Pioli Gives Lowdown on Bowe

When he was the Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli provided no information on the record about contract negotiations with players.

But now that he’s a member of the media, Pioli has learned to sing a different tune.

Thursday on SiriusXM NFL Radio – that’s one of Pioli’s new employers – he was speaking of Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe and the current state of contract negotiations between the team and the soon to be free agent wide receiver.

The subject was under discussion because Monday is the deadline for teams to use their franchise player tag for the 2013 season. The Chiefs used the franchise tag on Bowe last year and paid him the tender offer of $9.6 million. The labor rules say that a second straight season with the franchise tag requires a 20 percent bump.

So if the Chiefs want to franchise Bowe for the coming season, it will cost them $11,520,000. But, the deal would be for just one season.

Here’s what Pioli had to say: …Read More!

Reasons For Smith Trade Are Obvious

Let me make this clear from the start – the Chiefs gave up too much for Alex Smith. If the delayed trade with San Francisco includes pick No. 34 in this year’s NFL Draft, then it was too high a price to pay.

Smith will be in his ninth year in the NFL and his eighth season of play. As we showed earlier in the week, his career numbers are nearly matches for what Matt Cassel has done in his time in the NFL. Smith has been injury prone (knee, right shoulder, left shoulder, concussion) and has played a full season only twice in eight years. He missed the entire 2008 season because of a broken bone in his shoulder.

All of these are facts that I’m sure Andy Reid and John Dorsey knew. These guys are definitely programmed to turn over every rock and look around every corner when it comes to football issues. There’s no way any of this got past the head coach and general manager.

Yet, they have made the deal, which can’t be finalized until March 12th, with the start of the new league year. The price they are paying remains unknown, but the outlets with the best sources in the league say it’s a 2nd-round pick this year and a conditional choice in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Why pay such a high price? There are six factors revealed in the shadow of this trade in waiting. Follow along with me as we talk about these half-dozen reasons that after the first one come in no particular order. …Read More!

NFL Almanac – 2/27

Items of note

Chicago – Possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia charges against Bears LT J’Marcus Webb were dropped on Wednesday. Webb was arrested in Pulaski County on those charges on Sunday. He was pulled over for speeding (11 miles per hour over the 65 mph limit on Interstate 57.)

NFL – the league plans to investigate some of the questions asked of players at the Combine last week in team interviews. University of Colorado TE Nick Kasa said he was asked by a team he wouldn’t name: “Do you have a girlfriend? Are you married? Do you like girls? Those kinds of things and you know it was just kind of weird.” NFL officials say that type of questioning violates league policies.

Transactions & Player News

  • Buffalo – defensive end Chris Kelsay announced his retirement after 10 seasons with the Bills – he was selected in the 2nd-round of the 2003 NFL Draft and played 147 games with 120 starts in Buffalo. He’s 33 years old.
  • Jacksonville – released OT Guy Whimper, QB John Parker Wilson and DB Brandon King – Whimper started 6 games last year for the Jaguars at RT, while Wilson (Atlanta) and King (Indianapolis) saw more time on the practice squad than game action.
  • N.Y. Giants – signed LT Will Beatty to a 5-year contract – the Newark Star-Ledger said the deal was for up to $38.75 million with $19 million guaranteed. Beatty was a 2nd-round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft out of Connecticut.
  • San Francisco – signed WR Joe Hastings; he played in one game during the 2011 season with the Niners.

Reports Say Chiefs Deal For Alex Smith Is Done

It’s been talked about and rumored for the last week, but the Alex Smith to the Chiefs trade appears to be real. Fox-TV’s Jay Glazer reported Wednesday that the deal between the teams has been completed and Smith is K.C. bound. Glazer generally has a pretty good lock on NFC news, especially out of San Francisco.

The trade cannot go through until the start of the new league year on Tuesday, March 12th.

What remains unknown is the price tag. Rumors are rampant that it could be as high a choice as a second-rounder in the 2013 NFL Draft, pick No. 34 overall.

Wide World Spins Into NFL Combine – Part 2

From Indianapolis, Indiana

Among the top 75 ranked players at the NFL Combine there were five that did not arrive at Lucas Oil Stadium in the normal route taken by the cream of the crop from college football.

DE/OL Ziggy Ansah, DE Margus Hunt, DT Jesse Williams, OT Menelik Watson and DE Bjoern Werner should all be taken in the first or second days of the 2013 NFL Draft, in the first, second or third rounds.

This despite the fact they were born in Ghana, Estonia, Australia, England and Germany. They are not the children of American military personnel born while Dad was on assignment. They are not the offspring of ex-pat U.S. passport holders.

They are children of the world who are in position to make their future in professional football in the United States. Not soccer or rugby, which they all played as children, but good, old American tackle football. All five got involved, but only two had any clue what the game was about before they landed on campus.

Now, their next step could be playing on Sundays.

We had the story of Ansah and Werner on Tuesday. Next up are the amazing journeys taken by Watson, Williams and Hunt. …Read More!

NFL Almanac – 2/26

Items of note

New England – the Boston Globe reported Tuesday that the Patriots are unlikely to keep WR Brandon Lloyd because of erratic behavior during the 2012 season. His actions were not explained other than his behavior “proved tiresome” according to league and team sources noted by the Globe. If they cut Lloyd, it will mean a savings of $4.9 million under the salary cap for the 2013 season.

Oakland – according to ESPN.com, the Raiders are interested in hiring Mike Holmgren in a leadership position within the organization. Holmgren took 2 teams to the Super Bowl 3 times during his coaching career, winning and losing one in Green Bay and losing one in Seattle. Most recently he was the president of the Cleveland Browns before the team was sold last year.

Best Numbers of the Underwear Olympics/Combine

The NFL Combine wrapped up on Tuesday with the defensive backs working on the field and taking the physical tests that annually make up the underwear Olympics.

All the times, distances and repetitions are on the books and it made for a slightly above average showing from the Combine class of 2013. There was only one new event record set and that came in the broad jump. Southern Mississippi OLB Jamie Collins jumped 11-feet, 7 inches. That broke the event record that was five years old set by WR Jerome Simpson out of Coastal Carolina at 11-feet, 4 inches in the 2008 Combine. Simpson was drafted by Cincinnati and is now with Minnesota.

It was in the 40-yard dash where the class of ’13 made a bigger mark than most, as there were a dozen players that were clocked under 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Texas WR Marquise Goodwin couldn’t beat the Combine record that’s officially held by Chris Johnson, but he was able to register this year’s best time. The previous 4 Combines (2009-12) had 4, 4, 7 and 7 players ran under 4.4 seconds.

Here are the top 10 finishers in the seven major physical tests. …Read More!

Wide World of the NFL Spins Into Combine – Part 1

From Indianapolis, Indiana

Among the top 75 ranked players at the NFL Combine over the last few days there are five that did not arrive at Lucas Oil Stadium in the normal route taken by the cream of the crop from college football.

DE/OL Ziggy Ansah (right), DE Margus Hunt, OT Menelik Watson, C Jesse Williams and DE Bjoern Werner should all be taken in the second-day of the 2013 NFL Draft, in second or third round.

This despite the fact they were born in Ghana, Slovenia, England, Australia and Germany. They are not the children of American military personnel born while Dad was on assignment. They are not the offspring of ex-pat U.S. passport holders.

They are children of the world who are in position to make their future in professional football in the United States. Not soccer, which they all played as kids, but good, old American tackle football.

Before all five got involved, only one had any clue what the game was about. Werner grew up playing flag football as a kid in Germany and he soon graduated to club teams with tackle football. He loved the action, the aggressiveness. Werner even watched the Combine over the Internet several years ago.

His dream was to be part of the Combine. He’s made it after four years at Florida State, joined by his other worldly brothers. Here is his story and that of a young man from Ghana who has blossomed in a sport that four years ago he knew nothing about.

Later in Part 2, we’ll bring you the story of a Slovenian track athlete that became a pass rusher, an English basketball player who became an offensive tackle and a rugby player who became one of the strongest men in college football. …Read More!

It’s almost a wrap at the NFL Combine

The defensive backs will take the field for the underwear Olympics on Tuesday and that will bring to an end the 2013 NFL Combine.

A lot of items and stories will continue to flow from Indianapolis – that’s tends to happen when you have thousands of NFL club employees, hundreds of agents and 333 players all spending four to six days within a few blocks from each other. Oh, and don’t forget the media horde and guys like your humble Internet scribe; it was the biggest contingent of hairdos, yakkers and scribblers in the history of the event.

We will wrap up all the performances by position once the cornerbacks and safeties are finished up. So, let’s touch base on other items of interest.

Alex Smith to the Chiefs Rumor Update No. 169

The 49ers have disputed the report that came from cbssports.com that a deal for QB Alex Smith has been completed, but can’t be executed until March 12 and the start of the new league season and the ability to make trades. The Sacramento Bee newspaper reported there was no trade worked out.

So somebody involved in this affair is enjoying themselves as they spread the rumors about what’s happening with a backup quarterback – that’s how crazy the NFL world has become.

Here are the facts as we know them: Smith wants out, he’s set to make $8.5 million under his contract for the 2013 season; and the Niners appear to want to deal him and say they won’t cut him.

Stay tuned – more rumors are bound to come down on this one.

Chiefs talked about adding a different Smith

TheΒ San Diego Union-Tribune reported Monday that A.J. Smith, the recently fired G.M. of the Chargers is going to join the Washington Redskins as an adviser/consultant to the team’s personnel department. His son Kyle Smith is already a scout for the Redskins.

But it turns out that Smith was in Indianapolis during the Combine so he could talk with three different teams about a possible job, and one of those teams was the Chiefs. The Union-Tribune said Reid talked with the Chiefs about a job “due to a relationship with Andy Reid.” The other team was the New England Patriots.

A look at the professional past of both Reid and Smith shows no place where their paths crossed, so the nature of a relationship remains vague. …Read More!

NFL Almanac – 2/26

Items of note

New England – the Patriots and QB Tom Brady have worked out a 3-year contract extension that will carry him through the 2017 season when he will be 40 years old. The deal is worth $27 million for Brady, including a $3 million signing bonus payable immediately. The ramifications provide New England with some salary-cap space for the coming season.

