Immediate Reaction To Chiefs Moves

The Chiefs got down to 53 players, but by the time next Sunday rolls around and the regular season opens, the makeup of the 53 maybe slightly different than it became Friday evening.

GM Scott Pioli and head coach Romeo Crennel went short on offensive linemen, with only 7 on the active roster. They went long on offensive skill position players, with 15 running backs, wide receivers and tight ends.

They went short on linebackers, due to the suspension of OLB Tamba Hali for the season opener. They have just 8 there right now. Hali would be 9. They went long on defensive backs largely because of injuries that have three different DBs laid up right now.

Remember there is an 8-man practice squad to fill out on Saturday and here’s guessing that the names we’ll see return will be FB Chris DiMarco, WR Josh Bellamy, WR Junior Hemingway, DE Jerome Long, C Lucas Patterson and OLB Gabe Miller.

Which player would go off the roster to make room on September 10 when Hali can return? Just guessing, but likely it would be a defensive back, pending the status of CBs Brandon Flowers and Jalil Brown.

There are 7 rookies on this 53-man squad – RBs Nate Eachus and Cyrus Gray, WR Devon Wylie, OL Jeff Allen and Donald Stephenson, NT Dontari Poe and Fs Tysyn Hartman.

There are 16 new faces on the roster that were not with the Chiefs at any point in previous seasons – the 7 rookies plus QB Brady Quinn, RB Peyton Hillis, TE Kevin Boss, RT Eric Winston, DE Ropati Pitoitua, OLB Edgar Jones, S Abram Elam, CB Jacques Reeves and CB Stanford Routt.

Biggest surprise among the players released – WR Josh Bellamy.

Biggest surprise among the players that made the squad – RB Nate Eachus.

Chiefs Make 22 Moves To Reach Roster Limit

The Chiefs made 22 moves on Friday to reach the NFL roster limit of 53 players. It may be just a temporary 53, as possible changes could come in the next few days.

But here is the list:

  1. DE Brandon Bair
  2. CB Mikail Baker
  3. WR Josh Bellamy
  4. C Rob Bruggeman
  5. FB Patrick DiMarco
  6. CB Chandler Fenner
  7. DE Amon Gordon
  8. G Darryl Harris
  9. WR Junior Hemingway
  10. DE Jerome Long
  11. OLB Gabe Miller
  12. OT David Mims
  13. WR Jamar Newsome
  14. S Terrance Parks
  15. C Lucas Patterson
  16. G Rich Ranglin
  17. CB Neiko Thorpe
  18. S Donald Washington
  19. LB Leon Williams
  20. DB De’Quan Menzie was placed on injured reserve.
  21. QB Alex Tanney was placed on injured reserve.
  22. OLB Tamba Hali placed on the reserve/suspended list.

College Report: Notre Dame vs. Navy

  • Notre Dame vs. Navy
  • Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland
  • September 1, 8 a.m. CDT, CBS

Notre Dame

#5 ILB Manti Te’o, Sr – 6-2, 245 pounds, 4.54 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 1st-round potential.

The Hawaii native has become one of the best defensive players in Fighting Irish football history and he shocked Notre Dame fans earlier this year when he decided not to leave school a year early and came back for his senior season. He spent the last few months getting into “the best shape of my life” and dropping 10 pounds down to 245.The 21-year old inside linebacker has played in 38 games, with 36 starts. Te’o has 324 total tackles, 28.5 tackles for loss, 7 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. He ranks No. 8 in career tackles at South Bend. Last season, he started all 13 games with 128 total tackles and earned second-team All-America honors. He was named this past week as one of four captains for the Irish this season, the selection made by head coach Brian Kelly. Born and raised in Honolulu, Te’o was one of the most highly recruited players to ever come out of Hawaii.

Chiefs Moves Trickle Out

They have until 8 p.m. to submit the list of 22 players that must come off their roster to reach the NFL regular-season limit of 53.

But as it always does, word trickles out through agents and players themselves with their Twitter accounts.

  • Fifth-round draft choice De’Quan Menzie is headed for the injured-reserve list with a hip flexor that has bothered him since the spring.
  • FB Chris DiMarco was released.
  • S Donald Washington, a 4th-round pick in that 2009 draft class was released.
  • LB Leon Williams was released.

College Report: Boise State @ Michigan State

  • Boise State at Michigan State
  • Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Michigan
  • August 31, 7 p.m. CDT on ESPN

Boise State

#7-RB D.J. Harper, Sr – 5-9, 205 pounds, 4.48 seconds in 40-yard dash, 4th-5th round potential.

Harper is a sixth-year senior, who was granted an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA when he missed most of two different seasons when he suffered a pair of torn ACLs in his right and left knees that finished his year after just three games in 2009 and 2010. Harper played in 2007-08-11; including a nice season last year when in 23 games he carried 115 times for 557 yards and 9 TDs. In 41 games for the Broncos, he carried the ball 319 times for 1,655 yards, for 5.2 yards per carry and 24 TD runs. He’s a product of Cypress Creek High School in Cypress, Texas. When he showed up in Boise, he ran the 40-yard dash in 45.32 seconds.

Michigan State

#2-DE William Gholston, Jr – 6-6, 278 pounds, 4.76 seconds in 40-yard dash, 1st-2nd round potential.

Gholston is the cousin of former Ohio State first-round choice Vernon Gholston, who was a major disappointment for the New York Jets during his time in the NFL; he’s currently with St. Louis. The 21-year old Gholston has some question marks surrounding him as he enters his third season at East Lansing. He came out of Detroit’s Mumford and then Southeastern High Schools. In 23 games at State he has 83 total tackles, 17 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. Scouts have questioned his toughness and desire, and there’s concern about his work habits and on-field demeanor. Last year, he was suspended for one game for some of his actions on the field against Michigan. Last year he was a sophomore starter with 70 total tackles and 5 sacks, earning second-team All-Big 10 honors.

Notes, Quotes: No. 2 Defense Struggles

From Lambeau Field, Green Bay

It’s hard to argue with the play of the Chiefs first-team defense – they allowed Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense just six plays before the Packers quarterback was pulled from Thursday night’s pre-season finale.

But the backups and third team did not fare as well. Rodgers picked up 17 yards and backup QBs Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman directed the Pack to 287 yards and three touchdowns.

“Starting the game off, we were really effective stopping the run,” said OLB Andy Studebaker. “I think we came out with a lot of energy, with guys playing hard and playing to the whistle. That’s what you look for.”

CB Stanford Routt sensed better consistency from the first team defense.

“We have good players and we make good plays,” said Routt. “We just need to string them together better than we have. As RAC (Romeo Crennel) says, we have to be more consistent.”

Green Bay had just 46 yards rushing on 24 carries, a 1.9-yard average with the longest running being 5 yards.

Harrell was the man who dented them, putting up a perfect passer rating of 158.3 with his 13 of 15 night for 223 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions. The Chiefs managed just one sack on the night, that by OLB Edgar Jones.

On the pre-season, the Chiefs had just 2 takeaways and 12 sacks on facing 105 passing plays. But 7 of those sacks came in the first game against Arizona, with only 5 more over the last three games.

Penalties everywhere for Chiefs

It may well have been the competency of the officiating group but after picking up 15 penalties in the first three games, the Chiefs were hit with 14 penalties against Green Bay. With fringe players and youngsters playing, maybe that’s to be expected. Here’s the ugly list.

Squad Player Penalty

Yards

Defense D. Poe Offside

5

Offense B. Albert False start

5

Offense R. Hudson False start

Offsetting

Offense E. Winston False start

5

Kick return G. Miller Holding

10

Defense C. Fenner Pass inter.

16

Defense T. Parks Holding

5

Offense L. Patterson False start

5

Defense C. Fenner Illegal contact

Offsetting

Defense E. Jones Face mask

15

Offense D. Mims False start

5

Offense - Delay of game

5

Punt J. Bellamy Fair catch inter

15

Offense D. Harris Holding

10

Defense N. Thorpe Pass inter.

22

Tamba leaves quietly

OLB Tamba Hali will begin serving his one-game NFL suspension over the coming weekend and will not be able to return to work with his teammates until Monday, September 10th.

After Thursday night’s game, he was not in the talking mood.

“There really isn’t anything I can say right now,” Hali said. “It will be a long week.”

Notes of all sorts

The Packers had paid attendance of 67,999 and while that number sounds like it’s made up, there may have been more people in Lambeau than even that. The only place where it seemed there wasn’t interest in a meaningless evening of football was in some of the luxury suites that appeared dark. In the bowl, on their bench seats, the stands were packed … the Packers kept three starters out of the game, led by CB Charles Woodson and C Jeff Saturday. They were joined by DL Ryan Pickett. Veteran WR Donald Driver did not dress as well … when Packers kicker Mason Crosby tried a pooch kick in the second half, Chiefs C/G Luke Patterson made a heady call by signaling for a fair catch. That’s something you don’t see every day in the NFL – a fair catch on a kickoff . . . P Dustin Colquitt had a good day, with 4 punts that averaged 42.5 yards, but he had a 42.8-yard net average. All 4 of his punts put the Packers inside their 20-yard line . . . Crosby sent 4 of his 5 kickoffs deep into the end zone and the Chiefs brought all four out, with returns of 34, 37, 38 and 42 yards, a 37.8-yard average.

Attention NFL Owners: Bring Back The Real Zebras

From Lambeau Field, Green Bay

Through the first three pre-season games the replacement officials that have worked the Chiefs games against Arizona, St. Louis and Seattle have been a non-factor. Every once in awhile they stumbled and when they went to the replay review; it seemed to take forever.

Maybe the Chiefs had three of the better crews in the league, but the odds caught up with them on Thursday night in Green Bay when the replacement crew led by referee Wayne Elliott (right)was the worst bunch of the pre-season.

The real NFL officials are locked out in a labor dispute by the league owners, and the NFL has already alerted the teams that replacements will be on the field for the opening weekend of the regular season.

It’s going to be interesting to see what Elliott’s crew does when the games count. If they match their effort in the Chiefs-Packers game, there will be a hue and cry.

– On 3 different occasions, Elliott announced a number for a Chiefs penalty that was not on the field. That might happen once every four games with the real officials. It happened when No. 92 NT Dontari Poe was called for offsides. Elliott announced the violator as No. 90; but DE Brandon Bair was on the sidelines.

– It happened on a kickoff when a nice return by RB Shane Draughn was wiped out by a penalty on No. 91. Believe me, Tamba Hali was not on the field; he was on the sideline. The penalty was on No. 51 Gabe Miller, who would never be confused with Tamba Hali, even with a helmet on.

– Near the end of the first half, a defensive holding call against the Chiefs was noted as No. 41. The Chiefs do not have a No. 41. The official scorer corrected the record and the flag was on CB Terrance Parks, No. 31.

– Right before the end of the first half, a flag was thrown on a 3rd-and-14 play for the Packers offense. It came on the left side of the offense, after QB Graham Harrell connected with WR Jarrett Boykin on the right side. Elliott announced that there was “no flag” but he provided no information on why the flag was thrown, or why the call was wiped out.

– Elliott couldn’t decide if QB Ricky Stanzi was going to be called for a false start or delay of game. He said both, before deciding on delay of game.

That’s just the obvious. Heaven knows what a crew that produced those many obvious errors did on game management stuff noticed only by professionals.

All those moments on an individual basis would not a big deal. Pull them altogether and it paints a picture of a crew unable to handle all aspects of the game. This was Elliott and his crew’s fourth game.

It’s time for the NFL owners to return to the negotiating table and get a deal worked out with the real officials.

Catching Up With Injuries

From Lambeau Field, Green Bay

Romeo Crennel said after the Chiefs loss to the Green Bay Packers Thursday night that his team suffered no serious injuries in the game.

That doesn’t mean some players didn’t get hurt. With the cutdown to 53 players coming up on Friday, here’s an update on the injury situation as we know it.

Injured Thursday night

ILB Derrick Johnson – Suffered an ankle injury against the Packers. How serious the injury might be will likely show itself in the 24 hours after the game when swelling and pain provide a clue as to severity.

DE Tyson Jackson – Ditto on Jackson, who also suffered an ankle injury and left the game just slightly before he was scheduled to be on the sidelines.

QB Brady Quinn – Suffered a bruised neck when, as Crennel said “he was trying to be a running back.” That’s why he left the game when he did, replaced by Ricky Stanzi. Hard to define status at this point

QB Alex Tanney – The YouTube sensation finally got a chance to play, but after one series he was pulled because he suffered a bruised finger. It did not appear to be a serious injury.

Did not dress Thursday night because of injury

CB Terrance Copper – He seemed to making good progress recovering from the groin injury he suffered in the game against Seattle. His should not be an extended injury.

FS Kendrick Lewis – The shoulder injury he suffered against St. Louis in the second pre-season game still limits him, but he’s able to do strength training with the shoulder and that’s a sign he’s on the way back. How long it takes remains unknown.

CB Brandon Flowers – The heel injury he suffered on July 31 kept him off the field for the entire month of August. Last week he was doing some running at practice on another field, but he wasn’t sprinting or cutting. He may still be several weeks away from being in a position to help the defense.

CB Jalil Brown – With his groin injury he did not get involved in any football work last week, spending his time in the rehab area. That’s not a good sign for participation next weekend.

RB Cyrus Gray – The draft choice got back on the practice field earlier this week, but it was limited participation because of his healing hamstring. He may be a candidate for injured-reserve.

DB De’Quan Menzie – Ditto here, as the draft choice out of Alabama was doing some work last Monday and Tuesday, but was not taking a regular turn with the defense. He may be a injured-reserve candidate.

DE Allen Bailey – The ankle injury he suffered against Seattle kept him in the rehab area this week, but it does not appear to be a long term thing. He was able to move around and walk without a limp.

DT Anthony Toribio – The nose tackle’s ankle injury must have been pretty severe because since the Seattle game, he’s been getting around with a mobile apparatus almost like a scooter where he can take all the pressure off his ankle.

Offense Stays Very Basic


From Lambeau Field, Green Bay

It wasn’t hard to see what Romeo Crennel and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll were thinking when it came to an offensive plan for Thursday night’s game against Green Bay.

“We worked hard on the running game in practice (Monday) so we wanted to take a look at it tonight and see what we could get done,” Crennel said. “I thought it was effective.”

It may also have been an attempt to have the Chiefs offense establish some sort of identity after struggling in the past two weeks and not doing much of anything effectively or with any productivity.

So the Chiefs came out in a two-back, one tight end, two-wide receiver alignment for almost the entire first quarter with the No. 1 group on the field. They were out there for 21 offensive snaps, with 10 of those handled by Matt Cassel and the other 11 by Brandy Quinn. Daboll called for the 2-1-2 set on 16 of those plays.

There was no movement, no shifting, and no tight ends in motion. The Chiefs lined up and ran on 17 of those 21 plays. It produced 86 yards or 5.1 yards per carry.

By the time the game was over, the Chiefs ran for 247 yards on 44 carries, a 5.6-yard per carry average.

“We said let’s take a look at it and see what we can get done,” Crennel said of the running game. “I wanted to re-enforce what happened in practice. They practiced well so I wanted to try it in the game. It was successful in the game so that was good.”

While the first offensive line created the holes for those 86 yards in the first quarter, it was the No. 2 line that popped the holes in the second, third and fourth quarters, picking up 161 yards on 27 carries, as rookie RB Nate Eachus ran for 99 yards on 21 carries. Shaun Draughn added 58 yards on 10 carries.

“We struggled the last two weeks and we wanted to come out and establish it and get it going,” LT Branden Albert said. “We want to start fast and coming out and getting the run going is a way to get that done.”

With the No. 1 offense, Peyton Hills ran 6 times for 46 yards and Jamaal Charles earned 12 yards on 3 carries. QB Brady Quinn broke out on a couple of scrambles for 29 yards as well.

“The offensive line rebounded from last week and they had the holes for us to find,” said Hillis.

The week of practice work on the run and then Thursday night was more than just racking up some yards. It was also about establishing a mentality of offensive toughness on the team.

“Most definitely,” Hillis said of establishing an identity. “We want to run the ball, and I think for the most part we came out and did that today. That’s one game. We need to take the momentum of that and over eight or nine days, we need to get it ready for Atlanta.”

Dontari Enjoys First NFL Start

From Lambeau Field, Green Bay

To say that Chiefs first-round draft choice Dontari Poe was excited about his first NFL start would be the understatement of the pre-season.

Not only was he opening with the No. 1 defense at nose tackle for the injured Anthony Toribio, but it was going down in Lambeau Field, the home of legends, the place where Lombardi coached, Favre threw and where today Rogers, Drive, Matthews, Woodson and more are trying to piece together another run at a championship.

“It was great, a lot of crazy fans,” Poe said. “It was a great experience to go out there and be in the groove of the game and feel it out.”

So excited was Poe that on a 3rd-and-12 play near midfield, he jumped early and was flagged for being offside. That penalty wiped out an interception by CB Stanford Routt, although when he threw the ball up for WR Jordy Nelson, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers knew the flag had been thrown.

“He bought into the position that he was starting against the Green Bay Packers who had been Super Bowl champs recently,” said head coach Romeo Crennel. “I think he wanted to do good.”

Not only did Poe start, but he was still playing well into the second half, even into the fourth quarter.

“The more he plays the better he will be and then the better we will be,” said Crennel. “They ran the ball and threw it some, so all the looks he got tonight will benefit him.”

Poe was not complaining; he was enjoying the chance to play with the No. 1, 2 and 3 defensive units.

“I just have to keep listening to these coaches; I have to stay on it, stay focused and break it down on the mental mistakes,” Poe said. “I’ll be alright.

“I got reps tonight and that’s the best thing. I got the chance to play and I’ll learn from what happened.”

Eachus Leaves It All On The Field


From Lambeau Field, Green Bay

The contusions on the back of Nate Eachus weren’t really bothering him Thursday night as he dressed after the Chiefs closed out the pre-season with a 24-3 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

But the red welts would soon be screaming in his head and his heart. Once the adrenalin of playing the game dissipated, nothing is going to make those bruises and cuts feel any less painful.

“I’m going to be sore, no doubt about it,” Eachus said. “It got to me a couple times out there, but I didn’t want to come out. I wanted to stay on the field.”

There’s one way those ugly marks on his back will feel just fine – if he finds out Friday night that he’s made the Chiefs 53-man roster and can look forward to a season in the NFL.

“I guess we’ll all know by tomorrow night,” Eachus said. “I really don’t know what to say about it. I feel like I’ve done everything that I could. Now, it’s up to higher powers and they’ll make decisions they feel are the best way to go.

“No matter what happens, I feel like I left everything on the field.”

Against the Packers Eachus ran 21 times for 99 yards as the Chiefs went to a run, run, run offensive attack. Along with what he did in the first three games, the free agent from Colgate finished with 34 carries for 206 yards, leading the Chiefs in rushing.

“Once they told us they that we were going to run the ball, I knew there would be opportunities for me,” Eachus said. “I wanted to make sure I took advantage of whatever came my way.”

A 5-10 undrafted running back from a Division 1-AA (or FCS) school like Colgate should not be even in the running for a spot on an NFL roster. But there’s no question that Eachus will be given serious consideration. GM Scott Pioli is a fan, head coach Romeo Crennel wishes all his players gave up their heart and body the way Eachus does and running backs coach Maurice Carthon just shakes his head in admiration of how far the New York native has come since he signed in April.

But there are only 53 spots on an NFL roster and only 4 or 5 of those are going to go to running backs. Jamaal Charles, Peyton Hillis and Shaun Draughn are locked into the roster. Eachus is competing with the injured draft choice Cyrus Gray for a chance to stick if the team decides to carry four RBs and no FB. It’s a match equation that Eachus says he wants no part of trying to cipher.

“One of the things they always say is that if you get on the field and produce, then somebody is going to see you and there might be a chance someplace else,” he said. “I don’t want to go someplace else; I really want to stay here with the Chiefs. I really like the people here. But again, that’s out of my hands.”

With that, Eachus slid his dress shirt on and even the cotton left him in pain as it folded on to his pelted back.

“Yeah, it’s going to hurt,” Eachus said.

More Of The Same For Chiefs in Pre-Season Finale

From Lambeau Field, Green Bay

The pre-season is over and there were apparently no major injuries. So in many respects it was a good night for the Chiefs.

That might be a stretch given the fact they lost their third straight pre-season game, falling 24-3 to the Packers. But that’s all the Chiefs had to hang their hat on Thursday night. It’s likely that in watching the tape – if they even bother – Romeo Crennel and his coaching staff will find some positives in the evening.

But other than further evaluation of the players that will go or stay with Friday’s mandatory NFL cut to 53 players, it was not a night to remember in any fashion. The starters played essentially the first quarter, although QB Matt Cassel came out with 7 minutes, 10 seconds to play in the first quarter after throwing his first pass of the game. Brady Quinn came in and pushed the offense down the field to get the Chiefs only points of the half, a 26-yard Ryan Succop field goal.

The No. 1 defense played the entire first quarter, but only saw a grand total of 6 plays. Several long Chiefs possessions tied up the ball and when Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense did have an opportunity, they twice went three plays and out, picking up a total of 16 yards.

“Going into the game I wanted our guys to look halfway decent and efficient and when I looked out there on the field, offensively and defensively, we got some things done,” said Crennel. “I was pleased with their effort.”

The first-quarter stat sheet screamed in the Chiefs favor. They gained 124 yards on 21 plays, holding Green Bay’s No. 1 offense to 16 yards on 6 plays. They were 3 of 5 on third downs and the Packers were 0 for 2. The offense held the ball for more than 11 minutes of the 15 in the quarter, while allowing the Packers to stay on the field for just less than 4 minutes.

“We moved the ball and we got them off the field,” Crennel said. “After that we started giving other people opportunities, and some of them made mistakes.”

Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy certainly noticed the efficiency of the Chiefs on both offense and defense.

“I wasn’t very pleased with the way the game started; I thought they were moving a little quicker than we were,” McCarthy said. “I really thought we cleaned it up as the game went on and it’s about scoring points and holding them out of the end zone. I thought our team did a very good job of that.”

In the end, the Chiefs actually outgained the Packers 342-304 yards, including 247 rushing yards. But they had an interception, gave up 3 sacks and numerous other pressures and picked up 14 penalties along the way.

The game got away from the Chiefs in the second quarter, all due to a Quinn interception that turned out to be a 14-point swing on the scoreboard. The offense went on an 11-play possession, including three conversions on 3rd-down, with a 20-yard pass to WR Josh Bellamy and then a 16-yarder to TE Steve Maneri. Quinn picked up a first down on a nice 23-yard scramble up the middle.

But with 2nd-and-goal from the Packers 5-yard line, Quinn tried to hit WR Jamar Newsome who was running across the back of the end zone. But CB Sam Shields jumped in front of the ball for the interception.

“He was able to make some plays, but he gave up a play in the scoring zone,” Crennel said of Quinn. “He handled the offense OK.”

The Packers No. 2 QB Graham Harrell came on the field against the Chiefs No. 2 defense early in the second quarter. He quickly faced a 3rd-and-12, but hit TE Jermichael Finley with a 27-yard completion. Then he found WR Tori Gurley on a 54-yard pass and run down to the Chiefs 1-yard line. Gurley badly beat CB Jacques Reeves on the play. It took two runs, but RB Alex Green dented the end zone from the 2-yard line. K Mason Crosby kicked the PAT and the Packers had a 7-3 lead and never relinquished the top spot on the score board.

Later in the quarter, Harrell led the Packers on a 10-play, 93-yard drive, and picking up six first downs on the way to a 17-yard TD pass to Green. The Chiefs defense came with a late blitz against Harrell, but he had no problem handling the pressure, dumping the ball off to Green. The PAT made the half-time score 14-3.

The third quarter brought another Green Bay scoring drive, as Harrell found WR Jarrett Boykin at the end of a 7-play, 77-yard possession with four first downs. They got some help thanks to a facemask penalty against LB Edgar Jones. Offsetting penalties including an illegal contact cal against CB Chandler Fenner wiped out a sack of Harrell by OLB Andy Studebaker.

