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The Ground Is Crumbling Under Matt Cassel?

From Arrowhead Stadium

When the head coach walks into his post-game press conference and brings the subject up, then it’s obviously a story line coming from the Chiefs 37-20 loss to San Diego on Sunday.

“I know that there will be some questions about the quarterback,” Romeo Crennel said a few minutes into his comments to the media afterwards. “I am staying with the quarterback and I stayed with him during the course of the game. I stayed with (Jamaal) Charles during the course of the game and we are going to stay with both of them going forward, at the moment.”

Oh, those last three words have left the door open for everyone to discuss the future of Matt Cassel as the Chiefs starting quarterback. “At the moment,” is not exactly a vote of confidence for Cassel.

Not that he should be due one at this point. Cassel’s production and numbers rank among the worst quarterbacks in the league after four games. That’s not what the Chiefs expected or need from their four-year starter. He’s completing 58.4 percent of his passes (94 of 161), gaining 6.6 yards per attempt (1,058 yards), with 5 touchdown passes and 7 interceptions. His passer rating is an ugly 70.3.

The worst number overall is 10, the number of turnovers by Cassel with those 7 interceptions and 3 lost fumbles.

Sunday, Cassel had three interceptions and the Chiefs offense spent most of the first three quarters going nowhere. Did Crennel consider yanking his starter?

“Well, whether I was considering it or not doesn’t make a difference,” Crennel said. “It’s hypothetical,. I didn’t make the change and I’m staying with that.”

But why stick with Cassel when he’s not playing well?

“Because I think he still can do some good things,” Crennel said. “The second half we tried to rally a little bit and we were able to move the ball down the field. We had a spark of life and he was the one that helped that spark.

“That’s some of the decisions a head coach has to make and you have to go with your gut feeling and what you know about your team and move forward with it.”

Cassel was asked if the head coach had talked to him about making a change at quarterback. “No, he didn’t,” Cassel said.

Victimized on one of his interceptions by his receiver (Dexter McCluster), Cassel was standing directly in front of the arrows as they were fired after the game.

“Turnovers have been killing us and I myself have to take better care of the ball,” Cassel said. “Obviously it starts with me.”

Maybe, or at least “at this time” it starts with him. How long that time might be is the question that waits to be answered.

Romeo Crennel opened the door. Will he walk through it?

4 Keys To Chiefs Beating Chargers/Recap

From Arrowhead Stadium

Here’s a look at the 4 pre-game keys to a Chiefs victory on Sunday and whether they achieved those items. There are three possible grades: Mission Accomplished, Push and, Failed Assignment.

4

Cassel needs to improve his accuracy

With any quarterback, as he gains playing time his throwing accuracy should improve from year-to-year, even game-to-game. More than yardage, a passer’s completion percentage along with TD passes and interceptions are the key statistical categories to judge his play and rate of success. It’s only 3 games, but Matt Cassel has not improved his accuracy from last year. His first year with the Chiefs (2009) Cassel completed 55 percent of his passes. The next season that went to 58.2 percent and then last year it was 59.5 percent before he missed the last 7 games with a broken hand. Right now, Cassel has fallen off to 58.8 percent. It’s not so much just missing passes; it’s the ramifications of some of his throws, especially the high throws. Yes, WR Dwayne Bowe drops passes, but last Sunday he was also open several times and balls sailed over his head; he got blasted in New Orleans and turned upside down going high for a Cassel throw. WR Dexter McCluster suffered his elbow injury because of a poor throw from Cassel. He needs to improve.

OUTCOME – Failed, as Cassel hit 57 percent of his throws and was at fault on two of his three interceptions. There’s something missing with Cassel’s accuracy and it’s not improving. In fact, it’s going in the other direction.

3

Give up nothing to San Diego returners

The Chiefs have not been able to produce much of anything in the return game with kickoffs and punts. That’s not ideal, but they can live with that as long as they do not allow returns on punts and kickoffs. They gave up an 88-yard punt return touchdown against Buffalo and in the opener gave up a 77-yard kickoff return. Last week was more like it, as they were able to hold Darren Sproles from picking up any big returns. San Diego has very good return potential on its roster with Eddie Royal, Michael Spurlock and Richard Goodman. All three have scored return touchdowns in the NFL, Royal and Spurlock have 3 each and Goodman had a 105-yard kickoff return TD last year. So far this season, they’ve not produced much, just a 6-yard average on 5 punt returns and a 25.9-yard average on 7 kickoff returns. The K.C. special teams need to make sure they sustain those types of numbers on Sunday.

OUTCOME – Accomplished, as the Chargers did not get much done on punt and kickoff returns Sunday. The longest return was for 33 yards on a kickoff and the return game did not help San Diego in field position.

2

Make Philip Rivers do the football Riverdance

San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers is a fidgety guy. I’m sure he was probably one of those little kids that drove his parents crazy because he never stopped all day. Most of that behavior on the football field, especially concerning his feet, was under control until last season. Spooked by what has become a pretty shabby offensive line and constantly trying to get out of trouble, Rivers threw 20 interceptions, the highest single season total of his career. This year in three games, he has already thrown 3 picks and while the Chiefs defense is not exactly plucking balls out of the air on a regular basis, they know enough about Rivers that they should be able to increase their total of one interception for the season. In 13 games against the Chiefs, Rivers has thrown 14 interceptions. That’s far more than any other opponent over his career, as Oakland has picked him off nine times and Denver got seven. The Chiefs need to get a few more from Rivers on Sunday.

OUTCOME – Failed, as they sacked Rivers three times, but overall did not make him nervous enough. When Rivers starts moving when he’s trying to throw the ball, bad things generally happen because he’s not very quick.

1

Keep the running game humming

The Chiefs are built to run the ball. The more they run, the better the production of the entire offense. Some may think the NFL is all about passing, but teams that can’t run the ball are going to have a hard time consistently challenging opponents and winning games. Right now the Chiefs are No. 1 in the NFL in rushing, putting up an average of 191.7 yards per game or 11 yards a game more than the team at No. 2, Washington. On the flipside, San Diego has done a good job this year against the run, allowing just 67.3 yards per game – they allowed Oakland 45 yards in the opener, Tennessee got 38 in game No. 2 and then last Sunday it was 119 yards for Atlanta. They are No. 4 in fewest rushing yards allowed per game. The Chiefs O-Line along with the tight ends and fullback Nate Eachus must find ways to pound the rock against the Chargers 3-4 front.

OUTCOME – Push, as they were pulled out of running by the score, but went to it enough that Jamaal Charles ran for 92 yards, including a brilliant 37-yard touchdown run.

Jackie Battle Loves His K.C. Return

From Arrowhead Stadium

As Jackie Battle left the Chargers locker room at Arrowhead Stadium he was wearing a smile that stretched from ear-to-ear.

“That was fun,” Battle said. “It’s a nice win for us. Big win; it’s another win in the division on the road. We can use all those we can get.”

Last year at this time, “us” and “we” meant the Chiefs. Now, it means the San Diego Chargers, the team he signed with during the off-season as an unrestricted free agent. The Chargers are now 3-1 and leading the AFC West and Battle is their leading rusher after four games.

He was the Chiefs leading rusher last year as well, after Jamaal Charles went down with his knee injury in the second game of the year. Battle had the best season of his career with 597 yards on 149 carries before suffering a foot injury that sent him to the injured-reserve list for the final game of the season.

Battle wanted to rejoin the Chiefs and continue his career with the team he started with back in 2007.

“They low-balled me on an offer and I just decided it was time to move on,” said Battle, who ended up signing a one-year contract for $700,000 with the Chargers. “They didn’t show much faith in me and I didn’t want to be in a situation like that.”

But Battle has to wait to find the Chargers because of that foot injury. It was a Lisfranc fracture that required quite a bit of time to heal.

“That chased away some teams and others wanted to wait,” said Battle. “So I kept working and rehabbing and then we worked out something with the Chargers. They were the team that really showed the most interest.”

And on this first return to Arrowhead, Battle got the start for the Chargers at running back.

“I thought it was important to let Jackie start this game,” said head coach Norv Turner. “I wanted to make sure we got into a rhythm.”

Battle responded with 39 yards on 15 carries and four catches for 42 yards. That’s 19 touches for 81 yards with a one-yard TD run and a 4-yard TD catch.

“That was the first receiving touchdown of my career,” Battle said. “That felt pretty good.”

The whole day was pretty good for Battle.

“It was good to get out there and play against guys I’ve been practicing with for the past five years,” said Battle. “It was my first time going live against them, so it was a little weird.”

Weird, but wonderful.

“It’s been the best thing to happen to so far with the Chargers,” said Battle.

Play of the Game – Off Dex’s Hands For Interception


From Arrowhead Stadium

QUARTER – 2nd, 49 seconds to play in the half.

SCORE – Chargers held a 21-point lead, 27-6.

DOWN & DISTANCE – 1st-and-10 for the Chiefs offense at the Chargers 22-yard line.

SET – Chiefs were in a 1-back, 1-tight end, 3-wide receiver alignment, working out of the shotgun.

The second or third of QB Matt Cassel’s three interceptions Sunday could be the play of the game. We went with the second one where the ball went through the hands of WR Dexter McCluster and was grabbed by San Diego CB Antoine Cason. It just as easily could be INT#2, where Cassel’s throw to TE Tony Moeaki was behind him and as he turned to catch the ball it bounced off him and into the hands of ILB Donald Butler who returned it for a touchdown.

Both INTs came after the Chiefs had finally gotten on the scoreboard in the second quarter on a great 37-yard run by RB Jamaal Charles. The Butler INT put the Chargers back up by 21 points.

But the Cason INT was an even bigger killer. It came with the Chiefs heading in for a score at the end of the first half. They had 49 seconds at the snap. They had two timeouts, the ball at the San Diego 29 and they would be getting the ball to start the second half. A touchdown to end the half would have been huge, leaving them 14 points behind but with the kickoff coming to them.

Cassel was in the shotgun, took the snap and immediately spotted McCluster. He threw the ball to the receiver who was standing at the 19-yard line. McCluster put his hands up to catch it, and the ball went through his hands and was caught by Cason at the San Diego 13-yard line. He ended up returning the ball 31 yards and the Chargers took a kneel down to end the half.

It was a perfect throw by Cassel.

“I knew I was open on that one because of the coverage that they were playing,” McCluster said. “I dropped the ball. It was on me. We could have gotten some points on the board. Unfortunately, we didn’t.”

They did at the start of the second half, when they drove down for a touchdown on their opening possession. Had they been able to get a touchdown at the end of the first half, they would have trailed just 27-20.

“Sometimes that happens in a game, when you throw the ball and it gets tipped up,” said Cassel. “Nobody is perfect. Dexter is a guy who has been very dependable and the ball just kind of came up in the air on that one.”

Charles Up, Charles Down – Jamaal’s Not Happy

From Arrowhead Stadium

Last week he was the toast of the town, the big man in the league and the AFC’s offensive player of the week for his performance against New Orleans.

Sunday, he was wearing the goat horns. Despite scoring a pair of touchdowns, Charles hurt the Chiefs with a pair of fumbles against San Diego. His were two of the six turnovers that killed any chance the Chiefs had of winning the game.

“I really can’t talk about that right now,” Charles said when he was asked to talk about his stunning 37-yard touchdown run. “It doesn’t matter now. We lost. I hurt my team. It doesn’t matter what else I did today. I can’t be excited about that not after putting the ball on the ground twice.”

There was a time early in his career that there was concern about whether Charles was a fumbler. He’s proven over time that he does a good job holding on to the ball. He now has 571 rushes and 12 fumbles – that’s one fumble every 47.6 carries.

Against San Diego, he had one ball ripped out of his hands and another knocked by a tackle. Combined with the team’s four other turnovers, it was a dismal day for the Chiefs offense.

“My performance sucked,” Charles said. “I have to get better and move on from it.”

There was a brief moment in the game where it seemed like Charles was going to light a fire under the Chiefs the way he did last Sunday. The Saints led by 18 points in the third quarter when Charles broke off his 91-yard touchdown run that sparked the Kansas City comeback.

After his second fumble, the Chiefs got the ball back on a Brandon Flowers interception. They moved the ball into San Diego territory and on a 1st-and-10 at the Chargers 37-yard line, he took a pitchout from QB Matt Cassel and went right. But the Chargers defense was waiting for him and cut off all running lanes to that side.

Charles reversed his field and went back to the left. Several times he looked at turning up field, but each time he did, a San Diego defender jumped into the hole. That forced Charles to continue to the outside, where he finally found a running lane and got loose running down the sideline until he finally dove into the end zone.

The replay official looked at the play because it appeared that Charles may have stepped out of bounds before getting the ball across the goal line, but the play stood and the Chiefs were 27-6, missing a PAT kick.

“I was just trying to make a play because I turned the ball over twice,” Charles said. “It’s not even worth talking about.”

Turns out whatever flame Charles may have lit fizzled out pretty quick and there was no replay of last week’s heroics in New Orleans.

It was a day that’s continued a trend that the entire team has suffered from, up and down, roller coaster performances of good one game, bad the next.

“I can’t speak for anybody else; it’s on me,” Charles said. “I know I can’t turn the ball over. I know that when I go through a hole I need to put two hands over the ball to protect it. It was just me. It had nothing to do with the San Diego Chargers.

“The only way we can win ballgames is if we don’t turn the ball over. I know that; we all know that. We did a terrible job, especially me.”

Report Card – Chiefs vs. Chargers


From Arrowhead Stadium

PASSING OFFENSE: D – Until QB Matt Cassel improves his accuracy, the Chiefs are going to have problems moving the ball through the air. He completed just 57 percent of his passes and averaged only 5.9 yards per attempt. Throw in the three interceptions and the two sacks and it was miserable.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C – Jamaal Charles had a remarkable 37-yard touchdown run where he was hemmed in on one side of the field and then broke it back against the flow and ran to the end zone. Take that play out of the equation and the Chiefs had 82 yards on 21 carries. There were three fumbles that hurt as well. Not good.

PASS DEFENSE: D – The San Diego passing game was efficient, if not flashy and nailing plays. QB Philip Rivers threw an interception, but also had a pair of touchdown passes. The Chiefs did a good job of keeping WR Malcom Floyd under wraps, giving him just 2 catches for 23 yards.

RUSH DEFENSE: B – They did a good job on San Diego’s running game, giving up an average of 3.1 yards on 34 carries, with no run longer than 14 yards. A lot of that total came in the fourth quarter as the Chargers were trying to grind the clock down and RB Ryan Mathews ran for 61 yards on 14 carries. Stopping the run is about the only thing the Chiefs did well on Sunday.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C – Nothing should be as sure as an extra-point kick. Yet the Chiefs blew one against the Chargers when LS Thomas Gafford’s high snap made it impossible for holder Dustin Colquitt to get the ball down so K Ryan Succop could boot it through. That’s close to unforgiveable. Otherwise, the kicking game did a decent job.

COACHING: F – There is no way Romeo Crennel and his coaching staff can receive a passing grade after their team’s performance. The staff has constantly stressed two things – getting off to a fast start and ball security. Obviously, the players have tuned out what they are hearing, based on the number of turnovers they have had and the horrible starts they’ve had in all four games.

Turnover Catastrophe For Chiefs

From Arrowhead Stadium

It’s the most valuable part of any game at any time – the football. A team’s chances for victory improve when they have possession of the ball. A defense strives constantly to take away the football.

For a team to win, it must protect the leather.

The Chiefs failed in that task on Sunday against San Diego. They failed miserably. It was not the worst turnover game in franchise history. It barely even makes the top 10. But it was a vivid show of what happens when you give the ball to the other team.

You are going to lose, and that’s just what the Chiefs did, falling 37-20 thanks to their six turnovers.

That performance ties 16 other games for the 10th most giveaways in a single game. That’s 26 games in franchise history with 6 or more turnovers and the Chiefs are 4-22 in those games. They last time they won a game while having a half-dozen or more fumbles lost and interceptions was 1983, when they beat St. Louis 38-14 with 6 turnovers.

#

Date

Opponent

Turnovers

Result

1.

10/77/65

BUF

9

L 7-23

10/134/74

PIT

9

L 24-34

3.

9/20/81

SD

8

L 31-42

10/16/60

@ HOU

8

L 10-20

5.

12/3/61

@ NYT

7

L 7-28

10/12/69

HOU

7

W 24-0

10/20/85

RAMS

7

L 0-16

11/23/69

OAK

7

L 24-27

10/27/63

@ HOU

7

L 7-28

10.*

9/30/12

SD

6

L 20-37

*-There were 16 other games where the Chiefs lost the ball 6 times. They were 3-13 in those games.

“Any time in this league that you turn the ball over you obviously aren’t helping the defense and you are giving the other team so much momentum,” said RT Eric Winston. “I don’t think the turnovers are on one person. We all have to come together and figure out why it’s happening.”

Against the Chargers, the biggest culprits were QB Matt Cassel and RB Jamaal Charles. It was 3 interceptions thrown by Cassel and two fumbles by Charles, along with a fumble by RB Shaun Draughn.

“My performance sucked today,” Charles said. “I put the ball on the ground and I know I can’t do that.”

Cassel knows he can’t do it either – the Chiefs have 15 turnovers in four games and 10 (7 interceptions 3 fumbles lost) have his name on them.

“I myself have to take better care of the ball,” said Cassel. “Obviously it starts with me. The whole offensive unit just needs to do a better job of taking care of the ball. We talk about it, but we’ve obviously got to do a better job when it comes to game time.”

The half-dozen giveaways were ugly on Sunday:

#1 – First quarter, 8:53 to play; Cassel’s pass intended for WR Dwayne Bowe is intercepted by FS Eric Weddle, who returned it 21 yards. Result – Chargers kick a field goal for 3 points.

“He did a great job,” Cassel said of Weddle. “He slipped out underneath the cornerback and he was in the right position at the right time.”

#2 – First quarter; 6:21 to play; Charles loses four yards and fumbles at the end of the play. The ball was stripped out by DE Corey Liuget and the ball was recovered at the Chiefs 5-yard line by OLB Shaun Phillips. Result – Charger touchdown and PAT for 7 points. That’s 10 points total.

“They just ripped it loose,” said Charles. “I was running and the next thing you know, I felt his hand and the ball, just ripped out.”

#3 – Second quarter; 8:09 left in half; Charles loses the ball at the end of a 5-yard run. The ball was knocked out by DL Vaughn Martin and recovered by Liuget at the Chiefs 28-yard line. Result – San Diego QB Philip Rivers returned the favor three plays later by throwing an interception.

“I know I can’t help my team win when I put the ball on the ground,” said Charles. “We played a good San Diego team that answers on turnovers and they did a great job today.”

#4 – Second quarter, 2:59 left in half; Cassel’s pass to TE Tony Moeaki bounces off the receiver and into the hands of San Diego LB Donald Butler. He returns it 21 yards for a touchdown. Result – 7 points and 17 points off the four turnovers.

“I’ve got to get him a better ball,” said Cassel. “It starts with me. I’ve got to do a better job of protecting the football and putting our team in a better situation to be successful.”

#5 – Second quarter, 49 seconds in the half; Cassel’s pass to WR Dexter McCluster goes through the receivers hands and is grabbed by San Diego CB Antoine Cason and returned for 31 yards. Result – the Chargers kneel down to end the half.

“Sometimes that happens in a game, when you throw a ball and it gets tipped,” Cassel said.

#6 – Fourth quarter, 13:36 to play in the game; RB Shaun Draughn fumbles at the end of an 8-yard run on a hit by CB Quentin Jammer. The ball was recovered by SS Atari Bigby. Result – Rivers connects with RB Jackie Battle on a 4-yard TD pass for 7 points, 24 points in all off turnovers.

So what are the Chiefs to do about this problem?

“It’s tougher when you can’t pinpoint particular things or one particular player,” said head coach Romeo Crennel. “It’s everybody. When it’s everybody that makes it really difficult because you can’t change everybody all at once. You have to get the guys you have to do better and be more consistent.”

Column: Chiefs Dump On Their Heritage

From Arrowhead Stadium

Somewhere up in the Gold Suite of the Hunt family there were over 50 former members of the Chiefs enjoying snacks and an adult beverage and celebrating another Alumni Day at Arrowhead.

If they watched the game at all, they may have upchucked some of those cruditΓ©s and crackers with pate on them. The 2012 Chiefs stumbled their way through another Sunday and did it in a style that turned the stomach of anyone interested in (1.) the Chiefs and/or (2.) good football.

They turned the ball over six times in giving away any chance they had of beating the San Diego Chargers. Former head coach Marty Schottenheimer was in the building and one can only wonder what was going through his mind. Marty didn’t invent the turnover ratio and its importance to winning, but no coach in Chiefs history stressed it more and got such good results.

If any of Schottenheimer’s teams had been at minus-13 in the turnover ratio after four games, he would have had a stroke, a heart attack, or both. If one of his teams had six turnovers in a game, he would have practiced ball security in the locker room immediately after the game.

Only once in the 170 Chiefs regular season and post-season games under Schottenheimer did they have six giveaways in an afternoon like the Chiefs did on Sunday. That was in Schottenheimer’s first year (1989) when they lost 21-17 to Cincinnati. Only once in the history of the franchise did the team finish at minus-13 in the turnover ratio. That was in the strike-season of 1987 when they were minus-13, the worst turnover season in Chiefs history.

Until now that is, thanks to the current Chiefs team and its 15 turnovers in just four games. QB Matt Cassel has thrown 7 interceptions. The Chiefs have fumbled the ball 10 times and lost 8 of those – 3 by Cassel, 2 by RB Jamaal Charles and one each for RB Peyton Hillis, WR Dexter McCluster and RB Shaun Draughn. With 10 giveaways on the season, Cassel alone has more than some teams have combined.

Football is too tough a game to play and win when giving gifts to the opposition. It’s just too tough a chore to play 11 guys on the field and then provide them even more help by letting the ball go through the runners hands, or having a receiver fail to handle a throw.

“Nobody wins turning the ball over six times,” said RT Eric Winston. “That’s just shooting yourself in the foot and then trying to run the race. You end up limping along.”

The Chiefs have been limping, but on Sunday against the Chargers they were crippled with five giveaways in the first half. If the defense hadn’t picked off San Diego QB Philip Rivers, they would have given up even more than the 24 points that could be traced to those turnovers.

Since 1960 and the formation of the American Football League, here are the results for teams that have had the most turnovers in games. The league record is 12:

Turnovers

Won-Loss Record

Win Percentage

12

0-1

.000

11

0-1

.000

10

0-9

.000

9

015

.000

8

4-54

.053

7

16-158

.092

6

62-426

.127

Like most NFL teams, this current group of Chiefs under the direction of Romeo Crennel and his staff work on turnovers. But based on viewing training camp and pre-season practices, they do not do an extraordinary amount of extra work. Under Schottenheimer and Gunther Cunningham, every practice play was an opportunity for the defense to force a fumble. There was constant chatter from coaches about getting the ball.

That does two things – it makes it a habit and it also helps the offense. The way a team gets a good turnover ratio is not just the defense forcing and recovering fumbles or picking off passes for interceptions. It’s about the ball security of the offensive players.

During Schottenheimer’s 10 seasons at Arrowhead, the defense got a lot of attention for forcing turnovers, as well they should have. They averaged 35 takeaways a season. But the reason they were plus-99 in the ratio was the fact they gave the ball away an average of 25 times a season.

That’s as big a reason that the Chiefs were 104-65-1 under Schottenheimer, with one losing season and seven appearances in the playoffs.

In the Pioli Era – and he made it his era by firing a head coach after 46 games – the Chiefs now have a minus-8 turnover ratio. They also have a 22-31 record.

And Sunday against the Chargers, they established the fact that as they are constituted right now, they are not a very good team and they are dumping all over Chiefs history and what allowed coaches like Hank Stram and Marty Schottenheimer to be successful.

Chiefs Chance For First Lands With A Thud, 37-20


From Arrowhead Stadium

So it turns out that it was a joke that the Chiefs were actually playing for first place in the AFC West on Sunday when they hosted the San Diego Chargers. Three hours after kickoff, nobody in red and gold was laughing.

After grabbing their first victory of the season last Sunday, the Chiefs returned to the type of football they played in the season’s first two weeks and got clocked by the Chargers 37-20. A victory would have tied them with the Chargers for first place in the division with a quarter of the season gone. Instead, they are now holding down the basement at 1-3 and the Baltimore Ravens are coming to town with 10 days of rest.

Bleak is an inadequate word to describe the Chiefs current predicament.

“We work pretty hard, we focus during the week, we’ve just got to transfer that to the game,” said LT Branden Albert. “We’ve just got to fix our problems and move on to the Ravens.”

The Chiefs and Chargers are going to have a slugfest on most NFL Sunday afternoons when they get together. But if one team is playing like the Chiefs were on this day, turning the ball over six times, then it’s just another ugly afternoon’s journey to a losing season, quiet January and high draft choice. Three interceptions thrown by QB Matt Cassel, two Jamaal Charles fumbles and a Shaun Draughn fumble destroyed any opportunity for the Chiefs to keep the game close, let alone win. Those six giveaways set up 24 points for the visitors. They wouldn’t need much more.

“We didn’t play a very good football game today in any phase,” said Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel. “I don’t understand what happened with the team. I thought it was uncharacteristic of us the way we turned the ball over today. We turned it over just about everywhere today. The center snapped the ball high on a PAT which ended up taking points off the board. …Read More!

Chiefs Fumble, Bumble, Give Game To Chargers



From Arrowhead Stadium

For years the Chargers have had trouble playing games that start at noon in the Central Time Zone. That’s a body clock kickoff at 10 a.m. for the guys from San Diego.

But the Lightning Bolts woke up bright eyed on Sunday in Kansas City. Instead, it was the Chiefs that slept walked through the first half. It was an embarrassment for all those wearing red and gold, as they turned the ball over six times – five times in the first half – and were soundly beaten by the Chargers 37-20.

Jamaal Charles scored two touchdowns for the Chiefs, but also fumbled the ball away twice. Matt Cassel threw three interceptions, two of those bouncing off receivers and into the hands of the Chargers. QB Philip Rivers did not light up the Chiefs defense; none of San Diego’s offensive players did. But they won easily and are now 3-1 on the season.

The Chiefs are 1-3 and have the Baltimore Ravens visiting in a week.

A lot went down Sunday, here’s our coverage.

Chiefs-Chargers Pre-Game Coverage


From Arrowhead Stadium

11:30 a.m. CDT – That’s it for pre-game from the stadium. Remember we will have complete game coverage ate this afternoon and into the evening of this AFC West conflict. Enjoy the game and the day.

11:25 a.m. CDT – As the Chiefs go through the warm-up period it looks like Ropati Pitoitua will get the start at RDE for the injured Glenn Dorsey.

11:15 a.m. CDT – It’s Bill Leavy and his crew officiating today’s game. RIP Replacement Officials. Part of Leavy’s crew is head linesman George Hayward out of St. Joseph. Almost exactly a year ago, Leavy’s crew had the Vikings-Chiefs game at Arrowhead.

11: 10 a.m. CDT – All four of the former Chiefs are active on the Chargers roster for this game, with LT Jared Gaither and FB Le’Ron McClain in the starting lineup. The KC pedigree that should get the most snaps is RB Jackie Battle, as he leads San Diego in rushing after three games.

11:05 a.m. CDT – Although a layer of clouds has rolled in to the Truman Sports Complex, it is building to a very nice day for football. The National Weather Service predicted mostly sunny skies with temperatures at kickoff in the high 60s, warming up to the mid 70s by the second half. That’s with the sun. Wind is minimal, coming out of the north-northwest and blowing about 5 to 7 mph.

11 a.m. CDT – Kicking toward the west goal post in his warm-up, Chiefs K Ryan Succop was good from 53 yards away.

10:55 a.m. CDT – Chargers have an interesting situation in their secondary where they have just three cornerbacks active for today’s game – starters Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason and then backup Marcus Gilchrist. With four safeties active, there’s the potential for some matchup advantages for the Chiefs offense today.

10:52 a.m. CDT – NT Anthony Toribio will be active today for the first time since the 2010 season. He missed the first three games of this season because of an ankle injury. Pre-game the Chiefs say Dontari Poe will start on the nose, but don’t be surprised if it’s Jerrell Powe getting most of the playing time in the base defense.

10:50 a.m. CDT – Nick Novak kicking in pre-game warm-up easily hit from 54 yards to the west goal posts. He had another five yards to spare.

10:45 a.m. CDT – It would make me wonder as a head coach if the day before you leave on a road trip that your kicker hurts his groin. Any time a kicker or punter lands on the injury report it’s not a good day. That’s the case for San Diego, as they left Nate Kaeding at home and had to sign Nick Novak to come in and kick in Sunday’s game. Novak is no slouch, as he kicked in 15 games for the Chargers last year when Kaeding went down with a knee injury in the season opener.

10:40 a.m. CDT – Both teams without a starter on the defensive line today as Glenn Dorsey sits for the Chiefs with his calf injury and for the Chargers NT Antonio Garay is inactive. Garay was not on the San Diego injury report so that must be a coach’s decision. Expect Aubrayo Franklin to step into the starting role with the Chargers defense. For the Chiefs, Dorsey snaps will likely be shared by Allen Bailey and Ropati Pitoitua.

10:38 a.m. CDT – Inactive players for the Chargers are K Nate Kaeding, SS Brandon Taylor, CB Shareece Wright, RB Curtis Brinkley, LB Jonas Mouton, DT Antonio Garay and TE Ladarius Green.

10:35 a.m. CDT – Inactive players for the Chiefs are QB Ricky Stanzi, TE Kevin Boss, RB Peyton Hillis, C Bryan Mattison, WR Devon Wylie, DE Glenn Dorsey and FS Kendrick Lewis.

10:30 a.m. CDT – Sounds like Jared Gaither is going to start for the Chargers at left tackle after missing the first three games of the season with a “back” injury. If Gaither is of the mind to play, he provides QB Philip Rivers with great protection on his backside. If Gaither isn’t into the game, look out Rivers. Gaither and Tamba Hali should be one heckuva battle all day.

10:25 a.m. – WR Dexter McCluster is wearing a shirt with long sleeves so it’s hard to tell just what type of apparatus he’s sporting on that hyper-extended left elbow. During the practice week he was wearing a very bulky brace that Romeo Crennel said they hoped to make smaller come game day. It’s covered over but it does appear to be smaller than what he wore in practice.

10:23 a.m. CDT – The only player that really remains in question as to whether he will play is DE Glenn Dorsey. He suffered a calf injury in practice on Thursday and was not on the practice field on Friday. He’s not been on the field for any of the early stretching and work; usually he’s one of the first players out there. We’ll know in about 10-15 minutes when the inactive players are named.

10:20 a.m. CDT – The wide receivers are out for an early throwing session with No. 3 QB Ricky Stanzi and all three of the guys on the injury report appear to be moving around without problem – Dwayne Bowe (groin), Steve Breaston (knee) and Dexter McCluster elbow.

10:15 a.m. CDT – Good morning to week No. 4 of the 2012 National Football League season. Very nice conditions for the game between the Chiefs and Chargers, almost San Diego like. It’s so nice that a lot of players are already out on the field enjoying the day. Stay tuned, more updates to come.

Seriously, First Place? … Game-Day Cup O’Chiefs

The whole National Football League has gone down a rabbit hole and they’ve been led by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Replacement officials, unpredictable outcomes, Peyton wearing orange and blue in Denver and road-underdogs dominating the victory stand in week No. 3. What a strange world the 2012 NFL season has been.

Even with the real officials back, it gets even stranger on the fourth Sunday with the Chiefs hosting the San Diego Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium.

Kickoff is just after 12 noon and will be broadcast on CBS-TV.

The Chargers lead the AFC West with a 2-1 record. The Chiefs are tied for second with their 1-2 record along with Denver and Oakland. It’s meaningless math after just four games into a 16-game schedule, but the Chiefs are playing for a piece of first place against San Diego.

The team that is minus-31 in point differential, minus-8 in turnover ratio, minus-6 in sacks, has no business being in first place, does it? …Read More!

NFL Transactions – 9/29

Cincinnati – promoted CB Chris Lewis-Harris from the practice squad; released TE Richard Quinn.

Denver – promoted S Duke Ihenacho and LB Mike Mohamed from their practice squad; placed S Quinton Carter (knee) on the injured-reserve list.

Detroit – promoted DB Ricardo Silva from the practice squad; released DB Jerome Murphy.

New England – signed OL Matt Tennant.

San Diego – signed K Nick Novak; released G Reggie Wells.

Chargers Week Leftovers: Jamaal’s Workload

After the Buffalo game questions to Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel were directed towards the Jamaal Charles workload issue. Against the Bills, he tweaked his knee and ended up running the ball just six times and touching it on nine plays.

After the Chiefs victory over New Orleans this past week the questions Crennel got were directed towards the Charles workload issue, as in how much is too much for the running back? Against the Saints he ran 33 times and touched the ball 39 times.

Such is life for an NFL head coach, too much or not enough? Is there ever a correct answer?

“You can take some running backs and you can say this guy is a 20-carry back, or another back may be a 15-carry guy,” Crennel said. “But generally, if it’s going well you don’t mind giving it to him. They don’t mind getting the ball either when it’s going well. It’s when it’s going bad that they really don’t want it.”

In three games, Charles has had the ball in his hands 64 times, or 21.3 touches per game. In the parts of four seasons where he played and finished 28 games, he averaged 19.2 touches per game.

So the magic number for Charles’ workload appears to be 20, with the chance for more or less depending on the flow of the game. …Read More!