NFL Combine – highly ranked DT Star Lotulelei out of Utah was diagnosed with a heart valve problem during his physical at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. Lotulelei was kept out of the defensive line drills on Monday and he was expected to return to Salt Lake City to consult with doctors there including a heart specialist.

St. Louis – veteran RB Steve Jackson has decided to void the final year of his contract, and he’ll become a free agent. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports he will test the free agent market. Rams head coach Jeff Fisher has said the team would like to have Jackson back for the 2013 season. He’s only played for St. Louis over his 9-year NFL career, where he’s run for 10,135 yards.

Transactions

  • New England – signed QB Tom Brady to a 3-year, $27 million contract extension.
  • Philadelphia – released DL Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson; Cullen is 32 and he’s played 9 NFL seasons, the last 2 with the Eagles. Patterson will be 30 in September and is an 8-year veteran. Last season, he played just 5 games because of problems involving blood vessels in his brain. Patterson’s departure provides a $3 million cap savings.

Coaching & front office moves

  • New Orleans – hired Wesley McGriff as defensive backs coach; McGriff was cornerbacks coach and co-defensive coordinator at the University of Mississippi last season.

Heard from the AFC West At The Combine

Chargers coach Mike McCoy (l), Broncos leader John Elway (c) and Raiders coach Dennis Allen (r)

From Indianapolis, Indiana

The chatter at the NFL Combine involves many subjects and 32 teams. Here are a view comments with an AFC West focus from the Broncos, Chargers and Raiders.

John Elway on whether he wants the players to remember their loss in the playoffs to Baltimore – “I don’t want to forget last year. I don’t want our team to forget it. I want them to realize it was a great year, but also don’t forget that feeling of what happened in the playoff game. Be able to learn from that. Hopefully we can build on it and get better from it, as we did in ’96. ’97 and ’98 were good years for us, so I’m hoping that we can learn like we did back then with this experience. I’m hopeful. We’ve got a good football team, so we think that we’ll continue to build on that and see what happens.”

New Chargers head coach Mike McCoy on San Diego’s offense and correcting its problem withΒ giveaways – “That’s the number one thing we got to cut back on. You have to go look at the whole entire package of plays. Why were certain interceptions thrown? Why did he (QB) make certain decisions? Can the protection be better? Can the routes be run better? It’s going to be 11 guys we finally evaluate. It’s not just the quarterback, though a lot of it falls back on his shoulders. But that’s something we’ve already talked about is that’s the number one thing we got to do. We’ve got to cut back on the turnovers. He’s a very talented player and he’s got a lot of talent around him.” (Philip Rivers threw 15 interceptions and the Chargers had 26 total turnovers last season.) …Read More!

To Deal Or Not To Deal For Alex Smith

From Indianapolis, Indiana

The behind-the-scenes chatter of the weekend at the NFL Combine has touched on many subjects, teams and players, and right in the middle of it has been the connected words:

Chiefs + quarterback + trade = Alex Smith.

There has been plenty of smoke on this subject since the first of January and various reports would indicate there are now flames involved. Various media outlets keep chirping on the Chiefs’ interest in the 49ers backup quarterback.

Sunday night cbssports.com’s Jason La Canfora tweeted that a deal for Smith is done, but can’t be finalized until March and the start of the new league year. He did not reveal the terms or team involved, suggesting it was either the Chiefs or Jacksonville. The timing is tied up with Smith’s contract and handling of the particulars under the salary cap; he’s due $8.5 million for the 2013 season.

So what to conclude? Let’s say it’s true, that a deal for Smith has been consummated and he’ll soon be wearing his No. 11 with the Chiefs. Good news or bad news?

That depends. Let’s start here: what did it cost the Chiefs to get Smith? …Read More!

A Busy Sunday For Offense At The Combine

From Indianapolis, Indiana

They cracked the door open just as smidge at Lucas Oil Stadium and allowed some of the media horde a chance to watch the Sunday morning workouts by the quarterbacks and receivers.

What we could discern from our in-person look at the underwear Olympics was that Texas WR Marquise Goodwin is fast, QB Geno Smith has enough arm to overthrow him and Collin Klein looked out of place.

But then so did a bunch of the other passers taking part in the two morning sessions for the quarterbacks. There were 16 in all and the most impressive physical specimen was Minnesota QB MarQueis Gray, and he’s likely headed for an NFL shot at tight end, rather than taking snaps.

Let’s start with the sheer speed displayed by Goodwin and Tavon Austin from West Virginia. When the NFL was done crunching the numbers, Goodwin was down for 4.27 seconds in the 40, one of the fastest efforts in Combine history. Austin was timed at 4.34 seconds. …Read More!

A Couple Missouri Defenders Take Next Step


Missouri’s Sheldon Richardson (L) and Missouri Western’s David Bass (R) met with the media on Saturday

From Indianapolis, Indiana

They are a couple of St. Louis kids that have taken very different routes with their football careers. But David Bass and Sheldon Richardson both have the same destination in mind – the NFL.

That’s why they are taking part in the NFL Combine this weekend at Lucas Oil Stadium.

When players at the Combine are brought to the media room there is a certain pecking order in play. The top prospects are assigned one of the three podiums, where there are microphones and lights set up, and several rows of chairs for the media. The lesser known players are assigned individual tables, round tops with five or six chairs without microphones or lights

Northwest Missouri State’s David Bass had a table. Missouri’s Sheldon Richardson stood on a podium. It really wasn’t so much a distinction between their status as players, but more the status of their schools. Richardson played in the top conference in major college football, the Southeastern Conference. Bass played in the M.I.A.A., one of the best conferences in Division II football, but it’s a step down from the SEC.

Still both are here because the NFL personnel types believe they have potential to reach the NFL playing field. Richardson is the quick interior disruptive force, while Bass is an edge player, developing into a very explosive pass rusher. …Read More!

Scenes From The Combine: The Brothers Harbaugh

From Indianapolis, Indiana

We have visual proof that for at least one afternoon Jim and John Harbaugh buried the hatchet from the Super Bowl and watched the underwear Olympics at the NFL Combine on Saturday afternoon in the Lucas Oil Stadium.

GM’s, coaches and scouts watch the action from luxury boxes, one for each team. But frequently they wander out to the seats to change the view or renew family relations.

Since John’s Baltimore Ravens beat Jim’s San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl, the brothers have not spent time together, but they’ve had several conversations over the phone.

“We discussed some facets of the game and some other football talk,” Jim Harbaugh said.

Next question: “Is it easier losing to your brother?”

“No,” Harbaugh spat, “it’s not easier.”

Manti Speaks; Combine Stops


From Indianapolis, Indiana

In the history of the NFL Combine there has not been a moment like what went down at 1:15 p.m. Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Unfortunately it had nothing to do with anything that did or will happen on the football field. After arriving on Friday, former Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o made his first public appearance in the aftermath of his dead then fake girlfriend and the uproar that followed those revelations.

That why the Combine press room was wall-to-wall members of the media horde that had been waiting all day for Manti to see his shadow to speak.

It was a necessary part of life for Te’o after everything that has happened over the past six months. He was there, but that did not mean he was excited about going over his personal issues with a couple hundred strangers.

“This is pretty crazy,” Te’o said. “I’ve been in front of a few cameras after a game, but not as many as this.”

The phantom girlfriend saga is something that every NFL team that has talked with him asked for details. Most of the time the conversation was for just 30 to 60
seconds and then the subject would turn to football.

“They want to be able to trust their player,” Te’o said. “You don’t want to invest in somebody who you can’t trust. With everybody here, they’re just trying to get know you as a person and as a football player. I understand where they’re coming from. It could be a hurdle or it could also be a great opportunity to show who you really are. And that’s the way I’ve approached it.”

When he first spoke from the podium, Te’o made it plain he had no desire to rehash the story and all of its ramifications.

“About the incident, I’ve said all I need to say about that,” Te’o said. “How I’m handling it going forward is doing what I’m doing; focusing on the moment, focusing on football and the combine. Not everybody gets this opportunity to be here. I’m sure there’s thousands and thousands of people who would like to be here in Indianapolis. I’m just trying to enjoy the moment.”

But the onslaught of questions could not be stopped, so Te’o ended up talking at length about his lengthy “relationship” on-line with a woman who did not actually exist, that he never met and who supposedly at one time died, only to return again, as she ran away from drug dealers.

Did he have any lingering regret over all this? “I could have done some things different, obviously, done a lot of things different to avoid all this stuff,” Te’o said.

Has the whole episode been embarrassing? Oh, definitely,” he said. “For anybody to go through it, it’s definitely embarrassing. When you’re walking through grocery stores and you’re giving people double-takes to see if they’re starting at you, it’s definitely embarrassing. I guess it’s part of the process, it’s part of the journey. You know it’s only going to make me stronger and it definitely has done that.”

Has he gotten past the point of being embarrassed about it? “Oh, definitely,” Te’o said. “It definitely has gone. Obviously I’m here. If I was still embarrassed I wouldn’t be standing in front of you.”

Is he concerned about repercussions in whatever team’s locker room that becomes his new football home? “No, I think I’ve learned the difference between the things I can control and the things I can’t control,” Manti said. “And hopefully by doing the things I can control well I’ll have more favor in the other category. Whatever team I go to, I’m just going to be me. I’m going to work hard. I’m going to do my best to help the team win. And whatever happens happens.”

Combine Record Performances


From Indianapolis, Indiana

The players will begin their on-field work for the NFL on Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium as the tight ends, wide receivers and quarterbacks will be the first to get their opportunities to run, jump and lift.

There are over six dozen drills where they will be measured, but the four big ones are the 40-yard dash, the bench press, the vertical jump and the broad jump.

Here are the combine record holders in seconds, repetitions and distance. The folks at NFLDraftScot.com have been keeping track of these numbers for many years, even longer than the league itself, so we defer to their numbers that differ from other sources:

40-yard dash*

  • Gold – 4.21 seconds in 2010 by WR Trindon Holliday, LSu/Texans (Rnd. 6-pick# 197).
  • Silver – 4.22 seconds in 2010 by WR Jacoby Ford, Clemson/Raiders (Rnd. 4-pick #108).
  • Bronze – 4.24 seconds in 2008 by RB Chris Johnson, East Carolina/Titans (Rnd. 1-pick #24).

