The Cam Factor … Saturday Cup O’Chiefs

More than any other professional sport, the National Football League has the widest range of body types one could imagine.

There are hundreds of players over 300 pounds and they are on the same field with players that would have trouble breaking 170 pounds. A lot of players are tall, 6-5 and above and they play with and against players that are 5-9 or smaller. In any NFL locker room there can be found a unique collection of bodies.

And, none more than the Carolina Panthers, the visiting team headed to play the Chiefs on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. They have a roster with the 300 pounders, and there are little guys and all those in between.

But the real physical freak on their roster comes at the game’s showcase position – quarterback. …Read More!

4 Keys For A Chiefs Victory Over Carolina

4

Take the ball away from the Panthers

When the Panthers give up the ball on offense, they tend to lose and that starts with QB Cam Newton; he’s thrown 10 interceptions this year and Carolina did not win any of those five games. The Chiefs have been talking about turnovers all season, but the chatter has been about not giving the ball up on offense where they still lead the league with 32 giveaways. There hasn’t been as much talk about the lack of takeaways; they rank tied for No. 28 with only 11 interceptions and fumbles recovered. They need to take the ball away from Newton and the Panthers. …Read More!

NFL Transactions – 11/30

Jurisprudence

Chiefs OT Donald Stephenson, $15,750 for his clipping penalty last Sunday vs. Denver.

Baltimore WR Anquan Boldin, $7,875 for an unnecessary roughness penalty last Sunday vs. San Diego.

Chicago QB Jay Cutler, $10,000 for taunting in a game last Sunday against Minnesota.

Chicago MLB Brian Urlacher, $15,750 for a horse-collar tackle in last Sunday’s game against Minnesota.

Cincinnati OT Andrew Whitworth, $26,250 for fighting in last Sunday’s game against Oakland.

Green Bay S Jerron McMillian, $21,000 for an unnecessary roughness hit in last Sunday’s game against the N.Y. Giants.

Houston DE J.J. Watt, $15,750 for striking the quarterback in the head in the Thanksgiving Day game against Detroit.

New Orleans DL Brodrick Bunkley, $20,000 for kicking an opponent in the head in last Sunday’s game against San Francisco.

Oakland DL Desmond Bryant, Lamarr Houston, Tommy Kelly and Matt Shaughnessy, $26,250 each for fighting in last Sunday’s game against Cincinnati. …Read More!

3 Former Chiefs Survive Another HOF Vote

A trio of former Chiefs advanced in the voting for the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2013.

The Hall released the names of the 27 semifinalists on Friday and it includes G Will Shields, CB Albert Lewis and K Morten Andersen.

The HOF’s board of selectors cut a preliminary list of 127 names to those 27 semifinalists. Another vote will be taken to drop that group to 15 before the final voting takes place on the Saturday before the Super Bowl.

Here’s the complete list of the 27 semifinalists:

Running back – Jerome Bettis, Roger Craig, Terrell Davis.

Wide receiver – Tim Brown, Cris Carter, Andre Reed.

Offensive line – G Larry Allen, T Joe Jacoby, T Jonathan Ogden, G Will Shields.

Defensive line – Charles Haley, Warren Sapp, Michael Strahan.

Linebackers – Kevin Greene, Karl Mecklenburg.

Secondary – S Steve Atwater, CB Albert Lewis, FS John Lynch, CB Aeneas Williams.

Special teams – K Morten Andersen, Steve Tasker.

Coaches – Don Coryell, Bill Parcells.

Contributors – Edward DeBartolo, Jr., Art Modell, Paul Tagliabue, George Young.

Chiefs Practice Update – 11/30

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs have listed FS Kendrick Lewis as doubtful for Sunday’s game against Carolina because of his shoulder injury.

Lewis was the only player on the team’s injury report that did not practice on Friday. Without practice time during the week, there’s no chance that Lewis will be active against the Panthers.

Listed as questionable for Sunday’s game are C Ryan Lilja (knee), LT Branden Albert (back) and OLB Tamba Hali (knee).

In Friday’s practice, Lilja was working with the No. 1 offensive line, while Albert was not. After the practice finished, Albert spent several minutes on the field firing out of his three-point stance and trying to show the coaches, including head coach Romeo Crennel what type of movement he was capable of pulling off.

“With Albert’s back, I need to see a little bit (action) because backs are fickle,” said Crennel. “I would like to see that he can do something before saying that he can go play at the position he’s playing.”

Hali worked with the linebackers in position drills for the first time in the week.

WR Dexter McCluster (head) was listed as probable for the game and he was a full participant in practice on Friday.

Here’s a look at each team’s injury report to the league:

Chiefs

  • DOUBTFUL – FS Kendrick Lewis (shoulder).
  • QUESTIONABLE – LT Branden Albert (back), OLB Tamba Hali (knee), C Ryan Lilja (knee).
  • PROBABLE – WR Dexter McCluster (head).

Panthers

  • DOUBTFUL – LB Antwan Applewhite (hamstring), RB Jonathan Stewart (ankles).
  • QUESTIONABLE – CB Captain Munnerlyn (hamstring).
  • PROBABLE – QB Cam Newton (right wrist).

Quinn Needs More Accuracy … Friday Cup O’Chiefs

There are a lot of traits and elements that make up a successful NFL starting quarterback. One of the most important is accuracy; for a passer to survive in the league, he must be accurate.

Inaccuracy helps explain the career problems of Brady Quinn in the NFL. It’s hamstrung him throughout his six seasons in the league. It happened most recently last Sunday against Denver when he did not complete any of his final 11 throws to a teammate. Only one of those attempts was caught, and that was the final one by a Broncos defensive back for a game ending interception.

“Some of it was just a matter of taking shots here and there,” Quinn said. “There might have been a couple of drops in there. It’s just a matter of making pays in those circumstances. They did a good job coming out with adjustments in the second half.

“I think the last three that was a tough situation. There’s 14 seconds left and you’re just trying to throw something down the field.”

Quinn finished the game 13 of 25, for a completion percentage of 52 percent. That’s nowhere close to being good enough for a successful quarterback in the NFL today. On the season, Quinn and Matt Cassel have completed 209 of 361 passes for a completion percentage of 57.9 percent. Again, that’s nowhere close to being good enough in today’s game. …Read More!

NFL Fines, Honors & Transactions – 11/29

NFL jurisprudence

NFL fined Houston CB Brandon Harris, $21,000 for an illegal hit in the Thanksgiving Day game against Detroit.

NFL fined Washington CB DeAngelo Hall, $35,750 for two illegal hits in the Redskins most recent game.

NFL honors

AFC – named Houston WR Andre Johnson as offensive player of the month, Denver LB Von Miller as defensive player of the month, Baltimore WR Jacoby Jones as special teams player of the month.

NFC – named Detroit WR Calvin Johnson as offensive player of the month, San Francisco OLB Aldon Smith as defensive player of the month, Tampa Bay LB Dekoda Watson as special teams player of the month.

NFL – named Washington QB Robert Griffin III as offensive rookie of the month, Tampa Bay LB Lavonte David as defensive rookie of the month.

Transactions

Tennessee – announced the hiring of Tom Moore as an offensive consultant.

Chiefs Practice Update – 11/29

From the Truman Sports Complex

Four starters did not take part in the Chiefs practice on Thursday afternoon, leaving their status for Sunday’s game against Carolina in real doubt.

OLB Tamba Hali (knee), LT Branden Albert (back) and C Ryan Lilja (knee) did not practice. That’s the second straight day they were not part of the preparation for the Panthers. Hali was running on a nearby field and seemed to have no problems. Albert took part in a walkthrough segment with the offensive line, while Lilja spent his time in the rehab area.

FS Kendrick Lewis (shoulder) also did not practice on Thursday. WR Dexter McCluster (head) was a limited participant.

Crennel announced the addition of G Hayworth Hicks to the active roster, after the Chiefs claimed him on waivers from the New York Jets. Hicks was in town Thursday.

The Chiefs also made a couple of moves on their practice squad, releasing K Matt Szymanski and adding LB Quan Sturdivant to the squad. A 6th-round selection by Arizona in the 2011 NFL Draft, Sturdivant spent time on the Cardinals practice squad in the ’11 season and then was released at the end of the 2012 pre-season. He’s 6-1, 240 pounds and will be 24 years old in a few days.

In Charlotte, the Panthers injury report was: …Read More!

Much Ado About Nada … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

When a football team is having a bad season, everything tends to go to h-e-double hockey sticks.

Injuries pile up enough that traffic control is needed into the trainer’s room. The bouncing ball never bounces the way of the team that’s on a losing streak. Odd plays appear on a regular basis, officials lose their minds during the game and mountains are made out of mole hills.

If the Chiefs were 10-1 instead of 1-10, would anybody care whether Jamaal Charles sought out the autograph of the opposing team’s quarterback after the game? Would it be a story if they were 6-5?

The answer to those questions: no and no.

Charles asking Broncos QB Peyton Manning for an autograph and WR Dwayne Bowe getting his picture taken with Manning is a non-story, not worthy of the interest it’s generated around the country in newspapers, websites, spots talk shows and television.

I’m wasting my time and bytes right now because it seems important that perspective be brought into this picture. There is a lot of chatter that this incident was something unusual. I can assure you it wasn’t, that it happens at 16 stadiums every NFL weekend and has been happening for decades.

The post-game period at NFL stadiums has always been a time where the players and coaches from both teams can mingle. The league is really a collection of football migrants, and many of the players and coaches have crossed paths on their way to their present station. They are all fraternity brothers and the majority of them have no problem getting together with a guy they just slugged it out with for 60 minutes. …Read More!

NFL Transactions – 11/28

NFL discipline

Fined Detroit DT Ndamukong Suh, $30,000 for kick to the groin of Houston QB Matt Schaub in last Thursday’s game.

Fined Minnesota DE Jared Allen, $21,000 for illegal hit in last Sunday’s game against Chicago.

Fined Seattle S Earl Thomas, $15,000 for hitting Miami QB Ryan Tannehill in the head last Sunday.

Honors

AFC – named Baltimore RB Ray Rice as offensive player of the week; Cleveland LB D’Qwell Jackson as defensive player of the week; Indianapolis WR T.Y. Hilton as special teams player of the week.

NFC – named Carolina QB Cam Newton as offensive player of the week; St. Louis CB Janoris Jenkins as defensive player of the week; RB Leon Washington as special teams player of the week. …Read More!

Chiefs Claim Guard; Kehl Claimed By Redskins

The Chiefs used their open spot on the 53-man active roster to claim G Hayworth Hicks on waivers from the New York Jets.

The 6-3, 336-pound Hayworth was released on Tuesday by the Jets, after spending three weeks on the New York 53-man roster where he did not suit up for any of those games. He was signed off the Indianapolis practice squad on November 7th. A native of Los Angeles he signed with the Colts back in April as an undrafted free agent. He went to training camp in Indianapolis before he was released on the final cut of the pre-season. The Colts then signed Hicks to their practice squad.

Hayworth was also claimed by Tampa Bay, but he was awarded to the Chiefs because of their inferior record currently compared to the Buccaneers. He played in 36 games with 24 starts at right guard for Iowa State, earning second-team Big 12 Conference honors.

There was a roster spot open for Hayworth because on Tuesday the Chiefs released LB Bryan Kehl. On Wednesday, Kehl was claimed by the Washington Redskins.

Chiefs Practice Update – 11/28

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs were down five players in Wednesday’s practice, the first of the week in preparation for facing the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

Not practicing for the Chiefs were four starters – C Ryan Lilja (knee) and LT Branden Albert (back) on offense, and S Kendrick Lewis (shoulder) and OLB Tamba Hali (knee) on defense. Also not practicing was WR Dexter McCluster (head).

During the portion of practice open to the media which included position drills, Lilja did not work with the offensive line, but Albert did. Lewis was with the defensive backs but was not part of the walkthrough and McCluster was with the receivers, but he was not running pass routes. Romeo Crennel said McCluster has been cleared to practice on Thursday. Hali was running on another field, away from the other linebackers.

The active roster was down a player already after the Chiefs released LB Bryan Kehl on Tuesday. He’s spot has not been filled on the 53-man list.

“We’ll see what we need to do with it,” Crennel said of the open roster spot. “We’ll probably fill it by the weekend anyway.”

When asked why he did not keep Kehl around until another player was designated for the roster spot, Crennel said: “He was expendable, so I expended him.”

For the Panthers they had two players who did not practice on Wednesday: CB Captain Munnerlyn (not injured related) and RB Jonathan Stewart (ankle). Listed as limited in practice was LB Antwan Applewhite (hamstring) and QB Cam Newton (right wrist) was a full participant.

Calm Stephenson Gets It Done/Midweek Cup O’Chiefs

The week before Donald Stephenson said he was a bit hyper. Against the Cincinnati Bengals at Arrowhead Stadium, Stephenson got his first NFL starting assignment, opening at right tackle.

Then, during the game left tackle Branden Albert went down with a back injury and h was moved from right to left tackle.

“I was a little bit jumpy on that one,” Stephenson said. “I was all over the place with that one.”

A week later, Stephenson got another starting assignment, but this time at left tackle and he played at that spot through all 61 offensive snaps for the Chiefs. The third-round draft choice out of the University of Oklahoma played pretty well too, performing at the spot without appearing overwhelmed. Facing a couple of the league’s best pass rushers off the edge in DE Elvis Dumervil and OLB Von Miller, he did not give up a sack.

“I was comfortable out there and just went out and played and didn’t worry about too many things,” Stephenson said. “It’s when I start thinking about different things and worrying about stuff that I get out of sorts. I just played and had fun.”

Or, as much fun as any rookie can have with a football team that’s 1-10 on the season, having lost eight straight games. Just the week before, head coach Romeo Crennel had analyzed his performance for the media by saying “he’s a rookie and he does make some mistakes.”

Crennel was much more effusive in his comments after the Denver game. …Read More!

Chiefs Release LB; NFL Transactions – 11/27

The Chiefs released LB Bryan Kehl on Tuesday, opening up a spot on their 53-man roster.

A five-year NFL veteran, Kehl was signed on October 3rd, but he played in only three games since then, including the last two games. All of his 45 snaps came on special teams, where he did not register a tackle.

Here’s what went down around the rest of the league:

Carolina – placed NT Ron Edwards (elbow) on the injured-reserve list; promoted DL Frank Kearse from the practice squad.

Chicago – released DT Amobi Okoye; signed C/G Andre Gurode.

Indianapolis – placed NT Josh Chapman (knee) on the injured-reserve list; signed DT Kellen Heard.

Jacksonville – signed RB Jordan Todman off the Minnesota practice squad; signed WR Quan Cosby and CB Antwaun Molden; placed RB Jalen Parmele (groin) and CB William Middleton (concussion) on the injured-reserve list; released WR Michael Spurlock and S Chris Harris. …Read More!

He’s Got To Say Something … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

When in charge of the worst team in the National Football League, one that has lost eight consecutive games, you are expected to speak to your team, your superiors and your fans about the positives that were visible as they continued to get their head kicked in.

Romeo Crennel has tried to do that as best he can. They don’t train coaches to handle these situations and there is no manual for being a head coach. Frankly when your team is trying to get through one of the worst downers in franchise history, words do little to salve the frustration.

But the coach has to say something.

“It was a competitive game,” Crennel said Monday of his team’s 17-9 loss to Denver. “Our guys fought all the way until the end in all phases and that was a positive. We’re going to try to build on that as we finish up the season and try to get some wins under our belt.

“That’s the focus and that’s what I’ve been talking to them about today (Monday). This is what we’re going to try to follow up on.”

It’s hard to believe those types of comments are something that’s going to light a fire under this Chiefs team. They are not words that will fire up the Chiefs Nation. They are words that Crennel has chosen to say; it’s better than beating his players over the head about their mistakes and poor play. There are plenty of fans and media types that will be happy to take care of that chore.

Sure, it would be nice if the coach could simply lay the truth out there: …Read More!

NFL Transactions – 11/26

NFL – suspended New England DE Jermaine Cunningham for 4 games for violating the league’s performance enhancement drug rules.

NFL – suspended pending players appeal Seattle CBs Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner 4 games for violating the league’s performance enhancement drug rules.

NFL – suspended Tamba Bay CB Eric Wright for 4 games for violating the league’s performance enhancement drug rules. Wright says he took the drug Adderall for legitimate health reasons without registering with the league.

Arizona – C Lyle Sendlein is headed to the injured-reserve list with a left knee injury.

Chicago – placed G Lance Louis (knee) on the injured-reserve list.

Cleveland – announced that team president Mike Holmgren has left the team. …Read More!

Chiefs Update – 11/26

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs will get more information on Tuesday concerning the injury status of WR Dexter McCluster and FS Kendrick Lewis. Both went down in Sunday’s loss to Denver, McCluster with a head injury and Lewis with a shoulder.

Head coach Romeo Crennel said McCluster was “going through some evaluations today and they’ll tell us later on.” The Chiefs have used head injury to mean concussion, so McCluster will have to go through the league’s protocols before he’s approved for action.

Lewis injured his left shoulder and initial x-rays showed no serious problems. He had an MRI on Monday afternoon and that will provide more detailed information on whether the shoulder is damaged.

“They didn’t seem overly concerned at the time about it,” Crennel said of the reaction of team medical personnel when Lewis was first examined. “They feel like he should be able to come back.”

Crennel did not have an update on the status of LT Branden Albert, who missed Sunday’s game because of back spasms. “He’s still working his back and we’ll find out what he can do this week,” Crennel said.

Those were the only major injuries of note from the 17-9 loss to Denver.

NFL Week #11/Sunday Best – 11/25

How the week was won

Home teams were 7-8 with the Monday night game of Carolina at Philadelphia to go. Road winners did it by average of 9.5 points; Home winners did it by an average of 13 points.

Biggest blowout was New England’s 30-point destruction of the N.Y. Jets on Thanksgiving evening; closest game was Atlanta’s24-23 victory over Tampa Bay.

Best offensive day overall was Detroit with 525 yards. Houston was the top rushing numbers this week with 205 yards, while Detroit threw for 419 yards.

Best defensive day was by Cincinnati, as they held Oakland to 218 total yards and only 119 in the passing game. The best run defense was by Washington, allowing Dallas just 35 yards.

Right now, the league’s longest winning streak belongs to Denver with six in a row. The Chiefs have longest losing streak at 8 games, followed by Arizona with 7 losing efforts. …Read More!

Manning Passed Concussion Test During Game


From Arrowhead Stadium

When Chiefs DE Tyson Jackson slammed Denver QB Peyton Manning to the ground in the first half of Sunday’s game, it sent more than a shiver down everyone’s back that follows the Broncos.

When Manning hit the ground after he was flung by Jackson, the back of his head banged off the ground. When he got up, he seemed to be holding his head with his right hand as he left the field.

Team doctors gave Manning a concussion test at half-time and he obviously passed, because he was on the field for the Broncos first offensive play of the second half.

“I’m fine; everything checked out OK,” Manning told the Denver Post as he walked out of Arrowhead to board the team bus. “I took a hit there, but I was cleared.”

Remember that Manning underwent four different surgical procedures on his neck over the previous two years; that’s what kept him off the field in the 2011 season.

Defense Gets After Manning, Broncos


From Arrowhead Stadium

“The defense, particularly early on, was fired up.”

Those were head coach Romeo Crennel’s words about his defense’s early performance in Sunday’s game against Denver.

Fired up? They certainly were, much as they seemed to be when they played the Steelers in Pittsburgh, or when they hosted the Ravens at Arrowhead. In both of those games the defense came out with passion and even some precision. They were able to hold the Steelers to 16 points in overtime and the Ravens got just nine points.

And this time they held a Denver offense that was averaging 30 points per game to just 17 points. But it wasn’t enough for a victory. In the end, when they needed to shutdown Peyton Manning and the Broncos attack as time was dwindling off the clock, they couldn’t stop the drive and give their anemic offense one more chance to win the game.

“That last drive, that was a killer right there,” said ILB Derrick Johnson of the 12-play, 68-yard drive that ended with a Matt Prater field goal with 14 seconds to play. “If we could get off the field, if we could get off on third down, we had a chance to win.”

It was third down that proved to be the K.C. defense’s Achilles heel in this game; Denver was 7 of 14 on third downs. Manning was 7 of 13 throwing the ball on third down, with one TD and 103 of his 285 passing yards.

Officials Review: They Weren’t Listening

From Arrowhead Stadium

Referee Jerome Boger and his crew were not much of a factor in the Broncos-Chiefs game, save for the fact that they must be hard of hearing.

The Chiefs reported after the game that the Broncos were illegally calling out snap counts at the line of scrimmage in hopes of getting the Chiefs to jump early, something they did four times.

“They were making some defensive checks at the same time we were making our call, so the official doesn’t know whether it’s a defensive check or what exactly has happened,” said Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel. “So we jump.”

Said starting QB Brady Quinn: “Did we hear it out there? Yeah, we did, but it is what it is so what are you going to do?”

The Chiefs made mention of the fact to the officials according to C Ryan Lilja. “They didn’t do anything about it,” said Lilja. “It’s just something we had to deal with.”

Boger and his crew saw two on-field decisions overturned upon replay review. The first one came early in the game when officials ruled that Chiefs RB Peyton Hillis fumbled at the end of a short run, and Denver recovered the ball. But that call was overturned when replay showed that Hillis knee had touched down before he lost the ball.

Just a few minutes later came another review. A Peyton Manning pass to WR Brandon Stokley appeared to be caught by the Broncos receiver, but after he fell to the ground, the ball was in the hands of Chiefs CB Javier Arenas. Officials ruled interception, but on the review the call was changed to incomplete pass. So instead of having possession at the Denver 47-yard line, the Chiefs had to drop back in punt return. This time, Arenas returned the ball to the Broncos 37-yard line, so the Chiefs ended up with 10 extra yards thanks to the review.

Here’s the hanky report:

#

Team

Squad

Player

Penalty

Yards

1.

Broncos

Offense

Z. Beadles

Holding

Minus-10

2.

Chiefs

Offense

E. Winston

False start

Minus-5

3.

Chiefs

Offense

S. Maneri

False start

Minus-5

4.

Chiefs

Offense

J. Allen

Holding

Minus-10

5.

Broncos

Defense

K. Vickerson

Neutral zone

Minus-5

6.

Chiefs

Defense

T. Jackson

Illegal use hands

Minus-5

7.

Chiefs

Offense

D. Stephenson

Clipping

Minus-15

8.

Chiefs

Offense

J. Charles

False start

Minus-5

9.

Broncos

Defense

W. Woodyard

Personal foul

Minus-15

10.

Chiefs

Offense

J. Asamoah

Holding

Declined

11.

Chiefs

Offense

J. Asamoah

False start

Minus-5

12.

Chiefs

Offense

D. Stephenson

Holding

Declined

13.

Broncos

Defense

V. Miller

Neutral zone

Minus-5

 

Another Chance, Another Dud For Quinn


From Arrowhead Stadium

Brady Quinn waited a long time for the chance that has come his way in the last month with the Chiefs, including two seasons of being ignored by the Denver Broncos as they went with Kyle Orton and then Tim Tebow.

Unfortunately for Quinn and the Chiefs, his performance Sunday against those Broncos was very much like the previous 14 starts of his career with the Cleveland Browns and Chiefs – mediocre numbers, piddling scoring and a loss, this time 17-9.

With three starts so far for the Chiefs, the team’s record is 0-3 and over his NFL career his record as a starter is now 3-12. The Chiefs offense has no touchdowns and no big plays. His longest completion of the season was a 21-yard completion that came against the Broncos when he connected with TE Tony Moeaki. He missed on his last 11 passing attempts.

“I thought the quarterback managed the game, which we asked him to do,” said head coach Romeo Crennel.

Not much of an endorsement there, but then Crennel has more problems to worry about than just his quarterback, although that’s certainly a big one on any head coach’s list of to-dos.

“It comes down to consistency and us capitalizing on drive and it starts here and I’m fully taking responsibility for being able to put us in position, whether it is certain throws or decisions here or there,” Quinn said. “But I fully take credit (responsibility) for us making plays and getting touchdowns instead of field goals.

“We have to do a better job of being consistent and it starts in the red zone and it starts really with me, giving us opportunities to make plays.”

Making plays is something the Chiefs offense is not getting done and that was evident in the red zone. In the first quarter when the Chiefs moved the ball well enough to get into Denver’s red zone. The first time they had 1st-and-10 at the Denver 23-yard line. They got seven yards on the first two plays, then on third down offensive coordinator Brian Daboll went into the trick-play bag. Quinn handed off to RB Peyton Hillis who went wide right. Then he stopped turned and threw the football across the field towards Quinn.

The ball didn’t get there, which was probably good, because the play didn’t fool the Denver defense.

“We saw something on film that we thought we might be able to do; we were just trying to catch them sleeping maybe,” said Quinn. “I thought they did a pretty good job. I’m a quarterback so I’m always like ‘Man if the ball was a little bit closer I could have caught it and made a touchdown.’ But I’m not sure that was the case. It would have been a little bit sweeter for a quarterback who just left Denver after playing there for two years.”

On the next possession, they moved to a 1st-and-10 at the Denver 12-yard line, but three plays produced eight yards and on 4th-and-2 at the Denver 4-yard line, Crennel went for the FG rather than roll the dice on a touchdown or even a first down.

“I took the points on the board because I thought points on the board were important,” said Crennel.

The second half was especially poor for Quinn throwing the ball – he completed only 4 of 14 for 38 yards. On his last 11 throws, he missed 10 and the last one was picked off by Denver to end the game. He was 0 for 9 in the fourth quarter.

Will he start this coming Sunday against Carolina? No commitments were made, but Crennel has said he wants to give Quinn a chance to play. That would indicate that despite an ugly 49.8 passer rating, there’s a good chance Quinn may be back in the starting lineup for the Panthers.

4 Keys To A Chiefs Victory Over Denver/ 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

Keep the Broncos special teams in check

Trindon Holliday came off the street and onto the Denver roster for the sixth game of the season. He’s been with them for five weeks now and he has a punt return and kickoffs return for touchdowns. He’s averaging 10.7 yards per punt return and 36.2 yards per kickoff return. Holliday has been a huge shot in the arm for the Broncos. If the Chiefs hope to win, they can’t allow him to go off for any long returns. Every yard that Holliday takes a return back, makes it easier for Peyton Manning and the Denver offense. They don’t need any help with field position.

OUTCOME: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED – Sadly, the Chiefs were not able to produce much from special teams, but they kept the Broncos kicking game under wraps most of the way. Holliday did crack off a 50-yard kickoff return, but Denver did not realize any points from that, thanks to a missed field goal. Holliday had a 42-yard return, but that did not lead to anything in that case either, as the Broncos missed another field goal.

3

Protect Brady Quinn in the pocket

Brady Quinn has shown in his brief time on the field with the Chiefs that he’s willing to take off running and he can be effective. It can also leave him hurting, as happened with the concussion he suffered at the end of a scramble against Oakland. Quinn needs to stay in the pocket, but that’s going to be tough because the Broncos bring in the best pass rush in the league, with 35 sacks and led by LB Von Miler (13) and DE Elvis Dumervil (8). It appears unlikely that left tackle starter Branden Albert will play this week, which likely leaves rookie third-round draft choice Donald Stephenson having to handle the left tackle spot. It’s asking a lot for Stephenson to spend most of the day blocking a talent like Miller. Quinn may not want to run, but he could be running for his football life.

OUTCOME: FAILED – Quinn went down twice in 28 passing plays, but a sack every 14 passing plays in an offensive game plan that was not geared to throw the ball is not a success. He was hit six other times after releasing the ball – that’s eight contacts in 28 passing plays. With a rookie starting at left tackle for the first time in Donald Stephenson it was not a complete failure. But, it was not a success.

2

Move Manning off his spot in the pocket

Peyton Manning’s knowledge of his strengths and weaknesses and those of the people around him on the field is legendary. So often it seems like Manning knows what the opponent is going to do before they know. That makes it darn near impossible to surprise him on defense. It’s also tough, very tough to sack him; because of his release of the ball, his size and his understanding of what’s happening around him, he minimizes a defense’s chances to take him down and out. Consider this: over his career he’s been sacked once every 32 passing plays (attempts + sacks). The constant in that is him, since blockers and receivers have changed many times since his rookie season in 1998. He’ll go down if you hit him, but defenses can be effective if they mess with his timing, forced him to pull the ball down, to double clutch, to pull a throw back at the last minute and to make his feet happy. What the Chiefs must do is make him more uncomfortable than he makes them.

OUTCOME: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED – The Chiefs sacked Manning twice and hit him six other times, including several big, big hits like one from DE Tyson Jackson. They forced him off his spot and a quarterback without Manning’s skills would have had a very bad day trying to throw the ball.

1

Score several touchdowns

Since the Broncos are going to score touchdowns, it’s imperative for any team that wants to beat Manning and Denver to get into the end zone as well. The Chiefs have been awful when it comes to scoring touchdowns this season and in the last six games, they’ve scored just three TDs. The key component for the K.C. defense is going to be an offense that can move over or around the Broncos and get six-point plays. They can’t win any other way.

OUTCOME: FAILED – A team cannot win without scoring touchdowns. The Chiefs continuing inability to move the ball into the end zone destroys any chance they have of winning the game. Their best chance of scoring a touchdown came when they were stopped at the Broncos 4-yard line and took a field goal. Three pointers are not going to beat Peyton Manning.

Column II: So That’s What A Franchise QB Looks Like


From Arrowhead Stadium

It was the Denver Broncos first road trip of the 2012 regular season and the team was gathering in a hotel ballroom for their pre-game meal. Around the edges of the room were television sets that normally would be tuned to ESPN or another game that might already be on the field.

But on this day, those televisions were dark. LG Chris Kuper walked into the ballroom and grabbed some food and asked one of the team’s staff members why the televisions were not turned on.

“No. 18,” he was told.

“You’re kidding me?” Kuper supposedly said.

“No, he thinks it’s better if everybody’s focus isn’t distracted by the TVs,” the staffer said.

So much for the Broncos watching television in their pre-game meal.

If you want to know what a franchise quarterback looks like, one was at Arrowhead on Sunday. Peyton Manning is one of the few real franchise quarterbacks in the NFL at this time. His influence in Denver has been huge in just the short nine months since he traded his horseshoe helmet for one with a horse head.

He’s in charge of everything, even down to the television watching habits, certainly he’s been involved in how much time his new teammates spend watching tape each week.

“This past week, we have been watching the film without the coaches,” Manning said after the game. “It’s the player’s job to speak up and say what they could have done better. You are either getting better, or you get worse and our goal is to get better every week.”

A franchise quarterback isn’t just a guy who was drafted with the first selection in an NFL Draft (like Manning was in 1998). He isn’t just a guy that can throw the football through a wall, or feather through a key hole. Big arms do not always produce in the NFL.

He’s a player that becomes the franchise, thus the designation franchise quarterback. Manning was just that in Indianapolis and he’s about to do the same thing in Denver. The Broncos had one of those before in John Elway, now the team’s top football executive. In New England, Tom Brady is a franchise quarterback. In New Orleans, the title fits Drew Brees. These are all quarterbacks that not only produce on the field during a game, but do so off-the-field, during the week, when all the heavy football lifting is done in preparation.

A franchise quarterback is a guy that holds his teammates accountable, and doesn’t much worry about whether they like him or not during the process. Dan Marino is one of the greatest franchise quarterbacks in the history of the NFL, but a lot of his teammates on the Miami Dolphins could not stand the fact he got in their face and expected more and more from them as each week of the season rolled on.

Folks with the Broncos have had to get used to the fact that Manning apparently sees everything. He knows when something or someone is out of place. He’s questioned team staffers on who certain people were that watched practice or were around the team’s offices during the week. He’s one of the first people in the building each day and one of the last to leave.

None of that would work if the franchise quarterback did not produce on the field. Manning produces even on days when the opposing defense seems to have his number. Sunday’s passing performance against the Chiefs was pedestrian considering Manning’s long career. It was very similar to other games where he’s gone head-to-head with Romeo Crennel’s defense and scheme.

Manning faced a lot of pressure from the Chiefs, who did exactly what they needed to do and that was force the Broncos passer to think twice about certain routes or throws. They sacked him twice and hit him another half-dozen times, including one play where DE Tyson Jackson flung him to the ground just as he released the ball.

None of it really seemed to bother Manning. By the numbers, his accuracy was not quite as good as it’s been all season, as he hit 59.5 percent of his throws, compared to 68.5 percent accuracy he had in the first 10 games. Credit some tight Chiefs coverage for that, but there were many times when Manning snuck a throw into the coverage and right to the hands of his receiver.

Time-after-time, he threw passes right where his receivers could catch the ball and then do something with it. His touchdown throw to WR Demaryius Thomas could not have been more accurate; he dropped the throw down into Thomas’ hands at the goal line, putting the ball ahead of his receiver so Chiefs CB Jalil Brown couldn’t get his hands on the ball. All Thomas had to do is run through the route and the ball was right there.

Throw after throw this season, Chiefs receivers have been reaching high above their heads, or having to stall their routes because throws from both Brady Quinn and Matt Cassel have been less than accurate – both quarterbacks have a completion percentage of 58 percent on the season.

Sunday’s game was close throughout, but there was never a feeling at any point that the Chiefs were going to win. They were not going to beat Manning, even with the K.C. defense playing well and the Broncos offense just a bit off. That’s what franchise quarterbacks do more than anything else – they win. He’s now 8-1 against the Chiefs in his career

Somehow, some way, the Chiefs must find a Peyton Manning. He doesn’t have to be the first player taken in the draft like Manning. They’ve been found later in the first round, or the second round like Brees, or even the sixth round like Brady. Maybe he comes through a trade or free agency signing.

None of that matters. They just need to get their own.

Report Card: Broncos vs. Chiefs


From Arrowhead Stadium

PASSING OFFENSE: F – It was obvious from the start of the game that the Chiefs wanted to put as little pressure on QB Brady Quinn to win the game for them. That meant there were not a lot of balls in the air, and when he did throw, Quinn was so-so, completing just 52 percent of his passes with only one catch that went for more than 13 yards. Quinn had an interception and was sacked twice, with an ugly 49.8 passer rating.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C – The Chiefs pounded the ball with 31 running plays including one scramble for Quinn and an end around for WR Terrance Copper. Those runs produced a total of zero yards. Jamaal Charles had some hard, tough running, carrying 23 times for 107 yards, but his longest run was only 15 yards. The game plan featured several plays where WR Dexter McCluster lined up in the backfield and took a handoff; he moved for 23 yards on those two runs. But that option went out the window when McCluster was injured in the second quarter and did not return.

PASS DEFENSE: D – Overall, the Chiefs did a decent job against Peyton Manning, sacking him twice and picking him off with Brandon Flowers latching on to a deep throw. But Manning still threw for 285 yards and two touchdown passes, while hitting pass plays of 29, 30 and 31 yards. The Chiefs defense had the chance to get blown out of the stadium by Manning, but they did a nice job, save those scoring throws.

RUSH DEFENSE: C – With Willis McGahee out of the lineup due to a knee injury, the Broncos decided to rely on little used Knowshon Moreno. He came into the game with only 8 carries for 15 yards, but ended up putting together 85 yards on 20 carries. But overall, the running game did not really hurt the Chiefs at any point. A few more stops to help get Denver off the field would have been nice, but overall a passing grade.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D – K Ryan Succop and P Dustin Colquitt had good days, but the coverage team gave up a 50-yard kickoff return and another for 42 yards. The Chiefs had a 20-yard punt return and a 31-yard kickoff return, but they needed more from the kicking game when going against Manning and the Broncos.

COACHING: D – Romeo Crennel and defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs deserve credit for the defensive game plan that did not allow the Denver offense to go crazy after averaging 30 points in the each of the previous five games. Whatever magic Crennel has carried through the years when facing Manning came into play again. But the Chiefs offense had problems all afternoon, wasting numerous timeouts when they were not getting the play to Quinn in time, or Quinn was not getting the play communicated in the huddle fast enough. Those kinds of blunders do nothing for the confidence of players and coaches when it comes to the offense.

Picture of the Day – You Write The Caption

From Arrowhead Stadium

This is the picture of the game from the Chiefs 17-9 defeat against Denver on Sunday.

Use the comments to write your caption.

Chiefs Numbers Of Importance

From Arrowhead Stadium

There are a lot of numbers at play with the Chiefs right now. Rather than sprinkle them around in the stories, here they are in one nice package. Consider:

Record

Season

Record

KC Pts.

Opp. Pts.

Next Win

Final Record

2008

1-10

196

327

11/30

2-14

2012

1-10

161

301

?/?

?-?

It’s only the second time in franchise history that the team owned a 1-10 record. That 2008 team won its next game to go 2-10, before losing its final four games

Losing Streak

Season

Loses

Start

Ended

Record

2007

9

10/21/07

12/30/07

4-12

1987

9

9/13/87

11/26/87

4-11

2012

8

9/30/12

Ongoing

??

