Arrowhead Stadium.

Here’s the coverage of Sunday’s victory:

Time For ’14 Chiefs To Show Just Who They Are

Two weeks ago, the Chiefs bad overall performance led to loss No. 1. A week ago they had a much better day of production and still they were slapped with loss No. 2.

It’s the third week of the 2014 season and reading the tea leaves on this year’s edition of the Hunt Family franchise remains nothing but guess work. There are obvious reasons for the team’s inconsistency against Tennessee and Denver. They started the season with seven new starters (including the kicker) and after two games they now have a dozen different starters from last year’s team that made the AFC playoffs.

On this Sunday, the Chiefs are in south Florida to face the Miami Dolphins and Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens. It’s a 3:25 p.m. start with television coverage on CBS.

“Certainly it’s not where we hoped to be two weeks ago,” said quarterback Alex Smith. “It’s a long season and you never know what can happen and I think that’s the reason the mentality is win this week and put some things together. You never know what can happen; there are so many things out of your control that you can’t worry about.

“The one thing we can control is how we prepare and go out and play the Dolphins and let’s just focus on that.” …Read More!

Week #3 Notes: Cradle of Kickers – St. Augustine, FL?

Some 300 miles from Miami, traveling up Interstate-95 along the east coast of Florida is St. Augustine.

Known as the oldest continuously inhabited village in the continental United States, St. Augustine saw European explorers as early as Ponce de Leon in 1513 and what became a permanent settlement was set up in 1565. There’s 600 years of history there that went down on the Atlantic Ocean and in the many rivers that crisscross the city.

But it’s doubtful anyone has ever called St. Augie the cradle of kickers. But of the 32 men booting the ball in the NFL, two are from St. Augustine and they’ll be together on the field Sunday afternoon when the Chiefs and Dolphins face off back down I-95 in Miami Gardens.

Caleb Sturgis will be kicking for the Dolphins. He’s in his second season with the team out of the University of Florida and St. Augustine High School. Cairo Santos will be booting the ball for the Chiefs. He will be in his third NFL game after signing as an undrafted free agent out of Tulane University with his high school days coming at St. Joseph Academy in St. Augustine.

Of the 30 other kickers this week around the league there are two that kicked at the same high school – Notre Dame High in Sherman Oaks, California: Nick Folk of the New York Jets and Kai Forbath of the Washington Redskins. Sturgis and Santos are two of six kickers that have come out of Florida, from St. Augustine in the north, to Ft. Lauderdale in the south. There are also six Texas raised kickers in the league. No other state or area had more than two kickers.

Sturgis and Santos have never kicked against each other in a game – St. Augie and St. Joe were in different leagues and classifications, so they never went head-to-head. But they have spent many hours kicking together in St. Augustine during springs and summers when they came back for visits. …Read More!

Tamba Hali vs. Branden Albert – One More Time

Through his nine seasons in the NFL, Tamba Hali has been taking notes, a lot of notes. Before each game in preparation, and after each game in analyzing the action, Hali records what he saw on tape and then what he saw in live action from the guy trying to block him.

But in week three of this, his ninth season, Hali didn’t have any notes to use in his preparation to face the left tackle of the Miami Dolphins, a fellow by the name of Branden Albert.

“It’s all right here,” Hali said Friday, taping his head to indicate his scouting report was filed away on his mental hard drive. “We both know each other’s strengths and weaknesses that’s for sure.”

Hali actually has more information about Albert than any opponent he’s faced since arriving in 2006. That’s what comes from six years of going against each other constantly in practices and training camp. They probably had a thousand or more snaps between the 2008 season when Albert arrived as a first-round draft choice, through the 2013 season that proved to be the last for Albert in red and gold. In March he signed a five-year $47 million contract with the Dolphins as an unrestricted free agent.

Has Albert been sharing what he knows about the Chiefs defensive scheme? …Read More!

Officials Look: Triplette Crew For Chiefs-Dolphins

The Chiefs are without a victory in the young 2014 NFL season, but one part of their troubles has not been penalties.