In the fourth quarter, Crosby hit a 37-yard FG and that set the final scoreboard at 24-3. The Chiefs continued to fight and claw and actually moved the ball at times, relying on rookie free agent Nate Eachus (21 carries for 99 yards) and Shane Draughn (10 carries for 58 yards). But every time they got close to making something happen in the scoring zone, penalties or mistakes stopped them in their tracks and they ended up giving Green Bay the ball back. They moved to their 43, Green Bay’s 31 and 49-yard lines and got nothing to show for their efforts.

Now, attention turns to far more important things – the 2012 regular season.

“Everybody is 0-0 and we are going to prepare for Atlanta because they come to town next,” said Crennel. “Everything we do on the field, in the classroom, everything is important. We have to do everything we can to get ready to play a good Atlanta team.”

Column: Even In Good, Chiefs Found Bad

From Lambeau Field, Green Bay

By the time it happened, the game’s outcome was set and those that cared about the outcome of the final pre-season game could have been housed in a Smart Car headed down I-43 to Sheboygan.

Yet, it was a moment indicative of what type of month August 2012 was for the Chiefs.

Late in the third quarter the surface at Lambeau Field was filled with guys trying to continue their employment in pro football. While there was nothing to play for as far as the Chiefs were concerned, every one of those players from the second and third teams was playing their hearts out. Most of the time they were not effective or productive, but even in very tough moments their effort was there.

The Packers went back to punt and Tim Masthay stood near his 10-yard line. Coming off the right side of the Green Bay protection was Chiefs FB Chris DiMarco. The win on that side for the Packers was S Jerron McMillian and he made a half-hearted effort to block DiMarco. But the fullback shot past him and blocked the punt. The ball rolled away from DiMarco and none of his teammates were nearby.

Since the ball was still behind the line of scrimmage, it was a live ball and McMillian atoned for his lousy block, scooped the ball up and ran for a Green Bay first down.

Even when they did something good, it turned out bad for the Chiefs in Green Bay, losing 24-3.

There was a lot of good from the Chiefs in two weeks of training camp and four pre-season games. No really, there was. We certainly have spent a lot of words pointing out a wealth of not-so-good things, poor play, bad decisions and all those things that lead to a team losing three straight games a score of 99-34.

Yet, there were good plays, good players and good moments. There just weren’t enough of them, and they never were strung together to create any type of impression that the Chiefs were improving and advancing as an organization.

The hobgoblin of any struggling football operation is inconsistency. It turns a head coach and his staff into grumbling, mumbling and stumbling pros. They work and work and try to figure out how to turn the tide because they know that continued inconsistency is going to mean they will soon have to pack up the house again and tell the kids why they have to change schools and move again.

That inconsistency takes all those moments when things go well and diminishes their effect and starts gnawing at confidence. That’s the death pill, because a team without confidence in themselves, their teammates and their coaches is a team headed for the football landfill.

The Chiefs are not as bad a team as they showed in the last three games. Nor are they as good as some fans and media pundits have tried to make them in the run-up to this season. Right now, they are 0-0, just like everybody else in the league.

But this team enters the 2012 regular season with shaky confidence and questions hovering over them as to what they can accomplish. Some may blame injuries, but that’s an excuse every team in the league can use at one time or another. Missing players are part of the game; good teams overcome the injuries and still make something of their season.

Somehow, the Chiefs have to come out in the next eight or nine days and find confidence, belief and consistency. That’s quite a to-do list for a group that has experienced only small slivers of team success over the last decade. There isn’t a lot of good history to provide a road map of what has to happen.

The Chiefs need to make it up as they go along. If they do, then there’s a chance something could be made of the 2012 season. If they don’t, then a terrible three weeks in August will seem like nothing at all.

A Familiar End to Pre-season As Chiefs lose 24-3


From Lambeau Field, Green Bay

What has been a dreadful three weeks of pre-season games ended for the Chiefs on Thursday night. The Green Bay Packers took a 24-3 victory and the Chiefs were left to consider an exhibition schedule with three straight defeats.

Early in the game, the Chiefs did some good things and even No. 2 quarterback Brady Quinn cane in and moved the team. But he blew a big scoring opportunity with an end zone interception when he tried to force a throw to the back line for WR Jamar Newsome.

The Chiefs finished 1-3 on the pre-season and returned home to Kansas City to work on slicing their roster to 53 players by the 8 p.m. CDT deadline.

Here’s what we have for you from Titletown USA:

Game-Night Pre-Game – Chiefs vs. Packers


From Lambeau Field, Green Bay

5:50 p.m. – It’s 15 minutes away from kickoff. Enjoy the game and remember to come back  later tonight and into Friday morning as we’ll provide complete coverage of the game. Plus, stay tuned all weekend as we’ll keep you up to date on the moves by the Chiefs and the rest of the NFL as they reach the 53-man roster limit.

5:35 p.m. — As they were leaving the field, a couple of big old rookies shared a hug and a hello – the Chiefs Dontari Poe and Jerel Worthy of the Packers. Both were draft choices last year, Poe out of Memphis and Worthy from Michigan State.

5:30 p.m. – GM Scott Pioli and Packers head coach Mike McCarthy sharing a conversation at midfield. He may be asking about any veteran offensive and defensive linemen the Packers may have available with the final cut looming. There’s 10-year veteran Reggie Wells on the offensive line and Evan Dietrich-Smith a 3-year player on the offensive line.

5:20 p.m. – Weather forecasts for tonight in Green Bay is hot for the cheeseheads, with temperature at kickoff expected to be in the high 80s. The heat index reached into the 90-degree range. There is a pretty stiff wind blowing out of the southwest, gusting to 25 miles per hour. Now that Lambeau is a full bowl, it’s tough for the wind to affect things on the field.

5: 17 p.m. – The Packers have announced nine players will not dress for the game, including three starters – CB Charles Woodson, C Jeff Saturday and DT Ryan Pickett. Also missing will be CB Davon House, RB James Starks, LB Robert Francois, OT Andrew Datko, WR Donald Driver and TE Tom Crabtree.

5:13 p.m. – The Chiefs have announced that eight players will not dress for the game – WR Terrance Copper, FS Kendrick Lewis, CB Brandon Flowers, CB Jalil Brown, RB Cyrus Gray, DB De’Quan Menzie, DE Allen Bailey and NT Anthony Toribio. First-round draft choice Dontari Poe will get the start for Toribio, Jacques Reeves will open for Flowers and Travis Daniels will start for Lewis. …Read More!

Rule Change Will Effect Roster Decisions

From Lambeau Field, Green Bay

After almost a year of dragging their feet, the NFL and the NFL Players Association have finally agreed o n two changes to the league’s bylaws that will go into effect immediately. They made the announcement on Thursday.

Bylaw No. 2 moves the league’s trading deadline from Tuesday, October 16 – the Tuesday after Week 6 of the regular season – to Tuesday, October 30, the Tuesday after Week 8.

The new rule that has a more immediate implication was approval of Bylaw No. 6A permitting NFL teams to re-activate one player from injured-reserve list during the 2012 season, subject to certain restrictions, which are: …Read More!

Chiefs-Packers Replacement Officials

From Lambeau Field, Green Bay

We’ve learned this week that the NFL has alerted teams that replacement officials will work the regular-season opener rather than the real officials that remain locked out by the league.

That’s not a good sign for a quality opening weekend, but then NFL ownership does not appear to be concerned about that matter.

Thursday night here in Green Bay, the Chiefs and Packers will get a replacement crew led by referee Wayne Elliott. He’s a University of Texas grad, a real estate salesman in Austin and he’s worked high school, college and indoor football.

The back judge in the crew is Derrick Rhone-Dunn, who worked the Sugar Bowl back in January with a Big 12 Conference crew and has worked Arena League games. The side judge is Lance Easley, a banker out of Central California that has worked high school games. They are in the picture above getting an earful from San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh over a pass interference call in a game last week.

Field judge Richard Simmons is a Texas high school official and head linesman Victor Pettus has worked high school and small college games in Alabama.

Umpire Marc Harrod out of Texas and line judge Joe Clark out of Texas fill out the crew.

Futures On the Line At Lambeau

From Green Bay, Wisconsin

By 8 p.m. CDT on Friday, the Chiefs like the rest of the NFL will have to trim their rosters to the league limit of 53 players.

As almost every GM and Coach will say in the coming days, Scott Pioli and Romeo Crennel are likely to talk about how tough the cut was. That’s expected, but teams that finish 7-9 don’t usually lose too many players on the final cutdown that can play in the league.

Here are the players on the bubble or about to say good bye from position to position:

Quarterback – Alex Tanney may finally get a chance to play in a game Thursday night. The Division III-YouTube passer will then be the first name on top of the waiver list on Friday.

Running back – Three players appear to be fighting for one spot – Cyrus Gray, Nate Eachus and Patrick DiMarco. There’s a chance Gray goes to the injured-reserve list. If not, then he makes the club. Everyone in the building from Pioli to Crennel wants to find a way to keep Eachus.

Wide receiver – There doesn’t appear to be a spot available for the receivers. With Bowe, Breaston, Baldwin, McCluster and Wylie moving forward, there may be one spot and the favorite for that would be veteran Terrance Copper. Do not rule out 7th-round draft choice Junior Hemingway, as he’s getting a lot of time on special teams. Plus, rookie free agent Josh Bellamy has flashed ability. Jamar Newsome appears to be on the outside. …Read More!

Getting It Over With . . . Game-Day Cup O’Chiefs

From Green Bay, Wisconsin

The most forgotten moment of any NFL season goes down Thursday night here at legendary Lambeau Field as the Chiefs and Packers wrap up their 2012 pre-season schedule.

Kickoff is just after 6 p.m. with television coverage throughout the Midwest, including KCTV-Channel 5 in Kansas City.

That NFL owners charge full-ride money for games like this one ranks among the great crimes in professional sports history. Neither team figures to play their starters very long, and with the Packers it maybe whether they get on the field at all. Two years ago at Arrowhead Stadium, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy did not play 10 of his starters including QB Aaron Rodgers.

Last year at Lambeau, McCarthy did not play 9 of his starters, and Rodgers was on the field for 8 plays before retiring for the evening.

As he has throughout this pre-season, Romeo Crennel wasn’t willing to outline his personnel plans for the Packers game. It sounds like everyone that’s healthy will be available and have a chance to play. The question will always be how long they are on the field.

“What I want to see is I want to see an efficient operation from all the units and particularly the starting unit,” said Crennel. “So, if they go out there and they operate efficiently, then I might be inclined to say, ‘Well, we’ve done something good,’ and if we don’t do anything good, I might say, ‘We need to do something good,’ to build up that confidence level.” …Read More!

Some Friendly Advice For Romeo

Considering that I was still popping pimples when Romeo Crennel started his football coaching career, there aren’t a lot of calls from the Chiefs head coach seeking my advice. Not expecting any either; Romeo has his hands full.

That doesn’t mean I don’t have ideas for the head man, some items that I think would help towards getting the season started next weekend against Atlanta. I’ll lay them out here and if Crennel stumbles upon them, then I’m at his disposal.

Advice item #1 – Leave the starters at home on Wednesday-Thursday.

If I was Romeo, I would take the bottom 45 players on my 75-man roster to Green Bay to play the Packers. That means the top 30; generally the starters and a few others would stay in Kansas City.

But I wouldn’t give them a few days off. What I would have done is have both my offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and linebackers coach Gary Gibbs stay behind in K.C. with the players. Jim Zorn could call the plays in Green Bay, and Emmitt Thomas could help Romeo out with the defensive calls as Gibbs does now. …Read More!

NFL Transactions – 8/28

Atlanta – signed QB Luke McCown; released QB Chris Redman.

Indianapolis – claimed WR Kashif Moore on waivers from Cincinnati; released WR Jarred Fayson (injured).

New York Jets – claimed P Spencer Lanning on waivers from Cleveland.

Oakland – signed WR Roscoe Parrish; released OT Zach Hurd.

Pittsburgh – activated OLBs James Harrison and Jason Worilds from the PUP list; WR Mike Wallace signed his free agent tender offer; released Jason Ford.

Washington – signed K Billy Cundiff; released K Graham Gano, TE Chris Cooley.

It’s All For Annie . . . Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

Annie Ruth Reeves was the constant in her son’s life. Jacques was her only child and she was always there for him even when she was working long hours over almost four decades for Texas Instruments and Raytheon Systems in the Dallas area.

After she retired in 2005, Annie Reeves enjoyed her extended family that was all around in Lancaster, a southern suburb of Dallas. When Annie faced a life complicated by the need for transplant surgery, her son became the constant in her life, walking away from his career in pro football to take care of the woman who gave him life.

Sadly that journey ended on July 26th. On the day that Reeves was supposed to report to training camp in St. Joseph, Annie Reeves passed away at her home in Dallas. She was 64. Her son was there with her as were other step-children, sisters, brothers and others.

Jacques had been the one that was always there. In early September 2010, he was released by the Houston Texans where he’d played for two seasons, after four years of play earlier with his hometown Dallas Cowboys. Annie Reeves wasn’t doing very well at the time and a transplant was suggested by the medical professionals.

That’s when he decided that football could wait; his mother could not.

“I’m her only son,” Reeves said after practice this week at the Chiefs facility. “I felt like she needed me there more than I needed to be playing football.

“I had to take care of her. That came first at that moment in time.” …Read More!

Practice Report – 8/28

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs went through their final full practice of the pre-season on Tuesday afternoon and the temperature of the session was hard work and preparation in hot house weather conditions.

“They’ve been working hard all during camp, we just haven’t taken it to the game field,” Crennel said. “We’ll keep working hard and eventually some of the things we do on the practice field we will be able to take them and have success on the game field.”

Crennel indicated there were no major changes to the injury report for Tuesday’s practice. Not practicing and out of Thursday’s game are NT Anthony Toribio (ankle), DE Allen Bailey (ankle), CB Jalil Brown (groin), WR Terrance Copper (groin), CB Brandon Flowers (foot) and FS Kendrick Lewis (shoulder).

De’Quan Menzie (hip) and RB Cyrus Gray (hamstring) were limited in practice. G Jeff Allen left practice on Monday for an unknown reason, but he was back on the field for Tuesday’s work with no apparent sign of distress.

The head coach also indicated that OLB Tamba Hali would play in Green Bay. Hali faces a one-game suspension for the regular-season opener. …Read More!

Is #2 Brady Quinn A Good Thing? … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

It passed as the only competition for a key position on the Chiefs roster in this 2012 pre-season. But ultimately it proved to be an easy decision as Brady Quinn beat out Ricky Stanzi for the No. 2 quarterback position behind starter Matt Cassel.

That Quinn is the man does not come as a surprise. He had the backing of head coach Romeo Crennel and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll from his days with the Browns when Romeo was the head coach (2007-08) and then when Daboll was the Cleveland offensive coordinator (2009). He performed better than Stanzi in the first three pre-season games.

That doesn’t answer all the questions, like whether Quinn was the best man available for the job? Certainly he was on Monday, but was he back in March when he was signed by the team to a 1-year, $1.5 million contract?

Quinn has not played a regular-season game since December 20, 2009 when he directed the Browns in a 41-34 victory over the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. He suffered a foot injury in that game, missed the last two outings of the ’09 season and then ended up being traded to Denver the next year in a deal that sent RB Peyton Hillis to Cleveland. Now, they are both in Kansas City.

Two years with the Broncos included 7 pre-season games, but he did not take a single snap in the regular season, as first Kyle Orton and then Tim Tebow got the opportunity to play. Under Josh McDaniels and then John Fox, Quinn never got off the bench. …Read More!

NFL Transactions – 8/27

Every team in the league is now down to 75 players with another major cut looming on Friday. Here’s what went down late Sunday and on Monday before he deadline.

Baltimore – placed LB Darryl Blackstock (groin), LB Stevie Baggs (unknown), NT Ryan McBean (ankle), S Emanuel Cook (leg); placed WR David Reed and LB Terrell Suggs on the PUP list.

Buffalo – acquired QB Tarvaris Jackson in a trade with Seattle for an undisclosed draft choice; released QB Vince Young.

Carolina – placed CB Brandon Hogan (knee) on the injured reserve list; placed WR David Gettis on PUP list; released WR Darvin Adams, G Roger Allen, WR Michael Avila, WR Brenton Bersin, G Will Blackwell, P Nick Harris, K Olindo Mare, OLB Eric Norwood, RB Lyndon Rowells, TE Greg Smith, RB Josh Vaughan, WR Rico Wallace.

Cleveland – placed LB Chris Gocong (Achilles) and LB Emmanuel Acho (unknown) on the injured-reserve list; placed DL Phil Taylor on the PUP list; claimed DL Ernest Owusu on waivers from Minnesota; released DL Marcus Benard, DL Auston English, DB Antwuan Reed.

Dallas – placed C Kevin Kowalski on the PUP list; released OT Levy Adcock, P Delbert Alvarado, TE Harry Flaherty, LS Charley Hughlett, WR Donavon Kemp, WR David Little, LB Caleb McSurdy, OT Tyrone Novikoff, WR Raymond Radway, RB Javarris Williams, CB C.J. Wilson. …Read More!

Practice Report – 8/27

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs finish the pre-season on Thursday against Green Bay and start the regular season in just under two weeks against Atlanta.

But at practice on Monday, Romeo Crennel had his team working on itself.

“That’s my nature; you have to get yourself fixed before you can try to attack somebody else,” the Chiefs head coach said before practice. “You have to know what you can do and try to correct the mistakes that we made. If we can get those corrected we might be able to work on somebody else.”

Generally this final week of the pre-season does not include any game planning for the opponent, in this case the Packers. The focus turns to the regular-season opener and the Falcons. While the Chiefs ran some plays for their defense off cards that appeared to be the Falcons offense, Crennel indicated the attention in practice on Monday and Tuesday will be looking inward after the team’s performance the last two weeks.

On the injury front Crennel mentioned a number of players that will be on the sidelines this week trying to get healthy: NT Anthony Toribio (ankle), DE Allen Bailey (ankle), CB Jalil Brown (groin), WR Terrance Copper (groin), CB Brandon Flowers (foot) and FS Kendrick Lewis (shoulder). Crennel did say that Lewis has begun some strengthening work on his injured shoulder. …Read More!

Crennel Makes It Official: #2 is Quinn, #3 is Stanzi

From the Truman Sports Complex

After practice Monday head coach Romeo Crennel made official the obvious – Brady Quinn will begin the season as the Chiefs No. 2 quarterback, backing up starter Matt Cassel. He finished ahead of Ricky Stanzi.

“Quinn because he has more experience,” Crennel said. “I feel like that will benefit us the most, he’s had experience in games.”

Quinn’s performances in the pre-season were better than Stanzi and made the decision fairly easy for the coaching staff. Quinn has not played in a regular season game in two seasons, but he does have 12 starts in the league with Cleveland. The Browns selected him in the first-round of the 2007 NFL Draft and in three seasons there. Cleveland was 3-9 in his starts and the 27-year old posted a 66.8 passer rating, with 10 TD passes and 9 interceptions.

Maybe it was because it was such an obvious decision, but Quinn wasn’t celebrating after practice. …Read More!

Injury Factor on Roster Cuts … Monday Cup O’Chiefs

There may be a player or two or three from the 14 the Chiefs released on Sunday that might get another shot at making it in the NFL.

But like most of the young men that will be cut by the NFL teams before the league’s Monday deadline of 3 p.m. CDT, the bulk of the Chiefs that were let go will probably go on to their life’s work and put football in the rear-view mirror.

Every GM and coach will say two things during roster cutting season – we like the guys we kept and it was sure hard to let go some of the players that were released.

Injuries are a big part of the equation for the Chiefs as they prepare for the final 22 moves that will get them from 75 to 53 by the end of the week. There were six players that did not dress for Friday night’s game against Seattle because of injury. There were five players that suffered injuries during the game that did not return to the action.

That’s a dozen players that must be factored into the decision making not only with those individual players, but with their position groups as well. One has already been removed from discussion – DL Ethan Johnson was released on Sunday in the cut to 75. Johnson had been bothered by post-concussion like symptoms and had no chance to practice or play.

After getting his post-game injury report, Crennel was not sure what impact the injuries would have an effect on the moves. …Read More!

Weekend NFL Transactions

NFL teams must get their rosters down to 75 players by 3 p.m. CDT on Monday. That work began over the weekend as the league’s transaction wire was very busy with moves. Here is what happened:

Arizona – placed LT Levi Brown (torn triceps) on the injured-reserve list; released RB Thomas Clayton (injured), DE Landon Cohen, RB Jared Crank, WR Gino Crump, DB Eddie Elder, WR Tre Gray, DB Marshay Green, WR Jaymar Johnson, RB Reagan Maui’a, DB James Nixon, LB Zack Nash, LB Marcus McGraw, K Ricky Schmitt, LB Paul Vassallo.

Atlanta – placed OT Will Svitek (arm) the injured-reserve list; released TE Chase Coffman, K Erik Folk, LB Max Gruder, DT Elisha Joseph (injured), RB Richard Medlin, FB Lee Meisner, DE Louis Nzegwu, WR Kenny Stafford, CB Darrin Walls (injured), TE Aron White, QB John Parker Wilson.

Baltimore – released K Billy Cundiff, TE Davon Drew, WR Devin Goda, OL Addison Lawrence, CB Jordan Maybin, C Cecil Newton, LS Patrick Scales, QB Chester Stewart, WR Patrick Williams.

Buffalo – placed NT Torell Troup (back) on the injured-reserve list; placed TE Mike Caussin on the PUP list; released LB Danny Batten, WR David Clowney, DE Sean Ferguson, S Chris Hill, CB Prince Miller, S Josh Nesbitt, TE Fendi Onobun, DT Jay Ross, WR Derek Session, DB Nick Sukay, G Jake Vermiglio. …Read More!

Reacting to Chiefs Moves to 75

WR Zeke Markshausen caught a pass for 15 yards against St. Louis. He was released Sunday.

There were no surprises among the 14 players released by the Chiefs on Sunday to reach the NFL roster limit of 75 players.

Maybe the only surprise was who wasn’t released, in the case of fourth QB Alex Tanney. The Division III product has yet to get on the field and with just two real practice days coming up this week before the pre-season finale, there didn’t appear to be any reason to keep him around for his arm.

But Tanney may still get a chance to get on the field Thursday night at Lambeau Field.

In the group of 14, there was only one Chiefs draft choice (7th-round ’12 FB Shane Bannon) and only one player that had been on the field for a regular-season game in WR Jeremy Horne. The second-year receiver out of U-Mass caught 2 passes for 43 yards in the first three games including a 38-yard TD catch from QB Brady Quinn in St. Louis. …Read More!

Chiefs Make Moves To Reach 75

Getting their work done a day before the deadline, the Chiefs announced Sunday afternoon the 14 moves they made to reach the league limit of 75.

Release were:

  • FB Shane Bannon
  • TE Tim Biere
  • LB Caleb Campbell
  • OL Justin Cheadle
  • DB Dominique Ellis
  • DB Jean Fanor
  • LB Dexter Heyman,
  • C Cam Holland,
  • WR Jeremy Horne
  • DE Ethan Johnson
  • WR Brandon Kinnie
  • WR Zeke Markshausen
  • K Matt Szymanski
  • WR Aaron Weaver

Roster Breakdown – Tight End

PERSONNEL (starters in bold italics)

  • Returning from 2011 roster – Steve Maneri, Jake O’Connell.
  • Returning from 2011 injured-reserve list – Tony Moeaki.
  • Free agents signed – Tim Biere, Kevin Boss.

OUTLOOK

NFL teams will carry anywhere from 2 to 4 tight ends depending on their offensive style. …Read More!

Roster Breakdown – Linebackers

PERSONNEL (starters in bold italics)

  • Returning from 2011 roster – Jovan Belcher, Cory Greenwood, Tamba Hali, Justin Houston, Derrick Johnson, Cameron Sheffield, Andy Studebaker.
  • Returning from 2011 practice squad – Caleb Campbell.
  • Returning from 2011 injured-reserve list – Gabe Miller, Brandon Siler.
  • Free agents signed – Dexter Heyman, Edgar Jones, Leon Williams.

OUTLOOK

NFL teams playing the 3-4 base defense will carry anywhere from 7 to 10 linebackers. …Read More!

What’s Up With Chiefs Defense?/Sunday Cup O’Chiefs

One need not dig too far into Friday night’s pre-season game to understand that the Chiefs have plenty of problems right now.