2008

7

9/28/08

11/30/08

2-14

1988

7

9/18/88

11/13/88

4-11-1

1985

7

9/29/85

11/24/85

6-10

Worst records at home for Chiefs …Read More!

Column: How Do They Spin This One?


From Arrowhead Stadium

So how will they try to spin this one? How will Romeo Crennel try to convince his players that something good came out of Sunday’s eighth consecutive loss? How will Scott Pioli work to massage the thoughts and frustrations of team chairman Clark Hunt on another step taken by his franchise to the bottom of the NFL?

And how will Clark Hunt try to convince himself, when he’s looking in the mirror and shaving Monday morning, that what’s going on with the Chiefs right now is just one of those rough patches and better things are ahead?

There’s only so much more spin that can be applied to the 2012 Chiefs. If they are not the worst team in the league, then they are on the medal stand and will receive an award for being one of the worst teams in club history. They’ll almost certainly be decorated with a high draft choice by the NFL when the season wraps up and they close the book on what is now a 1-10 season.

There are certain numbers that Crennel, Pioli and Hunt cannot spin, or shade, or declare irrelevant. They are the numbers that football teams are judged upon. The numbers are victory and defeat:

  • They are now 1-10; that’s a winning percentage of .091 on the season.
  • They are 0-6 at Arrowhead Stadium this season, a .000 win percentage.
  • They’ve lost 8 games in a row, the third longest losing streak in franchise history, trailing only a pair of 9-game streaks that defamed the team’s logo.
  • They have scored three touchdowns in the last seven games.
  • They have played 173 minutes, 37 seconds of game clock without scoring a touchdown.

Tell me how those numbers can be spun to serve as motivation for anyone? Baby, the truth hurts and it must be faced and faced head-on. Putting a shine, a fade, a spotlight on any of those numbers above is simply the act of sad and desperate men.

It’s not hard to understand why Crennel, Pioli and Hunt are desperate. The 2012 season was long ago lost. What’s at stake now is something much bigger and much more personal. The big picture is what’s at stake for the reputation of the Hunt Family franchise. Once a proud, successful well-run operation, they are now one of the franchises in the NFL that nobody puts on their list of excellence. The whole tenor of the organization that was changed in 1989 when Lamar Hunt brought in Carl Peterson and Marty Schottenheimer is about to be blown away by the combination of arrogance and ignorance; they have combined to create incompetence.

Then there are the little pictures – the reputations of the three men involved in this destructive season. Nothing will change the history that Crennel made as a defensive coordinator in the NFL; he was one of the best over the last 30 NFL seasons and his five Super Bowl rings are evidence of that. But as a head coach, he’s been a disaster; Crennel is now 3-11 with the Chiefs. Combined with his 24-40 record in four seasons leading the Browns and he’s 27-51, a .346 winning percentage. Coaches with those types of numbers do not survive, no matter how good a defensive mind Crennel owns (it’s very good) and no matter how nice a man he is (about as good and decent a person as you can find in pro football), there’s no spin from this 2012 where he hangs on to his current employment.

It turns out that Pioli’s reputation coming from the Patriots was overblown considerably. Based on his track record with the Chiefs it’s hard to think he had any real impact on building those championship teams in New England. Again the numbers do not lie; the Chiefs are:

  • 22-38 overall, a .367 winning percentage.
  • 11-20, a .355 winning percentage in games at Arrowhead Stadium.
  • 7-15, a .318 winning percentage in AFC West games.

Spin that? An impossible task based on those numbers. It would be one thing if that horrid record came together with a team that was starting all first, second or third-year players and a young franchise quarterback that were all learning their way together. That’s not the case and heaven knows who Pioli must blame those numbers on when he’s talking with Hunt and trying to save his job.

The man with the toughest spin job is Hunt, because he has to somehow convince himself that the moves he’s made since being handed the steering wheel of this franchise are not the worst numbers of all. Lamar Hunt passed away on December 13, 2006. Clark Hunt has been in charge since 2007. Since that season, the Chiefs are:

  • 28-64, a .304 winning percentage.
  • 14-33, a .298 winning percentage in games played at Arrowhead Stadium.
  • 11-23, a .324 winning percentage in AFC West games.

The numbers provide a pipeline to the truth that no amount of spin can obscure.

Chiefs Get Defense, But No Offense; Lose To Broncos


From Arrowhead Stadium

Coaches say things all the time that most of those listening know are not true. The words may not actually be false, but they stretch the limits of fact.

John Fox is the head coach of the AFC West leading Denver Broncos and he said he knew the game his team faced on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium against the Chiefs was not going make for a leisurely afternoon.

“When you’ve done this as long as I have, 24 years worth, you know; they’re always tough,” Fox said.

Turns out that despite the Broncos being six games better than the Chiefs in the division standings, they found the type of game they expected. Denver received quite a tussle from the Chiefs, and walked away with a 17-9 victory.

“We talked about that all week; we watched the tape and we knew they were a talented defense,” Fox added. “They played us tough and we expected it.”

The victory made the Broncos 8-3 on the season and they hold a three-game lead in the division with only five games to play. Denver has now won six in a row. For the Chiefs, they are now seven games behind Denver in the division with a 1-10 record and an eight-game losing streak, the third longest in franchise history. They are also now 0-6 at Arrowhead Stadium.

In the days leading up to the game, Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel said his team would have to play a perfect game against Denver if they expected to win. They were far from that, and as he predicted they didn’t win.

“I thought our guys played a good football game,” said Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel. “I was proud of the way they competed. By a long shot we were not perfect, but we still were in the game until the end.”

The Chiefs defense did a very good job of getting after Peyton Manning and not allowing the Denver offense to run wild in yards or points – in a five-game winning streak coming into Sunday’s game, they had been averaging 30 points per outing. This time the Broncos had just 17 points, but that was enough against an anemic Chiefs offense that did not score a touchdown and have now scored just three TDs in their last seven games.

“Our defense deserved to win this game,” said Brady Quinn, who started at quarterback for the Chiefs. “They did a great job and we helped them out by keeping No. 18 off the field. We just couldn’t make the plays to get the ball into the end zone.”

With just over five minutes to play in the first half the Chiefs led 6-0 thanks to a pair of Ryan Succop field goals and a defensive effort that did not allow Denver inside the Kansas City 19-yard line until the final possession of the half. Manning and the Broncos offense had just 57 yards in its first three possessions that ended with a punt, a 47-yard missed field goal and an interception by Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers, who was in perfect coverage position to grab a long throw in the deep middle of the field from Manning that was intended for wide receiver Eric Decker.

“We played pretty good on defense, I think,” said ILB Derrick Johnson. “We were in the game and anytime you are in the game, you have a chance to win, and we had that chance.”

Maybe; Manning being Manning there’s no way he’s going to be boxed in or shut down for an entire game. Right before the end of the first half, he was able to pull the Denver offense together for a pretty 11-play, 94-yard drive that closed out the first 30 minutes with a seven-yard scoring pass to tight end Jacob Tamme. The PAT kick from Matt Prater gave Denver a 7-6 lead after having played second fiddle to the Chiefs for most of the half.

“It was huge,” Manning said of that touchdown. “Having two opportunities down in the red zone and coming away with no points – that’s the first time that’s happened this year, so that was a big touchdown.”

The Chiefs came out in the third quarter and grabbed the lead back thanks to a 49-yard field goal from Succop and they lead 9-7, the first time this season they were on top in the second half. RB Jamaal Charles was finding some running room (he finished with 107 yards) and the Chiefs were holding on to the ball.

But the Broncos took the kickoff after K.C.’s field goal and moved 80 yards down the field in seven plays, with Manning hitting wide receiver Demaryius Thomas with a 30-yard touchdown throw. It was a beautifully placed ball and nice catch by Thomas, as Kansas City defender Jalil Brown had good coverage of his man but the ball was just out of his reach. Prater’s PAT kick gave Denver the lead for good at 14-9.

Prater added a 34-yard field goal inside the two-minute mark of the fourth quarter to seal the final score at 17-9.

“It’s a division game on the road and defensively this team (Chiefs) is better than its record and the game was what we expected to tell you the truth,” said Manning. “In this league you are either getting better or you are getting worse. Today, we got a little bit better.”

The Chiefs would like to think they got a little bit better too, but as long as they get another “L” to hang in the standings, it doesn’t matter.

“They didn’t score a lot, but the object of the game is to have one more point than them,” said Johnson. “We failed to do that today.”

And yesterday, and the day before that and the week before that, and the month before that – it’s been 63 days since they earned a victory.

“I don’t think about the record,” said CB Javier Arenas. “I don’t even look at the scoreboard to be quite frank with you. I know my job and my teammates depend on me, and I depend on my teammates. That’s all I can do.”

Losing Streak Reaches 8 Games After Loss to Denver


From Arrowhead Stadium

It was a replay of the game that went down back in October, some seven weeks ago. On that Sunday, the Chiefs went toe-to-toe with Baltimore and the Ravens struggled to get out of town with a three-point victory.

Flash forward to this sun-splashed Sunday where the Chiefs were 10-point underdogs as they hosted AFC West leader Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. Romeo Crennel’s team played tough on defense against Manning, while the offense was inconsistent but did not turn the ball over and when given a chance at least produced points, even if they were Ryan Succop field goals.

In the end though, Manning and mates were too much for the beleaguered Chiefs to hold off for four quarters. Denver won 17-9, as the Broncos moved their record to 8-3 on the season. The Chiefs have now lost eight in a row and they are 1-10 on the season.

Here’s our coverage:

Broncos-Chiefs Pre-Game From Arrowhead


From Arrowhead Stadium

11:25 a.m. CST – That’s it from the stadium for now. Remember, our coverage begins when the game ends and will go through the evening and into the early hours of Monday, so come back early and often. Enjoy the game.

11:20 a.m. CST – Apologies ahead of time for any references that slip into our coverage where the Broncos are replaced by Colts. It’s just hard to get used to QB Peyton Manning in the blue and orange, rather than the blue and white. He’s gone from a horseshoe on the side of his helmet, to a horse’s head.

11:15 a.m. CST – Chiefs pr maven Ted Crews is on the field exchanging hugs and kisses with Denver head coach John Fox and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio. All three worked together with the Carolina Panthers a few years back. Also, Fox and Romeo Crennel enjoying a “hi, how are you?” moment near the 50-yard line.

11:10 a.m. CST – Huge embrace at the 35-yard line between Chiefs secondary coach Emmitt Thomas and Broncos executive Billy Thompson, a couple of former AFL andAFC West rivals on the field. Both defensive backs, they were among the best in the final days of the AFL. Thompson walked Thomas over to the Broncos sideline to meet owner Patrick Bowlen.

11:05 a.m. CST – Broncos GM John Elway makes his first appearance on the field this morning. With his sunglasses and suit, he strolled past a bunch of Chiefs fans in the end zone that did not recognize one of the most hated rivals the franchise has ever had.

11 a.m. CST – National Weather Service forecast for this afternoon calls for sunny skies, with a light wind from the north-northeast of about 5 mph. Temperatures expected to be in the mid-50s for the game. There is no precipitation in the forecast. Right now, it’s 52 degrees at the stadium.

10:55a.m. CST – K Ryan Succop was good from 50 yards to the east and west goal posts. That was the extent of his range as he missed from 52 yards. Denver kicker Matt Prater was similar in his results, as he needed two opportunities from 53 yards for a successful field goal to the east goal posts. There’s very little wind on the floor of the stadium right now.

10:50 a.m. CST – The strange case of Steve Breaston continues. Two weeks ago he was a game-day inactive against the Steelers in his hometown of Pittsburgh. Last week, he was part of the game-day roster against Cincinnati, and in fact started the game. Today, he’s inactive and will not play against Denver. It’s not like rookie Devon Wylie bumped him off the spot, because Wylie is inactive as well. Newly promoted from the practice squad Jamar Newsome is active and dressed today at wide receiver. He’s wearing No. 84.

10:45 a.m. CST – The Broncos only had to designate six players for inactive status today because they only have 52 players on their active roster. This past week, RB Willis McGahee was placed on the injured-reserve list/designated return with a knee injury. Denver did not replace him on the roster, thus they only needed to slice six to reach the 46-man game-day limit.

10:40 a.m. CST – Bad news for Brady Quinn and/or Matt Cassel with the inactive status of Branden Albert. Expect the Chiefs to approach the left tackle situation with several alternatives if Donald Stephenson has problems. Always the chance that Eric Winston could be moved from right to left tackle, or that one of the interior guys could get moved outside. It will be the match-up to watch in today’s game.

10:35 a.m. CST – The inactive players for the Broncos against the Chiefs are QB Caleb Hanie, WR Andre Caldwell, CB Tracy Porter, G Manny Ramirez, TE Julius Thomas and NT Sealver Siliga.

10:30 a.m. CST – The inactive players for the Chiefs against Denver are QB Ricky Stanzi, WR Steve Breaston, WR Devon Wylie, S Tysyn Hartman, RB Cyrus Gray, LT Branden Albert and NT Jerrell Poe.

10:25 a.m. CST – Watching for Peyton Manning on the field to see if he continues his tradition of a long throwing session before the start of the formal pre-game drills. Manning was legendary with the Colts for getting all his receivers on the field 90 minutes to two hours before kickoff and going through a rigorous set of throws. Right now, the only Denver QB on the field is rookie Brock Osweiler.

10:20 a.m. CST – Game-day inactive players will be named in the next 15 minutes and the question hovering around the Chiefs is whether Branden Albert will be able to play today at his left tackle spot. If not, then rookie Donald Stephenson was expected to be the starter.

10:15 a.m. CST – Good morning from Arrowhead, where game day has dawned bright and beautiful, although it’s a brisk out there this morning. It should be an almost perfect day for the Broncos and Chiefs. For the next hour or so, we’ll bring you info and news from the stadium leading up to kickoff a few minutes after 12 noon.

Offense Is Killing Defense … GameDay Cup O’Chiefs

Defense – on any given Sunday, in any given season, it’s the most important part of a football team’s opportunity for victory.

The only way the 1-9 Chiefs will have any chance to beat the 7-3 Denver Broncos on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium depends on how high the defense can raise its level of play against Peyton Manning.

Yet, even that won’t matter if the Chiefs do not get some help from the other side of the ball – their offense.

Kickoff is set for just after 12 noon, with television coverage from CBS.

As disappointing as the defense play has been in the 2012 season, the bigger reason they have won just once in 10 outings is an anemic and ineffective offensive attack that is among the weakest in the league.

In the league statistics for average offensive yards per game the Chiefs rank No. 19, with 343.3 yards per game. However, in the most important statistic they are dead last in the NFL – points scored.

The Chiefs have just 152 points on the season. They’ve scored only a dozen offensive touchdowns. They’ve scored just three touchdowns in the last half-dozen games. Again, 3 TDs in 6 games; on Thanksgiving night, the New England Patriots scored three touchdowns in 52 seconds. …Read More!

NFL Transactions – 11/24

NFL – suspended WR Jabar Gaffney for 2 weeks due to a 2010 charge for resisting arrest. Gaffney is currently a free agent after being released on Wednesday by Miami.

NFL – fined Green Bay LB Brad Jones, $15,750 for roughing the passer penalty vs. Detroit.

Chicago – named Jay Cutler as the starting quarterback for Sunday’s game after he was cleared by medical personnel. Cutler missed last week’s game due to a concussion.

Dallas – released WR Andre Holmes.

Jacksonville – released WR Carlton Mitchell; promoted FB Will Ta’ufo’ou from the practice squad.

Chiefs – released G Rich Ranglin; promoted WR Jamar Newsome from the practice squad.

Oakland – promoted LB Kaelin Burnett from the practice squad.

San Diego – promoted OL Kevin Haslam from the practice squad.

Tennessee – promoted RB Darren Evans from the practice squad; released OL Kyle DeVan.

Chiefs Make Another Late Saturday Roster Move

It’s become part of the weekly routine with the Chiefs personnel that a player moves off the roster the night before the game and is replaced by someone moving up from the practice squad.

It happened again Saturday when the Chiefs released G Rich Ranglin from the 53-man roster. The open spot was filled with the promotion of WR Jamar Newsome. The 25-year old Florida native will wear No. 84.

Ranglin got bumped up from the practice squad last Saturday because of concerns about offensive line depth with both C/G Ryan Lilja and G Jon Asamoah out of the game due to injury. Although he was active, Ranglin did not get on the field against Cincinnati last Sunday.

The 6-0½, 201-pound Newsome joined the Chiefs some 51 weeks ago when he was signed to the practice squad. The Florida native had stints with Jacksonville and Pittsburgh before joining the Chiefs, including play in two games in the 2011 regular season with the Jaguars. He played in 36 games at the University of Central Florida, catching 65 passes for 986 yards and seven TDs. Also, he might be used as a kickoff returner, as he took back 12 kicks at UCF for an average return of 34.4 yards.

There have been two wide receivers on the injury report this past week in Dwayne Bowe and Jon Baldwin. Both had neck injuries, Bowe suffered his last Sunday and Baldwin’s came in the Monday night game in Pittsburgh and he did not play against the Bengals last weekend. Head coach Romeo Crennel indicated he thought both would play against the Broncos.

Ranglin played in the Arena Football League for three seasons and played his collegiately at Central Connecticut State University, the alma mater of Chiefs GM Scott Pioli.

Denver Week Leftovers/Chiefs Have Know No. 18

Peyton Manning started against the Chiefs eight times when he was with the Colts. Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium will be his ninth start.

It will also be the 208th start of his career and what he’s accomplished in his 14 seasons is remarkable:

– He’s led his team to 148 regular-season victories, tied with Denver GM John Elway for the second most in NFL history. Brett Favre is No. 1 with 186 winning efforts.

– Manning now has an NFL-record of 69 games with 300 passing yards or more.

– He’s now the third player in NFL history with 400 or more career touchdown passes, joining Dan Marino and Favre.

– Coming into Sunday’s game against the Chiefs, Manning has 2,975 passing yards this year; just 25 yards away from 3,000 yards for the season. When that happens, Manning will have 14 seasons at 3,000 yards or more than any other quarterback in history except Favre with 18 seasons.

His record against the Chiefs is 7-1, with a 3-1 record at Arrowhead. …Read More!

Officials For Broncos-Chiefs

It’s Jerome Boger and his crew that will handle the officiating duties in Sunday’s game between the Chiefs and Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium

The 57-year old Boger came into the league in 2004 as a line judge and was elevated to referee in the 2006 season. He worked his way up through the ranks in his native Georgia, starting at the high school level, to small colleges, to major college games to the Arena League and NFL Europe. He lives in Conyers, Georgia where he works as an underwriter for Allstate Insurance.

Boger and his mates have worked six games so far this season and the home team wins only 50 percent of the time. On average they’ve walked off 10.3 penalties for 81.7 yards per game. The last time the Chiefs saw Boger was their game in Chicago against the Bears late last season.

Part of Boger’s crew is line judge Tom Stephan from Bonner Springs, where he graduated from Bonner Springs High School in 1976. (That’s him on the left with Denver coach John Fox.) Stephan earned an accounting degree at Pittsburgh State and began his officiating career, working his way up from the high school level, to the Big 12 Conference and then NFL Europe. He works as a business broker for American Business Masters and Investments, Inc., a firm in Overland Park.

Umpire Tony Michalek – joined the NFL in 2002. Before the NFL, he worked in the Big Ten Conference and before that 20 years as a high school official. He played four years of football at Indiana where his son is currently a reserve linebacker for the Hoosiers. He was born, raised and lives in the Chicago area. Michalek spent 22 years as a floor trader at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and currently works as the director of officiating for USA Football. …Read More!

Relentless Is Miller’s Game … Saturday Cup O’Chiefs

“That’s him right there,” said Chiefs RB Cyrus Gray, as he grabbed his twitching cell phone in the Chiefs locker room after practice on Friday.

“Hey, let me call you right back,” Gray told Broncos linebacker Von Miller who was calling from Denver. “I’m talking about you right now.”

As the division leading Denver Broncos stampede into Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday they bring with them a posse that’s far more than simply a rehabbed and rejuvenated Peyton Manning. Along for the ride is a Denver defense that ranks No. 6 in fewest yards allowed and No. 5 in fewest rushing yards allowed. They are among the top 10 defenses in the league in fewest touchdowns allowed.

Plus, going into NFL Week 11 the Broncos had the No. 2 and No. 10 quarterback sackers in the league with Miller (13) and DE Elvis Dumervil (8).

For the Chiefs offense and quarterback Brady Quinn to have any chance for success they will have to minimize the effect of Miller. That’s not an easy thing to do, and nobody knows that better than Gray, the Chiefs rookie running back.

“He’s just relentless in how he plays,” Gray said. “His motor seldom stops. He plays hard all the time and just when you think he can’t bring anything extra, he does. He’s always been a very good athlete, but he’s really become a student of the game and nobody works harder than him getting in shape and prepared.”

Miller and Gray hooked up in seventh grade when they both landed at West Intermediate School in their hometown of DeSoto, Texas, a far southwest suburb that’s part of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. They played together in middle school, then at DeSoto High School and both ended up going to Texas A&M where they played together for three seasons.

Sunday at Arrowhead, they will be on opposite teams for the first time in their lives. …Read More!

4 Keys To A Chiefs Victory Over The Broncos

4

Keep the Broncos special teams in check

Trindon Holliday came off the street and onto the Denver roster for the sixth game of the season. He’s been with them for five weeks now and he has a punt return and kickoffs return for touchdowns. He’s averaging 10.7 yards per punt return and 36.2 yards per kickoff return. Holliday has been a huge shot in the arm for the Broncos. If the Chiefs hope to win, they can’t allow him to go off for any long returns. Every yard that Holliday takes a return back, makes it easier for Peyton Manning and the Denver offense. They don’t need any help with field position. …Read More!

NFL Fines, Injuries & Transactions – 11/23

Fined by NFL

- Carolina LB Thomas Davis, $21,000 for an unnecessary roughness play that involved striking a defenseless player in the head and neck area.

- New England CB Kyle Arrington, $21,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Indianapolis QB Andrew Luck.

Transactions

New England – activated OT Markus Zusevics from the Non-Football Injury List; released WR Greg Salas.

Philadelphia – claimed WR Greg Salas off waivers from New England; released WR Mardy Gilyard.

San Diego – placed OT Jared Gaither (groin) on the injured-reserve list.

Injury Report/Out of Sunday’s action

Atlanta – S Charles Mitchell (calf).

Baltimore – CB Jimmy Smith (abdomen).

Buffalo – DE Mark Anderson (knee), CB Aaron Williams (knee).

Chicago – WR Alshon Jeffery (knee).

Cleveland – CB Dimitri Patterson (ankle), S Raymond Ventrone (calf).

Green Bay – LB Terrell Manning (shoulder), LB Clay Matthews (hamstring), CB Sam Shields (ankle), CB Charles Woodson (collarbone).

Jacksonville – RB Greg Jones (thigh), RB Maurice Jones-Drew (foot), CB William Middleton (concussion).

New Orleans – OT Charles Brown (knee), DE Junior Galette (ankle), CB Elbert Mack (concussion), CB Corey White (knee).

N.Y. Giants – WR Domenik Hixon (ankle), LB Jacquian Williams (knee).

Oakland – RB Mike Goodson (ankle), RB Darren McFadden (ankle), DT Richard Seymour (knee).

Pittsburgh – WR Jerricho Cotchery (ribs), OT Marcus Gilbert (ankle), QB Byron Leftwich (ribs), QB Ben Roethlisberger (shoulder).

St. Louis – LB Mario Haggan (elbow).

San Diego – LB Larry English (calf), WR Eddie Royal (hamstring).

Tampa Bay – S Cody Grimm (hamstring).

Chiefs Practice Update – 11/23

From the Truman Sports Complex

First the good news – Ryan Lilja was back practicing with the Chiefs on Friday afternoon, working at center because Jon Asamoah was back in his normal spot at right guards.

Now the bad news – LT Branden Albert spent the practice riding a stationary bike in the rehab area and it appears highly doubtful at this time that he’s going to be ready to play in Sunday’s game against Denver. With the sack pressure that comes from Von Miller (13 sacks) and Elvis Dumervil (8 sacks) of the Broncos, that’s going to create quite a match-up for rookie Donald Stephenson and potential problems for QB Brady Quinn.

Albert was the only member of the 53-man roster that did not take part in practice. Tight ends Steve Maneri (ankle) and Tony Moeaki (shoulder), along with wide receivers Dwayne Bowe (neck/shoulder) and Jon Baldwin (neck/head) all were practicing on Friday and head coach Romeo Crennel sounded confident that they will be available on Sunday.

Out in Denver, CB Tracy Porter has been cleared for game action by Broncos doctors after missing the last five games with an unnamed illness. During a pre-season game back in August, Porter suffered a seizure. After he was cleared to return to the team, he was about to get on a team charter flight to San Diego when he began experiencing the same symptoms he had before the seizure – dizziness, fever and light-headed. While he did not have a seizure at that point, and hasn’t had one since, team doctors decided to keep him off the field.

Now that he’s been cleared, there’s no guarantee that Porter will be active for Sunday’s game; coaches may want to give him more practice time to get back up to speed.

Chiefs

DOUBTFUL: Branden Albert (back).

QUESTIONABLE: G Jon Asamoah (thumb), C/G Ryan Lilja (knee).

PROBABLE: WR Jon Baldwin (head neck), WR Dwayne Bowe (neck/shoulder), TE Steve Maneri (ankle), TE Tony Moeaki (shoulder).

Broncos

QUESTIONABLE: CB Omar Bolden (concussion),

PROBABLE: DE Robert Ayers (groin), TE Virgil Green (hamstring), RB Ronnie Hillman (hamstring), G Chris Kuper (ankle), RB Knowshon Moreno (groin), CB Tracy Porter (illness), WR Demaryius Thomas (knee), DE Derek Wolfe (quadriceps).

Once More: Peyton vs. Romeo/Friday Cup O’Chiefs

The question caught Peyton Manning off-guard, and may have irritated him just a bit as well.

He was asked during a conference call this week with the Kansas City media whether he wished Romeo Crennel would just go ahead and retire, the idea being then Manning wouldn’t have to face Crennel and his defenses anymore.

“I have great respect for Coach Crennel,” Manning said with a tone that spoke annoyed. “On the defensive teams that he’s coached, I feel like he’s had excellent players out there. It’s no different this year.”

Manning’s record against a Crennel defense is 3-6. That’s not a number he was willing to share this week, but it ‘s a lock that he’s well aware of those numbers. Peyton Manning knows all the statistics and history involved with his career, and he’s well aware of people and teams, especially those that have made his life difficult. There haven’t been many of those in 14 seasons, so they are easy to remember the matchups. …Read More!

NFL Fines & Transactions – 11/22

NFL – fined:

- Cleveland S T.J. Ward, $25,000 for an illegal blow to the head in last Sunday’s game against Dallas.

Chicago – placed G Chilo Rachal on the reserve non-football injury list.

New York Jets – promoted CB Darrin Walls, CB Donnie Fletcher and WR Jordan White from the practice squad.

Seattle – promoted WR Charly Martin from the practice squad.

Tampa Bay – placed WR Arrelious Benn (shoulder) on the injured-reserve list; signed WR David Douglas.

Top College Prospects/Offense

From left to right, West Virginia QB Geno Smith, North Carolina RB Giovani Bernard and California WR Keenan Allen are the top draft candidates at their positions.

Overall, the potential candidates on offense for the 2013 NFL Draft are not top-heavy at the skill positions like quarterback, running back and wide receiver. Early in the draft the offensive players gaining most of the attention have been blockers, particularly guards and tackles.

When the Chiefs turn on the clock comes up near the top of the first round in April, these are some of the players they will be considering for their selection. These are the top three prospects at each position, and almost all are considered first or high second-round picks. Here’s the link to the top defensive prospects.

And here are the top three at each offensive position. …Read More!

Chiefs Thanksgiving Practice Update – 11/22

From the Truman Sports Complex

It’s looking more and more like the Chiefs maybe without their two best offensive linemen for Sunday’s game against Denver.

LT Branden Albert and C/G Ryan Lilja did not take part in Thursday’s practice session. Instead, they were in the rehab area riding stationary bikes because of Albert’s back spasms and Lilja’s sore knee. Both were out of Wednesday’s practice as well, after Lilja missed last Sunday’s game against Cincinnati and Albert left in the third quarter.

Because of their veteran status, head coach Romeo Crennel said he would provide both players more leeway as to whether they’ll play or not.

“We’d like to see them practice tomorrow (Friday) but generally with veterans, I’ll give them a bit more leeway, especially if they are important veterans. They know what it takes. They know what their bodies are telling them. I’ll give them as much time as I can before making a decision.”

Which means Albert and Lilja’s playing status may not be known until Sunday morning.

Also on the practice/injury report for the Chiefs and listed as limited participants were WR Dwayne Bowe (neck/shoulder), WR Jon Baldwin (neck/head), TE Tony Moeaki (back), TE Steve Maneri (ankle) and RG Jon Asamoah (hand).

The Chiefs work day was abbreviated so the players and coaches could get done and out the door to celebrate Thanksgiving with their families. Normally the team watches tape after practice, but that was cancelled for the holiday.

Thankful For The Chiefs/Thanksgiving Cup O’Chiefs

A Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours on this joyful holiday. Every single day we are thankful for our subscribers and readers that have spent time with bobgretz.com over t he last year.

I know Chiefs fans are wondering what they have to be thankful for when it comes to their favorite football team. It has been a spoiled turkey of a season after so much was promised and expected from the 2012 Chiefs.

Still, there is plenty for Chiefs fans to be thankful for even in a season like this one. There are many elements to the sad story of the ’12 Chiefs that have gotten lost under the avalanche of bad football. It all depends on the view one wants to take.

Readers know I do not view the world through rose-colored or better yet red-and-gold glasses. My thoughts and feelings about how the Chiefs have been operated over the last four years have not been hidden on this site. The powers that be are not big fans of bobgretz.com, but that’s OK because I’m not a big fan of how they deal with people and run the football team.

So don’t take this as an attempt to gin-up something positive about a truly hideous situation. But even among the ashes of what the Chiefs season has become, there are positive people and positive moments. …Read More!

NFL Honors, Injuries & Transactions – 11/21

Honors

AFC – named Houston QB Matt Schaub as offensive player of the week; Denver LB Von Miller as defensive player of the week; Buffalo DB Leodis McKelvin as special teams player of the week.

NFC – named Washington QB Robert Griffin III as offensive player of the week; San Francisco OLB Aldon Smith as defensive player of the week; Dallas K Dan Bailey as special teams player of the week.

Injury Report/Players Out For Thanksgiving Day/Night

Dallas – C Phil Costa (ankle), DT Sean Lissemore (ankle), WR Kevin Ogletree (concussion).

Detroit – WR Titus Young (team suspension).

New England – TE Rob Gronkowski (forearm), DE Chandler Jones (ankle), G Logan Mankins (ankle).

Transactions

Arizona – activated RB Beanie Wells (toe) from the injured-reserve list/designated for return.

Chicago – placed LG Chilo Rachal on the reserve/left squad list after he reportedly quit the team after he was demoted from the starting lineup following Monday night’s loss to San Francisco; promoted OL James Brown from the practice squad.

Denver – placed RB Willis McGahee (knee) on the injured-reserve list/designated for return.

Indianapolis – signed TE Dominique Jones.

Jacksonville – placed QB Blaine Gabbert (arm/shoulder) and WR Laurent Robinson (concussion) on the injured-reserve list; signed QB Jordan Palmer and WR Carlton Mitchell.

Peyton Won’t Say Why He Ignored Chiefs

Peyton Manning was given the opportunity on Wednesday to tell Kansas City why he wasn’t interested in the Chiefs back in March when he was a free agent.

The Chiefs said they wanted him, or at least team chairman Clark Hunt said so. Head coach Romeo Crennel said if he were available (he’d not been released yet by the Colts), the Chiefs would have to consider signing him.

But as we wrote on Wednesday in this post, Manning had no desire to be involved with the Chiefs and that message was delivered early in the process.

Wednesday afternoon, Manning was asked to shed some light on his non-interest in the Chiefs.

“I’ve covered that stuff so many times,” Manning said during a conference call with the Kansas City media. “I’ve kind of moved past the whole free agency process. I’ve got great respect for the Chiefs, their organization and their staff. That’s all stuff I’ve covered before.”

Manning has never “covered” publicly why he had no interest in the Chiefs. Maybe some time in the future he’ll confirm what we posted on his lack of interest in Kansas City. He wasn’t going to do it this week in the days before the game. Maybe he’ll never speak publicly about it because that goes against his personality.

What we know for sure is Sunday he’ll be wearing orange and blue, not red and gold.

Chiefs Practice Update – 11/21

From the Truman Sports Complex

Brady Quinn found out on Wednesday that he would be the Chiefs starting quarterback on Sunday against Denver.

Once they hit the practice field, Quinn may not have been so enthusiastic about his opportunity. Along the offensive line, 60 percent of the starting group was out or limited in practice. From the opening day group only Eric Winston was still taking his full turn at right tackle.

Left tackle Branden Albert (back) was in the rehab riding a stationary bike. Next to him was C/G Ryan Lilja (knee). On the practice field but limited in his work according to head coach Romeo Crennel was RG Jon Asamoah (thumb).

“We’ve got a few moving parts with the injuries, so we’re going to have to see how it progresses during the week to find out about availability for Sunday,” said head coach Romeo Crennel. “So everybody has to be ready. They are told to get ready to go, and we’ll see later in the week who it’s going to be.” …Read More!

It’s Quinn This Week

From the Truman Sports Complex

Brady Quinn will get the start at quarterback this Sunday when the Chiefs host the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium.

Head coach Romeo Crennel made that announcement Wednesday morning, adding that Matt Cassel will be the No. 2 quarterback.

“Try(ing) to give him enough time to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish when I made the move, trying to change the dynamic of the team,” Crennel said of Quinn. “He had his injury and wasn’t able to fulfill it. Now that he’s cleared and back healthy, (I want to ) give him that opportunity to do that. We’ll see how it plays out.”

This is now the seventh week of quarterback roulette for the Chiefs; it started when Cassel went down with a concussion in an October 7th game against Baltimore:

Opponent

QB Start

QB Finish

Baltimore

Cassel

Quinn

@ Tampa Bay

Quinn

Quinn

Oakland

Quinn

Cassel

@ San Diego

Cassel

Cassel

@ Pittsburgh

Cassel

Cassel

Cincinnati

Cassel

Quinn

Denver

Quinn

?

The common denominator in the last six games is that the Chiefs lost all of them, scoring 6, 10, 16, 13, 13 and 6 points and have scored just 3 touchdowns.

The Guys That Got Away … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

In the first quarter of this year, there were two significant free agents in the world of pro football.

One was quarterback Peyton Manning, leaving the Indianapolis Colts after missing the 2011 season with a neck injury. The second was head coach Jeff Fisher, who had sat out the 2011 season after being in charge of the Tennessee Titans for over a decade.

Any NFL team looking for a successful head coach or a productive Hall of Fame-bound quarterback had to be interested in one or the other. Coaches like Fisher and quarterbacks like Manning don’t often become available and when they do, interested parties need to go all in if they plan to be part of the process.

The Chiefs were a team that needed both a proven head coach and a proven quarterback. No other team in the league could have solved its two biggest problems by signing both men.

They did not get either man; they were not a factor. They were not left at the altar; they couldn’t even get in the church or on the invitation list.

The facts of the matter are that getting shutout of Fisher and Manning were the first steps to the disastrous season that has unfolded at Arrowhead Stadium in 2012. At 1-9, the Chiefs are tied for the worst record in the NFL; at times they have performed at a level worse than any previous Chiefs team. It has been a season that exacerbated a bubbling discontent among a dwindling fan base to the point where their protests became national news.

Would Fisher or Manning have made that much of a difference? …Read More!

NFL Transactions – 11/20

NFL – on the player’s appeal, the league rescinded a one-game suspension of Baltimore S Ed Reed, instead fining him $50,000 without any suspension.

Arizona – released LB Jamaal Westerman and RB Jared Crank (from the injured-reserve list).

Atlanta – signed G Harland Gunn from the New Orleans practice squad.

Carolina – signed K Graham Gano; released K Justin Medlock.

Indianapolis – released G Justin Anderson

Jacksonville – signed WR Jordan Shipley; released RB Will Ta’ufo’ou.

Miami –claimed TE Kyle Miller on waivers from Indianapolis; signed G Ryan Durand; released WR Jabar Gaffney …Read More!

NFL Draft’s Top Quarterbacks/2000-12

There’s always attention on the quarterback position.

In the land of the Chiefs, that attention has reached epic levels and there’s a groundswell of support for the Hunt Family franchise to draft the so-called franchise quarterback.

It’s not a well of talent that the Chiefs have dipped into very much over the last 40 years, and certainly not the last 20 years. Since the AFL and NFL went to a common draft in 1967 as one of the first steps in the merger of the leagues, the Chiefs have selected 20 quarterbacks in 46 drafts.