*-ranked according to best time, not announced time. …Read More!

For Now, It Will Be QB And Only QB for Klein

From Indianapolis, Indiana

Sorry any NFL team interested in seeing Collin Klein work at the NFL Combine as a tight end.

It’s not that the Kansas State quarterback and the third man in the Heisman voting is stubborn …

Well, yes it is because Klein is stubborn; he’s intent on getting a shot at a pro football career taking snaps behind center, not running short pass routes and blocking linebackers.

“That’s my heart; I know I have the tools to do that. I know I’ll bring a lot to the team at that position,” Klein told the media horde at Lucas Oil Stadium. “I want to pursue every door that I possibly can at quarterback and until everyone one of those are closed I’m not considering anything else.” …Read More!

Winning Culture – Which Comes First?


From Indianapolis, Indiana

The question came to John Dorsey on Friday afternoon when he met with the media that’s here at Lucas Oil Stadium for the NFL Combine.

“You come from a winning culture in Green Bay,” started the query. “How do you hope to build that in Kansas City?

Ordinarily, any mention of “culture” beyond the scope of the symphony and ballet is an immediate tune out for your humble Internet scribe. It has become one of the sports world’s most overused terms.

But this caught my attention and held it for one simple reason: the answer would tell us plenty about how the new regime around Arrowhead thinks and perceives its role. I was intrigued to see how Dorsey would handle the situation.

“I think wins, when you begin the collective effort within an organization – let me get my thoughts here,” said Dorsey, pausing for a moment to think about that he was about to say. That was evidence enough that he understood the seriousness of the question and his reply.

“First off, it’s when you begin to win and then you have individuals within the organization believing and helping support and having the basic understanding that if we can support the efforts of the players, we can build a culture,” Dorsey said. “Then all of a sudden, the people realize that ‘my efforts really do count.’ The players see those little things and when you do those little things to help players, I think that goes a long way.”

Here’s a simple translation – if we win, a culture will develop. …Read More!

NFL Almanac – 1/21-22

Items of note

San Francisco – speaking at the NFL Combine on Friday, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh said it was “unlikely” that San Francisco will release now backup QB Alex Smith. “That will be a process that plays out,” said Harbaugh. “I mean Alex Smith continuing to be a 49er, or if a trade occurs in the next weeks or months, those are the two most likely possibilities.”

Washington – the man who operated on Redskins QB Robert Griffin III said Friday his patient’s recovery is way ahead of schedule. “We don’t have to do much but try to hold him back, if you want to know the truth,” said Dr. James Andrews.

Transactions

  • Baltimore – center Matt Birk announced his retirement after 15 seasons in the league; the 36-year old Birk was a 6th-round choice in 1998 by Minnesota out of Harvard. He played in 210 games, with 187 starts and 6 trips to the Pro Bowl.
  • Tennessee – signed SS George Wilson to 2-year contract for $4 million; Wilson played for Buffalo from 2005 to last season, when he started all 16 games for the Bills. He had 98 total tackles.

College & front office moves

  • Chicago – hired Mike Groh as wide receivers coach; Groh held the same job at the University of Alabama during the 2012 season.
  • Detroit – hired Terry Heffernan as assistant offensive line coach; he spent the last 6 years coaching the O-Line at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Dorsey Has Seen The NFL Combine Change

From Indianapolis, Indiana

As John Dorsey waited to step to the podium in the media room at the NFL Combine on Friday afternoon he reflected on how the event had grown.

“I was in the Combine as a player in 1984,” Dorsey said. “I was in New Orleans that year. In fact, there were two of them and the other one was in Seattle. I went to two combines and nobody talked to me. I didn’t have a single interview.”

Almost 30 years later, Dorsey had a lot of folks wanting to talk to him at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Chiefs GM could hold meetings every minute from dawn to dusk and he still wouldn’t be able to catch up with all the messages and requests for conversation from agents, players, fellow GM and personnel types and the media.

But the preparation process is currently underway and Dorsey and Andy Reid do not plan to speed up the situation. That’s not what either one has learned in coming up through the NFL ranks and certainly not what they’ve practiced in their careers.

“It’s a challenge and you have to embrace the challenge,” said Dorsey. “I think you have to go one step at a time, evaluating your team, then beginning to understand your team, then you have to understand free agency and then you have to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the college draft.

“Then, you put a plan together and you move ahead.” …Read More!

Chiefs and Trades Can Still Come Together

From Indianapolis, Indiana

When a football team is coming off a 2-14 season, no stone can be left unturned when it comes to improving the talent on the roster.

The NFL Combine going on this weekend here at Lucas Oil Stadium theoretically is about preparing for late April’s NFL Draft. But so much more goes on in the hallways, tap rooms, restaurants and hotel ballrooms. Signings and releases are started or finalized here.

And although the NFL is not much of a league for trading players, swaps are discussed here. In the middle of the chatter this February are the Chiefs, and specifically when it comes to quarterbacks.

Here’s an update from Thursday’s public comments made by the decision makers.

  • San Francisco QB Alex Smith
  • Availability? Yes, he’s going to be available.

Niners GM Trent Baalke makes it very plain that when push comes to shove, San Francisco is going to seriously consider dealing their former starting quarterback before Colin Kaepernick came along and took the job from Smith.

Is the option now to trade him?

“I think that’s part of it,” Baalke said. “We’re going to look at all options available. Are we going to trade him for sure?

“That hasn’t been decided.”
Whether the Chiefs become a suitor or not, Alex Smith is available. …Read More!

Andy Knows What Pick #1-1 Means

From Indianapolis, Indiana

As the NFL Combine got underway Thursday at Lucas Oil Stadium, the assembled media horde wanted to hear from the Chiefs, owners of pick #1-1 in April’s selection meeting.

Head coach Andy Reid obliged them in mid-afternoon by appearing on the media-room podium and taking questions about the Chiefs intent with that first choice.

Reid observed was that he understands how important, momentous and vital this draft choice is to the future of the franchise.

“You want to make the right pick; you don’t want to force yourself into a (single) position or anything like that,” Reid said. “You want to take the right guy that fits in the best for what you do.

“Most of the questions have been asked about quarterback. But it’s important that we go through and evaluate everybody.”

And then, Reid said those words that Chiefs fans longing for a quarterback with the initial selection just hate to hear.

“You don’t go for need; you go for the best player, or who you perceive the best player to be,” Reid said. “You put him in there and that’s what you go with. If the best player is a guard, then you go with the guard.

“You look at it that way. If you don’t, that’s where the mistakes come in.” …Read More!

NFL Combine – Best of Defense

From Indianapolis

The first wave was offense, but starting on Saturday, the attention turns to defense at the NFL Combine.

It begins with the arrival of the defensive linemen and linebackers on Friday, followed by the defensive backs on Saturday. It will roll until Tuesday, when the defensive backs have their on-field testing work.

There are a lot of talented defensive players in this draft class. But much like the offense, there is not one potential draft pick that stands head and shoulders above another. Defensive line and cornerbacks appear to be deep in prospects. Not the same for safeties and inside linebackers.

Here is a look at the defensive players that have been invited. We’ve provided a pre-Combine list of the top five at each position, then the other players at each position. …Read More!

Good Drafting Teams Always Find Good Players


From Indianapolis, Indiana

Many words have already been spoken and written about the class of players that will be part of the 2013 NFL Draft. More will come this week from Indy and the NFL Combine that starts in earnest Thursday morning at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The consensus of opinion? There’s nothing too great about this group of players according to scouts, personnel types and some in the media. No franchise quarterbacks. No offensive stars or game breakers. The best players are just a bunch of linemen on both sides of the ball.

Don’t believe it for a minute. There are many talented players in this year’s crop, and they are there are every position. Anybody that says different – including NFL personnel types – is either lying, blowing smoke or simply ignorant.

It’s funny how teams that know what they are doing when it comes to evaluating talent always seem to find talent, no matter the so-called reputation of the draft class, or where they draft in each round, or how many choices they might have in that selection meeting.

Here’s an example all Chiefs fans know – the team’s 2009 class of draft picks. …Read More!

NFL Almanac – 2/20

Items of note

Indianapolis – former Colts DE Dwight Freeney expected something other than being released by the team last week. He told the Indianapolis Star: “I was surprised the way it happened. I figured they would offer me something low and I would just accept it, go the last few years and retire a Colt. That didn’t happen.” Former teammate Peyton Manning has already contacted Freeney about joining him in Denver with the Broncos.

New England – Patriots CB Alfonzo Dennard was found guilty of assault in a police officer in Lincoln, Nebraska several days before the 2012 NFL Draft. The Lincoln Journal-Star reported Dennard, a 7th-round choice for New England last year out of Nebraska, faces six years in prison. He will be sentenced on April 11.

Transactions

San Diego – claimed CB Johnny Patrick on waivers from New Orleans; Patrick was a 3rd-round choice of the Saints in 2011 who was released earlier in the week.

NFL Combine: The Best On Offense

From Indianapolis

There will be 333 players rolling through Lucas Oil Stadium this week at the NFL Combine.

Some are here hoping for one more chance to show what they can bring to the NFL. Others arrive in Indy already marked for stardom on the pro level. It is the ultimate sporting job fair, where players can make or lose millions of dollars by what they do, what they say, or how they act.

They are broken into four groups and the early arrivals are Group #1 (Special teams, offensive line and tight ends) and Group #2 (quarterbacks, wide receivers and running backs.)

So here is a look at the offense players that have been invited. We’ve provided a pre-Combine list of the top five at each position, then the other players at each position. Tomorrow, we’ll have the list of defensive players. …Read More!

A Combine Injury Check-up For Indy

One of the most important parts of the NFL Combine is the chance for team doctors to get their hands on the players, literally.

That’s especially true of players that are coming into the league with an injury. It’s an important week of assessment for the 32 teams and the 30 or so players with injury histories that’s relatively new. The examinations will begin Wednesday for offensive linemen, tight ends and special teams players. The quarterbacks, wide receivers and running backs get felt up on Thursday.

Some of the injured players had a chance to be among those selected in the top half of the first round, like QB Matt Barkley (left) from Southern Cal. Barkley suffered a third-degree separation of his right (throwing) shoulder in a November 17th game against uCLA. He missed the season finale against Notre Dame, the Trojans bowl game in El Paso against Georgia Tech and the Senior Bowl.