College Preview: Mississippi @ Alabama

  • Mississippi @ Alabama
  • Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
  • September 29, 8:15 p.m. CDT, ESPN

Mississippi

#17 TE Jamal Mosley, Senior — 6-3, 260 pounds, 4.7 seconds in the 40-yard dash, potential late-round draft choice.

Mosley is a physically gifted tight end and athlete, but he has put any chance he has of getting a shot at the NFL on a cliff with the ground crumbling around him. He began his college career at Oklahoma State, but left before his second season began in 2009 for personal reasons. In ’09 he was arrested on misdemeanor marijuana charges and was accused by two different girl friends of rape. In Oxford, he’s been arrested twice – in 2011 and 2012 – for public drunkenness and disturbing the peace. On a team with very few pro prospects, Mosley has shown he can make an impact if he can stay on the field and eligible. In four games this year, he’s started twice and has 7 catches for 88 yards and a TD. Last season, his first in Oxford, he caught 12 passes for 166 yards and a TD. In 2008 as a true freshman at OK-State he caught 5 passes for 57 yards over 11 games. He’s out of Kingsbury High School in Memphis, Tennessee. Mosley celebrates his 23rd birthday this Sunday.

…Read More!

Another AFC West Sunday … Saturday Cup O’Chiefs

They are four franchises that came together in the first days of the American Football League. Football cousins with different fathers but common roots, they have been playing each other in the conference/division round-robin format longer than any other four teams in the league.

The AFC West – The Los Angeles/San Diego Chargers, the Denver Broncos, the Oakland Raiders and the Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs came together in 1960 and have never been separated, whether they were in the AFL or the NFL.

With Sunday’s game at Arrowhead Stadium, the Chiefs will begin the franchise’s 53rd season of home-and-home games against divisional foes when they host the San Diego Chargers. Out in Denver, the Broncos host the Raiders in a 3 o’clock start.

“It’s a division game so we know how intense it’s going to be,” said OLB Tamba Hali. “It’s definitely a take-no-prisoners kind of game. We always like to beat the teams in our division.”

Others have joined the AFC West over the years. In its first season as an expansion club Tampa Bay spent the 1976 season in the division. The next year, another expansion team, the Seattle Seahawks was placed in the West where they stayed for 25 years, until divisional realignment in 2002.

Yes, Green Bay, Chicago and Detroit have been banging heads since 1934. But they didn’t get their fourth, Minnesota until 1961. The New York Giants, Washington and Philadelphia were foundation stones in the growth of the early NFL, but they didn’t get their foursome with Dallas until that same 1961 season. The AFC East teams of New England, Buffalo and the New York Jets began in 1960 with the start of the AFL, but they did not add their fourth in Miami until, 1966. …Read More!

NFL File: Fines/Chiefs Release Reeves – 9/28

The Chiefs reached an injury-settlement with CB Jacques Reeves, making him a free agent and able to sign with another NFL team without going through waivers because he’s a vested veteran. Reportedly, Reeves injured a hamstring in practice last week and was inactive for this past Sunday’s game in New Orleans. He was moved off the active roster on Monday. If they had not reached an injury settlement, Reeves would have gone on the injured-reserve list.

NFL issued fines to:

  • Baltimore – S Ed Reed, $21,000, struck defenseless player (WR Deion Branch) in the head/neck area.
  • Cincinnati – CB Adam Jones, $15,750, horse-collar tackle; CB Terence Newman, $10,000, for roughing the passer.
  • Denver – LB Von Miller, $15,750, for a hit on Houston QB Matt Schaub.
  • Detroit – LB Stephen Tulloch, $21,000, helmet-to-helmet hit on Tennessee TE Craig Stevens.
  • Philadelphia – DE Jason Babin, $15,750, for a horse-collar tackle; CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, $7,875, late hit.
  • Pittsburgh – S Ryan Mundy, $21,000, for helmet-to-helmet hit on Oakland WR Darius Heyward-Bey.
  • Seattle – CB Brandon Browner, $7,875, for unnecessary roughness.
  • Tennessee – DE Scott Solomon, $15,750, for hitting a quarterback below the knees; OL Leroy Harris, unnecessary roughness, $10,000.

College Preview: Texas @ Oklahoma State

  • Texas @ Oklahoma State
  • Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, Oklahoma
  • September 29, 6:50 p.m. CDT, Fox

Texas

#80 DE Alex Okafor, Senior – 6-5, 265 pounds, 4.67 seconds in 40-yard dash, 1st-round draft prospect.

Highly decorated defender that was All-Big 12 Conference first team last year, with 58 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 7 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. That came after he was moved from DT to DE in spring 2011. Okafor has continued his strong play and in 3 games this season with 12 tackles 3 sacks and 5 quarterback pressures. Overall, he’s played in 42 games with 24 starts. He has 118 total tackles, 23 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks and 41 quarterback pressures. While in Austin, he’s been honored several times for academic achievements as well. Born in Dallas, he grew up in Pflugerville, Texas where he was a first-team all-district selection on defense and led Pflugerville High School to a 13-4 record as a senior and a spot in the state championship game. Okafor and two teammates were arrested in May 2012 on charges of failure to obey; they refused to leave an Austin pizza parlor after they were denied entrance to the establishment’s bar. The charges were dropped in June. …Read More!

4 Keys To A Chiefs Victory Over Chargers

4

Cassel needs to improve his accuracy

With any quarterback, as he gains playing time his throwing accuracy should improve from year-to-year, even game-to-game. More than yardage, a passer’s completion percentage along with TD passes and interceptions are the key statistical categories to judge his play and rate of success. It’s only 3 games, but Matt Cassel has not improved his accuracy from last year. His first year with the Chiefs (2009) Cassel completed 55 percent of his passes. The next season that went to 58.2 percent and then last year it was 59.5 percent before he missed the last 7 games with a broken hand. Right now, Cassel has fallen off to 58.8 percent. It’s not so much just missing passes; it’s the ramifications of some of his throws, especially the high throws. Yes, WR Dwayne Bowe drops passes, but last Sunday he was also open several times and balls sailed over his head; he got blasted in New Orleans and turned upside down going high for a Cassel throw. WR Dexter McCluster suffered his elbow injury because of a poor throw from Cassel. He needs to improve. …Read More!

College Preview: Tennessee @ Georgia

  • Tennessee @ Georgia
  • Sanford Stadium, Athens, Georgia
  • September 29, 2:30 p.m. CDT, CBS

Tennessee

#8 QB Tyler Bray, Junior – 6-5, 215 pounds, 5.16 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 1st-round draft prospect.

Bray is considered one of the top potential quarterbacks in the 2013 NFL Draft even though he’s played just 20 games so far at Rocky Top. He missed the first 5 games last year due to a fractured right thumb. He’s started 16 games and the Vols are 11-5 with him as a starter. He’s thrown for 5,133 yards, with 47 TD passes and 19 interceptions. Bray has good athletic ability but is not a runner and doesn’t have real escapability. He’s got a powerful arm and with his size, he gets a good view down the field. He’s out of Clovis, California, where he went to Kingsburg High School and was a three-sport star there in football, basketball and baseball. Bray will be 21 in late December. …Read More!

College Preview: Ohio State @ Michigan State

  • Ohio State @ Michigan State
  • Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Michigan
  • September 29, 2:30 p.m. CDT, ABC

Ohio State

#54 DE John Simon, Senior – 6-2, 260 pounds, 4.76 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 2nd-round draft prospect.

Simon has become known for his work ethic and relentless in preparation of his mind and body for each season and each game. Urban Meyer has called him “Tebowish” in his approach to getting himself ready to play. Simon is very much out of the Mike Vrabel mode and could be a very good OLB prospect in the 3-4 defense. A backup as a true freshman, he became a starter in the Ohio State defense in 2010 as a sophomore and has been there ever since. He’s a two-year captain as voted by his teammates. Simon has played in 43 games with 123 total tackles, 28.5 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks and 7 passes broken up. He’s out of Youngstown, Ohio and Cardinal Mooney High School, a well-known football power in Ohio. …Read More!

Chiefs/Wiegmann/Injury Update – 9/28

From Arrowhead Stadium

LATE UPDATE FROM SAN DIEGO – Chargers kicker Nate Kaeding was left behind in southern California when the team flew east to Kansas City on Friday afternoon. He turned up Friday on the team’s injury report with a groin problem. San Diego has signed Nick Novak, who kicked for them last year when Kaeding missed most of the season due to a knee injury suffered on the opening kickoff in the first game of the season. Against the Chiefs last year, Novak hit 6 of 7 FGs, missing only from 52 yards.

Romeo Crennel said the visit of former center Casey Wiegmann to the Chiefs facility this week was one friend checking on another.

“He came by to say “Hi,” he heard I was down in the dumps and he wanted to lift my spirits a little bit,” Crennel said Friday morning when asked about the Wiegmann visit. The Chiefs reported his presence on their daily report to the NFL office.

Crennel then admitted it was a little bit more than just a hello, how are you-type of visit.

“With our situation (at center), you’ve got to investigate everything,” Crennel said. “We did talk to him about how he was doing, and he talked to us about how we are doing. That’s where we left it.” …Read More!

College Preview: Baylor @ West Virginia

  • Baylor @ West Virginia
  • Mountaineer Field, Morgantown, West Virginia
  • September 29, 11 a.m. CDT, FX Network

Baylor

#68 OT Cyril Richardson, Redshirt Junior – 6-5, 335 pounds, 5.27 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 2nd-round prospect.

Moved from left tackle to left guard for the 2012 Baylor season, he’s probably better suited being an inside road grader type than outside pass blocker, although he did a good job of protecting Robert Griffin III last year; Richardson started all 13 games at left tackle. After taking a redshirt season in 2009, he played in 12 games with 4 starts in 2010 at left guard, the spot where he’s moved back to this season. Richardson came out of North Crowley High School in Fort Worth at 310 pounds, but he’s very quick on his feet despite his size. That’s what makes his move to guard the next step. He will be 22 years old in late December. …Read More!

Norv vs. Romeo, Again . . . Friday Cup O’Chiefs

They have been doing battle against each other for years now, decades actually.

Romeo Crennel and Norv Turner have common histories even though their personal backgrounds are so thoroughly different. The head coaches of the Chiefs and Chargers will meet once again on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. It’s a continuation of a series of games that began more than 25 years ago.

“It goes all the way back to when we were both young assistants and I was with the Rams and he was with the Giants,” Turner said this week. “That goes back to the late 80s. You can trace it along.”

We did. From the time Turner joined the NFL Los Angeles Rams as wide receivers coach in 1985 when Crennel was already special teams coach of the New York Giants, their teams have faced off 21 times. Crennel’s clubs won 11 of those games. Three went to overtime.

“There have been those kinds of games over the years, close ones,” Crennel said. “One game isn’t much but I’m glad I’ve got the edge.”

Crennel has a much bigger edge starting in 2001 through last season, years when he and Turner were head coaches or coordinators and their teams faced each other. In those 10 games, Romeo’s teams were 7-3. In the past two years, with Turner as the Chargers head coach and Crennel as the Chiefs defensive coordinator the clubs split the 4 games, each winning at home.

Here’s a look at them since 2001 when one or both were head coaches and one or both were coordinators: …Read More!

Could Casey Wiegmann Return At Center?

On Thursday, the Chiefs reported to the league office a visit/workout at their facility with former center Casey Wiegmann.

With the season ending injury suffered by Rodney Hudson and the inexperience at the position of his replacement Ryan Lilja, obviously the Chiefs are turning over every stone in an attempt to stabilize the position.

The 39-year old Wiegmann retired after the 2011 season, finishing up a 16-year NFL career where he spent 9 of those seasons with the Chiefs (2001-07, 2010-11.) When he left after the finale in Denver, he had started 175 consecutive games, played 11,162 consecutive snaps and played in 200 NFL games.

One problem in a possible Wiegmann return – he’s lost a lot of weight from his playing days. He was listed last year at 285 pounds and he was really a few pounds under that. Over the last nine months those that have seen him say he’s lost a lot of weight and looked like he was down in the 250-pound range. That’s simply too light to consider playing in the NFL these days.

The Chiefs may have simply been feeling Wiegmann out on a possible return, or maybe they brought him in to give tips to Lilja.

NFL Transactions – 9/27

Cincinnati – re-signed S Chris Crocker; released TE Donald Lee.

Dallas – released S Mana Silva.

Denver – the appeal of LB Joe Mays one-game suspension for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Houston QB Matt Schaub last Sunday has been denied. He will miss this Sunday’s game.

Minnesota – released TE Allen Reisner.

New England – released TE Kellen Winslow.

St. Louis – claimed OT Joseph Barksdale off waivers from Oakland; released OT Ty Nsekhe.

8 Chiefs Connections On HOF Preliminary List

The Pro Football Hall of Fame released the preliminary list of candidates for induction with the Class of 2013.

There are 127 names on the list and eight have a connection with the Chiefs:

  • QB Ron Jaworski (1989).
  • RB Priest Holmes (2001-07).
  • G Will Shields (1993-2006).
  • CB Albert Lewis (1983-93).
  • K Morten Andersen (2002-03).
  • K Nick Lowery (1980-93).
  • HC Marty Schottenheimer (1989-98).
  • HC Dick Vermeil (2001-05).

Here is the full list of the Class of 2013 nominees: …Read More!

Chiefs Practice Update – 9/27

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs hoped to have more answers to questions about the availability of their injured players after Thursday afternoon’s practice.

Turns out, they just added two more names – starters no less – to the list. During the early part of Thursday’s session, DE Glenn Dorsey went down with what the Chiefs are calling a calf injury. Dorsey had to have help coming off the practice field from a trainer and it appeared the injury as around his ankle. If it’s the calf, that could be an Achilles tendon and that’s not a good deal.

Another new addition to the injury report was WR Dwayne Bowe who has a bruised thigh. Bowe practiced on Wednesday, but complained after practice of pain in the leg, so he was limited in participation on Thursday with what the Chiefs called a groin problem. …Read More!

College Preview: Stanford @ Washington

  • Stanford @ Washington
  • Husky Stadium, Seattle, Washington
  • September 27, 8 p.m. CDT, ESPN

Stanford

#44 OLB Chase Thomas, Redshirt Senior – 6-4, 240 pounds, 4.74 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 2nd-round prospect.

A productive four-year player for the Stanford defense, Thomas has 177 total tackles, 40 tackles for loss and 21.5 sacks, along with an interception and 8 fumbles forced. Thomas has made 37 consecutive starts, going back to the 2009 season. Last year he earned All-Pac 12 Conference honors for his 52 total tackles and 8.5 sacks. He moved into the starting lineup at the Sam linebacker spot in 2010, after starting eight games at defensive end in 2009. In three games this year for the Cardinal, Thomas has 10 total tackles, 4 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. Thomas is from Marietta, Georgia where he attended Walton High School and earned all-state honors and Cobb County Defensive Player of the Year designation. He finished his senior season with 17 sacks and 37 sacks in his high school career. …Read More!

Houston Takes Off . . . Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

Justin Houston chuckled at the question.

“Yeah, it’s always better when you know what you are doing,” Houston said after the Chiefs 27-24 overtime victory against New Orleans when he had 3 sacks and tackled Saints QB Drew Brees for a safety.

A year ago, Houston wasn’t chuckling. He wasn’t playing either. As a third-round draft choice in his first NFL season, he was in a fog when it came to assignments and duties on the field. That’s why he started three of the season’s first four games, and then was bounced out of the starting lineup for five games as Andy Studebaker got his chance.

“I just wasn’t sure of anything,” Houston said. “I was doing a lot of different things that were new to me.”

It was about mid-season when Romeo Crennel noticed the light bulb going off above Houston’s head, showing recognition to assignments and duties.

“He had a lot of stuff that he had to learn because he was a rush guy at Georgia and now coming into our system as a linebacker he has to drop in coverage more, he has to read routes, make adjustments and all of those things,” said Crennel. “They run together a little bit as a rookie starting off, and then about halfway through the season I think he began to get comfortable with his assignments and what we were asking him to do.” …Read More!

Deal Is Done Between Officials & NFL

The NFL and its “real” officials reached an agreement on a new labor contract and the league’s lockout has been lifted.

In fact, with Cleveland and Baltimore playing Thursday evening, the real officials will work that game.

The deal was reached by negotiators for the league and the officials and was approved unanimously by the zebras’ board of directors. It must still be approved by the rank-and-file, and that vote will take place on Friday in Dallas. All the officials will head for D-FW Airport for a night of meetings and they will get their assignments for Sunday.

All the replacement officials are now out of a job.

Details were slowly trickling out on the deal and it will run eight years (including 2012). The two major sticking points between the sides appear to have been split down the middle. The current pension system will stay in place for 5 more years and then be changed to a 401k plan. The officials wanted to keep the pension.

Officials got a 4 percent raise and they were guaranteed 12 game checks for 2012, and then 19 game checks in coming seasons (including pre-season games.) As for the checks they missed, the officials will divide up a pot of $2.5 million.

The league wanted to hire about two dozen officials as full-time employees and begin working them into the rotation. The officials agreed to work with a developmental squad, but they would not be guaranteed actually working NFL games at this time.

There will be a lot of spinning about who won, and who lost in the deal. But the biggest winners are the coaches and players of the NFL and fans of the league.

NFL Transactions & Honors – 9/26

NFL – fined New England head coach Bill Belichick $50,000 for making physical contact with a game official Sunday night at the end of the Patriots-Ravens game; fined Washington offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan $25,000 for verbal abuse of the game officials during the Redskins most recent game; fined Pittsburgh S Ryan Munday $21,000 for hit on Oakland WR Darrius Heyward-Bey.

NFL – honored players of the week: AFC – Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles, offense; Cincinnati DE Michael Johnson, defense; Tennessee WR Darius Reynaud, special teams. NFC – Arizona WR Larry Fitzgerald, offense; Seattle DE Chris Clemons, defense; N.Y. Giants K Lawrence Tynes, special teams.

Arizona – placed RB Beanie Wells (toe) on the injured-reserve list with return designation; signed RB Alfonso Smith.

Dallas – signed P Brian Moorman, DB Eric Frampton; placed DB Barry Church on the injured-reserve list.

Chiefs – placed C Rodney Hudson (leg) on the injured-reserve list; signed C/G Russ Hochstein, C/G Bryan Mattison. …Read More!

Chiefs Practice Update – 9/26

From the Truman Sports Complex

Chiefs TE Kevin Boss remained off the field Wednesday when the team returned to practice and began preparations for facing San Diego this coming Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.

Boss suffered a head injury in Buffalo 10 days ago and has not been cleared to resume practices. The Chiefs have not called his injury a concussion, but they are following the NFL’s concussion protocol in dealing with Boss.

RB Peyton Hillis did not practice because of the left ankle injury he suffered in New Orleans on Sunday. Also in the rehab area was WR Steve Breaston. His name was not mentioned earlier in the day by head coach Romeo Crennel but he was on the post-practice report as having a knee injury.

The following players were limited participants in Wednesday’s practice: FS Kendrick Lewis (shoulder), WR Dexter McCluster (elbow), NT Anthony Toribio (ankle), WR Devon Wylie (hamstring) and C Ryan Lilja (back). …Read More!

Charles Named AFC Offensive Player Of Week

There was the possibility that when the NFL announced honors for performances in week No. 3, the Chiefs could have – should have – won offense, defense and special teams players of the week.

As it was, they got one – AFC offensive player of the week honors for RB Jamaal Charles and his 233 rushing yards and 288 yards from scrimmage against New Orleans.

OLB Justin Houston finished behind Cincinnati DE Michael Johnson and K Ryan Succop was topped by Tennessee kick returner Darius Reynard.

For the Chiefs, it was the first offensive player of the week award in the last 21 regular season weeks and it was only the second in the last 91 weeks. WR Dwayne Bowe earned player of the week honors for Week No. 16 in 2010 with 6 catches for 153 yards and a 75-yard TD catch against Tennessee.

It’s the first offensive player of the week honor for Charles; he won special teams player of the week in 2009 after his kick return for a touchdown against Pittsburgh helped the Chiefs beat the Steelers.

Chiefs Lose Hudson For Season

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs placed starting center Rodney Hudson on the injured-reserve list on Wednesday, ending his season after three games because of a broken bone in his right leg.

But they got good news on WR Dexter McCluster and his elbow injury. What appeared to be a severe problem from replays in New Orleans won’t even keep him off the practice field this week. He’ll be limited but head coach Romeo Crennel says he will practice on Wednesday.

Hudson was not designated for return, although there is an outside chance he might be rehabbed enough to play come the last few weeks of the season. Veteran Ryan Lilja will continue playing at center and rookie Jeff Allen will be the starter at left guard.

“It doesn’t require surgery,” Crennel said of Hudson’s injury. “He’ll be off it for several weeks and then he’ll be several weeks on crutches. It’s going to be most of the season. By the time he gets back the season is going to be over.”

He joined CB Jacques Reeves in moving to the injured-reserve list. The Chiefs are working on an injury settlement with Reeves. If it happens, he’ll be cut loose and on the street as a free agent. If it doesn’t happen, he will remain on the injured-reserve list.

To fill those two spots on the 53-man roster, the Chiefs have signed a pair of interior offensive linemen – G Russ Hochstein and G Bryan Mattison. …Read More!

Jamaal & Jim . . . Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

It seems that every time Jamaal Charles explodes for one of those huge days running with the football the name that comes up most often to match his exploits is Hall of Famer Jim Brown, considered by many the greatest player in NFL history.

Old-school types would consider it heresy to use Charles name in the same sentence with Brown. Over the years there have been many running backs that physically reminded people of Brown. Other comparisons were made with Brown and production on the field.

Jamaal Charles is not Jim Brown. But some of the things that he’s doing on the field for the Chiefs have not been done before by other backs. The name that keeps coming up in comparison is Brown.

“They had completely different styles,” said Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel, who followed Brown’s exploits as a young man and then got to know him when Crennel was head coach of the Browns. “Jim Brown was a special kind of guy. I think Jamaal has some special qualities about him, but Jim Brown … he’s one of a kind.” …Read More!

A Second Look – New Orleans

It wasn’t so much that the Chiefs won on Sunday in New Orleans that made it fun to take a second look. It was the nature of the game, where there were oh so many plays of note and the officials dragged things out, but for the most part got things correctly in the end.

By unit, here are some thoughts after watching the action:

Offense

QB Matt Cassel’s throws were high all afternoon. Sometimes they were purposely thrown high to give his big tall receivers in Dwayne Bowe and Jon Baldwin a chance to catch the ball and keep it away from the defense. But there were too many times when the throws were so high, the receivers didn’t have a chance. Although he was sacked three times, Cassel was not working under a great deal of pressure that would have effect the accuracy of some of his throws. He was far too inconsistent in where he delivered the ball.

On the first possession, Cassel threw high into the end zone and Baldwin went up and tried to catch it with one hand. Why one hand? He should have gone after the ball with two hands; there was no impediment from the defender to getting his other arm in the air.

Cassel’s interception was awful. Why he threw into double coverage to begin with doesn’t make much sense. WR Steve Breaston was at no point open to catch the ball. The worst part was Cassel never took his eyes off that side of the field, so CB Jabari Greer knew where the pass was coming.

Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll needs more plays where the guards pull and get to the outside, whether one blocker or two. When Jeff Allen was on the field, he and Jon Asamoah were outstanding working in space.

When Asamoah had to leave the game for one play because of a shoe problem, RT Eric Winston moved to RG and rookie Donald Stephenson came in to play RT. …Read More!

NFL Transactions – 9/25

NFL – suspended Denver LB Joe Mays for one game for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Houston QB Matt Schaub in Sunday’s game.

Arizona – signed RB Korey Hall; released OT Pat McQuistan.

Buffalo – released P Brian Moorman; signed P Shawn Powell.

Denver – placed LB Joe Mays on the reserve/suspended list.

Detroit – placed P Ben Graham (calf) on the injured-reserve list; signed P Nick Harris.

Indianapolis – placed WR Austin Collie on the injured-reserve list; signed CB Darius Butler; signed WR Nathan Palmer from the San Francisco practice squad; released OT Trai Essex.

Chiefs – placed CB Jacques Reeves (hamstring) on the injured-reserve list.

Miami – signed DB Jonathon Amaya; released G Artis Hicks from the injured-reserve list; released OT Ray Feinga, DB Troy Nolan.

New Orleans – released WR Greg Camarillo.

N.Y. Jets – signed RB Jonathan Grimes off the Houston practice squad; signed WR Patrick Turner.

Oakland – signed LB Vic So’oto; released LB Carl Ihenacho.

Philadelphia – signed P Mat McBriar; released P Chas Henry.

Tampa Bay – placed DE Adrian Clayborn on the injured-reserve list; signed WR Roscoe Parrish; released WR Jordan Shipley.

Washington – signed DB David Jones; agreed to terms with RB Ryan Grant; released DB Crezdon Butler (injured).

Chiefs Open Roster Spot; Reeves To IR

On Tuesday, the Chiefs placed CB Jacques Reeves on the injured-reserve list.

Reeves suffered a hamstring injury during practice last week and did not get back on the practice field. He was one of the team’s seven inactive players for the game in New Orleans.

The Chiefs recently worked out four defensive backs, but one of those guys signed on Tuesday with Indianapolis, CB Darius Butler.

A defensive back is not guaranteed to be added considering the problems the Chiefs have at center and possibly wide receiver. They could sign someone there, or promote someone from the practice squad to fill the spot.

Chiefs Workouts & NFL Transactions – 9/24

The Chiefs have been busy bringing in street free agents for workouts, including bringing in a potential center, along with defensive backs.

The DBs visited late last week as CB Darius Butler, S Derrick Martin, CB Bryan McCann and CB Frank Walker visited the Chiefs facility. Butler is 26 years old, a former 2nd-round choice in 2009 that has played for New England and Carolina. Martin is 27 years old, a former 6th-round choice in 2006 that has played for Green Bay, the New York Giants, Baltimore and New England. McCann is 24 years old and played college ball at SMU and in the NFL with Baltimore and Dallas. Walker is 31 years old a former 6th-round choice in 2003 that has played for the N.Y. Giants, Baltimore, Green Bay, Minnesota, Tennessee and Dallas.

On Monday, the Chiefs worked out former Packers offensive lineman Sampson Genus, who played center in Green Bay. He’s 24 years old, 6-foot, 315 pounds out of South Florida.

NFL – fined Denver head coach John Fox $30,000 and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio $25,000 for their behavior towards the replacement officials during week No. 2 when Denver played Atlanta.

Indianapolis – lost WR Austin Collie for the rest of the season due to a torn patella tendon in his right knee; promoted WR Nathan Palmer from the practice squad.

N.Y. Jets – placed CB Darrelle Revis (knee) on the injured-reserve list; re-signed LB Bryan Thomas; released DT Marcus Dixon, DB Donnie Fletcher, OT Dennis Landolt.

San Diego – released DB Greg Gatson; re-signed OL Reggie Wells.

Tampa Bay – placed DE Adrian Clayborn (knee) on the injured-reserve list.

Chiefs Monday Update – 9/24

From the Truman Sports Complex

There were more smiles around the Chiefs facility on Monday than in the last few weeks. That’s what winning can do for a coach and a team.

“We are still excited about the fact we were able to win a game,” said head coach Romeo Crennel after meeting with his team 24 hours after their 27-24 overtime victory in New Orleans. “We needed to win one, particular the way the players played. They had energy, effort, good attitude, no matter what the situation was. There were some bleak situations during the course of the game, but they kept playing and it paid off for us.”

The important news of the day was an injury update, but Crennel wasn’t able to provide much information because the three players in question – C Rodney Hudson, WR Dexter McCluster and RB Peyton Hillis – were still being evaluated by medical personnel.

“Dexter has an elbow (injury) and they are looking at his elbow and they’ll let us know sometime today or tomorrow the exact prognosis,” Crennel said. “Peyton has an ankle. He’s in a boot right now and we’ll see how he responds to the boot. Hopefully he’ll be back for this game. We will have to wait and see.

“Hudson has a knee (injury) and they are still evaluating it and they’ll let us know later on what that looks like.” …Read More!

Sunday’s Best – 9/23

LONGEST PLAYS

105 – Tennessee RB Darius Reynaud kickoff return for TD vs. Detroit. (W)

94 – San Francisco WR Kyle Williams kickoff return vs. Minnesota. (L)

93 – Arizona S James Sanders fumble return TD vs. Philadelphia. (W)

91 – Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles TD run vs. New Orleans. (W)

80 – Jacksonville WR Cecil Shorts TD pass vs. Indianapolis. (W)

73 – Cincinnati WR A.J. Green TD pass vs. Washington. (W)

72 – Tennessee CB Alterraun Verner fumble return TD vs. Detroit. (W)

71 – Tennessee WR Nate Washington TD catch vs. Detroit. (W)

70 – New Orleans P Thomas Morstead punt vs. Chiefs. (L)

66 – N.Y. Jets WR Jeremy Kerley reception vs. Miami. (W)

66 – Buffalo P Brian Moorman punt vs. Cleveland. (W)

66 – Jacksonville P Bryan Anger punt vs. Indianapolis. (W)

66 – Houston P Donnie Jones punt vs. Denver. (W) …Read More!

The QB Battle – Only Cassel Comes Out With a WIn


From New Orleans, Louisiana

Going into Sunday’s game, the Saints were considered to have a sizeable edge at one position – quarterback.

Drew Brees vs. Matt Cassel did not bode well for the Chiefs. Brees is one of those half-dozen elite quarterbacks in the league, a guy who has led his team to a Super Bowl and been voted MVP. Cassel has no such honors. He’s yet to win a game in the playoffs and hasn’t even been named his team’s MVP in three seasons in Kansas City.

Football does not always go as planned. It would be folly to say that Cassel was the best quarterback on the field at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. But it would be accurate to say he wasn’t the worst.

Brees turned in what would have to be considered a brutal game for him. Yes, he threw three touchdown passes, but he also had a costly interception, was sacked 4 times and averaged just 6.7 yards per attempt.

Whatever is ailing the Saints, who are now 0-3 on the season, is troubling their quarterback as well.

“I know the team we have, I know the team we want to be and that we can be,” Brees said after the game. “We’re not playing anywhere near that level right now. It’s very frustrating and disappointing, yet there’s no doubt in my mind we’re going to turn this around.”

Sounds like the words that came out of Cassel’s mouth in Buffalo after the Chiefs were drilled by the Bills. The Chiefs QB had much nicer things to talk about on this Sunday.

“We showed some resilience; we were down 24-6 at one point and we just kept fighting and it put us in position at the end to get a victory,” Cassel said. “People were probably thinking ‘here we go again’ but the team stuck together and it was a great team victory.”

Neither Brees nor Cassel was at their finest in this game. Both had bad interceptions that led to scores for the other team. Both were not very accurate throwing the ball. Brees was able to get a couple throws into the end zone, but Cassel never got close to a touchdown with any of his passes.

In the end, Brees had a passer rating of 92.4 and a loss. Cassel had a rating of 65.3 and a victory. That was just fine with Cassel.

“It was a heck of a team victory,” the Chiefs QB said.

“We need to stay the course,” Brees said. “We need to take a hard look in the mirror at what has gotten us beat the last three weeks.”

Analysis – Why Did Romeo Play For OT?

From New Orleans, Louisiana

The one thing that all head coaches know – they are going to be second guessed no matter what decisions they make during a game. Ultimately, what matters is winning.

And the decisions that Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel made at the end of regulation time against New Orleans on Sunday worked. If the Chiefs had lost the game, then he would be paying for that in the hours and days after for his decision making.

You’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t, so Crennel decided on don’t – he went for the tie in regulation time, not a touchdown. He rolled the dice.

“You never know what happens in overtime,” Crennel said, which is oh so true. So why push the game to an extra period, especially on the road?

After two disturbing defeats, he wanted his team to win Sunday’s game. In his mind, the fastest way to do that was to play for OT.

“You take the field goal and go into overtime or you risk maybe losing the game,” Crennel said. “I thought the guys had played really hard all game and I didn’t want them to come up empty handed.

“I felt like if we could get to overtime, we might have a chance.”

Here was the situation that Crennel faced – with 6 minutes, 15 seconds left in regulation the Chiefs had pinned the Saints down with a Dustin Colquitt punt at the New Orleans 9-yard line. If the defense held, the Chiefs offense should have seen good field position for one last chance at a touchdown. At this point, the Saints led by 5 points.

But then OLB Justin Houston changed the formula. He came roaring off the left side of the Chiefs defense and sacked QB Drew Brees in the end zone for a safety. Those 2 points significantly altered the landscape.

With the free kick and a return by CB Javier Arenas, the Chiefs took over at their 38-yard line with 5:26 to play, two timeouts remaining and the two-minute warning ahead.

Here were the factors he had to consider:

– The most consistent player on the field for the Chiefs on Sunday was K Ryan Succop. He already had four FGs and was kicking the ball with strength and accuracy. Plus, the indoor conditions took weather out of the equation.

– On their last possession before the safety and free kick, the Chiefs went three plays and punt, as they were able to gain just 2 yards. The running game that was gouging the Saints defense in the third quarter was having trouble moving the ball.

– QB Matt Cassel wasn’t exactly on fire in the fourth quarter. Before that post-safety possession, he had thrown 7 passes, completing three for 18 yards. He was also sacked for minus-4. That gave the Chiefs a net passing game of 14 yards on 8 pass plays or less than 2 yards per play.

Crennel has not been and never will be a riverboat gambling type of coach or coordinator. Although the Chiefs got after Brees with a bunch of blitzes on Sunday from SS Eric Berry and Arenas, it’s not something that going to become a steady diet for the K.C. defense.

