Training Camp Practice Report – 7/31

From St. Joseph, Missouri

The Chiefs worked under the lights inside Spratt Stadium on the campus of Missouri Western State University and drew a nice crowd for the 2-hour practice.

Head coach Romeo Crennel had his team in full pads as they worked on the artificial surface. Crennel has promised a normal session and that’s what the Chiefs produced with no special add-ons with the crowd watching and hoping for some good football fireworks.

Missing from the action as a precaution were RB Jamaal Charles and TE Tony Moeaki. Also out were WR Junior Hemingway (groin), along with newly signOLB Edgar Jones and OT Ray Willis. They are both serving their acclimation periods before they are allowed to don the pads.

Several players really stood out during the workout. On defense it was OLB Andy Studebaker and DE Ropati Pitoitua who turned up the intensity. Not sure what they had for dinner, but both were unstoppable on the pass rush and Studebaker was leading the charge against the run. On offense, QB Matt Cassel looked good, LG Ryan Lilja looked very good, RB Cyrus Gray showed some moves and a couple of the wide receivers made some nice catches, topped by Steve Breaston and Jon Baldwin.

During practice both CB Brandon Flowers and DE Glenn Dorsey got nicked. It looked like both were ankle or foot or lower leg. Spearheaded went back in, while Flowers walked off the field but did get a cart ride to the pocket room.

Here’s a look at what happened in the team’s third practice in pads during this camp: …Read More!

Chiefs Sign Another Veteran OT

From St. Joseph, Missouri

With Tony Ugoh headed home, the Chiefs again dipped into a rather shallow talent pool among veteran offensive line types and on Tuesday signed OT Ray Willis (right).

Like several of the street free agents he signed last season, GM Scott Pioli decided to go with a blocker who hasn’t played in an NFL game since the 2009 season. That’s when Willis was a 16-game starter for Seattle at RT. The last game he played was the ’09 season finale played on January 3, 2010. He did not play in the 2010 season because of a knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery in August and he was placed on the injured reserve list. He became a free agent and was signed by two teams during the 2011 season (Miami and New Orleans) but did not play a snap. Earlier this season he was signed by the New York Jets on May 29 and released on June 28.

The 6-6, 304-pound product of Florida State spent five seasons with Seattle after being a fourth-round selection of the Seahawks in the 2005 NFL Draft. In those five seasons (2005-09), Willis played in 44 games with 26 starts. He made 23 of those starts at right tackle and three at right guard. He was known primarily for his ability to block for the running game.

At Florida State, Willis started 35 games for the Seminoles playing alongside Alex Barron, a first-round selection in’05 by St. Louis.

He’s a native of Angleton, Texas, which also happens to be the birthplace of Chiefs secondary coach and Pro Football Hall of Famer Emmitt Thomas. The difference between their dates of birth is 39 years. Willis will be 30 years old on August 13.

Willis will wear No. 64.

The Chiefs also announced they had waived FB Taylor Gentry.

Romeo Wants A Hot Practice Under the Lights

From St. Joseph, Missouri

The timing was right for the Chiefs players on Tuesday, as the scheduled called for an evening practice at Missouri Western State University.

As hot as that promises to be on the artificial turf of Spratt Stadium, the practice will not be held in the middle of an afternoon where temperatures were climbing their way to 100 degrees and the humidity was through the roof.

It’s not much of a break working on artificial turf that’s been baking in the sun all day, but any little edge helps for the players as they head into what is the last act of their first week in camp. …Read More!

Update Chiefs Personnel

From St. Joseph, Missouri

As the Chiefs prepare to wrap up their first week of training camp with a Tuesday evening practice they now have two spots open on their 90-man roster.

One was created when OT Tony Ugoh decided he did not want to continue playing. He left campus on Monday, telling head coach Romeo Crennel that his heart wasn’t in it anymore.

Another spot has been created with FB Taylor Gentry’s situation. The rookie free agent out of North Carolina State has not been passed on his physical by team doctors and won’t be, so the Chiefs have cut him loose as failed physical.

Crennel would not specify the reasons Gentry couldn’t pass the physical. At the end of Tuesday morning’s walkthrough, Gentry spent about 15 minutes on the field talking with Crennel and GM Scott Pioli. There was no visible problem as he walked off the field. After he signed in the days following the NFL Draft, Gentry was a full-time participant in the team’s off-season program.

The Chiefs head coach acknowledged that the team was bringing in some offensive linemen for a workout on Tuesday. Again, the current backup linemen have never taken a snap in a regular-season NFL game.

ILB Brandon Siler took part in the walkthrough on Tuesday morning, despite using crutches to get around campus on Monday because of a sore ankle. Crennel said he’s likely to take part in the Tuesday practice.

WR Junior Hemingway strained a groin muscle in Monday afternoon’s practice. He was back on the field for Tuesday morning’s activity.

Missing from St. Joe are WR Dwayne Bowe (contract) and DB Jacques Reeves (family issues).

Waiting On D-Bowe? … Tuesday Cup O’Camp

From St. Joseph, Missouri

Tuesday evening the Chiefs will practice under the lights at Spratt Stadium. Since they have Wednesday as an off-day, the night’s work will wrap up the first week of 2012 training camp.

A week in the books and there has been no sign, no word and no sighting of Dwayne Bowe. The Chiefs franchise player has yet to report to camp because he’s yet to sign his franchise tender offer of $9.6 million. He can’t practice or play without signing the tender. He also can’t get paid.

Nothing can be gained by Bowe staying away from the Chiefs. By NFL regulations there can be no negotiations between player and team, so he doesn’t improve his bargaining position by staying away. And, of course we know that GM Scott Pioli would never break the NFL rules by having off-the-books conversations with his wide receiver’s agent. All Bowe can hope for is that his absence puts a crimp in the Chiefs offense and makes the front-office re-evaluate his worth to the team.

There is one problem with that scenario – the Chiefs are likely to re-evaluate his worth and Bowe may not like what they decide because they can slap the franchise tag on him again next year, for what would be something just about $11 million. The Chiefs very well may never attempt to sign Bowe to a long-term deal, so that’s something Bowe couldn’t count on if he walked in the door tomorrow with a smile on his face. …Read More!

Training Camp Practice Report – 7/30

From St. Joseph, Missouri

It was season ticket holders day at the Chiefs afternoon practice at Missouri Western State University and although the number of tickets spoken for on the season isn’t what it used to be, there were certainly enough to have the best and noisiest crowd of camp to date.

Those fans who sweltered in the high humidity got to see the Chiefs offense fight back from a poor practice on Sunday to get some things done in their battles against the Chiefs defense. The running game was able to pop a view nice gains and wasn’t as bottled up as it was in the previous practice.

There were 85 players taking part in the practice after OT Tony Ugoh left camp apparently to retire. Also missing were LB Brandon Siler (ankle), FB Taylor Gentry (unknown ailment), DB Jacques Reeves (family issues) and WR Dwayne Bowe (holdout). Rookie WR Junior Hemingway left the field on the back of a cart during the practice, but showed no apparent injury. His status will be updated Tuesday morning.

Some observations from the work: …Read More!

Ugoh leaves camp, apparently to retire

From St. Joseph, Missouri

The Chiefs late attempt to find experienced depth for their offensive line blew up on Monday when OT Tony Ugoh left the Missouri Western State University campus with plans to retire from the game.

Ugoh took part in the team’s walkthrough practice on Monday morning, but with the second padded practice of the camp coming up that afternoon, he pulled the plug and left town after talking with Chiefs officials. No word from them on his departure.

The 5-year NFL veteran was signed just as the Chiefs were opening camp, although he’d been on the free agent market since March. With 40 games of NFL experience, he was the only backup offensive lineman on the team’s roster with any actual NFL game experience. In the practices, he didn’t appear to be overmatched except for a session Sunday when he had to handle several Tamba Hali pass rushes.

He arrived in St. Joseph with his family and they were at the team’s first practice on Friday.

“People don’t realize how hard it is to bounce around from team to team,’’ said Chiefs RT Eric Winston, “It’s tough on families. There are a lot of things going on in people’s lives. You don’t know what’s going on. Guys sometimes lose interest. I respect him for backing away more so than anything. There are a lot of guys trying to fake it and pick up another paycheck. The thing about this game is it’s hard to fake it, and I think he knew that. He was just ready to move on.’’

Ugoh was a former second-round draft choice of the Colts, but last played in 2011 with the New York Giants, when he was with them during their Super Bowl run.

Romeo Happy With First Day in Pads

From St. Joseph, Missouri

He was excited about the prospect of seeing his players in pads, and Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel was not disappointed by what he saw Sunday afternoon at Missouri Western State University.

“I thought yesterday was exciting, the first day in pads,” Crennel said. “I think the players are excited about getting the pads on as well. After all this is football, a contact sport, and it’s part of their job to play the game in pads. Overall I thought it was good and we had a nice day for it.”

Not sure how 101 degrees and a broiling sun can be considered nice, but with only limited time available to work the team in pads, Crennel is going to make sure he gets every possible advantage out of the circumstances. That’s why coaches like hot and humid.

“It was a little warm, and towards the end they were dragging a little bit,” Crennel said. “That’s understandable. But I thought they did a good job of working through it and fighting through it. We are pleased about that.

“They are probably more pleased about the cloud cover we have today that might help them a little bit.” …Read More!

Chiefs Sign LB to Fill Roster Spot

The first major injury of the 2012 NFL season befell safety Kyle McCarthy and he faces surgery on his knee.

That forced the Chiefs on Monday to waive McCarthy injured.

If he goes unclaimed by the other 31 NFL teams, he will revert back to the Chiefs and their injured reserve list. The 25-year old veteran of three seasons with the Denver Broncos was one of those players that needed a good pre-season to find a spot on the 53-man roster.

To fill the open spot, the Chiefs signed OLB Edgar Jones (right), who spent the last five seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. Jones (6-3, 262) played in 41 games with the Ravens as an OLB, DE, TE and special teamer. In his time in Baltimore, he wore four different numbers. The picture above is from the 2009 season when he played TE. Jones was in the 2009 season opener against the Chiefs, picking up one tackle on special teams. …Read More!

What Goes On The Nose . . . Monday Cup O’Camp

From St. Joseph, Missouri

On Day No. 1 of training camp here at Missouri Western State University, first-round draft choice Dontari Poe was not the starting nose tackle in the Chiefs defense.

On Day No. 2 he was not the starter.

On Day No. 3 he was still second team.

At the end of Day No. 4, Poe remained the No. 2 man.

The reality of the situation is that one day likely before the regular-season opener against Atlanta, Poe’s name will jump to the top of the depth chart. That’s where first-round picks are supposed to settle.

Until then the starter is Anthony Toribio, in his third year with the Chiefs but relatively unknown to even the most rabid fans. …Read More!

Training Camp Practice Report – July 29

From St. Joseph, Missouri

It was expected that when the Chiefs finally got the pads on and really worked at some football that the new offense would be behind the defense.

That’s how it played out Sunday afternoon under a broiling sun at Missouri Western State University where the Chiefs had the pads on and went at it for about 2½ hours. Other than taking a few extra minutes during some of the water breaks, head coach Romeo Crennel made no changes to the practice routine because of the temperatures in the high 90s.

And yes, the Chiefs defense was well ahead of the offense when the two squads went against each other. With the first defense against the first offense, the Chiefs had trouble moving the ball and there was no real breakthrough play for coordinator Brian Daboll’s offense.

Crennel’s defense was stringing out the running plays and had very good coverage on the pass plays with CB Brandon Flowers grabbing a pick six and CB Javier Arenas making another INT in coverage on WR Dexter McCluster.

There were 85 of the 90 players taking part in the practice. …Read More!

Romeo’s Happy: The Pads Are Coming Out

From St. Joseph, Missouri

Head coach Romeo Crennel is excited about Sunday afternoon’s practice at Missouri Western State University. It’s officially day No. 4 of training camp and that means the pads are finally going to worn and the Chiefs will take a closer step to actually playing football.

“The first day in pads there is always excitement with that,” Crennel said Sunday morning in meeting with the media. “You get to have some contact. Shorts are OK, but this is football and it’s a contact game. You’ve got to have that to get ready for the regular season.”

One guy who won’t be in pads Sunday afternoon is LT Branden Albert. The current agreement between the players and the league says a player must have a three-day acclimation period before he’s allowed to put on the pads. Because Albert missed Thursday, which was the official first day of camp, he won’t be able to pad up until Monday.

Another player missing will be free agent S Kyle McCarthy who suffered a knee injury during Saturday’s practice. Crennel said “it doesn’t look good” but the medical staff was waiting for the swelling to go down before making a decision on his future.

Crennel won’t know until practice whether OLB Justin Houston will be allowed to participate. Houston missed Saturday afternoon’s practice with a stomach illness, but he was taking part in the walkthrough on Sunday morning. That did not clear him for working in the afternoon.

Also waiting for the medical staff to make a decision is FB Taylor Gentry with an unknown problem.

Still missing are WR Dwayne Bowe (no contract) and DB Jacques Reeves (family problem).

Sunday practice is set to start at 3:20 p.m. It will be a hot one as temperatures in St. Joe were inching their way towards 100 degrees at lunch time.