So far, they’ve seen 10 flags walked off against them for 87 yards. That’s No. 6 in the league for fewest penalties and No. 7 for fewest penalty yards. Overall, in the Chiefs first two games there have been 33 penalties and 268 yards walked off against both teams.

This week, the Chiefs will get referee Jeff Triplette (right) and his veteran crew when they face the Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. Triplette is in his 19th season as an NFL official, joining the league in 1996 as a field judge and promoted to referee in 1999.

Off the field, he’s the CEO and President of ArbiterSports, a business he founded that’s developed hardware and software that allows sporting organizations to educate, assign and pay officials for any athletic event. Triplette has also worked in risk management consulting and worked 32 years for Duke Energy Corporation in North Carolina. He’s a retired Colonel with over 32 years of service in the U.S. Army National Guard and Reserve. He was awarded the Bronze Star while serving in the first Persian Gulf War.

Triplette and his crew worked the Jacksonville at Philadelphia game in the opening weekend, and they had St. Louis at Tampa Bay last Sunday. Home teams are 1-1 on the season with Triplette as the referee. His crew has walked off a total of 22 penalties for 200 yards. That ranks them near the top of the list of NFL crews that have thrown the fewest flags. …Read More!

Charles In, DAT Out/Chiefs & Fins NFL Injury Reports

Running back Jamaal Charles has been listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins.

That’s how he was labeled Friday afternoon when the Chiefs submitted their official injury report to the league office. That Charles is listed as questionable, rather than doubtful or out, is one of the more remarkable recoveries from a high ankle sprain in NFL history. It’s normally four weeks of rehab time, not a week. Charles suffered the injury in the first quarter of last Sunday’s game in Denver.

Head coach Andy Reid was asked after Friday’s practice where he’d even seen such a quick recovery from a high ankle sprain.

“Well, I actually have,” Reid said. “I saw someone return from a surgery actually on an ankle once and did pretty good. I’ll tell you it was in a Super Bowl.”

Reid was speaking of wide receiver Terrell Owens, who had two screws and a metal plate inserted in his right ankle on December 22, 2005, and he played six weeks later with the Eagles in the Super Bowl against New England.

In Friday’s practice, Reid said Charles took snaps with the first-team offense and the scout team.

“He looked a little sore, but he did okay,” Reid said. “We’ll just see how he does.”

In the NFL dictionary questionable is defined as having a 50 percent chance of playing. There’s no guarantee that Charles will be one of the 46 active players. Even if he’s dressed and active, there’s no guarantee he will be given much of a work load. …Read More!

4 Keys To A Chiefs Victory Against The Dolphins

   

Four

Keep pass rusher Cameron Wake out of the pocket

Over the last four seasons, Wake is one of the most prolific sackers in the league, pulling down the passer 53.5 times in 79 games since joining the Dolphins in 2009 out of the Canadian Football League. Left tackle Eric Fisher will see a lot of No. 91 and the Chiefs second-year blocker must show that he’s up to the task. Fisher’s performance against Denver last week was an improvement but then going up is just about the only direction he could have traveled. Alex Smith does not need to get swallowed up in the wake of Cameron. Fisher and left guard Mike McGlynn need to be a damn against the pass rush on that back side.

…Read More!

The NFL’s New Rules On Drugs, PEDs

On the same day that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke publicly about questions of handling players involved in domestic and child abuse cases, the league and players union released details on new rules and regulations that have recently been agreed to between the parties involving drugs of abuse and performance enhancing substances.

There are wide-ranging changes to programs on substances of abuse and PEDs, including revised disciplinary standards for DUIs and marijuana and the use of third-party arbitration process for appeals of positive tests. It also sets up the start of testing for human growth hormone (HGH) within the next few weeks.

These are the important changes made in the policy: …Read More!

Chiefs Practice Report – September 19

From the Truman Sports Complex

Jamaal Charles was working, De’Anthony Thomas was not as the Chiefs wrapped up preparations for Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins.