But for our purposes, we are looking back only on the 13 drafts in the NFL from 2000 until this past April. In this century, 26 of the 32 teams have selected at least one quarterback in the first-round. Nine teams have selected more than one first-round passer and the Washington Redskins have taken a quarterback in the first round in three of the 13 selection meetings.

Of the six teams that haven’t used a first-round pick at quarterback, the Chiefs do not own the longest drought. That would be New Orleans, as the Saints have used a first-round choice since the 1981 Supplemental Draft when they grabbed David Wilson out of Illinois.

The Chiefs are next, going through 29 NFL Drafts since they grabbed Todd Blackledge with the seventh choice of the 1983 first-round. Dallas hasn’t used a No. 1 since 1989, while Seattle and New England haven’t going QB in the first since 1993. Philadelphia last used a first-round choice in 1999 when they drafted Donovan McNabb.

Here are the quarterbacks selected in the first, second and third rounds of the NFL Draft from 2000 through 2012. There are 69 names, with 36 first-rounders, 15 in the second and 18 in the third. Quarterbacks in red are currently starters among the league’s 32 teams: …Read More!

Who Starts? Does it Matter? … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

Romeo Crennel decided he would like to keep what Chiefs fans are left and the Denver Broncos in the dark.

So the Chiefs head coach would not announce his starting quarterback for this coming Sunday’s AFC West game with the Broncos. Crennel said he’d likely let everyone know on Wednesday whether it will be Matt Cassel or Brady Quinn taking the first snaps for the Chiefs offense.

At this point, does it really matter? Will Broncos coach John Fox and his defensive staff burn extra midnight oil because they have to use Monday and Tuesday to prepare for two quarterbacks, rather than just one?

It’s pretty hard to see how either Cassel or Quinn sends a shiver up the spine of the folks in Denver. They know all about Quinn; he was the guy who spent two years on the bench for the Broncos and did not play in a regular-season game.

Fox and friends just need to throw the game tape from Sunday’s meeting with the Bengals to see that there is really not a lot of difference between these men. One man’s game plan would serve the other well.

Now, if Crennel really wanted to give the Broncos coaching staff something to think about he would come out on Wednesday or Thursday and announced that Ricky Stanzi would start the game. …Read More!

NFL Suspensions, Changes & Transactions – 11/19

NFL – has suspended:

  • Atlanta OL Joe Hawley for 4 games for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing substances (Adderall).
  • Baltimore S Ed Reed for 1 game for repeated violations of the rules on hitting opponents in the head. Reed has notified the NFL that he plans to appeal the suspension.

Denver – announced that RB Willis McGahee has a torn MCL in his knee and a leg fracture that will bench him for six to eight weeks.

Detroit – sent WR Titus Young home for the week because of behavior problems involving his teammates and assistant coaches.

Indianapolis – activated G Justin Anderson from the PUP List; released TE Kyle Miller

Jacksonville – announced that Chad Henne will start at quarterback against Tennessee this week. Blaine Gabbert will be questionable due to an elbow injury; released RB Will Ta’ufo’ou.

Pittsburgh – announced that Charlie Batch will start at quarterback this coming weekend in place of the injured Byron Leftwich who was starting for the injured Ben Roethlisberger.

Washington – announced S Brandon Meriweather suffered a torn ACL in his right knee and is done for the season.

Chiefs Update – 11/19

From the Truman Sports Complex

Romeo Crennel said Monday afternoon that he’s not ready yet to announce who will start at quarterback for the Chiefs this coming Sunday when they play the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead.

Will it be Matt Cassel or Brady Quinn?

“When you look at the numbers, both were about equal,” Crennel said of his quarterback’s performances against the Bengals. “I’ll let you know on Wednesday who will start at quarterback and we’ll go from there.”

His reluctance to name a starter probably has more to do with keeping the Broncos guessing as they go through game-plan preparation on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Not that either quarterbacks will make the Denver defense worried about anything.

On the injury front, Crennel provided a brief update on his bruised and wounded: …Read More!

NFL Week #11/Sunday Best – 11/18


Houston QB Matt Schaub tied Warren Moon for the second most productive throwing day with 527 yards against Jacksonville

How the week was won

Home teams were 7-6 this week with the Monday night game ahead with Chicago at San Francisco. Road winners did it by average of 11.7 points; Home winners did it by an average of 12.3 points.

Biggest blowout was New England’s 35-point victory over Indianapolis, 59-24; the closest games were a pair of 3-point victories by Dallas over Cleveland and Baltimore’s Sunday night victory over Pittsburgh.

Best offensive day belonged to the Houston Texas who put up 640 yards, including 504 net yards passing, the most yards by any team in the league in week No. 11. The best running performance was the 189 yards racked up by Cincinnati against the Chiefs. The best defensive day was by the St. Louis Rams who held the New York Jets to 165 offensive yards. Pittsburgh’s defense stopped Baltimore for 47 rushing yards and Atlanta’s defense held Arizona to 41 yards passing. …Read More!

Notes & Quotes: Fan Protest Makes Its Point

From Arrowhead Stadium

The call was for Chiefs fans attending Sunday’s game against Cincinnati to wear black. The idea was to “blackout” the game to show team management that they were tired of the way the team has been operated especially during this disastrous 1-9 season.

Arrowhead was only about half full for Sunday’s game vs. the Bengals. But about half of those fans appeared to be wearing black as a protest.

It was enough to please many of the blackout organizers and they promised this was not the end of things and that more protests are planned, including airplane banners.

Most of the Chiefs said they had no idea that the stadium was only half-filled and those that were there more than half were protesting.

“We can’t worry about any of that,” said veteran DL Shaun Smith. “We have to continue to play and execute the game plan.”

QB Matt Cassel acknowledged the emotions of the fans.

“It’s frustrating,” Cassel said. “We’re all frustrated; I’m sure the fans are frustrated. Everybody in this building is frustrated. We don’t want to go out and perform like that. We want to be competitive and win games. We not only want to do it for ourselves, we want to do it for the fans.”

Injury report

WR Dwayne Bowe went out with what Crennel described as a neck injury and that the receiver will be evaluated on Monday for the seriousness of the injury. Bowe went out in the second quarter.

LT Branden Albert went down with 10 minutes to play in the third quarter with a back injury. He walked off the field and did not appear to be in pain after the game.

TE Tony Moeaki came out of the game at one point after taking a blow to the ribs. But he went back into the game and Crennel said: “I think he’s going to be OK.”

C/G Ryan Lilja (knee), G Jon Asamoah (thumb) and WR Jon Baldwin (head/neck) were not active and their status for this coming Sunday’s game against Denver remains in doubt.

Special teams report

Being gouged for a fake punt that helped set up the Bengals first touchdown was a bad moment for the K.C. kicking games on Sunday; they appeared to be totally unprepared for what happened. That can’t happen. Here’s the rest of the kicking game:

Ryan Succop – made both of his field goals from 34 and 33 yards. Succop had only two kickoffs, sending both into the end zone with only one being brought out.

Dustin Colquitt – It’s not often that Colquitt has a good game and is not the best punter on the field, but that was the case on Sunday as he was outkicked by Kevin Huber. Colquitt punted 7 times: 62, 44, 38, 44, 40, 60 and 68. That was a 50.9-yard gross average and only four of the seven punts were returned for an average of 6 yards.

Returns – The Chiefs got nothing in the return game. Javier Arenas grabbed 3 punts, but averaged just 10 yards a return. Shaun Draughn was back handling kickoffs and he averaged just 23 yards on two returns.

Coverage – The Chiefs kept the Bengals returners bottled up all day, allowing only a 26-yard kickoff return and four punt returns for 24 yards, with a long of 11 yards. LB Cory Greenwood, LB Brandon Siler and LB Andy Studebaker had the kicking game tackles

Personnel report

Inactive players for the Chiefs were QB Ricky Stanzi, C Ryan Lilja, G Jon Asamoah, WR Jon Baldwin, DT Jerrell Powe, S Tysyn Hartman and RB Cyrus Gray. Lilja (knee), Asamoah (thumb) and Baldwin (head/neck) were absent due to injury.

The Chiefs made a roster move Saturday night sending TE Jake O’Connell to the injured-reserve list due to his high ankle sprain. They promoted Rich Ranglin from the practice squad for his first taste of NFL play.

WR Steve Breaston started in place of the inactive Baldwin. Just six days ago, Breaston couldn’t get on the field to play against the Steelers in his hometown. Every wide receiver on the active roster, including the barely played rookie Devon Wylie, was considered ahead of him when it came to the possibility of making a contribution. Less than a week later, he was not only active, but in the starting lineup.

DB Travis Daniels and G Rich Ranglin were dressed but did not play for the Chiefs.

Inactive players for the Bengals today are WR Andrew Hawkins, S Reggie Nelson, CB Jason Allen, DT Devon Still, DT Brandon Thompson, WR Marvin Jones and TE Richard Quinn.

Cincinnati had five changes to their starting lineup. Rookie WR Mohamed Sanu started rather than Brandon Tate. At center, Jeff Faine was active but Trevor Robinson was in the starting lineup. On defense, Robert Geathers opened at LDE rather than Carlos Dunlap and the starting safeties were Chris Crocker (strong) and Taylor Mays (free) rather than Nate Clements and Reggie Nelson.

Notables

DE Tyson Jackson got his first sack of the year and only the third of his four-year career. The Chiefs other sack was by OLB Tamba Hali, who now has 6 on the season.

RB Jamaal Charles reached 5,000 rushing and receiving yards from scrimmage for his career, making him the 16th play in Chiefs history to achieve that total. He finished the game with 118 offensive yards and now has 5,083 for his career, moving past RB Curtis McClinton who had 5,069 yards.

The Chiefs fumbled 3 times, but only lost one and that was by RB Peyton Hillis. QB Matt Cassel had a fumble, but it was recovered by Eric Winston. A poor snap from C Russ Hochstein to QB Brady Quinn was the other ball on the ground. The Chiefs have just two turnovers combined in the last two games.

 

 

Joining Other Historic Failures

From Arrowhead Stadium

The 2012 season has not been the worst in Chiefs history. But if they continue for a couple more weeks to lose games, they will be the biggest failure in Chiefs history.

Now at 1-9 on the season, they have one of the worst records in franchise history after 10 games. And their 7-game losing streak is tied for the third longest now and they are two more defeats away from matching the club record for consecutive losing efforts.

Record

Season

Record

KC Pts.

Opp. Pts.

Next Win

Final Record

1987

1-9

136

272

11/26

4-11

2008

1-9

165

273

11/30

2-14

2012

1-9

152

284

?/?

?-?

Losing Streak

Season

Loses

Start

Ended

Record

2007

9

10/21/07

12/30/07

4-12

1987

9

9/13/87

11/26/87

4-11

2012

7

9/30/12

Ongoing

??

2008

7

9/28/08

11/30/08

2-14

1988

7

9/18/88

11/13/88

4-11-1

1985

7

9/29/85

11/24/85

6-10

Play Of The Game: Bengals Fake Punt


From Arrowhead Stadium

QUARTER – 1st period, 6 minutes, 51 seconds to play in the period.

SCORE – Chiefs led 3-0.

DOWN & DISTANCE – 4th-and-3 for the Bengals punt team at the Cincinnati 29-yard line.

SET – Bengals were in a normal punt formation, with the Chiefs in their normal punt return setup.

It’s hard to put all the focus on a play in the first quarter as the moment a four-quarter game was decided. But Sunday at Arrowhead came an occasion when a first quarter success for the Cincinnati Bengals set the tone for the rest of the game.

The Bengals were on their second offensive possession of the game and on three plays Cincinnati’s offense produced 7 yards. That brought Kevin Huber and the Bengals punt team onto the field. Long snapper Clark Harris fired the ball back not to Huber, but to the up-man in the punt formation, RB Cedric Peerman. The Bengals set up a nice wall on the left side of their formation. On that side for the Chiefs were Abram Elam and Neiko Thorpe out wide and then bunched inside were Nate Eachus, Bryan Kehl, Andy Studebaker and Cory Greenwood.

Elam and Thorpe were busy with the flyer on the outside left and didn’t even turn to see what was going on until Elam made the tackle 30 yards down field. Eachus fought off one block, but then got knocked down by RB Brian Leonard. Kehl and Studebaker were blocked at the line and Greenwood apparently had no idea what happened, because after the ball was 10 yards past him, he was still looking in the backfield.

Peerman ran for 32 yards on the play before he was brought down by Elam. Eight plays later, and after another fourth down conversion, the Bengals had their first touchdown on a 4-yard pass from QB Andy Dalton to WR A.J. Green.

“We weren’t alert enough to make the play,” said Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel. “That gave them some juice and that hurt our team.”

It was one of the key fourth down plays for Cincinnati that led to a pair of touchdowns. The Bengals saw the fake punt call as a real pump on the gas pedal for their efforts.

“We wanted to jump on them early and being aggressive is what we had to do,” said QB Andy Dalton. “It was a great play call and we got a huge gain out of it.”

4 Keys To Chiefs Victory Over Cincy/ 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

Don’t allow Pacman to gobble up yards

Adam “Pacman” Jones has been doing a good job of keeping himself out of trouble in the last year or so with the Bengals. He’s a contributor on defense and special teams for Cincinnati, most specifically as a punt returner. On a dozen returns, he’s averaged 17 yards per return and scored on an 81-yard return against Cleveland. Right now the Bengals are ranked No. 3 in punt return average in the league. The Chiefs are No. 25 in punt coverage (10.9-yard average return) largely due to the 88-yard TD they gave up earlier this year in Buffalo. Pacman has spent the week on the Bengals injury report with a calf problem so there’s always a chance the Chiefs might get lucky and not face Jones. But his replacement WR Brandon Tate is no easy tackle; he has 3 career return TDs, including a punt return for a score last year. Win the special teams battle, especially in covering punts.

OUTCOME: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED – Pacman was not a factor on special teams, returning just a single put for 11 yards. But he was a factor on defense, with six total tackles and a sack.

3

Repeat the coverage they showed in Pittsburgh

Last Monday night the Chiefs secondary and linebackers did a very good job in pass coverage against the Steelers. Before he was chased from the game, Ben Roethlisberger repeatedly pulled his arm down as he was about to throw to a receiver who ended up being in tight coverage. Big Ben can do that when he’s 6-5 and can have a clear view in almost all cases down the field. Bengals QB Andy Dalton is 6-2 and in his second year he’s not as experienced or savvy as Roethlisberger. Whether through coverage, pass rush or preferably both, the Chiefs must force Dalton to reload as he tries to find a receiver. He’s an accurate passer, hitting 64.4 percent of his passes this season. But he’s thrown 11 interceptions and with 2 fumbles lost, he has 13 turnovers; that doesn’t rise to the level of Matt Cassel’s 19, but it’s too many. The Chiefs must force something to happen.

OUTCOME: PUSH – the Chiefs did not lose because of their pass coverage, as they kept A.J. Green from going off for a big day as he was held under 100 yards on six catches. But one of those was a 40-yard play that helped set up a Bengals TD. No other Cincinnati receiver was able to crack the secondary for much.

2

Run the ball like they did Monday night

The Chiefs were able to re-establish the line of scrimmage against the Steelers, as the offensive line got off the ball and pushed the Pittsburgh front around. They pounded on the gap between right guard and right tackle and then just to the outside of the tackle. Obviously, they found something in preparation that made them feel like they had an advantage there. A big difference in this Sunday’s game is the Bengals 4-3 defensive front, rather than the 3-4 they saw from the Steelers. Two of the three best running days this season by the Chiefs came against 4-3 fronts – 273 vs. New Orleans and 152 yards against Atlanta. They had 213 against the 3-4 scheme of Baltimore. It helps when they get a lead and are not behind having to throw to catch up. Start running and do it from the start.

OUTCOME: FAILED ASSINGMENT – The Chiefs running backs ran for 106 yards, but only Jamaal Charles was able to break off a run for more than six yards – he had a pair of 17-yard gains. While the scoreboard didn’t allow the Chiefs to really go out and pound the running game, when they needed to keep it balanced up on the offensive side the run didn’t get the job done.

1

Match the intensity they showed in prime-time

The Chiefs did many things wrong in their overtime defeat in Pittsburgh, but one thing they did right was play the game with a visible passion – they got after the Steelers and held their own when it came to playing tough, physical football. Now, having proven they are capable of that type of performance, they must do it again. In fact, they must do a little bit more. If they limit their mistakes and play hard and with a fire to them, they’ll beat Cincinnati because the Bengals are not as good a team as the Steelers. If the Monday night performance was just done for the bright lights of national television, then Sunday will be a seventh consecutive loss.

OUTCOME: FAILED ASSIGNMENT – There was none of the passion or excitement exhibited on Monday night in Pittsburgh by the Chiefs. The defense did not rally to the ball on every play. The running game did not come out and smack the Bengals in the mouth the way they did against the Steelers. They looked much more like they have for the entire season, rather than what they showed in Pittsburgh.

Officials Review: Visible, But Not A Factor


From Arrowhead Stadium

Referee Gene Steratore and his crew were busy during the game, but at no point did they change the game. The only major penalty called was an unnecessary roughness call against S Abram Elam at the end of a 40-yard catch by Cincinnati WR A.J. Green.

It was a marginal call because replay showed it was a shoulder to shoulder hit. But the league emphasis this year has been on protecting so called defenseless receivers, which the official rules Green was. The penalty was half-the-distance or nine yards.

There was one replay review and it overturned a decision made on the field. Game officials said that Cincinnati TE Jermaine Gresham had bulled his way into the end zone for a touchdown on a pass from QB Andy Dalton. The review showed his knee hit the ground inside the one-yard line and before he got the ball across the goal line.

The call set up a 4th-and-goal play for Cincinnati at the Chiefs one-yard line. Dalton scored on a bootleg run.

Here’s the hanky report:

#

Team

Squad

Player

Penalty

Yards

1.

Bengals

Punt ret.

D.Skuta

Illegal block

Minus-9

2.

Bengals

Offense

J. Gresham

False start

Minus-5

3.

Bengals

Defense

T. Newman

Holding

Minus-5

4.

Chiefs

Punt

N. Thorpe

Out of bounds

Minus-5

5.

Chiefs

Defense

A.Elam

Un. Roughness

Minus-9

6.

Chiefs

Punt

D. McCluster

Out of bounds

Minus-5

7.

Bengals

Offense

O. Charles

Holding

Minus-10

8.

Bengals

Offense

A. Whitworth

False start

Minus-5

9.

Chiefs

Defense

J. Brown

Pass interference

Minus-6

10.

Bengals

FG def.

M. Johnson

Neutral zone

Minus-5

11.

Bengals

Offense

D. Roland

Holding

Minus-10

12.

Bengals

Defense

C. Crocker

Offside

Declined

13.

Chiefs

Offense

R. Hochstein

False start

Minus-5

14.

Bengals

Punt

K. Huber

Delay of game

Minus-5

15.

Chiefs

Punt

J. Brown

Illegal touch

0

Despite the injuries and changes on the offensive line, there was only one offensive penalty for the Chiefs which was pretty amazing. Only center Russ Hochstein got hit with a flag for a false start.

Quinn’s Ready, Willing, Now Able To Go Forward

Offensive linemen have been dropping like flies; same too with wide receivers. When Sunday’s game against Cincinnati was finished, the Chiefs had five able-bodied blockers on the line and four receivers available to run routes.

That’s the situation Brady Quinn walked into when he was inserted into the offense at quarterback in the second half. So what kind of prize is it to be quarterback of the Chiefs right now?

“I feel like I’m one of the most privileged people in the world,” said Quinn after the Chiefs 28-6 loss to the Bengals where he played the entire second half in relief of starter Matt Cassel.

“I’m very blessed to have the opportunity to do what I do. The National Football League is a dream really. It’s something that has not only changed my life, but will change my family’s life forever. I don’t care what team you are on or what your record is, it is without a doubt the best job you could ever have.

“I don’t’ care what the circumstances may sound like or look like; I love what I do. I love the game of football. I will always love being under center and going back and slinging the ball around.”

Too bad that passion didn’t help the Chiefs offense produce points or more yards in the second half against the Bengals on Sunday. Head coach Romeo Crennel made the change looking to spark his offense, but in the end the Quinn led group produced fewer points and yards than the Cassel led offense in the first half.

Half/QB

Rushing

Passing

Total Yards

Points

1st/Cassel

13 for 56y

17 for 92y

30 for 148y

6

2nd/Quinn

14 for 57y

16 for 79y

30 for 136y

0

Total

27 for 113y

33 for 171y

60 for 284y

6

“We didn’t do things well enough to win games today,” said Quinn. “We didn’t sustain drives. I think the past couple of weeks, you saw we were able to jump out to a lead, but the fact of the matter is you have to sustain that. You can’t get a lead then not continue to put points on the board. We need to be more consistent.”

Quinn got final approval to play from the doctors on Saturday, after passing all the testing in the NFL’s concussion protocol. Once he was cleared, there seemed little doubt that Crennel was going to use him in some fashion. But he was not prepared to start.

“You have to prepare a guy a whole week,” said Quinn.

Crennel confirmed that while Quinn practiced last week, he got the normal time for a backup quarterback. “Minimal,” the coach said of his time.

But Quinn’s been there before and he’s always prepared to play.

“It’s the situation every back up faces; you are never going to feel like you’re prepared as a starter and rightfully so,” said Quinn.

While Cassel said he thinks Quinn will be the starter against Denver this coming Sunday. Crennel wasn’t saying.

“I will evaluate it and then I will let you know what I’m going to do next week,” Crennel said.

Quinn isn’t as sure what to expect.

“I’m not going to make any assumptions about anything,” Quinn said. “We are just trying to continue and get better, try to find a way to win.”

The Clock Is Ticking On Cassel In K.C.

From Arrowhead Stadium

“I don’t know what my future holds.”

Those were the post-game words of QB Matt Cassel after the Chiefs lost their seventh straight game, this time to Cincinnati, 28-6. Sadly for the man and his family that invested so much time and sweat into trying to make a life in Kansas City, Cassel is not long for a Chiefs uniform.

Figure around six games, or what’s left of the disastrous 2012 season. That was oh so evident on Sunday when head coach Romeo Crennel gave Cassel the hook at half-time and went with Brady Quinn at quarterback.

“I wasn’t anticipating that at half-time, coming in after we went down and put three points on the board at the end of the half,” said Cassel. “Coach Crennel said he wanted to create a spark. He made the decision and that’s how it went.”

There was no offensive spark in the first half and none in the second half either. Cassel led the offense to a pair of field goals, on their first and last possession of the half. Quinn directed the offense in the third and fourth quarters and was unable to dent the 27-yard line of the Bengals.

There was nothing there for either quarterback.

“I can’t pinpoint one thing right now,” said Cassel when asked if he could explain what the problems are with the offense. “Every week it’s something different. We need to continue to get better and try to figure this thing out.”

Chances are that Cassel won’t be the guy on the field figuring things out. Certainly his numbers for the afternoon and the season would not guarantee a job with most NFL offenses. On 17 passing plays (16 attempts, 1 sack), 11 went for zero or negative yardage.

So what’s next? Is Quinn now the starter? “I’m guessing so,” said Cassel.

Are his days in Kansas City over?

“I’m not going to go into that right now,” Cassel said. “I’m going to continue to be the same guy like I’ve told you guys all along. I’m going to continue to work hard and do whatever I can to help this team win.”

Report Card: Chiefs vs. Bengals


From Arrowhead Stadium

PASSING OFFENSE: F – There was not much in the way of success in the Chiefs passing game against Cincinnati, even with the attempted spark-inducement of benching Matt Cassel and bringing in Brady Quinn. Neither one got the job done. As a team the Chiefs completed just 56.7 percent of their passes for an average of 6.3 yards per attempt. There were just two completions of more than 20 yards and nothing close to a touchdown. The Bengals had 3 sacks in 33 passing plays.

RUSHING OFFENSE: F – Jamaal Charles tried, but with a revamped offensive line ahead of him, the blocking was spotty and he was able to break off just two runs of 17 yards. That was 34 of his 87 yards in the game. No other runner had a gain of more than six yards and Peyton Hillis coughed up a fumble that was the Chiefs only giveaway of the game.

PASS DEFENSE: D – The Bengals were able to burn the Chiefs just once, on a 40-yard completion from Andy Dalton to A.J. Green. Chiefs CB Brandon Flowers spent most of the game covering Green, who finished with six catches for 91 yards. But there were six more throws that did not get completed. Chiefs had some pressure on Dalton, sacking him twice and forcing him to take off running three times.

RUSH DEFENSE: F – The Chiefs would stop four runs, but the fifth running play would gash them for a big play. BenJarvus Green-Ellis banged away and got 101 yards. Backup Cedric Peerman was effective as well and Dalton had two big runs, including a bootleg for a touchdown.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D – In the first quarter, the Bengals surprised the Chiefs with a fake punt, as Peerman took a direct snap and ran 32 yards for a first down that helped set up Cincinnati’s first touchdown of the game. That was a killer early in the game that was a momentum changer. The Chiefs again got little in contribution from their return game, and they did a good job on coverage, not allowing Pacman Jones to get off anything close to a lengthy return.

COACHING: F – Seven-game losing streak, 1-9 on the season and a 0-5 home record for 2012 are factors that’s going to produce nothing but bad grades for players and coaches. Romeo Crennel and his staff were unable to take the momentum and effort of their Monday night performance and carry them forward six days. Sorry guys, but those types of numbers indicate failure.

Offensive Line Injuries Destroy Offense’s Chances


From Arrowhead Stadium

It was bound to happen at some point; it always does when teams are having a tough time.

The injuries mount and the not playing-not practicing list grows longer with each defeat. It’s almost guaranteed that a team that’s winning a lot has fewer injuries than a team that can’t find a victory.

The Chiefs have not had a good year with injuries, but it reached the worst point yet on Sunday against Cincinnati when the offensive line disintegrated in front of everyone’s eyes. Want to know why the Chiefs couldn’t penetrate the Bengals 15-yard line at any point in the game? Look first at the disaster that was the Kansas City offensive line.

When Romeo Crennel arrived at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday morning he knew some things were dicey with his blocking unit. That happened Thursday when Ryan Lilja came down with a knee injury. On Saturday there still seemed to be a chance that Lilja could play.

“I did not know how much I would be mixing and matching until I got here today,” Crennel said after his team’s 28-6 loss. “I’m not making excuses about the offensive line, but when you have guys that don’t practice together on a consistent basis, it’s hard for everybody to be on the same page.”

Lilja was not able to go and was declared inactive for Sunday’s game. Also inactive was starting RG Jon Asamoah, out with a thumb injury that required surgery last week. Lilja was going to move over to right guard because that’s his normal position and Russ Hochstein was ready to play center. Another factor was that Hochstein had worked with starting QB Matt Cassel when the two were in New England.

But when Lilja could not play, the decision had to made on what would be the best combination of linemen for the situation. They decided to move RT Eric Winston to RG, a position he had never played in his NFL career. That allowed rookie Donald Stephenson to move into the right tackle spot.

The left side of the line was set with LT Branden Albert and LG Jeff Allen, add Hochstein, Winston and Stephenson and that’s the group the Chiefs offense went with against the Bengals.

At least they did until the 10-minute mark of the third quarter. That’s when Albert went down with a back injury. He was able to walk off the field under his own power, but he did not return to the game.

That shuffled the deck again – Stephenson moved from RT to LT, Winston moved back to RT from RG and Bryan Mattison came off the bench to play RG.

To say the least, the offensive line situation was a mess and the offense suffered, producing just 284 yards and no touchdowns.

“It’s tough; I don’t know how much it changed the play calling or anything, but all you can do is go out there and try to execute,” said Winston. “You try to do what you can with what you’ve got.”

The lack of continuity was evident, especially on third down, where the Chiefs were one of 11 on converting for a first down.

“For the most part, those guys did a good job stepping in and fulfilling that role,” said Cassel. “Especially considering how short the notice was.”

Brady Quinn said the offense tried not to let the offensive line situation alter the game plan too much.

“It’s hard to have the next man up mentality, but I think in this league in order to be successful you have to,” Quinn said. “A guy goes down, someone’s got to come in and fill his place.”

How the offensive line will fill out for next Sunday against Denver is impossible to predict at this point. Count on Winston and Allen to be on the field, the other three spots will be sorted about as the week goes on.

Column: Was Sunday The Tipping Point?


From Arrowhead Stadium

We don’t know what the tipping point is for Clark Hunt and the rest of the Hunt Family. Maybe they’ve already reached the spot where they understand how broken their football organization sits 10 games into the 2012 season.

If it had not already happened then Sunday afternoon at Arrowhead should have been the moment when Hunt realized that things have got to change. No matter how difficult, no matter how gut wrenching and yes, no matter how expensive, the status quo cannot be allowed to live on inside the crumbling walls of what was once one of the better football and business operations in the National Football League.

That’s not the case anymore. Everyone that’s paid attention to this team knows the operation is broken and no amount of super glue is going to be able to piece it together and make things better. There is something organically wrong and there are tumors and cysts that must be cut out.

It’s time to pull out the broom, sweep up all the pieces, dump them in the garbage can and start anew.

I know that sounds preposterous after the massive flush that Hunt made of the organization four years ago. But it simply must be done again. This is not a repair that can be done piecemeal; band-aids are not going to make this all better. In 2009, the new faces showed up led by GM Scott Pioli and they operated with arrogance and ignorance and that combination has led to incompetence. Goodness, the 22-37 record alone should be the No. 1 piece of evidence not only in the court of public opinion, but in the Hunt Family court.

The evidence was on display again Sunday at the once feared Arrowhead Stadium:

  • They are now 1-9 on the season, matching only two previous teams with that mark – 1987 and 2008.
  • Again, they are now 22-37 under the stewardship of Pioli.
  • They are now 0-5 at home this season, and they have a 3-12 record at Arrowhead since the last games of the 2010 season.
  • For Sunday’s game against the Bengals, Arrowhead was only half-full. The Chiefs do not release actual attendance figures; rather they announce the number of tickets sold. This allows them to do all sorts of massage to the numbers, making them seem better than they really are. Funny, but the Steelers announced actual attendance last Monday night in Pittsburgh. Take it from this veteran of now 32 seasons of watching games at Arrowhead: there were no more than 40,000 people inside, maybe less.
  • Of those people who did show up, at least half of that group was wearing black, honoring a call by the fan group SaveOurChiefs.com to have a “blackout” at Arrowhead to express the fans unhappiness with the way the team is being operated. Without a doubt, the protest was noticed, but I doubt it has any long-term effect on what happens. It’s that arrogance and ignorance thing.
  • The quarterback controversy nobody cares about is on, now that Romeo Crennel yanked Matt Cassel at half-time in favor of Brady Quinn. He was looking for a spark, but Quinn and his teammates acted like they were trying to light a fire with a pack of wet matches – they never penetrated the Cincinnati red zone. Not once. QB controversy always comes about when a team has two quarterbacks that aren’t very good. It’s hard to see how Cassel’s career with the Chiefs survives more than the final six games of the 2012 season.
  • Injuries are piling up something that normally happens at this time of year with bad football teams. Let me assure you that continued losing does cause injuries and there were more on this Sunday with WR Dwayne Bowe (head/heck) and LT Branden Albert (back) leaving the field and not returning.
  • The offensive line situation was a joke on Sunday when injuries pile up. From the start of his putting together his roster for this season, Pioli ignored the backup offensive line. When the Chiefs selected Jeff Allen and Donald Stephenson in rounds two and three of the 2012 NFL Draft that apparently passed for offensive-line depth.

The facts in evidence are overwhelming – Hunt and his decision makers have ruined a once proud and well-run franchise.

If Clark Hunt hasn’t come to realize that by now, then there is no hope. If major changes are not made, then it will be a total disregard for their customers. When he came into the building, Pioli railed about the sense of entitlement he felt players and employees even fans had involving the football team. Yet, he’s gone about directing the operation with his own sense of entitlement that everyone should somehow trust his worlds, his actions and his instincts. A 22-37 record does not entitle him to future employment.

Right now, the long, suffering Chiefs fans are entitled to believe there’s a future for their team. If that tipping point did not come Sunday, then it may never show itself.

Chiefs Are Dominated By A .500 Team, losing 28-6


From Arrowhead Stadium

It would have been hard to believe even two weeks ago that the 2012 Chiefs season could turn into anymore of a mess than what they had shown leading into their game last Monday night in Pittsburgh.

Well, it has. That came down Sunday at a half-filled and frustrated Arrowhead Stadium where the Chiefs season found another basement below the one they fell into over the previous nine games.

Cincinnati 28, Chiefs 6. It wasn’t a game that was as close as the score might indicate.

“I expected us to do better, particularly coming off the Monday night effort,” said head coach Romeo Crennel. “We ended up giving up yardage, giving up points and couldn’t move the ball offensively.

“I changed the quarterback and tried to generate some offense that way. It really wasn’t enough.”

Matt Cassel started, Brady Quinn replaced him in the second half and the offensive production was awful for both. It did not help matters that they were playing behind a patchwork offensive line that was without Ryan Lilja (knee) and Jon Asamoah (thumb), and then lost Branden Albert (back). They had two field goals and less than 30 yards of total offense.

Defensively, they were unable to stop anything the now 5-5 Bengals wanted to do. Cincinnati’s second-year duo of quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green led the demolition of the K.C. defense. Dalton threw for 230 yards with two TD passes and ran for another score. Green had 6 catches for 91 yards and a touchdown. Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis had 101 rushing yards and a touchdown.

“I thought we played well in all three phases,” said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. “Defensively we settled in after first drive and did a good job. Offensively, we took care of the football and that’s something we are constantly talking about. Today was a little bit of a mix of things, and we were able to grind in there pretty good.”

The loss was the seventh consecutive for the Chiefs who are now 1-9 on the season and a miserable 0-5 at once intimidating Arrowhead. The stadium was only half-full for the start of the game and a majority of those fans wore black as part of an organized protest against the way the team is being operated by owner Clark Hunt and general manager Scott Pioli.

One of the keys for the Bengals remarkably was fourth down; they were excellent with the number 4 on the down marker going 3-for-3 on conversions for two first downs and a touchdown. The other six third downs were punts by Kevin Huber and he averaged a stunning 53.7 yards, with a 48.7-yard net average and a 69-yard punt.

With the exception of their first possession when they went five plays and out, Cincinnati’s offense was able to do what they wanted against the Chiefs defense.

“We came out and wanted to play fast,” said Dalton. “We got stopped on that first possession, but then from there we just got on a roll. We picked up a couple fourth down conversions and that’s always great because we have confidence in the guys we have.”

The Chiefs actually put up the first points of the game thanks to a 34-yard FG from Ryan Succop. The Bengals came back and went down the field on an 11-play, 78-yard drive that ended with a touchdown catch by Green that had to be seen to believe. Green caught the four-yard pass from Dalton on the left edge of the end zone with Chiefs cornerback Javier Arenas all over him in coverage. Green reached around Arenas and caught the ball with one hand, while getting both feet down in the end zone. The PAT kick by Mike Nugent gave Cincinnati a 7-3 lead.

The Bengals came back midway through the second quarter and added touchdown No. 2. The score was setup by a 40-yard Dalton to Green pass completion with another nine yards tacked on when Chiefs safety Abram Elam was penalized for unnecessary roughness for his hit on Green. Three plays later Cincinnati thought it had a touchdown as tight end Jermaine Gresham bulled through three potential tacklers and across the goal line. Replay review wiped out the score, saying Gresham’s knee touched at the K.C. one-yard line.

Facing 4th-and-goal, Dalton scored on a pretty bootleg run, completely fooling the Chiefs defense and the PAT kick made it 14-3.

Touchdown No. 3 for the Bengals wrapped up an 11-play, 79-yard drive with a one-yard score by Green-Ellis. Nugent’s PAT kick gave Cincinnati a 21-3 lead, but that was chopped to 15 points when Succop hit a 33-yard field goal on the final play of the first half.

Quinn came into the game for Cassel at the start of the third quarter, but the change didn’t generate the spark Crennel was looking for from his offense.

“As a team we didn’t perform the way we wanted to, so it definitely was a tough day,” said Cassel. “It was a tough day for me as well. I wasn’t anticipating what happened at halftime. Coach said he wanted to create a spark for the team. That’s how it went.”

The only score of the second half was the Bengals fourth touchdown, a 14-yard pass from Dalton to rookie wide receiver Mohamed Sanu early in the fourth quarter that set the final score.

Can it get much worse for the Chiefs? Sure it can. The club record for consecutive defeats is 9 and was done twice, in 1987 and 2007. Only two previous teams in the franchise’s 53 seasons held a 1-9 record at this point of the season (1987-2008). The defeat also guaranteed them a losing record on the season, their second consecutive and fifth in the last six years.

“I’m just tired of losing, especially at home,” said CB Brandon Flowers. “We’ve just got to find a way to win.”

Limping Chiefs Get Blasted By Bengals


From Arrowhead Stadium

It was another game-day on Sunday and that meant another loss for the 2012 Chiefs.