Barkley’s rehab was going down in Alabama, but he has since moved to the IMG facilities in Bradenton, Florida, an indication the work is shifting away from medical concerns to football work. His shoulder is reportedly at 90 percent recovered and Barkley has been cleared to throw on March 27th at Southern Cal’s Pro Day.

A lot of these players will be of interest to the Chiefs, although not for the premium pick #1-1. But many times these players with lingering rehab issues end up dropping on the draft board and can be real draft bargains. For instance: what if Barkley’s situation drops him out of the first round and he’s available at pick No. 34. Could the Chiefs pass up that type of value with their second-round choice?

With all the injured players, the key is their evaluation when healthy by the scouting staff and then the deciding factor come from the opinion of team doctors who are evaluating the players. That makes for an interesting dynamic for the Chiefs since the personnel decision-makers are new, and so are the team doctors. The Chiefs signed a sponsorship deal with the KU Medical Center last year and that agreement included medical personnel supplied by the hospital. If they are working the Combine, those doctors are handling the players and the exams for the first time.

Here’s a more detailed list of the most seriously injured players. Those in red were the higher-rated players before injury: …Read More!

NFL Almanac – 2/19

Items of note

Baltimore – the Super Bowl champion Ravens will raise the price of their tickets b 10 percent. It’s the team’s first price hike in 4 years and according to team officials it was planned for last year but was postponed.

Green Bay — the Packers announced Tuesday a ticket-price increase, with increases ranging between $2 and $5.

NFL – said referee Alberto Riveron will become the league’s new senior director of officials, leaving his on-field presence.

Transactions

  • Chiefs – signed S Husain Abdullah; released WR Steve Breaston and TE Kevin Boss.
  • New Orleans – released CB Johnny Patrick; former 3rd-round pick. Released TE David Thomas; he caught just 11 passes in 14 games last season and will be 30 in July.
  • N.y. Jets – released LB Bart Scott; he was due $8 million in the coming season after becoming a 2-down LB last year. R LB Calvin Pace; he started 32 games in the past 2 seasons for the Jets and had 70 total tackles and 3 sacks last season. Released S Eric Smith; he was due $2.4 million but was not a starter and contributed only 25 tackles and an interception. Released OT Jason Smith; former pick #1-2 in ’09 by St. Louis, he was traded to the Jets in late August ’12 and was a backup who is scheduled to receive a $12 million roster bonus in several weeks. Released TE Josh Baker; he spent ’12 season on the injured-reserve list with a knee injury in the pre-season.

Chiefs Trim Breaston, Boss

The Chiefs had been busy in recent weeks adding players to their roster. On Tuesday, the personnel moves became a two-way street as WR Steve Breaston and TE Kevin Boss were released.

The veteran receivers thus became the first casualties of the new regime. The 29-year old Breaston has spent 6 seasons in the league, the last 2 years with the Chiefs. He played in 26 games with 17 starts, catching 68 passes for 859 yards and 2 touchdown catches.

His playing time all but disappeared in the second half of the 2012 as he apparently earned a ticket to the dog house of head coach Romeo Crennel.

Boss showed promise last year in the pre-season and in the season opener, but he suffered a concussion in the second game at Buffalo and did not return. He had 3 catches for 5 yards and a TD catch.

Breaston signed a 5-year deal for $22.55 million in 2011, and was due to make $3.8 million in base salary for the 2013 season. Boss signed a 3-year, $9 million last season and he was due $2.4 million in base salary in the coming season.

Andy Reid & The Quarterbacks He Drafted

A.J. Feeley (L), Donovan McNabb (C) and Kevin Kolb (R) were drafted by then Eagles head coach Andy Reid.

Whether it comes with pick #1-1, or on the second or third day, there’s very little doubt that the Chiefs will select a quarterback at some point in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Andy Reid has always believed in drafting quarterbacks – in the last 14 NFL Drafts, the Philadelphia Eagles selected quarterbacks, topped by the draft-choice starter for 11 seasons in Donovan McNabb. Even with McNabb ensconced at the No. 1 chair at quarterback, Reid and the Eagles drafted 3 other quarterbacks between 2001 and 2007.

Since ’99 when the Eagles grabbed McNabb with the second selection of the first round, there have been 182 quarterbacks drafted, or just a bit under six per team. Reid’s time in Philly was average.

The Chiefs have been far below average; since ’99, they have selected just 3 quarterbacks, tied with Buffalo, Jacksonville, Dallas and New Orleans as the fewest passers drafted. The Chiefs are one of five teams that since 1999 has not used a first-round selection on a quarterback (they are joined by New England, Dallas, New Orleans and Seattle.)

James Kilian, Brodie Croyle and Ricky Stanzi were the only QBs the Chiefs drafted from 1999 through 2012. That’s a 7th, 3rd and 5th-round draft choices.

That dearth of quarterback picks, combined with Reid’s background and his interest in the position, all but guarantees that quarterback will be a subject of discussion and likely execution for the Chiefs in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Here’s a look at Reid’s quarterback draft record: …Read More!

Chiefs Add Safety From Vikings

The Chiefs added an eighth street free agent to the off-season roster for 2013, adding S Husain Abdullah on Monday.

The 5th-year veteran is returning to the league after sitting out the 2012 season for religious reasons. A devout practitioner of Islam, Abdullah spent last fall making a pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. He was joined on the trip by an older brother Hamza, who has also played safety in the NFL.

Abdullah (6-0, 204 pounds) spent four seasons playing for the Minnesota Vikings, moving into the starting lineup in 2010 at strong safety and then over to free safety for the 2011 season. In 54 games and 24 starts, the California native totaled 167 tackles, 2 sacks and 4 interceptions. In four seasons, he also contributed 49 tackles in the kicking game.

In the 2010-11 seasons, Abdullah dealt with four concussions, including two in the span of 3 weeks.

He grew up in Pomona, California and was a three-year starter at Washington State.

Abdullah joins previous street free agents – OL Steven Baker, TE Kevin Brock, DL Marcus Dixon, DL Daniel Muir, OL Ryan Durand, WR Mardy Gilyard and WR Tyler Shoemaker.

The Eagles Drafts With Andy Reid: 1999-2012

When there’s a 14-year record of victories and defeats, draft choices and trades, there is plenty of evidence to evaluate and predict the future.

That’s what Andy Reid brings to the table for the Chiefs as the NFL off-season shifts into the personnel mode with free agency in March and the NFL Draft in April.

(That’s Reid on the right with the Eagles first-round draft pick in 2012, DL Fletcher Cox.)

Forget the comments and concerns about who has the final say when it comes to personnel for the Chiefs. Just as it was during his time with the Eagles, Reid is actively involved and in most cases the driving force in the area of players, whether they are coming or going. Should he decide that there’s a certain player he wishes to sign, trade for, claim or draft, the Chiefs and GM John Dorsey will make that happen, just as the folks in Philadelphia did for the previous 14 years.

When Clark Hunt made the mistake of hiring Scott Pioli to be Chiefs general manager, it was believed that Pioli was bringing talents in the draft room to help build the roster. But after four seasons it became very apparent that the genius behind the New England Patriots drafts and player acquisitions was not Pioli but head coach Bill Belichick. Pioli wasn’t the decision maker. Reid had far more involvement in the Eagles personnel; the head coach made decisions. He’ll make decisions with the Chiefs.

So what can be expected from Reid, especially when it comes to the NFL Draft? While the situation with the Chiefs is not exactly that of the Eagles the previous 14 years, but that history provides a peek into how Reid operates in the draft. Here is some of the important information that can be gleaned from the 14 Eagles drafts that brought 124 players to the team when Reid was biggest part of the decision making process: …Read More!

NFL Almanac – 2/16-17

Transactions

Miami – signed LB Lee Robinson out of the CFL; Robinson spent the past 2 years with Edmonton. He had stints in training camp and on practice squads with the Broncos, Cardinals and Buccaneers in 2009 and 2010.

Coaching & front office moves

New Orleans – hired Dan Roushar as running backs coach and moved Bret Ingalls from RB coach to offensive line coach; Roushar was the offensive coordinator for Michigan State in 2012.

Tennessee – hired Steve Hoffman as assistant special teams coach; last season Hoffman was special teams coach of the Raiders after working several seasons with the Chiefs.

What Comes From Trading No. 1 – Part 2

Jeff George (L), Ki-Jana Carter (C) and Michael Vick (R) were all drafted first thanks to trades

The first pick in the NFL Draft does not get traded often.

In the last 23 years pick #1-1 changed hands just 5 times and it’s not happened in the last dozen years. Since the AFL and NFL Drafts were combined, it’s happened 10 times, or 21 percent of the time. The historical odds say a move at the first pick is overdue.

The reasons why there has been so little activity on top are varied, but generally have to deal with the high stakes that go with being in that No. 1 seat. It takes a team with strong managers to deal with the aftermath if things go wrong, and they often do in situations like the NFL Draft.

The past indicates it’s going to be very hard for the Chiefs to deal away pick #1-1, if that’s what they hope to accomplish. As the view of these last five trades shows, teams willing to move up do so to obtain a specific player. Those willing to deal out of No. 1 seek a windfall of players and/or draft picks.

Here are the last five trades involving the first pick: …Read More!

NFL Almanac – 2/15

Items of note

Philadelphia – published reports citing sources close to the Eagles say the team has not talked about trading QB Nick Foles and are unlikely to consider such a move for anything less than a 1st or 2nd-round draft choice.

Dallas – former Cowboys equipment manager Jack Eskridge died Monday in Valley Falls, Kansas. He was 89 years old. Eskridge is the man who came up with the idea of the blue star on the Dallas helmet, which became an iconic logo in the NFL and remains an immediate sign of “America’s Team”. Eskridge was once an assistant coach and equipment manager for legendary basketball coach Phog Allen at Kansas. He spent 13 years with the Cowboys.

NFL – Sports Business Daily reported Friday that tax filings by the NFL show that in 2011 Commissioner Roger Goodell earned $29.49 million. That total includes a $22.3 million bonus probably tied to new labor and television contracts that were signed in ’11. Goodell made $11.6 million in 2010.