The practice report was identical to what went down during Thursday’s workout when Charles was a limited participant. Thomas along with safety Eric Berry were not on the field.

It remains hard to believe that Charles will be able to play on Sunday with his high ankle sprain. Should he play against the Dolphins, remarkable might not be a strong enough word to describe his comeback. Generally that injury is a four to six-week recovery period.

Thomas continues to be sidelined with the hamstring injury suffered on September 3 during practice. On Wednesday, the rookie from the University of Oregon spoke with excitement about getting his first chance to play in a regular-season game. He was listed as a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice but now it’s obvious that he had some sort of setback in trying to return to the field.

Berry will likely be listed as out or doubtful for Sunday against the Dolphins; he hasn’t practiced all week due to the sprained ankle suffered in Denver.

Takeaways Disappear From Chiefs Defense

Bob Sutton described the situation with the Chiefs defense right now in two words:

“It’s sad,” the defensive coordinator said Thursday

Sutton was not speaking of the entire performance and effort of the defense in the first two games of the 2014 season. What’s sad in his view is the big fat zero that sits next to one of the most important statistics for any defense: takeaways. They’ve been shut out so far, one of three NFL teams that do not have an interception or fumble recovered in the season’s first two weeks (Pittsburgh and the New York Giants are the others.)

“We talk to our players all the time about how you just have to stay the course and just keep going and those things happen,” Sutton said. “I’m not sure why and when they happen but you’ve got to keep flying to the ball and when your opportunity comes, you want to be there whether the ball is tipped, or the ball is on the ground.”

In the season’s first two games, the Titans and Broncos have fumbled just one time. The defense didn’t even cause that one, as it was on a Tennessee kickoff return in the opener. The hit that knocked the ball out came from an offensive guy: fullback Anthony Sherman. …Read More!

Next Opponent: Miami Dolphins

Game – No. 3.

Opponent – Miami Dolphins, lead by quarterback Ryan Tannehill (above).

2014 record – 1-1, with a 33-20 home victory over New England and a 29-10 loss to the Bills in Buffalo.

Franchise began – 1966, as the first of two expansion teams in the 10-year history of the American Football League. The partnership of Minneapolis lawyer Joseph Robbie and entertainer Danny Thomas paid $7.5 million for the franchise. They began play at the Orange Bowl in the 1966 season after selecting 31 players in an expansion draft, along with 31 selections in the 1966 AFL Draft. From the Chiefs in the expansion draft, the Dolphins grabbed DT Al Dotson, DE Mel Branch, WR Frank Jackson and LB Ron Caveness. Robbie died in January 1990 with no succession planned worked out. That led his family to sell 15 percent of the team to Miami businessman Wayne Huizenga two months later. In 1994, Huizenga purchased the remaining 85 percent, along with Joe Robbie Stadium.

Ownership – New York real estate magnate Stephen M. Ross bought 50 percent of the Dolphins in 2008, becoming a partner with Wayne Huizenga and then buying another 45 percent of the team in 2009. Ross now owns 95 percent of the Dolphins, Sun Life Stadium and real estate around the stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. Ross is the chairman and founder of Related Companies, an international real estate and development firm that owns over $15 billion of real estate devoted to offices, apartments and condos, event centers and retail. Ross’ company built and developed the Time Warner Center in New York and is creating the largest development in United States history, the Hudson Yards project that is scheduled to be completed in 2024. Ross has a business degree from the University of Michigan and a law degree from Wayne State University. He lives in New York City and Palm Beach, Florida. There are six celebrities listed as Ross’ partners: sisters Serena and Venus Williams, Black Eyes Peas singer Fergie, singer Gloria Estefan and her husband Emilio and singer-actor Marc Anthony.

…Read More!

Chiefs Practice Report/Injury Update – September 18

From the Truman Sports Complex

It was good news, bad news day for the Chiefs at practice on Thursday afternoon.

Jamaal Charles with his high ankle sprain was on the practice field, as a limited – it appeared very limited – participant. That was the good news for Andy Reid.