Training Camp Practice Report – July 28

From St. Joseph, Missouri

It’s a good thing the pads are going on Sunday, because the Chiefs might have had a problem with more practices like they had Saturday afternoon without pads.

The intensity level kicked up a notch during the 2-plus hour practice in helmets and shells. It’s supposed to be no contact, but for a group of guys headed for a fully padded practice in less than 24 hours, the anticipation brought contact.

Like the pass play to WR Terrance Copper where he was grabbed by covering CB Jalil Brown and thrown to the ground. Copper landed on his shoulder, but quickly popped up and had a few words for his defensive teammate.

The practice featured all sorts of those moments; enough that players said they were looking forward to putting on the pads.

“Yeah, it reaches a point where it feels like gym class,” said NT Anthony Toribio. “We can push it a little more when we get the pads on.”

One injury came from Saturday’s session, as S Kyle McCarthy was carted off the field when the action hit his area on the sideline and rolled up on his leg. He was headed for an evaluation by team doctors after practice.

Missing from the session was OLB Justin Houston, who was out because he was sick, reported the Chiefs.

Observations from the session: …Read More!

It’s Jon Baldwin, And He’s Ready To Roll

From St. Joseph, Missouri

The name is not new. It’s just that nobody asked Jonathan Baldwin what he preferred to be called last year when he was in his first NFL training camp.

Of course, that camp was cut short because he got into a locker room fight with teammate Thomas Jones, broke his right hand and generally disappeared from view for awhile.

But he’s back now, a year older on the calendar, hopefully several years more mature and he’s ready to move his NFL career beyond last year’s mediocre rookie season. Say goodbye to Jonathan Baldwin.

“Jon, I like Jon,” he said after the Chiefs wrapped up practice at Missouri Western State University.

“I am super motivated. You just have to keep working hard and critiquing yourself and don’t get complacent and stuck on being one way. I just want to get better and just continue to critique myself and take it from there.”

Baldwin needs to get a lot better than his performance in the 2011 season – 21 catches, 254 yards and 1 score. He averaged 12.1 yards per catch and playing in 11 games, he averaged 23.1 yards per game on just under two catches per game. …Read More!

Morning Walkthrough Report – July 28

From St. Joseph, Missouri

Romeo Crennel and his coaching staff loaded up the players’ playbooks with more in the second day of training camp at Missouri Western State University.

“You add new plays, new formations, new coverages, new fronts, you add those last night and this morning and we walked through them and we’ll be ready to work on them again this afternoon,” Crennel said. “We’ll see how much they retained and then go from there.”

Crennel wants to have his offense, defense and special teams schemes put into play by next Saturday. …Read More!

Big 3 Test Their Knees . . . Saturday Cup O’Camp


From St. Joseph, Missouri

Jamaal Charles took the handoff from QB Matt Cassel and glided towards the line of scrimmage. The upper part of his body was calm, while his legs were pumping like pistons.

Charles planted his right foot and made a quick move. A half-a-second later he planted his left foot and made another quick move. It all happened in a blink of an eye.

But anyone associated with the 2012 Kansas City Chiefs let out a sigh and smiled.

“I always get excited to watch Jamaal run,” said Cassel. “He’s an explosive player. Having him back out there and all the rest of the guys it’s been great.”

Charles, SS Eric Berry and TE Tony Moeaki all tore the ACL in their left knees in a period of three weeks last year. All underwent surgery, all went through extensive rehabs.

And all three were on the field for the first practice of training camp, given full physical clearance by the Chiefs medical team to test those ligaments and get on with their football careers.

“They cleared me to go, so I was on the field today,” said Charles after practice, which was not in full pads and did not feature any contact. “I feel like me again, like I have my swag back and my knee feels better.”

Moeaki and Berry had the same sort of comments after the season’s first practice. …Read More!

Booing? All Cassel Heard Was “Chiefs!”

From St. Joseph, Missouri

The boos rained down on Chiefs QB Matt Cassel during a celebrity softball game on All-Star Weekend at Kauffman Stadium.

Or did they?

“I heard just as many cheers and I heard, ‘CHIEFS.’ I heard, ‘CHIEFS.’ I didn’t hear any booing,” Cassel told the media after practice on Friday at Missouri Western State University. “That’s what I heard, right?”

No, Cassel is not delusional – he knows those were the unhappy thoughts of some fans that greeted him in that softball game.

And he’s OK with that.

“The thing that I love about our fans is that they’re passionate,” said Cassel. “They let you know how they feel one way or the other and I can respect that. I’m going to go out; I’m going to be the same guy each and every day. I’m going to give you 110-percent of what I have, and some people like it, some people won’t.

“You know what? I’m going to give it my all. I’m here to win, and that’s what we’re trying to accomplish this season is win a lot of ballgames and hopefully make these guys cheer each and every time they see us out on the ball field.”

Training Camp Practice Report – July 27

From St. Joseph, Missouri

When it comes to the first practice of their 2012 training camp, the Chiefs did not approach the Friday afternoon workout by doing a cannon ball into the deep-end of the pool. Nor did they tiptoe to the edge and stick a foot in the water to judge the temperature.

They simply dove in and went about the business of working on their offense, defense and punting team. The intensity level wasn’t off the charts, but then it should not have been given the fact they were not in full pads; that doesn’t happen until Sunday. Still, the team did not sleepwalk through the 2-hour plus session. They were workmanlike as they went about their business, schooling themselves in schemes and adjustments.

Missing was the crack of pads and the other sounds of real football. Due to NFL rules from the labor agreement with the players, that will not come until Sunday.

—————————————————————————————

Coming up Saturday morning: the return to practice of the injured three knees – Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry and Tony Moeaki.

—————————————————————————————

As they went about their business, there was much to see and learn. Here are a few of the items we spotted: …Read More!

A Newsy Friday Morning In The Joe For Chiefs

From St. Joseph, Missouri

It was a busy Friday morning at the Chiefs first walkthrough of 2012 training camp at Missouri Western State University. Under sunny skies and temperatures right around 80 degrees, there were 87 players going through the session that lasted just under one hour.

From it and afterwards from head coach Romeo Crennel we learned the following:

  • All players were cleared for full participation, including those returning from injuries – RB Jamaal Charles, SS Eric Berry, TE Tony Moeaki, FS Kendrick Lewis and LB Brandon Siler. None will start camp on the PUP List.
  • The coach confirmed that WR Dwayne Bowe is not in camp.
  • Neither was starting LT Branden Albert. He’s taking care of a family issue.
  • Draft choice Donald Stephenson was with the first-team offense at LT, but Crennel says there’s going to be some movement at the position starting with Friday afternoon’s practice including giving second-round choice Jeff Allen time at tackle.
  • Newly signed OT Tony Ugoh was on the field, but he was limited in his participation as he learns the offense.
  • Also missing the walkthrough was free agent DB Jacques Reeves; he too is taking care of a family issue.
  • First-round draft pick Dontari Poe is not working with the first team defense on the nose. Anthony Toribio is holding down that spot – for now.
  • A couple of unnamed players did not pass the conditioning test on the first try, but made it on Friday morning..

…Read More!

A Heaping Platter of Training Camp Jambalaya

From St. Joseph, Missouri

One of the better eating establishments here in the big city up north is Boudreaux’s, a Cajun place that’s downtown and once took a shot out in Leawood but ended up closing. If you like the spicy taste of food down Louisiana way, Boudreaux’s is worth the effort should one find themselves in St. Joe for training camp. I didn’t get their last night but I will this week, so I’m serving up an early plate of training camp Jambalaya for your Friday lunch.

The winds of change blow again at Arrowhead

There are very few folks left around the Chiefs that pre-date the arrival of GM Scott Pioli in January 2009. Now, there is one fewer as one of the team’s orthopedic doctors Dr. Jon Browne will not return to his role of working with the team.

That’s a big loss for the Chiefs as Browne is one of the most noted sports injury orthopedic surgeons in the country. He’s part of the Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Clinic of Kansas City, teaches at the UMKC medical school and presents papers and lectures around the world, usually dealing specifically with knee injuries.

Browne joined the Chiefs in 1990 and was the leader of their medical operation through the 2008 season, including helping the team prepare for the draft each season, plus attending the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. He spent the last three seasons working with the Pioli Chiefs, but in reduced responsibilities and decided to end that relationship before the start of another season.

It’s another good and talented man gone from the organization. …Read More!

Finally, O-Line Experience . . . Friday Cup O’Camp

From Missouri Western State University, St. Joseph, Mo.

We’ll find out Friday afternoon what Tony Ugoh was doing back in June when the Chiefs were rolling through their off-season sessions and mini-camp, learning the new offense of coordinator Brian Daboll and working with new offensive line coach Jack Bicknell, Jr.

Hopefully, we’ll find out why in June Ugoh wasn’t already on the Chiefs roster to bolster an offensive line devoid of depth. Ugoh wasn’t signed until Thursday as the Chiefs rolled into the start of training camp.

The headlines from Thursday were the signing of first-round draft choice NT Dontari Poe, the absence of WR Dwayne Bowe and the start of the team’s three-week session here in the Pony Express city. Ugoh was an afterthought, his signing merely a news item to throw into the notes and minutia of the start of the 2012 season.

He could be an important addition to the team’s roster. That’s Ugoh kissing the Vince Lombard Trophy after playing with the New York Giants and winning the Super Bowl last February in Indianapolis. He got a bit lucky in that one; he signed in December when the Giants lost OL Stacy Andrews to illness (pulmonary embolisms). Ugoh played in three regular season games, started one as a second tight end and was part of the G-men’s run to the championship, playing in all four post-season games.

Timing is everything in life and in that case Ugoh’s timing was exceptional. The question that hangs in the humid air of St. Joe concerns the Chiefs timing of finally signing a backup offensive lineman who had actually played in an NFL game. …Read More!

Chiefs Trickle Into St. Joe

From Missouri Western State University, St. Joseph, Mo.

Reality is all about perception. That’s another way of saying one man’s dump, is another man’s treasurer chest. It depends on the perception.

That’s why free agent LB Caleb Campbell had no problem checking into a college dormitory for the start of Chiefs training camp on Thursday. When you’ve lived in the cadet halls of West Point, where there is no air-conditioning, and when you lived at Fort Sill in one of those Oklahoma summer infernos, spending a few weeks at Scanlon Hall at Missouri Western is the lap of luxury.

“It’s a step up from my college experience,” Campbell said. “But it’s still a dorm.”

The summer inferno was tempered a bit in St. Joe on Thursday, as temps were right around 90 degrees as the players made a 6 o’clock deadline for the start of camp. As is their want, the Chiefs provided no information on players that arrived, or did not make it to the Missouri Western campus. The public will have to wait until Friday morning’s walkthrough and afternoon practice to take a true head count.

However, with first-round draft choice Dontari Poe signing a contract on Thursday morning the only likely no show was WR Dwayne Bowe, the team’s franchise player. Bowe has not yet signed the franchise-tender offer of $9.5 million and cannot practice until he does. If Bowe is absent on Friday, there’s little chance the Chiefs will see Bowe in St. Joe as he’ll probably stay away until near the end of the pre-season. …Read More!

Poe Signs Deal; O-Lineman Added

The Chiefs reached contract agreement with their first-round draft choice NT Dontari Poe on Thursday morning hours before the team was reporting for training camp in St. Joseph.

Poe was the 11th selection in the 2012 NFL Draft and was one of the final five early selections that were without a deal. As always, the Chiefs did not release financial terms but based on the NFL’s slotting system for first-round choices, Poe’s contract should be four years at somewhere between $10 and $11 million in total payments.

Also on Thursday, the Chiefs announced the signing of OT Tony Ugoh, a veteran of five NFL seasons with the Colts, Lions and Giants, where he earned a Super Bowl ring last season.

Ugoh entered the NFL as the second-round choice in the 2007 NFL Draft by Indianapolis. The Texas native and University of Arkansas product is listed at 6-5, 301 pounds and has played in 40 games with 28 starts, most of those with the Colts.

His signing makes him the first backup blocker that actually has NFL regular season experience.

Just Another Summer of Going To Camp

By Thursday evening these reports will be datelined from St. Joseph, Missouri as the Chiefs begin training camp at Missouri Western State University.

As it stands now, we’ll be in camp every day that the Chiefs provide access to practices and players. That’s what you’ve come to expect, and we are prepared to bring it once again.

There’s always an air of excitement with the start of training camp. Well, there is for most people. For me, it’s something different. This trip to Chiefs camp will be my 36th year of attending NFL training camp.

From Latrobe, Pennsylvania, to Liberty, Missouri, to River Falls, Wisconsin and now in St. Joe, I have spent at least part of my August watching football in the summer sun and going off to camp.

On average, the camps lasted three to four weeks, some longer. Even taking the conservative estimate of three weeks, that’s 108 weeks of my life in camp. That’s more than two full years. …Read More!

Poe Is One of 8 Unsigned Draft Picks

GM Scott Pioli still has not gotten first-round draft choice Dontari Poe signed to his first NFL contract and reporting time for training camp is now less than 24 hours away.

It’s in those last 24 hours that plenty of contracts get finalized, so Pioli could still bring the big man in on time. Poe is one of five first-round choices and eight draft picks overall that are still without contracts as more and more teams report for training camp. Five of the nine are supposed to report on Thursday, including Poe.