St. Louis – ten days after claiming him on waivers, the Rams released troubled WR Titus Young. “We felt Titus is better suited for another organization,” said St. Louis head coach Jeff Fisher during a Friday press conference. Earlier this month, young was released by Detroit where he had troubles with teammates and coaches. …Read More!

What Comes From Trading No. 1? Part #1

WR Irving Fryar (L), DE Too Tall Jones (C) and DT Bubba Smith (R) were selected No. 1 in the NFL Draft after a trade.

Everyone from Joe Fan to draft impresario Mel Kiper thinks the Chiefs should trade the first pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. With no franchise quarterback showing in this draft class, the thinking is the best value comes from dialing down, picking up more draft choices or established players.

It’s easy to say. It’s much harder to actually do.

In the 46 drafts held since 1967 when the AFL and NFL merged their drafts as the first steps in merging the leagues the top choice has been traded 10 times before the selection meeting. Two of those 10 were traded twice.

Assess the trades and more often than not the team that originally had pick #1-1 would have been better served to keep the choice.

Here’s a complete accounting of those 10 choices and 12 trades, who won and who lost. It’s done in two parts, the second chapter coming later on Friday. …Read More!

NFL Almanac – 2/14

Items of note

Chiefs – According to USA Today, the Chiefs are showing an interest in Eagles QB Nick Foles. The newspaper cites sources that Foles is on the short-list of potential quarterback additions to the roster for the 2013 season. Foles was Philly’s 3rd-round draft choice last year out of Arizona.

More Chiefs – NFL.com reported on Thursday that the Chiefs are intent on signing WR Dwayne Bowe to a long-term contract. Bowe can become a free agent in March. The website said discussions between the team and Bowe’s agent have already begun.

Atlanta – Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff said Thursday that the chances of TE Tony Gonzalez returning to Atlanta for another season are 50-50. After the Falcons were eliminated from the playoffs, Gonzalez said he was 95 percent sure that he would not return for another season.

Transactions

  • Buffalo – released CB Terrence McGee (failed physical; signed QB Aaron Corp and OT Hutch Eckerson.
  • Carolina – signed WR James Shaw.
  • Miami – signed LB Lee Robinson.
  • New Orleans – re-signed ERFAs TE Michael Higgins and OL Eric Olsen to 1-year contracts – Olsen played in 16 games with 4 starts in the ’12 season while Higgins played in 2 games for the Saints.
  • Philadelphia – signed QB Dennis Dixon to a 2-year contract – Dixon was on the Baltimore practice squad for the 2012 season and he played at Oregon when new Eagles head coach Chip Kelly was the school’s offensive coordinator.
  • Tennessee – released LB Kevin Malast.
  • Washington – signed DT Ron Brace, former New England second-round choice in 2009.

Coaching & front office moves

  • Detroit – hired Marcus Robertson as secondary coach; Robertson was out of the NFL last season and last coached in the league in 2011 with the Tennessee Titans.

First Pick: Booby Prize or Opportunity?

QBs David Carr (L), JaMarcus Russell (C) and Tim Couch (R) were No. 1 selection in the NFL Draft

No NFL team wants to earn the first pick in the annual NFL Draft. The team’s that find themselves on top of the selection list are coming off a season where they were the league’s worst winner.

Thus the Chiefs sit with the first selection after their miserable 2-14 record last year. Since the AFL and NFL combined into a single draft in 1967, the team with the first selection in the draft has averaged 2.9 victories per season.

As the team puts together its game plan in the days before the NFL Scouting Combine, they are sitting there with selection No. 1. As GM John Dorsey and coach Andy Reid make their way around downtown Indianapolis during Combine week, the will field numerous discussions about that very first pick.

And it’s not just the media that will try to break the code, but the rest of the league as well. The Chiefs have not shown any cracks in their veneer so far and they don’t need too at this early stage. Evaluations will narrow in February and March and some team will be willing to do whatever they can to get the first chance at a blocker, a pass rusher or heaven forbid a quarterback. …Read More!

NFL Almanac – 2/13

Items of note

Arizona – the NFL suspended RB Javarris James for 4 games for violating the league’s rules on performance enhancing drugs. James missed all of the 2012 season due to a knee injury.

Atlanta – the Falcons told the Atlanta City Council that it will not extend their lease at the Georgia Dome that expires at the end of the 2017 season. The Falcons will seek other opportunities in the Atlanta area for building a retractable-roof stadium.

Chicago – recently released WR Johnny Knox said Wednesday that he was going to retire, rather than attempt to comeback from a severe back injury that he suffered during a 2011 game against Seattle.

Transactions

  • Cleveland – signed P Spencer Lanning.
  • New York Giants – signed K David Buehler.
  • Tampa Bay – signed P Chas Henry.

Coaching and front office moves

  • Philadelphia – hired Tom Gamble as vice-president of player personnel.
  • Pittsburgh – hired Richard Mann to be wide receivers coach; Mann last coached in 2009 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The 2008 Chiefs Draft Among Decade’s Best

Tony Villiotti is a different sort of draftnik. Guys like Mel Kiper and Todd McShay do their work grading players going into the NFL Draft and where they should land in the league’s annual selection meeting.

Through his website draftmetrics.com, Villiotti doesn’t look forward; he looks backward. The Pittsburgh native and long-time Steelers season-ticket holder has spent the last four years building up data bases on drafted players and their success and failure once they reach the NFL. The former energy company financial officer spends his days breaking down the names, numbers and production and trying to quantify which teams know what they are doing on draft day and who does not.

While being a numbers geek makes some of the draftmetrics‘ evaluations easier to decipher, Villiotti does a good job of making the final product relative and understandable.

Recently he published a study titled: Who’s Been Doing The Best Job of Drafting – Perception vs. Reality where draftmetrics broke down the drafts of the last five and last 10 years and evaluated based on 4 criteria – games started, average share of annual starts in that draft class, players active in 2012 and Pro Bowl appearances.

Here’s the shocker according to Villiotti’s equation – the best drafting team over the last 10 years (2003-12) has been the Arizona Cardinals. The best drafting team over the last 5 years (2008-12) has been … drum roll … the Kansas City Chiefs. …Read More!

NFL Almanac – 2/12

Items of note

NFL Draft – NFL.com’s Gil Brandt reported Tuesday that West Virginia QB Geno Smith will take part in all drills and physical activity at the Combine next week in Indianapolis. Usually the top-rated QB in the draft does not throw in Indy, waiting until his personal workout day. But Smith’s agent told Brandt the possible No. 1 choice would throw.

Transactions

  • Chicago – released WR Johnny Knox (failed physical).

Coaching & front office moves

  • St. Louis – hired Tim Walton to be defensive coordinator; last season Walton was defensive backs coach for the Detroit Lions.

Chiefs Notes: Another Street Free Agent Added

The Chiefs off-season roster continues to expand as the team announced on Thursday they signed TE Kevin Brock.

The 6-5, 245-pound Brock went to training camp last summer with the Buffalo Bills, but was released in the final cut before the start of the regular season. A native of Hackensack, New Jersey, Brock attended Rutgers University and was not selected in the 2009 NFL Draft. He signed with Carolina, but has also spent time on the rosters of the New York Jets, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Dallas, Oakland and the Bills.

It was in the last 2 games of Buffalo’s 2011 season that Brock got the only regular-season action of his career. He caught 2 passes for 27 yards. In last year’s pre-season with the Bills he played in two games with one catch for 2 yards.

At Rutgers, Brock caught 49 passes for 541 yards and 4 touchdown catches.

Bobby Yarborough RIP

The first man to serve as the equipment manager of the Texans-Chiefs franchise Bobby Yarborough died over the weekend. The Texas native was 76 years old.

Thanks to a friendship with trainer Wayne Rudy, Yarborough was hired by the Dallas Texans before the team stepped on the field for a game. When the Texans left Dallas to become the Kansas City Chiefs, Yarborough made the trip north with the team. Other than a few months in 1967, he held the job as the team’s equipment manager until 1983 when new head coach John Mackovic replaced him.

Irascible is probably the best description of Yarborough, but it wasn’t hard to understand considering some of the working conditions surrounding the job. The early days of the AFL saw big money for some star players and crumbs for everyone else. At the bottom of the food chain sat the guys in the equipment room; Yarborough worked for many years on a 6-month contract. Their minimal pay was supplemented by gifts from the players, or so-called locker room dues. …Read More!

NFL Almanac – 2/11

Items of note

Philadelphia – QB Michael Vick agreed to a re-worked contract for the 2013 season and Eagles head coach Chip Kelly said Vick and Nick Foles will compete for the starting job. The new deal knocks his compensation down from $15.5 million to $10 million if he meets all incentive bonuses.

Washington – the Redskins went public on Monday about the controversy surrounding the team’s name. A post on the team’s website cited 75 high schools that also use the Redskins as a mascot.

Transactions

  • Atlanta – released LB Matt Hansen.
  • Buffalo – released LB Nick Barnett (failed physical) and SS George Wilson.
  • Chicago – signed CB LeQuan Lewis.
  • Dallas – signed G Charlie Bryant and DL Nick Hayden.
  • Chiefs – signed TE Kevin Brock.
  • Minnesota – signed CB Roderick Williams out of the CFL (Edmonton).
  • New Orleans – re-signed S Rafael Bush (ERFA).
  • San Francisco – signed S Michael Thomas.

Coaching & front-office moves

  • Washington – hired Keith Burns as special teams coach; Burns was the assistant special teams coach in Denver during the 2012 season.

It’s A Crowded House in Chiefs Coaching Office

Whether or not former Vikings head coach Brad Childress ever joins up with the Chiefs coaching staff this year we know this about Andy Reid’s 2013 coaching staff:

It’s the largest coaching staff in Chiefs history, with 22 men including the head coach.

That’s one more than Dick Vermeil had in the 2004-05 seasons, his final years as the team’s football leader. With a 53-man active roster, Reid’s staff works out to one coach for every 2.4 players.

“With 22, Andy and his staff have enough to have practice just with the coaches,” said former Browns-Chiefs-Redskins-Chargers head coach Marty Schottenheimer with a hearty laugh. “It’s certainly not strange to see that many coaches on an NFL team these days.”