The biggest is their defense which has fallen apart in their last two outings, especially the 44-14 loss to Seattle at Arrowhead Stadium.

The problems, poor play and mistakes start up front, move through the linebackers and land in the secondary. Meaning? No group played well. A few individuals at each position performed at a winning level. But combined they could not create a winning effort with their defensive mates who were not on the same page.

“I’m disappointed that sometimes we don’t do what we need to do to win,” said head coach Romeo Crennel. “Some of that is a guy getting out of position, some of that has been penalties, so it involves a little bit of everything. That’s why we have to work through it and get it better so that we can eliminate some of those problems.”

One thing that will not be eliminated is Crennel’s spot as the Chiefs defensive coordinator. He was asked after the game whether he would consider giving up the coordinator’s position and serve as head coach. He said he would evaluate and if his dual role was hurting the team or defense, he would drop the day-to-day work with the defense.

On Saturday he evaluated and decided he wasn’t changing. …Read More!

Roster Breakdown – Running Back

PERSONNEL (starters in bold italics)

  • Returning from 2011 roster – none.
  • Returning from 2011 injured-reserve list – Jamaal Charles.
  • Returning from 2011 practice squad – Shane Bannon, Shaun Draughn.
  • Players drafted – Cyrus Gray.
  • Free agents signed – Patrick DiMarco, Nate Eachus, Peyton Hillis.

OUTLOOK

NFL teams will carry anywhere from 3 to 6 backs, depending on how or if they use the fullback. …Read More!

Roster Breakdown – Defensive Line

PERSONNEL (starters in bold italics)

  • Returning from 2011 roster – Allen Bailey, Brandon Bair, Glenn Dorsey, Amon Gordon, Tyson Jackson, Jerrell Powe.
  • Returning from 2011 practice squad – Anthony Toribio.
  • Players drafted – Jerome Long, Dontari Poe.
  • Veteran free agents signed – Ropati Pitoitua.
  • Rookie free agents – Ethan Johnson.

OUTLOOK

NFL teams with a base 3-4 defense will carry anywhere from 5 to 7 linemen on defense. …Read More!

Updating Chiefs Injuries

Here’s the word from Saturday evening on the Chiefs injury situation from head coach Romeo Crennel:

– DE Glenn Dorsey (knee) – “He got hit on the knee but he’s doing better today,” Crennel said.

– NT Anthony Toribio (ankle) – “He had his ankle rolled up and he’s going to be limited for a little bit,” Crennel said.

– DE Allen Bailey (ankle) – “Bailey also had his ankle rolled up. He was able to move around today a little bit, so we’ll see where that goes.”

– CB Jalil Brown (groin) – “We are going to have to be a little ginger with him until he can get some strength back,” Crennel said. …Read More!

Romeo Finds Positive From Seattle Defeat

It always happens with a coach who after a very bad performance has little good to stay about his team.

The next day in the morning light he sees his words and wonders why he was so negative. Then, he looks at the tape of the game and realizes that in between the bad plays there were some good things.

That was Saturday for Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel. After being perturbed Friday night in the moments after his team’s 44-14 loss to Seattle, the coach was a bit less negative about 24 hours later.

“As we looked at it, it was not as bad as it seemed,” Crennel said. “They are correctable things that occurred during the course of the game. So we are going to work and try to get them corrected and try to get some positive output in the next week before we go on to Atlanta.”

Friday night Crennel said the Chiefs coaches had to discover what their team did well and polish those traits.

“We can do some things and we have done some things,” he said. “We are not ready to throw the offense or the defense in the trash can or anything like that. The thing we have to do is refine some techniques and we have to play better. …Read More!

Roster Breakdown – Secondary

PERSONNEL (starters in bold italics)

  • Returning from 2011 roster – Javier Arenas, Eric Berry, Jalil Brown, Travis Daniels, Brandon Flowers, Kendrick Lewis, Donald Washington.
  • Players drafted – De’Quan Menzie.
  • Veteran free agents signed – Mikail Baker, Abram Elam, Jacques Reeves, Stanford Routt.
  • Rookie free agents – Dominique Ellis, Jean Fanor, Chandler Fenner, Tysyn Hartman, Terrance Parks, Neiko Thorpe.

OUTLOOK

NFL teams will carry anywhere from 8 to 11 defensive backs. …Read More!

Defense Has Another Tough Night


From Arrowhead Stadium

There isn’t any other way to evaluate the numbers Seattle posted against the Chiefs defense Friday night in the Seahawks 44-14 victory.

With a rookie quarterback, a rookie running back and a group of diva wide receivers, Seattle pounded Derrick Johnson and the Chiefs defense for 357 yards and three offensive touchdowns.

“As a team, it was just disappointing,” said Johnson. “We have to do better. It starts up front with me. Somehow leadership has to flow down. We have to get this thing going because the season will be here in a couple weeks.”

Based on the numbers from Friday night, they have a lot of work to do:

  • The Seahawks gained 357 yards on 54 plays, an average of 6.6 yards on every play.
  • Seattle averaged 6.8 yards per running play.
  • The Chiefs did not have a takeaway.
  • 3 touchdowns were allowed.
  • On Seattle’s 10 possessions, the Seahawks scored on first 6.
  • Rookie RB Robert Turbin ran for 93 yards.

“It’s hard to learn when you get beat the way we got beat today,” said Johnson, who had one of thed team’s 2 sacks. The other went to DB Javier Arenas.

“This is a game or responding. We’re going to have to respond quickly. This is football. This is about bouncing back. It’s about taking the good with the bad. This is a game of responding. We’re going to have to respond quickly.

“We’re not playing like a very good football team right now, but our job as players is to get the job done.”

Notes: Quinn At #2; Replacements Have Problems

From Arrowhead Stadium

After Friday night’s game Romeo Crennel wasn’t much in the mood for talking.

And he especially did not want to get involved in a discussion about whether Brady Quinn or Ricky Stanzi would be his No. 2 quarterback.

“After I watch the film, I’ll make a decision,” Crennel said.

But his actions in the game spoke plenty. When it was time for starter Matt Cassel to come out, Quinn went in and Stanzi never saw the field against Seattle. He ended up leading the Chiefs on a 97-yard drive to a late touchdown thanks to the churning legs of rookie RB Nate Eachus.

At this point, there really isn’t a reason to think anything but Quinn as the No. 2. Here are the three game numbers for all three quarterbacks:

Quarterback A C % Y Y/A TD Int Rating
Matt Cassel 58 37 63.8 377 6.5 2 1 86.6
Brady Quinn 29 17 58.6 195 6.7 1 1 76.2
Ricky Stanzi 11 5 45.5 66 6.0 0 1 27.1

Replacement officials fumble a few plays

In the grand scheme of things it was nothing major, but the replacement officials that worked Friday night’s Chiefs-Seahawks game were a poor substitute for the real zebras who have been locked out by the league.

They were too quick to flag Chiefs OLB Tamba Hali for roughing the passer. They were too quick to take a two-minute warning in the second quarter. They were too quick to call a penalty when the Chiefs had the right to request a re-kick of a punt.

“No comment,” is all that ILB Derrick Johnson had to say about the officials.

Players and coaches are not going to speak publicly about the replacement folks because they’ve been they know steep fines would come their way. But as one Chiefs player said in the locker room Friday night: “Those guys had no idea. They were awful.”

It was crew chief-referee Craig Ochoa that drew the ire of the Chiefs with a pair of second quarter roughing the passer calls on Hali. Neither one of the plays was a violent hit and at no point did Hali go for the head of QB Russell Wilson. That didn’t keep Ochoa from throwing the hanky.

Later in the second quarter, the Seahawks wanted a replay challenge on a catch by WR Jon Baldwin where he may have been out of bounds. Replay upheld the call and Seattle was charged with a timeout. The teams lined up for the next play with 2:06 to play in the quarter and the clock started, which it should not have because the teams were coming back after a charged timeout. RT Eric Winston was flagged for a false start and with the clock at 2:00, the officials called for the two-minute warning.

Only problem was the clock should still have been at 2:06 and not 2:00. So they came back from the two-minute warning, walked off the penalty, put 2:06 back on the clock and the Chiefs scored their only first-half touchdown. It was then, that they had another two-minute warning.

In the fourth quarter, Seattle was flagged on a punt when a member of the Seahawks ran out of bounds and was then the first person to touch the ball, downing it at the Chiefs 2-yard line. Because it happened inside the 5-yard line, Ochoa announced it was an automatic touchback and it was the Chiefs ball at the 20-yard line.

However, that’s not the rule. The rule states the Chiefs had the right to take the touchback or ask for a re-kick. When this was pointed out to Ochoa, he found out the Chiefs wanted a re-kick of the punt.

As it was, the Chiefs had six penalties walked off against them. It was Hali with a pair of roughing the passer penalties for 26 yards. CB Jalil Brown was called for pass interference and 18 yards and S Abram Elam was hit for a 25-yard PI call. RT Eric Winston and RT David Mims each had 5-yard penalties for false starts.

Defensive injury streak continues

Head coach Romeo Crennel reported after the game that the Chiefs suffered no major injuries against Seattle. But three players left the field due to physical problems and did not return, topped by starting DE Glenn Dorsey.

He went down on one of the earliest plays in the second half, clutching at his left knee. Doctors and trainers worked on him and he was able to limp off without their help.

Earlier, NT Anthony Toribio went down with an ankle injury and did not return. Also DE Allen Bailey was receiving attention from the team’s orthopedic doctor on the sidelines in the first half and he did not return to his role in the team’s nickel defense.

Personnel matters for Chiefs-Seahawks

Out of the game for the Chiefs were two defensive starters in CB Brandon Flowers (foot) and FS Kendrick Lewis (shoulder). They were replaced in the starting lineup by CB Jalil Brown and S Abram Elam. Also out were RB Cyrus Gray (hamstring), DB De’Quan Menzie (hip) and DL Ethan Johnson (head).

Dressed but not getting on the field according to the official statisticians were QB Alex Tanney, WR Zeke Markshausen, QB Ricky Stanzi, WR Aaron Weaver, DB Jean Fanor, LB Dexter Heyman, C Rob Bruggeman, C Cam Holland and G Justin Cheadle.

For the Seahawks, they were without RB Marshawn Lynch, WR Doug Baldwin, CB Roy Lewis, CB Walter Thurmond, CB Ron Parker, LB Allen Bradford, LB Matt McCoy, LB Malcolm Smith, G John Moffitt, G James Carpenter, TE Cameron Morrah, DT Jason Jones and DT Pep Levingston.

Bowe Tries To Shake Off Rust

From Arrowhead Stadium

A week ago he ended his “vacation” and signed his franchise player tender offer of $9.5 4million.

Friday night, WR Dwayne Bowe was on the field against Seattle. Much like the rest of the Chiefs offense, he started slow, made a play here or there but essentially ended the evening without achieving much in the way of satisfaction.

“I would not say that was one of our better efforts,” Bowe said after the 44-14 loss to the Seahawks. “We just didn’t get it done. That’s what the pre-season is for: to evaluate. We’ve still got a lot of work to do. I’ve got a lot of work to do being behind.”

Bowe was on the field for eight plays against the Seahawks. The first time QB Matt Cassel threw in his direction, it was a jump ball on a deep pattern and they didn’t connect. The second target eventually got knocked away by FS Earl Thomas.

Then Cassel and Bowe finally connected on a 9-yard play on a 3rd-and-1 play. Bowe took a shot in the back from Seattle CB Richard Sherman. He did not appear injured, but he was pulled from the game and did not return.

With just three full practices under his belt, Bowe said he feels like he’s been able to pick up 90 to 95 percent of the Chiefs new offense.

“I’m pretty smart,” Bowe said. “Next week I should be at 100 percent. I’m getting it down. I come into work early and I’m leaving late. I pretty much got it.”

Even if it was just for eight plays, Cassel was happy to see Bowe back in the offense. “It’s always nice to have Dwayne out there on the field playing with us,” said the quarterback.

Cassel, Chiefs Offense Still Struggling


From Arrowhead Stadium

It was a perfect example of what type of night it was for Matt Cassel and the Chiefs offense.

Second quarter, Chiefs down 16-0 and there was two minutes to play in the first half. After the replacement officials had bumbled around and had two different two-minute timeouts, the Chiefs offense faced a 3rd-and-8 play at the Seahawks 9-yard line. Up to that point, the Chiefs had not converted a single third down try.

Cassel took the snap and setup to throw. But he was flushed out of the pocket and ran up the middle. Just before he was about to cross the line of scrimmage, he stopped and threw a dart to WR Dexter McCluster in the end zone.

Touchdown Kansas City! Cassel ran to the end zone to join the celebration. He leaped and ended up rolling off the back of WR Jon Baldwin and ending up on his butt in the end zone, embarrassed by very happy.

“Somebody side-swiped me and I landed on my butt; it wasn’t pretty that’s for sure,” Cassel said. “I tried to play it off, but I think that was the biggest hit of the night for me.”

Other than the score to McCluster, not much else went right for Cassel and the Chiefs offense. After an impressive performance in the first pre-season game, the No. 1 unit has put together back-to-back stinkers.

And little of the stench from Friday night could be placed on the No. 2 or 3 offenses. It was the starters that got nothing done, led by Cassel and his two turnovers – an interception that was returned for a touchdown and a fumble at the end of a sack. Both turnovers came inside the Seattle 25-yard line.

“We have shown flashes of being really good and then we have shown a lot of inconsistency,” Cassel said. “We have to come together as a unit and be more consistent on a continued basis. The last two games we have had six turnovers, two today from me. I can’t do that.”

In the first half, the No. 1 offense had 102 total yards on 32 plays, with just 36 rushing yards. Cassel was 11 of 19 and had been sacked twice. The only parts of the offense that seemed to work accomplish anything were WR Dexter McCluster with 5 catches for 43 yards and the touchdown, and RB Jamaal Charles, with 5 carries for 26 yards and one catch for 7 yards.

The first-offense came out in the third quarter and had three more possessions, producing no points for the Chiefs, while giving up a touchdown to the Seattle defense when FS Earl Thomas picked off Cassel’s throw for TE Kevin Boss and ran untouched 75 yards to the end zone.

On the play, the Seahawks brought a stunt with the pass rush, and the right side of the protection – RG Jon Asamoah and RT Eric Winston – were unable to pick up blitzing LB Korey Toomer. Just as he released the pass, Cassel was hit by Toomer and that took some steam off the throw.

By the time the No. 1 offense wrapped things up with Cassel, here’s how the possession played out:

  1. 3 plays, minus-8 yards        Punt.
  2. 5 plays, 21 yards gained        Punt.
  3. 3 plays, minus-10 yards        Punt.
  4. 3 plays, 8 yards            Punt.
  5. 17 plays, 85 yards            TD.
  6. 1 play, 6 yards            End of half.
  7. 9 plays, 42 yards            Fumble.
  8. 5 plays, 34 yards            Interception.
  9. 6 plays, 16 yards            Punt.

“It’s not all negative, but at the same time we do have to get better,” Cassel said. “It’s just one game and in the NFL you have one game at a time and you have to move on. Then you have to get ready for the next week. Our goal is to be ready when we face Atlanta.”

That’s What A Dynamic Young QB Looks Like


From Arrowhead Stadium

It was on the field at Ladd-Pebbles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama back in January when I stood nose-to-nose with Russell Wilson.

OK, maybe not nose to nose, more like my nose in the middle of his forehead. I remember being surprised at how small he appeared in his shoulder pads and holding his helmet. I’m just a hair under 6-feet, 1-inch. He was listed at 5-11, but there was no way he was even that tall. He was a lot closer to 5-10, maybe less.

As I stood there talking to this former minor-league baseball player and starting quarterback at both North Carolina State and Wisconsin, I swear he grew in stature right in front of my eyes. He’d heard a thousand times over his life that he was too small to make it big in football. He had his answer down pat, but when he spoke it was not with resignation, but conviction.

“I don’t consider my height to be a handicap,” Wilson said. “I think anybody that does consider it a problem would be unlikely to draft me and that’s OK; I probably wouldn’t want to play for them anyway.”

Friday night, Wilson walked into Arrowhead Stadium, all 5-10 of him. He wore the uniform of the Seattle Seahawks and he served as starting quarterback in the third pre-season game for head coach Pete Carroll.

All he did during his performance against the Chiefs was establish yet again that he’s not too small to kick the butt of an NFL team on its home field.

“I’m just excited to watch him play,” Carroll said after the game. “He didn’t do anything he hasn’t been doing. He just continues to show poise and composure of a guy who’s more than three games old. I’m really happy about that.”

Wilson was simply sensational. The Chiefs were simply awful. Every fan wearing red and gold that watched the game had to go into the muggy August night wondering just why the Chiefs can’t catch a break with their quarterbacks.

Why can’t they find a dynamic young quarterback, a guy like Russell Wilson?

Don’t get me wrong here – I’m not punching Wilson’s ticket to Canton and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Not based on one game, even though it was a very good game, but just a single pre-season outing.

What he did however, was show that the Seahawks selection of him in the third round back in April is looking like a brilliant decision by Carroll and Seattle GM John Schneider.

“I don’t surprise myself because I try to prepare in the right way,” Wilson said after the game. “I try to visualize myself being very, very successful and just positive self-talk.

“The goal is to get the ball to the right guy at the right time, facilitate the offense and just make the other 10 guys in the huddle better and see what we can do.”

By the time the he finished up his night in the middle of the third quarter, Wilson had staked the Seahawks to a 30-7 lead. He did it with his arm and his legs, his heart and his mind.

He’s a rookie making his first NFL start and everyone kept waiting for him to make a mistake. They are still waiting. When he ran, he ran at the appropriate time. When he threw, the pass seldom as anywhere but at the spot where his receiver was expecting it.

The Chiefs defense sent blitz after blitz against him, more than they’ve shown in the first two pre-season games combined. Wilson wasn’t bothered at all. He stood in there and took some shots, a couple of which brought penalty flags against OLB Tamba Hali.

When there was nowhere to throw, he didn’t. He let his legs do the talking, as he ran twice for 58 yards, including a 31-yard scramble on a 3rd-and-7 play that set up a field goal.

More impressively he threw a pair of touchdown passes, going 21 yards to TE Kellen Winslow and then 11 yards to WR Charly Martin. By the time he left the game late in the third quarter, Wilson was 13 of 19 for 185 yards, 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. That’s a 134.8 passer rating.

“I just try to relax as much as I can, relax my mind and play football,” Wilson said. “It’s the type of thing where I prepare myself every way possible. I get there early, I leave late, just try to always mentally prepare myself and visualize being successful.

“I have a lot more work to do, that’s for sure. I just have to keep going.”

Column: Another Step Backwards


From Arrowhead Stadium

There’s one thing that everybody associated with the NFL knows about dealing with the pre-season. The outcome of games, the scores, the statistics all become meaningless in two weeks.

However, the pre-season does have a raison d’être – a little French lingo for you. The reason it exists is to prepare players, coaches and teams for the regular season, when the scores and statistics do count. That makes the prime idea of the pre-season to be a time where a team shows improvement from week-to-week-to-week right up to the season opening game. Maybe that doesn’t always show up in the final score of the four games, but the coaches can look at the games and see the growth they must have; they can see a team moving forward.

The Chiefs have slipped their transmission into reverse and they are going backwards at a startling pace. After three pre-season games, the only growth the Chiefs are experiencing is that gnawing sensation in their gut that comes when you play so poorly that you stink. Last week, it was a lackluster 31-17 defeat in St. Louis. Friday night back home in the friendly confines of Arrowhead Stadium, they got smashed by the Seattle Seahawks 44-14.

“This was a step backwards, no doubt,” said WR Steve Breaston, one of a handful of Chiefs veterans who did not set new land speed records for getting out of the locker room after getting smashed by 30 points. “Is it a concern? It’s the pre-season. It’s not good, but we have time to get this fixed.”

That was a common denominator in the words of some players and head coach Romeo Crennel – the performance against Seattle was bad, but there’s time to fix things.

There may be time to fix one or two things, but the to-do list for this Chiefs team right now is pretty extensive. I’m not sure that two weeks is going to be enough time for them to get their act together and possibly challenge the Falcons, or the Bills, then the Saints, Chargers and Ravens.

For the second week in a row, the Chiefs came out for the game with no apparent momentum or excitement. They had the chance to play another game, this time on their own field and the general attitude was that of a bunch of guys clocking in at the factory.

“Basically, we have to try to figure out what we can do well with this team in all phases and try to get that done,” Crennel said.

That one statement provides a glimpse of how bad things are right now. The head coach is still trying to figure out what his team can do well. After the off-season program, 10 OTA sessions, a three-day mini-camp, two weeks of training camp work and then three pre-season games . . . Crennel still doesn’t know what his team does well.

How do you go about fixing the problems when you aren’t sure what the strengths of your team might be? Right now, the Chiefs aren’t doing anything well. With the first unit, they aren’t running the ball, passing the ball, protecting the quarterback, protecting the ball and scoring points. With the No. 1 defense they are not stopping the run, stopping the pass, forcing turnovers and keeping opponents out of the end zone. In the kicking game, the Chiefs produce next to nothing on returns and now have given up a return touchdown on a punt.

If the pitiful offensive performance had come in the first pre-season game against Arizona, it would have been understandable given the new scheme and new parts in the huddle. But that first game the offense was efficient and productive, and it hasn’t been seen since.

Same with the defense and its play over three games. As we wrote in the past week, the Chiefs have built their defensive roster in the manner that most of the best defenses in the league are built. And on the field the Chiefs defense at times has played to the level of the best in the NFL. But they are too inconsistent and their performance cannot be counted on each and every game.

That’s what they are showing again in this pre-season. There are no new major wrinkles in what the Chiefs are doing on defense. There are very few new faces that are making contributions, so it’s the same guys who were around last season and the season before that.

And they are displaying the same level of inconsistency that has held this defense back from becoming among the best in the game.

A football team and its success or failure comes down to simple particulars that are not always easy to define or massage. There must be talent, both physical and mental. There must be good coaching that provides understandable plans and helps provide motivation. There must be ownership and management that provides support and doesn’t over react and turn molehills into mountains.

And there must be pride. That’s pride in performance, pride in preparation and pride in understanding the goals.

If it was so easy, Romeo could roll down to Dick’s Sporting Goods and buy himself a couple boxes of pride for his players. It doesn’t work that way. The atmosphere in the Petri dish has to be favorable for players to develop pride, but it must grow from within them. They are the seeds of pride.

Crennel and his coaches will break down the tape in the coming days. They will instruct, they will point out mistakes and prepare corrections.

The pride part? That’s up to the players, that’s up to the “right 53″ in the words of the GM. It’s really the only fix available to what ails the Chiefs right now.

Chiefs Play Miserable Football In Losing to Seattle


From Arrowhead Stadium

It’s hard to imagine how a football team that worked hard during the off-season and followed it up with extensive preparation in training camp could play as poorly as the Chiefs did Friday night against the Seattle Seahawks.

Final score: 44-14, in one of the most lop-sided defeats ever suffered by the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium no matter the season, pre or regular. It was a complete deconstruction of everything the Chiefs had worked on since the end of last year’s troubled 7-9 season. Offense, defense, special teams all were culpable in this mess.

“It wasn’t a very good showing tonight; I thought we would do better than we did,” said Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel. “We couldn’t get anything going on either side of the ball. As a result, you see what the score was.

“Basically, we have to try to figure out what we can do well with this team in all phases and then try to get that done.”

It might be tough to come up with even a short list of things the Chiefs have done well in recent games. Offensively, the Chiefs put together one scoring drive when it counted. Otherwise, they were constantly three plays and out and gave Seattle a touchdown when QB Matt Cassel’s pass was intercepted and returned for a TD. Cassel gave up another turnover on a fumble when he was sacked. Both turnovers came inside the Seattle 25-yard line.

The defense got shredded by Seattle rookie QB Russell Wilson who threw a pair of touchdown passes and the running of rookie RB Robert Turbin, who finished with 93 yards on 14 carries, including a 25-yard TD run.

And the Seahawks scored on special teams as WR Golden Tate took a punt return back 92 yards for a score. Throw in a hat trick of field goals from K Steve Hauschka and it was total domination in the kicking game as well.

“It’s disappointing to come and play the way we did,” said Cassel. “At the same time I know with this group of guys and the coaches that we have we’ll do whatever we can to fix it and make it right.”