He’s going to be conservative in most cases and allow situations to play out, rather than force something.

So he made the decision to run the clock and get Succop in position to kick a field goal. The Chiefs accomplished both of those assignments as Crennel hoped they would. They ran 12 plays in 5:18. They stopped the clock themselves only twice. Once Jamaal Charles was pushed out of bounds and the second time came on an incompletion by Cassel. They used all their timeouts and forced New Orleans to use one, and then get a penalty when they illegally tried to call back-to-back timeouts.

When Succop went out for the 43-yard FG attempt, there were 8 seconds left on the clock. After he drilled it between the pipes there were 3 seconds left and the Saints did not advance the kickoff and Brees took a knee to go to overtime.

Quite possibly Colquitt and CB Jalil Brown saved Crennel, because a punt downed at the 3-yard line gave the Chiefs field position advantage after they couldn’t produce points with the first possession of overtime.

In the end, it all played out the way Romeo Crennel wanted. That doesn’t mean it was the best way, or the worst way. It just means that with the victory, it was the right way.

Notes & Quotes: Chiefs Can’t Shake Injury Bug


From New Orleans, Louisiana

It was a nice victory for the Chiefs no Sunday against the Saints, but it came at a price.

Three key players left the game with injuries, new physical problems to go with all the previous ones the Chiefs had on their injury report. All three players were injured in the first five minutes of the second half:

– WR Dexter McCluster went down first. On the opening offensive play of the second half he caught a pass from QB Matt Cassel and spun and was falling to the ground with the ball, when he braced himself at the last instant with his left arm. As he was hitting the ground he lost control of the ball because he went to grab his left arm. McCluster was in a great deal of pain as he was helped off the field and afterwards, head coach Romeo Crennel said it was an elbow injury and McCluster had his left arm in a sling.

– On the Chiefs next offensive possession, RB Peyton Hillis was in the left flat and Cassel threw him a pass. Hillis tried to turn his body to catch the ball, but he dropped it. From there, he just kept running, going into the Chiefs bench area and ripping off his helmet and bouncing it on the ground. The Chiefs said the problem as his left ankle.

– Just five minutes after Hillis left the field, C Rodney Hudson went down with a right knee injury. Hudson appeared to be in a great deal of pain as he laid on the ground, but he eventually got to his feet and waved off help as he limped to the bench. A few minutes later he was taken in a cart to the locker room.

Going into the game, the Chiefs had six of their seven inactive players for Sunday out because of injuries: TE Kevin Boss (head), FS Kendrick Lewis (shoulder), NT Anthony Toribio (ankle), WR Devon Wylie (hamstring), CB Jacques Reeves (hamstring) and TE Jake O’Connell (knee).

If Hudson’s injury keeps him out awhile, the Chiefs will have to make some sort of roster move. On the practice squad they had C/G Lucas Patterson, but he was placed on the practice squad injured list last week after he suffered a knee injury in practice.

ATMOSPHERE REPORT

The tickets sold for Sunday’s game at the Mercedes Benz Superdome was announced as 72,226 and most of those fans were in the seats to see the game.

They also proved to be the loudest crowd – home and away – that the Chiefs have played in front of in some time. Late in the game as the Saints lead was slipping away, the fans turned up the decibels and tried to help their team, to no avail.

The Chiefs had three false start penalties, some of which can be traced to the noise level. Other than those, they seemed to handle it well.

“Man we had the noise turned up at practice last week, all week,” said SS Eric Berry. “It was making my head hurt and we were outside. That really got us ready for this.”

SPECIAL TEAMS REPORT

It was a good day for the kicking game, with Ryan Succop’s club record 6 field goals including one to tie and one to win. Plus, CB Jalil Brown did a great job in getting a punt downed in the overtime that made a huge difference in field position.

P Dustin Colquitt kicked 5 times and averaged 41.6 yards a punt, with a net average of 41.2. In fact, only one of his punts was returned, as Darren Sproles got two yards. Colquitt put four of the five kicks inside the 20-yard line.

On returns, Javier Arenas got some help from RB Shaun Draughn on kickoff returns, but that didn’t provide much. Arenas had 3 punt returns and averaged 13.3 yards. He added 3 kickoff returns at a 19.3-yard average. Draught had 2 kickoff returns for a 18.5-yard average.

On his 5 kickoffs, Succop had 2 touchbacks and one kick that wasn’t returned. Sproles averaged 26.8 yards on four kickoff returns.

LB Edgar Jones led the special teams coverage with two tackles. Also adding tackles were FS Tysyn Hartman, CB Jalil Brown and LB Brandon Siler.

PERSONNEL REPORT

Inactive players for the Chiefs against the Saints were QB Ricky Stanzi, WR Devon Wylie, FS Kendrick Lewis, CB Jacques Reeves, TE Kevin Boss, TE Jake O’Connell and NT Anthony Toribio. The only healthy scratch was Stanzi; all the other players were on the injured list last week.

It’s the first game on the game-day active list for DE Allen Bailey, TE Steve Maneri and RB Cyrus Gray.

Inactive players for the Saints against the Chiefs were WR Joseph Morgan, RB Chris Ivory, RB Travaris Cadet, CB Elbert Mack, DT Tyrunn Walker, OT Bryce Harris and DE Turk McBride. Only former Chiefs player McBride was on the list because of an injury as he did not practice all week with an ankle injury.

MISC.

The Chiefs are now 14-18-2 in overtime games … they’ve outscored opponents 35-6 in the fourth quarter and OT in three games. Finally the late scores meant something in New Orleans … Arenas became No. 4 on the franchise career punt returns list with 826. He passed CB Dale Carter … WR Dwayne Bowe now has 374 career catches, passing FB Kimble Anders (369) and moving into 6th place in team history … the 91-yard run by Jamaal Charles was the longest run against the Saints in team history … Saints QB Drew Brees extended his streak of games throwing a TD pass to 46, the second longest such streak in the history of the NFL. Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas holds the record with 47 consecutive games with a scoring throw … Brees also ended the day with 3,688 career completions, moving past Frank Tarkenton into eighth place in the all-time NFL records.

Keys To Chiefs Beating Saints/Recap

From New Orleans, Louisiana

Here’s a look at the 4 pre-game keys to a Chiefs victory on Sunday and whether they achieved those items. There are three possible grades: Mission Accomplished, Push and, Failed Assignment.

4

Slow Darren Sproles

The diminutive Sproles is a physical freak. The young man from Olathe is just 5-6 and weighs 190 pounds. Most of that weight is in his thighs and his butt; it’s what gives him the power and speed he needs to run past and sometimes through people. Last year with the Saints he touched the ball 242 times on offense and returns. That’s produced 2,696 yards, or an average of 11.1 yards every time he touched the ball. So far this season he hasn’t seen much in the way of running with the ball on offense, but he’s caught 18 passes for 163 yards and is average 11 yards on punt returns and 31 yards on kick returns. For the defense and special teams units that have played as poorly as the Chiefs have in two games, stopping Sproles isn’t a realistic goal. All they can do is slow him down and make sure he doesn’t provide a kill shot, especially on special teams.

OUTCOME: ACCOMPLISHED. The Chiefs allowed just one big play by Sproles, a 47-yard run in the first half. He finished with 62 yards on 7 running plays, two yards on one punt return and 107 yards on 4 kickoff returns.

3

Control the line of scrimmage

People can talk all they want about the passing game now being the real force that drives the NFL, but football never changes in one area – the line of scrimmage. Whether it’s throwing or running, or trying to stop the pass or run, games are decided by the big guys up front. It has always been that way and always will be that way. The tougher task is for the Chiefs defensive front, because the Saints offensive line is pretty solid – New Orleans is averaging 5.3 yards per carry and QB Drew Brees has been sacked three times in 104 passing plays. Somehow the front three, two, four – whatever number that Romeo Crennel decides to put on the field must find a way to control the line of scrimmage.

OUTCOME: ACCOMPLISHED – They ran for 273 yards and allowed 83. They had 4 sacks, while allowing 3. Overall, they won the game up front, especially in the second half when the defense rose up and controlled the Saints offense.

2

Score touchdowns

Whether it’s on offense, defense or special teams, the Chiefs need to score touchdowns to win this game. They have five in the first two games but only two of those came at a time when the Chiefs were still in the Game. A pair of Matt Cassel to Dwayne Bowe TDs in the Buffalo fourth quarter did nothing but pad the stats. That’s two TDs in two games. The Saints are struggling at 0-2, but they’ve scored seven touchdowns. They have the potential to score so many more. The Chiefs must match them TD for TD. They can’t get behind by 14 points. They can’t go field goal for touchdowns. New Orleans gets six the Chiefs must get six as well.

OUTCOME: FAILED – It’s a nice record for Ryan Succop getting 6 FGs in 6 attempts. But the Chiefs need to score more touchdowns. They had just one, with Jamaal Charles and his 91-yard run.

1

Play with passion, excitement and go fast

The Saints are going to be jacked up for this game. There are enough players that were part of the Super Bowl team still there and led by QB Drew Brees, they are going to be sky-high for the chance to get off that big zero and pickup their first victory of the season. The Chiefs have to match that passion. Even though they won’t have the Superdome crowd getting them jacked up, they have to find a way to match the energy that will come from the Saints. They also have to be resilient enough to not allow a New Orleans touchdown or big plays send them into a funk. Plenty of things will go wrong in New Orleans, but that doesn’t mean the Chiefs can’t win.

OUTCOME: ACCOMPLISHED – The Chiefs played with more verve than at any time in the previous two games. Despite being in a hostile environment and falling behind by 18 points, they kept their enthusiasm and focus. That’s a small step towards becoming a much better team.

Review System Worn Out By Chiefs-Saints


From New Orleans, Louisiana

Say this about the replacement officials that worked Sunday’s game between the Chiefs and Saints – they know how to use the replay review system.

By the time the game was over, the zebras had reviewed 7 different plays. Two of those reviews were requested by the Chiefs and both plays were overturned. The other five reviews came from the replay booth officials and the league observers that are in many cases controlling the game from behind curtains and closed doors.

Here’s the litany of 7 different replay reviews, all of which appeared to get the final call correct, but it stretched the game out to almost four hours:

– On the final play of the first quarter, New Orleans QB Drew Brees completed a pass to TE Jimmy Graham for 4 yards where the receiver’s second effort stretched to push the ball for a first down on the 3rd-and-4th play. The Chiefs fired the red flag and after a review, placement of the ball changed, being moved back 2 yards. Now 4th-and-2, the Saints kicked a field goal. Chiefs may have ducked 7 points, so give them a 4-point advantage in replay

– With 1:15 to play in the first half, Brees was under pressure and got rid of a short pass in the direction of RB Pierre Thomas. He appeared to catch the ball at the 6-yard line and since he wasn’t tackled, he got up and ran into the end zone for a touchdown. Replay review, which comes with all scoring plays, showed that during the process of making the catch the football had hit the ground. TD overturned, and two players later the Saints missed a FG of 38 yards. That gives the Chiefs another 4-point from replay, for a total of 8 points.

– The first offensive play of the second half saw Cassel complete a pass to WR Dexter McCluster on the right flat. McCluster stumbled while catching the ball and in the course of the play injured his elbow and ended up fumbling the ball. It was picked up by a Saints LB and returned for a TD. On review, the play was reversed. The fumble stuck, but because there was a whistle that stopped play, New Orleans got the ball at the Chiefs 19-yard line.

– Just two plays later, Brees and WR Lance Moore hooked up on a play that was originally called a catch and the receiver out at the 1 yard line. The Chiefs again threw the challenge flag and the replay showed that Moore did not get both feet inbounds before running over the goal line pylon. Incomplete was the correct call. The Saints scored two plays later.

– In the 4th quarter, Chiefs OLB Justin Houston sacked Brees in the end zone, but near the goal line. The officials on the field called it a safety. Since it’s a scoring play its subject of review and the officials upheld the call, giving the Chiefs 2 points, now 10 points up thanks to replay.

– In overtime, the Chiefs were able to down a punt at the 3-yard line thanks to a great play by CB Jalil Brown. The replay assistant can review any calls in overtime and they looked at the play and it was upheld.

– Late in overtime, Chiefs RB Shaun Draughn caught a pass for 12 yards on a 3rd-and-12 play. He stretched for the first down line at the end of the play and the ball popped out. It was picked up by Saints S Roland Harper and returned 57 yards for a touchdown. That was the ruling on the field. Replay showed that Draughn’s entire body was down when he lost control of the ball. The Chiefs retained possession and added 7 points for a touchdown taken away, that’s 17 points on the day for the Chiefs.

Here are the flags that were thrown in the game. The Chiefs had six penalties in the first two games, and were hit with 6 in New Orleans:

Team

Squad

Player

Penalty

Yds

KC

Defense

G. Dorsey

Offside

Minus-5

KC

Offense

R.Lilja

Holding

Minus-10

KC

Offense

R. Lilja

Holding

Declined

NO

Offense

C. Roby

Holding

Minus-10

KC

Offense

B. Albert

False Start

Minus-5

NO

Offense

D. Graham

False Start

Minus-5

NO

Defense

P. Robinson

Pass Interference

Minus-26

KC

Offense

B. Albert

False Start

Minus-5

KC

Offense

E. Winston

False Start

Minus-5

KC

Punt Ret.

J. Brown

Holding

Minus-10

NO

Defense

*

Delay of Game

Minus-4

Succop Gets Kickers Hat Trick

From New Orleans, Louisiana

It’s the type of game that every man that has ever kicked a football has dreamed of having.

Chiefs K Ryan Succop set a team record with 6 field goals on Sunday against the Saints. That was hat No. 1. His FG at the end of the fourth quarter tied the score and sent the teams to overtime; hat No. 2.

And then his 31-yard FG in the extra period gave the Chiefs a 27-24 victory; hat No. 3.

“This was a huge win for us today and I’m excited about it,” Succop said. “6 for 6, I’ve never done that before. It’s testament to how well Dustin (Colquitt) and Thomas (Gafford) snapped and held for me. Our line protected, and I was happy to go out and kick with those guys today.”

Before Sunday, the record for most FGs in a game by a Chiefs kicker was held jointly by Jan Stenerud and Nick Lowery. Stenerud did it three times, while Lowery made 5 FGs on four different occasions.

“It’s very humbling to even be mentioned in the same sentence with names like that,” Succop said. “Today our team needed it and I was happy to have the chance.”

In the end, each one of those FGs was important:

 

  1. It was from 25 yards out and capped a 14-play, 82-yard drive to cut the New Orleans lead to 7-3.
  2. Late in second quarter, he hit from 45 yards to make the score 10-6 at half-time.
  3. The first of 3 field goals in the fourth quarter, this one from 34 yards and New Orleans’ lead became 24-16.
  4. About 4:30 later in the fourth, he hit from 38 yards, cutting the Saints margin to 5 points.
  5. Came with 3 seconds to play and tied the score 24-24 at the end of a 13-play, 37-yard possession.
  6. With 6:27 to go in overtime, he hit from 31 yards for the 27-24 victory.

“I hit the ball well all day,” said Succop. “As the game got closer and things started heating up, it was loud. We prepared for that all week. The coaches did a great job of getting us ready for that.”

So which kick brought the most pressure – the one to tie the game, or the kick to win?

“I don’t try to think like that,” Succop said. “I just pray before the game to have piece for the whole game and I felt good over the ball all day long. I try to go out there and make every kick.”

On the season now, Succop is 8 of 9.

Most FGs Made In Single Game/Chiefs

# Kicker

Opp.

Date

Made

1. Ryan Succop

@ NO

9/23/12

6

2. Jan Stenerud

@ BUF

11/2/69

5

Jan Stenerud

BUF

12/7/69

5

Jan Stenerud

BUF

12/19/71

5

Nick Lowery

LARAID

9/12/85

5

Nick Lowery

CIN

11/13/88

5

Nick Lowery

@ CHI

12/29/90

5

Nick Lowery

DEN

9/20/83

5

Most FGs Made In A Single Game/League

# Kicker Team Opponent Date

M/A

1. Rob Bironas TEN @HOU 10/21/07

8 of 8

2. Jim Bakken STL @PIT 9/24/67

7 of 9

Chris Boniol DAL GB 11/18/96

7 of 7

Billy Cundiff DAL @ NYG 9/15/03

7 of 8

Shayne Graham CIN @ BAL 11/11/07

7 of 7

Rick Karlis MIN LARAMS 11/5/89

7 of 7

7. Ryan Succop KC @ NO 9/23/12

6 of 6

Tied with 27 others with 6 FGs.

Of those, 18 went 6-for-6.

Moving To Center A Snap For Lilja

From New Orleans, Louisiana

Ryan Lilja paused for a minute to contemplate the question:

Had he ever played center in a game before Sunday against the Saints at the Mercedes Benz Superdome?

“There was one time, I think my second year in the league, I played some at center,” Lilja said. “That was in the pre-season. Never in a regular season game.”

What about at K-State? “Never,” said Lilja.

What about at Shawnee Mission Northwest? “No,” said Lilja.

That didn’t slow Lilja down on Sunday against New Orleans. Since training camp he’s been taking practice snaps at the position as the coaching staff decided he would be the man to step into the position should anything happen to starter Rodney Hudson. Right guard Jon Asamoah has taken his share of snaps as well.

Lilja’s time came in the third quarter. On a 3rd-and-8 play at the Chiefs 46-yard line, Hudson snapped the ball and Matt Cassel connected on a short pass to RB Shaun Draughn for a 5-yard gain. As the play ended, there was Hudson on the field in obvious pain, grabbing at his right leg. Trainers and doctors worked with him for several minutes on the field before helping him to his feet.

Hudson refused their help and walked off under his own power, but with a noticeable limp. An ice bag immediately went on the right knee, and several minutes later he was taken from the bench to the locker room on a cart.

Prognosis? The Chiefs were not saying after the game, but it’s likely to cost him at least several games if he and the team are lucky.

The next time the offense hit the field, Lilja was at center with rookie Jeff Allen moving into the left guard spot.

The offense kept on moving without a hitch. Lilja ended up handling 52 snaps, with 17 of those in the shotgun. He also had to snap in what was the loudest stadium the Chiefs have played in for some time.

But nothing seemed to bother the grizzled veteran Lilja.

“We repped it with crowd noise all week in practice so we were ready for that,” said Lilja. “That’s why you do it. I’m thankful we did do it.

“It’s something we practice every day; you just never know if and when I’m going to have to do it,” said Lilja. “I’ve pretty much backed up at center my whole career. It was tough seeing Rodney get hurt. It was pretty awkward there at first. I had my share of screw-ups, but we got it figured out.”

Just as impressive as Lilja’s move to center was the play of second-round draft choice Allen in those 52 snaps. There appeared to be no drop in production and protection with the rookie playing.

“He was awesome, he did really good,” said Lilja. “We didn’t miss a beat when he was in there. That’s a tough position to be in. You are on the sidelines all day and you get prepared every week, but you don’t get to play. When your number is called you have to be ready, and he was ready. I was impressed.”

Chiefs Defense Rages Through Second Half


From New Orleans, Louisiana

After two games where the Chiefs defense looked so poor, Romeo Crennel’s team stepped up in the second half on Sunday at the Mercedes Benz Super Bowl and dominated the New Orleans Saints and QB Drew Brees.

And dominate is the right description. Read these numbers from the second half for the Chiefs defense against the Saints offense:

  • The Chiefs allowed just 70 net yards after half-time, and that included the overtime period.
  • The Saints final first down on offense came at the 3:21 mark of the third quarter.
  • After that last first down, Brees was 0 for 7 with an interception and two sacks, one for a safety.
  • New Orleans had 2 rushing yards in the fourth quarter and overtime.
  • On their last six possessions, the Saints had 5, 3, 3, 2, 1 and 3 plays. Only two of those possessions produced positive yardage.

“The third and fourth quarters were pretty invisible in terms of never really feeling like we could get any tempo going or rhythm of getting first downs to keep drives going,” said Brees. “The entire four quarter just felt like it was played on our end of the field. We were backed up.”

In the first half, the Chiefs defense had its problems, giving up 218 yards to the Saints. There were problems similar to the ones that hurt their performance in the first two games – blown assignments and lack of communication. Brees threw touchdown passes of 1 and 6 yards where his receivers were open and there appeared confusion in the secondary.

“We made a lot of mistakes in this game,” said CB Stanford Routt. “I think we can be a lot better. We won; it’s the most important thing. We shot ourselves in the foot a lot of times today. This defense can be a whole lot better.”

The Chiefs were on the field the entire day really with two defensive schemes. There was the base 3-4 alignment which had been off the field so much last week in Buffalo. And there was the sub-defense, the dime secondary with 2 defensive linemen, 3 linebackers and 6 defensive backs. One play they went with 7 in the secondary, with just one defensive lineman.

“Coach Crennel put the game plan together and he came up with some good stuff, so we just wanted to make it work,” said SS Eric Berry. “We had some bad plays, but we worked all week on making sure we just put those aside and got ready for the next one. We kept looking forward.”

It was the 91-yard touchdown run by Jamaal Charles seemed to light up the Chiefs defense as much as the offense.

“2-5 did a great job running the ball,” Berry said. “He put the team on his back today.”

That’s happened to the Chiefs defense as well where an offensive player gets hot and is close to unstoppable. Berry said it’s demoralizing.

“It pumps you up because he’s on your team, but if you are out there on defense, it just wears you down,” Berry said. “They got a few good hits on him, but he kept running full speed and that was motivating.”

The Chiefs had four sacks, with OLB Justin Houston picking up three of those, including getting a safety when he tackled Brees in the end zone.

“We had great coverage today, that was the key,” Houston said of what helped him get Brees down three times. “When you get that, it’s easier to get to the quarterback. It’s that extra half-second that makes the difference.”

Report Card – Chiefs vs. Saints


From New Orleans, Louisiana

PASSING OFFENSE: C – Matt Cassel hit eight different receivers on the day, with a completion percentage of 59.1 percent. But the longest pass play was just 20 yards and he averaged just 5.6 yards per attempt. Throw in an interception and three sacks of Cassel and it was not the best of days for the Chiefs in throwing the football.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A – They ran for 273 yards with all but 40 of those yards belonging to Jamaal Charles. Peyton Hillis left with an ankle injury after just 3 carries. That upped the carries for Shaun Draughn but he struggled to do anything with them at just 3.1 yards per carry. Charles was sensational with runs of 91 and 40 yards and his average was 7.1 yards a carry.

PASS DEFENSE: B – While Drew Brees struggled at times, he did throw three touchdown passes on the day. But the Chiefs got to him four times and also earned their first interception of the season as CB Stanford Routt picked off Brees at the goal line. Holding Brees to 240 yards is impressive.

RUSH DEFENSE: A – The Saints needed to run the ball in the second half, but they could not make it happen. Overall, they had 83 yards on 19 carries. But 47 of those yards came on a single Darren Sproles scamper. So the other 18 carries produced 36 yards. They had just 14 yards in the second half and overtime.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B – Ryan Succop was money, hitting all 6 of his FG attempts. A kicker should be money inside and kicking off artificial turf. But New Orleans K Garrett Hartley missed from 38 yards. Still nothing coming out of the returns, but the coverage units did a good job and they got the big play by CB Jalil Brown in the overtime downing a punt.

COACHING: A – Give Romeo Crennel and his staff credit; things were not looking very good for this team into the third quarter. But the coaches felt like they had a good plan, especially on offense, and they stuck to it and it paid off big time. Some fans may not have liked Crennel going for the tie and overtime rather than the victory at the end of the fourth quarter, but it proved to be the correct decision this time.

Play of the Game #2 – Chiefs Down Punt In Overtime

From New Orleans, Louisiana

QUARTER – Overtime, 12 minutes, 12 seconds to play in the extra period.

SCORE – all tied up at 24-24.

DOWN & DISTANCE – 4th-and-4 for the Chiefs at the New Orleans 46-yard line.

SET – Punt team.

The Chiefs won the overtime coin toss and had the chance to get the ball first in the extra period. The offense moved the ball 34 yards after the kickoff but the possession stalled on a pair of Matt Cassel incompletions and Dustin Colquitt and the punt team came on the field.

Colquitt had been kicking well all day, placing four of his five punts inside the 20-yard line and changing field position. He needed one of those types of kicks in this situation – the Chiefs had a field position edge that in a one possession game could be very valuable. He launched his left footed kick high in the air and the Chiefs punt team was racing down field.

CB Jalil Brown was the flyer or outside man on the right side of the alignment. Brown was able to dodge and weave and get away from the New Orleans punt return blockers that were trying to slow him down and steer him away. As he ran, Brown noticed that returner Darren Sproles didn’t look like he was going to catch the ball, so he stepped on the gas and tried to get down the field faster.

As Brown got inside the 10-yard line he was the only player around the ball when it hit the turf. It bounced high in the air and was headed for the end zone, where it would have been a touchback and the Saints would have gotten the ball on the 20-yard line. The Chiefs would lose their field position advantage.

“It’s a play we practice over and over again,” Brown explained. “From the first day of training camp until the last practice of the season, we are practicing going after the ball and getting it downed.”

Brown knew there was only one way to make this play. As the ball hit the turf, Brown jumped in the air, careful to make sure he got up in the field of play and not in the end zone or on the goal line. He hung in the air and was able to grab the ball and flick backwards down the field. The ball came to a stop at the 3-yard line where it was downed by LB Brandon Siler.

The Saints would have to start their possession at the New Orleans 3-yard line.

“What a great play by Jalil,” said Colquitt. “We work on that a lot just for situations like that.”

It proved huge for the Chiefs in overtime. The Saints went three plays and out, as QB Drew Brees missed on all three of his throws. New Orleans had to punt and with a 10-yard return by Javier Arenas, the offense was able to take control at the K.C. 47-yard line. They wanted to move the ball down between the 20 and 25-yard line. That would make it a 38 to 43-yard FG.

The Chiefs were able to do that, moving it down to the Saints 13-yard line before Ryan Succop came on and kicked the game winner.

“It was a day where offense, defense and special teams all helped win this game,” said Brown. “That’s our goal every week.”

Play of the Game #1 – Charles 91-Yard Touchdown Run


From New Orleans, Louisiana

QUARTER – 3rd, 5 minutes, 32 seconds to play in the period.

SCORE – Saints held an 18-point lead, 24-6.

DOWN & DISTANCE – 1st-and-10 for the Chiefs offense at the KC 9-yard line.

SET – Chiefs were in a 2-back, 1-tight end, 2-wide receiver alignment.

The Saints had just scored their second touchdown of the third quarter with both scores set up by Chiefs offensive turnovers – a fumble by WR Dexter McCluster and a Matt Cassel interception. With just over 20 minutes to play they were down by 18 points.

A poor kick return gave them the ball at their 9-yard line. Jamaal Charles was the deep back, with rookie Nate Eachus in front of him as a fullback. TE Tony Moeaki was lined up strong left, with WR Dwayne Bowe to the left and WR Jon Baldwin to the right.

The first-down play call was a simple one, something that offensive coordinator Brian Daboll had dialed up several times before. At this point in the game, Charles had run the ball 14 times for 64 yards at this point. Daboll called his number again.

Charles took the handoff from Cassel and headed towards the outside shoulder of LT Branden Albert. The blocking was supposed to create an ally there for him to run through. As he ran that way, bodies started to fall. Bowe did a great job of taking the cornerback on that side of the field out of the play. Moeaki was able to help turn the outside backer while Albert was mauling the defensive end. Eachus threw himself into another defensive lineman, slowing his pursuit. Ryan Lilja was playing at center, but he pulled to his left and he was able to reach the second level and took out the middle linebacker.

And Charles was off, running 91 yards without being touched once he was past the line of scrimmage. It turned the direction of the game and the outcome.

“It was a huge spark, it was a big turnaround for us,” said Cassel. “Jamaal had been running the ball well all day and his numbers had to be up there. That’s a testament to those offensive linemen; they really embraced the challenge. Our fullbacks, our wide receivers, they were all out there blocking.

“I think we really rebounded after that play and it gave us confidence and got us going again … we were down 24-6 and we needed a big play and there is no better person to make it happen than Jamaal Charles.”

The defensive players felt the lift Charles gave them.

“It was awesome to see that,” said DE Glenn Dorsey. “When you see guys performing like that the whole team responds. That was the difference in the game.”

Charles Takes Charge In Nola

From New Orleans, Louisiana

The afternoon had gone right in the dumper. The Chiefs were down 18 points with about 20 minutes to play at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Another game was on the verge of sliding away and the Chiefs were headed to 0-3.

Jamaal Charles knew something had to happen for his team to break the chain of bad football they had put together in the season’s first two games.

“We needed something to happen,” said SS Eric Berry. “That’s when No. 25 stood up and put us on his back.”

Charles figured somebody had to do it.

“You never know what plays are going to be called and how they are going to end up,” Charles said. “What I tried to do is just run behind our offensive line and fullback and wait for the holes to open up.”

The Chiefs were in a 1st-and-10 situation at their own 9-yard line after RB Shaun Draughn took a kickoff 5 yards deep in the end zone and was able to move it a total of 14 yards. The first play call was just a simple handoff to Charles and he headed for the area off left tackle.

As he went that way, bodies started to fall and Charles was off, running 91 yards without being touched once he was past the line of scrimmage.

“I just tried to run as fast and I can,” Charles said. “When I got out in the open I just made sure I didn’t step out of bounds. It was a big play for us.”

It was one of 33 carries for Charles on the day. He wrapped it up with 233 rushing yards, while adding another 55 yards as a receiver. On the day he had 39 touches for 288 yards, one of the most productive days in his career and one of the best offensive days in Chiefs history:

Most Yards From Scrimmage In One Game/Chiefs History

Rnk

Player

Opp

Date

Yards From Scrimmage

1.

WR Stephone Paige

SD

12/22/85

309 (0 rush/309 receiving)

2.

Priest Holmes

@ SEA

11/24/02

307 (197 rush/110 receiving)

3.

Jamaal Charles

@ NO

9/23/122

288 (233 rush/55 receiving)

4.

Priest Holmes

@ OAK

12/9/01

277 (168 rush/109 receiving)

5.

Jamaal Charles

@ DEN

1/3/10

262 (259 rush/3 receiving)

The 91-yard touchdown run is the longest in franchise history, breaking a 33-year old record that was previously held by Ted McKnight:

Longest Runs In Chiefs History

Rnk

Back

Opp

Date

Rush

1.

Jamaal Charles

@ NO

9/23/12

91 (TD)

2.

Ted McKnight

@ SEA

9/30/79

84 (TD)

3.

Joe Delaney

DEN

10/18/81

82 (TD)

Derrick Alexander

SD

10/31/99

82 (TD)

5.

Abner Haynes

@ NYJ

11/29/64

80 (TD)

Warren McVea

CIN

10/26/69

80 (TD)

Jamaal Charles

@ STL

12/19/10

80

And, in rushing yards alone, Charles now has the two best single game performances among all the great runners in Chiefs history:

Most Rushing Yards, Single Game In Chiefs History

Rnk

Back

Opp

Date

Rush

1.

Jamaal Charles

@ DEN

1/3/10

259

2.

Jamaal Charles

@ NO

9/23/12

233

3.

Larry Johnson

@ HOU

11/20/05

211

4.

Larry Johnson

CIN

1/1/06

201

5.

Barry Word

DET

10/14/90

200

“It wasn’t about my performance today,” Charles said. “It was about coming out here and playing hard and winning this football game. We knew coming in that we could run against this defense and it was an opportunity we had to take advantage of.”

When Charles dinged his surgically repaired left knee last Sunday in Buffalo, the Chiefs kept him off the field and he ended up with 6 carries for 3 yards. What a difference Sunday in New Orleans turned out to be.

“If we give him a seam, he can run with the football,” said head coach Romeo Crennel. “That’s what he does. He just did what he was supposed to do. We knew that he could do it. We’re going to ask him to do it next week and the week after.”

Column: Chiefs Finally Learn Key To Survival


From New Orleans, Louisiana

Panic was in the air everywhere the Chiefs breathed over the last week. The fans and the media led the charge, and heaven knows how many folks in the building and locker room may have been pushing hard on the distress button.

One guy that wasn’t in panic mode was Romeo Crennel. One does not reach 65 years of age with 40 years of coaching experience by running around willy-nilly when the team loses two in a row and screaming “the sky is falling, the sky is falling.”

Concerned – a head coach is concerned every day that he holds that title. That’s one of the reasons he gets more money than assistant coaches do. But as frustrated and aggravated as Crennel was, he also knew that punching the anxiety button would be akin to pouring gasoline on a fire.

So he did what head coaches have done for decades, centuries really – he went back to the basics. Crennel boiled his team’s problems down to one basic premise and provided them with an avenue to clear up the situation:

Play the snap, when it’s over, move on to getting ready for the next snap. There’s no time for feeling sorry, no time for getting angry, no time for histronics of any kind. There’s simply time to play the play and move on. …Read More!

Jamaal Carries The Load in 27-24 Victory over Saints

From New Orleans, Louisiana

His shoulders are not broad. But they are hard and tough and on Sunday afternoon at the Mercedes Benz Superdome, Jamaal Charles put the Chiefs on his shoulders and carried them out of their land of despair.

Charles ran 33 times for 233 yards, caught 6 passes for 55 yards, scored a club record 91-yard touchdown and was the engine that brought the Chiefs back from an 18-point deficit to an overtime victory against the New Orleans Saints 27-24. Β It was the biggest comeback to a victory in the Chiefs 53-season history of play.

The Chiefs are now 1-2 on the season and the Saints are a surprising 0-3.