Marty is correct – Reid’s bloated staff is not unusual in the league these days – last year 11 of the 32 teams had 20 coaches or more on their staff. There were another 11 teams that had 19 coaches. With most of the dust settled in coaching offices around the league in this off-season we already know that Minnesota will carry 23 coaches this season, after having 22 last year.

An analysis of Andy Reid’s 2013 coaching staff with the Chiefs.

As with other aspects of pro football that have grown over the years and decades coaching staffs have ballooned as well.

“They have to make up names for their jobs, there are so many bodies,” said former Jets-Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards. “I mean, really what do all those people do?” …Read More!

Reid’s Big Staff Comes up Short

The proof will be in the season’s final record but as the Chiefs begin the Andy Reid Era they do so with a large coaching staff that on paper comes up not quite as big as its numbers.

Sitting in the driver’s seat because he was hired less than a week after the 2012 season was over, Reid had first shot at the available coaching talent. It was expected and even welcomed that he would bring with him some of the men who served him in Philadelphia. As the smoke has cleared, 10 of the 21 assistants were with the Eagles last year.

One of those coaches was offensive coordinator Doug Pederson, a former NFL backup quarterback who spent 12 years on the sidelines, but has been a coach for just five seasons, all of those with the Eagles and the last two years as quarterbacks coach. A coordinator in just a fifth season of coaching is almost meteoric in the NFL, but he rolls in as a rookie at the position and that’s a risk.

Some of that is diminished by the fact Reid will continue to call the plays at least at the start of his tenure. And, if he succeeds in getting Brad Childress on the staff then the Chiefs will have another experienced hand working with the offense.

But the offense was the worst part of the Chiefs last season, and now they are changing schemes and diving head first into a complete revamping with likely a new starting quarterback and probably either a new left tackle or new No. 1 receiver. Both LT Branden Albert and WR Dwayne Bowe are free agents and the Chiefs are unlikely to keep both. That’s a lot to put on the table for a first-time coordinator.

Implementing that system will be made easier since Reid-Pederson, WR coach David Culley, TE coach Tom Melvin and QB coach Mike Nagy all worked together in Philly.

Hiring Bob Sutton as defensive coordinator was not the type of splash some were looking for at that spot. Without a doubt it’s the most important position on the staff given Reid’s offensive background. The Eagles were at their best when the late Jim Johnson was running the defense. Since his passing in 2009, Philadelphia has struggled on that side of the ball with 3 coordinators over four seasons.

Sutton has a world of experience with 41 years in the business, including time as a head coach at Army. But only three of those seasons were as defensive coordinator – Jets in 2006-08 under head coach Eric Mangini. Those defenses were not memorable in any sort of fashion and finished 20th, 18th and 16th in fewest yards allowed. They were better in points allowed, giving up an average of 32.7 touchdowns per season and an average of 20.1 points per game

What will be interesting is to see what Sutton learned as linebackers coach of the New York Jets, where for the last four years he’s been working in the Baltimore Ravens-Rex Ryan defense. That scheme has a lot of wrinkles that make it unique, especially when it comes to rushing the passer.

The gem of this staff is special teams coach Dave Toub. His work with the Bears kicking game in the last half-dozen seasons has been outstanding. It does help having a returner like Devin Hester. Beyond all those touchdown returns, Chicago was solid kicking, punting and covering.

Within the rest of the staff, WRs coach David Culley and holdovers with LB coach Gary Gibbs and DB coach Emmitt Thomas are considered among the best at their positions in the league. Add 72-year old Tommy Brasher handling the defensive linemen and the defensive group is strong.

The same can’t be said for the offense, where RB coach Eric Bieniemy and OL coach Andy Heck are not grizzled veterans. Heck has been line coach in Jacksonville for seven seasons and the Jaguars had a lot of success running the ball with Fred Taylor and then Maurice Jones-Drew. It was only last season, when MJD did not play because of injury that the Jacksonville offense fell apart, finishing 30th in the league with an average of 85.6 yards per game. They also allowed 50 sacks.

Chiefs add another free agent on defense.

The Chiefs have added another street free agent to their early 2013 roster, signing DT Marcus Dixon

The 28-year old Dixon appeared in the first three games of the 2012 season with the New York Jets, contributing 2 tackles in 96 plays on defense (56) and special teams (40). He was released on September 24th and was not signed by the Jets or any other team over the season’s final 14 weeks.

Dixon, 6-4, 295 pounds, was signed by Dallas as an undrafted free agent in 2008 out of Hampton University. The Georgia native spent two seasons with the Cowboys, most of those on the practice squad and he did not appear in a regular-season game. Dallas released him on the final cut of the 2010 pre-season. He was claimed on waivers the next day by the Jets.

In three seasons in New Jersey, Dixon appeared in 22 games with 4 starts. He produced 21 total tackles, 2.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a recovered fumble.

At Hampton he played in 45 games with 38 starts, totaling 154 total tackles, 37.5 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks.

Arrowhead Notes & Quotes On The Weekend

The Chiefs have added another street free agent, or at least that’s what he said.

WR Mardy Gilyard tweeted Friday evening that he was Kansas City bound.

“It’s official!!!! I am a Kansas City chief” is how it went down @MardyGilyard.

He’s had 3 shots already in the league since he was selected out of the university of Cincinnati in the 4th-round (#99) of the 2010 NFL Draft by St. Louis. With Rams he played in 11 games in the ’10 season and he did not play in 2011. Last year he played 6 games with the Eagles and he was also on the Jets roster for 4 games. In his 21 games, he has not caught a pass and averaged 22.3 yards on 16 kick returns and 7.5 yards on 2 punt returns.

At Cincinnati, he caught 168 passes for 2,467 yards and 22 touchdowns in the 2008-09 seasons. Gilyard also had 5 touchdowns (4 kick/1 punt).

He’s 6-0, 187 pounds and turned 27 years old last week. …Read More!

NFL Almanac – 2/8

Dallas –

Items of note

Carolina – The Charlotte Business Journal reported that the Panthers and the city of Charlotte have agreed on a new lease that will keep the team in Bank of America Stadium for another 15 years. The deal includes over $300 million in stadium improvements with the Panthers paying 32 percent of the tab ($96.25 million). The rest will be picked up by the city of Charlotte ($143.75 million) and the state of North Carolina ($62.5 million).

New Orleans – An investigation into the 34-minute power failure at the Superdome during Super Bowl XLVII blamed the problem on a faulty relay switch according to the power company Entergy New Orleans. It was new equipment installed in hopes of stopping what eventually happened. …Read More!

Vegas Looks at NFL for 2013

As soon as one NFL season comes to an end, the folks in Las Vegas begin work on laying down the odds on the next season.

Of course their job is to generate betting activity in February when the only new factor in the league is the coming and going of players.

But it matters because those that gamble love to bet on pro football. Evidence of that is the post-Super Bowl report from the legal Nevada sports books – $98.9 million was wagered in Nevada, setting a new record for betting on the NFL’s championship game. The old record was $94.5 million in 2006 when Pittsburgh beat Seattle.

Let’s start with R.J. Bell at Pregame.com, the largest sports betting site that is compliant with U.S. laws and regulations. Here’s how he sizes up the odds for each of the 32 teams to make next February’s title game in the New Jersey Meadowlands: …Read More!

NFL Almanac – 2/7

Items of note

Baltimore – the Super Bowl champion Ravens announced Thursday the will erect a statue of retiring MLB Ray Lewis. The statue will stand outside M&T Bank Stadium

Minnesota – NFL MVP Adrian Peterson had surgery this week on a sports hernia that he played with over the season’s last two regular season games, the Vikings appearance in the playoffs and the Pro Bowl. Peterson expects to be ready for all off-season work.

NFL – Commissioner Roger Goodell reinstated coach Greg Williams, ending his suspension handed down for being one of the key figures in the New Orleans bounty scandal. Williams will work with the Titans as a defensive assistant. …Read More!

It Will Be A Big Crowd At NFL Combine

The NFL Scouting Combine released on Thursday the list of invitees for the week-long affair set to begin in February 20th in Indianapolis.

There will be 333 players involved, each going through four days with the NFL doctors, scouts, coaches, general managers and league decision makers. For many it will be the most important four days of their life.

Here are some details on the invitation list:

– There are 149 defensive players: 54 defensive linemen, 35 linebackers and 60 defensive backs. There are 170 offensive players: 16 quarterbacks, 38 running backs, 39 wide receivers, 19 tight ends and 58 offensive linemen. There are 14 special teams players.

– In the group are 68 underclassmen. It sounds like at least half of the first round will be players who left school with remaining eligibility. …Read More!