Calls to Poe’s agent Jimmy Sexton of CAA went unanswered, as they have throughout the negotiating process. Poe faces no penalties from missing training camp time, other than how it hurts him making the transition to the NFL. The likely negotiating point that’s keeping these deals from getting done more than likely is over guaranteed money, how much and who is responsible for that bonus if the draft choices leaves the team.

First Round

  • 4-OT Matt Kalil, Minnesota (Thursday).
  • 5-WR Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville (Thursday).
  • 8-QB Ryan Tannehill, Miami (Thursday).
  • 11-NT Dontari Poe, Chiefs (Thursday).
  • 20-WR Kendall Wright, Tennessee (rookies reported Tuesday).

Third Round

  • 78-TE Michael Egnew, Miami (Thursday).
  • 95-OL Tony Bergstrom, Oakland (Sunday).

Fifth Round

  • 168-WR Juron Criner, Oakland (Sunday).

6 Questions Seeking Answers In St. Joe

The clock is ticking down and the Chiefs coaches, players and staff are enjoying their last day of liberty before the 2012 NFL season begins with the start of training camp.

The oven that will be Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph has been turned to broil like everywhere else in the Midwest these last few months. Thursday will be check in. Friday they’ll hit the field. How soon those pads go one will likely depend on what Romeo Crennel and his staff find when the players gather and they see what type of shape the boys have kept themselves in since they last met back in mid-June.

Whether it’s St. Joe, or any of the other 31 camps that will be opened by Sunday, there are questions to be answered. The off-season is the time for teams and fans to dream. When the practices start and the pads go on, that’s when dreams get chased out of the locker room and answers begin to develop for the key questions surrounding every team.

With the Chiefs, here are the six questions they must discover answers for by the time they pack up and head back down I-29 for K.C.: …Read More!

Football Remains A Growth Sport

There are times when it appears the planets are aligned against the sport of football. There is growing concern about the physical toll the game can have on participants. Financials have become tighter and tighter and football is not a cheap exercise to operate. The NFL remains the national pastime, but in stadium attendance is down.

Then along comes the news out of American higher education, where despite the costs inherent in fielding a football team, more and more of our colleges and universities are playing the game. There are five schools that will begin play this fall, and there are another 17 programs in the works, scheduled to come on-line in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

“Football’s popularity has never been greater and the fact that so many schools are embracing it is a testament that more and more administrators see the value of the sport to a student’s overall educational experience,” said Steve Hatchell, the president and CEO of the National Football Foundation.

Here are the five programs that will start this season are: …Read More!

Man On The Spot . . . Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

As the Chiefs are just days away from beginning the 2012 training camp, the discussion spotlight falls on a single person.

No, it’s not Matt Cassel and his quest to become the franchise QB that the Chiefs and their fans have wanted for so many years. No, it’s not first-round draft choice Dontari Poe, who will be expected to make a major contribution as a rookie. It’s also not RB Jamaal Charles and SS Eric Berry, who are coming back from serious knee injuries that compromised the Chiefs offense and defense last year.

The guy on the hot seat is Scott Pioli. More than anyone else, the Chiefs general manager is in desperate need of success and that must come with the 2012 season.

While the national media and commentators continue to shower Pioli with praise for the job he’s done since taking over the Hunt Family franchise, there are numbers that cannot be ignored when evaluating his performance. Specifically:

21-28.

That’s the Chiefs record since Pioli took over three seasons ago – 21 victories and 28 defeats, including a first-round loss in the playoffs after the 2010 season. That’s a .429 winning percentage. There are 22 teams in the NFL that had a better percentage of victories in the last three seasons than Pioli’s team. That’s 22 of 32. …Read More!

A bobgretz.com Update

A reminder that complete access to bobgretz.com for the rest of the 2012 NFL season is available.   Click here for details and subscription information.

Poe one of 20 unsigned NFL draft picks

First-round draft choice NT Dontari Poe remained unsigned on Monday, making him one of 20 selections in the 2012 NFL Draft that have not gotten their contracts done as training camps begin to open around the league.

Poe is one of six first round picks without deals. That number fell by four on Monday when Cleveland agreed to terms with RB Trent Richardson, Dallas signed CB Morris Claiborne, OT Riley Reiff (Detroit) and G David DeCastro (Pittsburgh).

These were the 2012 draft choice that remained unsigned as of 10 p.m. CDT on Monday, with that team’s reporting day: …Read More!

The Pre-Camp 2012 Chiefs – From #1 thru #89

By the end of the week, the Chiefs will be on the practice field in St. Joseph taking their first steps into the 2012 season.

There are 89 players on the roster, but there remains a chance that several spots could change by Friday’s first practice. Plus, there’s also a good chance that several players will begin training camp on the PUP List, having not yet gotten complete clearance from the medical folks to practice.

Changes made to the roster in the last six months have gotten a lot of attention around the Chiefs Nation and the NFL in general. GM Scott Pioli has gotten high marks for his free agent additions, not so high for his selections in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Because of the return of so many players from the injury list – Jamaal Charles, Tony Moeaki, Eric Berry, Matt Cassel, Kendrick Lewis, Brandon Siler – putting together a list of Chiefs players from No. 1 through No. 89 is a bit dicey at this point. That’s never stopped us before. After consultation with personnel sources around the league, here’s our pre-training camp list 1 through 89, all of this is assuming injured players can return to make their normal contributions.

No. 1 to 15

  1. RB Jamaal Charles – He says he’s faster than before his knee injury. Chiefs need him at 100 percent.
  2. OLB Tamba Hali – Had the best season of any player on the roster in ’11 and he comes back healthy.
  3. SS Eric Berry – Due to his position, he’ll need time to test that knee injury and his mobility.
  4. ILB Derrick Johnson – He cracked the Pro Bowl ceiling last year and needs to consistency.
  5. WR Dwayne Bowe – Everyone is waiting to see just what type of attitude Bowe brings to camp.
  6. CB Brandon Flowers – With his partner Brandon Carr gone, Flowers needs to lock down his corner.
  7. K Ryan Succop – Coming off his strongest season, Succop needs to take another forward step in ’12.
  8. LT Branden Albert – Its Albert’s contract year and Pioli needs to wrap it up before free agency hits.
  9. RT Eric Winston – Huge new addition that solidifies the right side of the O-Line if he stays healthy.
  10. P Dustin Colquitt – The veteran punter is in the final season of his contract; his is a case to watch.
  11. OLB Justin Houston – If Houston can match his rookie season, he’ll jump into a top 10 position.
  12. TE Tony Moeaki – He showed in ’10 what he’s capable of doing, but must keep himself on the field.
  13. DE Glenn Dorsey – A contract year for former 1st-round pick who continues playing out of position.
  14. RB-WR Dexter McCluster – Big plans are in place to use McCluster in various roles on offense.
  15. QB Matt Cassel – This year is where Cassel must step to the front and establish his credentials.

…Read More!

A Bubbling Pot of Sunday Chiefs Stew

From America’s highways and byways

The clock is ticking on vacation time and in less than a week we’ll hit the road again, but this time north to St. Joe and football at Missouri Western State University.

Interesting that the day before DB Donald Washington was arrested on I-70 just outside of Effingham, Illinois, I too passed through Effingham on the same highway, pretty much at the same time of day.

If Wednesday was anything like Thursday, then the trooper that pulled him over was not the first Washington saw that day on his drive to Kansas City. The Illinois State Police was everywhere on 1-70 earlier this week, right down to a nest of three troopers on the eastern side of Effingham, all in very non-descript type cars. I’m guessing they needed to up their quota for the month – Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri were not set up every 20 miles or so.

More on Donald Washington

As with anyone in this country, Washington is innocent until proven guilty, so let’s not condemn the young man to making license plates in Joliet just yet.

It’s not so much that he was pulled over for speeding; there’s plenty of that happening on our country’s interstate highway system. But driving with a suspended license – what’s that about? He had the last two months essentially to take care of that situation.

The driving under the influence and possession of marijuana are just plan hard to understand from a veteran player. At the end of the coming week, Washington is scheduled to report with the rest of the Chiefs in St. Joe. Part of the process is a physical and I’m sure that will include a moment when players must pee in a bottle for a drug test.

Washington is going into his fifth training camp. He knows this is the routine. Still, he can’t stay off the blunt on the drive into town? …Read More!

AFC West 2012 – On Paper, SD Is No. 1, Chiefs Next

We worked our way through 16 offensive positions, 14 spots on defense, 5 on special teams and then three more categories in coaching. As the 2012 season begins, our goal was to determine the best team in the AFC West. Actually, the best team on paper.

The winner – the San Diego Chargers led by head coach Norv Turner (left), with the Chiefs close behind, nipping at their heels. Oakland and Denver were out of the running with the defending division champion Broncos finishing at No. 4 in our ratings.

NFL personnel types from outside the division helped us with both the rankings of players and coaches. We rated the players by position and the head coaches, coordinators and key assistants on a scale of one to four; the fewer points, the higher the ranking.

The Chargers had the best collection of offensive players, just edging out the Chiefs. On defense, the Chargers and Chiefs were tied, while Oakland had the best special teams performers thanks to the kicking duo of Sebastian Janikowski and Shane Lechler.

San Diego had the most first place ratings among the players with 10, followed by the Chiefs with 9 and both the Broncos and Raiders had eight each.

“Everyone talks about the window closing on the Chargers, but when you look at their roster, they still have a number of very good players and certainly some of the best in the division,” one NFC pro personnel director said. “Are they as talented as they used to be? No. That they couldn’t get to a Super Bowl with some of the talent then had over the years, especially on offense, is a shame. …Read More!

Donald Washington Arrested In Illinois

It had to end sometime.

While arrests of NFL players were becoming an almost every day occurrence in this off-season, the Chiefs were unscathed when it came to any meetings with Big John Law.

That ended Thursday on I-70 near Altamont in Effingham County Illinois. At approximately 2:42 p.m. fifth-year Chiefs safety Donald Washington was stopped for speeding, clocked doing 86 MPH, well over the speed limit on that stretch of the highway at 65 MPH (Charge No. 1). Illinois State Police discovered Washington was driving with a suspended license (Charge No. 2). The state trooper noticed the smell of marijuana in Washington’s car and he appeared to be high and under the influence (Charge No. 3). A search of the trunk found marijuana in one of Washington’s bags and he was charged with unlawful possession of cannabis (Charge No. 4).

There may be more charges coming against Washington. …Read More!

AFC West 2012 Analysis – Coaching Staffs

This is the final step in our lengthy analysis of the AFC West and how the teams rank on paper. This last installment covers 4 assistant coaches in key positions – offensive line and quarterbacks coaches on offense, and linebackers and secondary coaches on defense. As we did with the players, head coaches and coordinators, we used our connections within the NFL personnel and front office ranks for their opinions on the quality of coaches. We ranked the 4 positions individually and that created a rating for the team. Again, the fewer points the better. Here’s how the staffs ranked.

AFC WEST 2012 ROSTER SCOREBOARD (thru defensive wildcard) – Chargers 77, Chiefs 78, Raiders 83, Broncos 92.

AFC WEST 2012 COACHING SCOREBOARD (thru coaching staff) – Chargers 5, Chiefs 7, Broncos 8, Raiders 10.

Key Assistant Coaches

1. Chiefs

Offensive Line/Jack Bicknell, Jr. – 49 years old, no pro playing experience, 28 years in coaching, 4 seasons in the NFL, head coach in college (Louisiana Tech), first season with Chiefs.

Quarterbacks/Jim Zorn – 59 years old, 11 NFL seasons as QB, 24 years in coaching, 16 years in NFL, head coach in NFL (Washington), second season with Chiefs.

Linebackers/Gary Gibbs – 59 years old, no pro playing experience, 32 years in coaching, 11 years in NFL, head coach in college (Oklahoma), fourth season with Chiefs.

Secondary/Emmitt Thomas – 69 years old, 13 NFL seasons as CB/Hall of Fame, 34 years in coaching, 32 years in NFL coaching, served as interim head coach (Atlanta), third season with Chiefs.

Romeo Crennel has a lot of veteran coaches on his staff, especially in key positions. All four of these men have also been head coaches during their coaching careers that have averaged 30.5 seasons, with half of those years in the NFL. Plus, two of the four – Zorn and Thomas – had extensive NFL playing careers. It’s an older group, averaging 59 years of age, but there’s a great deal of knowledge in those four spots. …Read More!

Chiefs Statistically Speaking – Career Sacks

Top sackers in franchise history are led by Neil Smith, Eric Hicks, Derrick Thomas, Tamba Hali

The sack has been an official statistic in the NFL only since the 1982 season. For some of the greatest pass rushers in franchise history, we do not have sack totals for players like Bobby Bell, Buck Buchanan, Aaron Brown, Willie Lanier and Jerry Mays. Given the way the game was played in their era, they probably would not have cracking the top five sackers.

Interesting item on the Chiefs best sackers – they were almost all Kansas City draft choices. While that wasn’t true at offensive skill positions, eight of the top 10 sackers were draft choices and 15 of the top 25 were selected in the NFL Draft by the Chiefs front office.