It was Ryan Succop that put up the winning points, hitting a Chiefs record setting sixth field goal, this one from 31 yards with 6 minutes, 27 seconds to play in the extra period. He also had a 43-yard field goal with three seconds to play in the fourth quarter that tied the game and sent it to overtime.

But it was Charles that gave the Chiefs a chance to be in that position.

“That’s a work horse right there,” said CB Stanford Routt, who had the Chiefs first interception of the season. “I don’t know what the score was when he ran for that touchdown, but I know that it pumped up the defense. That’s what happened. That man is something special.” …Read More!

Chiefs Come Out Fighting, Win In OT 27-24


From New Orleans, Louisiana

The Chiefs generated little excitement in the first two games of the 2012 season. That was not the case Sunday afternoon in the Mercedes Benz Superdome.

A pair of desperate 0-2 teams got together and played their best games of the year. Certainly the Chiefs did. But in the end, somebody has to win and somebody has to lose. In this case the Chiefs.

There’s so much to cover in this one from Jamaal Charles running through the Saints, to injuries, to the replacement officials and a host of replay reviews, to the quarterback dual between Drew Brees and Matt Cassel, to the Chiefs defense finally standing up and stopping somebody.

So much to cover, here’s the story of the afternoon in the Big Easy for the Chiefs:

Game-Day Live From The Superdome


From New Orleans, Louisiana

11:20 a.m. CDT – The teams are close to wrapping up their warm-up periods before heading back to the locker room one last time before kickoff. Remember to join us later Sunday afternoon and into Sunday evening and Monday morning as we provide coverage of the Chiefs and Saints. Enjoy the game.

11:10 a.m. CDT – The NFL assigns a former player in every league city to watch for violations of the uniform rules and regulations. In Kansas City it’s former OT Ricky Siglar. In New Orleans it’s former Chiefs safety Gary Barbaro. He and secondary coach Emmitt Thomas had quite a hug on the field; Thomas was still playing when Barbaro was drafted by the Chiefs in 1976.

11 a.m. CDT – FS Kendrick Lewis made the trip despite the fact he was not going to play. The Chiefs allowed him to travel with the team to his hometown. Nice touch by the club. Lewis is a week, maybe two away from returning to the field with that right shoulder injury.

10:55 a.m. CDT – K Ryan Succop just nailed a 53-yard FG try in the warm-up that went another five yards after that, hitting the base of the wall behind the goal posts. Of course, indoors and on artificial turf there are no weather problems to worry about, although I can attest that the air conditioning is turned way up today.

10:50 a.m. CDT – One that got away – another former member of the Chiefs that’s with the Saints is starting center Brian de la Puente. He was claimed off waivers at the start of the 2008 season by the Peterson/Edwards/ Kuharich regime and spent the year with the Chiefs without getting much of a chance to play. He was on the roster when Pioli/Haley came in and spent the off-season with the Chiefs, but was released without getting any type of look. For the most part he’s been with the Saints ever since. …Read More!

Replacement Zebras For Chiefs-Saints

From New Orleans, Louisiana

It’s the crew of bankruptcy lawyer Donald King that is working Sunday’s game here between the Chiefs and Saints.

Two things to note on King and his crew – they aren’t afraid to throw the yellow hanky and the home team wins. In the first two games worked by King’s group – Miami @ Houston and Minnesota @ Indianapolis – they averaged 14.5 penalties walked off for an average of 134.5 yards.

Their work last week drew the ire of former Chiefs-now Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen. That’s him pointing at head linesman Mark Andrew on the right. The Vikings had 11 penalties walked off against them.

Through two games, the Chiefs were the least penalized team in the league. With this grew, it will be interesting to see if that continues.

Here’s what we could find on the crew and their experience:

King – Washington, D.C. area small colleges and high schools.

Umpire Jeff Otterby – He’s worked in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.

Line judge Chuck Townsend – Out of Indiana, he’s worked Division III games in the Heartland Conference.

Field judge Keith Norman – Has worked high school games in the state of Illinois.

Side judge Kent Intagliata – Out of Cleveland, he’s the head of the Cleveland Football Officials Association.

Back judge Jeff Corley – He’s worked high school games in his home state of Alabama.

Head linesman Mark Andrew – unknown.

Desperation In Nola … Game-Day Cup O’Chiefs

From New Orleans, Louisiana

The New Orleans Saints are 0-2 after two weeks of the NFL season. But the guys wearing the fleur-de-lis have plenty of legitimate excuses for their tough start – their head coach is suspended, his replacement is suspended and the general manager is suspended.

The Kansas City Chiefs are 0-2 after two weeks of the same NFL season. The guys wearing the arrowheads don’t have any excuses for their horrific start. There have been injuries and suspension that took players off the field but nothing to explain how poor their results have been.

Sunday afternoon at the Mercedes Benz Superdome will end with one of these desperate teams breathing a sigh of relief, while the other will hold their head in their hands with another week of despair.

The Chiefs and Saints will kick off just after 12 noon and the game will be broadcast on CBS-TV.

A victory for either team will not wipe out the two defeats already next to their names. But it would do wonders for attitude both within the team and on the outside.

But it remains just a single game. …Read More!

NFL Transactions – 9/22

NFL – league office fined:

  • Baltimore DB Cary Williams, personal foul fighting, $10,000;
  • Baltimore RB Ray Rice, late hit, $7,875;
  • Baltimore G Marshal Yanda, late hit, $7,875;
  • N.Y. Jets S LaRon Landry, horse-collar tackle, $15,750;
  • Philadelphia WR DeSean Jackson, personal foul fighting, $10,000;
  • Philadelphia DL Cullen Jenkins, late hit, $7,875.

Dallas – promoted LB Orie Lemon from the practice squad; released CB Mario Butler.

N.Y. Jets – released LB Bryan Thomas; promoted CB Donnie Fletcher from the practice squad.

San Diego – released G Reggie Wells; promoted CB Greg Gatson from the practice squad.

Some Spicy Jambalaya From the Big Easy

From New Orleans, Louisiana

Absolutely no one that has to chase a football team around the country ever complains about coming to the Big Easy.

It’s usually a short trip, just a couple days, with some great food and the game is indoors with no rain and air conditioning. It’s not cheap and there are always a few less brain cells on the ride home. But it’s a treat. And, you don’t even need to go near the French Quarter to do any of that. The best time to visit the Vieux Carre as they call it is for an early morning walk or run, after they’ve hosed down the streets and swept up all the debris, trash and human.

Many years ago on a trip to New Orleans I was introduced to BBQ shrimp. Not having a clue before it was set down before me, I thought BBQ like on a grill. No, no, no – the best BBQ shrimp is basically like a soup bowl filled with sauce and large shrimp (20-count) with their heads and shells on.

And the best places for BBQ shrimp is Pascale’s Manale Restaurant in Uptown. If you’ve never been make sure you get there before you die. That’s their logo on the right and they’ve been serving Creole Italian food since 1913. I don’t know if they are the original BBQ shrimp place but that doesn’t matter. …Read More!

College Report: Arizona @ Oregon

  • Arizona @ Oregon
  • Autzen Stadium, Eugene, Oregon
  • September 22, 9:30 p.m. CDT, on ABC/ESPN

Arizona

#10 QB Matt Scott, Redshirt Senior – 6-2, 198 pounds, 4.68 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 3rd-round potential.

After spending the last few seasons backing up Arizona starter Nick Foles (who replaced him as starter in 2009), Scott now has the job at quarterback. With new head coach Rich Rodriguez bringing in his zone-read, spread offense, it turns out Scott is the perfect quarterback for the system. So far in 3 games, he’s one of the most productive QBs in the country. He’s completed 898 of 123 passes for 995 yards, 7 TDs, 1 INT. That’s a completion percentage of 71.5 percent, with an average per attempt of 8.1 yards. He’s also picked up 190 yards and 2 TDs running. Last season, Scott ended up not playing and was able to take a redshirt season as Foles was not injured. He was the team’s Co-Offensive MVP in 2010 when he played in 7 games and started twice, throwing for 776 yards, 4 TDs and 2 INTs. Scott is from Corona, California and attended Centennial High School, where he led his team to a state division championship. He threw for 2,479 yards and ran for 1,099 yards. He led Centennial to a 24-3 record as a starting quarterback. …Read More!

Brees Plots Saints Comeback . . . Saturday Cup O’Chiefs


“We’re disappointed, very disappointed. It’s obviously not where we wanted to start.”

We’ve come to expect that type of comment from QB Matt Cassel talking about his Chiefs team. It doesn’t seem possible that it was actually made this past week by Drew Brees.

The Chiefs are 0-2. The Saints are 0-2. These ugly starts face each other on Sunday in New Orleans. One team will get a chance for a minor celebration in September. Another will drop to the furthest depths of football depression.

The odds favor the Saints getting the victory. They are playing at home, they recently won the Super Bowl and they have Brees. The Saints quarterback has been through so much in his career and New Orleans has overcome so many disasters that 0-2 is no big deal.

“We’ve been in the situation before, obviously post-Hurricane Katrina and then post Hurricane Isaac,” Brees said this week. “There is always a sense that we represent our fans and we want to give them hope and lift their spirits.” …Read More!

College Preview: Clemson @ Florida State

  • Clemson @ Florida State
  • Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Florida
  • September 22, 7 p.m. CDT, ABC

Clemson

#23 RB Andre Ellington, Redshirt Senior – 5-9, 195 pounds, 4.44 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 1st-round prospect.

Ellington started the season in a big way, running for 231 yards on 26 carries against Auburn in the Georgia Dome. He gave serious consideration to entering the NFL Draft this past year, but stayed for another season at Clemson. He’s coming off 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. Over his 39-game career, he’s run 462 times for 2,684 yards and 29 touchdowns. Ellington has caught 45 passes for 274 yards. He also has an 87-yard kickoff return TD. He’s only injury of note was a toe problem that kept him out of three games in 2010. Ellington grew up in Moncks Corner, South Carolina, attending Berkeley High School, where he had 2,519 all-purpose yards in his senior season. He’s 23 years old and has excelled in the classroom at Clemson. …Read More!

The Hemingway-Ranglin Shuffle

If you like the minutia of pro football strategy then this story is for you. If that stuff doesn’t interest you, then move on to something that does.

Quite a few Chiefs fans have wondered what’s up with this weekly practice squad shuffle between WR Junior Hemingway and G Rich Ranglin. For three weeks now the Chiefs have had Hemingway on the practice squad, and then released him to sign Ranglin. They turnaround in a few days and re-sign Hemingway and release Ranglin, and then do the whole routine over again.

That pattern was broken Friday when practice squad OL Lucas Patterson suffered a knee injury and was placed on the practice squad injured list. That took him off the Chiefs designated practice squad. To fill his spot, they signed Hemingway.

With all the movement involving Hemingway and Ranglin the Chiefs were essentially keeping nine players on their practice squad. Under NFL rules they are allowed eight on the practice squad at any one time. Ranglin is re-signed every Tuesday so he can take part in practices during the week. With Ranglin the team has 10 offensive linemen to practice with on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. To make room for Ranglin on Tuesday, the Chiefs release Hemingway.

Once Friday’s practice is in the books, Ranglin has been released and Hemingway re-signed to the practice squad. He stays there through the game and into Tuesday, before Ranglin is re-signed.

What do the Chiefs get out of this, and what do Hemingway and Ranglin get? …Read More!

NFL Transactions – 9/21

NFL – fined the following players:

  • N.Y. Giants S Kenny Phillips, helmet-to-helmet hit, $30,000;
  • New England LB Jerod Mayo, illegal blow to head, $21,000;
  • Buffalo S Da’Norris Searcy, illegal blow to head, $21,000;
  • St. Louis CB Janoris Jenkins, illegal blow to the head, $15,750;
  • Miami CB Jimmy Wilson, roughing the passer, $15,750;
  • Washington LB Lorenzo Alexander, horse collar tackle, $15,750; …Read More!

Buffalo DB Fined Big For Hit On Boss

TE Kevin Boss will not play this Sunday for the Chiefs in New Orleans. That’s because of the head trauma he suffered last Sunday in Buffalo.

Whether he banged his head off the turf, or his head banged off the shoulder of Bills safety Da’Norris Searcy doesn’t much matter. He did not practice all week and will not be available against the Saints.

Searcy was fined $21,000 by the league office for the hit.

College Preview: Kansas State @ Oklahoma

  • Kansas State @ Oklahoma
  • Memorial Stadium, Norman, Oklahoma
  • September 22, 6:50 p.m. CDT, Fox

Kansas State

#4 LB Arthur Brown, Redshirt Senior – 6-1, 228 pounds, 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 2nd/3rd-round prospect.

Last week against North Texas, Brown suffered a sprained right ankle in the first quarter and had to leave the game. But he returned the next quarter and finished the game with 13 total tackles, a career high. Head coach Bill Snyder said he will be available to play against the Sooners. In 3 games this seasons to date, he has 28 total tackles, 3 tackles for loss, a sack and two passes broken up. Playing inside in the K-State defense, Brown has risen through the ranks to be considered one of the top backers in the country. He’s in his second season with the Wildcats after spending two seasons at the University of Miami. Last year, Brown was first-team All-Big 12 Conference for his 101 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and 2 sacks. He had an interception of Robert Griffin III that set up the winning FG for K-State over Baylor. The Wichita native played 24 games for the Hurricanes, most of that time coming on special teams. The 22-year old played at Wichita East High School where in three seasons he had 437 total tackles and 29 sacks. …Read More!

4 Keys For A Chiefs Victory Over Saints

4

Slow Darren Sproles

The diminutive Sproles is a physical freak. The young man from Olathe is just 5-6 and weighs 190 pounds. Most of that weight is in his thighs and his butt; it’s what gives him the power and speed he needs to run past and sometimes through people. Last year with the Saints he touched the ball 242 times on offense and returns, producing 2,696 yards, or an average of 11.1 yards every time he touched the ball. So far this season he hasn’t seen much in the way of running with the ball on offense, but he’s caught 18 passes for 163 yards and is average 11 yards on punt returns and 31 yards on kick returns. For the defense and special teams units that have played as poorly as the Chiefs have in two games, stopping Sproles isn’t a realistic goal. All they can do is slow him down and make sure he doesn’t provide a kill shot, especially on special teams. …Read More!

College Report: Michigan @ Notre Dame

  • Michigan @ Notre Dame
  • Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Indiana
  • September 22, 6:30 p.m. CDT, on NBC

Michigan

#32 SS Jordan Kovacs, Redshirt Senior – 5-11, 202 pounds, 4.57 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 4th-round prospect.

Kovacs began his career in Ann Arbor just as his father Lou had done about 20 years before – as a walk-on. Lou Kovacs would, go on to play for Bo Schembechler. His son Jordan was a walk-on, who sat out his first season after knee surgery, watching every home game from the stands. But in his redshirt freshman season he was on the field for the season opener and every game that year, eventually getting significant playing time in the defensive backfield, starting games as free safety and strong safety and was the team’s second leading tackler. In 2010 he received a football scholarship and has been the heart and soul of the Wolverines defense for three years now. In this season’s first three games he’s had 23 total tackles. Over his career of 40 games, he’s had 289 total tackles, 22 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 4 interceptions and 5 forced fumbles. He is 22 years old out of Curtice, Ohio where he attended Clay High School and won numerous letters in football, basketball and track. He was recruited only by the University of Toledo and Hillsdale College. …Read More!

Chiefs Practice Update/Injury Report – 9/21

From the Truman Sports Complex

Β Here’s how both teams listed their players on their mandatory injury report to the league office:

Chiefs

OUT – TE Kevin Boss (head), WR Devon Wylie (hamstring), CB Jacques Reeves (hamstring).

QUESTIONABLE – FS Kendrick Lewis (shoulder), LG Ryan Lilja (back), WR Dexter McCluster (shoulder), TE Jake O’Connell (knee), NT Anthony Toribio (ankle).

PROBABLE – CB Javier Arenas (neck), DE Allen Bailey (ankle), WR Steve Breaston (wrist), CB Jalil Brown (groin), RB Jamaal Charles (knee).

Saints

OUT – DE Turk McBride (ankle).

QUESTIONABLE – LB Jonathan Casillas (knee), WR Marques Colston (foot).

PROBABLE – QB Drew Brees (ankle), S Roman Harper (wrist), WR Devery Henderson (concussion), CB Johnny Patrick (thigh). …Read More!

College Report: Baylor @ Louisiana-Monroe

  • Baylor @ Louisiana-Monroe
  • Malone Stadium, Monroe, Louisiana
  • September 21, 7 p.m. CDT on ESPN

Baylor

#2 WR Terrance Williams, Redshirt-Sr – 6-2, 205 pounds, 4.48 seconds in the 40-yard dash, late 1st-round projection in the draft.

A three-year starter for the Bears, Williams has not missed a game in his career at Baylor with 40 games and 23 starts. In the 2012 season’s first two games, he’s caught 13 passes for 269 yards and a pair of TDs. Overall in his career in Waco, he has 118 catches for 1,771 yards and 17 TDs. Williams has also done a lot of returning in his Baylor career, averaging 22.3 yards on 53 kickoff returns and 12.5 on 13 punt returns. He caught the game winning 34-yard TD pass from RG3 with 8 seconds to play that beat Oklahoma last season. He’s out of W.T. White High School in Dallas, where he was all-district as a wide receiver and also played defensive back. Williams celebrated his 23rd birthday on Monday of this week. …Read More!

Failure To Communicate . . . Friday Cup O’Chiefs

The great character actor Strother Martin played the role of the Captain in a Florida prison camp as part of the cinema classic Cool Hand Luke. His most memorable line came when he told the prisoners:

“What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

It’s a line that has been repeated often on the screen and in everyday life. The inability to communicate causes more problems than just about anything else on the face of the earth.

Just ask the Chiefs defense.

According to their most senior player and captain Derrick Johnson the biggest reason the defense has had so many problems in the first two games is poor communication. Despite the fact the players have been together since the last days of July with dozens of practices, likely a hundred meetings by now and six total games, they apparently don’t understand each other.

“At times we are not on the same page,” Johnson said after the Buffalo game. “(It’s) communication errors between players, myself and other guys on the team. It’s never perfect but it hurts even worse when they capitalize off your mistakes, when it’s a touchdown, or a 30 or 40-yard run, or a 30-yard pass.”

…Read More!

NFL Transactions – 9/20

NFL – fined Tennessee DE Kamerion Wimbley $15,000 for a roughing the passer play last Sunday against San Diego; fined Pittsburgh LB Lawrence Timmons $21,000 for a helmet to the head hit last Sunday against the N.Y. Jets.

Indianapolis – released WR Jabin Sambrano.

Miami – signed DT Andre Fluellen.

Oakland – signed DB Brandian Ross from Green Bay practice squad.

Tampa Bay – signed WR Chris Owusu off the San Diego practice squad; signed WR Tiquan Underwood; released WR Preston Parker; placed WR Sammie Stroughter (foot) on the injured-reserve list.

Marty Says No To UFL Job

Last year, Marty Schottenheimer took the Virginia Destroyers to the United Football League championship.

This year, he turned down the chance to return to the job, even though the Destroyers wanted him back. Instead, Kurt Schottenheimer will step into the head coaching role.

Marty turned it down because certain requirements that he asked of the league and ownership were not met. He would not detail those conditions.

“I don’t want to go real deep into it,” Schottenheimer told the Virginia Pilot newspaper. “I like the people involved and all. But I just wasn’t prepared to make the commitment to continue in light of recent events. The situation as I viewed it was going to be problematic. The decision was made for me.” …Read More!

Chiefs Practice Update – 9/20

From the Truman Sports Complex

A disappointed Kendrick Lewis said Thursday that he will not play in Sunday’s game in New Orleans because of his right shoulder injury.

Lewis had circled this game because New Orleans is his hometown and he was looking forward to getting his first chance as an NFL player for a homecoming.

“I’m disappointed but I understand what they are trying to do with me,” Lewis said. “I’m close to being able to play. They don’t want to rush it and have a setback. I’d hate to dress, hurt it again and then not be available. That would not be good for the team.”

Sunday will be the fifth game (two pre-season, three regular season) that Lewis has missed since suffering the injury on August 18 in St. Louis. It’s the same shoulder that he had offseason surgery on to repair an injury he suffered during the 2011 season. …Read More!

By The Numbers – Matt Cassel

Two games do not a season make . . .

Oh wait, that line has already been overused this week – see Romeo Crennel comments and Scott Pioli comments. Rewind and they were the same comments made by a different head coach and same GM a year ago this week.

And while there is no great cry that Matt Cassel is the reason for the Chiefs 0-2 start – how could there be with that defense – some interesting numbers have emerged from the first couple of weeks of the season.

This is not a defense of Cassel, just the raw passing numbers broken down in a variety of ways. Keep in mind that quarterback passer ratings are easily skewed with only a two-game sample. But Cassel’s overall passer rating is the lowest of the four AFC West quarterbacks. But some interesting trends are beginning to develop. …Read More!

College Report: Brigham Young @ Boise State

  • Brigham Young @ Boise State
  • Bronco Stadium, Boise, Idaho
  • September 20, 8 p.m. CDT on ESPN

Brigham Young

#76 G Braden Hansen, Redshirt-Sr – 6-5, 302 pounds, 5.18 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 7th-round projection.

A big blocker that has played 42 games over the last four seasons and has not missed a game. Hansen has played both guard and tackle, including left tackle. His first game and start came in 2009 against Oklahoma and DT Gerald McCoy. He’s a solid run blocker and pass protector. His uncle and two brothers played previously at BYU, and his grandfather is a long-time season ticketholder for the Cougars. Hansen is out of Sandy, Utah and Alta High School. He served a two-year LDS mission to Philadelphia in 2007-08. He’s married to his high school sweetheart, has a young daughter and will graduate this semester with his degree in business. …Read More!

Chiefs Struggle With The Sack … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

It was the glory days of pass rushing in Kansas City, 1989 through 1996. It was Derrick Thomas on one side, Neil Smith rushing from the other side.

Those bookend sackers changed games and helped alter the face of the franchise moving it from laughingstock to an annual contender for the AFC playoffs.

In those eight seasons, the Chiefs were 84-52-1, that’s a .617 winning percentage. The defense had 382 sacks and 27 defensive touchdowns in those seasons. Thomas and Smith combined for 181 of those sacks before Smith left in free agency for Denver before the 1997 season.

As plentiful as passers hitting the ground were in the early 1990s, the other end of the spectrum has befallen on the Chiefs in the last five seasons. The quarterback sack is a scarce item at Arrowhead Stadium. Even in this age where more and more NFL teams rely on passing to move the ball, the Chiefs struggle to get their hands on the passer.

So far in two games they have one sack, that from OLB Justin Houston in the season opener against Atlanta. They are No. 32 or last in the league in sacks.

From 2008 through the first two games of the ’12 season, the Chiefs accumulated just 101 sacks. That’s the lowest total in the league and 84 sacks behind the two teams that have led the NFL in that time: Pittsburgh and Philadelphia with 185 sacks.

The Chiefs record since ’08 is 23-44, a .343 winning percentage. They have scored just 9 defensive touchdowns in that time. …Read More!

NFL Transactions – 9/19

AFC – named Miami RB Reggie Bush offensive player of the week; Houston DE J.J. Watt defensive player of the week; Cincinnati DB Adam Jones special teams player of the week.

NFC – named N.Y. Giants WR Hakeem Nicks offensive player of the week; Arizona DL Calais Campbell defensive player of the week; Green Bay P Tim Masthay special teams player of the week.

Detroit – activated RB Mike Leshoure from the reserve/suspended list; placed CB Drayton Florence (arm) on the injured-reserve list/designated for return.

Jacksonville – signed WR Maurice Stovall; released TE Stephen Spach.

New England – signed LB Niko Koutouvides.

San Francisco – the NFL suspended LB Clark Haggans for three games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy; signed LB Eric Bakhtiari.

Seattle – the NFL fined WR Golden Tate $21,000 for a hit in the game against Dallas.

Chiefs Practice Update – 9/19

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs injury report is a long one coming out of the game in Buffalo and beginning the preparation week on Wednesday for their visit to New Orleans.

There are 13 players on the list, but only three did not practice: TE Kevin Boss (head), LG Ryan Lilja (back) and TE Jake O’Connell (knee).

The good news is that RB Jamaal Charles was a full go at practice after suffering a bruised left knee – the same knee that he had surgery on last season.

“He fell on his knee, got bruised, came up limping and so we took him out rather than leave him in there and expose him a little bit more,” explained head coach Romeo Crennel. “And then as it developed, the other players were doing decent so we didn’t feel the need to put him back in at that moment.”

After practice where he took part in the complete workout, Charles said he had no problems with the knee. “It wasn’t something that I had to stay out,” he said. “They decided not to put me back in, but I could have gone in at any time. I’m fine.”

There were so many sore bodies that head coach Romeo Crennel pushed back his practice in pads to Thursday, giving his squad another day of healing.

Here’s the complete list of practice participation from Wednesday: …Read More!

NFL Transactions – 9/17-18

There are a couple of former Chiefs turning up in the NFL transactions in the last few days.

With DE Jamaal Anderson out for the season with a knee injury, the Bengals signed DE Wallace Gilberry. Once LB, now TE Gabe Miller was released from the Seattle practice squad, but was signed to the Chicago Bears practice squad.

Also last Saturday before leaving for Buffalo, the Chiefs worked out former Eagles DB Jaiquawn Jarrett. He’s a former second-round draft choice of Philadelphia.

Chicago – signed RB Kahlil Bell; released S Jeremy Jones, RB Lorenzo Booker (from IR).

Cincinnati – signed DE Wallace Gilberry; placed DE Jamaal Anderson (quadriceps) on the injured-reserve list. …Read More!

A Second Look – Buffalo

This one was just as bad the second time around as the first opportunity watching it at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

It was hard to find any player that performed to the level expected of them. OLB Justin Houston for the most part played well, and . . . Brady Quinn did a great job as the backup quarterback that never stepped on the field.

We’ll stop there. Here are some of the moments we saw the second time around:

– Ryan Fitzpatrick was the winning QB and had the best passer rating of the day, but he threw some passes that were just incredibly bad. Several times he drilled throws into the ground, missing open receivers. Matt Cassel didn’t have his best day by any means, and some of his throws were high. But Fitzpatrick was awful.

– Just as awful was the play of DB Travis Daniels. The Chiefs used their sub-defense for most of the game, at least 70 percent of the defensive snaps. That puts Daniels on the field and he did not get the job done. He blew several coverages, missed several tackles and was among the defensive players that seemed to be lost on the field. It may be time for him to take a seat, especially if Kendrick Lewis can get back on the field and Abram Elam can move back to the No. 1 backup safety spot. …Read More!

The Heart of NFL Films Is Gone

It was 18 months ago right here in Kansas City that NFL Films genius Steve Sabol suffered a seizure while attending the annual 101 Awards Banquet.

The cause of the seizure was a cancerous tumor on the left side of his brain. On Tuesday that cancer claimed Sabol’s life. He passed away at his home in suburban Philadelphia. Steve Sabol was 69 years old.

Sabol was the son of the father/son combination of Sabols that turned NFL Films into one of the greatest chroniclers of professional football and helped lead the league to its status as America’s past-time.

“We see the game as art as much as sport,” Sabol said before his father Ed was inducted into the Pro Football Hal of Fame last year. “That helped us nurture not only the game’s traditions but to develop mythology: America’s Team, The Catch, the Frozen Tundra.”

Ed Sabol is 96 years old and survives his only son.

“My dad has a great expression,” Sabol said last year. “‘Tell me a fact, and I’ll learn. Tell me a truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever’.”

Steve Sabol is also survived by his wife Penny, son Casey and his sister Blair.

“Steve’s passion for football was matched only by his talent and energy,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “He was a major contributor to the success of the NFL, a man who changed the way we looked at football and sports, and a great friend. His legacy is assured.

“Steve was an incredible visionary. He spent 50 years at the NFL and changed the way we see pro football. So when you’re watching the games this week, it’s worth remembering just how much Steve contributed to the way we think, see, and love our game.”

Time For Romeo To Give Up A Job … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

Head coach and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel said Monday he feels equipped to handle both jobs for the Chiefs this season.

The early evidence would dispute that notion. The Chiefs are 0-2 largely because the defense they were counting on to play to the level of last year’s group has been missing in action.

Other than the occasional play or series in the first two games, the Chiefs defense has been dominated and they should be embarrassed. Here are some examples of the ugliness over two games:

– One sack.

– Zero takeaways.

– 22 possessions; opponents scored on 12 of those.

– 8 touchdowns allowed by the defense.

In an ordinary situation, the head coach would be all over the defensive coordinator and demanding improvement from his side of the ball, starting with the season’s third game this Sunday in New Orleans. Doubtful that Crennel stands in front of a mirror and reads the riot act to himself as the head coach/defensive coordinator. …Read More!

Charles Left Knee Is Chiefs Story of the Week

Injuries have been a major part of the plot line for the winless 2012 Chiefs especially on the defensive side of the ball. But in their loss in Buffalo, the Chiefs picked up an injury to an offensive player that doesn’t bode well.

Running back Jamaal Charles limped off the field after catching a pass late in the first half of the game against the Bills. Charles did not appear to be in any pain, but as he left the field there was definitely a hitch in his get along.

The play came right before the play where TE Kevin Boss suffered a head injury. It was a 1st-and-25 play after RB Peyton Hillis had been called for a 15-yard illegal chop block penalty. Charles leaked out of the backfield and caught the pass and was pulled down from behind by Bills LB Kelvin Sheppard for a 7-yard gain.

That’s when Charles left the field. When he came to the sidelines, he spoke only briefly with the Chiefs head trainer Dave Price who felt around the knee. Charles never took his helmet off and was on the sideline for the rest of the half.

He touched the ball just twice in the third quarter before he was pulled for good. …Read More!

NFL Sunday Best – 9/16

LONGEST PLAYS

88 – Buffalo DB Leodis McKelvin punt return for a TD vs. Chiefs. (W)

81 – Cincinnati DB Adam Jones (right) punt return for a TD vs. Cleveland. (W)

80 – N.Y. Giants WR Victor Cruz TD catch vs. Tampa Bay. (W)

71 – Tennessee WR Lavelle Hawkins kickoff return. (L)

68 – Washington WR Leonard Hankerson TD catch vs. St. Louis (L)

66 – Carolina WR Steve Smith catch vs. New Orleans (W)

66 – St. Louis P John Hekker punt vs. Washington. (W)

65 – New Orleans P Thomas Morstead punt vs. Carolina. (L)

65 – Miami RB Reggie Bush TD run vs. Oakland. (W)

64 – Oakland RB Michael Goodson TD catch vs. Miami. (L)

64 – Indianapolis P Pat McAfee punt vs. Minnesota. (W) …Read More!

Spiller Spills Yards All Over Chiefs

From Orchard Park, New York

Here’s the stat of the second week of the 2012 NFL season:

Buffalo RB C.J. Spiller is averaging 10.1 yards per carry in the first two weeks. That’s 29 carries for 292 yards. That’s the only RB since 1963 that has exceeded 10 yards or more on average. The last runner to do that was a fellow named Jim Brown of the Cleveland Browns, who ran 35 times for 394 yards in the first two games of that ’63 season.

In that season, Brown ended up running for a career-high 1,863 yards on 291 carries for a 6.4-yard per carry average.

Not sure that Spiller can put together enough opportunities to run for more than 1,800 yards, although he would, have 16 games while Brown had only 14 in the ’63 season.

But there’s no question Spiller has gotten the NFL’s attention with performance in the last two games with 169 yards on 14 carries against the Jets and then 123 yards for 15 yards against the Chiefs on Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Spiller is getting an opportunity because of the injury suffered by Fred Jackson. He doesn’t sound like he plans to give those carries back even when Jackson can return from his bum knee.

“He’s a dynamic playmaker,” said Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. “He’s seeing a hole, just trusting himself and going. He has learned a lot of things from sitting back and watching Fred (Jackson) and the way he runs. When C.J. gets in the open field he is hard to bring down.”

Just ask the Chiefs, who struggled to get Spiller on the ground almost every time he had the ball and took off running. He runs a little bit like Jamaal Charles at 5-11, 200 pounds, but he appears to be slightly bigger than the Chiefs running back.

“Our offense did a great job of covering those guys up,” said Spiller. “We had to put our foot down and getting what it takes.”

Spiller is in his third season after being the Bills first-round draft choice in 2010 out of Clemson.

“I knew he could do it; I did not know whether it would happen or not,” Gailey said after his team’s victory. “I would like to tell you ‘oh sure, I saw that’ but it would be a lie.”

The Chiefs defense was impressed.

“He’s a good back, a very good back,” said LB Derrick Johnson. “He really gives them some explosion on offense.”

Another Special Teams Blunder For Chiefs

From Orchard Park, New York

The game’s outcome was not in doubt when it happened. But it’s one of those plays that stabs a dagger into a football team’s heart.

That would be an 88-yard punt return for a touchdown by Buffalo’s Leodis McKelvin. It provided another dose of embarrassment for the Chiefs in their 35-17 loss to the Bills.

McKelvin did not do anything special in taking off for the race to the end zone. A number of Chiefs had shots at him, but none were good enough to even slow him down. First RB Shaun Draughn came from his spot as the flyer on the left side of the punt formation. Draughn made a dive for McKelvin at the 15-yard line. LBs Andy Studebaker and Brandon Siler had the next shot just past the 20-yard line, but McKelvin went right between them. LB Cory Greenwood’s chance came at the 30-yard line but he couldn’t get his arms wrapped around him. Finally, CB Jalil Brown had a shot at McKelvin. But he got blocked and could not lay a real tackle on him.