The Chiefs only scores came on a 9-yard TD pass from Cassel to WR Dexter McCluster and a late score came on a 7-yard run by rookie RB Nate Eachus. In those two possessions, the Chiefs had 29 plays and 172 yards. In their other 10 possessions they had 44 plays and 167 yards.

The Chiefs won the opening coin toss, but the offense went three plays and out and Wilson came on the field in a NFL starting assignment for the first time. After a dozen plays the Chiefs defense was able to hold then in the red zone to just two yards on three plays and Hauschka kicked a 36-yard FG.

It became 6-0 after the Seahawks got the ball back and went 59 yards on 7 plays with a penalty on the Chiefs. They stalled inside the Chiefs 17-yard line and Hauschka made a 39-yard FG. That grew to 9-0 early in the second quarter as Seattle drove to the Chiefs 30-yard line, but got just 3 more yards before Hauschka’s 45-yard field goal.

The Kansas City offense meanwhile was stumbling around – four possessions produced 14 plays and they gained 11 yards. When they were unable to convert a 3rd-and-7 play at their own 20 yards line, they were to punt. After already booming three punts for 53, 50 and 70 yards, Dustin Colquitt fourth punt went just 37 yards, setting up the Hawks with 1st-and-10 on their 38-yard line.

Wilson needed just three plays to score, running 27 yards on first down, followed by a 14-yard run from Turbin and then Wilson found a wide open TE Kellen Winslow Jr. for 21 yards and finally a touchdown. The PAT kick made it 16-0.

That seemed to wake up the Chiefs a bit, as the offense then drove 80 yards on 17 plays, picking up six first downs and converting five third down plays before a scrambling Cassel connected with McCluster in the end zone for the TD.

But Seattle came right back and went 80 yards on 7 plays, helped by a pair of roughing the passer penalties against OLB Tamba Hali. With a 1st-and-10 at the Chiefs 11, Wilson hit WR Charly Martin for an 11-yard score and half-time came to a merciful end with Seattle up 23-7.

All the starters went back on the field for the third quarter, but it made no difference for the Chiefs on either offense or defense. Wilson drove Seattle 80 yards on four plays with the help of a pass interference call against S Abram Elam and eventually Turbin scored on a 25-yard run.

Cassel fumbled away the ball on a 1st-down sack inside the Seattle 20-yard line, blowing a scoring opportunity. The Seahawks missed a 51-yard FG by Hauschka, but on the next possession, safety Earl Thomas picked off a Cassel pass intended for TE Kevin Boss and returned it 75 yards for a score. The PAT pushed the scoreboard to 27-7.

Still, Seattle wasn’t done. With the No. 1 offense on the field, Cassel directed the first three plays of the possession and was then replaced by QB Brady Quinn. The possession stalled and the Chiefs punted the ball away. Seahawks returner Golden Tate grabbed the ball and ran 92 yards for a touchdown.

In the fourth quarter, Seattle went with QB Tarvaris Jackson and the offense did not have the same rhythm and they ended up punting the ball away. K Ryan Succop missed a 50-yard FG wide right, but the Chiefs offense under Quinn was able to move 97 yards on 12 plays with one penalty before Eachus pushed his way into the end zone from 7 yards away. The little free agent rookie from Colgate had 61 of the 97 yards on eight carries.

Pre-season or not, there’s very little good that comes from losing by 30 points at home.

“Every loss you can find silver linings, but that doesn’t change the score,” said Crennel. “It really doesn’t change the way we played. We are going to go back to the drawing board and try to play better, that’s what we can do.”

They’ve got 14 days to get that done before another group of birds, these from Atlanta, attempt to roost in the Arrowhead end zone.

Ugly Performance By Chiefs Helps Seattle Win 44-14


From Arrowhead Stadium

There is losing. There is losing a pre-season game. And then there’s what the Chiefs did Friday night. Even though it was a game that didn’t count, it was an embarrassment.

The 44-14 drubbing they took from the Seattle Seahawks should have left every single man wearing red, the players, the coaches, management and ownership aghast at what was one of the worst performances the franchise has seen in some time, whether pre-season, regular season or post-season.

The Chiefs were inept on offense, defense and special teams. No part of the equation was left out of the losing formula. Again, it’s the pre-season, but this is not the type of game that’s going to be forgotten. It’s very hard to see where anything could be built on this stinker.

Here’s our coverage:

Roster Breakdown – Wide Receivers

PERSONNEL (starters in bold italics)

  • Returning from 2011 roster – Jon Baldwin, Dwayne Bowe, Steve Breaston, Terrance Copper, Dexter McCluster.
  • Returning from 2011 practice squad – Jeremy Horne, Zeke Markshausen, Jamar Newsome.
  • Players drafted – Devon Wylie, Junior Hemingway.
  • Free agents signed – Josh Bellamy, Brandon Kinnie, Aaron Weaver.

OUTLOOK

NFL teams will carry anywhere from 5 to 7 receivers. …Read More!

Chiefs-Seahawks Friday Night Lights


From Arrowhead Stadium

6:40 p.m. – Both teams have wrapped up their warm-up sessions and have left the field. Remember that later this evening, and all through the early morning hours we will be providing stories and information from the events of the evening. Enjoy the game.

6:30 p.m. – GM Scott Pioli and Seattle GM and former Chiefs personnel exec John Schneider chattering away at the 50-yard line. Pioli may be asking about some of the backup offensive linemen the Seahawks have on their roster. Unlike the Chiefs that have no backup with NFL regular season experience, Seattle has 11 blockers behind the starters and 8 have played in the NFL, including 5 that have played for more than four seasons.

6:25 p.m. – Old coaches and players getting a chance to renew the past. Seattle head coach Pete Carroll waited patiently at midfield to get a chance to say hello to his former USC quarterback Matt Cassel. Just a few feet away, Seahawks WR Braylon Edwards sought out and gave Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel a big hug. The two of them were in Cleveland together when Edwards was drafted by the Browns and Crennel was the head coach.

6:15 p.m. – The Seahawks will be without RB Marshawn Lynch who did not dress for the game. He was one of 13 players Seattle does not plan to use in the game. the others are: CB Walter Thurmond, CB Roy Lewis, CB Ron Parker, LB Allen Bradford, LB Matt McCoy, LB Malcolm Smith, G John Moffitt, G James Carpenter, TE Cameron Morrah, WR Doug Baldwin, DT Jason Jones and DT Pep Levingston.

6:10 p.m. – It’s an overcast night at Arrowhead, with a full sky of gray clouds hanging over the stadium. There’s a 50 percent chance of rain, as the wind is blowing out of the south-southeast, gusting to 20 miles an hour at times. Temperature at kickoff should be right around 80 degrees with about 50 percent humidity. The playing field is in terrific shape, so footing should not be a problem. …Read More!

Roster Breakdown – Offensive Line

PERSONNEL (starters in bold italics)

  • Returning from 2011 roster – LT Branden Albert, LG Ryan Lilja, C Rodney Hudson, RG Jon Asamoah, OT David Mims.
  • Returning from 2011 practice squad – C Rob Bruggeman, G Darryl Harris, C Lucas Patterson.
  • Veterans signed – RT Eric Winston.
  • Players drafted – G/T Jeff Allen, OT Donald Stephenson.
  • Free agents signed – G Justin Cheadle, C Cam Holland, G Rich Ranglin.

OUTLOOK

NFL teams will carry anywhere from 8 to 11 blockers. …Read More!

Replacement Zebras Back For Another Week

From Arrowhead Stadium

There appears to be no end in sight for the end of the NFL’s lockout of the regular game officials. So it’s yet another week of inferior work from the motley collection of zebras that the league has thrown together to work these pre-season games.

In two games the fake officials have not been much of a factor in the game for or against the Chiefs. There have been some aggravating calls, but then there are always those in a game.

For Friday night’s game against Seattle, the replacement crew is led by Craig Ochoa (left), who appears to be the best of the fake guys. The league assigned him to work the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, and last week he had the Indianapolis-Pittsburgh game in a prime-time national TV broadcast.

Ochoa is also the referee that called Atlanta “Arizona” in announcing a penalty in the Falcons-Ravens game two weekends ago. Reportedly, he was released by the Lingerie Football League last year.

Joining him is Umpire McKinney Griffin, who was part of the replacement officials that worked the opening regular season weekend in 2001 when the real NFL officials went on strike.

The rest of the crew has: Head Linesman David Bernier, Line Judge Larry Skarpa, Field Judge John O’Brien, Side Judge Jeff Gavin and Back Judge Randy Weissenhofer.

Outcome Matters For Romeo/Game-Day Cup O’Chiefs

These pre-season games don’t count in the standings. But they do matter.

That’s the situation facing the Chiefs as they play host to the Seattle Seahawks.

Game time is just a few ticks after 7 o’clock at Arrowhead Stadium. There are plenty of tickets available, but the game will be shown on the Chiefs TV Network. That’s Channel 5 in the Kansas City metro.

“Every game you play is important because you can learn something from it, you can teach from it,” said head coach Romeo Crennel. “Game one was important; game two is important, so game three is important. I don’t know that it’s more important than the first game or anything like that. If we get better that means that’s where the importance lies, particularly coming off of a loss in the second game.”

The 1-1 Chiefs are coming off a poor performance against the Rams in St. Louis last weekend. The Seahawks are 2-0, beating Tennessee by 10 points and Denver by 20 points last weekend. …Read More!

A Platter of Chiefs Burnt Ends

The pre-season seems to be flying past as the Chiefs get ready to host the Seattle Seahawks in game No. 3 of the exhibition schedule. By the time Friday night’s game is completed, there will be just 15 days before the regular-season opener at Arrowhead Stadium against the Atlanta Falcons.

As the week has come to an end, we’ve found a few tasty tidbits still in the smoker. Enjoy!

89 to 75 to 53 comes soon

In the next eight days, the Chiefs will move 36 players off their current 89-player roster. First will be 14 players by Monday afternoon to reach 75 players and then 22 more by 8 p.m. on Friday, August 31.

Here are the numbers by position and our guess on how many the Chiefs will keep in each slot: …Read More!

Does Defense Have Enough? . . . Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

On Wednesday we covered what the Chiefs would have to do to be ranked among the top 5 defensive units in the league.

To have any chance to achieve those numbers, the Chiefs must have players on the field talented enough to raise the level of play that leads to better defensive performances. Can the Chiefs defensive personnel match-up with that of the top 5 defenses in the league for the 2011 season?

It turns out, the answer is yes.

The foundation of the defensive unit that was started by the former regime of Peterson/ Kuharich/ Edwards and added to by the current regime of Pioli/ Haley/ Crennel acquired players with talent very similar to what’s on the roster of the top 5 defenses in the league. We listed 12 players for the top six defenses from last season and the Chiefs (see below). …Read More!

Curley Culp Has Hall of Fame Chance

There could be further recognition of the Chiefs great championship teams of the late 1960s with the announcement on Wednesday that DT Curley Culp has been chosen one of the senior nominees for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2013.

Culp and the other senior nominee, former Green Bay LB Dave Robinson, will be part of the final group of candidates for the Hall when the Board of Selectors meets and votes on the Saturday before the Super Bowl in February. They will have to receive at least 80 percent of the 44 votes on the board to achieve status as a Hall member.

The Yuma, Arizona native was part of two of the more noteable trades in Chiefs history. When the Chiefs picked him up on September 16, 1968 from Denver for a third-round draft choice in 1969, it proved to be one of the most successful trades in team history.

His departure from the franchise came on October 22, 1974 when he was traded along with the Chiefs’ 1975 first-round draft choice to Houston for DE John Matuszak and a third-round draft choice in 1976. That deal goes down as one of the worst in team annals. …Read More!

Bowe Will Play Friday – Practice Report – 8/22

From the Truman Sports Complex

With a game just 48 hours away, Romeo Crennel did not turn down the intensity of practice for the Chiefs on Wednesday.

They were on the field about the same amount of time they were in training camp up in St. Joseph, and with temperatures back pushing close to 100 degrees, there was a lot of sweat generated by hard work in the full-pad practice session.

Before practice, Crennel said that WR Dwayne Bowe would be on the field for some action Friday night against Seattle. The head coach did not specify how long Bowe would play.

“(Bowe) will play some, a couple plays here and there,” said Crennel. “I don’t think that he’s ready to play a full game or anything like that.”

Crennel said a decision hasn’t been made yet on who will be the No. 2 quarterback against Seattle.

“We’ll wait till game time to figure that one out,” Crennel said. …Read More!

What A Top-5 Defense Looks Like/Mid-week Cup O’Chiefs

It’s a sentence that gets repeated frequently by people inside and outside Arrowhead Stadium and the Chiefs organization:

The Chiefs might have a chance to be successful if they can field a top 5 defense.

Just what is a top five defense? Unfortunately over the years the ranking of defenses has come down to yards allowed to opposing offenses, the fewer yards the higher ranked. In this age of throwing the ball all over the field, that’s simply is not deep enough to drill down and rank the NFL defenses each year.

As Chiefs head coach/defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel has said, there are other stats that mean more to him, starting with points allowed and including run defense, sacks, takeaways and third-down defense.

We have put together seven statistical areas where the best defenses in the league will show themselves: TDs allowed, yards allowed, average yards per rush allowed, sacks, takeaways, opponent’s completion percentage and third-down defense.

Using last season’s statistics as a guide, here are the top five (actually six due to a tie) defenses in the NFL for 2011: 1.) Baltimore; 2.) Houston; 3.) Pittsburgh; 4.) San Francisco; 5.) Tie, between Detroit and the New York Jets. All but the Jets made the playoffs last year. …Read More!

Practice Report – 8/21

From the Truman Sports Complex

It was another beautiful afternoon for the Chiefs to hold practice on Tuesday at their facilities.

Romeo Crennel had his team on the field for a long time, including some conditioning work afterwards. The head coach said his players are slowly adjusting to the changed schedule from training camp.

“I think the time change impacted their bodies a little bit because they are used to practicing at 3:20 and now we’re practicing at 11:30,” said Crennel. “So now instead of going to lunch, they’re on the practice field.”

Under the Chiefs new rules I can’t tell you definitively who was practicing on Tuesday. But Crennel noted some of the injured players during his time with the media: …Read More!

Andy Will Get His Chance . . . Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

The 2011 season was supposed to be Andy Studebaker’s chance to make a big impression on the Chiefs defense.

It didn’t happen and Studebaker turned in one of his least productive seasons in his four NFL seasons.

Fast forward 12 months and again Studebaker has an opportunity to make a splash. It might be for just a game, but it’s a spotlight situation. Right now, he’s the clubhouse leader as the man that will replace Tamba Hali at the weak side OLB spot for the season opener against Atlanta.

Hali’s one-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse rules removes the team’s best pass rusher against a Falcons team that can and will throw the football. In a few weeks it’s going to be up to Studebaker to soften the blow of Hali’s absence and harden the pass rush blows on QB Matt Ryan.

“Studebaker is the next guy up,” said head coach Romeo Crennel. ‘He’s played both left and right for us in the past, so we’ll look there the next week and a half and see how it goes. When we start preparing for the Atlanta game, then we’ll determine how we’re going to play the game.” …Read More!

Bowe Worked On Body, Now Comes Mind

From the Truman Sports Complex

WR Dwayne Bowe was on the practice field Monday when the Chiefs began another week of pre-season action.

Because he was finishing up his acclimation period, Bowe was not allowed to take part in the real guts of practice. He ran through the position drills with the other wide receivers and when the rest of the team got involved in team work, he was on the sidelines or another field working with QB Matt Cassel and members of the coaching staff.

After missing the entire off-season and training camp time in St. Joseph, Bowe was happy to be back in a familiar place with some familiar faces.

“I’ve been catching up with some guys and reading some articles,” Bowe said. “The guys have been doing pretty good without me, so that’s a plus knowing they can get some things done without the main guy.” …Read More!

Practice Report – 8/20

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs practiced Monday at their facility. It was a pretty afternoon with a lot of sun and a nice summer breeze.

Based on new media rules implemented by the team for these practices over the next two weeks that’s about all the information I can share. Just when we thought there was a new attitude about dealing with the media around the Chiefs, we are reminded that it’s a Patriots/Belichick/Pioli mentality still controlling the building. Here’s what the media was handed on Monday:

“Tweeting, reporting on strategy, personnel groupings and trick plays is prohibited. Media may not record, discuss on air, blog or publish: injury information, number of repetitions taken by any player, length of any practice, attire worn by players, various positions the player participated in, which players participated or did not participate or conversations that take place on the field between players and/or coaches.”

So what does that leave to report on? I’m not quite sure, but I’ll give it a go here and see if I can walk the tightrope of keeping fans of the Chiefs informed, without falling into the abyss of double-secret silliness: …Read More!

Chiefs Rocked By Hali Suspension

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs and their outlook on the opening regular-season game of 2012 was rocked Monday when word came down from the NFL office that Pro Bowl OLB Tamba Hali has been suspended one game for violating the league’s substance policies.

As Romeo Crennel said to open a meeting with the media Monday morning, “I’ve been better to tell you the truth.”

Here’s the statement that came down from the league on Monday:

“Tamba Hali of the Kansas City Chiefs has been suspended without pay for the team’s first 2012 regular-season game and fined one additional game check for violating the NFL policy on substance abuse.

“Hali will be eligible to return to the Chiefs active roster on Monday September 10 following the team’s September 9 game against the Atlanta Falcons. Hali is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games.”

With a salary of $11.25 million this year, the suspension and fine amounts to a $1,323,529.40 loss for Hali.

The length of the suspension is an indication that whatever turned up on Hali’s test had nothing to do with performance enhancing drugs. …Read More!

Bowe Is Least of Concerns Now For Chiefs

Right now, the biggest concern for the Chiefs halfway through their pre-season schedule is not the ugly loss in St. Louis on Saturday night. It’s not Dwayne Bowe and how quickly he will adapt to the team’s new offensive scheme. It’s not the battle for the back-up quarterback position where GM Scott Pioli’s decision to go with sub-par and inexperienced talent in Brady Quinn and Ricky Stanzi is not going to change.

No, the biggest headache for the Chiefs right now is the pain that CB Brandon Flowers has been living with in his right heel for the last two weeks. Plus, there’s the pain in the shoulder that FS Kendrick Lewis suffered on Saturday night in St. Louis. Head coach Romeo Crennel said Sunday evening that Lewis does not face surgery or the injured-reserve list. Rather, he’ll need time to rehab. That’s not good.

And there’s the continuing concern over the lack of experienced depth along the offensive line, where the Chiefs do not have a single backup lineman that has played a regular-season snap. They waited until training camp started before they went out and signed a veteran, and now the two guys they brought in have both retired – Tony Ugoh and Ray Willis. They are one injury among the five starters away from having to protect Matt Cassel and make running room for Jamaal Charles with a completely inexperienced starter. …Read More!

No Injured-Reserve For Kendrick Lewis

Romeo Crennel said Sunday evening that Kendrick Lewis is “going to be down for a little bit,” but the starting free safety is not a candidate to go on the injured-reserve list because of the shoulder injury he suffered Saturday night in St. Louis.

“He’ll probably be in a sling for a couple days and then we will start rehabbing and see how quickly he can come along,” Crennel told the media. “He is not an IR candidate.”

Crennel said that no surgery was required for the injury. It’s the same shoulder that he injured last season and underwent surgery once the season was over. The head coach confirmed it was the same shoulder, but a different injury than the one he dealt with last year.

“He has to rest the shoulder and have it immobilized for a little bit before we can start some movement and exercise,” said Crennel. “We will see how quickly we can get him back.” …Read More!

Notes: Protection For Bradford Key

From the Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis

After getting a look at the tape of the Chiefs pass rush against Arizona last week, St. Louis head coach Jeff Fisher wanted to make sure that his QBs didn’t get pummeled for seven sacks like the Cardinals passers did.

The work and attention to that detail helped keep Bradford upright and he went through his first quarter of action barely touched in leading the Rams to a 31-17 victory.

“We had some different things in,” Fisher said of his offensive protections. “We protected well. We knew we had to protect with their rushers. Sam, when he got the time, he made the plays.”

The Chiefs got their hands on Bradford once, when OLB Tamba Hali arrived at the end of a pass. But Bradford didn’t remember that one.

“I thought those guys (offensive line) played great tonight,” Bradford said. “I don’t think I got touched once. Anytime that you come out of a game and you’re not sore, it’s a great feeling, so props to those guys.”

Return game produces nothing

The Chiefs continued to use a lot of bodies on punt and kickoff returns, but those units did not produce any big plays against the Rams. CB Javier Arenas had 2 punt returns for 9 yards and one kickoff return for 17 yards. CB Mikail Baker had 2 kick returns for an average of 18 yards. Rookie Devin Wylie had a kickoff return for 22 yards.

All in all the Chiefs averaged 4.5 yards on punt returns and 18.8 on kickoff returns.

P Dustin Colquitt was outstanding, punting four times for a 52.3-yard gross average and a 51-yard net average thanks to a 60-yard punt factored in.

Replacement Officials Too Slow

It was the second game for the Chiefs with the replacement officials and if there’s one thing that became apparent it’s that the new guys need to speed things up.

There were two replay reviews during the game, one from the booth, the other on a challenge by St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher. It took the zebras forever to come to a conclusion on the plays, both of which were changed. It makes one wonder if the decisions were so slow because they were being made at NFL Mission Control back in New York.

Overall, they walked off seven penalties against the teams for 63 yards. There were three flags against the Chiefs, and two of those were on LT Branden Albert on back-to-back plays. He was hit for a holding call, costing his team 10 yards. Then on the next snap, he was charged with grabbing the face mask of a St. Louis pass rusher, and that cost the Chiefs 15 yards.

The other flag was against TE Jake O’Connell on the kickoff return squad for an illegal block above the waist.

Game Night Atmosphere

There was no atmosphere in the Edwards Jones Dome. The crowd was sparse, maybe one of the smallest crowds I’ve seen in many years of Chiefs games. If it were not for a lot of red-wearing Chiefs fans that were in the house, you would have been able to count the fans in each section. The Rams announced that there were 53,272 tickets sold for the game.

Several factors were in play to keep the in-house crowd small. The biggest was the Rams 2-14 season last year and the ridiculous prices that are charged to see these non-games. Plus, earlier in the day the Cardinals and Pirates played baseball not far away at the new Busch Stadium. Rams management even offered a 40 percent discount to any fan that walked up to the ticket window Saturday night and showed a ticket stub from the baseball game.

The Rams continuing fight with the landlords of the Edwards Jones Dome over the team’s lease and its future doesn’t help matters much.

A bunch of other stuff

– The Chiefs captains were LS Thomas Gafford, WR Terrance Copper and DB Travis Daniels. Gafford called tails on the opening coin toss and that’s how the coin landed. The Chiefs deferred to the second half.

– Dressed but did not play for the Chiefs was Daniels, QB Alex Tanney, WR Aaron Weaver, C Cam Holland and WR Junior Hemingway. Both Daniels and Hemingway have been dealing with injuries.

– Not dressed for the game from the Chiefs: CB Brandon Flowers, RB Cyrus Gray, DB De’Quan Menzie, LB Cameron Sheffield, DE Ethan Johnson and WR Dwayne Bowe. Not playing for the Rams: P Tom Malone, WR Brandon Gibson, WR Charles Gilbert, WR Brandyn Harvey, S Darian Stewart, CB Bradley Fletcher, C Scott Wells, OT Jamaar Jarrett, WR Danario Alexander and DT Trevor Laws.

Game Was Bad, But Some Were Good

From the Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis

Despite the ugliness of the outcome Saturday night, there were Chiefs players that actually played well and lived up to their abilities and standing.

Let’s start with RB Jamaal Charles. Anyone that had doubts about whether Charles was back to his old self need only watch the tape of the first half of this game. Although he was on the field for only seven plays in the game, he ran well and was outstanding in two areas that he doesn’t get much credit for: receiving and blocking.

Charles ended up carrying the ball 3 times for 17 yards and caught 2 passes for 18 yards. The post-game statistics do not list blocks, but he had a pair that were sensational in the passing game.

On a 1st-and-10 play, Charles adjusted his alignment in the backfield based on what he saw from the defense. The Rams sent a blitz and he was able to get a shoulder on the blitzer, knocking him off course. Charles then rolled into the flat where QB Matt Cassel found him open for what ended up being a 7-yard play.