It will be tough for anyone to top Derrick Thomas and his 126.5 sacks. Tamba Hali has 53.5 in 95 games, but that leaves him 73 sacks behind D.T.

Here are the top 25 sackers in Chiefs history, plus their overall rank among NFL pass rushers. That position includes sacks with other teams: …Read More!

AFC West 2012 Analysis – The Coordinators

We are done with the players, but who are they without good coaching? We’ll break down the guys on the sideline with the head coach, coordinators and other key staff. We’ll keep a separate scoreboard that works the same way as with the roster – the fewer points, the better.

AFC WEST 2012 ROSTER SCOREBOARD (thru defensive wildcard) – Chargers 81, Chiefs 82, Raiders 89, Broncos 99.

AFC WEST 2012 COACHING SCOREBOARD (thru coordinators) – Chargers 3, Broncos 5, Chiefs 6, Raiders 6.

Coordinators

1. San Diego

Offense/Hal Hunter – 53 years old, 31 years in coaching, 7 years in NFL, 7 years with Chargers, first year as coordinator.

Hunter was given the title this year, but the guy who calls the plays is head coach Norv Turner. It’s Turner’s offense, so that’s factored into our ratings. Since Norv took over as head coach, San Diego has been one of the league’s best offenses; in five years, they’ve averaged No. 9 in offensive yards and No. 3 in points scored each season. Hunter has been the offensive line coach that’s helped the running game average over 1,900 yards in the last five years.

Defense/John Pagano – 45 years old, 22 years in coaching, 17 years in NFL, 11 years with Chargers, first year as coordinator.

Pagano is in his first season as coordinator, but he’s been a big part of the Chargers defense for a decade, serving as linebackers coach and working with the likes of Shawne Merriman, Shaun Phillips and Donald Butler. The linebacker position has been probably the strongest in the San Diego defense. He comes from a football family – his father Sam was a high school coach in Boulder and brother Chuck is the new head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.

Special Teams/Rich Bisaccia – 52 years old, 30 years in coaching, 11 in the NFL, 2 years with Chargers.

Bisaccia got his NFL start with Tampa Bay and did an outstanding job over nine seasons with the Bucs. That work included a Super Bowl ring in 2002 and three Pro Bowl selections for his special teamers, along with 13 NFC Player of the Week honors. His units scored eight touchdowns on returns, blocked 10 FGs, 5 punts and 3 PATs. In 2009, Tampa Bay led the NFL with six blocked kick as well as in kick return average and second in covering kicks. …Read More!

Chiefs Statistically Speaking – Career Punt Returners

The Chiefs best punt returners by average including J.T. Smith, Abner Haynes, Tamarick Vanover, Eddie Payton

In 52 seasons, the Chiefs have scored 22 times on punt returns, with 13 coming from just three players – WR J.T. Smith, WR Tamarick Vanover and WR Dante Hall.

Lately, the punt return score has been hard to come by; they haven’t had one in 32 games, dating back to the 2010 season opener when Dexter McCluster scored on a 94-yard return against San Diego. Before McCluster’s score, the last punt return TD was by Dante Hall in the 2006 season.

The all-time leaders in punt return average including two players signed off the street (Smith and Eddie Payton, yes the brother of Walter Payton.) Abner Haynes was the team’s first superstar when he led the Dallas Texans in the first season of the franchise. Vanover was drafted after playing in the Canadian Football League when he left Florida State early.

Here are the top punt return averages in Chiefs returning history based on a minimum of 25 punt returns in a career. There have been 21 players that returned 25 punts or more: …Read More!

AFC West 2012 Analysis – Head Coach

We are done with the players, but who are they without good coaching. We’ll break down the guys on the sideline with the head coach, coordinators and other key staff. We’ll keep a separate scoreboard that works the same way as with the roster – the fewer points, the better.

AFC WEST 2012 ROSTER SCOREBOARD (thru defensive wildcard) – Chargers 81, Chiefs 82, Raiders 89, Broncos 99.

AFC WEST 2012 COACHING SCOREBOARD (thru head coach) – Broncos 1, Chargers 2, Chiefs 3, Raiders 4.

Head coach

1. John Fox, Denver

57 years old in his second season as Broncos head coach; his Denver record is 8-8 with a division title; his overall head coaching record is 81-79 over 10 seasons; his teams had winning records 3 times and made the playoffs 4 years, with a 6-4 post-season record; won NFC Championship in the 2003 season, losing to New England in the Super Bowl; he’s spent 17 years as head coach or coordinator in the NFL (Raiders, Giants, Panthers, Broncos) and 22 years in the NFL (add Steelers); Fox began his career with nine seasons of college coaching (San Diego State, Boise State, Long Beach State, Utah, Kansas, Iowa State, Pitt); he also caoched one season in the USFL for the Los Angeles Express (1985).

Fox has proven over a long coaching career on the defensive side of the ball that he likes his teams to be hard hitters, and likes them to be able to run the ball. Getting QB Peyton Manning will give him the best starting quarterback he’s ever had and will likely mean some subtle changes in the Fox approach. But the one thing his teams always do is play defense. In nine seasons with Carolina, his defense averaged a No. 11 finish in both yards allowed and points allowed, while posting a No. 8 finish on average in takeaways. There was no learning curve needed by Fox when he landed with the Broncos, as he went in and righted the listing ship caused by the hiring and then firing of Josh McDaniels. He is the class of the division. …Read More!

Chiefs Single-Game Seats Available Wednesday

Single-game tickets for all 2012 Chiefs home games will be available to the public at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.

Tickets are available:

  • Online at Ticketmaster.com.
  • By phone at (800) 745-3000.
  • In person at selected Ticketmaster outlets
  • At the Arrowhead Stadium ticket office on the northwest side of the stadium until 5 o’clock Wednesday afternoon and then 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday.

Tickets can be purchased with cash or credit card (VISA, MasterCard, American Express and Discover). No checks will be accepted.

Chiefs Statistically Speaking – Career Kick Returners

The Chiefs leaders in average kick returns are Robert Holmes, Frank Jackson, Larry Marshall, Noland Smith.

It’s been a long time since the Chiefs were very productive on kickoff returns. They haven’t had one in 39 games, since Jamaal Charles took one back against Pittsburgh on November 22, 2009. The last kickoff return before that was by Dante Hall in 2005.

Guys like Hall and Tamarick Vanover gave the Chiefs remarkable production on kickoff returns for a period of almost 12 seasons. Vanover scored 4 times on kickoffs (99, 89, 97 and 94 yards), while Hall scored 6 times on kickoffs (88, 100, 97, 96, 97 and 96.)

When it comes to average yardage on kickoff returns, Vanover and Hall don’t rate in the top four all-time with the franchise; in fact, the rank No. 10 and No. 11.

Here’s the list of the top 25 kickoff returners in Chiefs franchise history; the list is players with at least 25 returns: …Read More!

AFC West 2012 Analysis – Defensive Wildcard

We are coming down the homestretch on our analysis of the talent on the rosters of the four teams in the AFC West. We used about a half-dozen sources for our evaluation, relying on pro personnel scouts around the league who get paid to evaluate NFL players. We’ve kept a scoreboard to find out what team has the most talented roster (on paper); in this case it will be the team with the fewest points. Points match where they are rated; example, the No. 3 spot means 3 points. The defensive wildcard is a player who is not thought of as a starter, but will have a big role to play in each team’s defense.

AFC WEST 2012 SCOREBOARD (thru defensive wildcard) – Chargers 81, Chiefs 82, Raiders 89, Broncos 99.

Defensive Wildcard

1. Antwan Barnes, San Diego

6-1, 240 pounds, born 10/19/1984, 6th NFL season, selected 4th-round ’07 by Ravens, signed as FA ’10 by Eagles, signed as FA ’10 by San Diego; he’s played in 66 games, and racked up 20.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, an interception and 78 total tackles; last year he had 11 sacks and 39 total tackles.

In what amounted to a backup role last year, Barnes turned in one of the best seasons by an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. His 11 sacks were particularly impressive for a guy who was on the field for under 500 defensive snaps. The Chargers brought in veteran OLB Jarrett Johnson in free agency, so it doesn’t feel like it’s time for Barnes to jump into the starting lineup. But if he keeps producing those types of numbers, Norv Turner and his coaching staff will find more ways for him to play. …Read More!

No Long-Term Deal For Bowe As Deadline Passes

To the surprise of no one, Chiefs franchise player WR Dwayne Bowe did not get a long-term contract from the team before the league deadline on Monday afternoon at 3 p.m. CDT.

Bowe along with two other franchised players – Detroit DL Cliff Avril and San Francisco S Dashon Goldson are now sitting in a position where they have two avenues available to them:

  • They can sign their tender offers and report for the start of training camps next week.
  • They can stay away from the team in a holdout that’s not really a holdout since they are not under contract. They can’t be fined and won’t lose any money until they start missing regular season games.

The passing of the deadline means Bowe and the Chiefs cannot negotiate on a long-term deal until after the 2012 season. At that time, he becomes a free agent and the team can slap him with the franchise tag again, to the tune of a minimum of 120 percent of his ’12 salary, or approximately $11.42 million. If they choose not to do so, Bowe becomes an unrestricted free agent.

Now, the question is how will Bowe react? …Read More!

Guaranteed $ Holds Up Deals . . . Monday Cup O’Chiefs

There was a day, and it wasn’t too long ago, that the major difference between the National Football League and other sports leagues like Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association was guaranteed contracts. Professional baseball and basketball had guaranteed deals; the NFL did not.

Those days are now gone and the fight over guaranteed dollars is at the forefront of why the Chiefs have not gotten a deal done with either their designated franchise player WR Dwayne Bowe or their first-round draft choice NT Dontari Poe.

At 3 p.m. CDT on Monday is the NFL deadline for teams to negotiate a long-term contract with their designated franchise player. If that doesn’t happen, then the player and team cannot continue to negotiate on a multi-year deal and the player must play the ’12 season for the tender-offer amount. There are six franchise players facing the deadline, including Bowe.

The Chiefs do not talk publicly about contract negotiations, or at least they do not talk about them on the record. They aren’t adverse to occasionally throwing an off-the-record verbal grenade into the process if they are trying to send a message. And, the agents for both players – Todd France for Bowe and Jimmy Sexton representing Poe – have not shown a willingness to speak on the negotiations.

But like many other contract skirmishes around the league, the battle is over how much of the deal is guaranteed against injury and skill, and whether that guarantee gets carried to another team if the player should move on by the club’s decision.

There are several indicators of what’s going on with Bowe and Poe: …Read More!

Chiefs Statistically Speaking – QB/Passer Rating

The four QBs drafted by Chiefs with best passer rating: Steve Fuller, Mike Livingston, Eddie Wilson, Brodie Croyle

In many ways one could say that the Chiefs franchise has been the worst in the NFL at drafting and then developing quarterbacks.

There have been QBs that developed while wearing a Chiefs uniform, specifically Len Dawson and Trent Green. Neither had experienced the type of success they had wearing red and gold with previous employers.

But to draft and then develop a so-called franchise quarterback hasn’t happened in 52 years for the red and gold. Rank the top 25 quarterbacks based on passer rating (as we’ve done here) and the first drafted thrower was Eddie Wilson at No. 17. Of the 25, only 4 were selected by the Chiefs in the draft. Joining Wilson are Steve Fuller, Brodie Croyle and Mike Livingston. Combined that quartet started 116 games for the Chiefs, posting a 43-71-2 record.

Here are the top 25 passers in Chiefs history, ranked by their rating. Only passers with 25 attempts or more were selected: …Read More!

AFC West 2012 Analysis – Nickel Defensive Back

We are coming down the homestretch on our analysis of the talent on the rosters of the four teams in the AFC West. We used about a half-dozen sources for our evaluation, relying on pro personnel scouts around the league who get paid to evaluate NFL players. We’ve kept a scoreboard to find out what team has the most talented roster (on paper); in this case it will be the team with the fewest points. Points match where they are rated; example, the No. 3 spot means 3 points.

AFC WEST 2012 SCOREBOARD (thru nickel back) – Chiefs 74, Chargers 76, Raiders 81, Broncos 89.

Nickel Back

1. Chris Harris, Denver

5-10, 190 pounds, born 6/18/1989, 2nd NFL season, signed as UDFA ’11 by Broncos; in the ’11 season, Harris had 1 interceptions and 73 total tackles in limited playing time

Harris had a nice rookie season with the Broncos in ’11; it was 5 games into the season before he finally got a chance to play in the Denver nickel and by the end of the season he played over 500 snaps. He showed the willingness to play the run. In coverage he had some inconsistency, but he gave up pass plays that averaged just 10.6 yards and allowed 3 TD passes. Harris may challenge for a starting job, but the Broncos are likely to keep him in the role of nickel back as he grew into the role. …Read More!

Chiefs Statistically Speaking – Interception Leaders


Chiefs leaders in interceptions is topped by Johnny Robinson, Deron Cherry, Emmitt Thomas and Gary Barbaro

The Chiefs are one of the few teams in pro football that has a Hall of Fame performer at all levels of the defense that played together in the same era. That included the franchise leading intercepting defensive back CB Emmitt Thomas. His 58 interceptions ended with the 1978 season.