The Cincinnati Bengals scored three touchdowns in the first half and one in the fourth quarter, but did not need the last two as they easily won 28-6 in front of a half-filled Arrowhead Stadium.

Whatever momentum and energy the Chiefs were able to produce from their effort in Pittsburgh on Monday night disappeared fairly quickly on this sunny November afternoon. The defense had trouble in the first half, but had a solid second half performance. The offense was bad the entire game, playing behind a patchwork offensive line and then losing WR Dwayne Bowe (neck) in the first half and LT Branden Albert (back) in the second half.

The Chiefs have now lost seven straight games and are now 1-9 on the season, the third season in the club’s 53-season history where they’ve held that record. The other seasons were 1987 and 2008.

Here’s our coverage:

 

Pre-Game From Bengals Vs. Chiefs


From Arrowhead Stadium

11:25 a.m. CST – The teams are finishing up their warm-up period and we are closing in on kickoff for the Chiefs and Bengals. Remember our coverage will begin in the moments after the game with stories coming all afternoon, evening and into the early morning. Enjoy the day.

11:20 a.m. CST – The National Weather Service forecast for today calls for sunny skies, with temperatures at kickoff hovering near 60 degrees. The NWS says the wind will blow from 12 to 15 mph, with 20 mph gusts from the south. But when it has been blowing this morning, the wind has come from the north, northeast.

11:15 a.m. CST – The Bengals have five changes to their starting lineup today because of injury. Rookie WR Mohamed Sanu will start rather than Brandon Tate. At center, Jeff Faine is active but Trevor Robinson is scheduled to start against the Chiefs. On defense, Robert Geathers will open at LDE rather than Carlos Dunlap and the starting safeties are Chris Crocker (strong) and Taylor Mays (free) rather than Nate Clements and Reggie Nelson.

11:10 a.m. CST – The Chiefs say that Steve Breaston will start today, in place of the inactive Jon Baldwin. The NFL is an amazing place – just six days ago, Breaston couldn’t even get on the field in uniform to play against the Steelers in his hometown. Every wide receiver on the active roster, including the barely played rookie Devon Wylie was considered ahead of him. Less than a week later, he’s not only active, but in the starting lineup.

11:05 a.m. CST – Kicking towards the west goal posts, Ryan Succop was good from 49 yards, but missed well short from 55 yards.

11 a.m. CST – The wind is gusty today and when it picks up it could be a factor in throwing or kicking. Ryan Succop is on the field for his normal pre-game routine and he was good from 49 yards out towards the east end zone, but short at 52 yards. As always in Arrowhead the wind is swirling as the ribbons on the east goal posts are pointing east and the ribbons on the west goal posts are blowing west.

10:55 a.m. CST – Inactive players for the Bengals today are WR Andrew Hawkins, S Reggie Nelson, CB Jason Allen, DT Devon Still, DT Brandon Thompson, WR Marvin Jones and TE Richard Quinn.

10:50 a.m. CST – The right side of the Chiefs offensive line is completely re-made for this game and they’ll face the left side of the Bengals defensive like that features DEs Carlos Dunlap and Robert Geathers, along with NT Domata Peko, with DT Geno Atkins sitting inside as well. Atkins has 7 sacks, Peko has 51 tackles and 1.5 sacks, while both Dunlap and Geathers have 2.5 sacks each.

10:45 a.m. CST – Doors have opened just in the last few minutes and while this is a little bit like relying on early election returns, there are a significant amount of the early entries wearing black instead of red. A fans group has called for an Arrowhead blackout for this game, with fans attending wearing black instead of the normal white.

10:40 a.m. CST – Chiefs make it official with Russ Hochstein at center, Eric Winston at RG and Donald Stephenson at RT. That’s 4 of the 5 offensive line spots having a starter today different than the man that opened the season. LT Branden Albert is the last man standing.

10:35 a.m. CST – With both Ryan Lilja and Jon Asamoah out of action for the Bengals, it’s a real mystery who will play right guard. Russ Hochstein will step in at center, but Lilja was going to play for Asamoah at RG. On Friday, the Chiefs had RT Eric Winston working at RG and rookie Donald Stephenson at RT. Newly promoted Rich Ranglin is a guard, but it’s hard to believe the Chiefs would put him into the starting lineup in his first taste of NFL action.

10:30 a.m. CST – Inactive players for the Chiefs against Cincinnati: QB Ricky Stanzi, C Ryan Lilja, G Jon Asamoah, WR Jon Baldwin, DT Jerrell Powe, S Tysyn Hartman and RB Cyrus Gray.

10:25 a.m. CST – Roster move last night sending TE Jake O’Connell to the injured-reserve list due to a high ankle sprain. Promoted GRich Ranglin from the practice squad.

10:20 a.m. CST – Former Chiefs TE Jonathan Hayes has been standing at the 50-yard line where he’s been meeting and greeting various familiar faces from his time in the NFL, particularly assistant coaches and staff members. Hayes has become one of the finer tight end coaches in the league over his

10:15 a.m. CST – Good morning from the Truman Sports Complex where it’s a glorious November morning for a football game with sunny skies, cold temperatures and a breeze coming out of the north, northeast. We’ll cover the next 75 minutes or so of what’s going on inside the stadium.

Chiefs Tired Of Waiting … GameDay Cup O’Chiefs

Eric Winston pondered the question for the briefest of moments.

“Yes, I remember what it feels like to win,” the Chiefs offensive lineman. “But it has been too damn long, too damn long.”

It’s been 57 days since the Chiefs beat the Saints in New Orleans; that’s eight weeks ago. On that same Sunday in September, Jacksonville beat Indianapolis for the Jaguars only victory of the season. The Chiefs and Jags share their 1-8 records as the worst in the league right now, and both have six game losing streaks.

The Chiefs will try to regain that winning feeling against the Cincinnati Bengals at Arrowhead Stadium today. Kickoff is just after 12 noon with television coverage on CBS.

The Bengals are coming off a huge victory at home last Sunday, when they beat the New York Giants 31-13 to push their record to 4-5. They are a 3½-point road favorite in this one.

That’s to be expected for a team that hasn’t won a home game this season and has tasted victory just once in nine games.

In the aftermath of their last game, the Chiefs are hanging their helmets on the effort and passion they showed last Monday night in the overtime loss to the Steelers. For some in the building, it became the morale victory that they hope launches the team’s chances over the last seven games. …Read More!

O’Connell To IR; NFL Transactions – 11/17

The Chiefs moved TE Jake O’Connell off the active roster Saturday evening and to the injured-reserve list. O’Connell suffered a high ankle sprain in the Monday night game in Pittsburgh.

The decision to move him to IR may have less to do with his injury and more of a concern on the status of the team’s guards, since O’Connell spot on the 53-man roster was taken by practice squad G Rich Ranglin.

Jon Asamoah (thumb), Ryan Lilja (knee) and Jeff Allen (hand). Asamoah is definitely out and it appears Allen will play LG and Russ Hochstein will handle center. The question is whether Lilja will be physically able to play right guard.

Other transactions:

Dallas – signed C Kevin Kowalski; placed S Matt Johnson (hamstring) on the injured-reserve list.

Detroit – placed S Amari Spievey (concussions) on the injured-reserve list; activated CB Drayton Florence from the injured-reserve/designated return list.

Chiefs – placed TE Jake O’Connell (ankle) on the injured-reserve list; promoted G Rich Ranglin from the practice squad.

New England – released WR Deion Branch and CB Malcolm Williams; promoted WR Greg Salas from the practice squad; activated CB Aqib Talib from the suspended/commissioner exemption list.

Tampa Bay – signed DT Matthew Masifilo off the San Francisco practice squad.

Two-Way Ref Leads Zebras On Sunday

Gene Steratore’s life is about to become very busy.

Steratore and his officiating crew will work Sunday’s game between the Chiefs and Bengals at Arrowhead Stadium.

Soon, Steratore will not only be working on Sunday afternoons, but Tuesday, Thursday and Friday nights as a college basketball official. He’s the only NFL official that’s handled both sports in recent years. He’s known as one of the NFL’s better lead officials and in the basketball world he works the Big East, Big 10 and Atlantic 10 Conferences, along with some other games.

Following in the footsteps of his older brother Tony who is an NFL back judge, Gene Steratore joined the NFL in 2003 as a field judge and was moved to the referee position in 2006.

The last time he worked at Arrowhead Stadium was at the end of the 2011 season when he handled the Packers-Chiefs game. He lives in Washington, Pennsylvania where he runs Steratore Sanitary Supplies, a janitorial supply service.

So far this season, home teams have only a slight advantage in winning or losing. The crew averages nearly 12 flags and 93 yards walked off per game. …Read More!

A Zimmer Family Affair … Saturday Cup O’Chiefs

It isn’t often that Derrick Johnson is asked to critique one of his coaches. To be politically correct in a football sense, players do not often talk about the boss.

But the rules get bent a little bit when the player is older than the coach. That’s the case with Johnson and assistant linebackers coach Adam Zimmer.

D.J. will be 30 next week on Thanksgiving Day; Zimmer will be 29 in mid-January.

“Adam is smart, super smart,” said Johnson. “He’s a young guy but it’s amazing how much he knows. He’s been around the game for a long time and he’s got the jump on younger coaches because of that.

“It’s not just that he’s smart, he’s scary smart sometimes. He’s got great anticipation on what an offense is going to do.”

When Johnson’s words are repeated back to Mike Zimmer, the smile is so wide and bright that it’s visible through the phone lines from Cincinnati where he is defensive coordinator for the Bengals

“As a father that’s such a wonderful thing to hear,” he said on Friday. “He’s a smart young man and it’s great to hear that the players there recognize that.”

It will be a Zimmer family reunion in Kansas City this weekend as the Chiefs host the Bengals. …Read More!

Top College Prospects/Defense

From left to right Georgia LB Jarvis Jones, Florida State DE Bjoern Werner and Ohio State’s Johnathan Hankins.

As the 2012 college season rolls towards its regular season conclusion, we are going to re-visit some of the top prospects for the 2013 NFL Draft and update you on where they stand in the eyes of the scouts and personnel types.

This week we’ll look at the top 3 players at each position on defense, with their performance this year and their career stats. Next week, we’ll do the same on offense.

In the eyes of most scouts, the ’13 Draft will be dominated at the top by defensive players. The landscape will shift several times before the end of April, but as many as 12 of the top 15 choices figure to be defenders. …Read More!

NFL Fines, Transactions, Injuries – 11/16

Indianapolis – promoted DB Teddy Williams from the practice squad; released DB Marshay Green.

Fined by the NFL for their actions

  • NFL referee Tony Corrente, one-game check, for yelling an obscenity during a game Nov. 4th that was picked up by his wireless microphone and broadcast in the stadium and over the network telecast.
  • Detroit WR Ryan Broyles, $10,000 for an illegal crack back block vs. Minnesota.
  • Jacksonville DT Terrance Knighton, $25,000 for helmet-to-helmet hit on Indianapolis QB Andrew Luck.
  • Jacksonville S Dawan Landry, $10,000, for hit on Indianapolis QB Andrew Luck.
  • Chiefs OLB Tamba Hali, $25,000 for helmet hit on QB vs. Pittsburgh.
  • Chiefs OLB Justin Houston, $7,875 for an excessive celebration.
  • Minnesota LB Jasper Brinkley, $21,000 for unnecessary roughness vs. Detroit.
  • Minnesota S Mistral Raymond, $7,875 for unnecessary roughness vs. Detroit.
  • New England LB Jerod Mayo, $10,000 for late hit out of bounds.
  • New England LB Alfonzo Dennard, $7,875 for a late hit out of bounds.
  • New England LB Brandon Spikes, $25,000 for roughing the passer penalty vs. Buffalo. …Read More!

Hali, Houston Fined By NFL

The NFL reached into the wallets of Chiefs OLBs Tamba Hali and Justin Houston because of their actions from Monday night’s game in Pittsburgh.

Hali was dinged for a $25,000 fine for hitting Steelers QB Byron Leftwich with his helmet, drawing a roughing the passer penalty.

Houston was fined $7,875 for being the ring leader of the Chiefs defensive dance routine in the end zone after he scored an apparent touchdown in the third quarter.

4 Keys To A Chiefs Victory Over Cincinnati

4

Don’t allow Pacman to gobble up yards

Adam “Pacman” Jones has been doing a good job of keeping himself out of trouble in the last year or so with the Bengals. He’s a contributor on defense and special teams for Cincinnati, most specifically as a punt returner. On a dozen returns, he’s averaged 17 yards per return and scored on an 81-yard return against Cleveland. Right now the Bengals are ranked No. 3 in punt return average in the league. The Chiefs are No. 25 in punt coverage (10.9-yard average return) largely due to the 88-yard TD they gave up earlier this year in Buffalo. Pacman has spent the week on the Bengals injury report with a calf problem so there’s always a chance the Chiefs might get lucky and not face Jones. But his replacement WR Brandon Tate is no easy tackle; he has 3 career return TDs, including a punt return for a score last year. Win the special teams battle, especially in covering punts. …Read More!

Chiefs Practice/Offensive Line Update – 11/16

From Arrowhead Stadium

If the early portion of Friday morning’s practice is any indication, the Chiefs may have a very jumbled situation on their offensive line when they face Cincinnati on Sunday.

Ryan Lilja was not practicing with the team on Friday. Instead he was in the rehab area riding a stationary bike and lifting light weights due to a knee injury according to the Chiefs. Lilja had moved from center to right guard this week jumping into the spot of Jon Asamoah who has been declared out of Sunday’s game due to a right thumb injury that required surgery on Wednesday.

With Lilja sitting out that caused a complete shift on the right side of the line, as tackle Eric Winston moved inside to right guard and rookie Donald Stephenson moved into the right tackle spot. Russ Hochstein was working at center no matter the different combinations to his right.

Lilja was not on the list of names of those that wouldn’t practice provided by head coach Romeo Crennel earlier Friday when he spoke to the media. In the past he’s been bothered by back issues. For a starting center on a short week, if they wanted to give him some rest, then Friday’s practice would be the best. All the offense is installed by that time and it’s all about brushing up on the game plan. When the team released its official report to the league, Lilja was listed with the knee and labeled questionable

There is no indication in the Chiefs biographical material on Winston that he’s ever played significant time at guard in the NFL.

Crennel did rule out WR Jon Baldwin (head/neck) out of Sunday’s game against the Bengals. He will join Asamoah on the sidelines. TE Jake O’Connell (ankle) has not practiced all week and also has been declared out.

QB Brady Quinn (concussion) was to meet with medical personnel after practice to determine whether he would be allowed to play against Cincinnati. The Chiefs listed him as questionable on their injury report, so has been cleared to play. Whether Quinn dresses as the No. 2 QB ahead of Ricky Stanzi won’t be known until Sunday. Matt Cassel will start against the Bengals.

WR Dwayne Bowe (thigh), TE Steve Maneri (ankle) and NT Dontari Poe (knee) are “going to be OK” according to Crennel and thus should be able to play against Cincinnati.

Here’s what each team reported to the league with starters highlighted in red.

Chiefs

OUT – G Jon Asamoah (thumb), WR Jon Baldwin (head/neck), TE Jake O’Connell (ankle).

QUESTIONABLE – C/G Ryan Lilja (knee), QB Brady Quinn (concussion).

PROBABLE – WR Dwayne Bowe (thigh), TE Steve Maneri (ankle), NT Dontari Poe (knee).

Bengals

DOUBTFUL – WR Marvin Jones (knee), S Reggie Nelson (hamstring).

QUESTIONABLE – C Jeff Faine (hamstring), WR Andy Hawkins (knee).

PROBABLE – LB Vontaze Burfict (elbow), DB Nate Clements (knee), CB Adam Jones (calf), S Taylor Mays (knee), DT Devon Still (back).

Atlanta Advice Would Help Hunt … Friday Cup O’Chiefs

There are few people involved in the game of professional football that I have more respect for than Marty Schottenheimer.

And, if Clark Hunt is drilling into the instincts, knowledge and common sense of the former Chiefs head coach it can only help the cause.

But this is an opportunity for Young Mr. Hunt to get a real education on football in today’s NFL. There’s no question he understands the financial end of the business. He’s not shown any affinity for the football side and the people side.

Give him credit – he’s trying. Last week the Chiefs held an employee function at a local bowling alley, complete with the team chairman chucking balls down the alley. It’s a small thing that if it stands alone means nothing. If it’s combined with a bunch of other small moments there’s a chance for him to change the perception of the organization, both from inside and outside.

Same too on the football end. Talking with Schottenheimer is a good start; but there needs to be more. One guy that Hunt needs to sit down and talk with is Arthur Blank of the Atlanta Falcons. …Read More!

Not So Dirty Dancing & Other Bengals Notes

So the entire Chiefs Nation was upset by the celebratory dancing by the defense in the end zone Monday night in Pittsburgh.

But Chiefs fans need to be reminded that the whole idea of end zone celebrations in pro football has its roots with the Chiefs.

For those that do not know, the player that’s considered the father of the end zone touchdown dance was Chiefs WR Elmo Wright. As a college player at the University of Houston he did some dancing, but he really went to another level after he was selected by the Chiefs in the first round of the 1971 NFL Draft.

It was at Houston when he first did his touchdown dance, high stepping in the end zone after the score. There were a lot of people in football that didn’t like it then and probably wouldn’t like it now. Compared to some of today’s antics, including the Chiefs defense’s chorus line or the Hali-Houston sack Riverdance after taking down Ben Roethlisberger, Elmo Wright’s high stepping is hardly noticeable.

In the Chiefs current locker room, nobody was happy about the penalty yardage from the end zone celebration. But it was certainly not topic No. 1. …Read More!

Checking In On 2012 1st-Round Picks

We’ve rolled past the halfway point of the 2012 NFL season and Tony Villotti over at the DRAFTMETRICS website put together a checkup on the first round draft choices and what they’ve done so far in their brief careers.

Right now, half of the first-round picks opened the season as Day 1 starters, including the Chiefs choice, NT Dontari Poe. Another half-dozen have started at least a handful of games.

Here’s the picks and what they’ve done. Check out DRAFTMETRICS for more info.

1 Andrew Luck Colts

QB

Day 1 starter who may live up to the hype
2 Robert Griffith Redskins

QB

Day 1 starter who may live up to the hype
3 Trent Richardson Browns

RB

Day 1 starter has played 2/3 of snaps
4 Matt Kalil Vikings

OT

Day 1 starter who has played every snap
5 Justin Blackmon Jaguars

WR

Starter getting mixed reviews on performance
6 Morris Claiborne Cowboys

CB

Day 1 starter
7 Mark Barron Bucs

S

Day 1 starter 
8 Ryan Tannehill Dolphins

QB

Day 1 starter 
9 Luke Kuechly Panthers

LB

Day 1 starter
10 Stephon Gilmore Bills

CB

Day 1 starter 
11 Dontari Poe Chiefs

NT

Day 1 starter
12 Fletcher Cox Eagles

DT

Started last 3 games; saw action in first 6 games
13 Michael Floyd Cardinals

WR

Cards #4 WR at this point, but sees lots of action
14 Michael Brockers Rams

DT

Injured in the preseason but started 5 of the last 6
15 Bruce Irvin Seahawks

DE

Situational rusher, playing 25 or so snaps a game
16 Quinton Coples Jets

DE

Started only 2 games but has seen significant action
17 Dre Kirkpatrick Bengals

CB

Just returned from summer knee injury
18 Melvin Ingram Chargers

LB

Reserve role; averages about 20 snaps per game
19 Shea McClellin Bears

LB

Reserve role; suffered concussion last week
20 Kendall Wright Titans

WR

Reserve role; leads team in catches
21 Chandler Jones Patriots

DE

Day 1 starter
22 Brandon Weeden Browns

QB

Day 1 starter
23 Riley Reiff Lions

OT

Started 4 games but all as an OL playing TE
24 David DeCastro Steelers

G

Has missed entire season with injury
25 Don’t'a Hightower Patriots

LB

Day 1 starter, missed games with an injury
26 Whitney Mercilus Texans

LB

Limited playing time; 16 defensive snaps
27 Kevin Zeitler Bengals

G

Day 1 starter
28 Nick Perry Packers

LB

Started first 4 games; injury ended his season
29 Harrison Smith Vikings

S

Day 1 starter
30 A.J. Jenkins 49ers

WR

Has not played; early leader for bust of the draft
31 Doug Martin Bucs

RB

Day 1 starter has had some big days
32 David Wilson Giants

RB

Limited action; most snaps returning kicks

NFL Transactions – 11/15

NFL – fined:

- Denver LB Von Miller, $21,000 for a low hit on Carolina QB Cam Newton last Sunday.

- Washington DB DeAngelo Hall, $30,000 for actions in argument with game official in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh – placed OLB Chris Carter (abdominal) on the injured-reserve list; promoted LB Marshall McFadden from the practice squad.

Chiefs Practice Update – 11/15

From the Truman Sports Complex

Every offensive play starts with a snap from the center.

Right now, we aren’t sure who is going to make that snap on Sunday for the Chiefs against the Cincinnati Bengals.

It is part of the domino effect of RG Jon Asamoah being declared out of Sunday’s game because of a thumb injury that required surgery on Wednesday. Crennel indicated that veteran Russ Hochstein (right) would take his spot in the starting lineup.

But it turns out Hochstein looks like he’s going to play center and that Ryan Lilja is going to move over to right guard. That’s what the offensive line showed during the early part of Thursday’s practice that was open to the media. It doesn’t mean that’s how things will go down against the Bengals, but it tells us that it’s under consideration.

“I can neither confirm nor deny any of that,” Hochstein said in his best New England Patriots voice after Thursday’s practice. “I’ll play wherever they tell me to play and help out where they need me.”

Lilja moved from left guard to center six games ago when starter Rodney Hudson went down with a season ending leg injury.

The practice reports for Thursday:

Chiefs

OUT – G Jon Asamoah (thumb)

DID NOT PARTICIPATE – WR Jon Baldwin (head/neck), TE Jake O’Connell (ankle).

LIMITED – TE Steve Maneri (ankle).

FULL – WR Dwayne Bowe (thigh), NT Dontari Poe (knee).

Bengals

DID NOT PARTICIPATE – S Reggie Nelson (hamstring).

LIMITED – LB Vontaze Burfict (elbow), DB Nate Clements (knee), C Jeff Faine (hamstring), CB Adam Jones (calf), WR Marvin Jones (knee), S Taylor Mays (knee).

FULL – DT Devon Still (back).

Asamoah Out After Thumb Surgery

From the Truman Sports Complex

Starting right guard Jon Asamoah is out of Sunday’s game against Cincinnati after undergoing surgery on his right thumb on Wednesday.

Now, the question is who will play right guard against the Bengals/

Asamoah suffered the injury during Monday night’s game against Pittsburgh. The injury and subsequent surgery will keep him out of the game this week, but head coach Romeo Crennel said it’s not a season-ending problem.

“He can’t play with it this week,” said Crennel. …Read More!

Last Chance For Cassel? … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

He was booed back in July at a celebrity softball game that was part of the All-Star Game festivities.

Heaven knows what type of sounds will come out of the stands at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday when Matt Cassel is scheduled to start at quarterback for the 1-8 Chiefs.

With Brady Quinn at least a few more days away from getting clearance from the doctors to play after his concussion, the Chiefs have to spend the week getting Cassel ready to start. They don’t really have much choice, because they couldn’t use the week getting Quinn ready and then have him not cleared to play.

“I feel like I’m the starting quarterback until I’m told otherwise,” Cassel said after the Chiefs finished up their Wednesday practice getting ready to face Cincinnati. “I’m planning, preparing like I’m the starting quarterback.”

He has been told otherwise – that was the purpose of Romeo Crennel coming out of the bye week and moving Quinn into the starting lineup. It’s a move that Crennel felt was necessary and he planned to give Quinn every chance in the world to play and keep the job.

But a dozen plays into that first start, Quinn was out with a concussion and he’s already missed two games and could make that three games come Sunday against the Bengals. There seems little doubt that Quinn will start on November 25 against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. Only one thing stands in the way of that – the best performance of Cassel’s career.

How likely is that to happen? …Read More!

NFL Transactions – 11/14

NFL – fined:

- Houston LB Tim Dobbins, $30,000 for hit on Chicago QB Jay Cutler that led to a concussion on Sunday in Chicago.

- Green Bay TE Ryan Taylor, $21,000 for an illegal block in game vs. Arizona.

AFC – named Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton offensive player of the week, Indianapolis CB Darius Butler defensive player of the week, Baltimore WR Jacoby Jones special teams player of the week.

NFL – named New Orleans TE Jimmy Graham offensive player of the week, Seattle CB Richard Sherman defensive player of the week, Dallas WR Dwayne Harris special teams player of the week.

Carolina – placed LB Thomas Keiser (elbow) on the injured-reserve list.

Dallas – promoted DT Ben Bass from the practice squad; placed DT Kenyon Coleman (triceps) on the injured-reserve list.

N.Y. Giants – placed DT Markus Kuhn (knee) on the injured reserve list.

Oakland – signed LB Omar Gaither; placed LB Travis Goethel (knee) on the injured-reserve list.

Tampa Bay – promoted LB Markus White from the practice squad.

Chiefs Practice Update – 11/14

From the Truman Sports Complex

It was not a normal Wednesday practice for the Chiefs as they went without shoulder pads.

Head coach Romeo Crennel wanted to give them whatever help he could in overcoming the soreness of playing Monday night and not having a true day off this week.

Under perfect weather conditions – sunny, warm and a light breeze – they went through a slightly abbreviated session, the first chance they’ve had to prepare for Sunday’s game against Cincinnati.

Missing from the practice field were WR Jon Baldwin, RG Jon Asamoah and TE Jake O’Connell. Baldwin suffered either head or neck injuries, or both, against Pittsburgh. In the second half he landed helmet first on the Heinz Field turf and was momentarily woozy. He did not return to the game and Crennel said he would have to pass all the NFL concussion testing before he can get back on the field.

Asamoah suffered a right thumb injury and the fact he was not on the field for the first part of the practice is an indication the injury could be a problem.

O’Connell has a high ankle sprain that he suffered in Pittsburgh and it’s doubtful he’ll be available for the next couple weeks. That’s the major reason the Chiefs added Lincoln Prep-Central Missouri State TE Demarco Cosby to the practice squad. Cosby was wearing No. 48 in Wednesday’s session.

Other injured players listed by Crennel included NT Dontari Poe (knee), TE Steve Maneri (ankle) and WR Dwayne Bowe (thigh). All were participating in the early part of practice that’s open to the media and is largely positional drills and they were listed as limited. QB Brady Quinn (concussion) was a full participant.

The Bengals practice/injury report was this:

DID NOT PRACTICE – CB Adam Jones (calf), WR Marvin Jones (knee), S Reggie Nelson (hamstring), TD Devon Still.

LIMITED PRACTICE – LB Vontaze Burfict (elbow), DB Nate Clements (knee), C Jeff Faine (hamstring), S Taylor Mays (knee).

Nelson, Still and Marvin Jones did not play last Sunday against the N.Y. Giants.

Chiefs Add CMSU’s Cosby To Practice Squad

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs have signed former Central Missouri State tight end DeMarco Cosby to their practice squad. He was working in the team’s practice session on Wednesday.

The 6-3, 245-pound Cosby was signed in August 2011 and went to camp with the St. Louis Rams. He was released on the final cut before the regular season started and then spent one-game on the team’s practice squad. He signed with Green Bay going into training camp last year, but was placed on the injured-reserve list late in the pre-season with a hamstring injury.

Cosby started 14 games for CMSU during the 2010 season, catching 71 passes for 970 yards and 10 TDs. He finished up as the school’s all-time most productive tight end with 141 catches for 2,146 yards and 20 TDs over his career in Warrensburg.

He attended Lincoln Prep Academy in Kansas City before heading to Central Missouri.

A spot was open on the Chiefs practice squad when DB Neiko Thorpe was moved to the active roster to replace DE Glenn Dorsey who was sent to the injured-reserve list.

It Will Be Cassel This Sunday vs. Bengals

From the Truman Sports Complex

Matt Cassel will get another start at quarterback this coming Sunday when the Chiefs host Cincinnati at Arrowhead Stadium.

Head coach Romeo Crennel said Wednesday morning that Brady Quinn has been cleared by doctors for full participation in practice, but his ability to play on Sunday won’t be decided until the end of the practice week.

That forced Crennel to stay with Cassel.

“I can’t take the chance of practicing a guy all week and then he can’t play on Sunday,” said Crennel. “So Matt is the quarterback and Quinn and (Ricky) Stanzi will get some work too.”

But the bulk of preparation time will go to Cassel. On Monday night, Quinn said he had been cleared to play, but that’s not the word that Crennel eventually got on Tuesday evening about the quarterback’s recovery from an October 28th concussion.

“He is feeling a lot better, doing a lot better and the doctor told him he would monitor him through the week and if he makes it through without incident he would be cleared for the weekend,” Crennel said of Quinn.

What’s Next From Chiefs?/Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

In the aftermath of their performance on Monday night in Pittsburgh, what did we learn about the 2012 Chiefs, and what can we expect from them in the future?

We learned that when they play defense with passion they can be very effective, and when they want to run the ball they can do it against a good defense. We also learned they can dance at the most inappropriate times and that they can always find a way to lose the game.

What can we expect from them in the immediate future? Nothing.

Expectations for the 2012 Chiefs died quite awhile ago, somewhere between losing to Tampa Bay and Oakland back in October. It’s now been 53 days since they’ve won a game. By the time they get back on the field Sunday against Cincinnati, it will be 57 days, or eight long weeks of losing.

There’s absolutely no reason to expect them to come out against the Bengals and play with the same sort of passion and energy that they displayed against the Steelers. Some would give them the benefit of the doubt, hoping that a corner has been turned.

This team does not deserve that consideration. …Read More!

Romeo Not Happy With Celebrations

For whatever reason, probably because they were on national television and it was Monday Night Football, the Chiefs went a bit daffy in Pittsburgh with celebration.

Tamba Hali and Justin Houston combined on a sack of Ben Roethlisberger and there was some sort of Riverdance activity between the two. Houston picked up what appeared to be a fumble and returned it for a touchdown and almost the entire defense became dancing fools in the end zone, drawing a 15-yard penalty.

“With the record we have, we really can’t afford to be dancing or anything like that,” Crennel said Tuesday evening. “Our focus should be on trying to play good football and trying to do everything to help the team win and not do things that could cost the team field position, give a good opponent some momentum, those kind of things.

“Our guys know the rules and they should not have done it … I will talk to my players about that. I don’t expect it to happen again.”

As of early Tuesday evening, Crennel had not yet received word that QB Brady Quinn has been cleared by doctors to return to contact and participation in games. Quinn said after Monday night’s game that concussion specialists in Pittsburgh said he was ready to play.

“He is not officially cleared, so I can’t make a determination until I can find out exactly what the prognosis is for him,” Crennel said. “I think he’s ready to go.”

From the game, Crennel listed the injured players as WR Jon Baldwin (neck/head), TE Jake O’Connell (ankle), NT Dontari Poe (knee), RG Jon Asamoah (hand) and WR Dwayne Bowe (thigh).

NFL Transactions – 11/14

Atlanta – promoted TE Chase Coffman from the practice squad; signed WR Tim Toone; released DE Ray Edwards; placed TE Tommy Gallarda (shoulder) on the injured-reserve list.

Baltimore – signed CB Chris Johnson; placed RB Bobby Rainey (knee) on the injured-reserve list.

Carolina – signed OL Jeremy Bridges

Chicago – signed QB Josh McCown; released TE Brody Eldridge.

Denver – released DB Duke Ihenacho.

New England – signed G Mitch Petrus.

N.Y. Jets – released LB Aaron Maybin; placed DB Isaiah Trufant (knee) on the injured-reserve list.

Philadelphia – signed G Jake Scott; released G Julian Vandervelde.

Tampa Bay – placed LB Quincy Black (neck) on the injured-reserve list.

Notes & Quotes: Bowe Has Big Game, As Blocker

From Heinz Field, Pittsburgh

WR Dwayne Bowe makes his living catching and running with the ball.

But Monday night against the Steelers, Bowe was also doing plenty of blocking, and it wasn’t downfield. He was on the edge of the scrum between the offensive and defensive lines. He was effective in cutting off the backside pursuit which the Pittsburgh defense does very well.

Backside pursuit is when a defender away from the direction the ball is being run comes in behind and makes a tackle. If the defensive line and linebackers on the side where the ball is headed can hold up the back’s forward movement for even a second, defenders coming from behind can often make the tackle.

“I want to do anything I can to help this team win games,” Bowe said after the game. “I’m a big receiver and while I’m not like an offensive lineman big, I can slow these guys down. We are kind of banged up at tight end so it was something else that I could help with.”

Sometimes the guy he was trying to slow down was James Harrison, one of the NFL’s fiercest players. But he was an equal opportunity blocker, taking on defensive ends at times and inside linebackers as well. Were those guys surprised to see him getting in the way?

“They said a couple things, but that’s OK,” Bowe said with a smile. “I don’t think I intimidated them, but I got in there way.”

Injury report

As the picture to the right shows, Bowe got banged up late in the game when he was hit on the knee by Steelers FS Ryan Clark. But Bowe did not miss a play, while Clark ended up leaving the game with a concussion.

Among the rest of the Chiefs, at one point CB Javier Arenas limped off the field but Romeo Crennel said he was cramping. WR Jon Baldwin suffered a blow to the head or neck. Replays showed him landing on his head after a play and he was momentarily stunned. He left the field and went to the locker room, but returned to the sidelines. His absence in the last part of the game forced Terrance Copper into the offense since Steve Breaston was an inactive player.

Atmosphere report

The weather held down the crowd at Heinz Field as the Steelers announced attendance of 57,644. Since they sell every seat as part of season ticket packages, apparently the Steelers announce actual butts in the seats, rather than the fake number of tickets sold that teams like the Chiefs use.

The diminished crowd made noise, but nothing that adversely affected the Chiefs through the game. But the second half, the stadium had cleared out quite a bit.

Personnel report

The inactive players for the Chiefs were QB Brady Quinn, WR Steve Breaston, S Tysyn Hartman, RB Cyrus Gray, LB Bryan Kehl, OL Bryan Mattison and DT Jerrell Powe. Quinn was the only inactive player due to injury, as he continues to try to recover from his concussion. Breaston was a surprise and a sign of how far he’s fallen in the depth chart. It was also going to be his first chance to play a game at home; he grew up just down the Monongahela River in Braddock.

Active was DB Neiko Thorpe who was promoted to the 53-man roster for this game, filling the open spot left when DE Glenn Dorsey was placed on the injured-reserve list due to his calf injury. DL Shaun Smith got his first playing time of the 2012 season after being signed a week before.

Inactive players for the Steelers were QB Charlie Batch, CB DeMarcus Van Dyke, RB Rashard Mendenhall, S Troy Polamalu, LB Stevenson Sylvester, OT Marcus Gilbert and WR Antonio Brown. All but Batch and Van Dyke were due to injury.

The Steelers made a roster move before the game, as they released troubled DT Alameda Ta’amu, their fourth round selection in the 2012 NFL Draft. To fill his spot they promoted WR David Gilreath from their practice squad.

Efforts Worth Mentioning

LB Derrick Johnson forced a fumble of RB Isaac Redman; it was the 17th forced fumble of his career. He ranks fourth in Chiefs history. His 13 tackles gives him 827 career tackles, tying DB Kevin Ross (827) for fifth place in team history.

WR Dwayne Bowe caught four passes for 55 yards, moving into sixth place in team history with 5,553 career receiving yards. He passed E Chris Burford (5,505) for sixth.

RB Jamaal Charles carried the ball 23 times for 100 yards, marking his third 100-yard rushing performance of the season and the 13th of his career.

TE Tony Moeaki had three catches for a career-high 68 yards, including a career-long 38-yard reception in the first quarter from QB Matt Cassel. Moeaki’s previous long reception was a 34-yard catch.

Chiefs Now 1-8 For the Third Time

The Chiefs loss to Pittsburgh leaves them 1-8 on the season. That’s the third time in franchise history that they have held that record, and in one other season they had only one victory in nine games, along with a tie.

Here are the details:

Season

Record

KC Pts.

Opp. Pts.

Next Win

Final Record

1987

1-8

133

249

11/26

4-11

1988

1-7-1

112

149

11/13

4-11-1

2008

1-8

145

243

11/30

2-14

2012

1-8

146

256

?/?

?-?

Big Ben Goes Down And Out

From Heinz Field, Pittsburgh

Tamba Hali had no idea that Ben Roethlisberger had a problem.

In the third quarter of Monday night’s game, Chiefs OLB Justin Houston hit the Steelers quarterback low and Hali came in high as they got the only sack of the game.

It was on that play that Roethlisberger suffered a sprained right shoulder. Hali and Houston were too busy celebrating the sack to notice that the Pittsburgh quarterback was in pain.