2013 Official Invite List For NFL Scouting Combine

Juniors Player School

Camp #

Position

ABOUSHI, ODAY VIRGINIA

OL01

OL

ADAMS, JOHNNY MICHIGAN ST

DB01

DB

ALFORD, ROBERT SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA

DB02

DB

* ALLEN, KEENAN CALIFORNIA

WO01

WO

ALLEN, RYAN LOUISIANA TECH

PK01

PK

ALLEN, ZACH NORTH CAROLINA ST

OL02

OL

ALONSO, KIKO OREGON

LB01

LB

* AMERSON, DAVID NORTH CAROLINA ST

DB03

DB

ANDERSON, C J CALIFORNIA

RB01

RB

ANSAH, ZIGGY BRIGHAM YOUNG

DL01

DL

ANTHONY, MARC CALIFORNIA

DB04

DB

ARMSTEAD, TERRON ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF

OL03

OL

AUSTIN, TAVON WEST VIRGINIA

WO02

WO

BACA, JEFF UCLA

OL04

OL

* BAILEY, ALVIN ARKANSAS

OL05

OL

* BAILEY, STEDMAN WEST VIRGINIA

WO03

WO

* BAKHTIARI, DAVID COLORADO

OL06

OL

BALL, MONTEE WISCONSIN

RB02

RB

BANKS, JOHNTHAN MISSISSIPPI ST

DB05

DB

BARKER, CHRIS NEVADA

OL07

OL

BARKLEY, MATT SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

QB01

QB

BARNER, KENJON OREGON

RB03

RB

BARNES, T J GEORGIA TECH

DL02

DL

BARRINGTON, SAM SOUTH FLORIDA

LB02

LB

BASS, DAVID MISSOURI WESTERN ST

DL03

DL

BEAUHARNAIS, STEVE RUTGERS

LB03

LB

BECTON, NICK VIRGINIA TECH

OL08

OL

* BELL, LE’VEON MICHIGAN ST

RB04

RB

* BERNARD, GIOVANI NORTH CAROLINA

RB05

RB

BOHANON, TOMMY WAKE FOREST

RB06

RB

BOND, TRAVIS NORTH CAROLINA

OL09

OL

BONNER, ALAN JACKSONVILLE STATE-AL

WO04

WO

BOREN, ZACH OHIO ST

RB07

RB

BOSTIC, JONATHAN FLORIDA

LB04

LB

BOYCE, JOSH TEXAS CHRISTIAN

WO05

WO

BOYD, JOSH MISSISSIPPI ST

DL04

DL

BOYETT, JOHN OREGON

DB06

DB

* BRAY, TYLER TENNESSEE

QB02

QB

BREEDING, DYLAN ARKANSAS

PK02

PK

BROWN, ARTHUR KANSAS ST

LB05

LB

BROWN, BRADEN BRIGHAM YOUNG

OL10

OL

BROWN, MARLON GEORGIA

WO06

WO

BRYANT, ARMONTY EAST CENTRAL

DL05

DL

BUCHANAN, MIKE ILLINOIS

DL06

DL

BURKHEAD, REX NEBRASKA

RB08

RB

BUSHELL, ADRIAN LOUISVILLE

DB07

DB

CAMERON, COLBY LOUISIANA TECH

QB03

QB

CANTELE, ANTHONY KANSAS ST

PK03

PK

CARRADINE, TANK FLORIDA ST

DL07

DL

CAVE, BRAXSTON NOTRE DAME

OL11

OL

CLEARY, EMMETT BOSTON COL

OL12

OL

COLLINS, JAMIE SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI

LB06

LB

COMMINGS, SANDERS GEORGIA

DB08

DB

COOPER, JONATHAN NORTH CAROLINA

OL13

OL

COWAN, BOBBY IDAHO

PK04

PK

CUNNINGHAM, JUSTICE SOUTH CAROLINA

TE01

TE

CYPRIEN, JOHNATHAN FLORIDA INT

DB09

DB

* DAVIS, KNILE ARKANSAS

RB09

RB

DAVIS, MARCUS VIRGINIA TECH

WO07

WO

DAVIS, WILL UTAH ST

DB10

DB

DAWKINS, EVERETT FLORIDA ST

DL08

DL

DEVEY, JORDAN MEMPHIS

OL14

OL

DIAL, QUINTON ALABAMA

DL09

DL

DOBSON, AARON MARSHALL

WO08

WO

DUNNACHIE, ALEX HAWAII

PK05

PK

DYSERT, ZAC MIAMI-OH

QB04

QB

EDWARDS, LAVAR LOUISIANA ST

DL10

DL

* EDWARDS, MIKE HAWAII

DB11

DB

EIFERT, TYLER NOTRE DAME

TE02

TE

* ELAM, MATT FLORIDA

DB12

DB

ELLINGTON, ANDRE CLEMSON

RB10

RB

* ERTZ, ZACH STANFORD

TE03

TE

* ESCOBAR, GAVIN SAN DIEGO ST

TE04

TE

EVANS, JOSH FLORIDA

DB13

DB

* FAULK, CHRIS LOUISIANA ST

OL15

OL

FAURIA, JOSEPH UCLA

TE05

TE

FISHER, ERIC CENTRAL MICHIGAN

OL16

OL

* FLOYD, SHARRIF FLORIDA

DL11

DL

FLUKER, D J ALABAMA

OL17

OL

FOKETI, MANASE WEST TEXAS A&M

OL18

OL

* FORD, MICHAEL LOUISIANA ST

RB11

RB

FRAGEL, REID OHIO ST

OL19

OL

FRANKLIN, JOHNATHAN UCLA

RB12

RB

* FREDERICK, TRAVIS WISCONSIN

OL20

OL

FULLER, COREY VIRGINIA TECH

WO09

WO

FURSTENBURG, MATT MARYLAND

TE06

TE

GAINES, ROGERS TENNESSEE ST

OL21

OL

* GEATHERS, KWAME GEORGIA

DL12

DL

* GHOLSTON, WILLIAM MICHIGAN ST

DL13

DL

GILKEY, GARRETT CHADRON ST

OL22

OL

GILLISLEE, MIKE FLORIDA

RB13

RB

GLENNON, MIKE NORTH CAROLINA ST

QB05

QB

GOARD, TYRONE EASTERN KENTUCKY

WO10

WO

GOODEN, ZAVIAR MISSOURI

LB07

LB

GOODMAN, MALLICIAH CLEMSON

DL14

DL

GOODWIN, MARQUISE TEXAS

WO11

WO

GRAGG, CHRIS ARKANSAS

TE07

TE

GRAHAM, RAY PITTSBURGH

RB14

RB

GRATZ, DWAYNE CONNECTICUT

DB14

DB

GRAY, MARQUEIS MINNESOTA

QB06

QB

GREENE, KHASEEM RUTGERS

LB08

LB

GRISSOM, CORY SOUTH FLORIDA

DL15

DL

HAMILTON, COBI ARKANSAS

WO12

WO

* HANKINS, JOHNATHAN OHIO ST

DL16

DL

HARPER, CHRIS KANSAS ST

WO13

WO

HARPER, D J BOISE ST

RB15

RB

HARRIS, MONTEL TEMPLE

RB16

RB

HARRISON, MARK RUTGERS

WO14

WO

HAWKINSON, TANNER KANSAS

OL23

OL

HAWTHORNE, TERRY ILLINOIS

DB15

DB

HAYDEN, D J HOUSTON

DB16

DB

HEPBURN, BRANDON FLORIDA A&M

LB09

LB

HERMAN, ERIC OHIO

OL24

OL

HESTER, AARON UCLA

DB17

DB

HILL, JORDAN PENN ST

DL17

DL

HODGES, GERALD PENN ST

LB10

LB

HOLLOMAN, DEVONTE SOUTH CAROLINA

LB11

LB

HOLMES, KHALED SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

OL25

OL

* HOPKINS, DEANDRE CLEMSON

WO15

WO

HOPKINS, DUSTIN FLORIDA ST

PK06

PK

HUBNER, JOSH ARIZONA ST

PK07

PK

HUGHES, MONTORI TENNESSEE-MARTIN

DL18

DL

HUNT, MARGUS SMU

DL19

DL

* HUNTER, JUSTIN TENNESSEE

WO16

WO

HYDE, MICAH IOWA

DB18

DB

INGRAM, LUKE HAWAII

ST01

ST

JACKSON, MARK GLENVILLE ST

OL26

OL

JAMES, MIKE MIAMI-FL

RB17

RB

* JAMISON, JAWAN RUTGERS

RB18

RB

JEFFERSON, D C RUTGERS

TE08

TE

* JEFFERSON, STEFPHON NEVADA

RB19

RB

* JEFFERSON, TONY OKLAHOMA

DB19

DB

JENKINS, BRANDON FLORIDA ST

DL20

DL

* JENKINS, JELANI FLORIDA

LB12

LB

JENKINS, JOHN GEORGIA

DL21

DL

* JOECKEL, LUKE TEXAS A&M

OL27

OL

JOHNSON, T J SOUTH CAROLINA

OL28

OL

JOHNSON, DARIUS SMU

WO17

WO

JOHNSON, LANE OKLAHOMA

OL29

OL

JOHNSON, JAY JAY PURDUE

DB20

DB

JOHNSON, KEELAN ARIZONA ST

DB21

DB

JOHNSON, NICO ALABAMA

LB13

LB

JOHNSON, OSCAR LOUISIANA TECH

OL30

OL

JOHNSON-WEBB, JAMAAL ALABAMA A&M

OL31

OL

JONES, ABRY GEORGIA

DL22

DL

JONES, BARRETT ALABAMA

OL32

OL

JONES, CHRIS BOWLING GREEN

DL23

DL

JONES, DATONE UCLA

DL24

DL

* JONES, JARVIS GEORGIA

LB14

LB

JONES, LANDRY OKLAHOMA

QB07

QB

JORDAN, DION OREGON

DL25

DL

KASA, NICK COLORADO

TE09

TE

* KAUFMAN, BRANDON EASTERN WASHINGTON

WO18

WO

KELCE, TRAVIS CINCINNATI

TE10

TE

KING, TAVARRES GEORGIA

WO19

WO

KLEIN, A J IOWA ST

LB15

LB

KLEIN, COLLIN KANSAS ST

QB08

QB

KNOTT, JAKE IOWA ST

LB16

LB

KOVANDA, SCOTT BALL ST

PK08

PK

* KRUGER, JOE UTAH

DL26

DL

KUGBILA, EDMUND VALDOSTA ST

OL33

OL

* LACY, EDDIE ALABAMA

RB20

RB

* LATTIMORE, MARCUS SOUTH CAROLINA

RB21

RB

LEMON, ALEC SYRACUSE

WO20

WO

* LEMONIER, COREY AUBURN

DL27

DL

LESTER, ROBERT ALABAMA

DB22

DB

LEWIS-MOORE, KAPRON NOTRE DAME

DL28

DL

LINE, ZACH SMU

RB22

RB

LOCKE, JEFF UCLA

PK09

PK

* LOGAN, BENNIE LOUISIANA ST

DL29

DL

LONERGAN, P J LOUISIANA ST

OL34

OL

LONG, KYLE OREGON