Since the turn of the century, the Chiefs have produced just one defensive player that was able to crack the interception top 10 – S Greg Wesley, who last played in 2007. In 118 games, Wesley had 29 interceptions to rank No. 8. That’s an interception every 4.1 games. But that pales in comparison to the leading safety swipers in franchise history – Johnny Robinson had a pick every 2.87 games and Deron Cherry at 2.96 games.

There are no current Chiefs in the list of top 25; the closest is CB Brandon Flower at No. 27 with 13 interceptions.

Here’s the list of the top 25 players with interceptions with the Chiefs franchise: …Read More!

AFC West 2012 Analysis – Strong Safety

We are coming down the homestretch on our analysis of the talent on the rosters of the four teams in the AFC West. We used about a half-dozen sources for our evaluation, relying on pro personnel scouts around the league who get paid to evaluate NFL players. We’ve kept a scoreboard to find out what team has the most talented roster (on paper); in this case it will be the team with the fewest points. Points match where they are rated; example, the No. 3 spot means 3 points.

AFC WEST 2012 SCOREBOARD (thru strong safety) – Chiefs 72, Chargers 73, Raiders 77, Broncos 88.

Strong Safety

1. Eric Berry, Chiefs

6-0, 211 pounds, born 12/29/1988, 2nd NFL season, selected 1st-round ’10 by Chiefs; his strong rookie season earned him a Pro Bowl nomination with 4 interceptions, 2 sacks and 87 total tackles; last season he suffered a torn ACL in his left knee on the first defensive play of the season.

It’s tough to rank a player that missed 15 games, 3 quarters and the most of another last season as the top player at his position. But Berry’s performance during the 2010 season was so far superior than any performance turned in by other SS in the division that he deserves the top spot. How quickly he can rebound from that torn ACL in his left knee we’ll find out in the coming pre-season. If he can get back to his ’10 form he’ll be back in the Pro Bowl. That season, he played every defensive snap and showed himself to be stronger against the run than in coverage; he gave up 7 TD passes and opposing QBs had a passer rating of more than 95 against him. He’ll need to improve his work against the passing game and match his efforts against the run the season before last. The defense also missed his leadership qualities early in the season; it took awhile before the entire unit recovered its mojo. …Read More!

Chiefs Statistically Speaking – Receiving Leaders

Chiefs list of leading receivers is topped by Carlos Carson, Tony Gonzalez, Otis Taylor and Henry Marshall

Of the 25 leaders in career receiving yardage for the Chiefs, only one is still active with the team – WR Dwayne Bowe. Of the top 10, only two of those leading receivers played for the team in the last 10 seasons – Bowe and TE Tony Gonzalez. Despite the Vermeil Flying Circus that rewrote the team’s offensive record book, the Chiefs have not had a host of highly productive receivers in recent seasons.

Gonzalez is the franchise leader, with 10,940 yards on 916 catches over the 12 seasons he spent with the team. Bowe is eighth in the rankings with 4,927 yards on 356 catches. Bowe has averaged 65.7 yards per game during five seasons with the team. If he could maintain that type of receiving production it will take him 92 games to break the mark.

Here’s the list of the top 25 leaders in receiving yardage for the Chiefs franchise: …Read More!

AFC West 2012 Analysis – Free Safety

We are coming down the homestretch on our analysis of the talent on the rosters of the four teams in the AFC West. We used about a half-dozen sources for our evaluation, relying on pro personnel scouts around the league who get paid to evaluate NFL players. We’ve kept a scoreboard to find out what team has the most talented roster (on paper); in this case it will be the team with the fewest points. Points match where they are rated; example, the No. 3 spot means 3 points.

AFC WEST 2012 SCOREBOARD (thru free safety) – Chargers 70, Chiefs 71, Raiders 75, Broncos 84.

Free Safety

1. Eric Weddle, San Diego

5-11, 203 pounds, born 1/4/1985, 6th NFL season, selected 2nd-round ’07 by Chargers; a four-year starter in San Diego, he’s played in 76 games with 60 starts. He’s had 13 interceptions, 439 total tackles and 4 sacks; last season he had a career-high 7 INTs with 84 total tackles.

Weddle had a big season last year and was one of the best defensive backs in the league. He was targeted 27 times and allowed 11 catches and just one touchdown against his seven interceptions. Opposing QBs had a miserable 25.8 passer rating last year. He was also good against the run. Weddle made very few mistakes and overall turned in good performances. San Diego management certainly made known how they feel about Weddle last summer when they signed him to a 5-year deal for $40 million with $19 million guaranteed. The defensive staff also moved him off the line of scrimmage and played him in more of a standard free safety role. That’s why his tackles went down, but his interceptions went up to a career best 7 picks. He’ll miss a tackle or two along the way, but that’s more of an annoyance than a continuing problem. …Read More!

A Boiling Pot of Chiefs Paella For the Weekend

From America’s highways and byways

On the road again for the last taste of freedom before the start of training camp; New England is beautiful in the summer and the weather has been sensational. There is nothing better than a sun-drenched café on the water, with a lobster roll and a nice bottle of Ipswich Ale.

Must touch on one of the stories in the headlines in New England and it involves the Patriots biggest sex symbol. No, not QB Tom Brady – he’s old news. I’m talking about 71-year old Patriots owner Robert Kraft. That’s Kraft to the right. The young lady with him is not his granddaughter. It’s his girlfriend.

Less than a year after the death of his wife Myra and his very public grieving period, Kraft is now dating 32-year old actress Ricki Noel Lander. It’s not something Kraft has tried to hide, as the couple have been spotted in public numerous times, including a Celtics game in the playoffs. The owner calls her “his pal.” She’s been acting since 2006 and has had bit parts in a number of movies and TV shows.

It all blew up in the last week when a video appeared on the Internet that involved Kraft and his gal pal. It was a very crudely produced audition tape for Lander, who was up for a part in an upcoming movie. The scene ends with Kraft blathering expletives and throwing a fake punch at another guy who walked into the scene.

It’s not the type of place where you would expect to see an NFL owner, and it obviously got tongues wagging around New England and the entire NFL. Kraft was embarrassed enough to issue a statement: …Read More!

Chiefs Statistically Speaking – Career Rushing

No matter what era it’s been, it can be said that the Chiefs know running backs.

Among their top 12 career rushers over 52 seasons, nine were drafted by the team, including 4 of the top 5. While UFA signee Priest Holmes may be the team’s leading career rusher and UFA signee Marcus Allen is ranked at No. 6, the rest of the top 10 was drafted by the Chiefs: Larry Johnson (1st ’03), Christian Okoye (2nd ’88), Ed Podolak (2nd ’69), Abner Haynes (’60), Mike Garrett (20th ’66), Curtis McClinton (14th ’61), Jamaal Charles (3rd ’08) and Herman Heard (3rd ’84).

The list of top 25 rushers in Chiefs history spans from the franchise’s first game in September 1960 (Haynes and Jack Spikes), to the final game of last season (Thomas Jones). If Charles comes off his knee injury and puts together the same type of season he did in 2009-10, he’ll move into the top five of Chiefs rushers.

Here’s the list: …Read More!

AFC West 2012 Analysis – Right Cornerback

We continue our analysis of the talent on the rosters of the four teams in the AFC West on a position-by-position basis. We used about a half-dozen sources for our evaluation, relying on pro personnel scouts around the league who get paid to evaluate NFL players. We’ve kept a scoreboard to find out what team has the most talented roster (on paper); in this case it will be the team with the fewest points. Points match where they are listed; example, the No. 3 spot means 3 points.

AFC WEST 2012 SCOREBOARD (thru RCB) – Chiefs 68, Chargers 69, Raiders 73, Broncos 80.

Right Cornerback

1. Antoine Cason, San Diego

6-0, 190 pounds, born 7/9/1986, 5th NFL season, selected 1st-round ’08 by Chargers; in four season, Cason has played in 64 games with a starting assignment only in the last two years. He had 10 interceptions, and 218 total tackles; last season he had 2 INTs and 53 total tackles.

At the start of the ’11 season, Cason was awful in coverage, struggling through the early games, eventually being benched for two weeks when he gave up three TD passes against the Jets. After that discipline, Cason’s game improved and he finished out the season playing well, against the run and pass; he gave up only 2 TDs in the last nine games once he got back on the field. More consistency from Cason is the goal for the coming season; he must be able to provide that type of play for San Diego’s defense. …Read More!

Thursday Is NFL Supplemental Draft; Do Chiefs Care?

The NFL holds its annual Supplemental Draft on Thursday.

It will be interesting to see if any team bites on one of the players available in this draft. Certainly don’t count on the Chiefs throwing their hat down and using one of their 2013 draft choices to grab any of the eight players.

GM Scott Pioli sees draft choices as more valuable than risking one in a July draft on players that are even riskier than the average draft choice. Throwing a pick out in the summer goes against everything Pioli learned over the years – no team that he worked for (Browns, Ravens, Jets and Patriots) was involved in the draft during his time with the team.

The Chiefs have never really gotten involved in The Supp – since it began in 1977, only once has the Hunt Family 11 used a draft choice early. That was in the 1992 version when they gave up a second-round pick the next year to select DE Darren Mickell (above), a 6-4, 285-pounder out of the University of Florida.

That move did not work out very well. Mickell wasn’t a bust, playing for 4 years and in 45 games for the Chiefs. He had 13.5 sacks, 77 total tackles and 8 forced fumbles. He was nothing more than a role player and certainly wasn’t worth a second-round choice.

I don’t know that he opened his mouth in his time with the Chiefs. He certainly didn’t spend time talking with the media. Ultimately, he became known around the Chiefs front office as “Dale Carter’s friend.” Seems when Carter was selected to the Pro Bowl, he used his second plane ticket to Hawaii on Mickell. From that point on, when Mickell would visit the team’s executive offices, he didn’t think he was known as anything other than “Dale Carter’s friend.” …Read More!

NFL Statistically Speaking – Leading Active Rushers

Father time caught up with some of the best running backs in recent NFL history in 2011. As LaDainian Tomlinson, Thomas Jones and Ricky Williams walk away from the game, they’ve left behind a rather ordinary group of running backs that make up the top 10 leading active rushers.

St. Louis’ workhorse back Steven Jackson (right) has more rushing yards at 9,093 than any other active running back. He’ll turn 29 in about 10 days, an indication he’s likely to have one or two more years of top-shelf performances. Most backs hit the wall at 30 years of age and their skills slip away. Tomlinson (32), Jones (33) Williams (34) found that out.

After Jackson, it’s a big drop to the rest of the list as no other back has passed 8,000 yards and only two have passes 7,000 yards.

With Jones gone, the Chiefs have Jamaal Charles at No. 30 and Peyton Hillis at No. 41 among current rushers.

Here’s the top 10 list of active NFL rushers: …Read More!

AFC West 2012 Analysis – Left Cornerback

We continue our analysis of the talent on the rosters of the four teams in the AFC West on a position-by-position basis. We used about a half-dozen sources for our evaluation, relying on pro personnel scouts around the league who get paid to evaluate NFL players. We’ve kept a scoreboard to find out what team has the most talented roster (on paper); in this case it will be the team with the fewest points. Points match where they are listed; example, the No. 3 spot means 3 points.

AFC WEST 2012 SCOREBOARD (thru LCB) – Chiefs 66, Chargers 68, Raiders 69, Broncos 77.

Left Cornerback

1. Champ Bailey, Denver

6-0, 192 pounds, born 6/22/1978, 14th NFL season, selected 1st-round ’99 by Bronco, acquired in ’04 trade by Broncos; he’s played 194 games in the league with 50 career interceptions, four that he returned for TDs. He also has 829 total tackles; last season in 13 games he has 2 INTs and 40 total tackles.

Bailey remains a consistent performer in the Broncos secondary and the class of the division. While Flowers is not far behind these days, he’s not quite caught Bailey. Here’s just a few numbers from last season – he only had 2 INTs, but gave up just 2 TDs and when they threw at him, opposing quarterbacks ended the season with a 79.0 passer rating. Bailey does a decent job against the run. He missed 3 games last year with a hamstring injury, but in the games he played, Bailey was on the field for 98 percent of the snaps. …Read More!

AFC West 2012 Analysis – Right Outside Linebacker

We continue our analysis of the talent on the rosters of the four teams in the AFC West on a position-by-position basis. We used about a half-dozen sources for our evaluation, relying on pro personnel scouts around the league who get paid to evaluate NFL players. We’ve kept a scoreboard to find out what team has the most talented roster (on paper); in this case it will be the team with the fewest points. Points match where they are listed; example, the No. 3 spot means 3 points.

AFC WEST 2012 SCOREBOARD (thru ROLB) – Chargers 64, Chiefs 64, Raiders 66, Broncos 76.

Right/Weak-Side Outside Linebacker

1. Tamba Hali, Chiefs

6-2, 265 pounds, born 11/3/1983, 7th NFL season, selected 1st ’06 by Chiefs; in 95 games/starts for the Chiefs, Hali has 53.5 sacks with 22 forced fumbles and 353 total tackles; last season, he had 12 sacks, 4 forced fumbles and a career high 66 tackles.