He came back later on a 1st-down play, he stayed in to block and picked up a blitzing linebacker and allowed Cassel to complete a 17-yard pass to TE Kevin Boss.

With the exception of a 7-yard run that started the second quarter, Charles did all his playing in the first period.

Also on offense, TE Kevin Boss had a big night. He was on the field far more than Tony Moeaki, and it was apparent that Cassel and Boss have really developed a nice relationship when it comes to pitching and catching.

“Kevin did a great job tonight,” Cassel said. “He’s a guy that’s come in and worked tremendously hard. He’s a big target. He’s 6-7 or something out there and he showed up tonight. That was one of the positives from tonight without a doubt.”

Boss caught four passes for 62 yards, finishing as the team’s leading receiver with that 15.5-yard average per catch. He also had the longest offensive play, gaining 20 yards on

On defense, OLB Tamba Hali was nothing short of sensational in his playing time. The No. 1 defense played the first half and Hali played every down like it was the Super Bowl.

Where he was especially active and making plays was against the run. Several times with Steven Jackson and then Isaiah Pead, the Rams probed that weak side of the defense and they ended losing yardage more often than not.

Lewis Re-Injures Shoulder

From the Edwards Jones Dome in St. Louis

For most of the 2011 season, Kendrick Lewis played his free safety position in great pain due to an injured shoulder.

Every week he would get the shoulder braced up so he couldn’t do any more damage to the muscles in that shoulder, but that didn’t stop the pain. Eventually, within days of the season ending, he had surgery and was on the shelf for most of the off-season, rehabbing and recovering.

Saturday night in St. Louis, Lewis reinjured the same shoulder, leaving the game in great pain and then leaving the long room after the game with his arm in a sling.

“We are evaluating it,” head coach Romeo Crennel said after the game. “We will probably know more tomorrow.”

The tone of Crennel’s voice, the look on Lewis’ face and the reactions of his teammates gave the distinct impression that what they’ll find out on Sunday will not be good news.

“You just don’t want to see something like that,” said ILB Derrick Johnson. “He worked so hard last year, worked hard to get ready for this year and to have that happen . . . all we can hope is that it’s not that serious.”

The injury occurred with 4 minutes, 54 seconds to play in the first half. St. Louis QB Kellen Clemens completed a pass over the middle to WR Brian Quick and Lewis was part of the tackle with CB Javier Arenas.

But it was obvious as the players got back to their feet that Lewis had injured himself. He immediately left the field, got to the sideline, smashed his helmet into the bench as he sat down in pain.

He did not return to the field in the second half.

Chiefs Looking Forward To Bowe’s Return

From the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis

There was no DBowe Show in the Loo on Saturday night. Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe was back in Kansas City where he waited for his teammates and coaches to return. Now that he’s signed his franchise player tender offer, he’s got to get back to work.

He has already shown signs that he’s been keeping in shape. Bowe passed his conditioning test with no problem on Friday after he signed the tender. Teammate Dexter McCluster said Bowe was also showing off his six-pack of abs in the locker room before the team left for St. Louis.

“We’re happy to have him back,” said QB Matt Cassel. “Obviously we’ve got to get him acclimated and I know the coaching staff and myself will do whatever we can to get him caught up to speed. It will be good to have him back in competition with all of the other guys that have been here working.”

Head coach Romeo Crennel was not a happy man after the 31-17 loss, and he wasn’t any happier when the questions from the media turned towards Bowe.

“When we get back we will start working on his conditioning and when he is ready to play we will put him on the field,” Crennel said.

How far behind is Bowe?

“He is a whole training camp behind,” Crennel said. “There is a lot, there is a new offense, new terminology that he has to learn. ”

The coach said he thought Bowe would be able to practice in pads on Tuesday, and said whether he plays next Friday night against Seattle at Arrowhead Stadium will “depends on if he is ready or not.”

If it sounds like Crennel wasn’t doing cartwheels with the return of Bowe, then his attitude about the questions he was being asked comes through loud and clear.

“I don’t know,” said Crennel when asked what Bowe will bring to the team. “We know what he did last year, but I haven’t seen him all off-season. The only time I saw him was walking down the hall (on Friday). I don’t know what he can do football-wise. We have to find out what he can do. When he gets up to speed, then we can put him in the game.”

How tough will the learning period be for Bowe with the new Brian Daboll offense?

“I don’t know; that’s probably a better question for Dwayne,” said Cassel. “I know we’ve got great coaches here and a lot of people dedicated to help people learn. All these guys embraced the challenges of the off-season and have done a great job. I think Dwayne is up for the challenge and I’m sure he’ll do a great job trying to learn.”

Stanzi’s Chance For No. 2 Fizzles in St. Louis


From the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis

Here was the chance that Ricky Stanzi had been waiting for since April 2011 when he was drafted by the Chiefs.

Stanzi came out of the half-time locker room and was handed the keys to the offense by head coach Romeo Crennel. After getting mop-up time last week against Arizona, this was going to be his chance to show what he could do with the No. 2 offense.

It wasn’t pretty, nor was it all the fault of Stanzi. But the results did nothing to help the case of the 2nd-year player being the Chiefs No. 2 quarterback.

His first pass was interception, albeit on a tipped pass. He was sacked and fumbled the ball away after taking the offense into Rams territory. Stanzi wrapped up the game with two turnovers, pedestrian numbers and a ticket to No. 3 on the depth chart.

Especially after Brady Quinn came in for the last 10 minutes of the game and ended up taking the offense down for a touchdown, hitting WR Jeremy Horne for a 38-yard scoring pass.

“My job is to go out there when you’re asked to play and play hard and try to get the guys around you to play with you and put drives together,” Stanzi said. “We weren’t able to do that tonight with the group I was in with.”

Stanzi’s interception came when his pass to WR Terrance Copper was tipped in the air by CB Trumaine Johnson. The Rams defender came over the right shoulder of Copper and flicked the ball away and it fluttered into the hands of a chasing DT Matthew Conrath at the Chiefs 18-yard line.

Copper said the defensive back may have come over his shoulder too early, but Stanzi said the problem was his throw.

“That was my fault, I didn’t throw a very good pass,” Stanzi said. “I’ve got to throw the ball so that doesn’t happen.”

The Rams took that turnover and scored a touchdown, thanks to the great field position from the takeaway.

Stanzi’s fumble came near the end of the third quarter. The Chiefs offense had a 4th down-and-1 play at the Rams 25-yard line. Coordinator Brian Daboll was forced to call a timeout when Stanzi started trying to change the play at the line and the play clock was winding down.

After the timeout, Stanzi went back to pass, escaped pressure in his face, scrambled away and was sacked and hit by former Chiefs LB Justin Cole. The ball popped out and LB Rocky McIntosh recovered the fumble at the Rams 43-yard line.

That led to another St. Louis touchdown, as the Rams offense under the direction of No. 3 QB Austin Davis went 57-yards and wrapped it up with a touchdown run and a 31-10 lead.

“I’ve got to get rid of the ball,” Stanzi said. “I can’t put that kind of pressure on the offensive line to hold up for that amount of time. I’ve got to get the ball out of my hands and be able to move the chains.”

Pressure was all over Stanzi as the No. 2 offensive line struggled mightly to give him time to throw. He ended up completing 3 of his 4 throws, but those went for just 24 yards. He was sacked four times and there was the interception.

After the game Crennel did not indicate the battle for the No. 2 job was over, but there’s no question that Stanzi missed an opportunity. He says all he can do is work to get better.

“You’re always working on everything whether it’s mental, physical, fundamentals and techniques, no matter what it is,” Stanzi said. “You’re always trying to improve and not relax on anything.”

Column: Reality Bites Chiefs


From the Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis

About those plane tickets and hotel rooms Chiefs Nation bought last week for New Orleans in the first week of February? Folks may want to check out Craig’s List or maybe eBay as a place where those reservations can be unloaded.

After playing so well and getting everyone in red and gold excited with their opening pre-season performance against Arizona last week, the Chiefs juggernaut returned to earth on Saturday in St. Louis.

It landed with a crash, an explosion and flames coming out of the bottom of the bandwagon.

Losing a pre-season game is no big deal, just like it’s silly to make much on winning these exhibition games. But it all comes back to how do you win or lose. Last week the Chiefs won in very pretty fashion, providing hope that the team’s new offense was about to join the old defense to provide the one-two punch the Hunt Family team hasn’t seen in some time.

Saturday night, they lost in a very ugly way. As good as the Chiefs looked against the Cardinals in the first quarter is how bad they looked against the Rams at the start. Forget the final score; it’s meaningless. What matters is that they came out and showed all those traits that a team unprepared for the events of the night might show. They made mistakes both mentally and physically. This was the most basic of game plans on both sides of the ball, but they had all sorts of problems making it work.

“There was not enough focus, not enough concentration in a week where you are breaking camp,” said head coach Romeo Crennel. “It just shows that we are not mature enough yet.”

Meanwhile, the Rams came out and were sensational after stinking it up in their first pre-season game when they lost by 35 points to the Colts in Indianapolis.

“We took nothing into account involving the Rams,” said ILB Derrick Johnson. “They lost last week and they were coming home and they had something to play for and played like it.

“We have a lot of things to play for and we didn’t get it done.”

There were obvious problems that bedeviled the Chiefs – turnovers, sacks, giving up too many big plays, penalties. There were also silly, silly mistakes that considering all the crowing by the organization about how wonderful and focused training camp, shouldn’t have shown themselves.

They can’t blame these things on the departed Todd Haley:

– After a Rams completion across the middle of the field, the Chiefs defense did not touch down the receiver. He smartly got up and picked up another 10-15 yards.

– Kick returner Mikail Baker ran up to grab a bouncing kickoff and let the ball roll past him. He scrambled back and finally corralled the ball, getting it to the 10-yard line for an ugly 8-yard return.

– LT Branden Albert put together back-to-back penalties, totaling 25 yards and pushing the Chiefs from what should have been a 3rd-and-6 play, to a 2nd-and-34 play.

We’ll stop there – any more would be piling on.

What we saw on this Saturday night in the Loo was as much a part of the Chiefs makeup as what they showed last week against Arizona. They are a team capable of doing very good things. They are a team capable of doing very bad things.

It’s a personality trait that they must rid themselves of, or that back and forth is going to end up being at best a .500 record. Maybe in the wacky AFC West that will be good enough to win the division, but me thinks that new fellow out in Denver has designs on winning more than eight games.

Anybody that overreacted last week with the victory should not overreact to the defeat experienced Saturday evening. This is what the Chiefs are and that won’t change until they can show on the field that miserable performance like the one they had in the Jones Dome are dispatched.

As for those reservations for New Orleans in February – go anyway, you’ll have a good time.

Chiefs Make a Mess of Visit To St. Louis

From the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis

There are a lot of ways to lose a football game. Among the causes of defeat that rank among the most frequently seen are an offense that turns the ball over and a defense that allowed too many big plays.

Those factors capsulize the Chiefs performance against the St. Louis Rams on Saturday night. By the time Romeo Crennel and his staff get done totaling up all the reasons the list will be much longer than two reasons they lost 31-17.

None however, sent the Chiefs down the wrong path faster than turning over the ball four times and giving up 348 yards of offense to the Rams, including eight plays that went for 15 yards or more and four that went for more than 20 yards.

“It was not very good tonight and that’s being generous,” Crennel said after the game. “We didn’t coach well enough; we didn’t play well enough, so the result was bad. The offense came on there and tried to lift us a bit … but we turned it over and we couldn’t stop anybody on defense and that opened up the drain.”

And the Chiefs chances of victory got flushed in a manner that was in direct contrast to how they performed and won last week in their pre-season opener. There was no poise, no enthusiasm, some silly mistakes and then those turnovers and big plays all added up to getting crushed by a team that was able to only score a field goal in its first pre-season game last week.

“That’s not acceptable what we did out there,” said ILB Derrick Johnson. “We just showed up.”

The head coach agreed.

“We have to play a lot better if we are going to have a chance to win in the NFL,” Crennel said. “No one really played good. The defense couldn’t stop anybody, the offense that had one spark, then we turned it over and had penalties and a lot of things went wrong. When that happens, you lose. We lost.”

The Rams scored four touchdowns on offense, while the Chiefs had just two. St. Louis had the edge 348-211 in offensive yards, including a 122-79 edge in rushing. Coach Jeff Fisher’s quarterbacks were sacked once, while Crennel’s passers went down 5 times.

And, there were those nasty turnovers. QB Ricky Stanzi threw an interception and lost a fumble. WR Jon Baldwin fumbled in the Chiefs first offensive series. Rookie RB Nate Eachus had a fumble as well. The Rams scored touchdowns after both of Stanzi’s giveaways and after Baldwin coughed up the ball.

It was an ugly night.

“Things like that are going to happen, it’s part of the pre-season,” said WR Steve Breaston. “But we have got to get back to work and make sure we don’t show anything like that again.”

The game started like the Chiefs had left their football sense back at the hotel they shacked up in over in Clayton on Friday night. It was exactly the opposite results of what happened in the first pre-season game. The defense gave up big chunks of yardage to QB Sam Bradford and the Rams offense. The K.C. offense turned the ball over on Baldwin’s fumble. The special teams hurt field position with a penalty.

They had a host of mistakes and the Rams seemed to take advantage of all of them. The Chiefs won the toss, but deferred to the second half. After K Matt Szymanski’s kickoff sailed out of the back of the end zone, St. Louis took over at their 20-yard line.

Bradford needed 4 plays to move 80 yards and did it in less than 2 minutes on the clock. The first play was a pass to WR Danny Amendola that went for 35 yards. FS Kendrick Lewis had the coverage and couldn’t get near his man, plus Bradford had all day to throw from a very quiet pocket.

The next play saw RB Steven Jackson blow through the hole between RG and RT for 18 yards before he was finally hauled down by SS Eric Berry. Jackson went up the middle on the next play and Berry again had the tackle, as he gained 4 yards.

On 2nd down-and-6 at the Chiefs 23 yard line, Bradford hooked up with TE Lance Kendricks for a touchdown. Kendricks ran away from ILB Jovan Belcher who was trying to cover him out of a passing formation for the Rams offense (3 WRs, with the TE split wide.) The PAT kick by former Missouri Western kicker Greg Zuerlein gave St. Louis an opening 7-0 lead.

Starting at their 20-yard line, the Chiefs offense picked up one yard on a pass from Cassel to TE Tony Moeaki. On the next play, Cassel connected with Baldwin on a slant on the left side of the field. He made the catch, started running and was hit by rookie CB Janoris Jenkins and fumbled the ball. S Craig Dahl recovered and the Rams offense had great field position at the Chiefs 31-yard line.

On this second possession, it again took Bradford and mates just five plays to get into the end zone. He was 3 of 4 on the drive, including the scoring toss, an 8-yard play to Amendola in the end zone where he caught the ball running backwards with CB Javier Arenas draped all over him. Arenas was called for pass interference, which of course was declined by the Rams. Zuerlein’s PAT pushed the scoreboard to 14-0.

It was just about this time that the Chiefs football sense arrived by taxi from Clayton and they started to tighten up the game just a bit. It also helped that after one more possession, the St. Louis starters left the field.

“I felt like at one point the offense sparked,” Crennel said. “I thought if they sparked, the defense would spark, but it didn’t work out that way.”

The No. 1 offense got a score at the end of a 10-play, 80-yard drive in the second quarter that ended with RB Peyton Hillis scoring on a 1-yard run. The key play on the drive that started at the end of the first quarter was a Cassel to TE Kevin Boss pass for 17 yards on a 3rd-and-15 play at the Chiefs 43-yard line. Five plays later, Hillis banged into the end zone and Ryan Succop’s PAT kick got the Chiefs as close as they would be the rest of the night at 14-7.

Cassel and the starters got two more possessions, but one was sabotaged by back-to-back penalties against LT Branden Albert for a total of 25 yards, and the first-half clock ran out on the second one.

St. Louis added an impressive 52-yard FG by Zuerlein and carried a 17-7 lead to the locker room.

The second half started just as the first half did. Ricky Stanzi came in to lead the No. 2 offense. After RB Shaun Draughn lost a yard on first down, Stanzi’s first pass was deflected by CB Trumaine Johnson and landed in the hands of DT Matthew Conrath. The pass was intended for WR Terrance Copper and Johnson came over his right shoulder and flicked the ball away.

That set up the No. 2 St. Louis offense at the Chiefs 18-yard line and they scored on a 1-yard TD plunge by rookie RB Isaiah Pead. With the PAT it was now 24-10.

Early in the fourth quarter after Stanzi fumbled the ball away on a 4th-down play, the Rams put together a 7-play drive that finished up with a 4-yard TD run by RB Daryl Richardson. The PAT there pushed the difference to 31-10.

The Chiefs added a late score on a 38-yard pass from QB Brady Quinn to WR Jeremy Horne that capped a 5-play, 60-yard drive and settled the final score at 31-17 after Succop’s PAT kick.

“We’re going to have to get back to work,” Cassel said, echoing the words his head coach used with the team afterwards. “We’re back in training camp mode on Monday.”

Last Week’s Chiefs Disappear in 31-17 Loss to Rams


From the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis

What a difference a week made for the Chiefs.

After looking so good in their pre-season opener against Arizona, they came out Saturday night in St. Louis and laid an egg against the Rams. Everything that went right the week before went wrong on this night in their 31-17 loss.

Both the offense and defense had all sorts of problems in this one. There were flashes of good play, but the overall effort wasn’t a good one and thus they are now 1-1 on the pre-season.

They also left St. Louis with concerns about FS Kendrick Lewis, who appeared to suffer a left shoulder injury while making a tackle in the second quarter. He came off the field in what appeared to be great pain and ended up throwing his helmet into the bench. He did not return.

Chiefs-Rams Game-Night From St. Louis

From the Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis

6:30 p.m. – Both teams are wrapping up their warm-up period and the Chiefs have not shown anything unusual or different than what they did last week or during  training camp the past few days.  The first teams are expected to play for a quarter and then some. Ricky Stanzi will be the  No. 2 quarterback on the field and it wouldn’t be a shock if he got a series or two with the rest of the No. 1 offensive unit.  ENJOY THE GAME AND COMEBACK AFTERWARDS AND INTO SUNDAY MORNING AS WE’LL HAVE COMPLETE COVERAGE FROM THE DOME.

6:15 p.m. – The true first lady of the Chiefs, Norma Hunt is on the field. Even with the passing of her beloved Lamar, she does not miss many games, pre-season or regular season. Sons Clark and Daniel are on the field as well as the Eagle from Dallas has landed. Unlike his father who flew coach, Clark Hunt travels in a private jet.

6:10 p.m. – Don’t be surprised if the Chiefs do some different things on special teams tonight. They would love to force the Falcons for regular-season week No. 1 to use practice time preparing for gadget plays in the kicking game. The Chiefs practiced a  few all week; wouldn’t be surprised to see them show something different, even if they don’t follow through.

6::00 p.m. – Although Jacques Reeves worked with the No. 1 offense the last few days of training camp at LCB, it will be Jalil Brown that will start there for the Chiefs in place of the injured Brandon Flowers.

5:55 p.m. – Not playing for the Rams tonight: P Tom Malone, WR Brandon Gibson, WR Charles Gilbert, WR Brandyn Harvey, S Darian Stewart, CB Bradley Fletcher, C Scott Wells, OT Jamaar Jarrett, WR Danario Alexander and DT Trevor Laws.

5:53 p.m. – Chiefs K Ryan Succop in pre-game hit from 53 yards, but his attempt from 54 yards hit the crossbar and bounced back into the end zone. Chiefs special teams coach Tom McMahon is looking for a top-level performance as he returns to the team where he coached the past two years. …Read More!

Can They Do It On The Road? . . . Game-Day Cup O’Chiefs

From St. Louis, Missouri

Last Friday night’s pre-season opening victory over Arizona was an impressive performance by a Chiefs team that seldom plays that well in the games of August.

Now the questions are these: can they string together two like performances, and can they play well away from the friendly confines of Arrowhead Stadium.

They’ll get that chance Saturday night at the Edward Jones Dome here in the Loo when they take on the St. Louis Rams.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and the game can be seen throughout the Midwest on the Chiefs Television Network. That’s KCTV-Channel 5 in the Kansas City area.

Consistency in the pre-season has not been a recent trait of the Chiefs:

They’ve not won a road pre-season game since August 7, 2008 when they won in Chicago.

  • They’ve not won back to back pre-season games since the final games of 2006, when they beat St. Louis and New Orleans at Arrowhead.
  • In the last 10 seasons, they are 3-17 on the road in the pre-season. One of those victories came in 2003 in St. Louis, 22-6.

In many ways, the scenario remains the same for the Chiefs – yes, this is a pre-season game that doesn’t count in the standings. But for a team that’s had trouble winning games, it’s very helpful to come out on top. And, it’s especially important for a team to learn how to win on the road, even if the game’s outcome will quickly be forgotten. Over the troubled last five seasons, the Chiefs are 1-9 on the road in the pre-season and 13-37 in the regular season.

That’s one of the factors that has made this pre-season just a bit different than previous seasons. Head coach Romeo Crennel’s approach is not going to change this week compared to last week. He’s not going to put a player at risk, but he wants to win these games. …Read More!

Chiefs-Rams Replacement Officials

The first woman to work on the field as an NFL official will be in the house Saturday night at the Edward Jones Dome when the Chiefs travel to St. Louis to face the Rams.

However, Shannon Eastin will not be one of the first-line officials on the field. She’s listed as the alternate official for the game, so she will be on the sidelines, prepared to step in wherever she might be needed during the game. Last weekend, Eastin was the line judge for the Packers-Chargers game in San Diego.

Eastin is 42 years old and has been officiating college games for the last 16 years. Last year she was a crew-chief in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

The referee for Saturday night’s crew is Richard “Matt” Nicks. Along with almost all of the remaining officials they worked the Tampa Bay-Miami game in the first week of the pre-season. The only change in that crew is at line judge where they are joined by Jeffrey Taylor who did not work the first week. …Read More!

Leftovers from St. Joseph

The crowds that turned out to watch training camp practices at Missouri Western State University essentially matched the numbers for last season. Both years were down from the first season in 2010. Some of the workouts produced nice crowds, even on days during the work week.

There’s one thing I noticed about the Chiefs fans that showed up at the practice fields and Spratt Stadium – more fans have come to embrace the current players, rather than holding on to names from the past. In a very unscientific survey I tracked the Chiefs jerseys being worn by those in attendance at several practices, five in all.

Even just a year ago, the most popular names and numbers belonged to Chiefs from past vintages with a lot of No. 31 Priest Holmes, No. 58 Derrick Thomas, No. 90 Neil Smith, No. 32 Marcus Allen, even some that went all the way back to the glory years like No. 16 Len Dawson and No. 78 Bobby Bell. Red jerseys representing players on that 2010 team were few and far between and were generally limited to QB Matt Cassel and OLB Tamba Hali.

This year’s vibe was very different – Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe, Dexter McCluster, Eric Berry, Brandon Flowers, Derrick Johnson all were represented by more and more fans wearing a more recent vintage of the game jersey. Former Chiefs were hard to find in the stands. For the Chiefs and their marketing forces that change is a good sign that fans have latched onto the current players, including not just young fans, but their parents and even grandparents. It was a noticeable change from the last two years in St. Joe. …Read More!

Bowe Signs Tender Offer

It’s doubtful that WR Dwayne Bowe has anything personally against St. Joseph.

But it’s not happenstance that on Friday he signed his franchise player tender offer and reported to the Chiefs the day after they broke training camp. His $9.5 million offer is now fully guaranteed for the season, even if he gets hit by a bus with the team in St. Louis over the weekend.

A veteran like Bowe figured a couple weeks without dorm life would not hurt him or his team, and might provide a benefit.

Everyone will find out whether that’s true or not when Bowe shows what type of physical and mental shape he’s in and how quickly he picks up the new Chiefs offense. No official word from the team but he won’t play in St. Louis in Saturday night’s pre-season game No. 2. Whether he’ll be able to play in pre-season game No. 3 against Seattle next Friday will likely depend on what type of shape he reports in. By signing Friday, he can be in pads by Monday, having served the three-day acclimation period with the team.