“When we went back out there and the other guy was there (Byron Leftwich), that’s the first I realized something had happened,” said Hali.

Roethlisberger went to the sidelines and almost immediately went down the 50-yard line tunnel behind the Steelers bench. He did not return, as he was taken to a Pittsburgh hospital for an MRI on that shoulder.

After the game, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin did not have any information he wanted to share with the media at that time.

“I don’t live in the hypothetical world,” Tomlin said. “I wait until I get information and then I respond accordingly.

“I’ll wait to see what his status is like before we make any determinations.”

Leftwich handled the rest of the game, something that he found out from Roethlisberger.

“I always tell him ‘Let me know when you are really hurting’,” Leftwich said. “When he nodded at me, I knew I was going into the game. That’s the only communication we had.”

A sprained shoulder is an injury that some players can play with; Chiefs FS Kendrick Lewis played most of the 2011 season with a sprained shoulder that was braced up for every game.

Not so with the quarterback, especially when the shoulder that is sprained is part of his throwing arm. Roethlisberger could play this coming Sunday night against Baltimore, or he may be out for a month.

He’s been in this position before over his nine seasons in the league. Injuries have cost him starts in every one of those season except one – that in 2008 when the Steelers went to and won the Super Bowl, beating Arizona.

Leftwich admitted after the game that he’d gotten no reps in practice with the first team offense coming into the Monday night game.

“I haven’t, but I’m sure I’ll get some this week,” said Leftwich. “I haven’t had any first team reps since we left Latrobe (training camp). I haven’t thrown to Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders and those guys. It was good to get out there and get some work in.”

Officials Report: Strange Night for Zebras

From Heinz Field, Pittsburgh

Carl Cheffers and his crew handled the Monday night game and while the first half was quiet, that wasn’t the case in the second half.

In the third and fourth quarters they were a factor:

  • They took away a Chiefs offensive touchdown with a holding call on Branden Albert.
  • A Chiefs defensive touchdown was taken away by replay review, but not wiped out was an excessive celebration penalty on the Chiefs for a touchdown that didn’t count.
  • The Chiefs got a fourth timeout in the second half, or at least that’s what Cheffers told the crowd.
  • An offensive pass interference call against TE Tony Moeaki for pushing off a defender was marginal at best.

Maybe the biggest call was the holding penalty on Albert that came after Matt Cassel and Dwayne Bowe had hooked up on a 22-yard touchdown play

“I don’t know what they saw; I don’t feel like I held,” Albert said after the game. “I blocked my man, that’s what I do.”

When Albert heard his number 76 called for the penalty, he was livid. “I want our team to win and we made a good play, and …” said Albert, his voice trailing off.

The disputed defensive touchdown came when Pittsburgh QB Byron Leftwich lost control of the ball as his arm was moving forward. It bounced off a body and was picked up by Chiefs LB Justin Houston, who returned the ball for an apparent touchdown. The officials on the field ruled it was a fumble. That led to what seemed like the entire defense celebrating together in the end zone, which is not allowed and drew a penalty flag.

But after a replay review, the play was called an incomplete pass, wiping out the touchdown, but not the penalty.

“They make a ruling on it and so there is nothing you can do about it,” said head coach Romeo Crennel. “Evidently the players thought they had a touchdown on the field, but they didn’t and as a result of the celebration gave them good field position.”

There was one other replay review and that came on the touchdown catch by Pittsburgh WR Mike Wallace upheld the call on the field.

The so called fourth timeout came late in the game when a collision between Bowe’s knee and the head of Pittsburgh FS Ryan Clark left both players reeling. Bowe got up pretty quickly, but Clark was on the ground for awhile and eventually walked off with what coach Mike Tomlin called a concussion. At that time of the game, the rules call for an injury that stops the clock to cost a team a timeout or there is time runoff the clock if the team has no more timeouts remaining.

That was the case with the Chiefs, but because the Steelers also had a player injured, and did have a timeout left, Cheffers and crew took Pittsburgh’s last timeout and then announced that the Chiefs received a “fourth timeout” because the clock was stopped anyway by the Steelers injury. Confused? Join the club on that one.

Here’s the hanky report:

#

Team

Squad

Player

Penalty

Yards

1.

PIT

Offense

W. Colon

Holding

Minus-10

2.

PIT

Offense

W. Colon

Un. Conduct

Minus-9

3.

Chiefs

Offense

S. Maneri

False start

Minus-5

4.

Chiefs

Offense

B. Albert

Holding

Minus-10

5.

Chiefs

Defense

*

Excessive celebration

Minus-15

6.

Chiefs

Offense

J. Baldwin

Illegal formation

Declined

7.

Chiefs

Defense

J. Arenas

Pass interference

Minus-22

8.

Chiefs

Defense

A.Elam

Holding

Declined

9.

Chiefs

Defense

T.Hali

Rough passer

Minus-14

10.

Chiefs

Offense

T. Moeaki

Pass interference

Minus-10

The Chiefs penalties wiped out three offensive plays that produced 5, 12 and 22 yards, along with the touchdown that was taken off the scoreboard.

Kicking Game Performance Not So Special

From Heinz Field, Pittsburgh

In a game that appeared early to be a battle of defenses, every point was going to be important. With the Chiefs defense playing well and the offense bogged down, the kicking game needed to come up big for the Chiefs.

That didn’t happen. Yes, Ryan Succop’s field goal of 46 yards on the final play of regulation sent the game against the Steelers into overtime. But had Succop done his job earlier, along with some help from others in the kicking game, the night would not have ended up in overtime.

“Obviously I missed one I should make, I have to make,” Succop said of the 33-yard attempt that he missed in the third quarter. “But we came back and made one at the end to tie the score and I’m really proud of our guys to get us in position to kick that field goal. It’s something we can build on.”

That 33-yarder is the shortest miss of Succop’s NFL career and it could not have come at a worse time for the Chiefs. The offense thought it had a touchdown on a pass from Matt Cassel to Dwayne Bowe that went to the end zone, but it was called back because of a holding penalty on LT Branden Albert. To wash that taste from their mouth, the Chiefs needed points. They didn’t get them.

“You’d like to think that your kicker can make them when you get into makeable range,” said head coach Romeo Crennel. “I think he’ll tell you that he just screwed it up.”

Succop’s miss came at the open end of the stadium which is notoriously tough on kickers.

“When you come to Pittsburgh, you always hear about the open end of the stadium here,” said Succop. “But that’s no excuse. I have to make the kick.”

He had earlier made a 22-yard field goal, but then on the subsequent kickoff, Succop tried to angle his kick towards the corner, but it bounced out of bounds at the Steelers 7-yard line. That mistake gave Pittsburgh the ball at the 40-yard line and that helped set up a 35-yard field goal that were the Steelers first points of the game.

It wasn’t just Succop that struggled. RB Shaun Draughn had become the kickoff returner, replacing Javier Arenas several games ago. But he lost that job Monday night when he muffed a kickoff two yards deep in the end zone and batted it around a few times before securing possession. The problem came in field position, where the Chiefs started their possession at the 8-yard line. They punted it away and the Steelers ended up starting their possession at the 50-yard line. They turned that into a 7-play touchdown drive that tied the score.

Report Card: Chiefs vs. Steelers


From Heinz Field, Pittsburgh

PASSING OFFENSE: F – The Chiefs were unable to do much in the passing game against the Steelers defense. QB Matt Cassel hit just 11 of 26 (42.3 percent) for an average per attempt of only 5.9 yards. His passer rating was a very poor 46.0 and he threw the interception that decided the game.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C – Jamaal Charles ran for 100 yards, but it took him 23 carries to get that done, a 4.3-yard per carry average. He scored on a touchdown run of 12 yards and that was the only run for the Chiefs of more than 10 yards. Peyton Hillis added 30 yards on 10 carries – it all wasn’t good enough.

PASS DEFENSE: B – It was the strongest game of the season to date for the Chiefs secondary and their pass rush. They allowed only three completions of 20 yards or more and they did give up a touchdown pass. But that score was a remarkable catch by WR Mike Wallace with very good coverage by Brandon Flowers. They got after Ben Roethlisberger and a sack by Justin Houston and Tamba Hali drove the Pittsburgh quarterback from the game with a shoulder injury.

RUSH DEFENSE: B – The Steelers running game never got going against the Chiefs, averaging just 3.3 yards per carry. With Jonathan Dwyer ripping off a run of 17 yards, and Roethlisberger had 14 yards on a scramble that left just 64 yards on 27 carries, only 2.4 yards per carry.

SPECIAL TEAMS: F – Kicking game blunders killed the Chiefs throughout the game, including Ryan Succop missing a 33-yard field goal, and then later having a kickoff bounce out of bounds setting up the Steelers at the 40-yard line in a possession that led to a field goal. In a game with more field goals than touchdowns, that two FG swing was huge in the Chiefs chances of winning.

COACHING: B – Give Romeo Crennel credit for getting this team ready to play in a game where they appeared out matched; they played with as much effort as they have at any time this season. New defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs had his defenders ready to face the Pittsburgh offense and they kept the Steelers under control.

Play Of The Game: Timmons Intercepts Victory

From Heinz Field, Pittsburgh

QUARTER – Overtime period, 14 minutes, 21 seconds to play in the period.

SCORE – Game was tied at 13-13.

DOWN & DISTANCE – 2nd-and-6 for the Chiefs offense at the Kansas City 19-yard line.

SET – Chiefs were in a 1-back, 2-tight end, 2-wide receiver alignment with Matt Cassel under center.

The Chiefs were on a roll, with Ryan Succop hitting a 46-yard field goal to send the game into overtime, and then they won the coin toss and had the first opportunity with the football in the extra period. That’s what every team seeks when they start overtime.

But things started going downhill for the Chiefs on the kickoff when Shaun Suisham’s kick went 5 yards deep in the end zone. Rather than take a knee and give the Chiefs the ball at the 20-yard line automatically, rookie Devon Wylie decided to bring the ball out of the end zone. He was stopped at the 15-yard line.

On the first play, RB Jamaal Charles ran for four yards. That set up a 2nd-and-6 play for the Chiefs. They loaded up the left side of the formation with two wide receivers in Dwayne Bowe and Dexter McCluster and TE Steve Maneri. The Steelers fell back into zone coverage when Cassel dropped back to pass.

“I was just basically dropping back into hook coverage and I was just reading the quarterback,” said LB Lawrence Timmons. “I saw him throw the ball my way and I just read it, broke on it, caught the ball and made the play.”

Before the ball arrived in Timmons’ hands, it was ever so slightly tipped by DE Brett Keisel.

“I was throwing the curl and unfortunately one of the defensive linemen deflected it a little bit,” said Cassel. “It came off and went in a direction I didn’t want it to go.”

Three different Chiefs missed tackles on Timmons as he returned the interception – TEs Steve Maneri and Tony Moeaki and LG Jeff Allen, but it was finally LT that pushed him out of bounds at the Kansas City 5-yard line.

“We played good team defense,” said Timmons. “When the big play came, we made it.”

4 Keys To Chiefs Victory Over Steelers / Recap

From Heinz Field, Pittsburgh

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

4

When they have the chance, score

The Chiefs do not score many points to begin with, averaging just 16.6 points per game. They are the worst team in the league when it comes to producing points when they have the ball inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. In 19 red zone possessions, they have scored only 6 touchdowns. They kicked field goals in 10 other situations with three possessions where they got no points (think fumbles at the goal line.) To beat the Steelers on the road, they can’t afford to squander even one serious scoring chance. If they carry the ball into Pittsburgh territory, they must get points.

OUTCOME: FAILED – The Chiefs hit for a touchdown just once in three trips to the red zone. They scored another time, but lost that touchdown on a holding call against LT Branden Albert.

3

Slow down the Steelers running game

It has taken awhile for Todd Haley to get the Steelers run game up and running. In their current 3-game winning streak, Pittsburgh has averaged 155 rushing yards on 30 carries per game. That’s a 5.1-yard per carry average. In those games they had seven runs of 15 yards or more, by three different running backs: Jonathan Dwyer, Isaac Redman and Chris Rainey. That doesn’t even include their best back, the currently injured Rashard Mendenhall. In Pittsburgh’s three defeats, they averaged 61.7 rushing yards per game, with only one run for more than 15 yards. They don’t have to stop it completely, but they must control the Steelers run game.

OUTCOME: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED – The Chiefs defense held the Pittsburgh running game to an average of 3.3 yards per carry. The 95 yards the Steelers put up on the run includes 14 yards from QB Ben Roethlisberger and 4 yards on a reverse by WR Emmanuel Sanders. That’s leaves 77 yards for backs Dwyer-Redman.

2

Limit Pittsburgh’s big passing plays

If there’s one thing that Ben Roethlisberger loves to do is hit his wide receivers for big yardage plays. They may be playing a so called dink and dunk offense, but what they still put big plays up in the passing game. Big Ben has hit WR Mike Wallace alone for plays of 82, 51 and 37 yards. He’s found RB Isaac Redman for 55 and 33 yards. The Steelers will be without WR Antonio Brown, who is out with an ankle injury. The Chiefs defense has given up at least two pass plays of 20 yards or more in every game this season. In fact, 887 yards of the 1,870 passing yards they’ve allowed were on the 26 plays of 20 yards or more. That’s 47 percent of the passing offense against them. If Roethlisberger can stand back in the pocket and bomb away, it’s going to be ugly.

OUTCOME: PUSH – The Steelers had three completions out of 32 passes that went for 20 yards or more. But one of those helped set up a FG for the Steelers (31-yard catch by Sanders) and in the same drive the Steelers got 22 yards on a pass interference call against CB Javier Arenas. No question the Chiefs limited the Pittsburgh big plays.

1

Protect the ball

Until the turnover epidemic is stymied, the Chiefs chances of winning are slim and none. If they cannot hold the ball it will be an ugly evening. The Steelers have traditionally be one of the NFL’s best teams at taking the ball away. Over the previous five seasons they averaged 25 takeaways each season. But this year they have just 8 in as many games (4 interceptions and 4 fumbles recovered). They are about ready to explode on somebody and take the ball away multiple times. After 29 giveaways on the season, or an average of more than 3 per game, they must average zero per game.

OUTCOME: FAILED – Things were going well until the last seconds of the game when the outcome was decided by the interception thrown by Matt Cassel that was grabbed by LB Lawrence Timmons. Until then, the Chiefs had not turned the ball over. When they did, it was huge.

Chiefs Defense Comes Out Punching

From Heinz Field, Pittsburgh

The Steelers came out of the huddle on their first offensive play of Monday night’s game against the Chiefs and it figured that Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Todd Haley would have something a little different for his old team to see.

As the Steelers lined up in a normal two-back, one tight end and two wide receivers, one on each side Haley came through; Pittsburgh quickly shifted to five receivers with QB Ben Roethlisberger in the shotgun and an empty backfield behind him. Roethlisberger then found TE Heath Shuler wide open in the middle of the Chiefs base defense for a gain of 20 yards.

One snap, one big play, it immediately looked like it was going to be a long night for the Chiefs defense.

“Oh crap,” said ILB Derrick Johnson when asked for his reaction to that play. “It was something we’ve had to face before. But you know, we’ve been through a lot this year and we can take a punch and keep going.”

That’s just what the Chiefs defense did against Pittsburgh. The Steelers got 20 yards on that first play. In the next 61 offensive plays Pittsburgh produced 229 yards, or an average of 3.8 yards per play. They had 20 negative plays in the game on offense, and that’s why they struggled to produce just 249 yards. That’s the lowest offensive output by the Steelers since they were held to 210 yards against Baltimore in October 2010.

“That group came to play tonight,” said Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin of the Chiefs defense. “I tip my hat to Coach Crennel and company over there. We didn’t do enough to play good football.”

But the Steelers did play well enough to win, even though their offense struggled, especially when Roethlisberger went out in the third quarter with a right shoulder injury. The Chiefs did it with a lot of gang tackling, as they were getting a lot of helmets on the ball.

“We made that a point of emphasis this week in practice,” said Johnson. “Getting 11 hats to the ball, it’s starting to come together in that.”

One of the areas where the defense showed major improvement was in pass coverage. Although the Steelers were without WR Antonio Brown, they still had speedsters Mike Wallace and Emmanuel Sanders; they had plenty of talent to catch the ball. But Roethlisberger had all sorts of trouble before he left the game with an injury to his right shoulder. He would cock the ball to throw, and then pull it back down when his receiver was covered.

“Our secondary really played well today,” said OLB Tamba Hali. “They did a great job in coverage, that whole group back there did a good job, especially the kids.”

That would be Javier Arenas and Jalil Brown. Fellow defensive back Brandon Flowers was impressed by how they played.

“Those guys really stepped up,” Flowers said. “They really tried to play the techniques and it really made it tough sometimes for him (Roethlisberger) to find anyone.”

Pittsburgh’s only touchdown came over Flowers, as Wallace made a remarkable catch in the end zone, eventually trapping the ball between his knees.

“I knew the ball came out, but I didn’t know until I looked at the replay that he kept control of the ball,” said Flowers. “That’s just one of those where you say, ‘nice catch’.”

All the defensive players agreed that while the game did not end with the victory the Chiefs so desired, they had a very good defensive performance.

“We got better today,” Johnson said. “We didn’t win, but we got better and that beats what we have been doing. What this game says is this team is about defense. That’s the way it is. That’s not pressure on us because I think on defense we have enough confidence that we can come out and get the offense going.

Derrick Johnson Puts On All-Pro Performance


From Heinz Field, Pittsburgh

There were a lot of well-known linebackers on the field Monday night. Pittsburgh has a couple in James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley. The Chiefs have one of the organization’s top quarterback sackers of all time in Tamba Hali.

But the best linebacker on the field in the Chiefs-Steelers game was Derrick Johnson. If the rest of the league hung in there and watched the Chiefs and Steelers go to overtime, they saw one of the best performance of Johnson’s eight-year career and one that should punch his ticket to All-Pro selections and Pro Bowls and the like, even though he’s playing with a team that is 1-8.

“They can’t do anything with him,” one wise old sage from Pittsburgh said about Johnson during the game. “They can’t stop him. He’s making every play.”

Well, not every play, but a lot of them. Johnson was credited with 13 total tackles including 12 solo stops. He had two tackles for loss and forced an Isaac Redman fumble in the first half. He also made a huge stop of Redman in the third quarter on a 4th-and-1 play at the 50-yard line. Redman went backward and lost a yard and the Chiefs took over on downs.

Overall, eight of his tackles came in the running game and those produced just 13 yards.

“They are a running team and I think we felt that was their strength,” said Johnson. “We were more focused today and especially focused on that. I think they only got us maybe once or twice for any kind of long runs and that’s a lot better than what we’ve been doing in recent weeks.

“We knew we had to get on them and get on them quick. If we started out slow, we were going to get run out of the stadium.”

That didn’t happen and one of the major reasons was Johnson, not only in his physical play, but his mental contributions as he spent the game being very vocal and getting teammates adjusted at times when he saw the offensive formations.

“We knew we had a big challenge ahead of us with Todd Haley as offensive coordinator,” said Johnson. “We know what he’s capable of coming up with and we wanted to stop what they do. That’s not easy because they’ve been running the ball really good in the last few games.

“We left a couple plays on the field, but we are getting better.”

With his 13 tackles, Johnson now has 78 on the season; it’s been a slow start to the season for him, but in the last four games he’s averaged 10 tackles per game. In the five games before that, he averaged 7.5 tackles per. At his current pace this season he’ll finish with 139 tackles and that would be the fewest in the last three seasons.

“We are starting to put things together and I can’t really tell you why it’s taken this long,” Johnson said. “There’s no doubt that we got off to a slow start. If I knew why, then we would have fixed it. But we are getting better.”

And Derrick Johnson is getting better as well.

“It’s up to the veterans on this team to lift everybody else,” he said. “I take that seriously.”

So Close, But Chiefs Fall 16-13 In Overtime


From Heinz Field, Pittsburgh

It wasn’t a perfect performance by any measure. But it was a gutty effort, battling a good team playing at home in miserable weather conditions.

And when the Chiefs pushed Monday night’s game against the Steelers into overtime, and then won the coin toss for first possession in the extra period, it seemed possible that their long nightmare of a 2012 season could end.

But a Lawrence Timmons interception of a Matt Cassel’s pass in overtime, and Timmons’ 23-yard return to the Chiefs 5-yard line set up K Shaun Suisham for a 23-yard chip shot field goal that gave Pittsburgh a 16-13 victory. It pushed their record to 6-3 and the Chiefs are now 1-8, tied for the worst record in the NFL after nine weeks and now losers of six straight games.

In the end, despite a tremendous defensive effort that chased Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger from the game with an injured shoulder, the Chiefs made too many mistakes to turn that performance into a victory.

“The guys played their hearts out,” said head coach Romeo Crennel. “We made a couple mistakes that helped them, but if the guys keep playing that way, we can definitely get this ship turned. That’s what it takes on a weekly basis.”

In what has been a disastrous season, the Chiefs performance on Monday night was their best collective effort. The defense held the Pittsburgh offense to one touchdown and less than 300 yards. RB Jamaal Charles ran for 100 yards against a tough Steelers defense.

“I think that we played well in all phases,” said Cassel. “We just played football in which we complimented each other and that was the first time we played well together this year.”

But not well enough. All season long the Chiefs have shot themselves in the foot with mistakes, penalties and turnovers. Monday night was no different. They had 17 points in their hands at some point in the game and didn’t get a single digit of that total. They had one offensive touchdown wiped out by a penalty. They had a defensive touchdown that died on replay review and the almost always reliable K Ryan Succop missed a 33-yard field goal.

“You know with this team, we haven’t been scoring a lot of points,” said Crennel. To be able to score some, it was a good feeling. And then to have it taken off the board was a bad feeling.”

They actually got on the scoreboard with the game’s initial points, the first time they’ve led at any point in regulation time. It came on a 4-play, 70-yard drive that was capped by a 12-yard run for touchdown by Charles. The big play in the possession was a 38-yard completion from Cassel to TE Tony Moeaki. When Charles scored it stopped the game clock at 494 minutes, 56 seconds without holding a lead. Succop made the PAT kick and the Chiefs led 7-0.

Late in the first quarter, the defense forced a Pittsburgh turnover as ILB Derrick Johnson knocked the ball out of the hands of Steelers RB Isaac Redman and DE Allen Bailey recovered at the Pittsburgh 10-yard line. The offense was stuffed on three plays and had to settle for a 22-yard field goal from Succop for a 10-0 lead.

Roethlisberger led the Steelers to scores on their next two possessions, as Suisham hit from 35 yards to make it 10-3, and then they ran off a 7-play, 50-yard drive that ended with a 7-yard TD pass to WR Mike Wallace, who made a sensational catch in the end zone, eventually trapping the ball not with his hands, but between his knees. The PAT kick tied the score at 10-10 just before half-time.

The second half did not feature much in the way of offense from either team. Pittsburgh got the ball first and went three plays and punt, thanks to a sack of Roethlisberger with OLB Justin Houston hitting him low and OLB Tamba Hali hitting him high on third down.

Roethlisberger came off the field in pain and within a minute was walked to the mid-field tunnel behind the Steelers bench. The team reported he was being evaluated for a right shoulder injury and his evening was over.

The Chiefs first possession of the second half started at their 40-yard line and Cassel moved the offense down the field, most of the yardage coming in the running game including a 9-yard run by the quarterback on a 3rd-and-8 play. It all looked like it was going to pay off when Cassel connected with WR Dwayne Bowe on a 22-yard pass and run play into the end zone. But LT Branden Albert was flagged for holding, wiping out the score.

Four plays later, Succop came on to attempt a 33-yard FG, but pushed the kick wide right and all that work in 12 plays, 43 yards and 5 minutes, 20 seconds of time produced no points.

With Byron Leftwich replacing Roethlisberger the Steelers faced a 3rd-and-7 at their 26-yard line. Leftwich was hit as he was going through his throwing motion and the ball came loose. The field officials ruled it a fumble and Houston picked it up and ran into the end zone for a touchdown. The Chiefs were slapped with a 15-yard excessive group celebration penalty that would have been walked off on the subsequent kickoff.

But the play was reviewed on replay and the call was overturned, and it was ruled an incomplete pass, and Pittsburgh got a first down because of the celebration penalty in one of the more unusual series of events to be seen in an NFL game. The defense recovered however, stopping the Steelers on a 4th-and-1 play when they grabbed Redman for a 1-yard loss.

The Chiefs went 3 plays and out, and then the Steelers started a long possession that was helped by a 22-yard pass interference penalty on CB Javier Arenas and a 14-yard roughing the passer play on OLB Tamba Hali. But the defense did not break and Suisham hit a 31-yard field goal and Pittsburgh held a 13-10 lead.

Back and forth the team’s traded possession six times, before the Chiefs got the ball at their 20-yard line with 1:51 to play. Cassel led them down the field with some pinpoint passes, especially to Moeaki who caught a pair of 12-yard throws, but also was called for offensive pass interference. With no timeouts and the time on the clock disappearing, Cassel to the Chiefs to the Pittsburgh 28 thanks to a 27-yard completion to Bowe. Cassel spiked the ball with 2 seconds remaining, and Succop came in and nailed a 46-yard FG to send the game into overtime.

The Chiefs won the overtime coin flip and had first possession starting at their 15-yard line. Charles ran for 4 yards and on 2nd-and-6, Cassel looked short left for Bowe. But Timmons was playing short coverage in front of Bowe and reached up and grabbed the pass and returned it 23 yards to the 5-yard line. Suisham came in and hit the 23-yard FG to win the game and leave the Chiefs short of victory again.

“If we do that we’ll get it turned around,” Crennel said of the effort shown by his team. “We will clean up some of the things that we screwed up then some things will begin to go our way a little bit. That was a good football team and we played a good game, so we are going to try to continue to do that.”

Column: Where Has This Defense Been?


From Heinz Field, Pittsburgh

Seriously, the number one question I carried out of Monday night was: where has this Chiefs defense been hiding?

“Oh man, I don’t know how to answer that,” said OLB Tamba Hali. “All I know is we were motivated and ready to play tonight.”

They were certainly that. Despite everyone in the Steel City being enamored in the last week with Todd Haley and the “new” Steelers offense, the Chiefs defense rose up and just kicked them in the teeth.

Or, the right shoulder if we’re talking about Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger. He was driven from the game in the first half with a shoulder injury when he was sacked by Justin Houston and Tamba Hali. That certainly didn’t help the Steelers offensive effort, but they had not gotten anywhere even when he was in the game.

The Chiefs held the Steelers to 249 offensive yards and just 95 yards rushing, with only one score. They did it by flying around the field in a fashion that they’ve not shown before Monday night.

Is this what they could have been doing all year if Gary Gibbs had been their coordinator?

“He had everyone prepared and ready to go,” said ILB Derrick Johnson, who finished the game with 13 tackles.

Added Hali: “He just got us ready and then just told us to go out and play hard, and have fun. I think that’s what we did.”

Should you be confused by what we all saw Monday night then join the club. There’s no question that the Chiefs defense has talented players, far more than the offense. Between Hali, Johnson, OLB Justin Houston, CB Brandon Flowers and SS Eric Berry they have five of the team’s best seven or eight players. But through the season’s first eight games, they had been inconsistent, prone to giving up the big play, semi-bad tacklers and generally they were a collection of under-achievers.

Then, last week head coach-defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel fired himself and installed Gibbs, the team’s linebackers coach, as the new coordinator. A veteran of the business for 33 seasons, Gibbs has been a head coach on the college level and a defensive coordinator in both the college ranks and the NFL. He’s guided the team’s linebackers since joining Todd Haley’s coaching staff in Kansas City for the 2009 season. Gibbs has had a hand in the development of Johnson and Houston, and he helped guide the transition of Hali from defensive end to outside linebacker. There’s no question that he’s a good football coach.

Something happened because suddenly the Chiefs defense that so many had been counting on coming into the season stood up and did all those things that are necessary to win games:

  • They rallied to the ball. For the first time this year a tackle included multiple Chiefs defenders.
  • When they tackled, they tackled; when the tape is dissected it’s likely to be the fewest number of broken tackles the defense has had in, well maybe years.
  • They were outstanding in pass coverage; time and again they forced Roethlisberger on his 18 throws to pull the ball back and look elsewhere for an open receiver. When Byron Leftwich came in, he had similar problems.
  • They got hit in the mouth, and they hit back, sometimes harder than the shot they took. The line of scrimmage was pushed backwards.

It was a revelation considering the previous eight games. Again, was Gibbs the answer? Did he inject something different into the equation?

“It’s just like you hear somebody tell you something all the time and it goes in one ear and out the other,” said Hali. “You are listening, you hear what they are saying, but it doesn’t register like it should. I think he came in and changed the voice in the room. We know the change came for a reason, so that got everyone’s attention right there. Then it was just the whole group pulling together on what he was telling us.”

Gibbs deserves part of the credit, but it only goes so far when you play so well as a unit, and walk away with another “L” on your record. But without a doubt, the performance against Pittsburgh was something for the ’12 defense to build on.

“We played this way tonight, and now we have to go back and play it again,” said SS Eric Berry. “This is our standard now. We can’t take anything less than what we did against the Steelers.”

Better late than never I guess. If the defense can match the effort and passion they displayed against Pittsburgh, then they might be able to end the losing streak that’s choking their season.

“It’s something to build on,” said Hali.

It only took nine games but finally, something to build on.

Chiefs Go Down Fighting In OT Against the Steelers


From Heinz Field, Pittsburgh

It was their best effort of the 2012 season. In the end it still was not enough for the Chiefs to end their losing streak.

Pittsburgh , Chiefs . They’ve now lost six in a row and are 1-8 for the third time in franchise history.

Give them credit for this: they went down fighting, with a strong defensive effort that knocked Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger from the game and handled Pittsburgh’s potent running game.

But in miserable weather that featured windy conditions and heavy rain, the offense put up only an early first-quarter touchdown, the kicking game performance contributed several blunders that adversely affected field position and a handful of penalties were absolute killers, wiping out one touchdown.

The Chiefs now return to Arrowhead Stadium for a three-game home-stand beginning next Sunday with Cincinnati.

There’s a lot to cover in this one and here it is:

Game Night Pre-Game Report – Chiefs In Pittsburgh


From Heinz Field, Pittsburgh

7:05 p.m. CST – We are going to wrap things up now. But remember starting after the game and through the night and into the morning we will have complete coverage of this game. Enjoy.

7:00 p.m. CST – Quite a few Chiefs personnel have made their way across the field to say hello to former head coach Todd Haley. No sign on the field of GM Scott Pioli. Team chairman Clark Hunt was on the field but made no attempt to look up Haley.

6:55 p.m. CST – The Chiefs are wearing white-on-white for this game with white jerseys and white pants. It’s the first time they’ve gone white-on-white this year.

6:50 p.m. CST – The only surprise among the Chiefs inactive players tonight is WR Steve Breaston. This was going to be the first opportunity for Breaston to play in his hometown, as he grew up in Braddock, Pa., just down the river from the stadium. It’s another indication that Breaston no longer fits in the Chiefs plans.

6:45 p.m. CST – It’s not just the rain that’s going to be a problem for both teams tonight, it’s the wind. It’s coming out of the west-northwest and gusting as much as 25 mph. As happens in most stadiums, the wind comes in and gets re-directed as it bounces off the decks of the stadium and scoreboards and such. Right now the ribbons on top the goal posts and pointing in opposite directions, evidence that this wind is swirling all over the place.

6:40 p.m. CST – Updating some of the starting lineup changes due to decisions on inactive players: for the Steelers rookie Mike Adams will start at RT for Marcus Gilbert, RB Isaac Redman will start for Reshard Mendenhall, WR Emmanuel Sanders will start for Antonio Brown and S Will Allen will start for Troy Polamalu.

6:35 p.m. CST – Ryan Succop was good from 49 yards kicking towards the south end zone. It appears that anything inside of 50 yards will be possible for Succop tonight.

6:30 p.m. CST – Kicking towards the north goal posts in the enclosed end of Heinz Field, Ryan Succop was good from 45 yards, but missed from 50 yards, going just wide left. He’s now kicking toward the south goal posts. That’s at the open end of the field and is probably the toughest field goal for a kicker in the NFL because of the wind conditions coming off the three rivers that are just on the other side of the stadium wall.

6:25 p.m. CST – The Heinz Field playing surface is notorious for being in poor condition this time of year. But tonight it looks great, with no bare spots visible. How it will handle the continued rain remains to be scene. They play high school and college football on this field as well.

6:20 p.m. CST – Very few players on the field for either team as the rain is coming down hard and the wind sometimes is blowing it sideways. K Ryan Succop is on the field going through his normal kicking session, trying to get used to the water, wind and the Heinz Field turf.

6:10 p.m. CST – Former Chiefs head coach Todd Haley is on the field at the 45-yard line talking with QB coach Jim Zorn, WR coach Nick Sirianni and strength and conditioning coach Mike Clark.

6:05 p.m. CST – Inactive players for the Steelers in tonight’s game: QB Charlie Batch, CB DeMarcus Van Dyke, RB Rashard Mendenhall, S Troy Polamalu, LB Stevenson Sylvester, OT Marcus Gilbert, WR Antonio Brown.

6:00 p.m. CST – Inactive players for the Chiefs in tonight’s game: QB Brady Quinn, WR Steve Breaston, S Tysyn Hartman, RB Cyrus Gray, LB Bryan Kehl, OL Bryan Mattison, DT Jerrell Powe.

5:55 p.m. CST – Steelers made a roster move before the game, releasing 4th-round draft choice DT Alameda Ta’amu, who was recently arrested on a dozen charges involving a drunk driving incident. To fill his spot on the roster, they promoted WR Daniel Gilbreth from the practice squad.

5:50 p.m. CST – The grounds crew spent the past 20 minutes trying to remove the tarp from the field under heavy rain and wind conditions. Only now have players made their way to the field. The stadium gates opened just a few minutes ago, but the seats remain almost completely empty as fans try to find a dry place to wait until kickoff. Local native WR Jon Baldwin is one of the first Chiefs on the field. He was born and raised in Aliquippa, just about 30 minutes down the Ohio River from the stadium.

5:45 p.m. CST – Good evening from the confluence of the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio Rivers as the Chiefs get ready for the first appearance on Monday Night Football’s national telecast since the opening game of the 2010 season. The weather has turned bad for the game as we have wind and rain and the temperatures are dropping by the minute. We’ll keep you updated on all that for the next hour-plus from the ‘Burgh.

NFL Transactions – 11/12

Carolina – fired special teams coach Brian Murphy.

Detroit – released DB Alphonso Smith; claimed DB Patrick Lee on waivers from Oakland.

Green Bay – placed OT Bryan Bulaga (hip) on the injured-reserve list; signed OLB Vic So’oto.

Indianapolis – placed CB Jerraud Powers (toe) and DT Drake Nevis (hand) on the injured-reserve list; activated DT Josh Chapman from the reserve-non-football injury list; promoted TE Kyle Miller from the practice squad.

Jacksonville – signed LB Greg Jones; released WR Anthony Armstrong.

Chiefs – placed DE Glenn Dorsey (calf) on the injured-reserve list; promoted DB Neiko Thorpe from the practice squad.

New England – activated Aqib Talib from suspended list; released LB Jeff Tarpinian.

Philadelphia – signed G Jake Scott; released G Julian Vandervelde.

Pittsburgh – released DT Alameda Ta’amu; promoted WR David Gilreath from the practice squad.

The Replacements – 25 Years Later


Long before replacement officials landed in the National Football League this year, there were replacement players.

Twenty five years ago, the NFL Players Association walked out in a strike against the league. Owners took a week off and then for three weeks fielded teams made up largely of new players. They were called the Replacements by some, and a more derogatory Scabs by others.

On October 18, 1987, the replacement players took the field for the last of their three games. By the next day most of the replacements went on to the rest of their lives, never to play professional football again. Some lasted until November when temporarily expanded NFL rosters were returned to the limits carried into the season. After that smoke cleared around the 28 league teams, only a few replacement players were still working.

This presentation of stories concentrates on the Chiefs replacement team. It was an unusual part of the team’s history and one that has largely been forgotten by the media and fans. But not by the men who wore the red and gold for at least one game in October 1987.

This package includes:

Officials For Chiefs vs. Steelers In Controversy

It will be Carl Cheffers and his crew working Monday night’s Chiefs-Steelers game at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

Things did not go so well for Cheffers group in their most recent outing, the Carolina-Washington game last Sunday. An ill-timed inadvertent whistle by line judge Thomas Symonette and an incorrect decision by Cheffers gave Carolina a touchdown in a game they won 21-13.

In the first quarter, Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams ran down the sideline for what became a 30-yard touchdown run. Washington LB Perry Riley had a shot at Williams, but he pulled up when he heard a whistle from Symonette. Cheffers explained the situation this way during the game, saying that even though Symonette did blow a whistle thinking Williams had stepped out of bounds, they “felt when the whistle blew, that the player would have already scored a touchdown,” so they let the score stand.