From that point, all McKelvin had to do was outrun punter Dustin Colquitt to the end zone, even though Colquitt had the angle on him.

“I’m very good at going vertical,” McKelvin said. “Getting upfield, getting what I can get. That time, I got past the first wave and once you get past that first wave everything else is history.”

Brown thought he was going to get a chance at bringing McKelvin down, but got walled off just enough by another Buffalo player that he couldn’t get into good position to use his whole body for a tackle.

“That just shouldn’t happen,” Brown said. “We work too hard on getting ready every week for covering punts and kickoffs.”

It was the second longest punt return for a touchdown in Bills history and the longest by a Buffalo returner since 1977. That’s when Keith Moody returned a punt 91 yards against Cleveland for a score.

Replacement Officials Just So-So

From Orchard Park, New York

The replacement officials were more visible Sunday in week No. 2 of the NFL regular season. Referee Robert Dalton and his crew called 13 penalties and walked off nine in the game. That included a penalty that they did not even call themselves.

Here’s the story: It was in the second quarter when Chiefs QB Matt Cassel threw long down the middle to TE Kevin Boss. It was a replay of a play the offense has used just 30 seconds earlier that went for 20 yards but was wiped out by a chop block call on RB Peyton Hillis.

Cassel and Boss hooked up again, this time going for 20 yards. As he caught the ball and went to the ground, Boss was hit by Buffalo safety Da’Norris Searcy in the head with his shoulder. However, no flag was thrown as Boss was on the ground trying to regain his wits. The doctors and trainers worked with him for about five minutes before he finally sat up and was then able to walk off the field under his own power. The crew announced that the Chiefs would be docked a timeout because of Boss’ situation since it came with less than two minutes to play in the first half.

During a television timeout that was called while the medical staff worked on Boss, suddenly back judge Bobby Jackson threw a flag. At first there was an indication that maybe someone had said something on the field as they waited for Boss to leave the field. But when Boss was up and the television cameras were turned back on, Dalton announced the unnecessary roughness penalty against Searcy, and it was announced they were not going to be charged a timeout.

It was obvious that NFL officials behind the scenes had watched the replay and decided a flag was necessary.

After a first half punt, Dalton announced that the punting team was called for holding. The punting team was the Chiefs, but the penalty was on the Bills return team. That may have confused some viewers because the yardage was walked off while the TV network was away on commercial.

It was that type of day for the replacement guys. There was nothing really bad, but their handling of the game wasn’t good.

There was one replay review and that came on a request from the replay official and that was on Peyton Hillis’ fumble into the end zone at the end of the first half.

Here are the flags this group threw on the afternoon:

Team Squad

Player

Penalty

Yds

Chiefs Offense

*

Delay of Game

Minus-5

Buffalo Punt Ret.

D. Searcy

Holding

Minus-10

Buffalo Offense

A Levitre

Holding

Minus-10

Chiefs Punt

E. Jones

Facemask

Offsetting

Buffalo Punt Ret.

C. McIntyre

Illegal block

Offsetting

Chiefs Offense

E. Winston

False start

Minus-5

Chiefs Offense

P. Hillis

Chop block

Minus-15

Buffalo Defense

D. Searcy

Un. Roughness

Minus-15

Buffalo Defense

S. Gilmore

Holding

Minus-5

Buffalo Defense

*

12-men on field

Declined

Buffalo Offense

L. Smith

Holding

Minus-10

Chiefs Offense

M. Cassel

Inten. Grounding

Minus-8

Chiefs Offense

E. Winston

Holding

Declined

Keys to Chiefs Victory Over Bills/Recap

From Orchard Park, New York

Here’s a look at the 4 pre-game keys to a Chiefs victory on Sunday and whether they achieved those items. There are three possible grades: Mission Accomplished, Push, Failed Assignment.

KEY #4 – DO NOT HELP THE BILLS

Turnovers, penalties and similar mistakes do nothing but suck the air out of an offense and defense and provide help to the opponent. Whether the Falcons needed it last Sunday or not, they got a lot of help from the Chiefs in grabbing a 16-point victory. Buffalo helped out the New York Jets in their opener with 6 penalties, 4 turnovers (one interception was returned for a TD) and they allowed a punt return TD. They had more yards, no sacks allowed and scored as many offensive TDs as the Jets, but lost by 20 points. The Chiefs can’t allow their giving ways to happen again.

OUTCOME: FAILED ASSIGNMENT – turnovers, sacks, penalties, mistakes, the Chiefs helped the Bills all the way across the board from the first possession until late in the third quarter when the game was over.

KEY #3 – WIN SPECIAL TEAMS

The Bills gave up a 68-yard punt return score last week, as punter Brian Moorman finished with a 6.5-yard net average. They had one punt and 3 kick return and Leodis McKelvin averaged 26.5 yards on those returns. Last week the Chiefs special teams effort was lacking on returns, coverage and with Ryan Succop’s 40-yard missed field goal. Only punter Dustin Colquitt was up to standards. On the road and in a fragile state as far as confidence is concerned, the kicking game must provide a spark and production.

OUTCOME: FAILED ASSIGNMENT – giving up an 88-yard punt return for a touchdown just does not compute with winning a football game.

KEY #2 – GET FITZPATRICK ON THE GROUND

Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is not an easy man to get on the ground. In the season opener he wasn’t sacked and last year in 591 pass plays, Fitzpatrick was sacked 22 times. That’s a sack every 26.9 passing plays, or about three sacks allowed every two games. Now that we know sacking him is tough to do, the Chiefs must find a way to if not sack him, harass him to the point where it affects his throwing ability. Last year he had 23 interceptions compared to 24 touchdowns. He threw 3 interceptions in the opener against the Jets. Fitz is not a big man at 6-2, 225 pounds. If he doesn’t walk off the field wearing multiple bruises from the pass rush, the Chiefs can’t win.

OUTCOME: FAILED ASSIGNMENT – There were only 19 passing plays for the Bills. That was all they needed and none of those was a sack. Fitzpatrick was barely touched, hit maybe three times the whole game and he was never really close to being sacked.

KEY #1 – DON’T FALL BEHIND

One does not have to be Vince Lombardi to understand that if the Chiefs fall behind Sunday, it’s not going to be pretty. They have to again show they are capable of coming back, and they’ll have to do that on the road, the toughest assignment in the NFL for any team, let alone one that is still trying to form an identity. Matt Cassel has led the Chiefs to fourth-quarter victories on the road twice. Once in the 2010 season in Cleveland where they trailed 14-13 at the start of the fourth quarter and won 16-14. Last season in Indianapolis, they trailed 24-21 at the start of the final period but won 28-24. There were at least eight other opportunities in three seasons and they couldn’t come back on the road in the fourth quarter. Do not fall behind.

OUTCOME: FAILED ASSIGNMENT – The Chiefs spent the entire game behind, first 7-0, then 14-0, then 21-0 and on and on and on. The Chiefs are not built to come back in those situations and it showed again in Buffalo.

Chiefs Report Card vs. Buffalo

From Orchard Park, New York

PASSING OFFENSE: D – Matt Cassel ended up throwing for 301 yards but that number was so misleading since most of the yardage and his two touchdown passes came in the fourth quarter when the outcome of the game was no longer in doubt. Cassel was sacked five times in this one and several times never had a chance to set his feet, let alone get a throw off. Forget the interception to end the game; fumbling while he was scrambling was inexcusable.

RUSHING OFFENSE: D – Sure the Chiefs had 150 rushing yards. But the running backs produce 125 yards and Jamaal Charles, the team’s offensive explosion waiting to happen had just three yards on six carries. It’s hard to say a day when they ran for 6.3 yards a carry was a poor performance, but this one was.

PASS DEFENSE: F – The Chiefs could not sack Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. They could not steal one of his passes, while giving up two scoring throws. They gave up 9.4 yards per attempt. Without getting the passer on the ground or taking one of his throws, that type of number will get a defense beaten every time.

RUSH DEFENSE: F – The inability to adapt to what the Bills were doing so they could run the ball with C.J. Spiller was the end of the game for the Chiefs. Spiller averaged 8.2 yards per carry and 123 yards on just 15 carries. And, he scored two touchdowns.

SPECIAL TEAMS: F – A touchdown return on a punt for 88 yards is unacceptable. The kick was good enough that there should not have been that type of play. Javier Arenas had a nice punt return, but it didn’t go for 88 yards; it only went for 23 yards.

COACHING: F – Nothing about the Chiefs performance against Buffalo suggested that the Chiefs coaching staff did a good job in preparing their team or reacting to events as they happened on Sunday.

Play Of The Game – Hillis Fumbles on Goal Line


From Orchard Park, New York

QUARTER – 2nd, 45 seconds to play in the first half.

SCORE – Bills held a 21-0 lead over the Chiefs.

DOWN & DISTANCE – 2nd-and-goal for the Chiefs offense at the Bills 1-yard line.

SET – Chiefs lined up with 1 back, 1 tight end and three wide receivers on offense.

The Chiefs do not have the type of offense that plays from behind very well. It’s not one of their strengths. But as the first half was running down Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium there was the slightest flicker of a flame showing in the K.C. offensive oven. A nice scramble by QB Matt Cassel took the ball down to the Buffalo 1-yard line. On first down, Cassel threw one up in the corner of the end zone for WR Dwayne Bowe, but the pass did not connect.

On second down, with three wide receivers in the game, along with TE Tony Moeaki and RB Peyton Hillis, offensive coordinator Brian Daboll called for a running play. It was strictly a power run, with Hillis hitting the hole between LG Ryan Lilja and C Rodney Hudson. It’s the type of play that every offense should be successful with if it plans to win a game.

Hillis took the handoff and hit the line. But as he did, Bills LB Nick Barnett came in the back side and grabbed Hillis and was riding him to the ground. He was going to be short of the end zone and he was extending the ball forward, when Barnett knocked it out of his hands. The ball landed at the 1-yard line and bounced into the end zone. That’s where Buffalo LB Bryan Scott fell on the ball.

End of play, end of drive, end of scoring chance and end of game for the Chiefs.

“The fumble was pretty deflating for the offense overall,” said Hillis. “It was pretty devastating for me and the team. I put the blame fully on myself. I tried to give it the extra effort and put the ball on the goal line and it came out. The ball is more important than me, so I messed up and let the team down.”

There’s no question it was like the rug had been pulled out from under the Chiefs. They could have gone to the locker room down just 21-7 and heaven knows what that would have done for their confidence or how it would have affected the Bills.

“That was huge for us,” said Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. “Coming out in the second half we did not start the way we wanted with the three-and-out. The fumble at the end of the first half was great for us.”

And not so great for Romeo Crennel.

“You’ve got to protect the football,” the Chiefs head coach said. “He was trying to get the ball into the end zone and did not protect it. The ball came out and we lost a scoring opportunity. If we could have gotten that one that would have helped.”

Offense Produces Yards, But No Victory

From Orchard Park, New York

It ended up being the most useless offensive yardage of the weekend in the NFL.

When the Bills returned a punt for a touchdown to go up 35-3, there were still 3 minutes 46 seconds to play in the third quarter.

At that point, the Chiefs offense had 195 yards on 42 offensive snaps.

By the time the final 18:46 was played, the Chiefs had 422 yards in total offense and two touchdowns.

They were meaningless scores, meaningless yards for an offensive attack that was stymied from the get-go against the Buffalo defense.

“They did a good job; really all the credit goes to them today,” QB Matt Cassel said of the Buffalo defense. “They obviously played a great game today and we have to somehow figure out a way to get better.”

And all the blame will fall on the Chiefs, as the offense was inconsistent on the run and pass. On offense, that doesn’t leave much else to do, which would explain their performance in the first three quarters, while the game was still on the line.

“We definitely have to eliminate the inconsistencies and the turnovers,” said Cassel.

And the sacks, and the offensive plays that don’t go anywhere and much more, as their negatives were overwhelming:

  • 3 turnovers, although Cassel’s interception came on the final play of the game and played no role in the outcome of the game.
  • 5 sacks of Cassel, including one where he dropped to his knees before he was even touched as there was so much pressure coming at him.
  • 4 penalties, including a 15-yard chop block call on RB Peyton Hillis.
  • Converted just 5 of 14 third down plays.

On those 3rd-down plays, the average distance for a first down was 9 yards, and they had conversion attempts from 18, 17, 14, 13 and 11 yards.

“I’m sure that’s a product of a number of different things,” said Cassel. “We have to do a better job of staying ahead on downs, first and second downs, creating positive plays and staying out of negative plays. It’s hard to convert on third and long in this league, especially when you have a good defensive line like they did today.”

It was the middle of the Buffalo defensive line that controlled matters all day for the Bills. DTs Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams and Alex Carrington were play makers that C Rodney Hudson and Gs Ryan Lilja and Jon Asamoah could not control. They had 4 of the 5 sacks for Buffalo, while boxing up the middle on the run.

“We were able to get them in some situations where it was 3rd-and-5 plus,” said Williams. “We played well enough in the run to put them behind the eight ball and we were able to get some pressure and get some sacks.”

Bills Complain About Chiefs Cheap Shots

From Orchard Park, New York

In the afterglow of their beat down of the Chiefs on Sunday afternoon, two of the Bills offensive linemen said the victory was even sweeter because of the actions of Kansas City defensive players, specifically OLB Tamba Hali.

“Two plays in a row they were taking cheap shots at us,” said Buffalo C Eric Wood. “They did the same thing last year in Kansas City. You start getting a team down and you’ll see their true colors. They came out the past two years.

“We’re not just going to just sit back and take it. We’ve got a physical group up front and if they want to take shots at us, we’re going to take them back.”

The Chiefs player who drew the attention for supposed cheap shots was Hali, playing his first game of the season after sitting out last week’s opener under an NFL suspension.

“I think I tripped and fell into him and I guess he thought I was trying to cut him and he tried to twist my neck,” said Bills LG Andy Levitre. “That got me going a little bit. On the following play, he tried to come inside and I threw him to the ground and he tried to twist Cordy’s leg. I didn’t see it, but that’s what I was told.”

Cordy is rookie LT Cordy Glenn who had a very big game against the Chiefs, as the Bills ran for over 200 yards, did not allow a sack and for the most part QB Ryan Fitzpatrick went untouched.

“I know there was one play in particular where they got a little bit chippy out there in terms of some late, cheap stuff,” said Fitzpatrick. “I know our guys had an issue with that. But when you are able to run the ball like that on a team they usually get upset with you.”

Hali had left the Chiefs locker room before the comments of Bills players became known. But even before that, he was not in the mood to talk, asking out of answering any questions about the game.

Not hard to understand why given the way Sunday afternoon went.

Gailey, Bills Check Mate KC Defense

From Orchard Park, New York

Any time two football teams play each other it’s a chess match between the coaches. It’s act, react, show this, don’t show that, surprise here, misdirection there. It’s like dominos, the first one gets knocked over and it’s a chain reaction – act, react, react, react, react …

The Buffalo Bills offense acted on Sunday. The Chiefs defense reacted. Winner: Bills head coach/offensive guru Chan Gailey, by a 35-17 score.

After losing in week No. 1 to the New York Jets, Gailey has definite ideas on what he wanted to do after watching tape of the Chiefs-Falcons game. Remember in that game, Atlanta pretty much gave up running the ball because QB Matt Ryan was having so much success throwing the ball.

Gailey had a different idea – he wanted his offense to run the ball. Even without starting RB Fred Jackson (knee injury), the Bills coach wanted his team to work on the ground. They did to the tune of 201 yards, including 123 yards from C.J. Spiller.

“That was the plan for this week,” Gailey said. “May not be next week, but this was the plan for this week. They were playing a defense that allowed us to have pretty good matchups in the run game out of certain personnel, groups. We wanted to go take advantage of it.”

Here’s what Gailey did: he sent his offense out in a lot (probably 80 percent) of personnel groups that looked like the Bills were going to throw the ball. They used three wide receivers constantly, sometimes two tight ends with one split out. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick worked out of the shot gun for most of the game and more than a few times he ended up in the backfield by himself. But, generally he was back there with Spiller.

The Chiefs and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel reacted to the passing look by sending out their sub defense, in this case their dime with six defensive backs, three linebackers and two defensive linemen. ILB Jovan Belcher would leave the field and normally DEs Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson would come off as well. Coming on were DE Ropati Pitoitua and defensive backs Travis Daniels and Javier Arenas.

With four receivers wide and two extra defensive backs that pulled the field in a horizontal fashion, spreading out the defenders and creating running lanes for Spiller.

“We never really got ourselves in position to stop them when they went to that different personnel,” said SS Eric Berry. “It should not have made that much of a difference for us.”

Spiller ran six times while the offense was in the shotgun and gained 54 yards, including his touchdown runs of 17 and 5 yards and his two longest runs of 38 and 20 yards.

Watching C.J. in the open field is such a great thing,” said Fitzpatrick. “You just sit back there, hand it off and have him get those big chunk runs. That really gets us going up front too and gives us a lot of confidence and that was good to see today.”

About the only defender who didn’t seem out of synch with the Bills attack was OLB Justin Houston. He had several nice tackles on Spiller, holding him to no yards or a small gain.

Column: Chiefs Are Going, Going …

From Orchard Park, New York

The sense of dΓ©jΓ  vu is overwhelming.

It’s as if Marty McFly and Doc came back in the last few months with the DeLorean and pushed the Chiefs back a year into history.

Heaven knows why anyone would want to repeat what happened to the 2011 Chiefs at the start of last season. But the 2012 Chiefs seem intent on creating chapter two of how to end an NFL season before it’s even gotten started.

Bills 35, Chiefs 17 on Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium on what might have been the last decent weather weekend the folks in western New York will enjoy until next spring. There were 69,402 jammed into the stadium hoping to see a much better performance than the one their Bills had last week in the Meadowlands against New Jersey.

0-2 is not something either team was anxious to have, especially the Chiefs. Most of this team was around for last year’s 0-3 start that despite being followed by four straight victories really doomed the season and led to the firing of head coach Todd Haley. It was a hole that they never climbed out of over 16 weeks.

In the first two games of last year, the Chiefs lost to Buffalo and Detroit by a combined 89-10. This year they’ve dropped consecutive games to Atlanta and Buffalo by a combined score of 75-41. But 21 of those points came in the fourth quarter with the outcome already decided so it was more like 75-20.

Why would anyone want to repeat that mess? …Read More!

Chiefs Play Three Bad Quarters in 35-17 Loss

From Orchard Park, New York

Last week the Chiefs played a bad second half in losing their season opener to Atlanta. On Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium in the southern suburbs of Buffalo they couldn’t even achieve that.

First quarter, second, third – with the exception of the fourth quarter where they rang up yards and points in a game already decided – there wasn’t a period in their 35-17 loss to the Bills where they played well. If they could hang their collective hat on the first half play against the Falcons after losing that game, they have only a meaningless offensive explosion in the fourth quarter to carry out of their visit to western New York.

“It’s disappointing because I felt we prepared well during the week,” said head coach Romeo Crennel. “They had energy and I thought they had the right mindset coming into the game. Then we got here and we couldn’t do anything right.”

Just as last week’s 16-point defeat against the Falcons was a team effort, so was this 32-point loss in week No. 2. Offense, defense, kicking game, coaching – every aspect of the football operation contributed to defeat.

“We didn’t play well enough in any phase of the game and we didn’t coach well enough,” said Crennel.Β  …Read More!

Chiefs Shuffle Out of Buffalo After Losing Big

From Orchard Park, New York

In was one of the more important second games of any recent season for the Chiefs. Apparently nobody made them aware of that fact because on a sunny Sunday in western New York they turned in a dreadful performance. The Buffalo Bills ran away with a 35-17 victory that was never in doubt for them or their fans at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Again this was not one part of the Chiefs failing the team in performance – every part of Romeo Crennel’s operation fell to pieces. The offense couldn’t score and turned the ball over. The defense couldn’t stop Buffalo RB C.J. Spiller and the special teams gave up a punt return for a touchdown. This wasn’t just one half of bad football like they had last week; it was four quarters.

The Chiefs are now 0-2 on the season and while it’s too early for anyone to give up on a season with 14 games left the Chiefs engender no confidence that they can turn this thing around any time soon. New Orleans, San Diego and Baltimore are the next three and the Saints game is on the road.

We have a lot of ground to cover from this one:

Chiefs-Bills Pre-Game View From The Ralph

From Orchard Park, New York

11:20 a.m. – Signing off for now at the Ralph as the teams get ready to wrap up their warm-ups. Complete coverage of the Chiefs and Bills will be coming to you later this afternoon, tonight and into early Monday morning. As always, there will be plenty to write about. Enjoy game day.

11:15 a.m. Β - Much has been made in the last few days of a left wrist injury bothering Bills DE Mario Williams. He said this week it’s something that happened to him in the pre-season and has gotten worse. He’s out for pre-game warm-up and is not wearing any type of brace on that left wrist. He’s got both wrists taped and he’s wearing gloves. What he wears once the game starts may change.

11:10 a.m. – Head coaches are at the 50-yard line chatting. It took Romeo Crennel awhile to get to Chan Gailey, as the Bills head coach was shaking hands and saying hello to various Chiefs employees on the field. In his short time with the Chiefs, Gailey was one of the most liked and respected coaches to come through the organization. That’s one reason that the Hunt Family pushed Todd Haley to keep Gailey when he took over as head coach. We all know how that ended up.

11:05 a.m. – It will be interesting to see just how many snaps Brandon Flowers gets today. He’s not been full speed since July 31st when he suffered his foot injury. He may be able to play, but giving him all the defensive snaps would be folly at this point in his return.

11 a.m. CDT – This is also a homecoming game for Chiefs wide receivers coach Nick Sirianni; he grew up just an hour away in Jamestown, New York. His parents are on the field in the pre-game, meeting and talking with QB coach Jim Zorn and their son.

10:55 a.m. CDT – Matching last week Dontari Poe will start for Anthony Toribio on the nose and Abram Elam opens for Kendrick Lewis at free safety.

10:50 a.m. CDT – Final Succop update. Kicking towards the west goal posts and against a slight wind, he hit the left upright from 50 yards.

10:45 a.m. CDT – Kicking towards the east end zone, Ryan Succop was one of two from 53 yards away. That was with a slight wind at his back. Kicking in the same direction, Bills kicker Rian Lindell hit from 58 yards.

10:40 a.m. CDT – Inactive players for the Bills are QB Tarvaris Jackson, RB Fred Jackson, S Delano Howell, DE Kyle Moore, LB Kirk Morrison, OT Sam Young and C Colin Brown. Sad that Brown will not be active to face the Chiefs – he was the team’s 5th-round choice in 2009 out of Missouri. He never got to play in a game for the Chiefs, spending ’09 on the injured-reserve list and then getting cut before the ’10 season.

10:37 a.m. CDT – No surprises among the inactive players for the Chiefs: QB Ricky Stanzi, WR Devon Wylie, FS Kendrick Lewis, RB Cyrus Gray, TE Steve Maneri, DE Allen Bailey and NT Anthony Toribio. …Read More!

Desperation Bowl 2012 . . . Game-Day Cup O’Chiefs

From Orchard Park, New York

In game No. 2 of an NFL season with 16 games, it’s too early for a desperation game, isn’t it?

Not if the teams playing are the Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills. With 14 games to play after Sunday’s encounter, there is plenty of time to overcome a 0-2 start. But it’s a dicey proposition for a pair of teams that came into the season with plans to be a contender.

The Chiefs and Bills will face off at Ralph Wilson Stadium, with kickoff just after 12 noon. Television coverage will come on CBS. Buffalo is a 3.5-point favorite.

“I guess it’s two desperate teams,” said Chiefs OT Eric Winston of the game. “Nobody wants to come out of this weekend 0-2.”

Both teams had offenses that actually racked up more yards than their opponents last week. They both had 4 turnovers however, and that killed any chance they had to beat the Falcons and the Jets.

“When you turn the ball over it’s hard to win,” said head coach Romeo Crennel. “They turned the ball over like we did, their defense struggled like ours did, their special teams gave up a big return like ours did. So there are similarities, yes.” …Read More!

Replacement Officials For Buffalo

From Orchard Park, New York

Week No. 2 of the NFL season has the replacement officials continuing to work games with no end in sight to the owners’ lockout of the real zebras.

Last week in the Chiefs-Falcons game the officials were not a factor in the game; they missed some calls but there was nothing major or egregious.

The crew working Sunday’s game with the Bills is led by referee Robert Dalton. This crew worked the Jacksonville at Minnesota OT game last Sunday. They walked off 9 penalties for 72 yards and there were no replay challenges of any calls. …Read More!

NFL Transactions – 9/15

The Chiefs have again made a Hemingway-Ranglin switch on the practice squad. On Saturday they released G Rich Ranglin and resigned WR Junior Hemingway. It’s the fifth time these two have swapped spots on the practice squad.

NFL league office – issued fines to the following players: Philadelphia DE Jason Babin, $15,750 for unnecessary roughness; Minnesota DT Letroy Guion, $7,825 for unnecessary roughness

Chicago – re-signed RB Kahlil Bell; released DB Jeremy Jones.

Jacksonville – promoted OT Daniel Baldridge from the practice squad; released OT Troy Kropog.

Oakland – placed DB Ron Bartell (shoulder) on the injured-reserve list with return designation; placed WR Jacoby Ford (foot) on the injured-reserve list; promoted DB Coye Francies and LS Nick Guess from the practice squad.

San Diego – promoted DB Greg Gatson from the practice squad; released G Reggie Wells.

Maple Leafs & Chicken Wings . . . Buffalo Leftovers

From Buffalo, New York

The Anchor Bar just north of downtown Buffalo claims to have created the delicacy known as the buffalo chicken wings.

Been there and done that, and let me say this: I’ve had better wings in Kansas City. However, the Anchor Bar is more than just wings and the rest of its menu is pretty darn good. But all anybody seems to order are the wings. They have an outlet at the Buffalo Airport.

Back to football.

A lot of road trips this weekend

Sunday’s trip to Ralph Wilson Stadium is a homecoming for Chiefs OT Branden Albert, ILB and special teams ace Cory Greenwood and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll .

OK, it’s not really a homecoming as much as it’s a close to homecoming . . . as close as the two players and coach can hope to get.

Greenwood is from Kingston, Ontario, a city of 160,000 people northeast of Buffalo right where Lake Ontario flows into the St. Lawrence River. It’s about a 4-hour bus ride to the stadium from Kingston. …Read More!

College Report: Texas @ Mississippi

  • Texas @ Mississippi
  • Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, Mississippi
  • September 15, 8:15 p.m. CDT, ESPN

Texas

#42 DE Jackson Jeffcoat, Jr – 6-5, 245 pounds, 4.67 in the 40-yard dash, 1st-round potential.

The son of former Cowboys DE Jim Jeffcoat, he has the combination of size and speed to be able to play in the 4-3 or 3-4 defenses. After a freshman season where he started two games and worked as a reserve, he racked up 71 tackles, 21 tackles for loss and 8 sacks last season. He earned national defensive player of the week honors for his play against Kansas, with 5 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, a sack and two pressures. He also had 8 tackles, 4 tackles for loss and a sack against K-State. In 2 games this season for the Longhorns, Jeffcoat has 14 total tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 4 quarterback hurries, 1 forced fumble. Tall and lanky, he’ll need to make a decision when he’s drafted whether he’s going to stay at defensive end or move to outside LB. He finished up the year by tearing his left pectoral muscle and undergoing surgery in the spring. Should he stay on the line, he’ll need to add some weight and muscle to survive in the NFL. He was a three-sport star at Plano West High School in suburban Dallas where he was twice named first-team all-state. …Read More!

Pioli After 50 Games . . . Saturday Cup O’Chiefs

Last Sunday’s 2012 regular-season opener was the 50th game for the Chiefs under the direction of general manager Scott Pioli.

The franchise’s record under Pioli’s control: 21-29.

In a day and age in the NFL when teams go from outhouse to penthouse in one year, Pioli’s Chiefs are into a fourth season and did not begin that one with a bang, losing to Atlanta in the opener by 16 points. Ahead are trips to Buffalo and New Orleans, and then home games against San Diego and Baltimore. If their play does not improve the Chiefs could be 0-5 in a blink of a football eye.

“The NFL is a marathon; it’s not a sprint,” said head coach Romeo Crennel after the Chiefs poor second-half performance that led to a 40-24 defeat.

If the Chiefs do not stop the flow of inconsistent football that began in the preseason, they will soon be choking on the dust of everyone ahead of them in the division and conference before Columbus Day.

Already the spotlight has fallen on the job Pioli’s done since leaving New England and taking over as the GM of the Chiefs in January 2009. He’s been through four free agency cycles and four NFL Drafts and the collection of players appears talented on paper, and it has come at the right price as far as team chairman Clark Hunt is concerned. …Read More!

College Report: Alabama @ Arkansas

  • Alabama @ Arkansas
  • Reynolds Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, Arkansas
  • September 15, 2:30 p.m. CDT on CBS

Alabama

#28 CB Dee Milliner, Jr – 6-1, 198 pounds, 4.47 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 1st-round potential.

In the season opener he had 5 tackles and an interception with a 35-yard return against Michigan, earning SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors. He also broke up 4 passes. Coming into the season, the junior had 82 career tackles and 4 interceptions with 3 of those last year. In two previous seasons, he played in all 26 games, starting 17 games in the secondary. He came out of Stanhope Elmore High School in Millbrook, Alabama where he was rated a 5-star recruit thanks to his speed and a vertical jump of 39 inches. …Read More!

NFL Transactions – 9/13-14

NFL office – fined the following players: Washington S Madieu Williams $21,000; Cincinnati S Taylor Mays $21,000; Denver S Rahim Moore $21,000; Houston DE Antonio Smith $21,000; Chiefs RB Shaun Draughn $7,875.

Cincinnati – signed LB Roddrick Muckeroy; placed LB Thomas Howard (knee) on the injured-reserve list.

Green Bay – released OT Mike McCabe

New York Jets – signed TE Dedrick Epps from the Chicago practice squad.

St. Louis – signed QB Kellen Clemens; activated C Tim Barnes from the practice squad; released DT Darell Scott, DB Quinton Pointer.

Tampa Bay – signed G Derek Hardman; released DE Wallace Gilberry.

College Report: Wake Forest @ Florida State

  • Wake Forest @ Florida State
  • Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Florida
  • September 15, 11 a.m. CDT on ESPN/ESPN2

Wake Forest

#6 CB Kenny Okoro, Sr – 6-0, 190 pounds, 4.49 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 7th-round prospect.

Four-year starter for the Demon Deacons, redshirting his first year on campus and starting the last eight games of the 2009 season when he earned Freshman All-America mentions. Last year, he started all 13 games and finished with 38 tackles and an interception. So far in 2 games this season, he’s had 7 total tackles, including one tackle for lost yardage. The son of Nigerian immigrants, his full name is Chibuikem Kenneth Okoro, pronounced “OH-CORE-OH”. He played at Dudley High School in Greensboro, North Carolina where as a senior they won the State 3A title, with Okoro playing cornerback, wide receiver, punt returner and some time at quarterback. He was a four-year honor student in high school and has received honors at Wake as he’s pursued a major in health and exercise science with a minor in dance. Okoro will be 23 in October. …Read More!

College Report: California @ Ohio State

  • California @ Ohio State
  • Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
  • September 15, 11 a.m. CDT on ABC

California

#21 WR Keenan Allen, Jr – 6-3, 210 pounds, 4.53 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 1st-round potential.

He grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina and originally signed to attend the University of Alabama. Allen then changed his mind and decided Berkley was his spot, joining his half-brother Zach Maynard, who is now the Golden Bears starting quarterback. As a freshman Allen broke all of DeSean Jackson’s records with 46 catches for 490 yards and 5 TDs. Allen came back last year as a sophomore and caught 98 passes for 1,343 yards and 6 TDs and was named All-Pac 12 first-team. He missed the most recent spring practice after undergoing ankle surgery in March; he suffered the injury while playing basketball. In 2 games this season, he’s caught 10 passes for 138 yards and a TD. He’s also averaging 22.2 yards per punt return with a TD. Β He also has 37 rushing yards. Β Allen played at Grimsley and then Guilford High Schools where he achieved 5-star recruit status by all scouting services as both a safety and a receiver. He’s a baby at just 20 years old. …Read More!

Chiefs Employee Involved In Tampa Murder-Suicide

On Labor Day, an employee of the Kansas City Chiefs was involved in a murder-suicide shooting in Tampa, Florida.

Luis Angel Roberson Rodriquez worked in the Chiefs stadium operations department. He had previously worked at Disney World in Orlando and had joined several other Disney expats with the team’s stadium operations.

On Labor Day night, Rodriquez killed himself after shooting his on-again, off-again girl friend Jamie Kristine Kimble near the Tampa International Airport.

A little before 8 p.m. EDT on Monday, September 3 Kimble was returning from a trip to London where she was apparently visiting a new boyfriend. She was met by Roberson Rodriquez. The two began arguing almost immediately, but left the airport grounds together in a car driven by Roberson Rodriquez. Witnesses said Rodriquez punched Kimble several times with his fists while they were in the vehicle.

Kimble jumped out of the car on Cypress Street near Westshore Boulevard just southwest of the airport. That’s when Rodriquez shot her multiple times as she ran away. He then drove a short distance away and shot himself, later dying at a Tampa hospital. Kimble was dead on the scene.

While acknowledging he was an employee of the team, the Chiefs had little to say about the incident.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of life and our thoughts and prayers are with the families involved,” the team said in a statement. “The organization will have no further comment out of respect for all those impacted.”