Chiefs Lose Another Veteran OT

The Chiefs have developed a nasty habit of signing veteran offensive tackles and then convincing them it’s time to retire.

First, it was Tony Ugoh. Now, it’s Ray Willis. He told the Chiefs on Friday that he was retiring after playing in 44 NFL games over the last seven seasons.

Willis signed on July 31st after earlier signing Ugoh, who then retired four days later.

They are back to square one with their nine backup offensive linemen. They do not have a single center, guard or tackle that has played in an NFL game.

Willis had played in 44 games and made 26 starts in five seasons with Seattle (2005-09). He spent time with Miami and New Orleans last season and was signed earlier in 2012 by the New York Jets but was released.

In his time with the Chiefs, Willis was running as the third-team RT and saw limited playing time in the pre-season opener against Arizona.

Saying Goodbye to the Joe . . . Friday’s Cup O’Camp

One last time – from St. Joseph, Missouri

The Chiefs have St. Joe in their rear view mirror as they roared down I-29 and back to the city.

Another training camp is in the books, the team’s third at Missouri Western State University. In many ways this one was far different than the two that came before. In 2010, it was the newness of being in the Joe. Last year was the summer screwed up by the owners’ lockout of the players and the dysfunction of the organization as the GM and head coach weren’t getting along. This year there was hardly a burp or a problem of any kind.

“Overall the camp has been good; we’ve laid a good foundation,” said head coach Romeo Crennel. “Now we have to continue to build on that foundation as we go forward and work our way to the regular season. We feel dicent about where we are right now.”

Camp Joe III was a quiet one. As it always does, the media cast its line into the pond of controversy and came up empty. Dwayne Bowe wasn’t around, and the Chiefs yawned. Maybe they won’t be yawning in a couple months of Bowe does no’t play strong in the regular season because he missed so much practice time.

The camp was very much a product of Crennel, his personality and his management style. There was sameness to every day, every walkthrough, and every practice. Todd Haley was a coach that wasn’t afraid to change, and often flew by the seat of his pants, or as he often said, he liked to think outside the box.

Crennel is in the box. There’s a certain way to approach things and while Crennel will listen to suggestions, the 65-year old with 40+ years of coaching experience has a pretty good idea of what he thinks is important.

Here are some of the memories we’ll take away from another summer in the Joe: …Read More!

Training Camp Practice Report – 8/16

From St. Joseph, Missouri

  • Days in camp – 18. Practices – 15. Practices in Pads – 13.
  • Weather – Partly cloudy with a strong breeze from the north. Temperatures in the low 70s, slight humidity – a comfortable day to say good bye.
  • Players on roster – 90. Players taking part in practice – 82.
  • Not practicing/injury – CB Brandon Flowers (heel), DB Travis Daniels (groin), LB Cameron Sheffield (groin), RB Cyrus Gray (hamstring) DL Ethan Johnson (head), DB De’Quan Menzie (groin), WR Junior Hemingway (groin). Not in camp – WR Dwayne Bowe (no contract).

The Chiefs wrapped up the training camp portion of the pre-season Thursday afternoon with a final 2-hour practice at Missouri Western State University.

Most of this practice was devoted to base preparation for the St. Louis Rams, Saturday night’s opponent. Both the offense and defense ran “off the cards” which is football slang for the No. 1 defense facing the No. 3 offense that was lined up in defensive schemes that the Rams used in their pre-season opener. It was the same with the No. 1 offense facing the No. 3 defense. During the regular season, the team would use drills that were run off the cards in Wednesday, Thursday and Friday practices.

There wasn’t much in the way of competition, but here are a few observations on good bye day to St. Joe: …Read More!

Romeo Lists the Injured

From St. Joseph, Missouri

Romeo Crennel provided an early list of inactive players for Saturday night’s game at St. Louis.

The head coach listed the following as not playing against the Rams:

  • Starting LCB Brandon Flowers with a heel injury that’s now kept him out since July 31st.
  • Rookie RB Cyrus Gray with a hamstring injury.
  • OLB Cameron Sheffield will not play because of a groin injury.
  • Rookie DB De’Quan Menzie is out with a hip flexor injury.
  • Rookie DL Ethan Johnson will not play because of the after effects of a blow to the head.

Crennel wasn’t prepared to rule out two other injured players who were working in practice on Thursday with the hopes of getting on the field DB Travis Daniels (hamstring) and WR Junior Hemingway (groin). “They are doing a little bit every day and getting a little bit better every day, so we’ll see where they are when we approach game time,” Crennel said.

All the attention is on Flowers and his injury. “We are sending him to doctors and we are trying different things trying to get it better,” Crennel said. “It’s getting better slowly, not fast enough. All we can do is hang on and see what happens.”

Points – Part #2 . . . Thursday Cup O’Camp

From St. Joseph, Missouri

Lost in the celebration of the Chiefs offense scoring 27 points last Friday against Arizona was this fact – the defense allowed just 17 points.

It’s just as hard to place any real football currency in a defensive performance in the opening pre-season game as it is being excited about an on offense that put three touchdowns and a couple of field goals.

But for the Chiefs, holding a team to 17 points in any type of game doesn’t happen all the time.

“We’ve always had goals from the coaches of holding the other team to 10 or 14 points,” said the most veteran of Chiefs defenders, ILB Derrick Johnson. “There’s no question that’s the most important number for us.”

No question to head coach/defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel. He was asked recently if the yardage total given up by his defense really matter to him.

“Not really,” Crennel said. “It’s the points.”

Here’s a look at points allowed by the Chiefs, the league, its post-season teams and the Super Bowl champions over the last five years: …Read More!

Training Camp Practice Report – 8/15

From St. Joseph, Missouri

  • Days in camp – 17. Practices – 14. Practices in Pads – 12.
  • Weather – Mostly sunny, with a hot breeze out of the southwest, humid and temperatures in the low 90s.
  • Players on roster – 90. Players taking part in practice – 83.
  • Not practicing/injury – CB Brandon Flowers (heel), DB Travis Daniels (groin), LB Cameron Sheffield (groin), RB Cyrus Gray (hamstring) DL Ethan Johnson (head), WR Junior Hemingway (groin). Not in camp – WR Dwayne Bowe (no contract).

It was a competitive afternoon practice on Wednesday for the Chiefs. The offense and defense were like boxers in the ring, one would land a haymaker, then the other one would come back and stagger their opponent, and back and forth, and back and forth. It was a great sign for the offense which has taken some real confidence out of their performance last Friday against Arizona.

They did get a scare however, when WR Jon Baldwin went down writhing in pain. Baldwin and CB Jalil Brown got tangled up on a high throw from QB Matt Cassel. Both players jumped and when they came down it appeared that Brown spiked Baldwin on the right shin. When the receiver got up, there was a hole in the white tights he was wearing just above the ankle on the inside of his leg. Baldwin sat out a few plays but returned and finished the practice with no apparent problems.

Here are some observations: …Read More!

Stanzi Gets Next Shot With No. 2 Offense

From St. Joseph, Missouri

Since there has been little in the way of competition for starting jobs among the first 22 spots on the Chiefs roster in training camp, that’s focused a lot of attention on the No. 2 quarterback spot.

Whether Brady Quinn or Ricky Stanzi wears the backup label may not matter, but it’s got the media hopping and the fans talking. So it’s news that on Tuesday head coach Romeo Crennel said that Stanzi will be the No. 2 quarterback on Saturday night in St. Louis when the Chiefs play the Rams.

“He’s going to be the one that goes in after (Matt) Cassel,” Crennel said of Stanzi. “We talked about evaluating quarterbacks, so this will give him a chance to get in and see what he can do.”

Crennel said the battle for the No. 2 position “is still close” and giving Stanzi the chance to work first will even out the competition, since Quinn got that chance last week in the pre-season opener against Arizona. …Read More!

Points – Part #1 . . . Wednesday Cup O’Camp

From St. Joseph, Missouri

One pre-season game does not make a football offense, especially the first exhibition game of the summer when the real players get only a small percentage of the actual snaps.

Still, what the Chiefs offense got done against Arizona was notable for one major reason – they scored 27 points. Three touchdowns and two field goals isn’t exactly a total that spins the scoreboard like a slot machine in Vegas. However, for the Chiefs it was damn near an offensive explosion.

To wit:

  • Last season, in 20 games (pre and regular season) they score 27 or more points only once. That came when they beat Indianapolis 28-23.
  • In the 2011 regular season, the Chiefs averaged 13.2 points per game, ranked 31st out of 32 teams.
  • The last five seasons the Chiefs have played 101 games (pre, regular and post-season). Only 14 times did they score more than 27 points. That’s 14 percent of their games.

It’s near impossible to be a winner in the NFL unless a team does two things: score points and stop the other guys from scoring points. It’s elementary football, as simple as it gets. To win, a team must score one more point than the other guys.

But how many points is that going to take each week? What’s the magic number? …Read More!

Training Camp Practice Report – 8/14

From St. Joseph, Missouri

  • Days in camp – 16. Practices – 13. Practices in Pads – 11.
  • Weather
    – Mostly sunny, with a nice breeze out of the southwest, some humidity, but very comfortable. Temperatures in the high 70s.
  • Players on roster – 90. Players taking part in practice – 83.
  • Not practicing/injury – CB Brandon Flowers (heel), DB Travis Daniels (groin), LB Cameron Sheffield (groin), RB Cyrus Gray (hamstring) DL Ethan Johnson (head), WR Junior Hemingway (groin). Not in camp – WR Dwayne Bowe (no contract).

The Chiefs put another one in the books Tuesday afternoon at Missouri Western State University and it may have been the most perfect training camp day they’ve experienced in three years of coming to the Joe.

Sunny skies, a cool breeze coming out of the southwest, limited humidity with temperatures in the high 70s.

The padded practice had a fairly good tempo, especially on offense where the coaching staff was pushing the pace, often going no huddle between plays. That forced the defense to speed up as well.

Here are some observations: …Read More!

Romeo Will Be Patient With Poe


From St. Joseph, Missouri

On Monday, head coach Romeo Crennel talked about the roster fight at nose tackle and the play against St. Louis of his first-round draft choice Dontari Poe:

“The young Poe, he is still learning and he gave good effort,” Crennel told the media horde. “He’s trying to learn to do the things the way that we want them done. He’s not there yet.”

That comment was not much different than the statement Crennel made last week before the game against the Cardinals when he said of Poe: “He needs to work on technique; he needs to work on understanding the system. He needs to get the calls correct all the time. He’s got a ways to go.”

But this week it’s suddenly bubbling all over the NFL grapevine that Poe is the No. 3 nose behind Anthony Toribio and Jerrell Powe, and that the first rounder is struggling.

Crennel never said Poe was No. 3, and the fact that Poe is struggling comes as no surprise to the head coach. …Read More!

Flowers Remains Sidelined

From St. Joseph, Missouri

Chiefs CB Brandon Flowers has now missed two weeks of camp with an injury to his right heal that he suffered during the team’s night practice on July 31st at Missouri Western State University.

Flowers did not work in the Tuesday morning walkthrough and afterwards, head coach Romeo Crennel wasn’t able to provide any timetable on when Flowers may be able to return to practice. He said he did not expect him to practice Tuesday afternoon.

“(He’s) still trying to get out there, but he’s not there yet,” Crennel said. “We’ll still work with him and see if we can bring him along.”

Just how Flowers injured his heal is unknown, but it came during the night practice on the artificial turf at Spratt Stadium. He walked off the field, but eventually as taken to the locker room in a cart. …Read More!

Dog Days Are Barking . . . Tuesday Cup O’Camp

From St. Joseph, Missouri

They now have only three more nights in Scanlon Hall, only three more days of cafeteria dining, only three more days at Missouri Western State College.

You can hear the barking, because these are the dog days of training camp. In the past when camp would last for weeks and weeks and weeks, it would be too early for the dog days to come before mid-August. But the new NFL rules require limited time away from home, and this is the last week and that makes this week the dog days.

With the first game of the pre-season schedule in the books, the Chiefs came back to the Joe to watch the tape, make corrections and move on with the process of creating a team. Or in the case of about half of the 89 players in camp, they will continue with the work of trying to earn one of those 53 spots on the final roster. …Read More!

More Answer Bob – 8/13

Well, the first edition of Answer Bob stirred things up a bit and we have quite a few folks bringing more to the table. So let’s give them a chance to speak their mind and I’ll provide a few answers and thoughts of my own. Thanks for all your reaction.

Ray Rippel says: Good day, Bob, thanks for the thoughtful reply! Wow. I was thoroughly convinced that we had made some huge strides. Now I’m not so sure. Good point regarding Coach Gailey–we should have never let him get away. About the only player I might disagree with is Jackson, but that’s close. Still, it SEEMS like we’re better. Perhaps I’m not as impervious to “spin” as I thought. Thanks again for going to all this trouble and GREAT answer. Aloha, Ray

Bob says: Ray, my pleasure. Everyone that’s a Chiefs fan wants to believe that this team is significantly better than the team that went 2-14. Unfortunately, that 2008 team can’t be judged in the vacuum of just its record. We must remember that Herm Edwards and group had gutted the team and was rebuilding with youngsters, that very good 2008 draft class was the foundation. Go back and look at that season – the Chiefs lost so many games in the fourth quarter. They were learning what they needed to do. Had they stayed with the normal approach that had been used at the end of the Vermeil Era, they would have patch worked with veteran free agents and a few younger players and pulled probably an 8-8 record. Even at 2-14, that team had talent. …Read More!

Training Camp Practice Report – 8/13

From St. Joseph, Missouri

  • Days in camp – 15. Practices – 12. Practices in Pads – 10.
  • Weather – Cloudy skies, wind out of the north-northwest, temperature at 73 degrees, a pleasant afternoon.
  • Players on roster – 90. Players taking part in practice – 84.
  • Not practicing/injury – CB Brandon Flowers (foot), DB Travis Daniels (groin), LB Cameron Sheffield (unknown), DL Ethan Johnson (head), WR Junior Hemingway (groin). Not in camp – WR Dwayne Bowe (no contract).

The Chiefs worked long and hard on Monday afternoon, as they got back on the practice field for the first time since Friday night’s victory over the Arizona Cardinals.

According to head coach Romeo Crennel the morning walkthrough lacked the intensity he wanted and several periods were started over again. He made sure not only in the morning, but right before the start of the afternoon practice that his team understood they needed to amp up their approach.

“(The) days off that they had, they’re able to get away a little bit, and that’s good,” said Crennel. “But sometimes when they get away, they get away totally. Sometimes mentally, they don’t get back right away. So, in the walk-through, we had to repeat a couple of things so hopefully this afternoon they will be back totally mentally so that we can have a good practice and try to get better.”

Here are some observations: …Read More!

Winners, Losers from First Pre-season Game

From St. Joseph, Missouri

The Chiefs arrived back at Missouri Western State University on Sunday night for the first of their last five nights in the Joe before training camp wraps up.

First things first, they looked at tape of Friday’s night’s victory in the pre-season opener against Arizona. Actually, most of them probably saw it sometime Saturday or Sunday back in K.C., but Sunday night they sat down with teammates and coaches to dissect the good and the bad.

Remember one game is just a Polaroid in what will be a string of pictures from the pre-season. But there were winners and losers from the game. Some players did something to grab the attention of the coaches for good performances. Other players may have drawn attention, but for all the wrong reasons.

Here are five players that helped themselves and five more that did not improve their chances Friday night: …Read More!

Answer Bob – Post Pre-season Opener

From St. Joseph, Missouri

It’s one more week in the oven that has been the Joe in the last few weeks for the Chiefs. A weekend at home allowed me to sleep in my own bed, run some errands and answer your questions. As always, you guys were on top of your game. Here are the questions and answers on the Chiefs in the glow of that 27-17 victory in the pre-season opener against Arizona.

Ray Rippel says: This isn’t a question regarding the game, exactly, but I’d be interested in your thoughts. Compare this team, player- and coach-wise, to the Kansas City Chiefs team that we had on January 13th, 2009. In my view, we are better at almost every starting position (although I’d grant you that our second best safety, our second best corner back and our tight end was better), and are better at almost every second string position. Coaches, other than the head coach (where I think we have indisputably gotten better), I’m not so sure. If you conclude, like I do, that we are overwhelmingly better now than we were then, and assuming we continue to improve, does that not bode well for our dear Chiefs? Thanks, Ray

Bob says: Great question Ray. Not an easy answer, but check out this chart with the appropriate names in place at the end of the 2008 season and those in the same places right now, heading into 2012. I will highlight my picks on where the edge was on each team in red. If it’s the same player or there was no difference, I will highlight the position. See how much you agree: …Read More!

A Different Look At Bowe’s Absence

We always try to bring you a new take that comes down the Internet tube because there’s so much out there and I doubt you have any more time to discover it all than I do.

Sunday evening I ran across this analysis of Bowe, his franchise player tender and his decision to stay away from the Chiefs so far in the pre-season. It provides a look at several options that have not been discussed publicly involving the wide receiver and his tender offer, i.e., that while he can’t negotiate with any other teams, and can’t negotiate a long-term contract with the Chiefs, he can negotiate the terms of his tender offer of $9.5 million.

It’s written by former agent Joel Curry and appeared at the National Football Post. Here’s the link.

Crennel Pleased With Friday Victory

With a chance to watch the game tape on Saturday, head coach Romeo Crennel did not have to change much of his assessment of his team’s performance in a 27-17 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.

“After looking at it, it’s pretty much as I said last night, it was a good first half, second half needs work,” Crennel said Saturday afternoon. “I was pretty pleased that we won and the way we played the game.”

Beyond the fact the game does not register in the 2012 standings, Crennel thought winning was the best thing the team accomplished against the Cardinals.

“We are pleased that we won the game, and it was at home too; that was special for us,” Crennel said. “We have to understand and realize it was a pre-season game and doesn’t count. But to a degree it matters. With a young team if you can begin to develop the habit of winning, that can help you win when the regular season starts.

“It was a good first step; we have to continue to take those steps in the right direction to make us a good football team. This week we’ll go back to training camp and get in the training camp mode and mark ourselves better.” …Read More!

Chiefs Line Keys Offensive Success

The Chiefs 27-17 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Friday night at Arrowhead Stadium was unusual for several reasons.

Not the least of those factors was this: the last time the Chiefs scored 27 points or more in a pre-season game at Arrowhead was 1997, when they beat Carolina 30-10.

There were a lot of kudos handed out for the offense’s unusual pre-season performance, but one stands out more than the others – the play of the offensive line.

Whether it was the No. 1 group with two new starters in C Rodney Hudson and RT Eric Winston, or the No. 2 group that handled most of three quarters of play, the Chiefs blockers got the job done, and then some.

“I think overall we did a good job,” said Winston, getting his first game action in a Chiefs uniform. “There are plenty of corrections we’ll need to make, but that’s natural at this time of the year. We were able to perform at a level that the offense was successful.” …Read More!

Where’s Dwayne?

From Arrowhead Stadium

So what’s up with Chiefs franchise player WR Dwayne Bowe?

We know he was in Kansas City yesterday. A cameraman from KMBC-TV Channel 9 had video of Bowe arriving at KCI on Thursday and tweeted that he was in town to sign his franchise tender.

Just because Bowe got off a Delta flight from Atlanta on Friday does not mean he’s going to report to the Chiefs over the weekend. It also doesn’t mean he won’t report. Bowe needs to be somewhere, so he picked Friday to return to K.C.

It was all news to head coach Romeo Crennel.

“I wasn’t at the airport, so I don’t know if Dwayne was in town or not,” Crennel said. “I’ve just been working with the guys that have been here and getting them better. We made some plays in the receiving game. We missed some plays in the receiving game. We’ll work on that and go from there.”

Notes & Quotes: ACL Club Takes Another Step

From Arrowhead Stadium

On Friday night the all-important trio of RB Jamaal Charles, TE Tony Moeaki and SS Eric Berry took another step in their return from last year’s knee injuries. All three got playing time, probably just about what they would have gotten had they not been coming off injury and surgery.

Charles and Moeaki went through the first two offensive possessions with the other first-team starters. Berry worked four possessions with the first-team defense that bottled up the Arizona offense. Here are some numbers:

  • Charles – 3 carries for 12 yards and 1 catch for 11 yards. He was on the field for 8 of the 16 plays.
  • Moeaki – While he was not in the starting lineup, Moeaki did get 10 plays with the offense.
  • Berry – was in the starting lineup and played 14 plays with the starting defense. He had one tackle.

“All of us missed last year and it was great to be out there in front of our great fans,” Moeaki said. “I know I felt good. No problems.”

Moeaki did not have a ball thrown his way, but that was fine with him. He knew the running game was going well and he just went to blocking.

“That will come,” Moeaki said of the catches. “This offense is going to take advantage of all the skills of the guys on this team.”

Charles took a shot on his left knee during one of the four plays where he had the ball.

“I didn’t even notice that,” Charles said. “It just felt great to be out there and running in a real live game.”

A new threat at tight end

For one game at least, it wasn’t Moeaki or Kevin Boss leading the way among tight ends in catches.

It was last year’s OT, this year’s TE Steve Maneri.

By the time the game was over, he was the Chiefs leading receiver with 3 catches for 69 yards, including a pretty 28-yard catch that helped set up the team’s last touchdown.

A TE in college at Temple, Maneri said he felt very comfortable back at the position after the first play or two.

“There were some jitters to start,” Maneri said. “But once that passed it was fun to be back at that spot.”

That 28-yard catch was not an easy one, as he had to reach above his shoulders to catch the ball while on a full run. It’s a tough play for any tight end, no less than one that spent the last two years working at RT.

“I’m just doing the best I can to follow the routes and try and get open and make the catch,” Maneri said. “I know my strengths and I know my weaknesses and I’m working on those every day.”

Cardinals glad to be going home

They left home last Saturday, traveled to Canton, Ohio, then St. Joseph, Missouri and finally Kansas City. The Arizona Cardinals played as if they were road weary on Friday evening. A little too much room service and cafeteria meals was more than they could handle.

“I’m not going to make excuses for that; we’ve got to be able to do that,” head coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “We are better than that. I know it’s pre-season … this has been a long week, especially when capped off by the way we played tonight. We are going to work to get it fixed.”

Arizona had all sorts of offensive problems, including the inability to protect the quarterback. The Chiefs had seven sacks on the night, and with the exception of first-year RB William Powell, the Cardinals were not able to run the ball consistently. It left All-Pro WR Larry Fitzgerald with one catch on the night.

“It wasn’t pretty today by any stretch of the imagination,” Fitzgerald said. “I don’t know what it is with these slow starts. Obviously we need to get it fixed quickly. There were plays there to be had. Our offense is not executing.”

Notes & Quotes

Seven different players contributed sacks for the Chiefs defense – DE Brandon Bair, DE Jerome Long, NT Jerrell Powe, LB Cameron Sheffield, LB Edgar Jones, LB Justin Houston and LB Caleb Campbell . . . the Chiefs announced paid attendance of 64,212, but there was barely 45,000 in the stadium for the game. By half-time that total was cut in half . . . among the 84 players that were dressed for the Chiefs, three did not get on the field – QB Alex Tanney, LB Dexter Heyman and C Cam Holland . . . not dressed for the game were CB Brandon Flowers, DB Travis Daniels, FB Shane Bannon, DE Ethan Johnson and WR Junior Hemingway . . . the replacement officials were not really a factor in the game. There were two reviews, one on a challenge by Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel. That ended up getting the call changed and leading to the Chiefs gaining possession . . . the Chiefs were penalized six times, including two against rookie LT Donald Stephenson. Plus last year’s NFL leader in penalties, CB Stanford Routt was flagged for pass interference as he covered Fitzgerald.

Hillis Gets His Feet Wet In Red

From Arrowhead Stadium

Everybody was excited that Jamaal Charles was on the field Friday night, taking another step in his comeback from his serious knee injury/surgery of last year.

But by the time the Chiefs-Cardinals game was a quarter old, Peyton Hillis sucked away some of that excitement as he played his first game with the Chiefs.

It’s not a bad introduction to your new home stadium when you run 4 times for 41 yards, and catch one pass for 11 yards and a touchdown.

“I believe that I have to approach everything in a humble way,” Hillis said after the 27-17 victory over Arizona. “If I do that, everything would work out for me.”