The bad news was that rookie running back/receiver De’Anthony Thomas was not on the field. After missing two weeks due to a hamstring injury, Thomas returned to practice on Wednesday in a limited capacity. No word on whether his non-participation was due to a setback or other reasons.

During the portion of practice open for viewing by the media, Charles ran through position drills with the rest of the backs, although he appeared to be moving at less than full speed. Head trainer Rick Burkholder watched every step Charles took. He remains very questionable for Sunday’s game against Miami, but his participation was a good sign for the Chiefs and his recovery.

Also missing from practice was safety Eric Berry with his sprained ankle.

Here are the practice reports for both teams from Thursday: …Read More!

Tale of the Tape – Chiefs vs. Dolphins

There’s a lot on the line for both the Chiefs and Dolphins in the third game on the 2014 NFL schedule.

Kansas City needs a victory after losing two by a combined score of 50-27. Miami wants to contend in what could be a competitive AFC East, especially after the Fins season opener beat down of the Patriots. They gave some of that back with a 19-point loss to Buffalo last Sunday. They need to protect their home field if they want to have any chance in the division.

As it shakes out, the Chiefs have a very slight advantage over the Dolphins when the teams are matched position-by-position. The Chiefs have a slight offensive edge thanks to Alex Smith, Knile Davis and the tight ends. Miami has the better groups on the line of scrimmage, something that hasn’t been said about south Florida’s team very often in recent seasons.

If both teams play like they did in the season’s first week, the Dolphins will cruise to an easy victory. If both clubs play like they did last week, the Chiefs have a serious chance to win one on the road.

Here is the head-to-head, position-by-position tale of the tape: …Read More!

Chiefs Practice/Injury Report – September 17

De’Anthony Thomas was back on the practice field for the first time in two weeks on Wednesday as the Chiefs began preparations for this Sunday’s game against the Dolphins in south Florida.

Thomas suffered a strained hamstring on the final play of practice on September 3 and did not play in the first two games of the season.

Head coach Andy Reid indicated that Thomas should be able to play against Miami in his offensive and special teams roles. “We will ease him in,” Reid said. “But he’s healthy and ready to go.”

Not so with running back Jamaal Charles and safety Eric Berry. Both players were not on the practice field Wednesday as they continued to be treated for their sprained ankles suffered in Denver on Sunday.

“We will just see how it goes the rest of this week,” Reid said of Berry and Charles.

Among the dozen players listed on the Chiefs injury report to the league, Berry and Charles did not work and Thomas and outside linebacker Tamba Hali (ankle/knee) were limited.

Here is the practice report for both teams: …Read More!

Chiefs Alumni: Two-Game Production Report

The Chiefs will see a familiar face this Sunday when they travel to south Florida to face the Miami Dolphins.

Former first-round draft choice (2008) Branden Albert is the starting left tackle in the Dolphins offense, protecting the blind side of quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Albert signed back in the spring in the first hours of free agency with Miami.

He’s one of 14 Chiefs draft choices that are on active rosters elsewhere in the league and nine of that group are starters: Albert, right guard Jon Asamoah and defensive lineman Tyson Jackson with Atlanta, cornerbacks Brandon Carr (Dallas) and Brandon Flowers (San Diego), defensive end Jared Allen (Chicago), safeties Bernard Pollard (Tennessee) and Kendrick Lewis (Houston) and defensive tackle Jerrell Powe (Houston).

Here are the Chiefs alumni that were in the league through the end of the pre-season: …Read More!

8 Former Chiefs Players, Coaches On Early Hall List

The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its Modern Era list of players and coaches that will have a chance to be part of the Hall’s Class of 2015.

There are 113 names on the list and eight have a connection to the Chiefs either as player or coach:

  • Kicker Morten Andersen (2002-03).
  • Quarterback Rich Gannon (1995-.).
  • Running back Priest Holmes (2001-07).
  • Cornerback Ty Law (2006-07).
  • Cornerback Albert Lewis (1983-93).
  • Head coach Marty Schottenheimer (1989-98).
  • Guard Will Shields (1993-2006).
  • Head coach Dick Vermeil (2001-05).