The 31-year old Kimble lived in Holmes Beach, Florida, an island community due west of Bradenton. She was a North Carolina native and the daughter of Ron Kimble, currently the deputy city manager of the Charlotte, North Carolina. Kimble graduated in 2002 from the University of North Carolina and worked in sales and marketing for BYB Brands, a subsidiary of Coca Cola. She was preparing to move to Dallas after being promoted to director of regional sales for the southwest.

Roberson Rodriquez was 39 years old and was from the Orlando area.

Keys To Chiefs Victory Over Bills

KEY #4 – DO NOT HELP THE BILLS

Turnovers, penalties and similar mistakes do nothing but suck the air out of an offense and defense and provide help to the opponent. Whether the Falcons needed it last Sunday or not, they got a lot of help from the Chiefs in grabbing a 16-point victory. Buffalo helped out the New York Jets in their opener with 6 penalties, 4 turnovers (one interception was returned for a TD) and they allowed a punt return TD. They had more yards, no sacks allowed and scored as many offensive TDs as the Jets, but lost by 20 points. The Chiefs can’t allow their giving ways to happen again. …Read More!

Chiefs Practice Update – 9/14

From the Truman Sports Complex

It sounds like CB Brandon Flowers will play this Sunday when the Chiefs face the Bills in Buffalo.

The Chiefs reported Flowers as a full participant at Friday’s practice and afterwards he told reporters that he planned to play against the Bills. The questions now are how that foot will feel on Saturday and Sunday morning, and if OK, how much can Flowers play and how effective will he be after doing very little on that injured foot over the last six weeks.

“You have to temper it and know that conditioning will be a factor,” said head coach Romeo Crennel. “You might have to monitor his reps and some of that will depend on how the game goes. Probably asking him to play 100 plays is not the thing to do.”

Complicating matters with Flowers is his position and how much stress is placed on his feet in not just running, but sudden change of direction moves.

“At that position, your lower limbs are critical to your success at that position,” Crennel said. “When it’s not right, it makes it tougher for you to do your job.”

Crennel said FS Kendrick Lewis (shoulder), NT Anthony Toribio (ankle) and DE Allen Bailey (ankle) would remain limited in their participation in Friday’s practice. WR Devon Wylie (hamstring) was unlikely to practice. That all proved true once the team got on the practice field and all four have been ruled out of Sunday’s game.

Listed as questionable along with Flowers was CB Jalil Brown (groin) who was a full participant in Friday’s work.

For the Bills they officially declared both RB Fred Jackson and WR David Nelson out of Sunday’s game because of knee injuries.

College Report: Washington State @ UNLV

  • Washington State @ UNLV
  • Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • September 14, 8 p.m. CDT on ESPN

Washington State

#86 WR Marquess Wilson, Jr – 6-3, 188 pounds, 4.53 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 3rd-round potential.

In his third season with the Cougars, Wilson has shown outstanding athletic ability. In 2 games this season, he has 8 catches for 108 yards. Last year he was named Offensive MVP for his 82 catches for 1,388 yards and 12 TD catches. That followed up his freshman season when he caught 55 passes for 1,006 yards and 6 TDs. Last season, he had a huge game against then 7th-ranked Oregon where he caught 11 passes for 126 yards. Against Arizona State he caught 8 passes for 223 yards and 3 TDs. He played at Tulare High School in California, where as a senior he was captain of the football, basketball and track teams. …Read More!

Chiefs Are Not The NFL’s Youngest Team

While there is no player older than 30 years of age on the roster, the 2012 Chiefs are not the NFL’s youngest team.

In fact, they aren’t even close.

The NFL released information on Thursday using the opening game rosters for all 32 teams and came up with age and experience averages for each team.

The Chiefs are the ninth youngest team this season at an average age of 25.81 years. St. Louis is the youngest team at 25.30 years, followed by Philadelphia at 25.51 years. Cleveland, Miami, New England, Green Bay and Minnesota are all young than the Chiefs.

The oldest team in the league is a surprise – the Detroit Lions at 27.42 years of age, followed by San Diego at 27.27 years.

When it comes to seasons of NFL experience, the Chiefs rank as the 10th least experienced with an average of 3.85 years in the league. St. Louis again is the team with the lowest average at 3 seasons of play.

The most veteran team is Detroit with an average of 5.25 seasons, with San Diego’s average at 5.23 seasons.

Here are the top 10 in age, youngest and oldest, and experience, least and most: …Read More!

Winston Knows Mario . . . Friday Cup O’Chiefs

They both arrived in Houston in the spring of 2006, members of the Texans class in the NFL Draft. Defensive lineman Mario Williams was the first selection in the entire draft coming out of North Carolina State. Eric Winston was selection No. 66, at the top of the third round, after playing his college ball at Miami (FL).

A half-dozen years later, Williams and Winston will be together again Sunday on the field at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo. Neither will be wearing a Houston uniform; instead they will go head-to-head when the Chiefs face the Bills. It’s more than just Williams playing for Buffalo and Winston for the Chiefs, Williams is listed as the left defensive end and Winston is the right tackle.

They will spend most of the afternoon going head-to-head, something familiar to both from their practice days with the Texans.

“I’m going to have to do everything I possibly can to block the guy,” Winston said this week as the offense prepared for the trip to Buffalo. “Fortunately for me, growing up in this league and having to block him every day in practice made me a better player. I was a little bit of a speed bump for him and he did have to learn to get around me.

“I’ve said it to him and will say it to anybody – he’s probably one of the top five athletes in sports.” …Read More!

USC, Miami Lead The Way With NFL Players

Based on the rosters for opening day last week, the University of Southern California had the most former players in the NFL this year.

There are 44 former Trojans, including Chiefs QB Matt Cassel. Miami (37), LSU (36), Georgia (35), Ohio State (35) and Texas (35) round out the top five programs.

There are also programs that produce more players at certain positions than others. It breaks down this way:

  • QB – Southern Cal with 4.
  • RB – Pittsburgh with 5.
  • WR – Miami (Fla.) and Ohio State with 7 each.
  • DT – LSU and Southern Cal with 5 each.
  • DE – Georgia with 6.
  • LB – Penn State and Southern Cal, with 8 each.
  • DB – Texas with 10.

Here are the top colleges with NFL players: …Read More!

Chiefs Practice Update Remix – 9/13

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs got their Thursday practice in before the rains came to the Kansas City area, as they enjoyed the much cooler temperatures on an early fall day.

On the field, the Chiefs reported a practice sighting that hadn’t been seen since July 31 in St. Joseph – CB Brandon Flowers was a full-practice participant.

What that exactly means is a matter of conjecture. On the surface it means Flowers was able to take part in all parts of practice, individual work, position work, secondary work and defensive team work. What it does not tell us is whether he was able to handle all the work as if he was not injured, or whether it was a limited number of snaps in the workout.

But some 44 days after he suffered the foot injury in the team’s night practice at Missouri Western State University on the last day of July, Flowers has a chance to get back on the field.

Going into the practice, head coach Romeo Crennel provided no indication that Flowers or CB Jalil Brown (groin) were ready to reach full participation. But both players were listed as full participants and that can only be good news for the Chiefs defense that went without both players in the season opener. …Read More!

College Report: Rutgers @ South Florida

  • Rutgers @ South Florida
  • Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida
  • September 13, 6:30 p.m. CDT on ESPN

Rutgers

#20 LB Khaseem Greene, Sr – 6-1, 230 pounds, 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 3rd-round prospect.

Arrived at Rutgers as a safety, but he’s grown and been nurtured into a hard-hitting weak side linebacker with the Scarlet Knights. Green entered the 2012 season as a question mark after suffering a bad leg injury in the Pinstripe Bowl against Iowa State. But he bounced back to rack up 14 tackles and a sack in the opener against Tulane, and followed that up with 10 total tackles, 2 QB hurries and 2 passes broken up last weekend against Howard. He was selected a team captain in the pre-season. Last year he was the Big East’s leading tackler with 141 and shared Defensive MVP honors. In 2010, he was a starting free safety with 77 tackles and 3 INTs. Over 38 games he had 251 tackles, 5.5 sacks and 5 interceptions. He’s out of Avon Old Farms School in Connecticut where he played one year after playing at Elizabeth High School in New Jersey. He’s 23 years old and his half-brother is Pitt RB Ray Graham. …Read More!

Embarrassed/Excited Hali’s Back …Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

It was a half-dozen years ago that Tamba Hali talked about his life and escape from his native Liberia and the mother he had not seen in over a decade.

“You deal with it and work through it,” he said in February 2006 at the NFL Scouting Combine. “That’s how life is, full of adversity.”

There have been many ups and downs in Tamba Hali’s life and as he stood in front of his locker at the Chiefs facility on Wednesday, he was putting a finishing moment on his latest adversity – the one-game NFL suspension he served last week that forced him to miss the season opener against Atlanta.

Hali was back on the practice field on Wednesday, back where he feels comfortable and back with the group of people that he feels he let down last Sunday.

“It wasn’t fun screaming at the TV,” Hali said when asked what he was doing when the Chiefs and Falcons were playing. “I stayed home with my daughter and my Mom came over and watched the game.”

Just what substance Hali came up positive in the NFL testing program wasn’t something he wanted to discuss on Wednesday. …Read More!

NFL Transactions – 9/12

The Chiefs made another switch on their practice squad, again re-signing G Rich Ranglin and releasing WR Junior Hemingway. It’s the third back-and-forth the team has made with these two in the last 10 days.

In another practice squad move, former Chiefs DE Brandon Bair signed with the Raiders practice squad this week. He spent all of last season with the Chiefs, but did not play in a game.

Here’s what went down on active rosters on Wednesday:

Dallas – signed DB LeQuan Lewis.

Jacksonville – claimed OT Troy Kropog on waivers from Tennessee; released G Josh Beekman.

Miami – signed DT Ryan Baker.

New Orleans – signed WR Greg Camarillo; placed WR Adrian Arrington (knee) on the injured-reserve list.

St. Louis – signed G Quinn Ojinnaka; placed C Scott Wells (foot) on the injured-reserve list/designated return.

College Quarterbacks – Update #1

The NFL season is only one game old and after the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde performance of Matt Cassel in the opener, Chiefs fans are already considering alternatives for the future at the position.

Yes, it’s a bit early to pulling the rip cord on the 2012 season and Cassel’s status as the Chiefs starter.

Still it’s never too early for football fans to get prepared and consider the alternatives. Every few weeks, we’ll provide statistical updates on the top college quarterbacks. It’s just for general information and amusement.

For the senior QBs we are using the Senior Bowl Watch List of 21 passers. We’ve checked with our sources in the NFL scouting community to come up with juniors that may be coming out early at the position.

If we’ve missed somebody worthwhile, let us know and we’ll include him. There are a lot of names and numbers here, but these are quarterbacks that are currently being scouted to join the league in 2013. Statistics are from the NCAA.

Start scouting! …Read More!

Jamaal Goes β€œGo Pro Workout”

Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles has bounced back from the torn ACL he suffered 52 weeks ago in Detroit. In Sunday’s season opener, Charles showed all the moves and speed that he had before the injury. Intense work by Charles in the off-season got it done, including a workout he did with the folks at Go Pro Workout. Below is a story on the Jamaal’s workout and how the average fan can get involved in the same physical plan. Enjoy.

By Jared Antista/Go Pro Workout

Jamaal Charles recently partnered with Go Pro Workouts to share what he did this off-season to ensure that he was ready for Week 1 of the 2012 NFL season.

His off-season workout program included a variety of training nodes to help increase strength, speed, and agility that a football player, specifically a running back, can benefit from. NFL running backs take a lot of punishment and the key to a successful season and career is to be fitter than the competition.

Jamaal put in the time to make sure his knee was ready for the pounding of an NFL season. His program consisted of ladder drills, cone and hurdle exercises (both linear and lateral) and core strength exercises improving his leg and abdominal regions. Jamaal’s 8-week workout program will guide aspiring athletes through all of his exercises with video and text descriptions.

For the first time ever, you can see Jamaal working out and see what it takes to recover and prepare for an NFL season. Check out his complete program at:

https://www.goproworkouts.com/workouts/football/jamaal_charles.

Chiefs Practice Update – 9/12

From the Truman Sports Complex

Tamba Hali will be back on the practice field this afternoon with the Chiefs as they begin preparations for facing Buffalo this Sunday.

Hali was reinstated to the active roster on Tuesday after serving his one-game NFL suspension.

“I hope I see that effort that he gives on every play,” said Crennel. “I hope he hasn’t forgotten anything and can step right in and go right along. He should be full go.”

What kind of lift could Hali provide the defense that ended up giving up 40 points last Sunday in the season opener.

“I think the way he approaches the game and the way he plays down in and down out, that impacts the guys around him,” Crennel said. “I think they want to play up to the level that he plays. If we can get guys playing up to the level that he plays that can lift a team.” …Read More!

West Goes O-Line Depth . . . Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

Let’s check the action from the last two days along the offensive line in the AFC West.

In Denver, they signed former Patriots C Dan Koppen to provide experienced depth in the middle of the Broncos line. In San Diego, they signed former Packers OL Reggie Wells, a 9-year veteran who has played all three offensive line positions in the NFL. He provides a veteran presence on the Chargers second team.

The Chiefs don’t have a single backup offensive lineman on the active roster or practice squad that’s started an NFL game. They sat back and worked out three free agent linemen who have a combined 3 games of NFL experience.

Now, we don’t know how much Koppen and Wells may still have in their tanks. Koppen is in his 10th season and is 33 years old. Wells is in his 10th season and his 31. But the Broncos and Chargers wanted to bring them in and see what they might have something left. At this point, it’s hard to understand what the Chiefs front office’s thinking is regarding its failure to build a 53-man roster that could handle injuries at all positions. Every week draft choices Jeff Allen and Donald Stephenson are showing they were solid selections back in April. But are they ready to step in should an Albert, Lilja, Hudson, Asamoah or Winston goes down? …Read More!

NFL Transactions – 9/11

Atlanta – placed CB Brent Grimes (Achilles) on the injured-reserve list; signed CB Terrence Johnson.

Baltimore – released RB Bobby Rainey.

Buffalo – placed WR David Nelson (knee) on the injured-reserve list; signed RB Johnny White.

Chicago – released P Ryan Quigley.

Cleveland – re-instated LB Scott Fujita from the reserve/suspended list.

Denver – signed C Dan Koppen, QB Caleb Hanie; placed DT Ty Warren (triceps) on the injured-reserve list; released G C.J. Davis.

Detroit – released TE Austin Wells. …Read More!

Chiefs Work Out Blockers

Tuesday around the NFL is generally workout day, as the regular players are off and teams bring in free agents for the once over.

Teams don’t release the names of workout players but the NFL grapevine is always bubbling with agents trying to push their clients back into the pro football universe.

Among the players the Chiefs worked out on Tuesday were a trio of offensive linemen:

– C Dan Gerberry – 6-3, 302 pounds out of Ball State. He was undrafted in 2009 and signed with Detroit. He spent the 2009 and 2010 seasons on the Lions practice squad and he was released following the 2011 pre-season. Re-signed this year, he was released in the cut to 53 players. Gerberry has not played in a regular season game.

– C/G Bryan Mattison – 6-3, 272 pounds out of Iowa. He was undrafted in 2008 and has spent time with the New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens and St. Louis Rams. He was released in the cut to 53 players that was made 10 days ago. He’s played in 3 NFL games.

– T Dustin Waldron – 6-5, 3-5 pounds out of Portland State. He went undrafted in April and signed with Miami. The Dolphins released him on August 1, but he was claimed on waivers by New England. The Patriots released him on the cut to 53 players.

A Second Look – Atlanta

A missed FG with 24 minutes to play in a game where the teams are separated by just three points does not decide the game.

But taking a second look at the Chiefs-Falcons season opener from Sunday showed us again that it did. When Ryan Succop’s 40-yard attempt slammed off the right upright, it was like the wind took the Chiefs thoughts of winning and lifted them out of Arrowhead Stadium and blew them all the way to Grain Valley.

It’s almost visible on the tape, where each snap shows the Chiefs growing more desperate on both offense and defense. Within 5 minutes of the missed FG, the game was over as the Falcons led by 17 points with 19 minutes to play.

The real turning point play came three snaps after the missed field goal. The Chiefs defense had the Falcons in a 3rd-and-11 situation. A defensive stop would have been big. But QB Matt Ryan completed a pass to WR Julio Jones for 31 yards and a first down. The Chiefs defense rushed just three on that play and Ryan had all the time in the word to shuffle up in the pocket and hit Jones, who had gotten away from CB Stanford Routt.

Six players later, Atlanta scored a touchdown and the game was over.

Here are a few other notes I jotted down after watching the tape: …Read More!

Chiefs Activate Hali, Cut Sheffield

OLB Tamba Hali was returned to the Chiefs 53-man roster from the reserve/suspended list Tuesday. This came after he served his one-game NFL suspension last Sunday.

To make room for Hali on the active roster the Chiefs released OLB Cameron Sheffield. Three seasons after he was selected by the team in the fifth-round of the 2010 NFL Draft, Sheffield had yet to make much of a mark on defense or special teams. In the season opener he was on the field for one defensive play and 16 special teams snaps without producing a tackle or other stat.

Sheffield played in 17 games over two seasons, picking up 8 total tackles. He lost his rookie season in ’10 when he suffered a head/neck injury in a pre-season game against Philadelphia on August 27th. He did not return to the field until the next training camp.

Chiefs Lack Mental Toughness … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

Toughness is a word that tends to get associated with the physical, especially when the conversation is about football players.

But toughness is just as important mentally and emotionally to those who play the game of football. Without it, a player is going to struggle. A team that doesn’t have mental toughness is going to find it hard to win.

That would be the 2012 Kansas City Chiefs. Even their head coach agrees that his team lacks mental toughness. It was very apparent in the second half on Sunday against Atlanta when things were going wrong and the Chiefs were unable to recover.

“That’s one of the things that if you’re going to be successful in the NFL, you have to be strong willed and be able to work through those situations when you’re behind,” Crennel said. “You have to work through them and play your technique and do your job and all of those things that were preached to them on a daily basis.”

Mental toughness is another way of saying “strong willed.” It’s imperative for any successful athletic team, as important as physical talent and intelligence in understanding the game plan. Some players develop a level of mental toughness very early in their athletic careers, even down to Little League and Pop Warner levels.

But how does that happen at the highest levels of sports? Doesn’t a professional football player just automatically come into the league with the requisite mental toughness? …Read More!

Chiefs Update – 9/10

From the Truman Sports Complex

His one-week suspension over, Pro Bowl OLB Tamba Hali was back with his teammates Monday, working out and watching film at the Chiefs facility.

Hali spent the last week away from his teammates serving the penalty for violating the league’s substance regulations. During the suspension, he was allowed to workout at the facility, but he could not do it with the team, or attend meetings or practices. He could not even be in the locker room with the team.

The Chiefs were given the standard 24 hours by the NFL to decide the transaction that will bring Hali off the reserve-suspended list and back onto the active roster. It means one of the 53 players that is on the roster will be released or sent to the injured-reserve list.

Other than bruised pride and battered reputation, the Chiefs came through Sunday’s season opener without picking up any significant injuries.

That was the word from Crennel after the players reported back to work following their 40-24 loss on Sunday to the Atlanta Falcons. …Read More!

Sunday’s Best & Notes


LONGEST PLAY

88 – Washington WR Pierre Garcon TD catch. (W)

83 – Seattle RB Leon Washington kickoff return. (L)

77 – Atlanta RB Jacquizz Rodgers kickoff return. (W)

75 – Green Bay WR Randall Cobb punt return for TD. (L)

72 – Miami RB Marcus Thigpen punt return for TD. (L)

71 – Denver WR Demaryius Thomas TD catch. (W)

68 – N.Y. Jets WR Jeremy Kerley punt return for TD. (W) (pictured above)

63 – San Francisco K David Akers field goal. (W)

63 – Indianapolis P Pat McAfee punt. (L) …Read More!

Keys Recap for atlanta

From Arrowhead Stadium

Here’s a look at the 4 pre-game keys to a Chiefs victory on Sunday and whether they achieved those items. There are three possible grades: Mission Accomplished, Push, Failed Assignment.

KEY #4 – PRESSURE MATT RYAN

Yes, I know the Chiefs best, maybe only, pass rusher is on the bench due to an NFL suspension. But somebody on that defense needs to pick up Tamba Hali’s sack and get after Falcons QB Matt Ryan. At 6-4, 217 pounds, Ryan is a bit gangly and isn’t known for his ability to run with the ball. Like any passer, he’s much better stepping up into a nice clean pocket and launching his throws. The Chiefs must make him uncomfortable and the duty for that falls on two players. With Hali out, OLB Justin Houston needs to be an animal rushing off the edge. I’d move him around a bit so that the Falcons couldn’t zero in on protection. The other is 1st-round draft choice NT Dontari Poe. If Ryan’s going to throw, the Poe needs to collapse the pocket up the middle. As he’s developed as a quarterback, Ryan does not make many mistakes. Last year he threw 12 interceptions and was sacked 26 times. He completes 61 percent of his passes. Somehow the defense needs to get Ryan on the ground, or forced him into mistakes.

OUTCOME: FAILED ASSIGNMENT. One sack in 32 passing plays is not success in any fashion for the Chiefs defense.

KEY #3 – WEAR OUT KICKER MATT BRYANT

The Falcons kicker is a good one, hitting 27 of 29 last year, including a perfect 20 for 20 inside the 40-yard line and 7 of 9 beyond that, including a pair of 50+yard kicks. The Chiefs need to make it a busy day for him on the 3-pointers. Forget how many yards the defense allows – it’s meaningless, especially in this game with the weapons available to the Falcons. But they can move the ball 99 yards a possession and not score a touchdown if the Chiefs defense keeps them out of the end zone. The more the FG team is on the field improves Kansas City’s chances at victory.

OUTCOME: FAILED ASSIGNMENT. Bryant was busy hitting 4 of 4 field goals, but the Chiefs needed him to have 6 or 7 attempts the way things were going with their offense and defense.

KEY #2 – SCORE ON SPECIALS, DEFENSE

Last year, the Falcons defense gave up 21.8 points per game, but just 35 offensive touchdowns or slightly more than two per game. If the Chiefs offense scores 14 or even 21 points, they will not win this game. They need to be in the high 20s. That’s where the kicking game and/or defense must come in by finding the end zone. Last year, the Chiefs had just two TDs from the defense and none from special teams. That’s not going to be good enough in 2012, and it’s especially not going to work in this game. Whether it’s a kick return, punt return or taking a blocked punt or kick back, or returning a fumble, the special teams need to be special and take some of the pressure off the offense.

OUTCOME: FAILED ASSIGNMENT. They didn’t come close to making this happen on either defense or in the kicking game.

KEY#1 – THROW TO RUN

The way the Chiefs are going to win on Sunday is to get their running game going. They have the tools to make that happen, but they aren’t going to be able to come out of the chute and simply run, run, run. The spotlight falls on QB Matt Cassel here – the Chiefs need to get their passing game moving right off the bat. No matter what they do in relations to formation or personnel, Cassel needs to get the ball in hands of receivers. They need to spread the field, to open up what figures to be clogged running lanes. Cassel needs to be accurate and he needs to make quick decision. One, two, three bang … the ball is out. The more he can dink and dunk and stretch the field horizontally, the more effective the run game will be. If they can also stretch the field vertically that would be even better.

OUTCOME: PUSH. In the first half, the Chiefs were able to move the ball and they did it throwing and rushing. All that went away in the second half, and it was largely because of the problems the Chiefs had throwing the ball that the offense came to a screeching halt.

 

Notes, Quotes: Where’s Jon Baldwin?

From Arrowhead Stadium

He was one of the stars of the Chiefs training camp in St. Joseph back in early August. With Dwayne Bowe out of camp without a contract, Jon Baldwin had the chance to catch passes and create opportunities for an increased role in the offense.

Baldwin seemed to be doing that through camp, but something happened when the games started. In the four pre-season games, Baldwin had only eight catches for 62 yards without Bowe in uniform.

And in Sunday’s regular season opener against Atlanta, Baldwin was invisible. He did not catch a pass. He did not have a pass thrown to him. He barely got on the field even though the Chiefs spent much of the game with three wide receivers on the field.

“Well he’s trying to develop a role in the offense,” head coach Romeo Crennel said of Baldwin. “He’s working at it and I think eventually he will have his spot and he will be making plays, but it just didn’t come up today.”

Injury Front

The Chiefs did not report any new major injuries in Sunday’s game against Atlanta. Of course, four of their seven inactive players were out because of injury: CB Brandon Flowers (foot), FS Kendrick Lewis (shoulder), NT Anthony Toribio (ankle) and DE Allen Bailey (ankle).

During Sunday’s game, the Falcons lost starting CB Brent Grimes with a calf injury. He went out in the fourth quarter with no report on how serious the injury might be.

Coin Toss

One of the first things that Tony Gonzalez got done in his return to Arrowhead Stadium was call tails on the coin toss at mid-field. The coin came up tails and the Falcons started with the football.

Representing the Chiefs for the coin toss were captains LB Derrick Johnson, WR Terrance Copper P Dustin Colquitt and LG Ryan Lilja.

GameDay Atmosphere

The Chiefs announced paid attendance of 71,180 but there were not that many in the house. But it was a good sized crowd and they made plenty of noise. The Falcons ran into early problems with the play clock because the center couldn’t hear QB Matt Ryan in the shotgun. By early in the fourth quarter it appeared that about 75 percent of the stadium had enough and was already out the door and in the parking lot.

Special Teams Recap

The punter for both teams almost didn’t get on the field Sunday. Dustin Colquitt had one punt, but did not make that until there was less than seven minutes to play in the game. Atlanta punter Matt Bosher did not punt until there was three minutes, 14 seconds left in the game. Colquitt’s punt went 47 yards and Bosher’s kick went for 52 yards.

The Chiefs got nothing in the return game. Javier Arenas returned one punt and four kickoffs and his longest return was 25 yards. Atlanta got a 77-yard kickoff return from RB Jacquizz Rodgers.

Personnel Recap

Inactive players for the Chiefs were CB Brandon Flowers, QB Ricky Stanzi, FS Kendrick Lewis, RB Cyrus Gray, TE Steve Maneri, DE Allen Bailey and DT Anthony Toribio.

The Chiefs also made a move on their practice roster re-signing WR Junior Hemingway and releasing G Rich Ranglin.

Inactive players for the Falcons were QB Dominique Davis, S Charles Mitchell, CB Robert McClain, C Joe Hawley, OT Lamar Holmes, DE Lawrence Sidbury, DE Jonathan Massaquoi. Atlanta made a pair of roster moves over the weekend, re-signing CB Dominique Franks and promoting WR Drew Davis from the practice squad. Removed from the active roster were WR Tim Toone and OL Phillipkeith Manley.

Appearing in their first regular-season game wearing a Chiefs uniform were 17 players – QB Brady Quinn, WR Devon Wylie, RB Shaun Draughn, CB Stanford Routt, S Abram Elam, DB Tysyn Hartman. CB Jacques Reeves, RB Peyton Hillis, RB Nate Eachus, LB Brandon Siler, G Jeff Allen, OT Eric Winston, DE Ropati Pitoitua, OT Donald Stephenson, TE Kevin Boss, DT Dontari Poe and LB Edgar Jones.

The only active player who did not get on the field was backup QB Brady Quinn.

Etc.

Despite the scoring, the game was played in 2 hours and 52 minutes … Former Mizzou-now Atlanta safety William Moore had an interception but thinks the Chiefs will be fine this year: “Kansas City’s going to be a good team this year, I guarantee.” … Romeo Crennel is now 0-5 in season opening games in his head coaching career.

Falcons Offense Takes Another Step With Ryan

From Arrowhead Stadium

In four seasons Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith has seen every game played by QB Matt Ryan.

He found Sunday’s performance in a 40-24 victory over the Chiefs to be something special.

“This might be the best game that he played,” said Smith after Ryan threw three touchdown passes and scored one himself as the Falcons offense dominated the second half and scored on their first eight possessions of the game.

“I’m sure there are some throws that he would like to have back, like always. He had a very good command of the offense and how we wanted to attack the Kansas City defense.”

Attack they did. It was the first regular season game for Ryan and new Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. But they operated like they’ve been working together for years. When Atlanta went to the no-huddle offense in the first half, it was Ryan who was making decision on plays at the line of scrimmage.

It was a good afternoon, because Ryan made a minimum number of mistakes on the plays that he called. He didn’t make any on executing the plays. He finished with a 136.4 passer rating, completing 74.2 percent of his passes. He spread the ball around to six difference receivers, led by WR Julio Jones with six catches for 108 yards. WR Roddy White had six catches and TE Tony Gonzalez had five balls that he pulled in.

“You know you can’t double all three of us,” said Jones, who had a pair of TD catches. “Early on they were doubling Tony and Roddy. I had the one-on-one, so I had to step up and make plays. Later on they started rolling to me and doubling me. You could see as the game went on that Roddy started catching balls and Tony as well.”

Said White: “Matt did an excellent job today. He made a lot of good reads and got the ball in the playmakers’ hands.”

Ryan felt very comfortable on the field and working with Koetter.

“Anytime you have coaching changes there are differences between schemes and just personalities and those kinds of things,” Ryan said. “I think everybody as enjoyed working with Dirk; I think he has done a great job since he has been here and one game into it, he did pretty well.”

The star was Ryan, who seemed very at ease running the offense, deciphering the Chiefs defense and leading his team so that they scored on their first eight offensive possessions.

“We wanted to start fast and we wanted to score touchdowns and we did a pretty good job of that,” said Ryan. “We know we left a couple of plays out there we probably could have made, but all in all points are good in this league.”

The Falcons are now 25-5 when Ryan throws multiple TD passes and they are 41-13 when he throws at least one scoring pass. His record as a starting quarterback is now 44-19.

“He’s very comfortable with what we are doing with the offense,” said Gonzalez. “We’ve got an offense that can do multiple things and he makes it all happen.”

 

Replacements? What Replacements?

From Arrowhead Stadium

The NFL game officials on the first weekend of the 2012 season were replacements for the real zebras.

On the opening Sunday of the season at Arrowhead, it didn’t matter. The replacements were nearly invisible as part of the game and that’s just exactly what the any player, fan or league wants.

The crew led by referee Mike Shepherd was not perfect, but they didn’t make any more obvious mistakes than the real officials. Twice, Shepherd announced penalties in the second half for players. With the Falcons, it was No. 74 on an offensive holding play on a punt return. Atlanta did not field a No. 74. With the Chiefs, No. 37 was called for an illegal bock in the back. They did not have anyone wearing No. 37 and haven’t since Joe Delaney passed away in 1983.

Head linesman Tom Falcinelli ruled a play a catch in the second half, but the officials huddled up and then changed the call to incomplete. They did that without the use of replay, and more importantly, they got the call right. There were two replay reviews, one requested by the Chiefs, the other on an Atlanta interception. Both calls made on the field were upheld.

Overall, there were only four penalties walked off during the game. Here are the flags called by the replacements:

Team Squad

Player

Penalty

Yds

Atlanta Offense

M. Ryan

False Start

-5

Atlanta Kick off

C. Hope

Un. Roughness

Offset

Chiefs Kick ret.

S. Draughn

Un. Roughness

Offset

Chiefs Offense

S. Draughn

Face mask

-15

Atlanta Punt ret.

?

Holding

-7

Chiefs Punt ret.

?

Illegal block

-10

In total, that was four penalties for minus-37 yards.

There was plenty of help for the replacements. Ordinarily, there are at least two NFL observers in the press box for every game at Arrowhead and other stadiums. But on Sunday, those seats were empty. The league representatives were in a room just off the field at the 50-yard line tunnel behind the Chiefs bench. There, they had access to all replay and they could communicate with the officials on the field. The two replay reviews went fairy quickly and did not cause much in the way of delay.

Chiefs Report Card vs. Atlanta


From Arrowhead Stadium

PASSING OFFENSE: D – It’s hard to find much involved in the Chiefs passing offense that ended up good against Atlanta. QB Matt Cassel did throw a nice TD pass to TE Kevin Boss and overall had a good first half. Overall however, Cassel and the passing game was inconsistent, mistake-prone and did not produce a point in the second half.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C – Somehow the Chiefs ran for 152 yards on 33 carries – that’s an impressive output for a team that spent the entire second half in a deep hole. But when they needed yardage in the third quarter, they were bottled up and had all sorts of negative plays. In the third quarter, they needed production but nine plays did not produce a run for more than 5 yards and two runs went for minus-yardage.

PASS DEFENSE: F – Atlanta QB Matt Ryan picked the Chiefs pass defense apart, completing 74.2 percent of his throws, for 3 TDs and an average of 9.7 yards per attempt. They were only able to sack him one time and touched him two other plays. That type of pass defense isn’t going to win any day.

RUSH DEFENSE: C – The Falcons did not rely on the run game, so this performance may be a bit of a paper tiger, but the Chiefs kept Michael Turner under wraps (11 for 32 yards). The only reason they had 84 yards was the 25 contributed by QB Matt Ryan, who is not generally known as a runner.

SPECIAL TEAMS: F – They gave up field position when they allowed Jacquizz Rodgers a 77-yard kickoff return. Then, the play of the game was Ryan Succop’s missed 40-yard FG that ended the Chiefs momentum. As far as positive plays, there were none out of the kicking game for the Chiefs.