Chapter No. 1 worked out very well. The Chiefs first-team offense was on the field for 16 plays and he got half of those. That included the first snap where both he and Charles were together in the backfield. He was also in the one-back and was also back there with FB Nate Eachus. That was the alignment when Hillis got his touchdown.

“It was a good call by Coach Daboll down there on the 11,” Hillis said. “It looked like zero coverage and my guy blitzed and the defensive end didn’t peel on me. I knew as soon as he blitzed that I was going to be wide open. Matt threw me the ball and it was an easy touchdown. Matt had a good read on it.”

Hillis had a good read on his role in the offense and how he can produce for Daboll.

“We have a lot of talent on this team, especially at the running back position,” Hillis said. “Whenever I get in there, I hope to do my best and hope to contribute to the team.”

Nothing Settled On No. 2 QB

From Arrowhead Stadium

Brady Quinn and Ricky Stanzi battled it out for the first time in game action to see just who might be the backup QB for the Chiefs this season.

If it had been a prize fight, it would have been declared a draw and no-decision. Neither Quinn nor Stanzi distinguished himself against the Arizona Cardinals, and afterwards they knew it and understood that more work was ahead.

“We are happy with the win as a team,” said Stanzi. “Tomorrow, we’ll do some evaluating of the film. There are obviously some things that we all have to correct.”

Said Quinn: “I don’t feel great about it. I wish we would have driven down and gotten a score. We had the ball in plus territory and couldn’t get it in.”

Quinn was the first off the bench. He entered the game late in the first quarter with 3 minutes, 13 seconds to play in the period. He carried the offense through the middle of the third quarter. Stanzi came on with 5 minutes, 52 seconds in the period and finished up the contest. Their passing numbers were:

QB

A

C

%

Yds

Avg

TD

INT

Rating

Brady Quinn

13

7

53.8

81

6.23

0

1

40.9

Ricky Stanzi

7

2

28.6

42

6.0

1

1

52.1

Here’s how it broke down by possessions:

  • Quinn – 5 possessions, 7 first downs, 3 punts, an interception and a FG, 113 net yards.
  • Stanzi – 5 possessions, 5 first downs, 2 punts, a TD, a FG, end of game and 120 net yards.

Quinn ran 3 times for 13 yards, while Stanzi ran 3 times for 7 yards.

It was his interception that bothered Quinn the most.

“My arm was hit when I released the ball and it sailed high,” Quinn said, of the pass picked off by Arizona CB Rashad Johnson. “We had penalties, miscues, things that stopped drives for us.”

Stanzi was happy with the scoring drive early in the fourth quarter when the defense forced a fumble by Cardinals QB Richard Bartel that the Chiefs recovered, thanks to a replay challenge by head coach Romeo Crennel. That gave them the ball inside Arizona territory and five plays later RB Cyrus Gray scored on a 7-yard TD run.

“We were looking to put a drive together, we had great field position thanks to our defense and special teams,” Stanzi said. “That was huge to get that good start and our guys responded very well.”

Chiefs Open With Strong Effort in 27-17 Victory

From Arrowhead Stadium

Any team trying to elevate itself from pretender to contender status needs positive feedback along the way to prove their hard work has dividends.

The Chiefs got that Friday night at a half-empty Arrowhead Stadium, in a 27-17 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. They took control of this game early, winning the toss, accepting the kickoff and scoring a pair of touchdowns and a field goal on their first four possessions.

“You always start with a clean slate when the regular season starts,” said head coach Romeo Crennel. “But if you have a young team, being able to win some games helps their attitude, helps their preparation and then it can bode well going into the regular season.”

Consider this: it’s the most impressive opening pre-season game performance by the team since 2001, when in the first night of the Dick Vermeil Era they beat Washington 20-0 at Arrowhead Stadium. Now that ’01 team went 6-10 in the regular season, reaffirming the notion that it’s tough to translate August victories into a roster that’s going to eventually win more games than it loses.

On this night, the first teams were very good in their execution and performance. The first offense gained 122 yards on 16 plays, while the No. 1 defense allowed 43 yards on 14 plays.

“It feels good to win in front of our home crowd even if it is a pre-season game,” said QB Matt Cassel. “I’m proud of how we came out tonight and performed.”

Offense is what the Chiefs wanted to see in the first game, so much so that when the coin toss went their way, rather than defer and put their defense on the field first, Crennel had his captains claim the ball and receive the kickoff. CB Javier Arenas brought it out of the end zone for a 31-yard return to the Chiefs 28-yard line.

Cassel came out on the first possession and the offense methodically moved down the field. There were no big plays on the way, just some dink and dunk passes and solid running plays as they racked up five first downs. One of those came on a 4th-and-1 play where Cassel picked up the first down himself on a sneak up the middle.

Helped by a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty against Arizona, they were 1st-and-10 at the Cardinals 20-yard line. Peyton Hillis ran for 7 yards, Jamaal Charles for 2 yards, and then on 3rd-and-1, the Arizona defense sent a blitz. Hillis was wide open in the left flat, as his cover man went on the blitz. Cassel dropped it out of Hillis and he scored untouched. Ryan Succop’s PAT kick gave the Chiefs a 7-0 lead.

Four plays for the Arizona offense led to a punt and the Chiefs took over at their 28-yard line. This time, Cassel and the offense dialed up the big plays. He threw short left to Charles for 11 yards, Hillis broke over left guard for 29 yards and Cassel and WR Dexter McCluster hooked up for 20 yards to the Arizona 4-yard line. That’s where RB Shaun Draughn went over right tackle for a TD and Succop’s PAT made it 14-0.

That’s also when the offensive starters retired for the evening.

“Coach Daboll does a great job of impressing on the guys about technique and fundamentals, and just doing your job,” Cassel said. “It comes down to being a professional. The way he does that, everybody buys in and the way he came in here tonight and called the game, it was great.”

Added Crennel: “As a play caller you want to be able to get into a rhythm and I thought he was able to get there. He knew what he wanted to call, he knew what the opponent was giving us and he knew how to take advantage of that. As a result we were pretty efficient.”

But the first-team defense stayed on the field for two more possessions and in three plays the Arizona offense went for minus-8 yards. The next time the Cardinals had the ball QB John Skelton’s pass for WR Larry Fitzgerald was picked off by Chiefs S Abram Elam and then returned 37 yards to the Arizona 37-yard line.

The second offense led by QB Brady Quinn with help from a pass interference penalty against the Cardinals had 1st-and-goal at the Arizona 2-yard line. They lost two yards on three plays and settled for a 22-yard FG from Succop that pushed the scoreboard to 17-0.

That’s when the defensive starters left the field. But once all the top players were on the sidelines, the second and third teams did not give the game away. In the third quarter they added a 24-yard FG and then put 10 points on the board in the fourth quarter, with a nice 7-yard TD run by rookie RB Cyrus Gray and a 24-yard FG from Succop.

Arizona managed just a 40-yard FG by K Jay Feeley at the end of the first half and then a 2-yard TD run early in the third quarter by RB William Powell. That score was set up when the 5-9 Powell got loose for the longest play of the night, a 67-yard run.

They added a fourth-quarter score when QB Richard Bartel connected with WR Jaymar Johnson for an 18-yard TD pass. The PAT kick sealed the final at 27-17.

In a span of six days the Cardinals are already 0-2 for the pre-season spending the last week on the road in Canton, St. Joseph and Kansas City. Their performance was lackluster at best. The Chiefs walked away with a victory, something to build on with another week to go in the Joe before heading cross-state to play the Rams in St. Louis this coming Saturday.

“Moving forward we know we have a lot of work to do,” said Cassel. “But it was a heck of a start.”

Chiefs Open Pre-Season With Solid Performance


From Arrowhead Stadium

As pre-season openers go, it was a fine night for the Chiefs as they kicked off the 2012 exhibition schedule with a 27-17 victory over the visiting Arizona Cardinals.

What matters most in these games that don’t count in the standings was the performance of the starters and the Chiefs got very good play from their No. 1 offense and defense, going up 17-0 before retiring for the evening.

Here’s what we’ve got in our coverage of Friday night’s game:

Column: A Nice Way To Start


From Arrowhead Stadium

That was a script that Romeo Crennel and the Chiefs needed, wanted and had to have.

The final score was 27-17, but what counted was the first quarter score of 14-0 as the Chiefs first-team offense and defense looked in great form against an Arizona team that looked like it had been away from home too long.

What mattered most was the Chiefs won the game. It doesn’t count in the standings and the outcome did nothing to help their dreams of the playoffs and championships. They remain a pretender, not a contender. Still, a victory is a victory is a victory, no matter when it’s played and achieved.

Crennel and his staff will return to St. Joseph in the next two days and by the time the players report Sunday evening, they’ll have sliced and diced the tape to show the players the mistakes they made. But that’s always an easier job to do when it’s after a victory.

Rewards in pro football are not only handed out the pay window and in the adulation of the public. It comes with busting a hump in the oven that’s been Missouri Western State University and coming through it with one for the left column in the standings.

The most surprising element of the night was the K.C. offense. Through two weeks of camp, Brian Daboll’s group had been wildly inconsistent and there were some obvious growing pains as they adapted to the new scheme. Yet Friday evening, they ran the offense like they’ve been doing it for years.

Now, let’s remember there was no game-plan on either side of the ball or for either team. This was just basic football, plays they had run in camp probably two dozen times. But in this case they worked. If you follow the premise that a positive offensive play is one that gained 4 yards or more, or moved the sticks for a first down, then the first-team offense had 13 positive plays out of their 16 snaps. That’s a great ratio.

Plus, they scored two touchdowns, one on a pass (QB Matt Cassel to RB Peyton Hillis for 11 yards) and the other on a running play (RB Shaun Draughn from 4 yards.) Two touchdowns in 16 plays is not a scoring pace the Chiefs offense has shown since Vermeil’s Flying Circus left town.

The Chiefs ran the ball for 55 yards, passed for 67 yards, picked up another 15 yards on an Arizona penalty and nine first downs. Again, all from a vanilla game plan that showed us just enough of what Daboll plans for this group. The running backs were and will be a big part of the passing game, as Hillis and Jamaal Charles each caught passes for 11 yards. There’s no question that WR Dexter McCluster is going to get his best opportunity to date to be a productive offensive player; he was on the field for seven of the 16 plays, always lined up in the slot, either left or right. He caught 3 passes for 45 yards.

Somewhere in Kansas City, WR Dwayne Bowe was watching and waiting. He would have done a lot of both had he been in uniform Friday night. Starting WRs Steve Breaston and Jon Baldwin had one ball thrown in their direction, and that was wiped out by a penalty.

Against a vanilla defense, Cassel was touched one time. It could have been a brutal play, when Cardinals NT Dan Williams went low and hit Cassel on the knee. As he was doing the TV broadcast of the game, Trent Green had to cringe, because it was very reminiscent of the play where his knee got blown up in the 1999 pre-season that led to the ascension of QB Kurt Warner.

It’s an offensive script that Crennel had to be very happy to see. Just as happy as he was with his first-team defense, that was on the field for 14 plays and allowed just 43 yards and forced a turnover when S Abram Elam grabbed a throw by Arizona QB John Skelton that was intended for WR Larry Fitzgerald.

The defense allowed just 15 rushing yards and 28 yards through the air, with the interception and a sack by OLB Justin Houston. They spent most of their time in the base 3-4 defense and they were able to get the job done in fine fashion.

Again, it’s one Friday in August and nobody should be giddy enough to be considering hotel accommodations in New Orleans for the first week of February.

But for an opening game, it was about as good as the Chiefs could have hoped for . . . it was a nice start.

Chiefs Cardinals Pre-Game Scene


From Arrowhead Stadium

6:30 p.m. – The playing surface at Arrowhead looks immaculate – kudos to Andre Bruce and his hard working crew. It will be a fast track tonight. Enjoy the game. We’ll start posting stories after the game and through the night. Check back often.

6:25 p.m. – Very late arriving – or maybe not arriving – crowd tonight. Just over 30 minutes until kickoff and there’s plenty of parking still available in the prime lots around the stadium. Traffic is moving on the highway without any problems and there’s no back-up at Blue Ridge Cutoff or on I-435 South.

6:15 p.m. – In pre-game stretching both teams have 84 players dressed for action this evening. It will be a chore for head coaches Romeo Crennel and Ken Whisenhunt to make sure all 84 of their players actually gets on the field at some point.

6:10 p.m. – Add DB Travis Daniels (leg) to the list of inactive Chiefs players tonight. Also, Arizona QB Kevin Kolb is dressed and warming up and apparently will play.

6:05 p.m. – The Chiefs have 11 duplicate numbers in tonight’s game, with players on both offense and defense sharing their digits. They are No. 32, 38, 42, 45, 48, 49, 60, 66, 70, 71 and 77. It’s a spotters nightmare. The Cardinals have just two duplicate numbers, 31 and 48.

6:00 p.m. – John Skelton will start at quarterback for the Cardinals in a move that was designated before the pre-season began. Kevin Kolb opened in the Hall of Fame Game, but was injured, suffering bruised ribs. His status for tonight’s game remains unknown.

5:55 p.m. – Punters and kickers out working early. Working as returners for the Chiefs are WR Terrance Copper, RB Shaun Draughn, CB Mikail Baker and RB Cyrus Gray.

5:45 p.m. – In the pre-season the teams do not have to declare any players inactive. From what head coach Romeo Crennel said on Wednesday, it’s likely that CB Brandon Flowers (foot), WR Junior Hemingway (groin), FB Shane Bannon (abdomen) and DL Ethan Johnson will not play.

5:40 p.m. – Over the last few years the Chiefs QBs and receivers would be out two hours ahead of kickoff, going through an organized throwing session. That must have been the idea of former head coach Todd Haley because there’s been no throwing session so far, less than 90 minutes before kickoff. Right now, just kickers and a few players taking an early stretch are on the playing surface.

5:35 p.m. – After the inferno summer the Midwest has experienced, the weather Friday night is sensational for football. Sunny skies, no chance of rain, wind out of the north at about 5 mph. Temperatures at kickoff are expected to be in the low 80s, with humidity at 25 percent.

5:31 p.m. – KMBC-TV Channel 9 is reporting on its website that WR Dwayne Bowe is in town to sign his tender offer and report to the Chiefs. No offense to the cameraman who reported this because apparently Bowe was seen at KCI Airport getting off a flight from Atlanta. But flying to KC and signing his tender offer are two very different things. Stay tuned.

5:30 p.m. – Good evening from Arrowhead Stadium and the start of the 2012 NFL pre-season for the Chiefs. Kickoff is just after 7 o’clock.

Replacement Officials For Chiefs-Cardinals

From Arrowhead Stadium

The real NFL officials continue to be locked out by the league, so the Chiefs and Cardinals will play tonight with a group of officials scrapped together from the small college and high school ranks.

Here’s the group and what we can tell you about them:

Referee – Ken Roan, is out of Texas and has worked Texas high school games as well as college games in the Lone Star Conference. He’s also president-elect of the football side of the Texas Association of Sports Officials.

Umpire – Tim Morris was apparently fired by the Pac-12 earlier this year after 16 years of working BCS action. He was part of the crew that worked the Hall of Fame Game last week.

Head linesman – Kevin Akin has six years of experience at the Division II level in the Mid-America Conference. He’s also worked indoor football. He was part of the Hall of Fame Game crew.

Line judge – Eric Hoffman unknown background.

Field judge – Brian Burkhart is a high school official out of Texas.

Side judge – Dwayne Strozier has 12 years of experience in the Division III and junior college ranks. He’s from Michigan and worked the Hall of Fame Game.

Back judge – Mike Varner is a high school official out of California.

How Important Is Winning? … Game-Day Cup O’Chiefs

The Chiefs kickoff their four-game pre-season schedule Friday evening hosting the Arizona Cardinals at Arrowhead Stadium.

Kickoff is 7 p.m., and while the game is not sold out, it can be seen live on numerous stations around the Midwest, including KCTV-Channel 5 in the Kansas City area.

Long ago it was established not only by the Chiefs, but by all their NFL brethren that victory in these exhibition games does not translate into victories in the regular season.

Last year there were a dozen teams that finished the regular season with a winning record. Only 6 of those 12 teams had a winning record in the pre-season. Atlanta went 0-4 in the pre-season, but 10-6 in the regular season.

And there were 10 teams that had winning records in last year’s pre-season and 6 finished with a regular season record over the .500 mark. St. Louis was 4-0 in the pre-season last year and went 2-14 in the real games. Washington was 3-1, but then went 5-11.

So, while winning games like this one Friday night do not set in stone a team’s performance for the regular season, it sure can help, especially when a franchise has not won many games in recent years.

Again, consider that in the five seasons played since the Chiefs made the playoffs in the 2006 season, their record in pre-season, regular season and one post-season game is 30-71, a .297 winning percentage. Even in the last two seasons with an AFC West title in 2010, they are 18-23, a .439 winning percentage. …Read More!

Day-Before-Game Snacks To Enjoy

A few items and quotes from the notebook as the Chiefs leave St. Joseph for a few days to return to the city for pre-season game No. 1 on Friday night against Arizona.

Poe-Mania on hold in the Joe

Say this for Romeo Crennel – he’s not going to baby his rookies, especially his first-round draft choice.

The Chiefs head coach was asked the other day about Dontari Poe.

Has Dontari Poe met your expectations thus far going into camp?

“My rookie expectations, yes,” Crennel answered.

What does he need to work on?

“A lot. He needs to work on technique; he needs to work on understanding the system. He needs to get the calls correct all the time. He’s got a ways to go.”

After practice on Wednesday, Poe was not disputing what his head coach had to say. …Read More!

Jalil Brown Dreams of Gold


From St. Joseph, Missouri

This has been an exciting week for Chiefs CB Jalil Brown, and not all of the fun is tied to football.

Yes, he’s getting increased chances to play, moving into the first-team defense in place of the injured Brandon Flowers (foot). He has impressed the coaching staff with improvement from his rookie season when he barely played on defense, while making big contributions on special teams.

On Tuesday he got to work against his hometown team, the Arizona Cardinals, and he went head-to-head several times with All-Pro WR Larry Fitzgerald and held his own.

Adding to Brown’s excitement this week is the 2012 Summer Olympic Games from London, and more specifically the 100 meters and 200 meters races. As a kid growing up on the south side of the Phoenix sprawl, he did not dream of playing in the NFL and Super Bowls. Brown dreamed of running the 100 and 200 meters and longed to do it in the Summer Olympics.

“That’s my sport, that’s what’s really in my heart,” Brown said this week at Missouri Western State University, after another opportunity to get more practice snaps in with the No. 1 defense. “When I was a kid I wanted to run track and get to the Olympics. There’s still a little twinge of regret there that I was not able to do that.

“Listen, I’m happy being here and being in the NFL, but track is my first love and you don’t ever fall out of love with your first love.”

As a fourth and fifth grader, Brown was pushed towards track by his mother and father. John and Chalette Brown were both high school sprinters and John Brown spent a year running track at Arizona State. …Read More!

Is it Camp or Romeo’s Hideaway? … Thursday Cup O’Camp

From St. Joseph, Missouri

The Chiefs will return to Arrowhead Stadium on Thursday for a day-before the game practice. Those types of practices are usually the most quiet workouts of any given football week.

As they do so, they leave Missouri Western State University after two full weeks of work and they’ve not done something almost every other team in the league has dealt with at some point or another. The Chiefs have not had a single fight. No dust-ups on the practice field. There has been no pushing and shoving after plays out of the frustration of familiarity. Teammates have not had to be separated at any point because of anger. With the broiling heat that has been St. Joe this summer and even the presence for one practice of another team, there has been nothing.

I’m telling you, there’s something just not right about a training camp without a fight!

“I think there were a couple times since we’ve been here when it was close,” said veteran RT Eric Winston. “But guys just moved on and got ready for the next play. Sometimes it just has to happen to relieve some tension that’s built up between guys, but really the whole fight thing in camp is rather silly.

“This team is filled with a lot of guys that are very professional in their approach to the game.”

A good fight is part of the training-camp culture. Look at the New York Jets, a team that had so many fights during the last few days of camp that old-school head coach Rex Ryan finally put his foot down and told his team no more (see above.) …Read More!

Training Camp Practice Report – 8/8

From St. Joseph, Missouri

  • Days in camp – 13. Practices – 11. Practices in Pads – 9.
  • Weather – Sunny skies with temperatures in the high 90s and 40 percent humidity.
  • Players on roster – 90. Players taking part in practice – 84.
  • Not practicing/injury – CB Brandon Flowers (foot), DL Ethan Johnson (head), FB Shane Bannon (abdominal), WR Junior Hemingway (groin), CB Travis Daniels (unknown). Not in camp – WR Dwayne Bowe (no contract).

The day-after Tuesday’s practice against the Cardinals, the Chiefs hit the field and worked with themselves on Wednesday afternoon. It was a bit of a letdown and there was a feeling of putting in the time for this practice.

The coaches worked on a lot of situational plays with the first game now less than 48 hours away. In all three phases of the game, but especially on offense and special teams, the Chiefs were reminded of fundamentals and how to handle the oddities that sometimes pop up in pre-season games.

Here are some observations: …Read More!

A Different Take on Dwayne Bowe Situation

From St. Joseph, Missouri

As one of three players in the NFL that’s “holding out” Dwayne Bowe continues to be the subject of attention, especially from the media.

This week we’ve had a number of media outlets reporting Bowe will report to the Chiefs in the first week of the regular season. Whether there’s any information that’s new is doubtful at this point. The media is trying to use financial logic, figuring Bowe will not give up any of the 17 game checks coming his way once the regular season starts. Those checks will be something close to $558,800 per game.

ESPN.com‘s Jeffri Chadiha posted about the Bowe situation this week that we think it’s a view worth reading.

Here it is.

A Few Thoughts From Chiefs-Cardinals Practice

From St. Joseph, Missouri

If the only thing Tuesday’s practice with the Arizona Cardinals did was break the monotony of training camp for the Chiefs then the effort was worthwhile.

Certainly, nothing memorable came from the 2-hour-plus session as these teams worked to improve, rather than show off or try to prove their manhood and domination over fellow NFL players.

About the only mental pictures that a nice crowd at Missouri Western State University took away from the practice was a pair of wide receivers from the University of Pittsburgh – Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald and Jon Baldwin of the Chiefs. They were the stars of the day.

Fitzgerald’s participation looked to be monitored closely by the Cardinals and he did not appear to take a regular turn. Coach Ken Whisenhunt is going to do everything in his power to make sure he takes his No. 11 into the regular season as healthy as possible, so extra work on August 7 wasn’t necessary. …Read More!

Training Camp Practice Report – 8/7

From St. Joseph, Missouri

  • Days in camp – 12. Practices – 10. Practices in Pads – 8.
  • Weather – Sunny skies with temperatures near 100 degrees and 30 percent humidity.
  • Players on roster – 90. Players taking part in practice – 85.
  • Not practicing/injury – CB Brandon Flowers (foot), DL Ethan Johnson (head), FB Shane Bannon (abdominal), WR Junior Hemingway (groin). Not in camp – WR Dwayne Bowe (no contract).

As Romeo Crennel promised, the afternoon between the Chiefs and Arizona Cardinals on Tuesday was a practice. It was not a full-scale scrimmage. It did not turn into a rumble. It was two teams holding practice on two fields, with intermingled units, but no full contact.

And what we saw was a Chiefs team that was slightly better than the Cardinals right now. That’s how it should have been given that both teams did not make the playoffs last season and finished within a game of each other (Chiefs 7-9, Cardinals 8-8) with their final records.

The Chiefs defense was the best unit on the field, followed by the Cardinals defense, Chiefs offense and then Arizona’s offense. While K.C. offense has been struggling in camp, they have a solid quarterback and playmakers in WRs Steve Breaston and Jon Baldwin. The Cardinals did not use injured QB Kevin Kolb and other than All-Pro WR Larry Fitzgerald and TE Todd Heap, they have no proven offensive performers. QBs John Skelton, Richard Bartel and Ryan Lindley did not throw the ball well at all.

Here are some of our observations. Unfortunately in this practice we are but one set of eyes and so we did not get a chance to really see much of each team’s offensive and defensive lines going against each other. …Read More!

Cowboys Ga-Ga Over Carr

At the Dallas Cowboys training camp in Oxnard, California, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan was asked about one of his newest players – former Chiefs CB Brandon Carr.