Also early candidates with Chiefs ties are former KC assistant coaches Bill Cowher (1989-91) and Tony Dungy (1989-91).

Vermeil’s Greatest Show on Turf team with the Rams that won the Super Bowl after the 1999 season has four key players who are eligible for the first time: quarterback Kurt Warner, tackle Orlando Pace and wide receivers Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce.

The late Chargers-Dolphins-Patriots linebacker Junior Seau is also a first-year nominee.

Here are the 113 potential Hall of Famers. The selection committee will cut that group to 25 in voting that will conclude on January 31 at the Super Bowl in Arizona: …Read More!

Chiefs Make Practice Squad Moves

Last week the Chiefs were the most active team in the NFL on Tuesday’s personnel wire, ultimately making moves involving 15 players coming and going from the active roster and the practice squad.

A week later, they were busy only on the practice squad, and that’s a good sign right now for the injury-riddled Chiefs. It’s an early indication that right now running back Jamaal Charles and safety Eric Berry will not miss significant time with their ankle injuries.

The Chiefs released tight end Adam Schiltz and cornerback Robert Steeples. Both were signed last week in the flurry of roster moves.

Returning to the practice squad is fullback Jordan Campbell. He was with the Chiefs in training camp and the pre-season and spent the first week of regular season on the practice squad.

The other spot was taken by tight end Justin Jones. The 22-year old is 6-7, 274 pounds and out of East Carolina University. He spent training camp time with the New England Patriots but was released there on August 25.

At ECU, the Conyers, Georgia native played in 32 games over three seasons, starting nine times and catching 52 passes for 598 yards and 21 touchdown receptions. He was declared ineligible for the 2013 season by the school. When he was not drafted, he signed with the Patriots.

Snap Judgments/Denver: Living With A Rookie Kicker

Back in the 1980s the Chiefs had a punter named Jim Arnold. He was a Southern boy out of Georgia and he was as down home a character as one could find in an NFL locker room.

Arnold was a pretty good punter for three seasons (1983-85) with the Chiefs and had a 12-year career in the NFL. To last a dozen seasons as a punter/kicker in the league, a leg man must learn to deal with the stress of performance, the highs and the lows of putting foot to ball and the expectations of coaches, teammates and the fans.

“There are three gremlins you can’t let into your head,” Arnold used to say. “You can’t have fear, doubt and worry sitting on your shoulder. It’s no way to kick. You can’t let them in your head.”

Two games into his NFL career Cairo Santos battles Arnold’s gremlins. Fear, doubt and worry have landed on the narrow shoulder pads of the Chiefs rookie kicker. Just check out the agonizing picture with this post, taken in Denver after he missed the second of his two field goal attempts. That’s a young man grabbing his helmet’s facemask as if he’s trying to hold onto his confidence.

Two games, four field goal attempts, two made, a 50 percent success rate and major concern about whether Santos is up to the task.

“Sometimes you get into a funk as a kicker and you’ve got to work your way out of it,” Andy Reid said of his rookie foot. “He hasn’t missed many field goals in his time, so this is a new experience for him. …Read More!

Jamaal Has Dreaded High Ankle Sprain

The Chiefs are still waiting for the results of an MRI, but Andy Reid said Monday that running back Jamaal Charles suffered a high ankle sprain in Sunday’s game.

“It doesn’t look to be a real severe one, but it does have the component of a high ankle sprain,” Reid said. “What does that mean? We’ll see what happens.”

A prognosis remains to be determined, but high ankle sprains take about double the time to heal as an ordinary run of the mill sprained ankle. Good health with a high sprain generally falls within four to eight weeks of suffering the injury. A pro athlete with the advantages of working with the best trainers and facilities can knock that down to four to six weeks if it’s not severe.

Every individual’s ankles are different, so rehab time varies but it’s safe to say Charles is unlikely to be a factor in the action leading up to the Chiefs bye week that comes after games against Miami, New England and San Francisco. …Read More!

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