On Monday, the league admitted in a statement that Cheffers’ decision was wrong and that the play should have been ruled dead at the Redskins 17-yard line.

“By rule, Carolina should have been given a choice of putting the ball in play where Williams was ruled to have stepped out of bounds–1st-and-10 from the Washington 17 yard-line–or replaying the down–1st-and-10 from the Washington 30,” read the league statement. …Read More!

NFL Week #10/Sunday Best – 11/11

How the week was won

The NFL had its first case of “kissing your sister” in 4 seasons on Sunday when St. Louis and San Francisco played 75 minutes but could not break a 24-24 tie. Previously, the most recent tie came in 2008 when Philadelphia and Cincinnati finished 13-13.

Home teams were 7-5-1 on the weekend after the road teams had dominated games last week. Home winners did it by an average of 15.3 points; Road winners did it by average of 18.4 points. It was a weekend for scoring as seven teams put up more than 21 points and did not win a game. The biggest blowout was Baltimore’s 35-point victory over Oakland 55-20; closest game was New Orleans 4-point victory over Atlanta 31-27

Best offensive day was the St. Louis Rams who used the full overtime to put up 458 yards against the San Francisco defense. Minnesota had the most yards rushing with 189 against the Detroit defense, while Atlanta had the best passing game with 408 yards.

(On the left, that’s Minnesota’s Jared Allen honoring our nation’s veterans before Sunday’s game.)

Best defensive day came from the Seattle Seahawks as they held the N.Y. Jets to 185 yards. Indianapolis defense held Jacksonville to 37 rushing yards. Chicago’s defense helped by terrible weather conditions gave up just 88 passing yards to Houston, but still lost the game.

One more note: of the 13 winners, all were either even or on the plus-side of the turnovers. Tennessee was plus-4 beating Miami and New England and Cincinnati were both plus-3 in their victories. …Read More!

Will Steelers Look Ahead? … GameDay Cup O’Chiefs


From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

There are many story lines coursing through the plot of Monday night’s game between the Chiefs and Steelers.

But when the strings on each situation are pulled only one unravels in a fashion that gives the Chiefs any chance to win their first game since the end of September.

Last week the Steelers won a big game on the road against the New York Giants, coming from behind to put up a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns and grab a 24-20 victory. This coming Sunday night they host their biggest rival with the Baltimore Ravens come to town.

In between is this little bitty team from the middle of America, arriving in the Steel City with a 1-7 record, more turnovers than touchdowns and unable to lead any of their games for even one second in time.

Kickoff for the Chiefs and Steelers is set for just after 7:30 p.m. from Heinz Field. TV coverage is on ESPN and KMBC-Channel 9 in Kansas City.

If ever there was a time for Mike Tomlin’s team to look past an opponent it’s this game.

“We respect everybody in the National Football League,” said Tomlin of his 5-3 Steelers. …Read More!

Chiefs Face Bad Weather Monday Night

From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Too bad the Chiefs and Steelers didn’t play Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field. It was an unseasonably warm weekend in western Pennsylvania, with the high temperature in the city at 69 degrees.

That won’t be the case Monday. Here is the National Weather Service forecast for Pittsburgh:

Monday: a chance of showers and thunderstorms between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., then showers and possibly a thunderstorm after 4 p.m. Some of the storms could produce gusty winds. High temperature near 68 degrees, with wind from the South at 8 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

Monday Night: rain showers before 2 a.m., then a slight chance of snow showers between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. Some thunder is also possible. Low temperature around 29 degrees, with wind from the west at 7 to 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.

A Shot, A Beer And Some Steel City Extras


From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

There are many things that can be said about Pittsburgh. The word beautiful does not jump to mind. It should.

I’ve been in every nook and cranny of this country and a few other places around the world over the years. The 17-Mile Drive in Monterey and Carmel, California is unforgettable. Yellowstone National Park is stunning, the Oregon coastline and the Outer Banks in North Carolina are visions I can close my eyes and see every day.

And with them I would include the view of Pittsburgh from 367-feet up from the city’s Mt. Washington neighborhood. In a far different way it’s as stunning a sight as coast lines, mountains and lakes.

Certainly I’m biased. Pittsburgh is my city. I wasn’t born or raised there. But I grew up there on the downtown streets at Point Park College, now University. Even after college it was a magnet that drew me back many, many times. Even today, when I roll through the Ft. Pitt Tunnel and I know what’s ahead, when the city bursts into view it’s still memorable.

But it’s not just me. Several years ago USA Today polled travel agents, travel writers and other professionals to compile a list of the top 10 most beautiful places in America. First was the Red Rocks of Sedona, Arizona.

Second was Pittsburgh and the view from Mt. Washington. They wrote: …Read More!

Chiefs-Steelers Final Injury Report

From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The Chiefs have one player on the 53-man roster that will definitely miss Monday night’s game at Heinz Field. The Steelers have four players out of the action. Chalk up one pre-game advantage for the Chiefs.

Here’s how the team’s final injury reports to the league office went down. Starters are highlighted in red:

Chiefs

OUT: QB Brady Quinn (concussion).

QUESTIONABLE: LT Branden Albert (back), C Ryan Lilja (neck), TE Steve Maneri (ankle).

PROBABLE: LG Jeff Allen (head), CB Javier Arenas (head), RB Jamaal Charles (neck), WR Terrance Copper (calf), RB Nate Eachus (head), WR Devon Wylie (hamstring).

Steelers

OUT: WR Antonio Brown (ankle), RT Marcus Gilbert (ankle), S Troy Polamalu (calf), LB Stevenson Sylvester (hamstring).

DOUBTFUL: RB Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles).

QUESTIONABLE: LB Chris Carter (abdomen).

PROBABLE: RB Jonathan Dwyer (quad), RB Chris Rainey (rib), K Shaun Suisham (ankle).

The Real Deal About Marty and the Chiefs

Yes, Marty Schottenheimer cares about the Kansas City Chiefs.

Yes, Marty Schottenheimer talks to Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt.

No, Marty Schottenheimer was not at Arrowhead Stadium this past Friday talking to Hunt or anybody else.

He was getting in 18 holes in Lake Norman, North Carolina where he and wife Pat spend most of the year.

And, he’s scheduled to be in Missouri next week, but won’t go much past the western St. Louis suburbs as he visits son Brian Schottenheimer and family for the weekend when they host Brian’s old team the New York Jets.

“Alumni weekend, that’s the last time I was at Arrowhead,” Schottenheimer said late last week from his home in Lake Norman. “I’m not sure how these things get started.”

SiriusXM NFL Radio on Friday reported he was at Arrowhead Stadium meeting with Clark Hunt. …Read More!

Dorsey’s Season Is Over; NFL Transactions – 11/10 & 11

The Chiefs have ended DE Glenn Dorsey’s 2012 season after he suffered his second calf muscle injury.

When the fifth-year, former first-round draft choice suffered his left calf injury, Dorsey missed the next 4 games. He injured his right calf in San Diego in the Thursday night game and a similar recovery would have him out until sometime in December.

Dorsey will be placed on the injured-reserve list. Given that he’s in the final year of his contract its unlikely that he’ll re-signed by the Chiefs.

Rookie DB Neiko Thorpe is expected to be promoted from the practice squad to fill the roster spot for at least this week.

Other NFL personnel moves over the weekend:

Dallas – promoted DB Vince Agnew from the practice squad; released LB Gary Guyton.

Miami – released DB Brandon McDonald.

New England – activated TE Visanthe Shiancoe (shoulder) from the injured-reserve list-designated for return.

N.Y. Giants – activated S Will Hill from the reserve-suspended list; placed DB Michael Coe (hamstring) on the injured-reserve list.

Oakland – activated DB Ron Bartell (shoulder) from the injured-reserve list-designated for return; promoted RB Jeremy Stewart from the practice squad; placed DB Shawntae Spencer (foot) on the injured-reserve list; released DB Patrick Lee.

St. Louis – released DT Kellen Heard.

No Fear Factor For Arenas … Sunday Cup O’Chiefs

Eric Berry smiled as he looked across the Chiefs locker room to the spot where teammate Javier Arenas was surrounded by the media horde.

“Javie scared?” Berry said, incredulity dripping from every word. “Javie’s not afraid of anything. Come on . . . he stared down a tornado and lived to tell about it.

“He’s not afraid of anything. Javie’s been waiting for this chance.”

(That’s Javier Arenas breaking up a pass to Pittsburgh’s Mike Wallace in last season’s game between the Chiefs and Steelers.)

“The chance” would be the opportunity to get into the Chiefs starting lineup at cornerback. He was there in last week’s game when the Chiefs played in San Diego, but that was as an injury replacement. When starter Stanford Routt was released earlier in the week, Arenas moved into the starting lineup.

Meaning the job is his, if he can hold onto the spot.

“I’ve been waiting for this chance,” said Arenas, repeating the words Berry had said moments earlier. “I’m not afraid of the responsibility or the opportunity. I’m ready. Bring it on.” …Read More!

4 Keys For Chiefs To Beat Steelers

4

When they have the chance, score

The Chiefs do not score many points to begin with, averaging just 16.6 points per game. They are the worst team in the league when it comes to producing points when they have the ball inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. In 19 red zone possessions, they have scored only 6 touchdowns. They kicked field goals in 10 other situations with three possessions where they got no points (think fumbles at the goal line.) To beat the Steelers on the road, they can’t afford to squander even one serious scoring chance. If they carry the ball into Pittsburgh territory, they must get points. …Read More!

Brothers Of Different Mothers… Saturday Cup O’Chiefs

It was the most talked about play of the recent NFL weekend.

At MetLife Stadium in the New Jersey Meadowlands it was the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. the New York Giants. Early in the fourth quarter the Giants had a 20-10 lead. On a 3rd-and-5 play at their 49-yard line, the Steelers needed a big play from their offense.

QB Ben Roethlisberger completed a short pass to WR Mike Wallace that was good enough for a first down. But Wallace turned it into a 51-yard touchdown play that jump started a Pittsburgh comeback. It was a remarkable display of Wallace’s speed on the outside of the Steelers offense.

Sitting at home in Kansas City, Kendrick Lewis was watching the game and paying particular attention to the Pittsburgh offense since that would be the Chiefs next opponent. Lewis saw Wallace pull in the pass and after only two steps, he knew the Giants were in trouble.

“Those safeties came flying up there but they didn’t take the right angle,” Lewis said. “I knew as soon as I saw that there was no way they would be able to get him, not when he turned on the speed. I’ve seen it too many times.” …Read More!

The Replacements Live On – 25 Years Later


“All we are saying is give scabs a chance.”

Sung to the tune of John Lennon’s Give Peace a Chance

Long before replacement officials landed in the National Football League this year, there were replacement players.

Twenty five years ago, the NFL Players Association walked out in a strike against the league. Owners took a week off and then for three weeks fielded teams made up largely of new players. They were called the Replacements by some and the more derogatory Scabs by others.

On October 18, 1987, the replacement players took the field for the last of their three games. By the next day most of the replacements went on to the rest of their lives, never to play professional football again. Some lasted until November when temporarily expanded NFL rosters were returned to the limits carried into the season. After that smoke cleared around the 28 league teams, only a few replacement players were still working.

As a group, they were largely forgotten until 2000 when Gene Hackman and Keauna Reeves headlined the movie The Replacements, which has become a cable network classic detailing the fictional Washington Sentinels and their replacement squad during a strike by the real players.

The Replacements was Hollywood’s version, but I must say a lot of it rang true,” said Matt Stevens, who was the main quarterback for the replacement Chiefs. “The animosity, the locker room full of guys from all over the country and from all walks of life. The only thing we didn’t have on our team was a sumo wrestler on the offensive line and we could have used one.

“For most of us it was the chance to go back and enjoy something that we had done our whole life – play football.”

In the movie, a replacement player’s car is vandalized. That happened at Arrowhead Stadium when former University of Kansas wide receiver Richard Estell came out of the building after taking a physical to find two tires slashed and the hood of his car bashed in. The movie featured a fight in a bar. That happened in Westport, where two replacement players were arrested in an incident that went down late one night at Stanford’s & Sons Restaurant. The Replacements featured a striking veteran player crossing the picket line before settlement of the strike to rejoin the team. That happened in many NFL cities, including with the Chiefs where cornerback Kevin Ross jumped the gun and came back to the team the day before the strike was called off.

While the movie became a feel good story of a bunch of players lifting a downtrodden team to a spot in the playoffs, the reality was much different. It was a month of mediocre to poor football on the field, while off the field was where the most memorable action took place, including striking players showing up with shotguns (that was in Kansas City), strikers laying down on the road in front of buses carrying replacement players and physical confrontation that led to one of the biggest names in football history to end up on the ground in a wrestling match (that was also in Kansas City.)

“Being in the middle of it, I never get tired talking about the whole story,” said Stevens. “There was so much more than the final score of three games and the statistics. It was just a very memorable part of my life and a bunch of other guys that could not be duplicated.”

Replacement football was played over three weeks and for the most part was far inferior to the quality of play fans had become used to seeing from the NFL. There were four teams that went 3-0 in replacement games, including the ultimate Super Bowl champion Washington Redskins. There were four teams that lost all three replacement games, including the Chiefs. None of those teams finished the year with a winning record.

The lack of preparation time before the replacement games was simply not enough time to produce good football. After the third weekend of games on the 1987 schedule were cancelled, the new players had a week of practice and then three weeks of games.

“Some guys had been in camps in the pre-season,” said Jack Epps, a Kansas State safety who was one of the replacement defense’s most productive players. “But there were other guys that weren’t, and guys from the Canadian league (CFL), guys that last played in the USFL, even some guys that had been out of the league for a few years.”

Led by general manager Jim Schaaf and pro personnel director Whitey Dovell, with help from assistant GM Denny Thum and college personnel director Les Miller, the Chiefs fielded a completely new team within a week of the strike’s start.

“I’m not going to tell you that this is the same as what left,” Dovell said at the time. “But I don’t think it’s an embarrassment.”

Embarrassment is in the eye of the beholder, and there’s no question that the replacement Chiefs were at best a motley crew. They signed 70 players and bodies came in and out the front door of the team’s offices on a daily basis.

“Every day we had to redo the roster,” said Gary Heise, who was the Chiefs public relations director during that season. “This was before we had the computers of today, so we just couldn’t hit a button and delete. It was a chore. Every day was a new day.”

Epps left grad school at Kansas State to join the team. Punter Kelly Goodburn was teaching in the Park Hill School District. Offensive lineman Doug Hoppock was working in construction. Center Jim Pietrzak was selling insurance in Louisiana. Offensive lineman Glenn Hyde was in an executive training course in Atlanta. Kicker Paul Woodside was driving a UPS truck and another player, barefoot kicker James Hamrick was an institutional investor for Merrill Lynch in Houston.

Running back Ken Lacy was at home in Tulsa with his family. “I wanted to play and it didn’t matter where,” Lacy said. “I’m here for what this whole game is all about for me – there is decent money in it. My kids have to eat too. I’ve got to buy diapers. I had a chance to go other places but as far as getting diapers for the kids, this was the best place.”

Two weeks before the strike was called, the owners had voted unanimously to field the replacement teams. The league had gone through a 57-day strike by the players in 1982 that wiped out seven of the scheduled 16 games and was determined not to have its product shutdown by the NFL Players Association.

“We saw what happened five years ago and I don’t think there’s any secret if we don’t operate, then we’ll see (threats of strikes) every three years,” Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt said in the days before the strike started. “We cannot shut down every time the players association strikes.” Hunt insisted that his replacement players would not wear the scarlet S of scabs on their reputations.

“Our guys will be free agent players who want to play in a free enterprise situation.”

Seeking higher wages and a less restrictive free agency system, the real players thought the owners plan to field replacement teams was nothing but a bargaining ploy.

“It’ll never come to that,” Chiefs fullback Larry Moriarty said in the days before the strike. “There are so many things you have to take into consideration, besides the fact that the public won’t but it and television won’t buy it.”

Added cornerback Kevin Ross at the time: “There won’t be anybody in here (Arrowhead) to see it, not NBC, ABC or anyone else. Playing games with people they cut, with people who weren’t considered good enough in the first place – it would make them look like fools. They’d be downgrading themselves. They’d be in trouble.”

After winning the 1987 season opener at Arrowhead Stadium over San Diego, the second game on the Chiefs schedule was in Seattle against the Seahawks. Unable to decide on whether Todd Blackledge or Bill Kenney was his best quarterback (or worst), head coach Frank Gansz decided he would use both. Blackledge would be his first down quarterback. If second down was not an obvious passing situation, Blackledge stayed on the field. For the downs where a pass was required, Kenney would come into the game.

None of it worked and the Chiefs lost 43-14 to the Seahawks. They made the long flight home from the Pacific Northwest unsure what was going to happen next. The NFLPA was calling for a strike and the players did not expect to play again anytime soon.

“I was too upset about losing to Seattle,” said Ross. “I wasn’t much for the whole thing. I was a football player and I needed to play football. I supported the union, but that wasn’t going to put bread on the table.”

As the Chiefs charter headed through the night skies over the Rockies, team management began finalizing plans for pulling together a group of replacement players. Many NFL teams worked on putting together a new team from the moment training camp ended and pre-season games were played. The Washington Redskins had an entire team sitting in a hotel for several weeks, some 30 players in all, prepared to replace the real players the moment after the strike was called.

The Chiefs did not do that. Five years earlier, the Kansas City locker room had been the most pro-union team in the league. That was due in large part to starting guard Tom Condon being president of the NFLPA at the time and actively involved in negotiating sessions with the owners’ representatives. That strike lasted 57 days and even after the players returned to work the Chiefs locker room was united in their distrust and dislike of team management led by team president Jack Steadman and general manager Jim Schaaf.

“Because of what had happened in the ’82 strike, the organization didn’t want to stir the pot and cause any rancor if it got out that we were putting together a replacement team,” said Denny Thum, then the assistant GM to Schaaf. “When the situation looked like a strike was definite, that’s when the job began of finding players.”

Schaaf was in charge of the football operations with assistance from Thum. Dovell ran the pro personnel department. They and others were involved in searching for replacement players.

“You have to remember this was 25 years ago, and there wasn’t e-mail, there were no cell phones, there was no texting, no Twitter, no Facebook,” said Thum. “We had phone numbers, but we’d call and the number would be disconnected or they wouldn’t be at that number any more.

“It was just hard to get a hold of guys.”

Eventually phones were answered, messages were returned and players began the process of heading to Kansas City. They were not quite sure what they would find with the striking players that were setting up picket lines at Arrowhead Stadium and the Truman Sports Complex.

“They told me everything was quiet and there wouldn’t be any problems with the striking players,” said Stevens. “They really fed all us a line on that one.”

The players flew into town individually and were expected to become a team very quickly

“They should have given us name tags because there were a lot of faces coming and out of the hotel,” said wide receiver John Trahan. “Guys would show up and then they would be gone in those first few days.”

Thum was part of the process of getting players signed and then getting them through physical exams and testing.

“There were definitely players that were sent home,” Thum said. “Most because they could not pass a physical, and that was hard to do when the major criteria was that they were breathing.”

One of the most unusual player signings came when Thum had to get a signature on a final contract from defensive back Jitter Fields, who joined the team after playing the first week of replacement games with Indianapolis. He was claimed on waivers and joined the Chiefs for the final replacement game.

“I went down to the locker room, trying to find Jitter to sign this paperwork,” Thum remembered. “The trainers told me that he was warming up, so I thought he was out on the field. They said ‘No, no, Jitter warms up in the sauna.’

“So I find Jitter in the sauna and he’s signing a contract with sweat dripping off his nose onto the paper and smudging his signature. It’s the only sauna signing I had in almost 40 years in the NFL.”

Once they had put together a team, the Chiefs put the new players up at the Comfort Inn motel along I-435 near Front Street. The isolated location kept the replacement players from wandering too far away, not that most of them had the time to hit the Kansas City streets in search of entertainment.

“There was so much time spent just trying to learn the playbook,” said quarterback Alex Espinoza who had played at Iowa State. “Most of the guys that were there did not have cars with them. There was nothing around us and there was so much to put together with offense and defense. Plus, guys were not in good shape, so by the time we got back to the hotel, we were exhausted. There wasn’t any energy to do anything but go to bed.”

On the strike’s second day, the Chiefs announced their first batch of replacement players. It was also their first day as a group inside Arrowhead Stadium. To make it there, they had to cross the picket line of the real players, whose ranks were bolstered by members of other unions like the pipefitters, electrical workers and TWA flight attendants.

Getting those players to the stadium locker room would prove to be a scene worthy of consideration for a movie.

“I knew it was going to be different when we came out of the hotel to board the bus and there are like seven or eight police officers out there forming a gauntlet to get on the bus,” said Stevens. “Then there were two or three policemen on the bus with us. So we started towards the stadium and since I’d been there earlier in the year, I knew how you got to Arrowhead.

“All the sudden we are taking all these roads I wasn’t familiar with and back roads and streets and it seemed like we were going around in circles. I was sitting in the back of the bus next to a policeman who had a radio and all the sudden the radio goes crazy with reports of entrances to the stadium blocked and discussion of what we needed to do.”

The striking Chiefs players turned out in force that first day, some arriving in rather flamboyant and controversial fashion. They strikers were trying to predict where the bus carrying the replacements would arrive.

“So all this chatter goes on over the radio and we started heading for one of the entrances,” Stevens said. “Then all the sudden we stop and go off in another direction and we come through an entrance I didn’t even know was there. The bus driver is really going fast and before you know it, we look out the back and there are three pickups trucks following us.

“I figured we’d go in the front door, but when we got down close to the stadium we saw that was not going to happen because there were a bunch of striking players, so we do a circle around the stadium and all the sudden we have three pickup trucks coming at us, along with three still behind us.

“Our bus driver decided he was going to play a game of chicken and he drove right at those trucks and they moved out of the way. In fact, they ended up slowing down the trucks behind us. We were going so fast I swear our bus took a curve on two wheels and we went screeching into the stadium tunnel and they closed the gate behind us.”

It was a daily battle of cat and mouse between the team and the striking players – what gate would the replacements use to get to the stadium.

“Every practice we had to take a different route so the picketers wouldn’t meet up with us,” said quarterback Alex Espinoza. “We would take the East Gate one day and the West Gate the next day and we would not tell people how we would get in. We would bus in, so we would not have our own vehicle parked in the parking lot where players park and walk in.”

In the first days of the strike and the replacements being bused in, Thum said they would wait to see what gate the strikers would congregate at and then go in a different way.

“After a few days they wised up and then had guys at every entrance,” Thum said. “They were always read to throw something, mud balls, rocks, eggs. They always made their presence known to the guys on the bus.”

Sometimes confrontation turned up in other places. In that first week, two players were arrested after a disturbance in a Kansas City bar that was instigated by union members calling offensive lineman Doubiago and John Aimonetti scabs. Kansas City police charged Doubiago with assault, while Aimonetti was hit with a disorderly conduct charge.

“That first 10 days or so there wasn’t a lot of going out and about,” said Stevens. “We were trying to learn offenses and defenses. But we all know boys will be boys.”

Practices were a struggle because sometimes there were not enough players at a certain position. At least twice, offensive line coach and former pro lineman Carl Mauck had to jump into the drills. When there were not enough healthy arms to throw passes, wide receivers coach Richard Wood threw passes in one-on-one drills. Wood had played eight years at quarterback in the NFL and AFL some 20 years before.

“You just tried to get the basics down,” remembered Stevens. “There were not a lot of complicated game plans.”

There couldn’t be because the roster was constantly changing and players were coming and going on a daily basis.

“I was outside the locker room by the elevators and the doctors were doing physicals in one room and we were getting biographical information in another,” remembered Heise. “The elevator doors opened and there was this guy standing there and he looked like he might be a doctor. He asked where he was supposed to go and so I pointed him to the doctors. Then he came back and said, ‘I’m a player, where do the players go?’

“I knew then we were in trouble.”

That would prove to be very true for the replacement Chiefs, who during their bus rides to and from their motel home, took to singing to pass the time, changing the words of John Lennon’s classic Give Peace a Chance to “all we are saying is give scabs a chance.”

That chance would come first in Los Angeles.

The Replacement Chiefs – The Games Begin

The replacement Chiefs had their first game on the road in Los Angeles against the Raiders. The night before the game team stayed at the Stouffer Concourse Hotel on Century Boulevard just blocks from LAX – the Los Angeles International Airport.

In the night the earth moved – southern California experienced a 5.6 magnitude aftershock of what became known as the Whittier Narrows earthquake from three days earlier. The alarms and sirens went off at the hotel and guests were told to evacuate.

“I was on the 23rd floor and I felt the movement and then looked into the closet and my clothes that were hung up were scattered all over the floor,” said Rick Gosselin, now sports columnist for the Dallas Morning News, but then Chiefs beat reporter for the Kansas City Star. “We had to walk down 23 floors to the lobby and we got down there and the team was there. Frank Gansz was walking around in his pajamas.”

QB Matt Stevens said it was no big deal. “Being a California kid, I had experienced many earthquakes stronger than that,” he said. “I knew it was a newer hotel and that it was built to withstand strong movement than what we had. It was just a pain in the middle of the night.”

The all-clear was given and the Chiefs returned to their rooms to try and get a few more hours of sleep; everyone that is except two of the most important people in the traveling party.

“I went down early to make sure the hotel was ready and set up for breakfast and there’s Lamar and Norma in the lobby, wearing robes – they had never gone back to their room,” said assistant general manager Denny Thum. “They were too scared.”

Replacement football began for the Chiefs at the Los Angeles Coliseum, against the Raiders. It was a sunny and hot fall day in southern California and an on-field temperature gauge said it was 110 degrees on the floor of that famous building.

“It was just so hot and guys were not in that great of shape,” said Stevens. “It was not a good scene.”

The difference in the two replacement teams could be seen at the quarterback position. Starting for the Chiefs was Stevens, then just a 23-year old rookie who the year before was playing quarterback at UCLA. The starting quarterback for the Raiders was Vince Evans, then 32 years old and a veteran of eight NFL seasons and two years in the United States Football League. Evans had played in 91 professional games.

Before the game, Gansz was asked what the Chiefs game plan was for the contest. Noting the caliber of talent on his roster, he mentioned the best player on the team was punter Kelly Goodburn. “We want to punt,” Gansz said.

Goodburn punted four times, but three hours after the opening kickoff, the replacement Chiefs walked off the field 35-17 losers as 10,708 fans rattled around the Coliseum where close to 100,000 can squeeze in for football.

“They signed a running back Ken Lacy, who had been in the USFL and with the Chiefs for a year and they were all excited about him being on the team,” Chiefs public relations director Gary Heise remembered. “We were all anxious to see him run. But on back-to-back possessions, with the ball at the Raiders one-yard line, Lacy fumbled twice into the end zone and the Raiders recovered. I’m not sure the Chiefs ever recovered from those two plays.”

What positives could the man in charge find to talk about? “They have really tried very, very hard under very difficult circumstances for them, to say the least,” Gansz said. “I’m very proud of the way they conducted themselves.”

It was a remarkable first weekend.

“You go to bed, there’s an earthquake, you play in 110 degree temperatures with a team that had been together for just over a week,” said Stevens. “That’s not something everybody gets a chance to survive.”

Mother Nature may have been trying to send the Chiefs a message. After their pre-game sleep in Los Angeles was interrupted by an earthquake, they went to Miami for replacement game No. 2 and arrived right on top of a tropical storm.

“The hotel lost power and we had pre-game meal by candlelight,” Thum said. “Romantic it wasn’t.”

The game was the first regular season affair at the Dolphins’ brand new building, Joe Robbie Stadium.

“I know you could win a few trivia contests with questions from that game, like who was the quarterback that threw the first pass, completed the first pass and was part of the first sack in Joe Robbie Stadium history?” asked Stevens. “You’d be correct if your answer to all three was me.”

The afternoon would prove to be the worst of the three games played by the replacements. They ended up losing 42-0, with just 132 yards in offense and four giveaways. Stevens started at quarterback, but in the first quarter he was sacked and landed on his non-throwing shoulder, suffering a second-degree separation and forcing him out of the game. He was replaced by Alex Espinoza. But late in the third quarter, Espinoza was sacked and knocked loopy and was unable to continue. The emergency No. 3 quarterback was TE Stein Koss, but he was out because of bruised ribs.

That forced Stevens back on the field since there were only two quarterbacks on the roster.

“All I could do was handoff,” said Stevens. “Even that was really painful.”

Before replacement game No. 3 at Arrowhead Stadium against Denver, the strike ended. But a day before it was called off by the players association, the Chiefs had their first real player cross the picket line. Cornerback Kevin Ross showed up for work on Wednesday of that week an hour before the deadline that would allow him to play against the Broncos and get paid.

“Deep down inside they probably want to be here too,” Ross said on the day he came back. “Whether they make their move is totally up to them. I made the decision on my own. I didn’t try to bring anybody with me and I didn’t try to discourage anybody from coming in. I started to feel like my condition, physically and mentally was getting away from football. I was going to high school football games, college football games and I just got fed up with it. I wasn’t doing what my livelihood is.”

The day before Ross reported the Chiefs players had met in Kansas City and voted 44-0 to continue the strike. Some of his teammates were not happy with Ross.

“We’re naturally upset that our team unity has been broken by one player,” said center Rick Donnalley who was one of the team’s union reps.

Ross wasn’t worried about that type of reaction.

“We’re not women, we’re men,” Ross said. “The consequences I’ll deal with later. I’m really for the union and I see the issues were trying to get. But they’re not getting anywhere on this and they won’t get anywhere to me. We’re just losing out on everything.”

Rookie running back James Evans followed Ross by reporting on Wednesday, making him eligible to play on Sunday.

On Thursday, the strike ended and players reported around the league.

The outcome of the game against the Broncos (the Chiefs lost again 26-17) really became secondary as the replacements knew their time in the NFL was about to end. While they were 0-3 in the replacement games and were outscored 103-34, they wanted to go out by making their mark in the team’s history book.

“I’ll tell you that last game we wanted badly to win,” Stevens remembered. “I wanted to win the game for Kevin Ross. Here this guy came back in and joined us and he was a regular guy just there to do a job. He was such a pro, he was a real inspiration.”

Just a little over 20,000 fans attended the game at Arrowhead Stadium, and knowing that the regular players would be back the next day, they were not happy watching the replacements. Epps didn’t care, and what he had to say that day after the game may have summarized the feelings of all the replacement players.

“We have a lot guys in here who stood up and did what they felt was right for themselves, their families, their friends,” said Epps. “They did what they believed in and what they thought was best. We’re here all hours of the day these last four weeks trying to win football games. Believe me it wasn’t for a lack of trying.

“Winners are people who make the best out of the worst situations. We made what we could out of this situation. We gave everything we had today. For a lot of guys it was probably their last chance, it was probably my last game. I wanted to walk away with more. I wanted to do something for the program, for the team. I’m disappointed we didn’t win, but we can hold our heads high … these guys are winners.”

The next day Schaaf met with the replacement players at the Comfort Inn, where they were checked over physically and signed departure papers ending their football careers for good. A few stayed on because of injuries, as seven players remained with the Chiefs: returner Jitter Fields, punter Kelly Goodburn, tight end Rod Jones, quarterbacks Matt Stevens and Doug Hudson and linebackers Bob Harris and James Harrell. Goodburn punted the rest of that season for the Chiefs and ended up having a 7-year career in Kansas City and Washington.

Whether tagged with an asterisk or not, the replacements are there in the history of the league and the stories of the 28 franchises that were playing in the NFL at the time. While they may have been forgotten in the fog of history, they will always remember their time in the football sun.

“It was an amazing month,” said Stevens, who works in southern California in commercial real estate and is the color commentator on radio broadcasts of UCLA football. “Any time a bunch of players get together and start telling stories, if you were a replacement, then you have stories nobody else has. That month at the Comfort Inn was one of the most memorable times of my life.

NFL Transactions – 11/9

NFL – suspended New England RB Brandon Bolden four games for violation of league rules involving performance enhancing substances.

NFL – fined:

  • Baltimore LB Dannell Ellerbe, $10,000 for a hit to the head of a defenseless player vs. Cleveland.
  • Carolina DE Greg Hardy, $15,750 for striking opposing QB in the head vs. Washington.
  • Carolina S Haruki Nakamura, $21,000 for striking a defenseless receiver in the head vs. Washington.
  • Philadelphia QB Mike Vick, $7,875 for low block on an opponent vs. New Orleans.
  • Pittsburgh WR Emmanuel Sanders, $15,000 for faking an injury in a game against Cincinnati.
  • The Pittsburgh Steelers, $35,000 for one of their players faking an injury in a game against Cincinnati.

Buffalo – promoted DB Mana Silva from the practice squad; released S Delano Howell.

Cincinnati – activated DT Pat Sims (ankle) from the PUP List; released LB Roddrick Muckelroy.

N.Y. Jets – promoted LB Ricky Sapp from the practice squad.

Travel Tip For the ‘Burgh

I’m not sure just how many folks may be visiting the Steel City this weekend or Monday to take in the Chiefs-Steelers game.

But for those that may be in Pittsburgh here’s a suggestion – stop by the Heinz History Center, the largest history museum in Pennsylvania. There is 275,000 square feet of exhibit space over six floors. Within the History Center is the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum.

And as part of that, they are currently hosting Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. A 9,000 square foot exhibit features more than 200 artifacts from the Pro Football Hall in Canton, Ohio. There are also exclusive NFL Films videos and interactive games. Part of the exhibit is the jersey of Chiefs Hall of Fame cornerback Emmitt Thomas and a football signed by all the players involved in the first Super Bowl in Los Angeles between the Chiefs and Packers.

The Heinz History Center is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. It’s located in the historic Strip District at 1212 Smallman Street, just on the northeast edge of downtown near the Pittsburgh Convention Center. The phone number is 412-454-6000. It’s a great facility for history buffs and worth the effort. Here’s a link to the museum’s website.

Chiefs Practice Update – 11/9

From the Truman Sports Complex

Left tackle Branden Albert continued to be a limited participant on the practice field Friday when the Chiefs worked out under unusually warm conditions at their facility.

Temperatures right around 70 degrees were in contrast to the weather forecast for Monday night in Pittsburgh – an 80 percent chance of rain with temperatures in the high 30s.

Albert has been more watcher than participant in the last two practices because of back problems. The tightness in the low back has lessened but not enough to send him through an entire practice.

The only other limited participant was TE Steve Maneri with his ankle injury.

Listed as fully participating were: OT Jeff Allen (head), CB Javier Arenas (head), RB Jamaal Charles (neck), WR Terrance Copper (calf), RB Nat Eachus (head), WR Devon Wylie (hamstring).

For the Steelers, three players that have not practiced this week have already been declared out of Monday night’s game: SS Troy Polamalu (calf), WR Antonio Brown (ankle) and LB Stevenson Sylvester (hamstring). OT Marcus Gilbert (ankle) did not practice on Friday and RB Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles) was a limited participant.

Working the entire practice were RB Jonathan Dwyer (quad), RB Chris Rainey (ribs) and K Shaun Suisham (left ankle).

Crennel: Cough Up The Ball, Cough Up Playing Time

From the Truman Sports Complex

After weeks of emphasis on ball security with his offense, Romeo Crennel has not made much progress in stopping the flood of Chiefs giveaways, now standing at 29 after eight games.

So the head coach says he’s putting a penalty on fumbles and interceptions. Lose the ball, and a player will get moved to the sideline where they’ll get to stand next to Crennel for awhile.

And, depending on the circumstances surrounding the turnover, that penalty will also go for his quarterback and his best offensive forces like RB Jamaal Charles and WR Dwayne Bowe.

“What I need to do is to get them to understand the importance of protecting the ball more,” Crennel said Friday morning as the Chiefs continued preparations for their Monday night game in Pittsburgh. “Sometimes to get that done, you basically have to threaten them.

“So if you fumble it, I’m going to take you out of the game. They will get the message.” …Read More!

What Makes The Steelers So Super … Friday Cup O’Chiefs

From the time he took control of the Chiefs franchise after the death of his father, Clark Hunt has always used one NFL team as an example of how he wanted to build the family franchise:

The Pittsburgh Steelers.

“If there’s an example of what I’d like us to be, it would be the Steelers,” Hunt said several years ago and he’s repeated his comments many times. “They are a solid operation that has great continuity and wins football games and championships. They do it the right way.”

The evidence of the last four years shows us that Clark Hunt has no clue what makes the Steelers one of the premier franchises in all of team sports. Almost everything that’s happened with the Chiefs over the last four years has been done the opposite of the Steelers Way: …Read More!

Haley Speaks on Chiefs

Former Chiefs head coach and now Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley spoke to the Pittsburgh media on Thursday. That’s a normal part of the routine each week among NFL teams.

And as one would expect, he handled the occasion with class and talked in positive terms about his time with the Chiefs.

I’m very proud, number one, of the things myself and the players were able to accomplish; I thought we made a lot of progress,” Haley said. “Even taking the 2010 division win out of the equation, last year was probably the year I was most proud of because in difficult circumstances, losing three really good players early in the year, and starting as poorly as we did, we battled back and won four games in a row, which is hard to do in this league.