The Cowboys signed Carr on the first day of unrestricted free agency back in March to a 5-year, $50 million contract. The Chiefs chose not to get involved in negotiations at that price after failing to sign Carr during last season before he reached free agency.

After working with Carr in the off-season and now training camp, Ryan proclaimed Carr to be the top free-agent of 2012, and that includes QB Peyton Manning and DE/LB Mario Williams.

“He was the best player in free agency, by far, not even close,” said Ryan as reported by the Dallas Morning News. “This guy has been everything we expected. He’s a leader, he helps the other guys around him and the other thing is he’s a tough kid. He’s given us everything we wanted as a team. We need smart and tough, and that’s exactly what he is and he’s competitive. You see him knocking receivers off the line of scrimmage.

“This guy’s not nervous about playing under the big lights. He’s here in Dallas. It is a different world here. Everything you do is scrutinized, but this guy won’t flinch. I can promise you that.”

Carr and the Cowboys open up their pre-season schedule on Monday night in Oakland against the Raiders. The game will be on ESPN.

Chiefs-Cardinals Practice

From St. Joseph, Missouri

The Chiefs and Arizona Cardinals will practice together Tuesday afternoon at 3:15 p.m.

It’s a practice, not a scrimmage. Fans may be disappointed these teams aren’t going to knock heads on a full-scale, game-line basis. But there will be plenty of one-one-one action and the No. 1 units will be going against each other, although there is not expected to be any contact. Sometimes that’s hard to stop however.

There is a $5 admission fee for the practice that will go down on the practice fields north of Spratt Stadium. Kids under 3 years old are free. Parking will remain $5 for the day.

Chiefs players will sign autographs after practice..

If attending, prepare for heat. Temperatures expected back into the high 90s with plenty of sunshine this afternoon. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

The Depth Chart Look . . . Tuesday Cup O’Camp

From St. Joseph, Missouri

Generally, there’s nothing more useless than the depth chart of an NFL team. One play, one injury, one suspension and it’s obsolete. Often, the listing of players isn’t even generated by the coaching staff; rather it comes from the public relations department.

How the Chiefs put their position listings together for the first time in this pre-season really isn’t important. Where there’s real information is watching practice day-after-day and seeing what players are getting reps and what players are doing more watching than actually getting on the field. Even in camp, that’s not always a sure-fire indicator because coaching staffs are always working on something to help them analyze and evaluate their players, making today’s plan obsolete tomorrow.

But after watching every one of the camp walkthroughs and practices, there are some personnel items to report. As they get ready to work against the Arizona Cardinals on Tuesday, here’s what we’ve seen and what players are getting the best opportunities to impress the coaches and make the squad.

Offense

The No. 1 offense isn’t so much 11 players, as it is 14: …Read More!

2012 Chiefs Depth Chart

OFFENSE

WR 15 Steve  Breaston         22 Dexter McCluster     8 Josh Bellamy            19 Devon Wylie          13 Aaron Weaver     5 Zeke Markshausen

LT 76 Branden Albert         79 Donald Stephenson

LG 65 Ryan Lilja                    71 Jeff Allen                    67 Rich Ranglin

C 61 Rodney Hudson            77 Lucas Patterson         60 Rob Bruggeman        68 Cam Holland

RG 73 Jon Asamoah              66 Darryl Harris               75 Justin Cheadle

RT 74 Eric Winston              70 David Mims                    64 Ray Willis

TE 80 Kevin Boss                   81 Tony Moeaki                    87 Steve Maneri              85 Jake O’Connell            48 Tim Biere

WR 89 Jon Baldwin              10 Terrance Copper       84 Jamar Newsome       11 Jeremy Horne              17 Brandon Kinnie 

                                                                                                                                                                                                    88 Junior Hemingway

QB 7 Matt Cassel                    9 Brady Quinn                   12 Ricky Stanzi                 4 Alex Tanney

FB 38 Shane Bannon            49 Patrick DiMarco

RB 25 Jamaal Charles          40 Peyton Hillis              32 Shaun Draughn             42 Cyrus Gray                  45 Nate Eachus

 

DEFENSE

RDE 72 Glenn Dorsey              99 Amon Gordon           90 Brandon Bair             70 Ethan Johnson

NT 98 Anthony Toribio          92 Dontari Poe               95 Jerrell Powe

LDE 94 Tyson Jackson              77 Ropati Pitoitua       97 Allen Bailey           60 Jerome Long

ROLB 91 Tamba Hali               55 Cameron Sheffield     71 Edgar Jones

RILB 56 Derrick Johnson         93 Cory Greenwood     66 Leon Williams

LILB 59 Jovan Belcher              52 Brandon Siler            57 Caleb Campbell     53 Dexter Heyman

LOLB 50 Justin Houston         96 Andy Studebaker     51 Gabe Miller

RCB 26 Stanford Routt            21 Javier Arenas            49 De’Quan Menzie       38 Neiko Thorpe          39 Mikail Baker

LCB 24 Brandon Flowers         30 Jalil Brown               35 Jacques Reeves         48 Chandler Fenner

FS 23 Kendrick Lewis               34 Travis Daniels          27 Donald Washington   46 Tysyn Hartman    45 Dominique Ellis

SS 29 Eric Berry                         32 Abram Elam                42 Jean Fanor                     31 Terrance Parks

 SPECIALISTS

P 2 Dustin Colquitt                  14 Matt Szymanski

K 6 Ryan Succop                        14 Matt Szymanski

KO 6 Ryan Succop                    14 Matt Szymanski

PC 43 Thomas Gafford            93 Cory Greenwood     96 Andy Studebaker

KC 43 Thomas Gafford            93 Cory Greenwood     96 Andy Studebaker

H 2 Dustin Colquitt                  9 Brady Quinn                12 Ricky Stanzi

PR 21 Javier Arenas               22 Dexter McCluster     19 Devon Wylie

KR 21 Javier Arenas              22 Dexter McCluster      19 Devon Wylie

Training Camp Practice Report – 8/6

From St. Joseph, Missouri

  • Days in camp – 11.
  • Practices – 9.
  • Practices in Pads – 7.
  • Weather – Sunny skies, light wind, temperatures in high 80s, with humidity at 40 percent. It was cooking out there, but for this camp it was one of the best weather days so far.
  • Players on roster – 90.
  • Players taking part in practice – 85.
  • Not practicing/injury – CB Brandon Flowers (foot), DL Ethan Johnson (head), FB Shane Bannon (abdominal), WR Junior Hemingway (groin).
  • Practicing for the first time – FB Chris DiMarco and DB Jacques Reeves.
  • Not in camp – WR Dwayne Bowe (no contract).

We didn’t watch the one-on-one pass protection and instead concentrated on the 7-on-7 passing drill. It was a mixed bag with all three quarterbacks in throwing the ball. Starter Matt Cassel opened with a deep pass to WR Steve Breaston in the end zone that was right on the money. Breaston went up and caught the ball with Brown in coverage, but he lost it when he was about to hit the ground. Overall in his segment Cassel was 3 of 6, the other incompletions was another drop, this by RB Peyton Hillis and a ball that went through WR Jon Baldwin’s hands. Brady Quinn was working with the No. 2 offense and went 4 of 5 with the only incompletion being a drop on a deep ball by WR Jeremy Horne who ran a great route and was wide open. Horne has been dropping too many passes. Ricky Stanzi was 2 of 4, missing WR Brandon Kinnie who was wide open on a deep pass. Stanzi overthrew him by 5 yards.

Overall, the offense was not impressive in the 7-on-7. …Read More!

A Little Red Beans & Chiefs For Monday

From St. Joseph, Missouri

From down Louisiana way one of the requisites for a Monday lunch or dinner is red beans and rice. In New Orleans it’s a favored way of soaking up and cleansing whatever alcohol remains in the system from the weekend festivities.

So it seems appropriate that as another week in training camp starts at Missouri Western State University, we bubble up some notes and quotes from the notebook. Enjoy.

The renaissance in punting

There was a time, and it wasn’t long ago, when NFL punters could not crack one barrier – a 40-yard net average for the season.

Now, it’s become common please. Last year nine NFL punters had net averages of more than 40 yards. The league’s net average reached 38.8 yards. Here’s the growth:

  • 2005 – 0 punters with 40-yard net average.
  • 2006 – 0 punters.
  • 2007 – 2 punters.
  • 2008 – 4 punters.
  • 2009 – 6 punters.
  • 2010 – 3 punters.
  • 2011 – 9 punters.

So why have punters become some much more effective in such a short period of time? New Chiefs special teams coach Tom McMahon (right) points to more opportunities and more football specialization.

“In my opinion it comes from the directional ability of some of these punters,” McMahon said. “The other thing is that it is no different from seven on seven leagues, which started 10 years ago. There are punting camps now. Back 10 to 15 years ago, kids in high school were fullbacks and stuff, but now there are true punters and true kickers that are coming out.

“There are some good soccer players, that coaches go out and steal, and they do a good job. That is where the development occurred in my opinion.” …Read More!

A Note About All The Chiefs . . . Monday Cup O’Camp


From St. Joseph, Missouri

The Chiefs jumped over the halfway point of their stay here at Missouri Western State University with their practice on Saturday afternoon. They’ll be back on the field Monday, work with the Arizona Cardinals on Tuesday, practice Wednesday and then head back to Kansas City for the pre-season opener.

There have been 8 walkthroughs, 8 practices with 6 in pads. It’s not close to a full sample, so providing diagnosis on the roster and where this team is at remains a fluid proposition.

But here’s a comment on all 90 players, with *** for roster locks, ** for guys fighting for a spot and * for those guys likely on the outside. They are listed in alphabetical order:

LT Branden Albert – He has looked like the same Albert we saw last year. ***

OL Jeff Allen – Rookie’s done a good job transitioning to guard. He can play. ***

CB Javier Arenas – So far, he’s more active defensively than previous camps. ***

RG Jon Asamoah – He’s practiced where he left off at 16 starts in ’11. *** …Read More!

A Good Player + Good Coach = Hall of Fame

As the Chiefs prepared for the 1995 NFL Draft they were holding meetings to talk about the prospects with various assistant coaches that had been sent out to work out and study players at their position.

Then offensive coordinator Paul Hackett was assigned a report on University of Pittsburgh running back Curtis Martin. Before joining the Chiefs in 1993, Hackett had been the head coach of the Panthers in what were Martin’s freshman and sophomore seasons. He had been part of the recruiting process that got Martin to stay home in Pittsburgh rather than accept a scholarship to any number of other top programs.

Hackett’s report was not good. He questioned Martin’s focus, intensity and toughness, and he doubted that he would have any type of NFL career. The Chiefs ended up making a first-round trade down to pick No. 31, where Martin could have been a consideration. But Hackett’s lack of support pushed him down the board. The Chiefs made one of the worst first round draft picks in club history, taking OT Trezelle Jenkins out of Michigan. They didn’t have a choice again until No. 81 in the third round.

It was the New England Patriots that drafted Martin with a third-rounder, the 74th choice.

The rest of the story that we learned over the weekend is this – Martin basically agreed with Hackett’s characterization of his thoughts about football and the future. …Read More!

Dawson’s Big Weekend in Canton

During the festivities over the weekend at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, Len Dawson was honored with the Pete Rozelle Radio & Television Award for excellence in broadcasting involving pro football.

Dawson received the award on Friday evening during the annual Enshrinees Dinner at the Canton Civic Center. He is the third man who has been honored with the gold jacket of induction into the Hall of Fame as a player, and then the Rozelle Award for his broadcasting career. The others were Frank Gifford and Dan Dierdorf.

The weekend also marked the 25th anniversary of Dawson’s induction into the Hall back in 1987.

It was a big weekend in Canton for Dawsons – below that’s Len with Dermontti, that’s 2012 Hall of Fame inductee Dermontti Dawson, former Steelers center.

P-I-T-O-I-T-U-A Pushes For Spot … Sunday Cup O’Camp

From St. Joseph, Missouri

His was a free agent addition that drew little or no attention in the Chiefs Nation. Back in May, the Chiefs signed unrestricted free agent DE Ropati Pitoitua. His name looks more like an eye test at the doctor’s office than a guy who can help Romeo Crennel’s defense.

Then, there’s pronouncing his name; it ain’t easy. It’s Roe-pot-ti on the first name. The last name is Pito-it-two-ah. If Dick Vermeil was still here as head coach, he would be known simply as good old No. 77.

Pitoitua is starting to draw attention for the way he’s playing defensive end. After being fairly quiet in the first week, his play is now showing up in more of the drills. He’s a hard man to miss at 6-8, 315 pounds, but he’s shown he’s not just a big body. He’s got a powerful pass rush that sometimes overwhelms the backup linemen he faces in one-on-one drills. That’s why he’s now gotten some practice snaps against the first offensive line.

“I think he’s going to be able to compete and help us from a depth standpoint,” Crennel said of the Pitoitua. “He has great height. He’s a strong guy. He’s got some surprising quickness for a big guy like that, and as soon as he learns the way we play (techniques), I think that he will be more effective.” …Read More!

Training Camp Practice Report – 8/4


From St. Joseph, Missouri

A re-take of that old saying goes that Rome’s offense was not built in a day. The Chiefs offense can certainly understand that. Saturday afternoon was Family Fun Day at Missouri Western State University as the Chiefs put in their final practice of the week with a session of 2-plus hours in front of a large crowd at Spratt Stadium.

It was not pretty day for the new offense of Brian Daboll. Earlier in the day, head coach Romeo Crennel had allowed that his offense has been inconsistent through training camp to date. That continued in this workout as the offense struggled to get any big plays, or put balls in the end zone. Desperate to jump start his group, Daboll worked a couple of Wildcat plays into the script, but two direct snaps to WR Dexter McCluster did not produce big plays.

Here are the afternoon tidbits followed by practice observations.

  • Days in camp – 10.
  • Practices – 8.
  • Practices in Pads – 6.
  • Weather – Mostly sunny skies with temperatures in the high 80s and the humidity at 59 percent.
  • Players on roster – 90.
  • Players taking part in practice – 82.
  • Not practicing/injury – CB Brandon Flowers (foot), DL Ethan Johnson (head), FB Shane Bannon (abdominal), WR Junior Hemingway (groin), LB Brandon Siler (ankle).
  • Not practicing/NFL rules – FB Chris DiMarco and DB Jacques Reeves (who finally showed up at camp on Friday, after missing the first week dealing with a family issue. Both players will be in pads on Monday afternoon.
  • Not in camp – WR Dwayne Bowe (no contract).
  • Returned to camp – DB Donald Washington (he missed Friday). …Read More!

Zebra Affairs Hang Over NFL . . . Saturday Cup O’Camp


From St. Joseph, Missouri

Two headlines in the NFL from Friday:

1. Cleveland Browns sold for a price north of $1 billion.

2. NFL replacement officials on field Sunday night for Hall of Fame Game.

It’s almost impossible to wrap one’s arms around these two stories and think they are generated by the same business.

But at a time when one of the recently less successful franchises in the NFL that does business in one of those struggling cities of the Rust Belt goes for more than a billion dollars, the rest of the NFL owners seem willing to compromise the integrity of the on-field product in a labor dispute with the game officials.

The league locked out their officials on June 3rd and began the process of finding replacement zebras. On its face alone that’s problematic. But it became even tougher when all the biggest conferences in college football refused to allow their officials to also work NFL games on Sunday.

So the NFL turned to small college and Arena League officials, recently retired whistle blowers and any other live body that might be able to run up and down the field without stroking out.

A group of five officials arrived several days ago here in the Joe and have been at Chiefs practices the past two days. …Read More!

A Few Thoughts on Hall of Fame Weekend

From St. Joseph, Missouri

I wish that dateline above read Canton, Ohio rather than the Joe, because this is Hall of Fame weekend and so much of the pro football world will be in Canton for this year’s inductions.

Being a voting member of the Hall’s Board of Selectors I’m very familiar with all of this year’s inductees, haven taken part in the voting that began last October. The process took approximately 150 names and whittled them down to the six men that will be inducted on Saturday.

I wish I could be there to see former Saints-Chiefs OT Willie Roaf enter the Hall. He’s the first part of that great Chiefs offensive line from the last decade to get his ticket punched to Canton. He will soon be followed by Will Shields, and there’s a very good chance that Brian Waters will knock on the HOF door once he retires.

Going in with Roaf as part of the Class of 2012 are RB Curtis Martin, LB/DE Chris Doleman, C Dermontti Dawson, DT Cortez Kennedy and seniors selection DB Jack Butler.

Plus, Friday evening Len Dawson will receive the Pete Rozelle Radio & Television Award given by the Hall each year to someone in the broadcast media world that excelled at his profession and was involved in pro football. Dawson is the third recipient of the Rozelle Award that is also a member of the Hall of Fame, joining Frank Gifford and Dan Dierdorf. …Read More!

Training Camp Practice Report – 8/3

From St. Joseph, Missouri

  • Days in camp – 9.
  • Practices – 7.
  • Practices in Pads – 5.
  • Weather – Sunny skies, 95 degrees with 50 % humidity for a heat index of 99 degrees.
  • Players on roster – 90.
  • Players taking part in practice – 81.
  • Not practicing/injury – CB Brandon Flowers (foot), DL Ethan Johnson (head), FB Shane Bannon (abdominal), WR Junior Hemingway (groin), LB Brandon Siler (ankle).
  • Not practicing/NFL rules – FB Chris DiMarco.
  • Not in camp – WR Dwayne Bowe (no contract), DB Jacques Reeves (family issue) and DB Donald Washington (personal issue.) Reeves is expected in camp on Saturday according to head coach Romeo Crennel.
  • First practice in pads – OT Ray Willis.

Here are the details: …Read More!

Chiefs-Cardinals Will Work Together on Tuesday

From St. Joseph, Missouri

If you were planning to visit Missouri Western State University next week to see the Chiefs and Arizona Cardinals work together your one and only day will be Tuesday. The teams will have an afternoon practice beginning at 3:15 p.m.

It will be held on the grass practice fields north of Spratt Stadium. There will be a $5 charge for adults that want to attend, with kids under 3 years old free. There’s also the $5 parking charge.

That will be the only scheduled session with both teams together. Romeo Crennel indicated that was the desires of Arizona head coach Ken Whisenhunt. The Cardinals will play Sunday night in Canton in the annual Hall of Fame Game, and then have the game next Friday evening against the Chiefs. With just four days between games, the Arizona coach wants just one day of mutual work.

Tamba Deals With Penn State Pain … Friday Cup O’Camp

From St. Joseph, Missouri

As much as he said he didn’t want to talk about the situation with his alma mater, Tamba Hali couldn’t help himself. There was so much to say, so much to vent, so much to mourn with the destruction of Penn State football. Like so many of the young men that played for Joe Paterno over 40-plus years and drew strength from playing for the Nittany Lions, Hali has seen the scandal involving Jerry Sandusky destroy a vital part of his life.

Even as the question was being asked of him on Thursday when he met with the media for the first time in training camp, the pain was visible in his eyes. There was so much to say, but as he always has been since he joined the Chiefs as a first-round draft choice in 2006 out of the storied Penn State program, he selected his words carefully.

“I don’t really want to talk about it to be honest with you,” Hali said. “The things that went down, I’m not happy about it. I don’t think any parents in the country are happy about it. Our head ball coach (Paterno) passed away and there’s not much I can say about that. The NCAA passed down their sanctions and that’s how it has to be done. You get in trouble, you have to be punished and that’s what Penn State is facing right now.” …Read More!

Training Camp Practice Report – August 2

From St. Joseph, Missouri

  • Days in camp – 8.
  • Practices – 6.
  • Practices in Pads – 4.
  • Weather – Mostly sunny skies, 92 degrees with 49 % humidity for a heat index of 96 degrees.
  • Players on roster – 90, with pre-practice signing of FB Patrick DiMarco, who did not work.
  • Players taking part in practice – 82.
  • Not practicing/injury – CB Brandon Flowers (foot), DL Ethan Johnson (head), FB Shane Bannon (abdominal), WR Junior Hemingway (groin).
  • Not practicing/NFL rules – OL Ray Willis.
  • Not in camp – WR Dwayne Bowe and DB Jacques Reeves.
  • First practice in pads – LB Edgar Jones.

Here are the details: …Read More!

Flowers Out With Bruised Foot

From St. Joseph, Missouri

Romeo Crennel had bad news and good news on Thursday morning as the Chiefs got back to work at Missouri Western State University.

The Chiefs head coach said CB Brandon Flowers suffered a bruised foot in Tuesday night’s practice on the artificial turf at Spratt Stadium. Flowers will not take part in the Thursday afternoon full pads practice.

But Crennel indicated Flowers would return sooner rather than later, saying “It is not” when asked if it was a serious injury.

“We’ll treat him, rest him and he’ll be back out there pretty soon,” Crennel said.

Also from Tuesday night’s practice were injuries suffered by DL Ethan Johnson (head) and FB Shane Bannon (abdomen). Again, the coach indicated neither player would practice on Thursday, but that neither injury would keep the players out for an extended period of time. …Read More!

A Close-Up Look At Hall of Famer Willie Roaf

Former Chiefs vice president of player personnel Bill Kuharich was the director of player personnel for the New Orleans Saints in 1993 when they drafted OT Willie Roaf out of Louisiana Tech. Kuharich would eventually rise to President-GM of the Saints and watched most of Roaf’s career in the Big Easy. He was also instrumental in Roaf landing with the Chiefs in a 2002 trade with New Orleans. As Roaf enters the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend, it’s a great time to pick Bill’s brain on how big Willie came to the NFL, then Kansas City and finally the Hall of Fame. Enjoy.

“I was amazed how big he was; a big upper body, but a thin lower body. I was amazed at how graceful he moved, how athletic he was. He had long arms, outstanding balance, a knee bender, patience as a blocker. The only initial concern about him was the level of competition he played at La. Tech. But after we watched him play against John Copeland and Eric Curry from Alabama, that concern went away quickly.

“I didn’t get the chance to meet him during that fall, but watching practice and game tape, he had this swagger about him. He walked on his toes from the huddle to the line of scrimmage and everybody always mentioned how Willie walked all hunched over like he had a bad back. But after watching him come off the ball, he was easy to evaluate. Did I think at the time he was an 11-time Pro Bowler and a Hall of Famer? No, but I believed he would be a long-time NFL starter barring injury and a dominate LT in the league. …Read More!

A Skewer of Training Camp Shish Kabobs

From St. Joseph, Missouri

The Chiefs get back to work on Thursday, after their day off on Wednesday. The league’s labor agreement guarantees the players a day off every week and with practice last Sunday and practice coming up on Saturday, Wednesday was the day.

There are a lot of crispy chunks of news coming out of not only St. Joe, but around the NFL. Let’s put them on the fire and catch you up.

Offensive coordinator “Big Bird” enjoys himself

It’s easy to spot Chiefs offensive coordinator Brian Daboll as he’s working with his unit. He wears a bright yellow, long-sleeve t-shirt, pretty much the same color as the jerseys worn by the quarterbacks during practice.

“A guy told me I look like Big Bird,” Dabold said this week.

As another offensive coordinator for the Chiefs, their fifth in four seasons, Dabold is a bit different than his predecessors – Chan Gailey, Todd Haley, Charlie Weis and Bill Muir. He’s vocal, but in an enthusiastic sense. There’s not a lot of in-your-face conversation with Dabold. The one thing that’s apparent is that he’s having fun out there, no matter the heat. …Read More!

First Week Down . . . Wednesday Cup O’Camp


From St. Joseph, Missouri

The first of 23 weeks of the 2012 NFL season is in the books for the Chiefs. No matter how long the journey, it has to begin with a single step and that’s what the last seven days have been for Romeo Crennel and his crew.

Just ahead is a week leading into their first pre-season game with the Arizona Cardinals visiting next Tuesday and Wednesday for practices. Then come three more pre-season games.

Here are some thoughts, observations and nuggets from the first days of the Chiefs season:

Offense still in learning mode

Coordinator Brian Daboll should have the offense installed by the end of this week and maybe he’ll actually step forward in some of the practice work against the Cardinals and show us more.

But what we’ve seen to date in camp during the installation period is hard to quantify. There’s no a clean label that can be slapped on his playbook, like a west coast offense, or a Coryell scheme, or even a three yards and a cloud of dust attack. …Read More!

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