Right now, Hali is the best defensive player in the division. Owner of 26.5 sacks over the last two seasons, he has proven he’s not a liability when playing the run, with 118 total tackles the last two seasons. Hali remains a bit dicey in pass coverage, but that’s not what the KC staff asks him to do very often. There aren’t too many times when a good defense should have a pass rusher like Hali running away from the passer. His durability last season was remarkable, as he was on the field for 95 percent of the snaps the Chiefs defense faced in 16 games. That’s just remarkable for an outside linebacker to have that kind of availability. On the season, he was around the quarterback 63 times, with his 12 sacks. …Read More!

Something Out of Whack . . . Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

Are you kidding me? Booing Matt Cassel at a softball game?

Say it ain’t so!

That’s what went down Sunday night at Kauffman Stadium at the celebrity softball game that was played as part of the All-Star Game festivities. I couldn’t believe it when I heard about it, and then I heard it, and still couldn’t believe it.

Goodness, have Chiefs fans gone so far off the deep end of frustration that they’ll shower their starting quarterback with raspberries even if he didn’t throw an interception or fumble a snap?

Really? At a softball game!

Those that paid their dollars to watch the Futures Game and then the celebrities playing softball have the right to express themselves. Fans attending Monday night’s Home Run Derby showered Robinson Cano of the Yankees with unhappiness because he talked about inviting a member of the Royals to take part in the contest and then by-passed K.C.’s Billy Butler. That crowd reaction was understandable. There was a mixed reaction to Kansas basketball coach Bill Self. Again, that’s understandable, given the Border War history and what’s gone on in the last year between KU and Mizzou.

But why would the mention of Cassel’s name have the crowd giving him the verbal gas?

Listen, like many of you I’m ambivalent on the status of Cassel. After three years, I don’t know that we have enough evidence on whether he’s the quarterback that can lead a team to a championship. Certainly, that alone says something about his chances of becoming that guy; he’s had the opportunity to nail down the job and hasn’t. There’s no question he’s the No. 1 player on the hot seat as the team gets ready to start the 2012 season.

However . . . the Chiefs are not 21-28 over the last three years due strictly to Matt Cassel. Come on – Chiefs fans are smarter than that. Frustrated yes, but not stupidly so.

Call it an excuse if you’d like, I call it fact – in his time at Arrowhead Stadium he’s had five different offensive coordinators, and basically five different offenses. That’s in four seasons, counting the one coming up. Chan Gailey’s approach was different than Todd Haley; that’s why Gailey was fired. Charlie Weis’ take was different than Haley. Bill Muir was different than Weis. And now, Brian Daboll has turned the offensive playbook upside down, shaken out the remnants of Haley-Weis-Muir and started a new path.

I know, I know – he’s the quarterback, he gets the big money, he gets the extra attention, so there’s going to be the good and bad that come with that. Nobody knows that better than Cassel.

And he would expect to hear that type of reaction at Arrowhead after throwing an interception, or directing an offensive possession that went nowhere at a critical juncture of the game. Hey, load up and blast away then – he’s in his element and under the spotlight.

But, blasting him at a celebrity softball game?

NFL Statistically Speaking – Career INT Leaders

AFC West interception leaders: Gill Byrd, Willie Brown, Emmitt Thomas, Steve Foley.

Some 34 years after he retired, Emmitt Thomas remains the career interception leader for the Chiefs. And it’s not like in those seasons between 1978 and 2011 the Chiefs have been devoid of very good defensive backs.

Since Thomas last appeared in the Pro Bowl (after the 1975 season), there have been nine different Chiefs defensive backs that made the trip to Hawaii a total of 26 times. Yet none reached Thomas’ total of 58 interceptions – Deron Cherry (50), Gary Barbaro (39), Albert Lewis (38), Kevin Ross (30), Gary Green (24), Lloyd Burruss (22), Dale Carter (21), James Hasty (21) and Jerome Woods (15).

The rest of the AFC West has had some outstanding defensive backs over the years, but their career interception leaders were all off the field by 1992. That seems to be true throughout the league, as only four of the 32 teams still have their No. 1 interception man on the field. There are seven teams that last saw their career INT leader in 1970 or earlier.

Offensive numbers have gone through the roof, but the defensive backs have not kept up in the interception category.

Here are the current career interception leaders among the current 32 NFL franchises: …Read More!

When The NFL All-Stars Came to Kansas City

It was in 1973 that Major League Baseball last played its annual All-Star Game in Kansas City. That 39-year drought ends this Tuesday when the American and National Leagues face off at Kauffman Stadium.

But that ’73 game was not the last professional all-star game played in Kansas City. That game was played across the parking lot at Arrowhead Stadium. No, really it was.

On Sunday, January 20, 1974, the NFL Pro Bowl was held at Arrowhead.

Played in 41 degrees temperatures with intermittent sunshine, the AFC beat the NFC 15-13 thanks to a five field goals from Miami kicker Garo Yepremian (right). A crowd of 51,484 showed up for the game, and more than 66,918 tickets were actually sold. While the game on the field was played very poorly, the game itself was a success. In the 62-year history of the game (begun after the NFL’s 1950 season), only three other Pro Bowls sold more tickets than what Chiefs fans bought more than 38 years ago.

“Our fans responded to the opportunity to see the game,” the late Lamar Hunt said in an interview back in the late 1990s. “Artistically it was not a pretty game, but it was a good atmosphere in Arrowhead.”

For complete statistics and rosters, click here.

From the 1950 season through the 1970 season, the Pro Bowl was played at the Los Angeles Coliseum. With the AFL-NFL merger kicking in during the ’70 season, the league decided to move the game around and over the next seven seasons the Pro Bowl was played in Dallas, Kansas City, Miami, New Orleans, Seattle and Tampa. It went back to Los Angeles in 1978, moved to Hawaii in 1979 where it remains with the exception of the game after the 2009 season that was played in south Florida.

There were at least 30 Pro Football Hall of Famers on the field that day at Arrowhead, including the head coaches of both teams – John Madden of the AFC and Tom Landry of the NFC. The Oakland Raiders had the most players in the game with 10. The Chicago Bears and Houston Oilers had just one player each. There were six teams in what were then 13-team conferences that didn’t have a representative in K.C. – San Diego, Baltimore, New England, St. Louis, New York Giants and New Orleans. …Read More!

Pro Bowl 1974 Roster & Statistics

Team

1

2

3

4

 

Total

National

0

10

0

3

13

American

3

3

3

6

15

  • AFC – FG Garo Yepremian 16 yards
  • NFC – FG Nick Mike-Mayer 27
  • NFC – Lawrence McCutcheon 14-yard pass from Roman Gabriel (Mike-Mayer PAT kick)
  • AFC – FG Yepremian 37
  • AFC – FG Yepremian 27
  • AFC – FG Yepremian 41
  • NFC – FG Mick-Mayer 21
  • AFC – FG Yepremian 42

Attendance: 51,484

         NFC        AFC

  • First downs                          9        17
  • Total Yards                      186        325
  • Rushes/Yards               30-64     50-220
  • Net Passing Yards        122        105
  • Return Yards                 201        193
  • Passes                             12-31-0  9-30-4
  • Punts                                9-45.6   4-49.0
  • Fumbles/Lost                10/4        5/4
  • Penalties/Yards            3/30       1/10

RUSHING

NFC – John Brockington 6-15, Chuck Foreman 11-14, Lawrence McCutcheon 9-30, Jim Bertelsen 1-2, Roman Gabriel 3-3.

AFC – Marv Hubbard 17-104, O.J. Simpson 19-76, Ken Stabler 7-3, Floyd Little 8-32, Franco Harris 4-5, Bob Griese 1-0.

PASSING

NFC – John Hadl 4-10-0 33, Roman Gabriel 8-21-0 105.

AFC – Ken Stabler 2-15-4 19, Bob Griese 7-15-0 96.

RECEIVING

NFC – Foreman 2-(-2), Harold Jackson 1-(-3), Charlie Young 1-17, Harold Carmichael 3-59, McCutheon 4-53, John Gilliam 1-14.

AFC – Fred Biletnikoff 2-19, Isaac Curtis 1-13, Haven Moses 2-34, Simpson 1-5, Jerome Barkum 2-23, Bob Trumpy 1-21.

INTERCEPTIONS

NFC – Paul Krause 1, Ken Ellis 1, Bill Bradley 1, Ken Houston 1.

AFC – None.

PUNTING

NFC – Tom Wittum 9-410, 45.6 yards.

AFC – Ray Guy 4-196, 49.0 yards.

PUNT RETURNS

NFC – Herb Mul-Key 2-13, Ellis 1-26.

AFC – Dick Anderson 1-1, Greg Pruitt 4-34.

KICK RETURNS

NFC – Mul-Key 5-135, Bertelsen 1-0.

AFC – Simpson 2-58, Pruitt 1-34.

SACKS

NFC – DE Alan Page.

AFC – DE L.C. Greenwood, DT Paul Smith.

TACKLES

NFC – LB Dave Wilcox 10, LB Chris Hanburger 8, LB Jim Carter 7.

AFC – LB Andy Russell 7, LB Willie Lanier and LB Ted Hendricks, 6.

FUMBLES RECOVERED

NFC – DE Jack Youngblood, CB Mel Renfro, Krause, Wittum.

AFC – Russell, Anderson, LB Phil Villapiano and DT Joe Greene.

1973 PRO BOWL TEAMS

Players in bold are starters; players in italics did not play because of injury; players underlined are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

NFC

Head coach – Tom Landry

WR – Charley Taylor (WAS), Harold Jackson (LA), Harold Carmichael (PHL), John Gilliam (MIN).

TE – Ted Kwalick (SF), Charlie Young (PHL).

RB – Chuck Foreman (MIN), John Brockington (GB), Lawrence McCutcheon (LA), Jim Bertelsen (LA), Calvin Hill (DAL).

QB – John Hadl (LA), Roman Gabriel (PHI).

OL – Ron Yary (MIN), Tom Mack (LA), Forrest Blue (SF), John Niland (DAL), Rayfield Wright (DAL), Woody Peoples (SF), Ed Flanagan (DET), Gale Gillingham (GB), George Kunz (ATL).

DL – John Zook (ATL), Merlin Olsen (LA), Alan Page (MIN), Claude Humphrey (ATL), Wally Chambers (CHI), Jack Youngblood (LA), Carl Eller (MIN), Bob Lilly (DAL).

LB – Dave Wilcox (SF), Jeff Siemon (MIN), Chris Hanburger (WAS), Isaiah Robertson (LA), Lee Roy Jordan (DAL), Jim Carter (GB).

DB CB Lem Barney (DET) Mel Renfro (DAL), Kenny Houston (WAS), Paul Krause (MIN), Ken Ellis (GB), Willie Buchanon (GB), Bill Bradley (PHL).

SPECIALISTS – K Nick Mike-Mayer (ATL), P Tom Wittum (SF).

RETURNERS – Herb Mul-Key (WAS).

AFC

Head coach – John Madden

WR – Isaac Curtis (CIN), Fred Biletnikoff (OAK), Haven Moses (BUF), Jerome Barkum (NYJ), Ron Shanklin (PIT), Paul Warfield (MIA).

TE – Riley Odoms (DEN), Bob Trumpy (CIN).

RB – O.J. Simpson (BUF), Marv Hubbard (OAK), Franco Harris (PIT), RB Greg Pruitt (CLE), Floyd Little (DEN), Larry Csnoka (MIA), Mercury Morris (MIA).

QB – Ken Stabler (OAK), Bob Griese (MIA).

OL – Art Shell (OAK), Gene Upshaw (OAK), Jim Langer (MIA), Larry Little (MIA), Winston Hill (NYJ), Bruce Van Dyke (PIT), Jack Rudnay (KC), Dave Foley (BUF), Wayne Moore (MIA).

DL – L.C. Greenwood (PIT), Joe Greene (PIT), Paul Smith (DEN), Elvin Bethea (HOU), Jerry Sherk (CLE), Bill Stanfill (MIA), Dwight White (PIT), Mike Reid (CIN).

LB – Ted Hendricks (OAK), Willie Lanier (KC), Andy Russell (PIT), Phil Villapiano (OAK), Nick Buoniconti (MIA), Jack Ham (PIT).

DB – Clarence Scott (CLE), Willie Brown (OAK), Dick Anderson (MIA), Jake Scott (MIA), Jack Tatum (OAK), Robert James (BUF).

SPECIALISTS – K Garo Yepremian (MIA), P Ray Guy (OAK).

NFL Statistically Speaking — Career Sack Leaders

Defensive players have been dragging down the quarterback for decades, but it was only in 1982 that the NFL decided that the sack was an official statistic.

There is no question that in the last two decades with the passing game driving NFL offenses that has led to more QB sacks; there are five current franchise sack leaders still active at the end of the 2011 season. The bulk of those team-best sack artists are defensive ends, with outside linebacker and defensive tackle following behind.

In the AFC West, the sack leader is Derrick Thomas with his 126.5 sacks. Behind him comes Greg Townsend of the Raiders with 107.5 sacks, Leslie O’Neal of the Chargers with 105.5 sacks and Denver’s Simon Fletcher at 97.5 sacks. All four of those defenders got their last sacks for their teams before the calendar turned to the 21st Century.

Here are the career sack leaders for the 32 NFL teams: …Read More!