“We hung in there and beat Chicago on the road playing with really our third team quarterback at that time. I’m proud of my players from that time and have a lot of really good feelings towards all of them. They’re good memories.”

Here’s more of what Haley said: …Read More!

Chiefs Practice Update – 11/8

From the Truman Sports Complex

Left tackle Branden Albert was added to the Chiefs injury report as he was limited in the team’s practice on Thursday.

Head coach Romeo Crennel said he was suffering from a tight back. Albert is in the middle of what has been the best season of his career, as he’s protected the blind side of Chiefs quarterback quite well in eight games. During the early part of practice, Albert did more watching than participating.

QB Brady Quinn (concussion) and DE Glenn Dorsey (calf) remain out of Monday night’s game, although Quinn was working in the position drills at the start of the workout. Dorsey was not on the field.

TE Steve Maneri (ankle) was working in practice on a limited basis.

Listed as full participants in practice were WR Devon Wylie (hamstring), RB Nate Eachus (head), LG Jeff Allen (head), RB Jamaal Charles (neck), CB Javier Arenas (head) and WR Terrance Copper (calf).

In Pittsburgh three players did not practice and will not play Monday night: SS Troy Polamalu (calf), WR Antonio Brown (ankle) and LB Stevenson Sylvester (hamstring).

Limited in practice were OT Marcus Gilbert (ankle) and RB Rashad Mendenhall (Achilles). Full participation came from RB Jonathan Dwyer (quad), RB Chris Rainey (rib) and K Shaun Suisham (left ankle).

Worst Foe For Chiefs Defense? Their Own Offense

It’s been a tough year for the Chiefs as a whole.

It’s been an even tougher season for the Chiefs defense. The guys on that side of the ball were considered the strength of the team coming into the 2012 season. Great hope was attached to the defense after they finished the season last year, giving up 33 points in the final three games.

At the midway point of the season, the Chiefs were ranked No. 17 in yards allowed per game (347.5), No. 22 in rushing yards allowed per game (126) and tied for No. 11 in yards passing allowed per game (221.5). They are No. 25 in fewest offensive touchdowns allowed (22), tied for No. 26 in takeaways (9) and tied for No. 23 in sacks (14).

All those mediocre and bad numbers combined to produce an ugly first half of the season. And the biggest problem for the Chiefs defense has been the giveaways by the Chiefs offense and special teams, a total of 29 so far in just eight games.

The domino effect of those turnovers makes life exceedingly difficult for the Chiefs defense. They end up on the field more often and sometimes in very poor field position. So far those 29 giveaways have forced the defense back on the field 24 times (the others came at the end of the half or the game.)

In those 24 defensive sets: …Read More!

Playing Through the Fog … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

At a period of time in pro football where head injuries are a major topic of concern and tougher rules and legislation have been enacted, Brady Quinn showed how difficult it can be to get a player off the field after he’s suffered a concussion.

That’s what Quinn did back in the first half of the game against Oakland on October 28th at Arrowhead Stadium. He’ll miss his second full game this coming Monday night after doctors would not clear him for contact against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It turns out that Quinn has already played with a concussion. It did not happen in his final two plays on the field against the Raiders. It was the possession before, the second time the Chiefs had the ball, when he got out of the pocket on a scramble and dove head first to the ground rather than sliding to a stop the way most quarterbacks do in that situation. That’s when he was kicked in the back of the head by Oakland safety Tyvon Branch.

This came at the eight-minute mark of the first quarter. Quinn knew something happened as he was helped off the ground by teammates LT Branden Albert and RB Shaun Draughn.

“At that point, I kind of noticed a loss of vision,” Quinn said after the Chiefs practice wrapped up Wednesday afternoon. “I started to get tunnel vision and I just tried to keep playing.” …Read More!

NFL Transactions – 11/7

NFL: fined –

- Tennessee QB Matt Hasselbeck $15,750 for a horse-collar tackle vs. Chicago last Sunday.
- San Diego Chargers, $20,000 for not following directions of game officials.

AFC: named Indianapolis QB Andrew Luck offensive player of the week; Pittsburgh CB Ike Taylor defensive player of the week; Denver WR Trindon Holliday special teams player of the week.

NFC: named Tampa Bay RB Doug Martin offensive player of the week; Chicago LB Brian Urlacher defensive player of the week; Chicago DB Sherrick McManis special teams player of the week.

Arizona – Signed DE Ronald Talley.

Atlanta – signed RB Mike Cox; released RB Lousaka Polite. …Read More!

Quarterbacks For the BCS Top 25

Alabama’s A.J. McCarron and Kansas State’s Collin Klein

In the coming months, we are going to shift a lot of focus on the college quarterbacks that will and could be available in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Somewhere, if not in the first round, the Chiefs are going to draft a quarterback. We’ll look at the potential candidates and their individual particulars over the final weeks of the college football season.

In this post we list the starting quarterbacks for this week’s BCS Top 25 ranking, everyone from Alabama and Kansas State to Northwestern and Toledo. Of those 25 quarterbacks, 17 qualify to be selected in the 2013 NFL Draft. League rules require a player to be three years out from his high school graduation to be eligible. That makes any player down to a redshirt-sophomore can petition for the draft. Freshman, redshirt-freshman and sophomores do not qualify.

Among the 17 remaining quarterbacks there are only six seniors, with 9 juniors and a pair of redshirt-sophomores. The draft eligible quarterback with the most starting experience is Southern Cal’s Matt Barkley with 47 starts. Oklahoma’s Landry Jones has 45. Barkley has thrown the most touchdown passes with 110, with Jones adding 109 scoring throws.

Of the 17 QBs available from the BCS Top 25 teams there are three runners – Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez (2,505 yards), K-State’s Collin Klein (2,263) and South Carolina’s Connor Shaw (1,001).

Here are the season numbers for all 25 quarterbacks along with the career numbers for the 17 draft eligible passers. Each QB has his uniform number, height, weight, status and age (as of this week). The numbers listed are G/S-games/starts, A-attempts, C-completions, %-completion percentage, Y-passing yards, A/A-average yards per attempt, TD-touchdown, INT-interceptions thrown, R/Yds-runs and net rushing yards, Rec-QB’s record as team’s starter. …Read More!

Things Remain Fuzzy For Quinn

From the Truman Sports Complex

Brady Quinn has already been in Pittsburgh once this week, traveling there on Tuesday for an examination with a doctor that specializes in concussions.

As he flew home late Tuesday evening to Kansas City he was frustrated, but not surprised that the specialist had not given him the go ahead to play on Monday night back in Pittsburgh against the Steelers. Quinn will miss his second straight game due to the concussion he suffered in the first half of the Chiefs game against Oakland on October 28th.

“To be honest I don’t feel 100 percent on seeing things out there,” Quinn said after going through the team’s Wednesday practice. “That’s what you would expect. I’m disappointed and frustrated. It’s Monday night football and a chance to play with the guys on this team and I love being with these guys. Physically I’m not quite there.”

Quinn met with Dr. Micky Collins at the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program. Dr. Collins has become the national expert on athletes and concussions, developing with Dr. Mark Lovell the so-called impact testing that is now widely used to assess concussions and when an athlete is ready to return to action.

The issues are with Quinn’s vision, both peripheral and his ability to focus near too far. “Overall it’s just getting back to where I was before, going into the games against Tampa and Oakland seeing things out there,” Quinn said.

He confirmed that this was the second concussion of the year for him. He suffered one against Green Bay in the final pre-season game but that did not keep him off the practice field or limit his availability to play if he was needed in the regular-season opener. But given he’s had two concussions in two months causes more concern with the medical types.

“There’s obviously a concern for those sorts of things; if you go back too soon you risk getting a third one, who knows what happens then,” Quinn said. “The first one (concussion) resolved itself pretty quickly. This one has lingered.”

Cassel Will Start Against The Steelers

From the Truman Sports Complex

Romeo Crennel said Wednesday morning that QB Brady Quinn has not been cleared by doctors to play this week and that Matt Cassel will open the Monday night game in Pittsburgh against the Steelers.

Quinn suffered a concussion on October 28th in the first half of the game against Oakland. He missed last week’s game in San Diego with Cassel returning to the starting lineup after Crennel benched him following the bye week.

“He has not been cleared for contact and has been advised not to play Monday night,” Crennel said of Quinn. “We talked about his situation and what the doctor had advised and we are going to error on the side of caution and protect the football player.”

Also ruled out of Monday night’s game is DE Glenn Dorsey with his calf injury. Crennel said the only other player on the injury report this week is TE Steve Maneri with his sore ankle; he’ll be limited in Wednesday’s practice.

Everyone else on the roster will be full participants in practice.

NFL’s Best At Mid-Season … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

The 2012 season has reached the midway point and as the country paused on Tuesday to elect a President, we paused to elect a half-season All-Pro team.

With the Chiefs schedule there have been a couple Sundays that have allowed us to see more games around the league. Plus, the NFL.com Game Rewind is outstanding, especially with the coaching tape that’s available.

So after much watching, researching and polling some of our sources in pro personnel departments, here is our 2012 ½ All-Pro best of the NFL team:

Offense

Quarterback – Peyton Manning/Denver: the Broncos are 5-3 and the biggest reason is Manning. He’s still not all the way back physically, but he’s throwing the ball without any apparent problems and he’s very quickly changed the atmosphere around Denver. Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan were also considerations.

Running back – Adrian Peterson/Minnesota: coming back from his serious knee injury, I’m not sure if he’s completely recovered. But he’s running so well in recent weeks and seems to be very close to reaching the Peterson level he established upon entering the league. He’s run for 957 yards on 168 carries, an impressive 5.7-yard per carry average. Arian Foster, Marshawn Lynch and Ray Rice were also considered.

Running back – Doug Martin/Tampa Bay: the rookie out of Boise State was sensational last Sunday with his performance against the Raiders. He’s worked his way into more and more opportunities in the Bucs offense and he’s producing (794 yards on 154 carries and 4 TD runs). …Read More!

Answer Bob/Last – 11/7

Todd Frazier says: Bob, last season, I was shocked when they fired Todd Haley. I really thought he had a good plan going forward. It wasn’t his fault so many players got injured at the beginning of the season. I think it was a mistake – big time mistake – to let him go like that. After this season, I still do. I’m curious if you agree or not.

Bob says: Todd the decision on Haley had nothing to do with his ability to coach and everything to do with the dysfunctional relationship between Haley and GM Scott Pioli. The simple fact was that Pioli wanted Haley out and did not have the stones to simply fire him at the start of the season. He allowed the season to play out and kept up a steady campaign of stabbing Haley in the back, spreading rumors about his supposed lack of work ethic and unusual behavior. It was a despicable campaign by Pioli that helped ruin the Chiefs 2011 season. One of the two had to leave and Pioli had all the power, backed up by Clark Hunt, so Haley was bounced. Believe me, he’s a lot happier and healthier as the Steelers offensive coordinator. …Read More!

NFL Transactions – 11/6

NFL – lifted the three-game suspension of former Chiefs DB Donald Washington for violating the league’s substance abuse rules.

Arizona – placed LB O’Brien Schofield (ankle) on the injured-reserve list.

Atlanta – placed G Garrett Reynolds (back) on the injured-reserve list; promoted OL Phillipkeith Manley from the practice squad.

Buffalo – placed RT Erik Pears (hip) and CB Terrence McGee (knee) on the injured-reserve list; released K John Potter; promoted WR Marcus Easley from the practice squad.

Carolina – activated WR David Gettis (knee) from the PUP List; placed WR Kealoha Pilares (shoulder) on the injured-reserve list. …Read More!

Answer Bob/Part #5 – 11/6

cychief24 says: Bob, this reminds me of 1988. Do you see the similarities like I do? Before the internet we were able to organize a STH boycott of the last 2 games. saveourchiefs is on the same track. Carl and Marty came in and first cut Kenney and then made some solid free agent pickups and went 8-7-1 in ’89. If young Clark has the maturity to move on and bring in the right guy(s) [like Holmgren?] do you think this could be a fairly quick turnaround to being competitive? 2nd question: will you be able to have a working relationship with the new regime? I won’t even address the situation if Pioli stays. I admit, I won’t give up 34 years of seniority of being a STH… but I will put them all on ticket exchange. My son has a question. When will a reporter hold Winston responsible for getting dominated as badly as Richardson did last year? His man injured Cassel the week Winston deflected his poor play with his lies about the fans. His man got to Quinn. His man got to Cassel multiple times last Sunday. When will someone ask Winston about his poor play? There is a reason the Texans cut him loose, we see it every week. It’s time to let Stephenson play.

Bob says: I think any time you bring in competent, successful and experienced people; you have a chance to turn things around in a minimum amount of time. I can have a working relationship with just about anybody who shows they can be trusted. That’s never been a sight I’ve seen from Pioli, so we don’t have a relationship and that’s OK. It doesn’t keep me up late at night and I’m sure it doesn’t even show up on Pioli’s radar screen. If it does then he needs to go check for candy bar wrappers. As for Winston, he’s been less than advertised – there’s no question about that. But he’s a better player than Barry Richardson. …Read More!

Another Failure In Pioli’s Personnel File

Anyone that makes decisions for a living will make mistakes; it’s part of the process. Nobody is perfect.

The simple equation has the decision-maker continuing in that role as long as he doesn’t pile up a lot of bad decisions. When that happens, the person normally gets his responsibilities taken away from him.

Take the case of Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli. Although he’s dabbled in various areas of the operation of the Hunt Family franchise, the major reason he was brought to the team four years ago was to find and develop playing personnel talented enough to bring winning football back to Arrowhead Stadium.

On Monday, another Pioli personnel failure was added to the pile of poor decisions that has left the team 1-7 on the season and 22-35 during his tenure. For the most part, his personnel decisions have been poor and haven’t advanced the Chiefs franchise towards the ultimate goal of winning a Super Bowl. Even if there’s one step forward among the GM’s decisions, it’s usually followed by two steps backwards.

The biggest reason the Chiefs have one of the worst records in the league in 2012 and over the last four seasons are bad personnel decisions by Pioli. It’s at least 75 percent of the problem the organization is dealing with right now. …Read More!

ANSWER BOB/Part #4 – 11/5

Szotty says: Bob, with fast and athletic selections like Eric Berry, Dexter McCluster, Javier Arenas, Tony Moeaki, Kendrick Lewis and Cameron Sheffield, the Chiefs 2010 draft class was arguably the best group of potential flag football players ever taken. However, additional skills are required for tackle football. Aside from selecting a Tom Brady, what are the similarities and differences between the Patriots and Chiefs draft classes when Mr. Pioli was with each team?

Bob says: The difference between the Patriots drafts and the Chiefs comes down to the guy making the picks. In New England it was Bill Belichick. In Kansas City it’s Scott Pioli. The New England drafts haven’t all be gems, but there’s no question the continuity of the head coach being in place since 2000, and that person being the No. 1 decision-maker on personnel matters is huge. Pioli through his personality, temper and insecurities has poisoned the water to the point that it will be hard to find strong talent evaluators that can co-exist with him. …Read More!

NFL Transactions 11/5

Arizona – released OT Jeremy Bridges from the injured-reserve list with an injury settlement.

Carolina – claimed LB Jason Williams on waivers from Philadelphia; released DB Ron Parker.

Jacksonville – released RB Keith Toston.

CHIEFS – signed DL Shaun Smith; released CB Stanford Routt.

N.Y. Giants – NFL suspension lifted on CB Will Hill, team granted a roster exemption for Hill.

Answer Bob/Part #3 – 11/5

ED J says: So who are your list of candidates the Chiefs should go after as head coach?

Chris says: Who are legitimate and realistic candidates to be next year’s head coach and GM?

ChuckXX says: Bob, thank you I’ve been waiting for this chance. I have a “4 part question”. If you were Clark Hunt who would you bring in as your next GM and Head Coach? Now, who would you draft and in first and second rounds next April. That’s the 4 questions I would love for you to tackle. No pun intended.

COCHIEF says: Ditto above comments: Who do you believe would be the best candidates for GM? Head Coach? Ideally? Realistically? Does Junior Hunt have the intelligence and/or the balls to make good decisions on the above?

Bob says: It’s hard to put together a legitimate list to fill a position that may not be open to fill. What plays out over the final eight games will have a lot to do with the type of coach/GM that would best fill the role. There are talented people in the league who could fill the positions if they are open. But I have serious reservations about the dismissal of Pioli; I don’t think it’s going to happen. It’s easy to throw all the usual names against the wall and dream of Cowher, Gruden et.al. running the show. The perfect guy was available coming into the season, but Jeff Fisher listened to the Hunts and Pioli for an hour and got up, ended the interview and left the room. As for first and second round picks next draft, I would say one of those two needs to be a quarterback. The rest depends on who gets re-signed and who leaves. …Read More!

Shaun Smith Returns/Quinn Works – Chiefs Update 11/5

From the Truman Sports Complex

That Shaun Smith rejoined the Chiefs on the same day that Brady Quinn got back on the practice field had a certain symmetry to a Monday moment in what has been the team’s disastrous 2012 season.

First the details: Smith was signed Monday, filling the roster spot that was left open when the Chiefs released CB Stanford Routt. Quinn was on the practice field Monday, although he’s not been cleared for full participation. But he was throwing the ball in the early part of practice with the receivers, backs and tight ends. He was not wearing a helmet, while Matt Cassel and Ricky Stanzi had their hard hats on.

Now the symmetry: Smith and Quinn were teammates in 2008 with the Cleveland Browns and in December of that season there was an incident between them in the team’s weight room that left Quinn with a bruised face. Some reports said that Smith hit Quinn in the head with a weight. It was the result of a moment when the players were playfully jawing back and forth with each other until something was said that enraged Smith. That’s when he went after Quinn.

The Browns head coach at the time – Crennel – did not confirm the altercation but essentially made it clear that something happened. Smith was inactive for the team’s next game against Cincinnati and did not return to the team the next season. …Read More!

Crennel Steps Down as … Defensive Coordinator

From the Truman Sports Complex

Facing the second half of the 2012 season with a 1-7 record, head coach Romeo Crennel said Monday that he was stepping away from the role of defensive coordinator so he can spend more time with the entire team.

Linebackers coach Gary Gibbs will now serve as the defensive coordinator.

Crennel has been handling both duties since he was named interim head coach in late December 2011.

“We have continually looked at things, evaluated things and turn over every stone to try to find a way to improve the team, I’ve decided I’m going to spend more time with the whole team and less time with the defense,” Crennel said. “I will continue to be in meetings some times and I’ll meet with Gary on a regular basis as I do now with Brian (Daboll, offensive coordinator) and Tom (McMahon, special teams) to know what the game plan is and what’s going on there.

“I’m going to spend more time with the whole team and less time with the defense.” …Read More!

Chiefs Ax Stanford Routt

From the Truman Sports Complex

Head coach Romeo Crennel made the startling announcement early Monday afternoon that the Chiefs have released starting right cornerback Stanford Routt.

Signed as a free agent after he was released by the Oakland Raiders in a salary cap move in the 2012 off-season, Routt started seven of the Chiefs first eight games, missing only last Thursday’s game in San Diego with a hamstring injury.

“Sometimes you have relationships and you try to make them work, hope they work and you anticipate they are going to work, but this relationship wasn’t progressing as quickly and fast as I wanted it too,” said Crennel. “I decided to make the change and we released him today.

“Other guys are going to have to step up and move forward with that.”

Crennel said the release of Routt was not a disciplinary measure and he isn’t trying to send any messages with the move. The coach said that to “his knowledge” Routt was no problem in the locker room. …Read More!

Answer Bob/Part #2 – 11/5

Chewbone says: Bob after supporting the Chiefs for 30+ years the situation now is the most dire I can ever remember, primarily due to very poor drafting and personnel decisions. I think we are going to have to wait 3 more years for a good team again. I just don’t see us having a bright future short term:

  • Wasted #1 picks and production relative to pay: Tyson Jackson (bust) – cut/trade him; Glenn Dorsey (average) – looks like he will miss the entire season – cut/trade him; Jon Baldwin (below average) – takes up a roster spot wait & see one more year?; Branden Albert (above average) – contract year so we lose him or Bowe; Dwayne Bowe – he doesn’t want to be part of the Chiefs (trade him); Eric Berry (average) – we hoped for a lot more; Dontari Poe (looking like a bust) – maybe next year; Tony Moeaki (below average) – not seeing much good so far.
  • Key Pick-ups: Eric Winston (average) – we see now why the Texans let him leave; CB Stanford Routt (average) – we knew it when we signed him.
  • Stating the Obvious: Matt Cassel – 4 yr. investment this really hurts our progress more than all the above. Odds of drafting a productive starter are slim so it’s a 2-3 year learn and get better situation.
  • Key players that grow old while we wait? Tamba Hali, Jamaal Charles (I might even test his trade value).

Bob says: Zero in on the personnel moves of the last four seasons, one that were controlled by Pioli, and the record is not very pretty among the players he did sign. Plus, there are the players he didn’t sign and let get away, and the players he never got close to signing (Peyton Manning for instance). There is talent on the Chiefs, but there’s not enough. There wasn’t enough at the end of the 2011 season. There wasn’t enough at the start of training camp 2012. There wasn’t enough when the 2012 regular season began. The results of the season are another piece of evidence that there’s not enough talent. After four free agency cycles, four drafts and four years to troll the street free agents and with no salary cap concerns of any type during the four years, the Chiefs should have a roster with much more talent than what they’ve shown this year. That puts the focus on one man – Pioli. …Read More!

NFL Week #9/Sunday’s Best – 11/4

How the week was won

Home teams were 6-7 on the weekend with the Monday nighter between Philadelphia and New Orleans to play. Road winners did it by average of 12.6 points; Home winners did it by an average of 10.5 points.

Biggest blowout was Chicago’s 31-point victory over Tennessee 51-20; closest game was Indianapolis beating Miami by 3 points, 23-20. The longest winning streak in the league belongs to Atlanta with 8 straight; Chicago has won six in a row. Longest losing streak is 5 games by the Chiefs, Jacksonville and Arizona.

(That’s Lions RB Joique Bell jumping over Jaguars FS Chris Prosinski in the Detroit at Jacksonville game on Sunday.)

Best offensive day was by Indianapolis with 516 yards against Miami. The Colts also had the best passing day with 419 yards through the air. The best rushing game was Tampa Bay’s 278 yards against Oakland.

Best defensive day was by Pittsburgh as they allowed the N.Y. Giants just 182 total yards. Tampa Bay held Oakland to just 22 rushing yards. Seattle held Minnesota to 44 net passing yards.

If the AFC playoffs began tomorrow the teams would rank this way: (1) Houston, (2) Baltimore, (3) New England, (4) Denver, (5) Indianapolis and (6) Pittsburgh.

If the NFL playoffs began tomorrow the teams rank this way: (1) Atlanta (2) Chicago, (3) N.Y. Giants, (4) San Francisco, (5) Green Bay and (6) Seattle. …Read More!

Ranking The Chiefs At Mid-Season

The season has reached the halfway point and it’s a good time to evaluate the Chiefs on a player-by-player basis.

It’s safe to say that with a 1-7 record there are no Chiefs players producing off-the-charts in a positive manner. Right now, there’s not a single player on their roster that can be called the NFL’s best at a certain position. Overall, all but a handful of players have been less than productive and as a group they are in the midst of a season that could be historically bad compared to previous years.

Over the last two weeks we’ve spent time talking with scouts and personnel types in and around the NFL. Combined with what we’ve seen with our very own eyes, these rankings have come together at the 2012 mid-season point. Players in red are those that have made the biggest jumps since the start of the season in the level of their performance and consistency. Players in blue are those that have had the biggest drops since the season began. The number in ( ) was the player’s position in the rankings issued back in early September for the start of the season.

  1. OLB Justin Houston (8) – He’s improved on his performance at the end of the ’11 season; just getting better.
  2. LT Branden Albert (4) – It’s the big man’s top season to date; he’s performing at a level to rank among AFC’s best.
  3. RB Jamaal Charles (3) – Back from his knee injury, his production has been up-and-down; might not be his fault.
  4. P Dustin Colquitt (13) – The veteran punter has had a good season with his directional kicks changing field position.
  5. WR Dwayne Bowe (6) – He’s proven so far that he’s one tough guy; he’s taken a pounding but is playing hard. …Read More!

Answer Bob/Part #1

The adjectives attached to Chiefs fans these days are dark and many – dejected, concerned, dispirited, angry, frustrated, ticked, and on and on. That definitely came through in your comments to our ASK BOB solicitation. A lot of questions and I have a lot of answers, and those will be parceled out in several segments.

Remember, the e-mail box will remain open until noon on Monday.

—————————————-

Mick turner says: Bob, many of us are dispirited. We don’t know what to do. What are the steps that you feel should be done and when? Thanks.

Bob says: Mick, I understand being dispirited – I mean right now there’s very little to be excited about. The problem is there are no easy fixes, no quick answers to turn this around. After all this time, that’s the most dispiriting – a fix is not just one move away. If I were Clark Hunt I would start at the top by firing GM Scott Pioli. Four years is not enough time, but the problem with the 2012 Chiefs isn’t that they haven’t moved forward, but they’ve gone so far backward and done it in a fashion that brings into question the talent this team supposedly had, according to Pioli. For now I would not move on Romeo Crennel, but he would be a dead coach coaching. I’d start with Pioli because the obvious problems are in the front office in how they do business and the evaluation and procurement of talent. With these last eight weeks of the season, I would hire a number of consultants to come in and look at the entire football operation. That would be men like former Packers GM Ron Wolf, former Colts GM Bill Polian, former Broncos-Falcons-Giants head coach Dan Reeves and a fourth consultant – maybe it’s Marty Schottenheimer, possibly Mike Holmgren – it would have to be somebody that has been in the NFL on the GM and/or coach level and knows the ins and outs of finding players. That couldn’t be guys that work for TV networks because of the conflicts, so that would leave out Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden, etc. I’d find out from those guys what they thought I needed to do. I would also hire myself an executive search firm, one that could ferret out those applying for the job that are best qualified for the position. My qualifications would start with player procurement and finding talent. That would have to be the No. 1 ability on my new GM’s resume. Everything else would come off that hire. …Read More!

NFL Transactions – 11/3

NFL – fined:

  • N.Y. Giants DT Chris Canty, $15,750 for roughing the passer penalty vs. Dallas.
  • N.Y. Jets LB Marcus Dowtin, $15,750 for roughing the passer penalty vs. Miami.
  • Oakland DT Richard Seymour $15,750 for roughing the passer penalty vs. the Chiefs.
  • Tennessee DT Mike Martin, $15,750 for roughing the passer penalty vs. Indianapolis.

Green Bay – activated LB Frank Zombo (hamstring) from the PUP List.

Jacksonville – released C Steve Vallos; promoted RB Will Ta’ufo’ou from the practice squad.

Miami – promoted DB Anderson Russell from the practice squad.

Minnesota – promoted Allen Reisner from the practice squad.

N.Y. Giants – activated TE Travis Beckum (knee) from the PUP List; released G Mitch Petrus.

Philadelphia – activated DT Mike Patterson (brain surgery) from NFI List; released LB Jason Williams.

Tennessee – promoted DB Tracy Wilson from the practice squad; released G Kyle DeVan.

Romeo Says Communication Is Open/Injury Update

Often when things are going badly with a football team, suddenly the head coach finds himself standing in front of the media and fan firing squad by himself.

Right now, Romeo Crennel doesn’t feel like he’s a man alone in this disastrous 2012 season. Crennel said the line of communication with those above him in the Chiefs flow chart is quite good.

“I talk with Scott (Pioli) every day and we’ve been talking every day since I got this job,” said Crennel. “Scott is supportive and he sees what we’re trying to do out here on the practice field.

“He’s disappointed in the results, just like I’m disappointed in the results.”

Crennel said he’s had regular conversations with Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt.

“I see Clark at every game and we talk and we talk about how things are going and he’s supportive,” said Crennel. “But he’s disappointed just like everybody else is.”

The head coach had a few other things to say: …Read More!

NFL Transactions – 11/2

NFL – fined:

  • Chicago S Chris Conte, $21,000 for hitting a defenseless player in the head vs. Carolina.
  • Minnesota DE Jared Allen, $7,875 for grabbing an opponent by the facemask vs. Tampa Bay.
  • St. Louis Rams $20,000 for violating the league’s injury reporting rules
  • Tampa Bay OT Donald Penn, $7,875 for grabbing an opponent by the facemask vs. Tampa Bay.

Buffalo – activated DB Ron Brooks (foot) from injured-reserve list/designated for return; placed G Chad Rinehart (ankle) on the injured-reserve list.

Carolina – promoted G Zack Williams from the practice squad; released C Thomas Austin.

Cincinnati – promoted LB Emmanuel Lamur from the practice squad; placed LB Dontay Moch on the reserve/non-football illness list (migranes).

Cleveland – activated DT Philip Taylor from the PUP List; promoted DT Ronnie Cameron from the practice squad; placed DE Brian Sanford on the injured-reserve list.

Pittsburgh – promoted DB Da’Mon Cromartie-Smith from the practice squad.

Tampa Bay – promoted DE Aaron Morgan from the practice squad.

College Game Of The Week: Alabama @ LSU

  • Alabama @ LSU
  • Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • November 3rd, 7 p.m. CDT, CBS

There’s not going to be a game in college football this season that will have more potential draft choices on the field than the Southeastern Conference showdown under the lights between Alabama and Louisiana State.

The Crimson Tide is ranked No. 1 across the board and they have 13 players that are seniors or juniors that NFL scouts consider draftable players. There are another two or three that may be fodder to sign as undrafted free agents. The Bayou Bengals don’t have quite that many, but don’t feel sorry for coach Les Miles; he has 9 players being considered right now for the NFL Draft.

I can assure you that few tapes of college games will be dissected as intently as this one will be by NFL teams. In the last 10 NFL Drafts, there have been 56 LSU players selected with 12 in the first round. For Alabama, there have been 45 drafted with 11 in the first round. Watch the action along the line of scrimmage as there are 11 of those 22 players do their work on the offensive and defensive lines.

Here are the 22 most draftable players on both teams. Going into the game, 21 of those players should be on the field: …Read More!

Notes & Quotes: Winning One For Norv

From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

It was “Win one for the Norv” on Thursday night for the Chargers. With the heat on head coach Norv Turner, a victory against the Chiefs was badly needed. In fact, there was some talk in San Diego that losing to the Chiefs would have Turner out of the job on Friday.

But the Chargers put together their best performance since they beat the Chiefs a month ago. Since then, they lost three in a row.

“We play for our coach; I think that’s been evident over the years,” said Chargers QB Philip Rivers. “Whenever we’ve struggled we haven’t folded, we haven’t pointed the finger and we haven’t said ‘OK you all can blame it on him here. Let him have it.’ We’ve rallied and played and a lot of the reason is because of the way he handles it.”

Turner brushed aside questions about his job security being more secure after the victory.

“We’ve got great leadership,” Turner said. “We have veteran guys. We have a very mature group of guys. You get where you make it harder that it is from a mental standpoint because you’re trying to do too much. I think our guys have responded and have prepared for every game we’ve played at a high level.”

San Diego is off until November 11 when they visit Tampa Bay and the next week they are in Denver.

Rivers was on target

Rivers completed 18 of his 20 passes, a completion percentage of 90 percent, one of the most accurate quarterback performances in NFL history. He becomes one of only six QBs to have a completion percentage of 90 percent. Here’s the company he now keeps in accuracy:

#

QB Team Opp Date Att Cmp %

1.

Kurt Warner ARZ JAX 9/20/09 26 24 92.3

2.

Vinny Testaverde CLV LAN 12/26/93 23 21 91.3

3.

Ken Anderson CIN PIT 11/10/74 22 20 90.9

4.

Lynn Dickey GB NO 12/13/81 21 19 90.5

5.

Philip Rivers SD KC 11/1/12 20 18 90.0
Steve Young SF DET 10/20/91 20 18 90.0

Atmosphere report

The Chargers announced paid attendance of 55,831 but there were not that many butts in the seats. The upper deck had more empty seats than fans. The crowd made a lot of noise, but that was helped along by the PA system that was turned up to ear splitting levels. With an open-air press box we can hear everything and without question they were running their crowd noise through the speakers and pumping up the volume.

There was a nice contingent of Chiefs fans in the house, as their usually is when the Chiefs come to visit. Even over the din of a flyover by military jets and the final words of the national anthem being sung by a military quartet, the home of the Chiefs could be heard.

The San Diego crowd booed Rivers when he was introduced in the pre-game. They booed the whole team when it ran off the field after blowing a scoring chance at the end of the first half.

Special teams report

Kicker – Ryan Succop was 2 of 3 on his field goals, hitting from 49 and 41, but missing from 30 when he slipped as he was kicking the ball. Succop kicked off four times, sending his first kick out of the end zone and then dropping kicks two and six yards deep.

Punter – Dustin Colquitt only punted once, and that was for 43 yards with a two-yard return that San Diego’s Eric Weddle fumbled away.

Returns – Shaun Draughn handled four kickoffs for an average of 20.8 yards, with a long of 29 yards. The Chiefs did not return a punt, with Dexter McCluster muffing the catch and San Diego recovering.

Coverage – Weddle got two yards on the only punt return and Curtis Brinkley had 24 yards on a kickoff return. Press box stats gave coverage tackles to CB Jalil Brown, WR Terrance Copper, LB Andy Studebaker and McCluster.

Personnel report

Inactive players for the Chiefs were QB Brady Quinn, RB Nate Eachus, CB Stanford Routt, WR Devon Wylie, LB Bryan Kehl, OL Bryan Mattison and DL Jerrell Powe. Quinn and Eachus were out because of concussions, while Routt did not play because of a hamstring injury. The other four inactive players were coaching decisions.

With Routt out of the starting lineup, Javier Arenas moved into that right cornerback spot.

Inactive players for the Chargers were WR Eddie Royal, WR Robert Meachem, CB Chris Carr, SS Brandon Taylor, OLB Larry English, ILB Jonas Mouton and TE Ladarius Green.

Former Mizzou product Danario Alexander was signed just 10 days ago on October 22nd, but he got a chance to start for Meachem who was out due to a hamstring injury.

With Royal out FS Eric Weddle handled punt returns and RB Curtis Brinkley stepped in for kickoff returns due to the absence of WR Richard Goodman who was placed on the injured-reserve list.

Misc.

Three Chiefs played in their 100th NFL games on Thursday night – DB Travis Daniels, S Abram Elam and RT Eric Winston … OLB Tamba Hali’s sack now gives him 10.5 sacks against the Chargers more than any other opponent and QB Philip Rivers has been his most favorite victim … WR Dwayne Bowe caught eight passes and now has 401 career receptions, becoming the fourth player in Chiefs history with at least 400 receptions.

College Preview: Washington @ California

  • Washington @ California
  • Stadium, Berkley, California
  • November 2nd, 8 p.m. CDT, ESPN2

Washington

#98 DT Semisi Tokolahi, Senior – 6-2, 340 pounds, 4.98 seconds in the 40-yard dash, late-round prospect for the NFL Draft.

A mountain of a man on the inside of the defense, Tokolahi has surprising quickness and burst for somebody carrying 340 pounds. He’s been clocked several times since arriving on campus in Seattle at sub-5 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He’s had his best season this year, picking up four tackles in a loss at LSU and then he led the Huskies defensive effort that upset Stanford earlier this year. Tokolahi is not a polished defensive tackle and he relies too much on his size and quickness. That’s why he’s not been a big-playmaker during his college career. His development was slowed at the end of the 2010 season when he suffered a broken ankle in a game against Washington State. That kept him out of the Holiday Bowl that year and was never quite 100 percent during the 2011 season, although he started seven games. Over his 32-game career he has 28 total tackles, 5 tackles for loss and 1 sack. He’s also forced a pair of fumbles. Born in Tonga, he played his high school ball on the big island in Hawaii at Hilo High School. He was the defensive player of the year on the big island and was a second-team all-state selection. Tokolahi was also ranked in the state of Hawaii in the shot put and discus. …Read More!

IT WAS A BUSY NIGHT FOR THE DOCTORS


From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

Injuries have been a problem for the Chiefs all year and that continued into Thursday night’s game against the Chargers.

DE Glenn Dorsey, LT Branden Albert, LG Jeff Allen, RB Jamaal Charles all left the game at some point because of injury. CB Stanford Routt did not play because of a sore hamstring, while QB Brady Quinn and RB Nate Eachus did not play because of sore heads.

Here’s an update on what we saw at the Q:

Routt – He came up with the sore hammy coming out of last Sunday’s loss to Oakland where he got torched by the Raiders for a number of big plays. Head coach Romeo Crennel said the decision on whether Routt would play was made at the stadium in a pre-game workout. The fact he could not go moved Javier Arenas into the starting lineup at right cornerback.

Dorsey – Appeared to reinjure the calf strain that kept him out for four games late in the first half. He could not walk off the field under his own power and was unable to put any weight on his foot. Crennel said after the game he’s probably the most serious of the injuries.