COACHING: D – The players play and there’s no question that in the second half the Chiefs were in a funk. But there’s no way a head coach and his staff get a passing grade when their team gets blitzed at home, in the opener, by 16 points, including giving up 23 unanswered points to their opponent. It wasn’t good enough.

 

Depleted Defense Struggles To Stop Falcons

From Arrowhead Stadium

It became very apparent, very quickly how much the Chiefs were going to miss at least two of their four defensive starters that were out of Sunday’s game against Atlanta.

Romeo Crennel does not have a team that can withstand losing four starters on defense, especially when the best pass rusher (Tamba Hali) and best coverage man in the secondary (Brandon Flowers) are both out of the lineup because of suspension and injury.

On the first of QB Matt Ryan’s three touchdown passes for the Falcons, he connected with WR Julio Jones on a 8-yard pass where the receiver badly beat CB Jacques Reeves. It was Reeves that started for Flowers at left cornerback.

Through the first half, Ryan was barely bothered by the Chiefs pass rush without Hali. It wasn’t until the 21st pass play that he was hit and sacked, that by OLB Justin Houston. It would be the only time he was sacked in 32 passing plays. Based on press box stats, Ryan was touched only two other times in the game.

“The fact that they weren’t there today, really no one cares because all they want to know is did you win or did you lose?” Crennel said. “We lost today, so we have to try to do what we can to win the next one.”

The Chiefs defense never really stopped Ryan and the Falcons offense. Atlanta was able to score points on its first eight possessions. They were helped by three turnovers by the Chiefs offense and a long kick return. But they scored every time:

  • 12 plays, 80 yards, TD.
  • 4 plays, 13 yards, FG.
  • 8 plays, 73 yards, TD.
  • 11 plays, 77 yards, FG.
  • 9 plays, 70 yards, TD.
  • 1 play, 7 yards, TD.
  • 5 plays, 31 yards, FG.
  • 4 plays, 8 yards, FG.

The Falcons punted on their ninth possession and had possession after a Chiefs TD at the end of the game.

About the only thing the Chiefs defense got done was stop the Atlanta running game, as Michael Turner had just 32 yards and the team itself totaled 84 yards.

“The fact we were able to stop the run, that’s important for us,” said Crennel. “We weren’t able to stop them. We have to do a better job of rushing the passer and containing the quarterback.”

OLB Justin Houston had the only sack of the game for the Chiefs.

“As a whole, I think the pressure wasn’t as good as it should be and I felt the coverage wasn’t as good as it should be,” Houston said. “I just think the whole defense needs to step up. We lost a couple guys that were very important to us, but we just need to step up and fill their spots.”

No question that having Hali would have the potential to improve the Chiefs pass rush, but Derrick Johnson wasn’t buying that excuse.

“Tamba would have helped of course, but you’ve got to find a way,” said Johnson. “I didn’t even think about Tamba this week. That’s just how it is in the NFL.”

CB Stanford Routt wasn’t buying the missing starters as why the Chiefs defense had so many problems.

“You can sit up here and make any story you want to make,” Routt told the media. “At half-time it was 20-17. Obviously we were doing just fine. In the second half we just didn’t make the right plays. They did. They won the game.”

Play of the Game – Succop Missed FG

From Arrowhead Stadium

QUARTER – 3rd, 9 minutes, 9 seconds to play in the period.

SCORE – Falcons held a 20-17 lead over the Chiefs.

DOWN & DISTANCE – 4th-and-4 at the Falcons 22-yard line.

SET – Chiefs lined up for FG, Falcons in FG defense.

The Chiefs had gone to the locker room at half-time trailing by three points and feeling pretty good about where they stood in their season opener against Atlanta.

“We did some good things and we were productive,” said TE Kevin Boss, who caught a TD pass in the second quarter. “We felt like we could go out and keep doing it.”

And they did, getting the opening kickoff of the third quarter at their 20-yard line and moving down the field in just over four minutes to the Atlanta 28-yard line.

First down brought 2 yards up the middle and a pass play brought 4 more yards. On 3rd-and-4, QB Matt Cassel’s pass to WR Dexter McCluster fell incompete.

That brought Ryan Succop and the FG team on the field. With Thomas Gafford snapping, Dustin Colquitt holding, Succop lined up with the hold at the 30-yard line, making it a 40-yard FG attempt. There was a light breeze blowing across the field, coming out of the north. That was blowing from left to right in front of Succop.

“I lined it up and aimed at the middle of the goal posts,” said Succop. “I felt really good standing over the kick and I felt like it was a really good hit.”

Succop did not aim far enough to the left, and when the wind pushed it to the right, it clanked off the right upright.

“I needed to be a little more left of center than I was,” said Succop. “It faded on me. I’ve got to make sure I line it up better.”

One play in the third quarter does not a game make, most especially a FG or FG attempt. But there’s no doubt that Succop’s miss took the air out of the Chiefs balloon. From that point, on their next three offensive possessions, they turned the ball over three times and gained just 7 yards of offense on 11 plays.

“Those turnovers that’s really what hurt us,” said QB Matt Cassel.

But it was seemed like the match that lit the fuse was Succop’s missed FG.

“Every kick in this league is important,” Succop said. “It doesn’t matter when you miss it. That’s just not good for your team. I’ve got to learn from it.”

Good Cassel/Bad Cassel Both Make Appearances

From Arrowhead Stadium

Matt Cassel called it the tale of two tapes. Sort of a football version of Poe’s Tale of Two Cities, and we aren’t taking about Dontari Poe.

In the first half the Chiefs quarterback was good, at times very good. He controlled the offense, moved it down the field and put a pair of touchdowns on the board, along with a field goal. His first half numbers were:

  • 10 of 12 (83.3%) for 123 yards (10. 3 yards per attempt), and one touchdown, a 137.2 passer rating.

In the second half, Cassel was bad. The offense floundered and could not score, plus they turned the ball over three times with two interceptions and a fumble lost. His second half numbers were:

  • 11 of 21 (52.4%) for 135 yards (6.4 yards per attempt), two interceptions, no TDs, a 33 passer rating.

“We saw the first half, we saw the second half,” said head coach Romeo Crennel. “The second half he wasn’t nearly as good as he was in the first half. In the first half I thought he was pretty decent. The second half he was pressing and trying to make plays and ended up with a couple of turnovers as a result.”

Nothing can damage a quarterback or an offense like turnovers. Cassel threw a pair of INTs and then lost the ball while he was being sacked. It was recovered by the Falcons.

“First one strips out (fumble), second one was a tip and third one was me trying to force a play, make a play and do something that is just stupid at that point of the game,” said Cassel. “You’ve got to throw it away and pump the ball and move forward.”

Cassel is always telling his teammates to take the game one play at a time. And, then against the Falcons he violated that advice himself.

“When you start getting ahead of yourself and you start worrying, you make plays like I did when you’re pressing and you get pressured and then all of a sudden you throw back across your body …”

In the first half, Cassel connected with TE Kevin Boss on a pretty 22-yard touchdown pass with a throw that put the ball in the only place where it could be caught by his guy, not the two guys in coverage. He did a great job of not forcing passes, his throws weren’t high unless he wanted them to be high, and when he would scan one side of the field for an open receiver and come up empty, he would immediately turn and dump it off on the other side. Excellent decisions and excellent mechanics.

“I think the offense responded well in the first half,” Cassel said. “We went out and performed really well and executed well.”

Cassel even scored a touchdown, running in from five yards out for his first rushing TD as a member of the Chiefs.

The good offense and the good Cassel were on the field only briefly in the second half; on the Chiefs second possession of the third quarter, he was sacked by Falcons DE John Abraham and coughed up the ball. It was recovered by LB Steve Nicholas at the Kansas City 7-yard line. On the next play, Atlanta’s QB Matt Ryan connected with TE Tony Gonzalez for a touchdown.

A pass to TE Tony Moeaki was tipped and Atlanta S William Moore was able to grab the ball before he landed on the ground. That led to a Falcons field goal. He tried that awful throw across his body pass to Moeaki on the next possession and Nicholas grabbed the interception. That led to another Atlanta FG.

“We got ourselves in some 3rd-and-long situations, we had some turnovers and some unfortunate plays,” Cassel said. “We have to be consistent through the whole game.”

Offensively the Chiefs tried to quicken the pace by going to the no-huddle attack for part of the second quarter. It was effective to a point. They tried to run the ball at times, picking up 152 yards on the game. But that wasn’t always effective and at the end of the third quarter, they had four running plays that produced minus-11 yards.

Tony G Enjoys His Homecoming

From Arrowhead Stadium

He was on the early bus from the Atlanta Falcons hotel to the stadium Sunday morning.

Tony Gonzalez has never been early for anything in his life.

But then, he had never faced an experience like Sunday when Kansas City’s football prodigal son returned to the place where as he said “he grew up.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen him come over on the early bus and he came over on that bus today,” said Falcons QB Matt Ryan. “I’m sure it was a special, experienced and I can’t even imagine what it would be like for him.”

It was everything that Ryan or Gonzalez could have imagined. The game’s outcome along with his play left the tight end wearing a big smile after everything was completed.

“Words … I don’t even know if I’ll do them justice by describing it,” Gonzalez said. “When they came out and said the Lamar Hunt family wants to welcome me back and the crowd made al, the noise, that was just an unbelievable feeling.”

His return was not just a one day event. The week was a difficult one for Gonzalez because of the memories and all the questions asked of him, not only by the media and teammates, but family and friends.

But once he got back to K.C., it felt like home.

“Last night I was on the Plaza and I went back to my old place, my old condo and took pictures,” Gonzalez said. “We had dinner at Capital Grille and I got to see guys like Jason Dunn, Billy Baber and Shawn Barber showed up and Kevin Lockett came by; there were a lot of familiar faces. T-Rich (Tony Richardson) was supposed to join us, but he flaked out on us. But he did buy us a bottle of wine.

“It’s been like a homecoming to me.”

The fans greeted him warmly in the pre-game, but that ended once the game began. When he caught a7-yard touchdown pass from Ryan in the third quarter, and then did his trademark dunk over the crossbar, boos rained down from the stands.

“I wouldn’t have expected anything different,” Gonzalez said. “These fans here are so passionate and they love their team and I enjoyed that for a long time.”

Gonzalez wasn’t going to dunk the ball after his score, but Ryan demanded it.

“Matt all the sudden comes up to me and he puts it in my chest and he said ‘Go dunk the ball.’ I want al the fans to know it wasn’t a disrespectful, thing. That’s me.”

Said Ryan: “It’s a great moment for him personally but for Kansas City fans too. I think deep down in their hearts Kansas City fans probably loved seeing that one more time.”

On the day, Gonzalez finished with five catches for 53 yards. If he maintains that pace throughout the Falcons season, he’ll finish with an 80-catch, 848-yard season. He thinks it might be possible because of the weapons that are part of the Atlanta offense with WRs Roddy White and Julio Jones, RB Michael Turner and Ryan at quarterback.

“It’s only one game, we have to keep getting better,” Gonzalez said. “The one thing about this offense is that it’s not one-dimensional. We can run the ball, we can pass the ball and you can throw it to Roddy (White), or Julio (Jones) or Harry (Douglas) or me. That’s going to keep defenses on their heels. We will be prepared to go against anybody.”

His teammates marveled at how many No. 88 red jerseys were in the stands on Sunday. “They were like “man it’s a home game for you’,” Gonzalez said. “There’s nothing better than a Kansas City Chiefs fan.”

Column: Progress! What Progress?

From Arrowhead Stadium

September 11, 2011 – At Arrowhead Stadium the Chiefs lost their season opening game to the Buffalo Bills 41-7.

September 9, 2012 – At Arrowhead Stadium, 363 days later, the Chiefs lose their season opener to the Atlanta Falcons 40-24.

Former head coach Todd Haley has been the scapegoat for everything that was wrong with the Chiefs last season. That’s been true from the top of the team’s management, to the media and fans. His messy firing and all that came afterwards were supposedly problems created by him.

I’m not sure how they are going to blame the performance put forth by the Chiefs a year later on the man that is now the offensive coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers. There’s no question the 2011 Chiefs were broken at the start of the season. A year later, they are broken again, and that’s not a good sign for everyone that cares about what happens with the Hunt Family franchise.

“What I told the team was that the season is a marathon; it’s not a sprint,” said head coach Romeo Crennel after the game. We have at least 15 more to play so we cannot let this one negatively affect the next 15. We have to learn from our mistakes and get better.”

Learning from mistakes can be the only positive thing to come out of a defeat, and based on the last few years, the Chiefs should have a Phd in knowledge gained from losing. But that doesn’t seem to matter. This team tried to tell us that what we saw in the pre-season was just the pre-season and quickly forgettable. Yet, after a good first half where they played the Falcons toe-to-toe, they collapsed in the second half and looked like the team that was so powerfully awful during the last three weeks of August.

The problem apparently was pressure – the Chiefs players felt it.

“The second half we come out, we let some things occur, we started pressing, then we ended up getting too far behind as the game went on because we were trying to make plays rather than what they were trying to give us at that time,” Crennel said. “Sometimes that’s the course of the game; that’s the course of the business, the pressure of trying to win.”

If this team was feeling the pressure in the first game of the season, while playing at home for the head coach they all say they love and having worked as hard as they have worked, then this is going to be a long, long year. Opening day, with all the fanfare, the balloons, the B-2 bomber fly-by is too much excitement for them to handle.

If what Crennel said is true, and all evidence points to that fact, then this team has a serious problem. They don’t seem capable of making plays; they are always forcing things in hopes of making something happen.

Just ask Matt Cassel. The Chiefs quarterback had a very good first half and then came out in the second half and tried to make plays, he tried to make something happen. By the time he was done, Cassel had turned the ball over three times. He made something happen alright; he made it for the Falcons.

“You start worrying, you make plays like I did when you’re pressing and you get pressured,” Cassel said talking about his second interception.

An NFL season is a marathon, Romeo has that correct, and the first game does not predict the finish of the race. But when a team is so banged up as physically as the Chiefs are and they are banged up emotionally and mentally like this group has been, the race moves on down the road and leaves pretenders choking on the dust.

For whatever reason, the Chiefs are a fragile football team. If they are going to get bothered in a September game at home, how are they going to react down the line when they are on the road and trying to win a game? Are they going to all fall to pieces the way they did on Sunday against Atlanta?

After four years this rebuilding, revitalization, makeover – whatever you want to call it – the Chiefs should be well past the point where this team obviously sits right now. They should have a roster of talented players, hardened by past experiences in the NFL wars and attacking every day and game as a contender. How can anyone possibly consider the Chiefs anything but pretenders after their performance against Atlanta.

Luckily for them it’s just the first game of the season. The hole they dug on Sunday is not too deep just yet. But they have to show some toughness in their play and character that hasn’t shown itself with this team.

They may have the talent, but they don’t have a team.

Offense, Defense, Kicking Game All Fail In Opener


From Arrowhead Stadium

There did not appear to be any finger pointing in the Chiefs locker room after they opened the 2012 season with a crushing 40-24 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

If there had been fingers in the air it would have involved the entire squad because the Chiefs losing performance in the opener was a team effort, with contributions from offense, defense and special teams leading to a very bad defeat.

“We had a tough one this afternoon,” head coach Romeo Crennel said afterwards. “For the home opener we wanted to do better than we showed.”

They showed “OK” in the first half, trailing by just three points at intermission. But they performed very poorly in the second half, allowing the Falcons 23 unanswered points, turning the ball over three times and suffering physical and mental breakdowns that piled on top of each other to leave them 0-1 on the season for the sixth time in the last seven seasons.

“I think they outplayed us in the second half,” said Chiefs QB Matt Cassel. “And again, we had turnovers.”

All three of the turnovers came out of Cassel’s hand as he threw two interceptions and lost a fumble on a sack. The Falcons turned those takeaways into 13 points.

“The second half, we came out and we started pressing,” Crennel said. “We were trying to make plays rather than what they were trying to give us at the time.”

While the Chiefs offense was stumbling about, the depleted defense could not stop Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense. Atlanta scored on its first eight possessions and while they were not able to run the ball very well, they took advantage of the Chiefs missing their best coverage man in CB Brandon Flowers and best pass rushers in OLB Tamba Hali. Ryan threw for 299 yards and three touchdowns, with two to WR Julio Jones and a 7-yard score to TE Tony Gonzalez in his homecoming game at Arrowhead Stadium.

“Everything really came together for the offense today,” said Gonzalez. “Matt was really clicking. He was on top of it.”

The Chiefs tried not to hang their defensive hat on the absence of Hali, Flowers, FS Kendrick Lewis and NT Anthony Toribio.

“You can write whatever story you want about why it happened, but the fact is we didn’t play well enough to win,” said Chiefs CB Stanford Routt. “They made the plays and we couldn’t get them off the field.”

The Falcons took the opening kickoff and went 80 yards on 12 plays, converting three third-down plays along the way. The key receiver was Jones; he had a 25-yard catch and run, an 11-yard play that produced a first down and then an 8-yard touchdown play.

The Chiefs were able to put a field goal on the board with their first possession, but gave it right back when they allowed kick returner Jacquizz Rodgers a 77-yard return to the Chiefs 24-yard line. Atlanta picked up a 34-yard FG from Matt Bryant and held a 10-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Cassel led the Chiefs offense to its first touchdown of the season on a nine-play, 76 yard drive. His throw of 22 yards to TE Kevin Boss was just out of reach of the two Falcons in coverage. The PAT kick tied the score at 10-10. Ryan and Jones hooked up again on a 14-yard TD pass/run but the Chiefs then went 80 yards on eight plays as Cassel scored on a five-yard run and it was 17-17.

The Falcons retook the lead thanks to a 21-yard FG by Bryant and Atlanta went to half-time up 20-17.

“When we came in at half-time we felt pretty good about what we were doing and where we were going,” said ILB Derrick Johnson. “It was still a game.”

The air went out of the Chiefs balloon early in the third quarter when K Ryan Succop missed a 40-yard field goal hitting the right upright. Atlanta immediately responded, moving down the field and finishing up with Ryan’s 5-yard touchdown run. On the Chiefs next possession, Atlanta DE John Abraham sacked Cassel, knocked the ball out and the Falcons recovered the fumble. That led to the 7-yard TD pass to Gonzalez. Cassel’s two interceptions followed and set up six points as Bryant added field goals from 30 and 41 yards, making it 23 straight Falcons points.

The Chiefs tacked on a meaningless touchdown on their last possession, going 73 yards on 11 plays and wrapping it up with five seconds to play on a four-yard run by RB Shaun Draughn.

Offensively, the Chiefs actually had more yards than the Falcons (393-376), they were better on third-down conversions (69% to 50%) and they ran for 152 yards compared to just 84 for Atlanta. But three turnovers, three sacks and a 15-yard facemask penalty against Draughn kept the Chiefs going backwards as often as they went forwards.

“We have to learn from our mistakes,” said Crennel. “That’s always the case. If your team will work to get better, then they have a chance to get better; that’s what we’re going to look to do.”

 

Falcons Fly High Against Chiefs, 40-24


From Arrowhead Stadium

It was certainly no way to start a football season if the color of your jersey was red.

On a sun-splashed first afternoon of the 2012 NFL season, the Chiefs were badly smacked by the Atlanta Falcons 40-24 on Sunday.

Prodigal football son TE Tony Gonzalez returned to Arrowhead for the first time since he was traded in 2009 and helped the Falcons scored 23 unanswered points and run away with an easy opening victory.

With four starters off the field because of suspension and injury, the missing were notable in the Chiefs defensive effort. They forced three turnovers by QB Matt Cassel, allowing only two first half scores and controlling the game’s tempo.

Throughout the afternoon and evening we will be posting stories. Here’s our coverage:

Pre-Game Report – Falcons vs. Chiefs


From Arrowhead Stadium

That’s it from pre-game. Remember, we’ll have complete coverage of today’s game and most of it by the time you sit down to dinner on Sunday evening. Enjoy opening day!

11:10 a.m. – All players on both squads out for the team warm-up period. Now just about 45 minutes before kickoff. Stadium remains fairy empty as fans enjoy a beautiful morning for tailgating to the last moment.

11 a.m. – K Ryan Succop missed from 53 yards to the east goal posts in his warm up period. Kicking to the west, he hit the cross bar from 53 yards.

10:55 a.m. – Inactive players for the Falcons today are: QB Dominique Davis, S Charles Mitchell, CB Robert McClain, C Joe Hawley. OT Lamar Holmes, DE Lawrence Sidbury, DE Jonathan Massaquoi. Atlanta also made a pair of roster moves, re-signing CB Dominique Franks and promoting WR Drew Davis from the practice squad. Removed from the active roster were WR Tim Toone and OL Phillipkeith Manley.

10:50 a.m. – In the starting lineup today expect Dontari Poe to open at nose tacke, Jacques Reeves at LCB, Abram Elam at FS and Andy Studebaker at OLB.

10:45 a.m. – Weather report for the game is perfect – sunny and clear with a light wind blowing out of the northeast at 10 mph. Temperature at kickoff expected to be in the mid-70s, rising to nearly 80 by the end of the game. Humidity is 40 percent.

10:42 a.m. – ESPN’s John Clayton in the house for today’s game.

10:40 a.m. – Kicking towards the west goal posts, Falcons K Matt Bryant came up short from 59 yards.

10:37 a.m. – The Chiefs defense will be without four starters today – NT Anthony Toribio, OLB Tamba Hali, CB Brandon Flowers and FS Kendrick Lewis. Chiefs say they have more depth this season; they’ll have to show that today.

10:35 a.m. – Good news for Chiefs is that ILBs Derrick Johnson and Jovan Belcher are active today. The question now will be how well they can play and hold up with their injuries.

10:30 a.m. – Inactive for the Chiefs today is starting left cornerback Brandon Flowers. He will not dress. The rest of the list has QB Ricky Stanzi, FS Kendrick Lewis, RB Cyrus Gray, TE Steve Maneri, DE Allen Bailey and DT Anthony Toribio. …Read More!

Chiefs Personnel Update – 9/9

The Chiefs made a move on their practice squad Saturday, re-signing WR Junior Hemingway and releasing G Rich Ranglin. It was Hemingway that the Chiefs released a week ago when they added Ranglin to the 8-man developmental squad.

Also, the Chiefs worked out LB Marquis Bradley who came out of Grinnell College in 2011. The Wichita native was the Division III Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. He’s was the running backs coach at his alma mater last season.

Who Are The 2012 Chiefs? . . . Game-Day Cup O’Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs begin their 2012 season on Sunday afternoon much in the mold of a gangly teenager just developing a mature personality.

They know right from wrong and they want to do the right thing, but sometimes they do the wrong thing and end up in trouble. It’s all a process of gaining maturity.

As they get ready to play the Atlanta Falcons the Chiefs have a roster of talented players. Although injuries have left them depleted on defense, they have a group that’s more talented than their 2010 team that won 10 games and the AFC West.

(That’s Atlanta WR Roddy White on the right. He did an end zone somersault after scoring on a 70-yard touchdown play against the Chiefs 4 years ago in the Falcons 38-14 victory in the Georgia Dome.)

But what we saw in the pre-season was a team that has not yet developed it is personality. There were too many times when they got into the football version of a fender bender, or got sent to the principal’s office for acting up in study hall. As individuals there is maturity; as a group of men working together, they are still trying to reach that level.

They can no longer wait. It all starts at noon against the Falcons at Arrowhead Stadium. Television coverage is on FOX-TV (Channel 4 in the Kansas City area.)

When asked if football teams have a personality, head coach Romeo Crennel quickly answered in the affirmative. So what is the personality of a Crennel team? …Read More!

The Tony Gonzalez Saga

When he arrived in Kansas City after the 1997 NFL Draft, Tony Gonzalez was 21 years old.

But he was as wet behind the ears as a young man could be having grown up in southern California and attending college at the University of California in Berkley.

Over the years with the Chiefs he became one of the most storied players in franchise history. And, building on his career, his good looks and intelligence, Gonzalez built a world for himself that he could never have imagined when he first came to the Midwest. Television shows, Oprah, businesses, commercials, opportunities galore.

When it came time to end the Kansas City portion of his life, he asked for a trade that was finally consummated in 2009. It had to be done by someone other than Carl Peterson, the man who had drafted Gonzalez; he wanted his tight end to retire in a Chiefs uniform. But he asked for a way out, and Scott Pioli provided it, trading him for a second-round selection in the 2010 NFL Draft to Atlanta.

His departure was not met with a great deal of anger from Chiefs faithful. After the team’s 2-14 performance in 2008 and a new regime taking control of the team, the fans seemed to understand Gonzalez’s desire to not go through another rebuilding project. He wanted a chance to post-season success and that didn’t appear to be on the horizon at Arrowhead.

Now, three years and a few months later he returns to the Stadium for the first time. He’s made several trips to Kansas City over that time, but his itinerary is usually Atlanta to SoCal and back with his wife Toby, his three children, his mother and the rest of his very close nuclear family. There has never been a reason to return to Arrowhead.

Until Sunday. …Read More!

Keys To A Chiefs Victory Over Falcons

KEY #4 – PRESSURE MATT RYAN

Yes, I know the Chiefs best, maybe only, pass rusher is on the bench due to an NFL suspension. But somebody on that defense needs to pick up Tamba Hali’s sack and get after Falcons QB Matt Ryan. At 6-4, 217 pounds, Ryan is a bit gangly and isn’t known for his ability to run with the ball. Like any passer, he’s much better stepping up into a nice clean pocket and launching his throws. The Chiefs must make him uncomfortable and the duty for that falls on two players. With Hali out, OLB Justin Houston needs to be an animal rushing off the edge. I’d move him around a bit so that the Falcons couldn’t zero in on protection. The other is 1st-round draft choice NT Dontari Poe. If Ryan’s going to throw, the Poe needs to collapse the pocket up the middle. As he’s developed as a quarterback, Ryan does not make many mistakes. Last year he threw 12 interceptions and was sacked 26 times. He completes 61 percent of his passes. Somehow the defense needs to get Ryan on the ground, or forced him into mistakes. …Read More!

Best Game #1 Performance vs. Chiefs – Receiving

The best opening game receiving performance against the Chiefs in their history was 45 years ago at Municipal Stadium.

The New York Jets came to town with QB Joe Namath and Hall of Fame WR Don Maynard. It was a season that ended with the epic upset victory by the Jets over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. Maynard caught 8 passes on that September day for 203 yards and 2 TDs. The Jets won 20-19.

Here are the best catchers against the Chiefs on opening day: …Read More!

College Report: Washington @ LSU

  • Washington @ LSU
  • Stadium, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • September 8, 6 p.m. CDT, ESPN

Washington

#6 CB Desmond Trufant, Sr. – 6-0, 186 pounds, 4.49 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 5th-round potential.

With two older brothers (Marcus and Isaiah) Trufant already in the NFL, it’s only a matter of time before Desmond works his way onto the professional field of play. He caught everyone’s attention with the Huskies as a true freshman, playing all 12 games and starting the final nine and finishing with 47 tackles and 2 interceptions. He moved into the full-time starter as a sophomore and had 48 tackles and one INT. Then last year he had 64 tackles and 2 more INTs. Trufant is a very fluid athlete with excellent speed and he’s not afraid to make a tackle and support the run on the outside. He was voted team captain in ’12 for the Huskies and had 6 total tackles, 3 tackles for loss and 1 sack against San Diego State in Washington’s opener. Trufant graduated from Wilson High School in Tacoma. …Read More!

Chiefs Best Game #1 Performance – Receiving

When it comes to Chiefs receivers starting the season with a bang, almost invariably they had to do so when the opener was on the road.

Of the franchise’s best Game No. 1 receiving days, only one came at Arrowhead Stadium. The rest were from New Orleans, to Seattle, to Denver, Cleveland, Buffalo and Chicago.

Carlos Carson had the best opening day as a receiver in team history, grabbing 8 passes for 173 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the first game of 1985. The Chiefs won that day 47-27.

Here’s the top 10 performances among Chiefs receivers on opening day: …Read More!

College Report: Georgia @ Missouri

  • Georgia @ Missouri
  • Faurot Field, Columbia, Missouri
  • September 8, 6:45 p.m. CDT on ESPN2

Georgia

#29 OLB Jarvis Jones, Redshirt Jr – 6-2, 242 pounds, 4.74 seconds is the 40-yard dash, 1st-round potential.

The Georgia native signed out of high school with Southern Cal and played there as a freshman before suffering a neck injury in the eighth game of the season. When SC team doctors refused to clear him physically for playing again, Jones decided to go back home, transferring to Georgia. He sat out the 2010 season and then last year got a chance to play and rush the passer. Working in Georgia’s 3-4 defense he had 70 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks. That earned him first-team All-SEC honors in his first season in the conference. Scouts say he’s the complete package out outside linebacker when it comes to stopping the run, coverage and rushing the passer. NFL teams may be leery until they get a chance to examine his neck. He will be 23 years old in October and comes out of Carver High School in his hometown of Columbus, Georgia. …Read More!

It’s Cassel’s Time To Shine … Saturday Cup O’Chiefs

Len Dawson retired after the 1975 season and went on to a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In fact, he went to two spots in the Hall.

The Chiefs are still trying to replace him 37 years later.

Next up to bat in what is an all important year in his career is Matt Cassel. He’s at the crossroads of his career, a point where he needs to raise his performance level and that of the rest of his teammates on offense. Can he be at least the equal to an aged Joe Montana or Trent Green, the only two quarterbacks since Dawson that elevated the Chiefs into real contender status? Or is he going to be just another one of those names that have passes through the position over the last four decades, another Fuller, Livingston, Kenney, Blackledge, DeBerg, Bono, Grbac or Huard?

“Coming into my fourth year now, it’s a big year,” Cassel said. “I think it’s a big year for this organization and for this team. We’ve got, I think, one of the most talented teams that we’ve had since I’ve been here, so hopefully we can capitalize on it again.” …Read More!

College Report: Florida @ Texas A&M

  • Florida @ Texas A&M
  • Kyle Field, College Station, Texas
  • September 8, 2:30 p.m. CDT on ESPN

Florida

#73 DT Sharrif Floyd, Jr – 6-3, 303 pounds, 5.17 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 2nd/3rd-round potential.

As a freshman in 2010, he was selected to the All-SEC Freshman team as a defensive tackle. As a sophomore he played all four spots on the line for the Gators, with most of his snaps on the field coming at defensive end. He missed the season’s first two games due to a NCAA rules violation, but came back in the last 11 games to rack up 46 total tackles. This season, he’s scheduled to move back inside. He’s played in 24 games with 13 starts. Floyd has put up 69 total tackles including 13 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. In the ’12 opener last weekend against Bowling Green, he had 4 total tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. That NCAA suspension came because he accepted $2,700 from an individual who was not associated with the program. Floyd grew up in tough circumstances in Philadelphia, bouncing from home to home to stay with his grandmother, relatives, coaches and teammates. He is 20 years old and played at Washington High School in Philly. …Read More!

Replacement Zebras For Chiefs Opener

The officiating assignment for the Chiefs-Falcons season opener on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium fell to referee Mike Shepherd.

In the pre-season, Shepherd led crews in three different games including the Bills and Lions last week and the Patriots at Buccaneers the week before that.

(That’s Shepherd talking with New England head coach Bill Belichick on the left.)

Shepherd has 10 years of experience working on the NCAA Division III level in the President’s Athletic Conference. That league is nine schools in western Pennsylvania, led by Washington & Jefferson, Waynesburg, Grove City and Geneva.

Here’s the rest of the crew and what we could find out about them: …Read More!

College Report: Southern California vs. Syracuse

  • Southern California vs. Syracuse
  • Met Life Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey
  • September 8, 2:30 p.m. CDT on ABC

Southern California

#7 QB Matt Barkley, Sr – 6-1, 220 pounds, 4.74 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 1st-round pick.

Maybe the surprise of January was when Matt Barkley said he was going to stay with the Trojans for his senior season. Everyone expected he would be out the door to the NFL, where he would have been likely the third QB taken after Andrew Luck and RGIII. He’s been a starter since the 2009 season, his true freshman season. Each year since, he’s improved his numbers, especially the important ones: TD passes/Interceptions. As a freshman he was 15/14, then 26/12 and last year 39/7, as he threw for over 3,500 yards while completing 69 percent of his throws. Southern Cal’s offense has been a pro style scheme, so the mental part of moving into the NFL should be something Barkley can handle. He threw for 4 touchdowns and 372 yards in the Trojans season opener against Hawaii last Saturday and in his 37 starts, he’s completed 778 of 1,213 passes (64%) for 9,426 yards (7.8 yards per attempt), 84 TDs and 41 INTs. He’s gotten nothing but high marks for his personality, leadership qualities and work ethic. He’s made trips to Mexico and Haiti to build homes and schools. He will graduate in December with a 3.1 GPA. Scouts wonder about his physical size and arm strength, but there are no concerns about his ability to play the position mentally, and to make an offense work with accurate throws. He will celebrate his 22nd birthday on game-day and he’s out of Orange County, Ca. …Read More!

2012 Chiefs – #1 thru 62 To Start Season

As the season starts, here is our listing of the 2012 Chiefs from the best player, to No. 62. On top of the list is OLB Tamba Hali who has been suspended for the season opener on Sunday against Atlanta. The other 61 are the active roster of 53 players and the 8 guys on the practice squad.

There was not a lot of movement on this list. We tapped our sources in the NFL for some suggestions, information and a few tie-breakers when we had a clump of players that all seemed the same. Scouts said they saw some good performances on the game tapes from the pre-season, but didn’t see those individual efforts melded into functioning units. Any Chiefs fan that watched the games could have told them that!