AFC West 2012 Analysis – Left/Strong Outside Linebacker

We continue our analysis of the talent on the rosters of the four teams in the AFC West on a position-by-position basis. We used about a half-dozen sources for our evaluation, relying on pro personnel scouts around the league who get paid to evaluate NFL players. We’ve kept a scoreboard to find out what team has the most talented roster (on paper); in this case it will be the team with the fewest points. Points match where they are listed; example, the No. 3 spot means 3 points.

AFC WEST 2012 SCOREBOARD (thru) – Chargers 66, Chiefs 66, Raiders 68, Broncos 79.

Left/Strong-Side Outside Linebacker

1. Von Miller, Denver

6-3, 245 pounds, born 3/26/1989, 2nd NFL season, selected 1st-round ’11 by Broncos; in his rookie season, Miller started 15 games and contributed 65 total tackles and 11.5 sacks, along with 3 forced fumbles.

What a first-season performance by Miller, who became the NFL’s defensive rookie of the year for his play in the Denver defense. He started out strong, had a few problems in the middle of the season playing the run (he was benched in an October game against San Diego), and then he suffered ligament damage to his right thumb in a late November game also against San Diego. From that point on, Miller’s overall play dropped in performance. After pulling down 10.5 sacks in the season’s first 9 games, he had only 1 sack in the last five games. Overall he totaled 50 tackles and most impressively, did not miss a tackle all season. His pass rush pressure was consistent until the end, as he had 70 total plays where he was around the passer. By the end of the playoffs, Miller had racked up $47,500 in fines. …Read More!

NFL Statistically Speaking – Career Receiving Leaders

AFC West receiving leaders: Denver’s Rod Smith, Oakland’s Tim Brown, San Diego’s Lance Alworth and Chiefs’ Tony Gonzalez

Take a look through the list of 32 franchises career leaders in receiving yards and it presents a very good road map to explain why more recent wide receivers are having trouble getting into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Among those 32, just 7 are Hall of Famers and just one played in the last decade – Jerry Rice. The other six honored receivers all saw their careers wrap up in 1999 or before.

With the recent two-decade trend of the passing game dominating offensive numbers, there’s a host of potential Hall of Famers sitting there, some waiting to get in, others who will be on the list five years after they retire. Right now franchise career leaders waiting for election include Buffalo’s Andre Reed, Miami’s Mark Duper, Tim Brown of the Raiders, Cris Carter of the Vikings and St. Louis’ Isaac Bruce.

Eventually, with the increase in statistics there will be a time when the position settles and true Hall of Fame performances will become more obvious and receivers will find their way into the Hall.

Here’s the current career receiving leaders among the current 32 NFL franchises: …Read More!

AFC West 2012 Analysis – Inside & Middle Linebacker

We are continuing our analysis of the AFC West position-by-position as we move to final part of the teams, the defense. Remember, points match the position, and fewer points the better a team’s roster looks – on paper. Because of the difference schemes used in the AFC West, with two teams having a base 3-4 (Chiefs, Chargers) and two teams having a base 4-3 (Broncos, Raiders), at the defensive tackle and inside/middle linebacker positions we have put everybody into one pot. But we will distribute two grades at each position. Example: there will be a No. 1 LB and a No. 1a LB. In the team rankings both will get 1 point. Same for the other three spots, so we will rank eight LBs in all, in order of performance.

AFC WEST 2012 SCOREBOARD (thru inside & middle linebacker) – Chargers 63, Raiders 64, Chiefs 65, Broncos 78.

Inside & Middle Linebackers

1. Derrick Johnson, Chiefs

6-3, 242 pounds, born 11/22/1982, 8th NFL season, selected 1st-round ’05 by Chiefs; in 106 games with the Chiefs, Johnson has 633 total tackles, with 16 sacks, 9 interceptions, 15 forced fumbles and 5 recovered fumbles; in ’11 he had a career high 131 total tackles with 2 sacks and 2 INTs.

He was on the field for 98 percent of the Chiefs defensive plays last season; there are not many inside linebackers in the 3-4 scheme that can stay on the field to that extent. But Johnson continues to show that he’s capable of big things. He was outstanding against the run, effective in pressure when given the opportunity. The only spot where he did not excel was in coverage, where he was targeted for 3 TD passes and receivers caught 36 of the 50 passes thrown his way. While those types of numbers don’t match his work against the run, they are still better than average. Can he keep up that level of play? …Read More!

NFL Statistically Speaking – Career Leading Rushers

The shift of the offensive emphasis in the NFL from the running game of the 1960s and 1970s, to the passing game that has dominated the last 20 years is starkly visible when the list of 32 team career rushing leaders is considered.

Right now, only two of those 32 franchise leaders are still active in the NFL – Carolina’s DeAngelo Williams and Steven Jackson of St. Louis.

Among the 32 backs only Cleveland’s Jim Brown (pictured right) averaged more than 100 yards per game – he finished with 12,312 yards in 118 games for the Browns over 9 seasons, or 104.3 yards per game.
A more contemporary running back came close – Detroit’s Barry Sanders (pictured left.) Over 10 seasons, the Wichita native played in 153 games for the Lions and ran for 15,269 yards. That’s an average of 99.8 yards per game. He was 31 yards away from hitting the average of 100 yards per game.
The franchise that has waited the longest for a new back to take over as the career leader is the San Francisco 49ers. Out there, the leading career rusher is Joe “The Jet” Perry, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame who hasn’t played since 1963. Cleveland has been waiting a long time as well, but then that would have been expected with Jim Brown holding the career rushing lead; ;he last ran the ball in an NFL game back in 1965.

While there are 13 Hall of Fame quarterbacks that hold the career passing yardage lead for the 32 teams, 11 Hall of Fame backs own a team’s No. 1 rushing spot.

Here’s the current career rushing leaders among the current 32 NFL franchises: …Read More!

AFC West 2012 Analysis – Defensive & Nose Tackle

We are continuing our analysis of the AFC West position-by-position as we move to final part of the teams, the defense. Remember, points match the position, and fewer points the better a team’s roster looks – on paper. Because of the difference schemes used in the AFC West, with two teams having a base 3-4 (Chiefs, Chargers) and two teams having a base 4-3 (Broncos, Raiders), at the defensive tackle and inside/middle linebacker positions we have put everybody into one pot. But we will distribute two grades at each position. Example: there will be a No. 1 DT and a No. 1a DT. In the team rankings both will get 1 point. Same for the other three spots, so we will rank eight DTs in all, in order of performance.

AFC WEST 2012 SCOREBOARD (thru defensive & nose tackles) – Raiders 58, Chargers 59,  Chiefs 61, Broncos 72.

Defensive & Nose Tackles

1. Richard Seymour, Oakland

6-6, 310 pounds, born 10/6/1979, 12th NFL season, acquired in ’09 trade by Raiders, selected in 1st-round ’01 by Patriots; he’s played both tackle and enduring his 156-game career for New England and Oakland, the last two seasons mostly at tackle. He has 54.5 career sacks, 482 total tackles, 2 interceptions and 4 forced fumbles.

He is the most veteran of AFC West defensive linemen and last year at the age of 32, Seymour had one of his best overall seasons. Working for the most part out of the RT spot, he was on the field for 75 percent of Oakland’s defensive snaps. He had six sacks and 40 total plays where he was around the passer when the ball was thrown. Only area where Seymour’s play was less than good was in the area of penalties – he was flagged 11 times and 10 of those were walked off against the Raiders. Last year for a man his size, his age and his experience, his best performance of the year came in the heat of Houston, where he was on the field for 71 of 85 defensive snaps and was sterling against the Texans strong run game, while also providing 2 sacks and 7 plays were he sacked, hit or pressured the passer. …Read More!

NFL Statistically Speaking – Career Leading Passers

If you think the Chiefs have been waiting a long time for their “franchise” quarterback you would be right – Len Dawson retired after the 1975 seasons.

Still, that wait of 36 years is nothing compared to the wait the folks in Chicago and Detroit have endured.

Below are the leading career passers for each of the 32 current franchises in the NFL. For instance, Dawson remains the all-time leading passer in Chiefs history, throwing for more than 28,000 yards in his 183 games with the franchise over 14 seasons. In Buffalo the leading all-time passer is Jim Kelly, who threw for 35,467 yards during his 160 starts with the Bills over 11 seasons.

The all-time leading career passer in a Bears uniform was Sid Luckman (above right), who hasn’t thrown a pass in 62 years now. Luckman retired after the 1950 season and even though his yardage number of 14,686 yards is relatively paltry compared to today’s quarterbacks, there has not been another Chicago passer to better him.

The all-time leading career passer in a Lions uniform was Bobby Layne (above left), and the last time he lofted a ball in competition wearing a Detroit uniform was 1958. In 9 seasons and 97 games in the Motor City, Layne threw for 15,710 yards. No other Lions passer has topped that mark in the last 53 years.

There are 13 of the 32 career passing leaders that are already in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. There are four all-time career passers that are still playing – Baltimore’s Joe Flacco, Houston’s Matt Schaub, New England’s Tom Brady and New Orleans’ Drew Brees. …Read More!

AFC West 2012 Analysis – Right Defensive End

We are continuing our analysis of the AFC West teams position-by-position as we move to final part of the roster, the defense. Remember, points match the position, and fewer points the better a team’s roster looks – on paper.

AFC WEST 2012 SCOREBOARD (thru right defensive end) – Chiefs 51, Chargers 52, Raiders 54, Broncos 63.

Right Defensive End

1. Elvis Dumervil, Denver

5-11, 248 pounds, born 1/19/1984, 6th NFL season, selected 4th-round ’06 by the Broncos; he’s played in 75 games and 59 starts with 52.5 career sacks and 171 total tackles; last season he had 9.5 sacks in 14 games, coming off missing the 2010 season due to injury.

Dumervil’s been a pass rushing sensation since joining the Denver roster six years ago. Although undersized, he’s got very long arms and great explosion off the edge. He’s played both DE and OLB in the changing faces of the Broncos defense over the last few years. Last year, Dumervil had 12 sacks and just under 50 plays where he was around the passer. Although it’s not his strength, he’s a solid defender against the run, and seldom blows a tackle. …Read More!

AFC West 2012 Analysis – Left Defensive End

We are continuing our analysis of the AFC West position-by-position as we move to final part of the teams, the defense. There are some concessions we will make in our categories on defense because the division has two teams playing the 3-4, and two more playing the 4-3. Yes, they all play variations of the others, but those basic schemes certainly make it hard to judge both tackles and middle or inside linebackers. We’ll combine those spots when we get there. Remember, we are keeping score and as you can see, it remains with three teams all ranked within seven points of each other. Denver brings up the rear, but they’ve got some talented defensive players that are going to help them get back in the race. Remember, points match the position, and fewer points are better.

AFC WEST 2012 SCOREBOARD (thru left defensive end) – Chargers 48, Chiefs 48, Raiders 52, Broncos 62.

Left Defensive End

1. Lamarr Houston, Oakland

6-3, 305 pounds, born 6/24/1987, 3rd NFL season, selected in 2nd-round in ’10 by Raiders; he’s played in 32 games for Oakland with a total of 86 tackles, 8 sacks,15 other hits on the QB. Last season he had 47 total tackles and 3 sacks.

A strong rookie season led to a slight step back in 2011 for Houston; it certainly wasn’t a forward movement. His action around the quarterback diminished, although his total tackles went up. Houston also did a much better job of making sure his tackle stuck – he missed only 2 last season compared to 8 in his rookie year. With Richard Seymour around, Houston has a great foil to take attention away from him; he needs to make more of those chances. …Read More!

AFC West 2012 Analysis – Special teamer

We are analyzing the four teams in the AFC West on a position- by-position basis. We used about a half-dozen sources for our evaluation, relying on pro personnel scouts around the league who get paid to evaluate NFL players. As we go along through positions, we’ll keep a scoreboard and find out which of the four teams has the most talented roster (on paper); in this case it will be the team with the fewest points. Points match where they are listed; example, the No. 3 spot means 3 points.

AFC WEST 2012 SCOREBOARD (thru special teamer) – Chargers 48, Chiefs 49, Raiders 52, Broncos 61.

Special teamer

1. Brandon Myers, Oakland

6-4, 250 pounds, born 9/4/1985, 4th NFL season, selected in 6th-round in ’09 by Raiders.

The Iowa tight end was big contributor in the kicking game last year for the Raiders, with 10 tackles in coverage and top notch grades as a blocker and protector. He did not miss a tackle on special teams and was hit with just one penalty. …Read More!

NFL Statistically Speaking – New Teams in Playoffs

It’s become a fact of parity life in the NFL – every year half the teams that made the playoffs last year do not return the next season.

That’s an average of six teams that do not repeat. Chiefs fans know that quite well as the last three times their team made the tournament (2003, 2006, 2010) they did not return the next season. It’s been since 1994-95 that the Chiefs went to the playoffs in back-to-back years.

In last year’s playoffs there were six new teams from the 2010 field with the Bengals, Broncos, Lions, Texans, Giants and 49ers making the grade. That was the first appearance in the post-season for the Texans since they joined the league in 2002. Detroit got to play into January for the first time in 13 years (1999) and San Francisco stopped its streak at 10 seasons without making the playoffs (2002). Denver (2005), New York (2008) and Cincinnati (2009) all had very short tournament droughts.