Charles – The Chiefs called the running back’s problem a neck injury, but Charles indicated after the game that he was fine and didn’t expect to miss any time.

Allen – He was ruled out with a head injury in the second quarter. Crennel would not call the injury a concussion. Allen walked out of Qualcomm Stadium Thursday night under his own power and did not appear to be hampered at all by whatever happened.

Albert – With about 10 minutes to play in the game, Albert went down with what appeared to be a lower left leg problem. He was able to walk off under his own power and eventually came back into the game.

Demorrio Enjoys A Chance For Revenge


From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

Demorrio Williams phone was blowing up.

As he tried to talk with reporters after Thursday night’s victory for his current team in the Chargers over his former team the Chiefs, calls were rolling in.

Williams held up the phone to show the number. It was a call from the 816. Another call goes off and it’s another number from the 816. Seconds later the phone goes off again. This time it’s a 913 number.

Friends in Kansas City were calling to congratulate Williams, not only because of the Chargers victory over the Chiefs, but the effect that Demorrio had on the outcome. Williams returned an interception 59 yards for a touchdown. His hit knocked RB Jamaal Charles out of the game. Generally, he was all over the field in the San Diego sub-defense.

“This was an important game for us and we went out and grabbed the game,” Williams said. “We knew we had to stop Jamaal and the running game and we were able to do that. The main thing is we had an opportunity to get our swag back.”

He was certainly in the right place at the right time when he grabbed a ball that bounced off WR Dexter McCluster’s hands and rumbled 59 yards for the score.

“It was a Cover 3 call,” Williams reported. “They’d been running cross curls and I was in great position. I don’t know if somebody stepped in front of me or tipped the ball or whatever. But thank god I was able to make the play.”

It was tipped by McCluster. “That’s my bad,” McCluster said. “If the ball hits your hands, you should catch it. I don’t have an excuse for that.”

As Williams was running for the touchdown, he wasn’t sure he was going to make it to the end zone.

“Those guys are kind of fast,” Williams said. “The important thing was I had the chance to make the play.”

And he had the chance to make a play against his old teammates. Williams spent four seasons with the Chiefs (2008-11), coming over from Atlanta when he became an unrestricted free agent.

“Yeah, that was nice; you always want to perform well in front of your friends,” Williams said. “Those guys over there are my friends, but when the game starts friends aren’t friends.”

That was certainly the case with Williams helmet-to-helmet hit on Charles that knocked the running back down and out of the game.

“I watched Jamaal grow up over there and become one of the league’s best backs,” said Williams. “I knew he’d be OK, because he’s a tough little guy. I was sorry he had to leave the game and it was good to see him jog off with a little smile.”

But the biggest smile belonged to Demorrio Williams.

“Revenge? Nah, it was just great to win,” Williams said. “I’ll enjoy it just for that.”

With that, he was off to listen to his messages.

Play Of The Game: Floyd’s TD Catch


From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

QUARTER – 4th period, 11 minutes, 37 seconds to play in the period.

SCORE – Chargers led 10-6.

DOWN & DISTANCE – 1st-and-10 for the Chargers offense at the Chiefs 13-yard line.

SET – Chiefs were in there dime defense, with 6-defensive backs, 3-linebackers, 2-defensive linemen

There were many plays where this Chiefs-Chargers game could have turned for good. But strictly on the scoreboard, it was the 13-yard touchdown pass from San Diego QB Philip Rivers to WR Malcom Floyd. At the time, the Chiefs trailed by just four points. They were very much in the game at this point but the defense had trouble stopping the Chargers offense. It was on the first play of the possession when RB Ryan Mathews got loose for a 31-yard gain, the longest offensive play of the game.

Five plays later the Chargers were set up for at least three snaps inside the Chiefs scoring zone. They needed only one. The Chiefs went to their dime defense, with six defensive backs on the field. Since starting CB Stanford Routt was out of the action, Javier Arenas started for him. That brought S Abram Elam and DB Travis Daniels on the field. Arenas moved to the slot role he’s always played in this situation, with Daniels stepping into cornerback.

San Diego liked the matchup and decided to send Floyd to that side of the football.

“The drive right before that, they went to a pure coverage,” said Chargers head coach Norv Turner. “What we did was spread them out and got into some run looks. We were calling plays at the line of scrimmage in terms of the look they gave us. When they gave us the man-to-man coverage, Philip made a great throw to Malcom.”

The touchdown and PAT kick gave the Chargers a 17-6. They built their late margin from there.

Officials Look: They Weren’t A Factor


From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

Alberto Riveron and his crew for the most part did not inject themselves into the game, maybe to the point of making a mistake by not going to replay, or at least telling everyone watching they were working with replay.

It happened when San Diego’s Eric Weddle fielded a punt and at the end of his short return the ball came loose. It appeared from replay that the ball came out with Weddle’s body on the ground, with his elbow hitting the ground before the ball came out. It was a turnover and that’s automatically reviewed by the replay booth, but Riveron never indicated that it was under review and Chargers head coach Norv Turner was going crazy, running onto the field to stop the Chiefs from taking an offensive snap. Ultimately, Riveron announced that the play had been reviewed and the call on the field was upheld. It was just handled in a messy manner.

Otherwise, the zebras were able to keep control on several occasions where the game was on the verge of becoming mayhem with pushing and shoving and extra-curricular stuff.

Here’s the hanky report:

#

Team

Squad

Player

Penalty

Yards

1.

Chargers

Offense

J. Gaither

False start

Minus-5

2.

Chiefs

Defense

J. Houston

Neutral zone

Minus-5

3.

Chargers

Offense

J. Gaither

False start

Minus-5

4.

Chargers

Defense

A.Barnes

Neutral zone

Minus-5

5.

Chiefs

Kickoff

J. Arenas

Un. Roughness

Minus-15

6.

Chiefs

Kickoff

E. Jones

Un. Roughness

Declined

7.

Chiefs

Punt

A.Studebaker

Illegal downfield

Offsetting

8.

Chargers

Punt Ret.

D. Rosario

Holding

Offsetting

9.

Chargers

Offense

J. Gaither

Holding

Minus-10

10.

Chiefs

Offense

E. Winston

False start

Minus-5

11.

Chiefs

Kick Ret.

D. Stephenson

Face mask

Minus-15

12.

Chiefs

Offense

E. Winston

False start

Minus-5

13.

Chargers

Defense

Q. Jammer

Pass inter.

Minus-15

14.

Chargers

Offense

M. Harris

False start

Minus-5

15.

Chargers

Offense

*

Delay of game

Minus-5

16.

Chargers

Offense

*

Delay of game

Minus-5

The call against Arenas for unnecessary roughness on the kickoff team gave San Diego 15 yards of field position. Stephenson’s facemask flag pushed the offense back so they had to start their possession on the Chiefs 8-yard line.

4 Keys To Chiefs Victory / Recap

From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

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

Score first – get a lead!

The folks at Stats Inc. say that no NFL team since 1940 has gone seven games into a season without holding a lead for at least a few seconds. It’s since 1940 because that’s only as far back as the league has reliable records. It’s time to stop this bit of history and time for the Chiefs to come out of the blocks with some purpose. This start of the game problem is not new. In the last three seasons (2010-12) they’ve played 40 games. The Chiefs did not score a point in 18 of those games. They held a first quarter lead in only 13 of those 40 games. There’s not likely to be any drills or exercises that would help the Chiefs get a lead. But until they end the inability to score first and to score quickly, they will not be taken seriously.

OUTCOME: FAILED ASSIGNMENT. They gave up a long touchdown drive to the Chargers to open the game and then put together a nice drive to start the game, but fumbled the ball away. That’s a classic picture of the season for the Chiefs.

3

No big plays for the Chargers

The first time they played a month ago, the Chiefs were able to keep the San Diego offense from stringing together a lot of big plays. They had only one completion of more than 21 yards and no run that went for more than 14 yards. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has not been on top of his game this season, but he remains one of the league’s most capable passers. The Chiefs defense and particularly the secondary has to batten down the hatches. That means CB Stanford Routt and the back liners at safety; they cannot allow their receivers to get away from them and they can’t blow any coverage assignments. That has been one of the biggest problems on the big plays the Chiefs have allowed – they failed on their coverage.

OUTCOME: FAILED ASSIGNMENT. San Diego’s offense had plays of 31, 30, 28, 21 and 20 yards and had little trouble getting those. There were times when Chargers receivers were running open in the Chiefs secondary.

2

Stop the penalties

The Chiefs are actually among the least penalized teams in the league right now, with 41 flags walked off against them in seven games, or an average of less than seven penalties per. It’s when those flags are thrown that has made the penalties another part of the losing equation. Against Oakland, CB Jalil Brown had a stupid offside penalty on a Raiders FG attempt. Sebastian Janikowski missed the kick from 37 yards, but got another chance thanks to Brown and he was good from 32 yards. A pair of holding penalties wiped out 12 yards in rushing by Jamaal Charles. This has been going on all season. It’s a sign of a lack of discipline, especially among a few players like OT Eric Winston (6 penalties) and CB Stanford Routt (4).

OUTCOME: PUSH. They lost some opportunities and yards due to penalties, but it wasn’t a major reason they lost the game the way they did.

1

No turnovers, none, nada, a big zero on giveaways

The winning equation for the Chiefs is quite simple. They can no longer hand possession of the football to the other team in any other fashion but a kick or punt. With 25 giveaways in seven games they are on a pace to reach 57 for the season. That would easily be the most turnovers in Chiefs franchise history and would rank among the top 10 worst seasons in league history for giving way the football. Here’s why a team can’t win when losing the ball – opponents scored 87 points on the possessions after turnovers. The Chiefs point differential overall on the season is 89 points. Cut those points off turnovers in half and the Chiefs would likely be 4-3 at the worst. When these teams met a month ago, the Chargers got 24 of their 37 points courtesy of turnovers. The football math is simple: no turnovers = increased chances for victory; giveaways = decreased chances for winning games.

OUTCOME: FAILED ASSIGNMENT. Four giveaways against the Chargers push their season total to 29 in eight games. That statistic alone makes it hard to believe they were able to win even one game.

Report Card: Chiefs vs. Chargers


From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

PASSING OFFENSE: D – The passing game was marginally effective for the Chiefs against the Chargers as QB Matt Cassel hit 65.5 percent of his throws and he was sacked only once – although it was a big one when he lost the ball in the end zone where it became a San Diego touchdown. The difference between a D and F for the passing game was WR Dwayne Bowe. He caught eight for 79 yards, but he made tough catch after tough catch and took a pounding. But that did not diminish his effort.

RUSHING OFFENSE: D – Jamaal Charles may have said it best after a game where he was hammered all night and took a vicious shot that knocked him out of the game. He said: “If they stop our run game it’s then hard for us to anything else.” San Diego controlled the Chiefs run game, allowing the three running backs only 2.95 yards per carry. Only 37 yards of scrambles by Matt Cassel pushed the team over the 100-yard mark for the game.

PASS DEFENSE: F – Other than SS Eric Berry’s interception in the end zone and OLB Tamba Hali’s sack the Chiefs got nothing done in stopping San Diego from throwing the ball. San Diego QB Philip Rivers hit throws of 30, 28 and 21 yards, while completing 90 percent of his throws in the game for an average per attempt of 11 yards. The Chiefs couldn’t cover and couldn’t pressure Rivers.

RUSH DEFENSE: D – The Chargers only gashed the Chiefs run defense once, as Ryan Mathews went for 31 yards – that was 25 percent of the San Diego rushing total in one run. But when they needed the run game, the Chargers were able to rely on it, especially in the second half.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D – Ryan Succop missed a 39-yard field goal when he slipped. Dexter McCluster muffed a punt late that did not turn out to mean much. Other than being able to get a takeaway when San Diego’s Eric Weddle fumbled a punt return they got little accomplished.

COACHING: D – The Chiefs did not seem to have answers to what the Chargers were doing defensively. They certainly couldn’t stop giving up the big plays on defense. The Chiefs played very hard and gave effort, but that wasn’t enough to win.

Eric Berry’s Comeback Continues

From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

“I figured they were going to come at me, just because I was out there.”

That’s how Eric Berry described his thought process before a 3rd-and-goal play from the Chiefs 1-yard line. There were 21 seconds left in the first half and the Chargers were knocking on the door of the end zone, looking to pickup if not seven, then three points.

Berry felt that way because that’s the way the two games against San Diego have gone for him. The Chargers seem to have pinpointed Berry as someone they can beat, as he struggled in the last game between the teams in trying to cover TE Antonio Gates.

However, on this play he wasn’t assigned to cover Gates. Instead, his man was another Chargers TE, Dante Rosario. (That’s him to the right trying to beat Dante Rosario out of his bank money.

“I just told myself I was going to buckle down and get ready and they came at me and I just made a play,” Berry said.

His diving interception snuffed out the San Diego scoring threat and kept the Chiefs down just 10-3 going into the half-time locker room.

“I knew what was coming my way,” Berry said. “I really was surprised he threw the ball.”

Rivers saw Berry in the end zone, but before he released the ball, he did not think Berry saw him.

“He was not looking at me as I released the ball,” River said. “Right as I throw, he turns. I left it too far inside. I could of put it more on the boundary. That’s one of those deals you know you have three points, unless it’s standing wide open, you throw it up and give a fan a souviner. Thankfully it didn’t cost us.”

For Berry, the interception was one of several plays he made against San Diego. He also had a nice tackle for minus yardage in taking down Chargers RB Ryan Mathews for a loss of four yards. The former first-round pick was also credited with eight tackles. It was quite a difference from the first game for him, when he had trouble covering Gates.

“I’ve been patient, I’ve been working hard and I’ve been knocking the rust off,” Berry said in reference to his missing last season because of his left knee injury. “I know what I can do so I haven’t been thinking about what other people’s evaluations are of me. I just keep moving forward.”

The last two games have been discouraging and frustrating as a team leader, but rewarding for Berry individually because he feels himself getting back to wehe he was during his rookie season when he earned a trip to Pro Bowl.

“I’ve just had to feel my way out, just like my rookie year,” Berry said. “All those experiences I had my rookie year I lost last year when I could not play. I’m just sticking with it and staying positive.”

What Next At Quarterback For Chiefs?

From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

Romeo Crennel wasn’t making any commitments of any kind about the Chiefs quarterback situation after Thursday night’s game.

Brady Quinn did not play because of a concussion. Matt Cassel did play, but the results were pretty much like those that had Crennel benching him nearly two weeks ago. And, Ricky Stanzi stood on the sidelines wear a ball cap, his golden locks sticking on the sides and back.

What will happen on November 12 when the Chiefs return to the field with a Monday night game in Miami?

Crennel was not making any promises or decisions at this point.

“”That’s hypothetical,” Crennel said when a question started with “if Quinn isn’t ready to come back.”

“I’ve got a long week to see what Quinn’s situation is during the course of this long week. We’ll try to evaluate everything and try to get ready for Pittsburgh.”

What about Stanzi possibly getting a shot at a start?

“We will evaluate it and then see which way it goes,” said Crennel.

Essentially the dynamic hasn’t changed – if Quinn is healthy and given the go ahead to play, he’ll be the starting quarterback. If he’s not ready, then stays in the job.

Cassel understands the lay of the land.

“This isn’t my decision; this is Romeo’s decision,” Cassel said. “Whatever he feels is the best direction for the team he will make that decision and I will be ready to play in whatever role that is. I’m always going to compete and always going to be ready to go.”

Another Tough Day For Matt Cassel

From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

It was Matt Cassel’s chance to put his clamps back on the starting quarterback job. With Brady Quinn out because of a concussion suffered last week, Cassel was in the driver’s seat again.

The fairytale version of this story would feature Cassel throwing for 300 yards, multiple touchdown passes, no turnovers and a victory for the Chiefs.

The reality wasn’t even close – Cassel did not throw for 300 yards; it was 181 yards. He did not throw multiple TD passes; he didn’t throw even one. No turnovers? No way. His fumble in the end zone while being sacked became a San Diego touchdown. His interception became a San Diego touchdown.

And the Chiefs did not beat San Diego, making it another lost game for Cassel and another punch to his career as the team’s starting quarterback.

“It’s absolutely disappointing,” Cassel said. “Coach told us before the game we were going to have to eliminate penalties and turnovers and I don’t know if we accomplished any of that. We played hard but again, the end result comes down to turnovers and that just continues to rear its head for us.”

And for Cassel; the interception that former teammate Demorrio Williams returned for a touchdown was his 11th on the season. His fumble in the end zone was the seventh fumble he’s lost this year. That’s 18 giveaways himself, or more than 30 of the 31 other teams in the league; only Dallas has more as a team with 19 giveaways.

Those two giveaways that turned into touchdowns for San Diego overshadowed anything else Cassel did on Thursday night. He completed 65.5 percent of his passes (19 of 29) for 181 yards or 6.24 yards per attempt. He was sacked once and did a good job getting away from more pressure by running six times for 37 yards.

But in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs had the ball at their 8-yard line to start a possession. On the first snap, RT Eric Winston was called for a false start. Jamaal Charles ran for 1 yards and it was 2nd-and-13. The Chiefs brought in an offensive alignment they used all day, with rookie OT Donald Stephenson coming on the field as a tight end.

Stephenson couldn’t handle the pass rush of San Diego’s Jarret Johnson, who sacked Cassel, stripping the ball out and it was recovered by San Diego for a touchdown.

“It’s a strip sack in the end zone and we can’t let it happen,” said Cassel. “Everybody has to do a better job collectively, including myself protecting the ball in that situation.”

The interception was a pass that went off the hands of McCluster and once Williams secured the interception he had an alley to the end zone without anyone taking a shot at tackling him.

“What can you say that we haven’t said before,” Cassel said of the interception. “Until we correct the turnovers, the results will be the same. It’s hard to win in this league when you turn the ball over.”

Chargers Rock Jamaal’s World

From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

Jamaal Charles sat in front of his locker and slowly pulled on his dress shirt.

He’d taken off the shirt before Thursday night’s game with the Chargers and done it so his tie remained in place.

Four hours later, the tie was still there but it wasn’t so easy to workaround as the dress shirt went back on. Not when you have a headache and your neck hurt and your body feels like it’s been run over by a small truck.

“I’m fine,” Charles said. “I’m feeling OK. There’s nothing much wrong.”

It did not look that way in the fourth quarter, when he caught a pass picked up two yards and then got smacked in a head-one, helmet-to-helmet collision with former teammate, now Chargers LB Demorrio Williams.

“I didn’t see him,” Charles said. “I was trying to get away from a couple guys and then . . .”

Then, Charles was rolling around on the ground in obvious pain. Not that he remembered any of that. “I’ll have to take a look at that one the tape,” Charles said.

Within a few minutes, Charles was on his feet and he ran off the field without help from the trainers and doctors. He did not return as the Chiefs announced he had a neck injury.

“I’m not sure I have anything,” Charles said. “I’ll wait to see what Dave (Price, Chiefs trainer) has to say.”

For the third game in a row, an opposing defense has taken the field with their No. 1 goal being shutting down the Chiefs running game and specifically controlling Charles. A month ago he was the league’s leading rusher, but then he’s gone 12 carries for 40 yards, 5 carries for 4 yards and then Thursday night 12 carries for 39 yards. Against Baltimore on October 7 Charles ran 31 times for 140 yards. In the three games since, he’s run for a combined 29 carries for 83 yards.

“Defenses are really concentrating on stopping our run game and that’s the only thing that makes our offense go,” admitted Charles. “If they stop our run game it’s then hard for us to do anything else.”

The Chargers stopped the Chiefs running game. As a team they ran for 113 yards on 30 carries, but the running backs – Charles, Peyton Hillis, Shaun Draughn – ran 20 times for 59 yards, a poor 2.95 yards per carry.

Charles ran for 8, 2, 0, minus-5, 0 and 4 in the first half (6 runs, 9 yards). In the second half he ran for minus-1, 3, 10, 2, 15 and 1 (6 runs, 30 yards).

“We had some good runs in the third quarter that we need to build on,” Charles said.

The question now is how healthy will Charles be for the Chiefs next game in Pittsburgh on November 12.

“I’ll be OK,” Charles said waving way any possible idea that he might be held out. “I can play.”

Column: Not Desperate Enough To Win


From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

It was thought going into Thursday night soiree between the Chiefs and Chargers that the game was a meeting of two desperate football teams, one with a four-game losing streak, another with three straight defeats.

Turned out there was only one team desperate enough to lay everything on the line in hopes of calming the pain in their gut. That was the San Diego Chargers. They won the game 31-13.

The Chiefs didn’t play like a desperate team. First of all they barely qualify as a team these days. They are not the “right 53″ joined with the “perfect” coaching staff that works together in unison, laying their heart and soul on the line and going to football war every week. That’s a team.

They are a bunch of guys that just work at the same address. They share an office and they spend a lot of time together, but they seem to have forgotten the elements that are necessary to win. They have forgotten that they play 60 minutes of football; they put in a good 45 minutes worth of work, on this night but there was a little problem with those final 15 minutes.

They have to play in coordination where offense, defense and the kicking game meld into a singular movement against an opponent. That’s what a team does. The Chiefs do not do that. The generous offensive side gives the ball to the other team and leaves its defense in horrible situations. The defense gives up big plays on a regular basis and that tilts the field position battle and leads to points and that just more scores the offense must get. But the offense isn’t good enough to pull that off. The special teams fumbled a punt away for the second straight game and they continue to produce nothing in the return game.

No, these 2012 Chiefs are not a team. They don’t qualify for that title, they don’t deserve that designation. Numerous times Thursday night the Chiefs were in a position where the game’s momentum would have turned if they’d just been able to make a play. That’s what players are supposed to do – make plays. If a team does not have playmakers, then they are not going to be successful.

Those opportunities were butchered by the Chiefs against the Chargers. Give SS Eric Berry credit for making a play; his end zone interception came at the perfect time, keeping Chargers points off the board. There simply weren’t enough of the other guys in Chiefs uniforms making those plays.

Those of us that watch have watched the 2012 Chiefs stumble through the first half of the season have called for changes. Some want GM Scott Pioli fired and there’s good enough reasons for that, take a 22-35 record on his watch for one. Other want Romeo Crennel sent packing and they have a lot of evidence, topped by his 3-8 record as head coach of the team. Just about everybody wants the quarterback fired, as Matt Cassel now has a record as the Chiefs starting quarterback of 19-28.

Let me assure you that the problem goes beyond those three men. The entire team appears to be infected with the worst possible malady any group trying to work together can have – they’ve made losing a habit.

Coaches always say that winning is a habit; the opposite is true as well. Winning teams seem to find ways to win games. Losing teams just keep finding ways to lose, over, and over and over again. They don’t ever appear to learn anything from their travails. Next week will be another week of Chiefs players and coaches all talking about how they have to stop beating themselves, how somebody has to make a play, how they aren’t this bad, that they need to stop shooting themselves in the foot, ya da, ya da, ya da.

It’s all just blather. This group of the “right 53″ has no idea how to win. Even with those three Super Bowl rings in his desk drawer, Pioli doesn’t know how to win. He’s proven that over four years when he hasn’t been smart enough to figure out that just because his football passport was stamped in New England, that doesn’t carry any weight when you are working in Kansas City and you don’t have Tom Brady at quarterback or Bill Belichick as head coach.

To turn this thing around it’s going to take a fumigation of monumental proportions. Either that, or it gets blown up and they start over. No matter what Young Mr. Hunt decides to do, somebody needs to take over who knows how to win and understands how to take a group of men and turn them into a team that wins.

The Chiefs Nation knows the questions. They await the answers.

It All Looked Very Familiar As Chiefs Lose 31-13


From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

More of the same, more of the same, more of the same, more …

That’s what went down Thursday night as the Chiefs fell 31-13 to the San Diego Chargers.

Déjà vu all over again as Yogi Berra would say.

“We are going to keep working and get this straight,” head coach Romeo Crennel said. “We will try to coach it, try to play better and fight our way out of it.”

Turnovers (4), penalties (5), mistakes (too many to count) combined once again to keep the Chiefs far, far away snapping their losing streak that has now reached five games. They played another 60 minutes without holding a lead, now pushing their season total to 488 minutes-plus.

The amazing thing was they were right in this game when the fourth quarter started, down by just four points. And, throughout this stretch where they are now 1-7 at the season’s midway point, it’s been the fourth quarter where they’ve played their best football.

Not this time. They were trailing 10-6 and then in the span of three minutes in the fourth quarter they gave up 21 points. The meltdown came courtesy of the offense and defense. It started with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Philip Rivers to WR Malcom Floyd (17-6). Then, the human turnover machine known as Matt Cassel lost a fumble in the end zone that San Diego recovered for a fumble (24-6). That was followed by another tipped pass that went off Dexter McCluster’s hands and was grabbed by LB Demorrio Williams who returned it 59 yards for a touchdown (31-6).

Game, set and match.

“I thought we were right in the game there at the start of the fourth quarter and then it just got away,” said McCluster, who later in the quarter muffed a punt and gave San Diego the ball so they could run out the clock.

“We shoot ourselves in the foot,” Crennel said for the seventh time this season. “We are in this hole and we have to fight our way out of it.”

Through three quarters against the Chargers the Chiefs matched the home team in production and mistakes, yet they were still a factor in deciding the game. They were 100 yards behind in offensive yardage (295 to 194 yards), but trailed only by four points after Ryan Succop hit his second field goal of the game from 41 yards with just 53 seconds left in the third quarter.

The Chiefs had hung in there despite the fact they had their normal horrible start to the game. They spotted the Chargers an early lead when San Diego took the opening kickoff and moved down the field like a machine. In 7 plays they went 80 yards and QB Philip Rivers was 4 of 4 for 70 yards including the 14-yard touchdown pass to TE Antonio Gates. The PAT from Nick Novak gave San Diego a 7-0 lead, one they would not relinquish the rest of the night.

Back in the starting lineup because the concussed Brady Quinn was ruled out of the game, Cassel came out on fire throwing the ball. He took the offense on a 17-play drive, where they converted plays of 3rd-and-8, 3rd-and-12, 3rd-and-10 and 3rd-and-1. They had moved the ball to the San Diego 33-yard line where they faced another 3rd-down play, this time needing 15 yards to move the sticks. Cassel found WR Dwayne Bowe with a nice throw that was short of the first-down marker and Bowe struggled against several Chargers defenders trying to get the yardage.

That’s when he was hit by Williams and coughed up the ball. It was recovered by CB Quentin Jammer and the Chiefs first scoring chance ended after 17 plays and 8 minutes and 6 seconds of ball possession with a goose egg.

“We really moved the ball well at times, that’s what is so frustrating,” said RT Eric Winston. “That first drive, we were converting on third down and it was pretty.

“Then, we got nothing out of it.”

That could easily earn the nomination of the game’s turning point, but there was still three quarters and change to play. The Chargers were only able to get a Novak 25-yard field goal out of the takeaway. A little more than six minutes later in the second quarter Succop hit from 49 yards and the score was tied.

As the first half was closing out, San Diego made one more run at scoring some points, but a Rivers pass in the end zone to TE Dante Rosario was intercepted by SS Eric Berry and the initial 30 minutes ended with the Chargers up 10-3.

“There wasn’t anybody that didn’t think we could do something in the second half and get a lead,” said Berry. “We had done some good things. We gave up the touchdown, but the offense was moving the ball and we kept stopping them from getting another six points.”

The Chiefs got help early in the third quarter when Chargers FS Eric Weddle fielded a punt and then fumbled it away after CB Jalil Brown poked the ball out. It was recovered by LB Cory Greenwood at the Chargers 24-yard line. With great field position, the Chiefs offense could not get out of its own way. Cassel, threw incomplete to Bowe. Jamaal Charles ran up the middle for three yards and then another throw to Bowe went incomplete. Succop came in to kick a 39-yard field goal but he slipped on the Qualcomm Stadium turf as he struck the ball and it sailed just left of the uprights.

Given an opportunity thanks to the other guy’s mistake, the Chiefs couldn’t take advantage and got nothing out of the situation.

“That was a killer,” said Berry. “We just had to bounce back.”

They did the next time they had the ball and Succop made a 41-yard field goal to cap a 10-play, 70-yard drive. The Chargers held a 10-6 lead as the third quarter came to an end.

From there, it all went to h-e-double hockey sticks. The Chiefs added another one of those meaningless late touchdowns when RB Shaun Draughn scored on a 6-yard run that made the score 31-13. By then Rivers had thrown to Floyd in the front corner of the end zone and he beat the coverage of CB Travis Daniels. OLB Jarret Johnson knocked the ball loose from Cassel as he was scrambling in the end zone and it was recovered by LB Shaun Phillips for a touchdown. And Cassel’s pass went through McCluster’s hands, was grabbed by Williams and he ran untouched for six points.

The fight of the first three quarters disappeared in the fourth. With it went the team’s chances to win.

“Well if you don’t fight, you never get a chance to get to the fourth quarter,” said Crennel. “We’re going to keep working at it and try to fight for four quarters.”

Chiefs Unable to Crack Victory Code, Lose Again


From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

At least they were competitive. Scratch that.

At least they were competitive for three quarters. What happened in the fourth quarter on Thursday night in San Diego wiped away any good that could have come from being competitive.

The Chargers won 31-13 and the Chiefs losing streak is now five games and their record for the season drops to 1-7.

There were many elements of this game that were so familiar to those that came before, but in this case it wasn’t so much their own mistakes that sunk the chances for victory. It was the inability of anybody on the team to make a play when one was needed.

Time after time in the first three quarters the Chiefs were in situations where a single play would have turned the tide. But eventually the only tide they saw was the Chargers washing over them and making them 4-4 at the halfway point of the season.

There’s plenty to cover in this one:

Pre-Game Scene From San Diego


From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

6:50 p.m. CDT – That’s it for pre-game from the Q. Remember we will have complete coverage through out the night and into the morning – I’m sure the writing won’t be done when the sun comes up. We will cover all the angles right here. Enjoy the game, if that’s possible at this point.

6:45 p.m. CDT – Maybe file it under the category of leaving no stone unturned. Romeo Crennel has changed up the Chiefs warm-up habits. In the past, the players formed three lines and generally went about stretching in mass as they walked to mid-field. It looked like a bunch of kindergarten kids on a playground with minimal supervision. Tonight, they are lined up in orderly fashion, a row of approximately 10 players every five yards for 25 yards. It’s a little thing but it actually looks like they might know what they are doing in warming up.

6:40 p.m. CDT – In the press box the Chargers have announced that Javier Arenas will start at CB for the inactive Stanford Routt. If that’s the case and it’s Arenas and not Jalil Brown, I wonder how long it’s going to take San Diego to permanently put Malcom Floyd on that side of the field. Floyd vs. Arenas is a physical mismatch of major proportions – Floyd is 6-5, Arenas is 5-9. That’s an 8-inch advantage for the Chargers, plus Floyd weighs about 30 pounds more than Arenas. Coaches love to scheme for match-up football and I’ve got to imagine Norv Turner will be testing Arenas early and often.

6:35 p.m. CDT — The Chargers have announced that Danario Alexander will start at wide receiver in tonight’s game in place of the inactive Robert Meachem. The former Mizzou star who saw his dreams of being drafted in the NFL wiped out by a serious knee injury while playing for the Tigers was just signed 10 days ago when they released receiver/returner Michael Spurlock. Alexander started seven games in the 2010-11 seasons with the St. Louis Rams.

6:30 p.m. CDT – Air Hunt has landed as Clark and Daniel Hunt along with their mother Norma have hit the field at the Q. Norma Hunt is amazing – she’s not missed a game this year so far – pre-season or regular season. She remains the First Lady of the Chiefs.

6:25 p.m. CDT – Kicking towards the east goal post, Ryan Succop was short and left from 52 yards. Kicking right behind him was Chargers K Nick Novak who was 1 of 2 from 55 yards. One thing about a Chiefs-Chargers game and that’s a field goal will figure in at some place important in the game.

6:20 p.m. CDT – Correction on the note about the Chargers only with two wide receivers tonight. They did not update their stadium roster to include recently signed WR Seyi Ajirotutu. He was signed earlier in the week to replace Richard Goodman who went to IR.

6:15 p.m. CDT – Two airplanes flying banners above Qualcomm but neither one has anything to do with firing GM Scott Pioli. One is for a strip club and the other was for a casino.

6:10 p.m. CDT – DE Glenn Dorsey will be available to the Chiefs this evening, after missing the last four games due to a calf injury he suffered in practice. Until this injury, Dorsey had been pretty durable as far as staying on the field. We’ll see how much time he actually plays.

6:05 p.m. CDT – No Stanford Routt for the Chiefs tonight is not helpful for the Chiefs defense. But luckily for the Chiefs, the Chargers have wide receiver problems. Both Eddie Royal and Robert Meachem are inactive players because of injury. With Richard Goodman going to the injured-reserve list this past week, that leaves only Malcom Floyd and former Mizzou product Danario Alexander on the active list at wide receiver.

6:00 p.m. CDT – Inactive players for the Chargers against the Chiefs are WR Eddie Royal, WR Robert Meachem, CB Chris Carr, SS Brandon Taylor, OLB Larry English, ILB Jonas Mouton and TE Ladarius Green.

5:55 p.m. CDT – Inactive players for the Chiefs against the Chargers are QB Brady Quinn, RB Nate Eachus, CB Stanford Routt, WR Devon Wylie, LB Bryan Kehl, OL Bryan Mattison and DL Jerrell Powe. …Read More!

NFL Honors & Transactions – 11/1

AFC – named Denver QB Peyton Manning offensive player of the month, Miami DE Cameron Wake defensive player of the month, Oakland K Sebastian Janikowski special teams player of the week. Named New England QB Tom Brady offensive player of the week, Denver LB Wesley Woodyard defensive player of the week and Miami DE Olivier Vernon special teams player of the week

NFC – named Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers offensive player of the month, Chicago CB Charles Tillman defensive player of the month, N.Y. Giants K Lawrence Tynes special teams player of the month Named San Francisco QB Alex Smith offensive player of the week, N.Y. Giants S Stevie Brown defensive player of the week, Green Bay CB Davon House special teams player of the week.

NFL – named Tampa Bay RB Doug Martin as rookie of the month on offense; named Green Bay CB Casey Hayward as rookie of the month on defense.

Detroit – placed CB Bill Bentley (shoulder) on the injured-reserve list; signed CB Don Carey.

New England – acquired CB Aqib Taleb from Tampa Bay for an undisclosed draft choice; released CB Sterling Moore.

New Orleans – signed WR Greg Camarillo; released TE Daniel Graham.

Tampa Bay – traded CB Aqib Taleb to New England for an undisclosed draft choice; released DE George Johnson.

Officials For Chiefs-Chargers On Thursday Night

The officiating crew for Thursday night’s Chiefs-Chargers game at Qualcomm Stadium is led by referee Alberto Riveron.

Promoted to referee in 2008, Riveron (pictured left) is the first Hispanic referee in NFL history. Riveron was born 52 years ago in Cuba and immigrated to the Florida at the age of 5 with his mother Irene Valdes. He still lives in south Florida where he sells storm panels when he’s not working NFL games.

Riveron had 15 years of college experience in the Conference USA and Big East Conferences before signing on with the NFL in 2004 as a side judge.

The rest of the crew:

Umpire Paul King – came into the NFL in 2009 after working for 30 years on the high school and college levels. King spent 19 years doing college games, 14 years at the Division I level and nine years in the Big East Conference. He also worked eight seasons in the Arena Football League and four in NFL Europe. He’s also a math teacher at Forest Grove Middle School in Worchester, MA. He’s 49 years old. …Read More!

Cassel’s Second Chance … Game-Night Cup O’Chiefs


From San Diego, California

Throughout his life, Matt Cassel has faced trials and tribulations that tested his mettle. As a kid, his family home was wiped out by the Northridge Earthquake. His college football career was a whole lot of watching and not very much playing at Southern Cal.

Then 10 days ago he lost the starting quarterback job he had worked so hard to earn with the Chiefs when Romeo Crennel benched him and gave the opening snaps to Brady Quinn.

But much as the earthquake and the frustration of not playing quarterback for the Trojans, losing the starting job with the Chiefs did not destroy Matt Cassel. It made him stronger and now he’s back in the driver’s seat. Starting with Thursday night’s game against the San Diego Chargers, Cassel has another opportunity to make the job his and his alone.

Everyone can watch tonight, with kickoff at 7:20 p.m. from Qualcomm Stadium. Television coverage is on the NFL Network and in Kansas City on Channel 62.

“No matter what my position is I’m going to be the same guy and that’s I think the reason why I was able to go in there and execute at a high level on Sunday and play well, because I was ready and my approach was the same,” Cassel said.

If executing at a high level includes losing a fumble and throwing an interception, then Cassel certainly did that against the Raiders. Although his completion percentage better in that game than his season number and the same for his average yards per attempt, but there was just that single meaningless passing touchdown in the final minutes and no other touchdowns. …Read More!

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