Big jumps in the ratings came from CB Jacques Reeves, NT Anthony Toribio, RB Nate Eachus and G Rich Ranglin. The biggest drop in the ratings came from DE Allen Bailey.

The number in () is where the player ranked in ratings at the start of training camp back in July. (*) means the player was not with the team when those first rankings were done.

Enjoy and discuss. …Read More!

Chiefs Practice Update – 9/7

From Arrowhead Stadium

The Chiefs put in their final full practice of the week on Friday morning on the playing surface at Arrowhead Stadium. Head coach Romeo Crennel decided to continue the tradition of taking the practice test where the real test would be held.

“It gives them an opportunity to get a feel,” said head coach Romeo Crennel. “I think going up there and letting them run around on the field that they’re going to play on is not a bad thing.”

All 61 players were on the field, but three did not practice and have been listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against Atlanta on the club’s injury-report to the league – NT Anthony Toribio (ankle), DE Allen Bailey (ankle) and FS Kendrick Lewis (shoulder). That makes three defensive starters out of the opener, as Toribio and Lewis join the suspended OLB Tamba Hali on the sidelines.

Now, the question is whether they’ll be joined by three other defensive starters – CB Brandon Flowers (foot), ILB Derrick Johnson (ankle), and ILB Jovan Belcher (groin). Along with CB Jalil Brown (groin) all of those players were limited participants on Friday and were listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. Of those four, it appeared that Johnson had the best chance to play.

The Falcons had just two players on their injury report – CB Christopher Owens (hamstring) and RB Jason Snelling (calf). Both were full participants in practice the ast two days and are listed as probable.

NFL 2012 Coaching – The Coordinators

The Chiefs 2012 coordinator trio – Brian Daboll/offense, Romeo Crennel/defense and Tom McMahon/special teams.

There were seven head coaching changes from the start of last season to the start of the 2012 season.

The trickle-down effect from those seven moves really shows itself in the changes that have happened among the coordinator positions around the league. Seven new head coaches have led to 34 new coordinators, including half of the league’s offensive leaders. There are 10 new coordinators in the AFC and 6 new play callers in the NFC. Those moves include the Chiefs with the addition of Brian Daboll, and the Steelers with the addition of former Chiefs head coach Todd Haley.

Defensive turnover wasn’t quite as deep, as a dozen teams changed coordinators. Among that group of new defensive leaders are former NFL head coaches like Jack Del Rio (Denver), Mike Nolan (Atlanta), Steve Spagnuolo (New Orleans) and Dave McGinnis (St. Louis). McGinnis is actually stepping into the role to replace Greg Williams, who was hired to be the coordinator but was suspended by the Commissioner for his involvement in the Saints bounty controversy.

The Chiefs changed head coaches, but that man became defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel who will hold dual roles in the upcoming season.

Of the league’s 32 teams, 22 changed at least one coordinator, 5 teams changed two and 4 teams made a complete sweep and now have three new faces making the decisions. …Read More!

Chiefs Best Game #1 Performance – Passing

The Superdome has been very good to Chiefs passers over the years, especially on opening day.

The two best passing days in franchise history came nine years apart, but both in New Orleans against the Saints. In 1985, Bill Kenney threw for 397 yards and 3 TDs in a 47-27 victory over the Saints. In 1994, Joe Montana threw for 315 yards and 2 TDs in the Chiefs 30-17 decision.

Here are the top 10 opening day throwers in Chiefs history: …Read More!

Best Game #1 Performance vs. Chiefs – Passing

Pete Beathard spent most of his career in pro football with the Chiefs. But in the opening game of the 1968 season, Beathard was with the Houston Oilers that year and playing in the Astrodome, he lit up the Kansas City defense.

Beathard threw for 413 yards, but he completed less than half of his passes, along with 3 interceptions as the Chiefs grabbed a 26-21 road victory to begin the season.

Here’s the list of top 10 opening day pass performances against the Chiefs: …Read More!

What Is The Chiefs Offense? … Friday Cup O’Chiefs

For an insider’s view of what the Chiefs offense is going to look like against Atlanta on Sunday and throughout the 2012 season, here’s head coach Romeo Crennel:

“We’re going to run it some and we’re going to throw it some. . .”

Got that? How much more does anyone need to know?

Yes, offensive coordinator Brian Daboll’s scheme has running and throwing as part of its core. Obviously, it’s a little more complicated than that. It better be, or things will get ugly quick.

Just what can we expect from Daboll and his group when they face the Falcons? We know what the offense has shown us in training camp and the pre-season games. They touched almost every base in the offensive world from running a hurry up offense, and a no huddle offense, to using three tight ends, two tight ends, one tight end, a tight end lined up as a fullback, one back, two backs, and three wide receivers. There is motion and shifting galore. There are a lot of pass plays with receivers bunched together.

They’ve shown the Wildcat and they showed a running attack in the final pre-season game that was two backs, no motion, no shifting, just straight ahead, old-school football.

So just what is the Chiefs offense? …Read More!

NFL Transactions – September 6

Arizona – LB Daryl Washington signed a 6-year contract extension through the 2017 season.

Atlanta – re-signed CB Dominique Franks; released WR Tim Toone (injured).

Oakland – signed WR Derek Hagan; released CB Coye Francies.

Seattle – signed OLB Gabe Miller to the practice squad as a tight end.

NFL Best Opening Day Performances

Rushing

Player Team Opponent

Date

Att

Yards

O.J. Simpson Buffalo New England

9/16/73

29

250

Arian Foster Houston Indianapolis

9/12/10

33

231

Michael Turner Atlanta Detroit

9/7/08

22

220

Eddie George Tennessee Oakland

8/31/97

35

216

George Rogers New Orleans St. Louis

9/4/83

24

206

 

Receiving

Player Team Opponent

Date

Rec

Yards

Frank Clarke Dallas Washington

9/16/62

10

241

Anquan Boldin Arizona Detroit

9/7/03

10

217

Hugh Taylor Washington Philadelphia

9/28/47

8

212

Lance Alworth San Diego Denver

9/11/65

7

211

Irving Fryar Miami New England

9/4/94

5

211

 

Passing

Player Team Opponent

Date

Yds

A-C

Norm Van Brocklin L.A. Rams N.Y. Yanks

9/28/51

554

41-27

Tom Brady New England Miami

9/12/11

517

48-32

Dan Marino Miami New England

9/4/94

473

42-23

Kurt Warner St. Louis Denver

9/4/00

441

35-25

Peyton Manning Indianapolis Houston

9/2/10

433

57-40

Chiefs Best Game #1 Performance – Rushing

The Chiefs strongest running performance in the opening game in franchise history came from the team’s all-time leading rusher.

In the first outing of the 2004 season, Priest Holmes ran for 151 yards on 26 carries and three touchdowns. Unfortunately for Holmes and the Chiefs, they lost 34-24. The last time the Chiefs and Falcons opened the season at Arrowhead was 1991 and Christian Okoye ran for 143 yards in a Chiefs victory.

Here’s a look at the top 10 opening day Chiefs backs: …Read More!

Best Game #1 Performance vs. Chiefs – Rushing

Over 52 previous opening day games, the Chiefs defense gave up a 100-yard rusher in 12 of those contests.

The last time it happened was just last year when Buffalo’s Fred Jackson ran for 112 yards on 20 carries in the Bills’ victory.

Denver’s Quentin Griffin had the best opening-game rushing performance against the Chiefs in 2004 when he ran for 156 yards on 23 carries with 2 scores in the Broncos 34-24 victory.

Here’s the top 10 look: …Read More!

NFL 2012 Coaching – The Head Coach

So you think being the head coach of an NFL team is one of the most exclusive jobs in the country.

You would be wrong.

Yes, there are only 32 NFL head coaches at any one time. But no, it’s not an exclusive job, not the way the position turn over in pro football. As NFL teams head into the start of the regular season there are seven newly minted head coaches that have come on line this year, including Chiefs head man Romeo Crennel.

That continues the trend of what’s gone on around the league in this century, and the one before that, and the one before . . . In the 13 seasons of the 21st Century no less than 104 men have held 124 jobs as an NFL head coach. Only two of the 32 teams had just one coach since 2000 – New England with Bill Belichick and Philadelphia with Andy Reid. …Read More!

Chiefs Practice Update – 9/6

From the Truman Sports Complex

A new defensive injury and third downs were on the mind of Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel as he headed to the practice field late Thursday morning.

To an already length injury-report for the defense add ILB Jovan Belcher, who will not practice today because of a sore groin that popped up after practice on Wednesday. Belcher joins the list that includes players on all three levels of the defense. “I’m going to hold Jovan out today,” Crennel said. “Then, we will see where he is with that after today.”

But the early look based on Crennel’s comments and a brief peek during the open media period indicates ILB Derrick Johnson is looking like a go for Sunday, while the same can’t be said for CB Brandon Flowers. The team will issue an official injury report on Friday, but Johnson indicated he plans to play.

“It still hurts, but you are never 100 percent out there,” Johnson said. “Today is Thursday, the game is on Sunday, and I’ll be better then.” …Read More!

Opening Game Team Records

Winning on opening day is something every team tries to accomplish. No matter what happens afterwards, it sparks the start of the season and creates dreams of what might happen. In NFL history the best team in the first game of the schedule has been the Dallas Cowboys. Starting I n their inaugural season in 1960, the guys with the blue star on the sides of their helmet have won 66.3 percent of their season openers.

The best record on opening day in the AFC West belongs to Denver as the Broncos have won 62.5 percent of their openers since that initial season in ’60.

Right now, the best first-game winning streak in the league belongs to New England, as the Patriots have won eight straight.Β The Chiefs are tied for 15th among NFL teams with an opening-day record of 27-25.Β Here are the league’s top 10 teams in the first game of the season:

Rank

Team

W-L-T

Pct.

Current

Streak

1. Dallas

34-17-1

.663

L-2

2. Jacksonville

11-6

.647

W-2

3. Denver

32-19-1

.625

L-2

4. Chicago

52-35-5

.592

W-2

N.Y. Giants

49-33-5

.592

L-1

6. Green Bay

52-36-3

.588

W-5

7. San Diego

30-22

.577

W-1

8. Minnesota

28-22-1

.559

L-2

9. Pittsburgh

40-33-4

.545

L-1

10. New England

28-24

.538

W-8

T-15. Chiefs

27-25

.519

L-1

 

Filling Tamba’s Shoes . . .Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

The Chiefs don’t really have a true superstar on their roster; that term is defined as a player that everybody in American would know on sight, even without the number on his jersey.

They have some stars – RB Jamaal Charles, SS Eric Berry and OLB Tamba Hali.

This week they do not have Hali when they open the regular season against Atlanta. Hali sits out a week serving an NFL suspension. Stepping in for him will be Andy Studebaker . . . or Edgar Jones . . . or Cameron Sheffield.

None of the three is going to be able to replace Hali and what he brings with his physical skills and the way he approaches the game.

“I’ll need all of them to step up and be able to produce,” said head coach Romeo Crennel. “Are they going to produce the way Tamba produces? Only time will tell that, but they’re not going to cancel the game and we’re going to play. We will play, and I think those guys will represent themselves very well.” …Read More!

Chiefs = $1 billion/League = $35.4 Billion/Zebras = 25Β’

The NFL season kicked off Wednesday night with the Cowboys and Giants.

According to Forbes Magazine, it matches the most valuable NFL franchise (Dallas) against the fourth most valuable (New York). It turned out to be an exciting game in the Meadowlands; a nice way to start the 2012 schedule.

The magazine says the Cowboys are worth $2.1 billion. The defending Super Bowl champion Giants are worth $1.468 billion. That was $3.5 billion worth of football teams playing a game.

By the way, they say the Hunt Family team is now worth $1,008,000,000. That ranks No. 20 in the league. However, when it comes to operating income, the first step to profit, they rank No. 11 with $46.4 million.

They opened the season with billion dollar teams and two-bit game officials. The NFL used replacement officials to run their premiere showcase because they league continues to lockout its real officials in a dispute over money.

How many dineros separate the owners and real zebras is a matter of what side of the negotiating table you are speaking with. According to the officials’ negotiator, the difference in dollars between the sides over a 5-year deal amounts to $16.5 million. That would break down to costing each of the NFL teams an extra $103,125 per season. …Read More!

NFL Transactions – September 5

New England – signed TE Michael Hoomanawanui; placed TE Visanthe Shiancoe on the injured-reserve list with a return designation.

New York Jets – re-signed DT Marcus Dixon.

Oakland – released DT Jamie Cumbie.

Philadelphia – re-signed QB Trent Edwards

Tampa Bay – re-signed CB Brandon McDonald; released OL Derek Hardman.

Chiefs Practice Update – 9/5

From the Truman Sports Complex

UPDATE-UPDATE: the Chiefs practice participation report to the league office and NT Anthony Toribio (ankle), DE Allen Bailey (ankle) and FS Kendrick Lewis (shoulder) not participating; limited in participation were ILB Derrick Johnson (ankle), CB Brandon Flowers (foot) and CB Jalil Brown (groin). Atlanta report at the end of this post.

UPDATE: the Chiefs voted for their 2012 captains that were announced on Wednesday to the team before the start of practice: offense – QB Matt Cassel, LG Ryan Lilja; defense – LB Derrick Johnson, SS Eric Berry; special teams – P Dustin Colquitt and WR Terrance Copper.

As he headed to practice Romeo Crennel was optimistic that defensive starters Brandon Flowers and Derrick Johnson were going to be part of the action on Wednesday.

“Brandon Flowers is going to try and do a little bit more out there,” Crennel said. “Derrick Johnson is going to try to do a little bit more and he’s looking halfway decent. That’s encouraging that the guys want to play and are going to try to play.

“They haven’t been able to do much at all, so if they can do anything, that’s more. I’m just excited they are out there trying to do something.”

At practice, Johnson appeared to be taking part in all drills while fully dressed for the practice in pads. Flowers was not wearing football pants, but had his shoulder pads and helmet on. …Read More!

NFL Statistically Speaking – Replay Review

Replay review is back for another season in the NFL and through the years the numbers have been very consistent in how often the magic eye of television overrules the eyes of the guys in the striped shirts.

The eye in the sky has not always been kind to the Chiefs. Over replay’s lifespan, only 31.6 percent of the challenges by Chiefs head coaches were reversed. That’s 16 percent less successful than the top replay challenge team in the league, the Dallas Cowboys. The Chiefs have been more successful on getting rulings overturned thanks to booth reviews that did not come from the red challenge flag.

Here’s how the number broke down for the Chiefs and the rest of the league: …Read More!

Can’t Tell the Players Without a Scorecard

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs finalized their roster several days ago and Wednesday they finally settled up on who is going to wear what number in the 2012 NFL season.

There are six changes:

  • 20 – RB Shaun Draughn (was 32).
  • 27 – S Abram Elam (was 32).
  • 31 – S Tysyn Hartman (was 46).
  • 32 – RB Cyrus Gray (was 42).
  • 75 – DE Ropati Pitoitua (was 77).
  • 99 – OLB Edgar Jones (was 71).

NFL Transactions – September 4

Buffalo – signed WR Ruvell Martin

Cincinnati – placed C Kyle Cook (ankle) on the injured-reserve list with return designation for the ’12 season; signed TE Richard Quinn.

Jacksonville – placed TE Brett Brackett (knee) on the injured-reserve list; re-signed TE Colin Cloherty.

Miami – signed G Ray Feinga; placed G Artis Hicks (neck) on the injured-reserve list; released QB David Garrard.

New England – released C Matt Tennant; signed RB Lex Hilliard.

New York Jets – released P T.J. Conley, DT Isaako Aaitui; signed P Robert Malone.

San Diego – will place WR Vincent Brown (ankle) on the injured-reserve list with the return designation for the ’12 season.

NFL Statistically Speaking – Penalties

When it comes to penalties in the National Football League, it always starts with offensive holding.

Generally, it’s the only time the big guys upfront get any attention. Last year, the NFL’s most called penalty was for offensive holding, with 733 flags thrown by the league’s officials. That far outdistanced false starts infractions that finished second with 657.

After that it’s quite a drop to the rest of the most frequently flags. Here is the list of top 20 penalties called during the 2011 season: …Read More!

Chiefs Workout 4 Players

The Chiefs have been sifting through the pile of released players around the league and had at least four of them in for workouts. They were:

  • LB Bobby Carpenter – 6-2, 249 pounds, 7-year veteran from Ohio State who was released by New England.
  • CB Chris Carr – 5-10, 181 pounds, 8-year veteran from Boise State who was released by Minnesota.
  • CB Dominique Franks – 6-0, 197 pounds, 3-year veteran from Oklahoma who was released by Atlanta.
  • LB Bryan Kehl – 6-2, 244 pounds, 5-year veteran from Brigham Young who was released by Washington.

Answer Bob – The Roster Part #2

R W says: Bob, a 3 part question with linkage to each: How would you rate the current practice squad from best to worst in terms of any making a contribution on the 53 if called upon in 2012? Is the talent on this practice group such that Pioli failed to see the need to kick tires on other team’s castoffs on cutdown day? Finally, do you see another hand in this scenario, a tight-fisted owner’s hand that has mandated the team to get by the best they can with what they have? Thanks.

Bob says: I would not rate the current practice squad as being overly talented or ready to step up if they are called. OL David Mims and Lucas Patterson might be the most ready to actually make a contribution if required. I’m not sure why Pioli no longer wants to “kick the tires” on other team’s players. That attitude started last year and the claim of Steve Maneri on waivers from New England was the only move that involved a player from another team. There should always be one or two spots on the practice squad that get churned on a weekly, or every other week basis to look at some other players than the ones they have already found wanting. The quality of the Chiefs cuts this year was such that not a single player was claimed on waivers and none of the cuts was signed by another team for their practice squad. As for ownership, sometimes I’m not sure if the Hunts have slammed the wallet shut, or Pioli is trying to make them happy by keeping the wallet in his back pocket. Either way, they could certainly be more aggressive working the bottom of their roster and the practice squad. …Read More!

NFL Statistically Speaking – Leading Active Passers

The Chiefs open the season against the Atlanta Falcons and QB Matt Ryan. He’s the ninth ranked passer among active quarterbacks in the league with an 88.4 passer rating.

On the list of top 10 leading active passers, the Chiefs will face six of them during the season – Philip Rivers, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Ryan and Carson Palmer.

Rank

Quarterback

Team

Rating

All-Time

1.

Aaron Rodgers

GB

104.1

1

2.

Tony Romo

DAL

96.9

2

3.

Tom Brady

NE

96.4

4

4.

Philip Rivers

SD

95.5

5

5.

Peyton Manning

DEN

94.9

6

6.

Drew Brees

NO

94.0

7

7.

Matt Schaub

HOU

92.2

10

8.

Ben Roethlisberger

PIT

92.1

11

9.

Matt Ryan

ATL

88.4

13

10.

Carson Palmer

OAK

86.3

18

16.

Matt Cassel

KC

82.5

38t

Answer Bob – On The Roster Part #1

Thanks for your interest and as always thanks for so many intelligent questions. I only hope my answers are equal to the level of questions. Here we go.

————————————————-

Josh says – Bob, is carrying five running backs a sign that the front office doesn’t have much faith in Charles or Hillis staying healthy throughout the season? How many other teams have that kind of depth at back with no fullback on the roster? Would you keep Eachus over Draughn?

Bob says – Don’t be surprised if both Eachus and sixth-round pick Cyrus Gray don’t ping-pong back and forth from the roster to practice squad. The pick of Eachus was a surprise and I guess shows a sentimental side of the GM; he’s a great kid, with a huge heart and you can’t help but love his attitude. He’s just not going to be able to be very productive as a running back in the league. I’m not sure he can get big enough to be a reliable fullback. If forced to choose between Eachus and Draughn, I’d take Draughn no question. Gray has a scholarship and they liked what they saw early in camp from him before he got hurt. But to be truthful, there are a dozen Cyrus Grays available every year in the draft. …Read More!

Beating The Odds . . . Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

Emmitt Thomas did it, and ended up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Deron Cherry did it and went to 6 Pro Bowls and earned a spot in the Chiefs Hall of Fame.

Thomas and Cherry took the hardest road possible to a pro football career – they entered the NFL as undrafted rookie free agents, passed up by every other team in the league multiple times.

They are joined this year by Colgate RB Nate Eachus and Kansas State FS Tysyn Hartman. That’s now 9 straight seasons where an undrafted rookie has made the first 53-man roster of the regular season.

The last time that it didn’t happen was in 2003. The season that saw the most undrafted free agents make the team at some point was in 2008 when five college free agents joined the team’s 12 draft choices.

“I understood where I was and what I was up against,” Eachus said Monday, after his first practice as a member of the 53-man roster. “But I believed that I could make it, and I wasn’t going to waste any chance I had to show them what I could do.” …Read More!

Some Chiefs Roster Tidbits

It appears the Chiefs opening 53-man roster is set for at least one week. We went behind the names to the backgrounds and numbers to put into better perspective these 2012 Chiefs. We looked at the 54 names (we included the suspended Tamba Hali) and found some interesting items on the roster produced with information supplied by the team.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

The average Chiefs player on the 54-man roster is 6-2, 245 pounds.

The tallest players are TE Steve Maneri and RT Eric Winston at 6-feet, 7 inches. The smallest player is WR Dexter McCluster at 5-8.

The heaviest player is NT Dontari Poe at 346 pounds. There are 9 players at 300 pounds or more. The lightest player is McCluster at 170 pounds. There are 10 players listed at less than 200 pounds. …Read More!

NFL Transactions – September 3

Arizona – placed RT Jeremy Bridges (thumb) on the injured-reserve list; signed OL Pat McQuistan.

Chicago – signed DL Amobi Okoye; released DT Brian Price.

Detroit – released S Ricardo Silva.

Oakland – signed CB Joselio Hanson; released CB DeMarcus Van Dyke.

San Francisco – will place OLB Parys Haralson (arm) on the injured-reserve list.

Tampa Bay – signed DE Wallace Gilberry; released G Julian Vandervelde.

Kickoff Weekend Success

Since 1978 when the NFL went to the 16-game schedule, and excluding the 1982 abbreviated strike season (9 games), teams win the first game of the season are more than twice as likely to make the playoffs as teams that lose in the opener:

Of the 490 teams that won openers, 258 went to the playoffs (152 won division titles).

Of the 490 teams that lost the opener, 111 went to the playoffs (66 won division titles).

Last year, seven of the 12 teams that made the playoffs were winners in the first game – Baltimore, Cincinnati, Detroit, Green Bay, Houston, New England and San Francisco.

In the 2010 season, eight of 12 teams in the post-season took the opener – Baltimore, Chicago, Green Bay, the Chiefs, New England, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Seattle.

Chiefs Update – Labor Day

From the Truman Sports Complex

The opening week of the regular season always provides an extra day of preparation for NFL teams and the Chiefs were using their Monday practice to begin gaining familiarity with the Atlanta Falcons.

There were 57 of 61 players (active roster and practice squad) taking part under clear skies, hot sun and temperatures in the 90s.

“We’re going to take full advantage of it and get started on their basic alignments and plays and things like that,” head coach Romeo Crennel said. “You don’t want to give them everything in the scouting report and the game plan too early because that way they get a little bored with it, so we’ll give them some of the basics and then Wednesday, we’ll add a little bit more and Thursdays we’ll add a little bit more. Hopefully we’ll be ready to go on Sunday.”

Before the Chiefs went out for their first practice session of the opening weekend, head coach Romeo Crennel outlined the injury situation for his team. …Read More!

College Report: Georgia Tech @ Virginia Tech

  • Georgia Tech @ Virginia Tech
  • Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Virginia
  • September 3, 7 p.m. CDT, ESPN

Georgia Tech

#77 G Omoregie Uzzi, Sr – 6-3, 302 pounds, 5.26 in the 40-yard dash, 3rd-4th round potential.

(Pronounced O-More-Gay Ooze-E) Coming off a season where he was named first-team All-ACC, Uzzi did not take part in spring practice or team conditioning as he recovered an assortment of injuries he suffered during the ’11 season. The Georgia native became a starter in his redshirt-sophomore season in 2010 and earned second-team All-ACC honors. The 2012 season will be his third consecutive year starting at right guard where he’s shown very good toughness and nice mobility. He’s played in 36 games with 24 starts. Uzzi played his high school ball at Chamblee High School in Georgia.

Virginia Tech

#3 QB Logan Thomas, Redshirt Jr – 6-6, 260 pounds, 4.67 in the 40 yard dash, 1st-round potential.

Last year was his first season as the starting QB for the Hokies and he had folks in the mountains of Virginia making comparisons with Cam Newton. In 14 games he set a school record for single season offensive yards with 3,482 yards and accounted for 30 total touchdowns, 11 on rushes. Thomas threw for 3,013 yards and ran for 469 yards. He earned second-team All-ACC honors. He arrived on campus as a TE/WR, but it didn’t take long for the Tech coaches to move him to QB. He took a redshirt in 2009, and was the backup to Tyrod Taylor in 2010. There’s no question he would be better off spending the next two years learning his craft while directing Tech, but if shows improvement over his play of last season, it will be tough to keep him down on the farm. He played at Brookville High School in Lynchburg, Virginia. Thomas is 21 years old.

The Week Ahead … Labor Day Cup O’Chiefs

The Chiefs will be on the field Monday for their first practice of the week. The regular-season opener is now six days away. The clock is ticking. This time it counts.

We won’t know until Monday just how bad the Chiefs injury situation is, especially on the defense. Romeo Crennel talked Saturday and sounded encouraged, but ultimately indicated through his words that he did not know what the immediate future will bring. It may be pre-game on Sunday before who can play and who can’t is settled.

On ILB Derrick Johnson Crennel said “we anticipate he should be ready to go.” On CB Brandon Flowers his words were “hopefully with this time off and this rest he will start feeling better.” On CB Jalil Brown it was “we’ll see during the week what he looks like and go from there.” On NT Anthony Toribio the coach noted he was “beginning to make some progress.” Crennel also added that FS Kendrick Lewis and his shoulder had made progress but “I don’t think he’s going to be ready.”

No matter when and where it’s issued, human bodies come with the same parts and internal organs. How those parts and organs work however, are as different as snowflakes. Take the subject of pain – some people can handle extreme discomfort; others will hit the floor writhing in pain with a hang nail. …Read More!

NFL Transactions – September 2

Baltimore – signed S James Ihedigbo

Carolina – signed DT Dwan Edwards; released DT Terrell McClain

Detroit – signed CB Drayton Florence.

Houston – signed OT Ryan Harris

Jacksonville – holdout RB Maurice Jones-Drew reported to the team and was reinstated.

New Orleans – claimed on waivers CB Jerome Murphy from St. Louis; relealsed CB Elbert Mack.

New York Giants – signed G Mitch Petrus.

San Francisco – signed LB Clark Haggans.

St. Louis – claimed on waivers OT Ty Nsekhe from Indianapolis and G Shelley Smith from Houston; released G Quinn Ojinnaka, TE Michael Hoomanawanui.

Practice Squads

All 32 NFL teams have not filled out their practice squads yet, with some clubs having one or two slots still open. Here’s what has been released so far around the league:

Arizona – OT Steven Baker, OLB Ricky Elmore, DT Ricky Lumpkin, LB Colin Parker, WR Gerell Robinson, TE Steve Skelton.

Atlanta – TE Chase Coffman, WR Drew Davis, OT Bryce Harris, WR Marcus Jackson, S Mark LeGree, DT Micanor Regis, LB Pat Schiller, CB Peyton Thompson.

Baltimore – RB Anthony Allen, S Omar Brown, LB Josh Bynes, G Jack Cornell, QB Dennis Dixon, LB Adrian Hamilton, S Anthony Levine, G Antoine McClain.

Buffalo – WR Kamar Aiken, WR Marcus Easley, CB Isaiah Green, DT Jarron Gilbert, C David Snow. …Read More!

Ask Bob – About The Roster

The Chiefs will get back to work on Monday, but we’ve been slamming the NFL rocks all weekend as the roster got set, the waiver wire has been humming and practice squad’s have been set.

I’m sure there are a lot of questions and even some answers. So saddle up and fire away as we talk about the 53 players on the active roster, the 8 on the practice squad and those that left and those that are available.

Attach your questions to this post up to 11 p.m. on Monday night. I’ll try to have answers back and ready for the start of the short work week on Tuesday.

NFL Transactions – September 1

Dallas – claimed on waivers TE Colin Cochart from Cincinnati; released QB Stephen McGee.

Indianapolis – claimed on waivers S Sergio Brown from New England, NT Martin Tevaseu from the New York Jets, OT Mike Person from San Francisco; released S Jermale Hines, CB D.J. Johnson, OT Ty Neskhe.

Miami – claimed on waivers WR Anthony Armstrong from Washington, LB Sammy Brown from St. Louis, S Troy Nolan from Houston and CB RJ Stanford from Carolina; released RB Steve Slaton, LB Jonathan Freeny, LB Josh Kaddu, S Tyrone Culver.

Minnesota – acquired CB A.J. Jefferson from Minnesota for unknown draft choices. …Read More!

Romeo On Roster, Injuries

Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel took a few moments away from preparing for the regular-season opener next Sunday against Atlanta to provide an update on his roster and his injuries. It was about 24 hours after the Chiefs had trimmed their roster to 53 and just a few minutes after they had wrapped up their 8-man practice squad.

“It’s always tough to move on from guys, particularly with this last cut,” Crennel said. “You have to do what you have to do, and then you have to move forward. We’re excited about the guys that we do have on the team. We’re excited about the young players that we were able to keep on the team. We’re looking forward to getting a win against Atlanta.”

But is this 53 the same roster this team will carry into the game against the Falcons.

“In this business you’re always looking at players and availability, so you never know what will happen,” Crennel said. “Right now the 53 we have, we like that 53. We’re going to bat with them.”

The Chiefs did not put in any waiver claims on players cut by other teams and none of the 31 other teams put in a claim for a player released by the Chiefs.

On the injury front, Crennel provide this information: …Read More!

College Report: Kentucky @ Louisville

  • Kentucky @ Louisville
  • Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, Louisville
  • September 2, 2:30 p.m. CDT, ESPN

Kentucky

#67 G Larry Warford, Sr – 6-3, 343 pounds, 5.34 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 3rd-round potential.

The big man out of California has played in 35 games for the Wildcats and started the last 25. In his junior season, he started every game and was selected second-team All-SEC for the second season in a row. He allowed just one sack over the season. As a sophomore, he started every game and earned second-team All-SEC honors. He earned the All-SEC Freshman team after playing in 10 games, most at right guard. He’s a big man who moves well and excels at blocking for the running game. …Read More!

Chiefs Bring 8 Back For Practice Squad

On Saturday, the Chiefs brought back 8 of the players they released on Friday to make up their practice squad.

The players signed are:

  • WR Josh Bellamy
  • WR Junior Hemingway
  • WR Jamar Newsome
  • FB Chris DiMarco
  • OT David Mims
  • C/G Lucas Patterson
  • DL Jerome Long
  • DB Neiko Thorpe

Newsome, Mims and Patterson are first-year players, while Bellamy, Hemingway, DiMarco, Long and Thorpe are rookies.

College Report: Alabama vs. Michigan

  • Alabama vs. Michigan
  • Dallas Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas
  • September 1, 7 p.m. CDT on ABC

Alabama

#75 OL Barrett Jones, Sr – 6-4, 305 pounds, 5.28 seconds in 40-yard dash, 1st-round potential.

The Outland Trophy winner last year played at left tackle and was a consensus All-America selection. He also won the Wuerffel Trophy awarded to a college player for his performance on the field, in the class room and in the community. Jones has played all over the line of scrimmage for the Crimson Tide, showing great versatility at left tackle, guard and center. On ‘Bama’s national championship team in 2009 he started 14 games at right guard. Overall, he’s started 35 of 39 games he’s played in, with 25 starts at RG and then 10 at LT. Alabama head coach Nick Saban has compared Jones to Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews. He’s been pretty durable, missing 2 games last year to a sprained ankle and his freshman season was cut short after 3 games due to a shoulder injury. The Memphis, Tennessee native is 22 years old. …Read More!

NFL Transactions – The Cut to 53

Arizona – placed RB Javarris James and QB Richard Bartel on the injured-reserve list; released CB Crezdon Butler, LB Antonio Coleman, S Blake Gideon, LB Clark Haggans, G Russ Hochstein, DT Ricky Lumpkin, LB Colin Parker, CB Larry Parker, WR DeMarco Sampson, TE Stephen Skelton, RB Alfonso Smith, LB Quan Sturdivant, DE Ronald Talley, DE Everrette Thompson, TE Martell Webb, C Scott Wedige, LB Brandon Williams (injured), WR Isaiah Williams, WR Stephen Williams (injured), OT D.J. Young. …Read More!

College Report: Clemson vs. Auburn

  • Clemson vs. Auburn
  • Georgia Dome, Atlanta
  • September 1, 6 p.m. CDT, ESPN

Clemson

#97 DE Malliciah Goodman, Sr – 6-4, 280 pounds, 4.74 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 3rd-round potential.

A three-year starter for the Tigers, Goodman had 59 tackles in 14 games last season. Over his career, he’s played 1,349 snaps of defense and has recorded just 5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss. A physical marvel, he has 11 Β½ -inch hands and has the wingspan of a basketball player. Despite his first-round body, his lack of significant production has kept him down on draft boards. His coach Dabo Swinney says Goodman has been an underachiever and needs to develop a “nasty” disposition to help the Clemson defense and lift his level of play. This year he has a new coordinator in Brent Venables with a 4-3 defensive scheme. Goodman is out of Florence, South Carolina. …Read More!

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