Here’s the list of teams that made the jump from the season before: …Read More!

RIP Ben Davidson

He was one of the great villains in pro football history, especially for fans of the Chiefs who learned early in their education that the guy in silver and black with the handlebar mustache was somebody to boo.

Former Raiders DE Ben Davidson passed away Monday night at his home in San Diego after battling prostate cancer for several years. Davidson was 72 years old last month.

Davidson played eight seasons with the Raiders and in 110 games with that franchise he became one of the most feared defensive players in the league. The official’s whistle signals the end of the play, part of the game that Davidson never quite comprehended.

One of the legendary moments in Chiefs history was in 1970 at Municipal Stadium when Davidson speared a prone Len Dawson at the end of a scrambling. Otis Taylor jumped on Davidson and that touched off a brawl that actually ended up benefitting the Raiders.

Dawson and Taylor had combined on a TD pass of 13 yards with just over 5 minutes left to play in the game. Jan Stenerud’s PAT kick gave the Chiefs a 17-14 lead. The Raiders got just two yards on three plays and had to punt the ball away, and the Chiefs offense took over with 4 minutes, 14 seconds to play at their own 44-yard line. At the two-minute warning, the Chiefs had a first down at the Raiders 47-yard line. On a 3rd-and-11 play, Dawson kept the ball and ran around right end for 19 yards, down to the Raiders 29-yard line. …Read More!

AFC West 2012 Analysis – Kick Returner

We are analyzing the four teams in the AFC West on a position- by-position basis. We used about a half-dozen sources for our evaluation, relying on pro personnel scouts around the league who get paid to evaluate NFL players. As we go along through positions, we’ll keep a scoreboard and find out which of the four teams has the most talented roster (on paper); in this case it will be the team with the fewest points. Points match where they are listed; example, the No. 3 spot means 3 points.

AFC WEST 2012 SCOREBOARD (thru kick returner) – Chargers 44, Chiefs 46, Raiders 51, Broncos 59.

Kick Returner

1. Richard Goodman, San Diego

6-0, 192 pounds, born 4/23/1987, 2nd NFL season, signed as FA in ’10 by Chargers; last year the San Diego wide receiver returned 34 kickoffs for 936 yards, a 27.5-yard average with a 105-yard TD return.

Undrafted wide receiver out of Florida State in 2010, Goodman landed in San Diego later that year and then made the active roster for the ’11 season. He saw limited playing time on offense, with just 51 snaps and he was targeted for a pass just twice, but did not have a catch. It was on kickoff returns where he stepped forward and provided performance, finishing fourth in the league with his 27.5-yard average and that 105-yard return for a TD against Oakland in the last week of the season; no other AFC West returner was ranked in the top 20 in the league. …Read More!

AFC West 2012 Analysis – Punt returns

We are analyzing the four teams in the AFC West on a position- by-position basis. We used about a half-dozen sources for our evaluation, relying on pro personnel scouts around the league who get paid to evaluate NFL players. As we go along through positions, we’ll keep a scoreboard and find out which of the four teams has the most talented roster (on paper); in this case it will be the team with the fewest points. Points match where they are listed; example, the No. 3 spot means 3 points.

AFC WEST 2012 SCOREBOARD (thru punt returner) – Chargers 43, Chiefs 43, Raiders 49, Broncos 55.

Punt Returner

1. Javier Arenas, Chiefs

5-9, 197 pounds, born 10/28/1987, 3rd NFL season, selected 2nd-round ’10 by Chiefs; he’s played 31 games in K.C. and returned 71 punts for a 10.3-yard average; last year he was one of the league leaders with a 12.8-yard average, but his longest return was just 35 yards.

Arenas has yet to reach the end zone in the NFL; his only score on a return got wiped out in 2009 by a penalty. He’s not gotten close since as his longest returns have been 36 and 37 yards. Only eight of his 71 returns have gone for 20 yards or more. But his 12.8-yard average last season was the best among team leaders in the division. With his background (7 career punt return TDs at Alabama) it seems only a matter of time if he gets help in blocking to crack a long one. …Read More!

A Bowl of Red, White & Blue Chiefs Gumbo

Going through some files the other day I ran across some notes of a conversation with former GM Carl Peterson talking about former Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil. Remember that Vermeil’s first NFL head coaching job was in Philadelphia in 1976. Peterson was telling the story about their staff meeting that was interrupted by the sound of fireworks.

“Dick wanted to find somebody from the university to stop the fireworks,” Petersons said. “It wasn’t just fireworks, it was a Bi-centennial celebration and there were thousands of people in the stadium.”

It was also July 4th . . . the Fourth of July was the first day of Eagles camp that year.

My oh my, how things have changed around the NFL. The Chiefs won’t arrive in St. Joseph until the evening on July 26. I love football, but not on the Fourth of July. The start of the season will be here soon enough.

Sultan of Sod honored by Royals

George Toma the preeminent groundskeeper in the history of American sports was announced last week as the 2012 inductee to the Royals Hall of Fame.

Now, the cynic would say the fact the Royals had to reach into the grounds crew for somebody worthy of induction says something about the recent talent the team has fielded. In this case, I think it’s a deserving honor. In the world of major league baseball and pro football Toma became almost iconic for his skills in working with not only grass, but artificial turf.

A son of the anthracite coal region of eastern Pennsylvania, he began work with the Kansas City A’s in 1957. He started with the Chiefs when they moved to Kansas City in 1963. Toma spent almost 30 years with the Chiefs and 40 years with the A’s & Royals.

George has also been the head groundskeeper for every Super Bowl since Game No. 1 between the Chiefs and Packers in January 1967. In 2001 he was honored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame with the Daniel F. Reeves Pioneer Award and earlier this year he was one of two inaugural members of the baseball groundskeeper Hall of Fame.

An outstanding performer in his field, George Toma is even better as a person. To the Sultan of Sod, congratulations. …Read More!

NFL Sets Supplemental Draft For July 12

The NFL announced on Monday that it would hold the 2012 Supplemental Draft on Thursday, July 12 starting at noon.

The Supplemental Draft is quite a bit different than the regular April selection meeting. The league teams do all their work on line. Using a choice in this draft will cost them the same choice in the 2013 NFL Draft.

The league announced eight players were available for selection, led by RB Ed Wesley out of TCU (right) and Josh Gordon from Utah. One, possibly two players will be selected. Last year, only one player was selected in the Supplemental Draft as Oakland selected QB Terrelle Pryor.

Here are the possibilities for next week:

  • CB Quaylon Ewing-Burton, Boise State.

5-11¾, 182 pounds, junior to be, Kempner High School, Houston, TX

He played in all 13 games during the 2011 season and started four on the corner for Boise State. He finished with 26 tackles. On January 26 it was announced that he was no longer with the football program because he did not live up to the standards set by BSU and head coach Chris Peterson. No details have become public on the problems that Ewing-Burton had with the Broncos. …Read More!

AFC West 2012 Analysis – Punters

We continue our analysis of the talent residing on the rosters of the four teams in the AFC West on a position-by-position basis. We used about a half-dozen sources for our evaluation, relying on pro personnel scouts around the league who get paid to evaluate NFL players. As we go along through positions, we’ll keep a scoreboard and find out which of the four teams has the most talented roster (on paper); in this case it will be the team with the fewest points. Points match where they are listed; example, the No. 3 spot means 3 points.

AFC WEST 2012 SCOREBOARD (thru punter) – Chargers 41, Chiefs 42, Raiders 45, Broncos 52.

Punter

1. Shane Lechler, Oakland

6-2, 225 pounds, born 8/7/1976, 12th NFL season, selected in 5th ’00 by Raiders; played in 190 games for Oakland, punting 933 times and averaging 47.6 yards per boot; last year, he punted 78 times and averaged 50.8 yards per punt.

Lechler is the all-time leading punter in NFL history with that 47.6-yard average. He’s coming off one of his best seasons, with his 50.8-yard gross average and a net average of 40.6 yards. Sometimes Lechler causes problems for the Raiders with his powerful leg, because he’ll outkick his coverage and leave Oakland susceptible to a big return. Last year, 57 percent of his punts were returned with only 8 caught with a fair catch. Among the division punters, those numbers were the division’s worst. But he had an 80-yard punt last year, and even threw a touchdown pass on a fake field goal. In the last year of a contract he signed in 2009, Shane Lechler remains one of the most potent special teams weapons in the league, let alone the AFC West. …Read More!

NFL Statistically Speaking – Stadium Capacity ‘11

Throw out the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals and the capacity that NFL teams played in front of last season pretty much matches up with their regular season record.

The formula is simple – win games equals more butts in the seats for every home game. The New Orleans Saints led the NFL in capacity percentage, filling the Superdome at 107.4 percent with an average attendance of 73,041. They also went 13-3 on the season.

Of the top 10 stadiums in capacity, only one team finished with a losing record in 2011, the Indianapolis Colts. They went 2-14 and finished with 102.1 capacity at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The lowest capacity team actually finished with a winning record. Cincinnati averaged just 49,251 fans, and that was just 75.2 percent of capacity.

The figures the Chiefs turned in on the season show they played to 90.7 percent capacity, the eighth worst average in the league. They averaged 72,082 per game in a 7-9 season.

Here are the numbers of the lowest and highest capacity teams in the NFL for the 2011 home games: …Read More!

Blackouts May Be Done . . . Monday Cup O’Chiefs

Lost late last week in what is now one of the few quiet times on the pro football scene was an announcement by the NFL of some changes in television and stadium policy. These are some significant alterations in how the NFL has gone about doing its business over the last 40 years.

Its three major issues – local television blackouts appear to be gone, the Internet will soon be available in every NFL stadium and teams will no longer be disciplined for trying to fire up the home team with noise and/or visuals.

All three of these changes are about faces for the league from just two years ago. The blackout appeared sacrosanct and if the stadium wasn’t sold out 72 hours before kickoff, then the local folks were not going to get the broadcast. While not gone, it’s on life-support.

The league discouraged teams from replaying highlights from other games, especially those that might interest fantasy football types, because they felt it was hurting the in-stadium experience. That’s gone, show all the plays, as the NFL has decided to make the stadium a hot spot for everyone to have access to web.

And for years teams have kept a clamp on the home team using its public-address system or scoreboard to create crowd noise. It was considered too much of a disadvantage for the visiting team. That’s gone as well as the league “liberalized” its restrictions on noise. Public address announcers and the scoreboard can now be used to fire up the home fans.

In the brave new world of the NFL, all of those things are now legal. Why the change? Call it the Man-Cave Effect. …Read More!

NFL Statistically Speaking – Career FG % Leaders

At no time in pro football history has the game had so many outstanding kickers. Training methods all the way down to the high school level, along with better equipment (shoes, artificial turf) has raised the level of what’s considered the best among NFL kickers. Of the kickers ranked by career success rate, eight of the top 10 kicked in the NFL last year.

Most Accurate Field Goal Kickers in NFL History

#

Kicker* Yrs

G

Made

Attempted

%

1.
Nate Kaeding
2004-11
110
173
200
86.50
2.
Mike Vanderjagt
1998-2006
135
230
266
86.46
3.
Rob Bironas
2005-11
112
189
219
86.3
4.
Shayne Graham
2001-11
139
214
249
85.9
5.
Robbie Gould
2005-11
109
187
218
85.8
6.
Steve Gotkowski
2006-11
88
141
167
84.4
7.
Matt Bryant
2002-11
131
200
238
84.0
8.
Matt Stover
1991-2009
297
471
563
83.7
9.
Ryan Longwell
1997-2011
240
361
434
83.2
10.
Phil Dawson
1999-2011
199
276
332
83.1

*-Kickers with at least 100 career attempts in the NFL.

AFC West 2012 Analysis – Kickers

We are analyzing the four teams in the AFC West on a position-by-position basis. We used about a half-dozen sources for our evaluation, relying on pro personnel scouts around the league who get paid to evaluate NFL players. As we go along through positions, we’ll keep a scoreboard and find out which of the four teams has the most talented roster (on paper); in this case it will be the team with the fewest points. Points match where they are listed; example, the No. 3 spot means 3 points.

AFC WEST 2012 SCOREBOARD (thru kicker) – Chargers 40, Chiefs 40, Raiders 42, Broncos 48.

Kicker

1. Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland

6-2, 250 pounds, born 3/2/1978, 13th NFL season, selected in 1st ’00 by Raiders; in 188 games, he’s made 79.6 percent of his field goals and is an overall 30 of 58 from 50+ yards, last year he was 31 of 35 on the season (88.6 percent), and 7 of 10 from 50 yards and beyond, one of his best seasons. On kickoffs he had 32 touchbacks in 80 kickoffs and averaged 64.7 yards on kickoffs.

That Janikowski is still around kicking is amazing in itself. He’s now 34 years old and based on his personality when he came into the league there was a chance he was going to burnout and quickly. Instead, he continues to have one of the strongest legs in the league on FGs. Nobody in the NFL tried as many as the 10 FGs he tried from 50 yards and beyond, making seven of those. He only missed four field goals all season and three of those were 50+ yards. Sea Bass has never been outstanding on kickoffs despite the strength of his leg. Last year, he had 32 touchbacks; that was 17th in the league. …Read More!

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