OL35

OL

LOTULELEI, JOHN UNLV

LB17

LB

LOTULELEI, STAR UTAH

DL30

DL

LUTZENKIRCHEN, PHILIP AUBURN

TE11

TE

MADSEN, JOE WEST VIRGINIA

OL36

OL

MADY, LAMAR YOUNGSTOWN

OL37

OL

MAGEE, BRANDON ARIZONA ST

LB18

LB

MAHER, BRETT NEBRASKA

PK10

PK

MANUEL, E J FLORIDA ST

QB09

QB

* MAPONGA, STANSLY TEXAS CHRISTIAN

DL31

DL

MARQUARDT, LUKE AZUSA PACIFIC

OL38

OL

* MATHIEU, TYRANN LOUISIANA ST

DB23

DB

MAUTI, MICHAEL PENN ST

LB19

LB

MAYSONET, MIGUEL STONY BROOK

RB23

RB

MCCALEBB, ONTERIO AUBURN

RB24

RB

MCCRAY, DEMETRIUS APPALACHIAN ST

DB24

DB

MCCRAY, LERENTEE FLORIDA

LB20

LB

MCDONALD, T J SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

DB25

DB

MCDONALD, VANCE RICE

TE12

TE

MCDOUGALD, BRADLEY KANSAS

DB26

DB

MCFADDEN, LEON SAN DIEGO ST

DB27

DB

MCGEE, BRANDON MIAMI-FL

DB28

DB

MCGEE, STACY OKLAHOMA

DL32

DL

MELLETTE, AARON ELON

WO21

WO

MICHAEL, CHRISTINE TEXAS A&M

RB25

RB

MILES, RONTEZ CAL U-PENN

DB29

DB

MILHIM, STEPHANE MASSACHUSETTS-AMHERST

OL39

OL

* MILLINER, DEE ALABAMA

DB30

DB

MILLS, JORDAN LOUISIANA TECH

OL40

OL

* MINGO, BARKEVIOUS LOUISIANA ST

DL33

DL

* MINTER, KEVIN LOUISIANA ST

LB21

LB

MOE, T J MISSOURI

WO22

WO

* MONTGOMERY, SAM LOUISIANA ST

DL34

DL

MOODY, NICK FLORIDA ST

LB22

LB

* MOORE, DAMONTRE TEXAS A&M

DL35

DL

MOORE, SIO CONNECTICUT

LB23

LB

MOORE, TRACY OKLAHOMA ST

WO23

WO

MOTTA, ZEKE NOTRE DAME

DB31

DB

NASSIB, RYAN SYRACUSE

QB10

QB

NIXON, XAVIER FLORIDA

OL41

OL

* OGLETREE, ALEC GEORGIA

LB24

LB

OKAFOR, ALEX TEXAS

DL36

DL

OTTEN, RYAN SAN JOSE ST

TE13

TE

PAINTER, VINCE VIRGINIA TECH

OL42

OL

PANTALE, CHRIS BOSTON COL

TE14

TE

* PATTERSON, CORDARRELLE TENNESSEE

WO24

WO

PATTON, QUINTON LOUISIANA TECH

WO25

WO

PORTER, SEAN TEXAS A&M

LB25

LB

POUGH, KEITH HOWARD

LB26

LB

POWELL, TY HARDING

DL37

DL

POYER, JORDAN OREGON ST

DB32

DB

PRYOR, LONNIE FLORIDA ST

RB26

RB

PUGH, JUSTIN SYRACUSE

OL43

OL

QUESSENBERRY, DAVID SAN JOSE ST

OL44

OL

RAMBO, BACARRI GEORGIA

DB33

DB

* RANDLE, JOSEPH OKLAHOMA ST

RB27

RB

REDDICK, KEVIN NORTH CAROLINA

LB27

LB

* REED, JORDAN FLORIDA

TE15

TE

* REID, ERIC LOUISIANA ST

DB34

DB

* REID, GREG FLORIDA ST

DB35

DB

RENFREE, SEAN DUKE

QB11

QB

* RHODES, XAVIER FLORIDA ST

DB36

DB

* RICHARDSON, SHELDON MISSOURI

DL38

DL

RIDDICK, THEO NOTRE DAME

RB28

RB

RIVERA, MYCHAL TENNESSEE

TE16

TE

* ROBEY, NICKELL SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

DB37

DB

ROBINSON, DENARD MICHIGAN

WO26

WO

* ROGERS, DA’RICK TENNESSEE TECH

WO27

WO

ROUSE, ROBBIE FRESNO ST

RB29

RB

* RYAN, LOGAN RUTGERS

DB38

DB

SABINO, ETIENNE OHIO ST

LB28

LB

SAMPSON, LANEAR BAYLOR

WO28

WO

* SANDERS, ACE SOUTH CAROLINA

WO29

WO

SCHWENKE, BRIAN CALIFORNIA

OL45

OL

SCOTT, MATT ARIZONA

QB12

QB

SHARP, QUINN OKLAHOMA ST

PK11

PK

SHORT, K K PURDUE

DL39

DL

SIMON, JOHN OHIO ST

DL40

DL

* SIMON, THAROLD LOUISIANA ST

DB39

DB

* SIMS, DION MICHIGAN ST

TE17

TE

SLAUGHTER, JAMORIS NOTRE DAME

DB40

DB

SLAY, DARIUS MISSISSIPPI ST

DB41

DB

SMITH, GENO WEST VIRGINIA

QB13

QB

SMITH, JARED NEW HAMPSHIRE

DL41

DL

SMITH, QUANTERUS WESTERN KENTUCKY

DL42

DL

SMITH, RODNEY FLORIDA ST

WO30

WO

SORENSEN, BRAD SOUTHERN UTAH

QB14

QB

SPADOLA, RYAN LEHIGH

WO31

WO

* SPENCE, AKEEM ILLINOIS

DL43

DL

SQUARE, DAMION ALABAMA

DL44

DL

STACY, ZAC VANDERBILT

RB30

RB

STAFFORD, DAIMION NEBRASKA

DB42

DB

STANKIEWITCH, MATT PENN ST

OL46

OL

STARLING, JAWANZA SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

DB43

DB

STEWART, JONATHAN TEXAS A&M

LB29

LB

STEWART, WALT CINCINNATI

DL45

DL

* STILLS, KENNY OKLAHOMA

WO32

WO

STONEBURNER, JAKE OHIO ST

TE18

TE

STURGIS, CALEB FLORIDA

PK12

PK

SWANSON, DAXTON SAM HOUSTON ST

DB44

DB

SWEARINGER, D J SOUTH CAROLINA

DB45

DB

SWEETING, ROD GEORGIA TECH

DB46

DB

SWOPE, RYAN TEXAS A&M

WO33

WO

TAYLOR, BRUCE VIRGINIA TECH

LB30

LB

TAYLOR, DEVIN SOUTH CAROLINA

DL46

DL

TAYLOR, JAMAR BOISE ST

DB47

DB

TAYLOR, MIKE WISCONSIN

LB31

LB

TAYLOR, STEPFA’N STANFORD

RB31

RB

TE’O, MANTI NOTRE DAME

LB32

LB

THOMAS, DALLAS TENNESSEE

OL47

OL

THOMAS, CHASE STANFORD

LB33

LB

THOMAS, PHILLIP FRESNO ST

DB48

DB

THOMAS, SHAMARKO SYRACUSE

DB49

DB

THOMPKINS, KENBRELL CINCINNATI

WO34

WO

THOMPSON, CHRISTOPHER FLORIDA ST

RB32

RB

THORNTON, HUGH ILLINOIS

OL48

OL

* TOILOLO, LEVINE STANFORD

TE19

TE

TRETTER, J C CORNELL-NY

OL49

OL

TRUFANT, DESMOND WASHINGTON

DB50

DB

TUCKER, MATTHEW TEXAS CHRISTIAN

RB33

RB

VACCARO, KENNY TEXAS

DB51

DB

VANDENBERG, JAMES IOWA

QB15

QB

VERNON, CONNER DUKE

WO35

WO

WAGNER, RICKY WISCONSIN

OL50

OL

* WARE, SPENCER LOUISIANA ST

RB34

RB

WARFORD, LARRY KENTUCKY

OL51

OL

WARMACK, CHANCE ALABAMA

OL52

OL

WASHINGTON, CORNELIUS GEORGIA

LB34

LB

WATFORD, EARL JAMES MADISON

OL53

OL

* WATSON, MENELIK FLORIDA ST

OL54

OL

WEAVER, JASON SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI

OL55

OL

WEBB, B W WILLIAM & MARY

DB52

DB

WEBSTER, KAYVON SOUTH FLORIDA

DB53

DB

* WERNER, BJOERN FLORIDA ST

DL47

DL

WETZEL, JOHN BOSTON COL

OL56

OL

WHEATON, MARKUS OREGON ST

WO36

WO

WILCOX, J J GEORGIA SOUTHERN

DB54

DB

WILLIAMS, BRANDON MISSOURI SOUTHERN ST

DL48

DL

WILLIAMS, BRENNAN NORTH CAROLINA

OL57

OL

WILLIAMS, JESSE ALABAMA

DL49

DL

WILLIAMS, KERWYNN UTAH ST

RB35

RB

WILLIAMS, DUKE NEVADA

DB55

DB

WILLIAMS, NATE OHIO ST

DL50

DL

WILLIAMS, NICK SAMFORD

DL51

DL

WILLIAMS, SHAWN GEORGIA

DB56

DB

* WILLIAMS, STEVE CALIFORNIA

DB57

DB

WILLIAMS, SYLVESTER NORTH CAROLINA

DL52

DL

WILLIAMS, TERRANCE BAYLOR

WO37

WO

WILLIAMS, TOUREK FLORIDA INT

DL53

DL

WILLIAMS, TREVARDO CONNECTICUT

DL54

DL

WILSON, BRADEN KANSAS ST

RB36

RB

WILSON, TYLER ARKANSAS

QB16

QB

* WILSON, MARQUESS WASHINGTON ST

WO38

WO

* WING, BRAD LOUISIANA ST

PK13

PK

WINN, GEORGE CINCINNATI

RB37

RB

WINTERS, BRIAN KENT ST

OL58

OL

WOLFF, EARL NORTH CAROLINA ST

DB58

DB

* WOOD, CIERRE NOTRE DAME

RB38

RB

* WOODS, ROBERT SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

WO39

WO

WOOTEN, KHALID NEVADA

DB59

DB

* WORT, TOM OKLAHOMA

LB35

LB

WREH-WILSON, BLIDI CONNECTICUT

DB60

DB

The new regime and their soon-to-be free agents

It’s now 34 days until the start of the NFL’s 2013 free agency period (March 12th, 3 p.m. CST for those making plans.)

That’s how long Andy Reid and John Dorsey have to figure out what to do with the 20 Chiefs players that will reach some facet of free agency on that day. Actually there’s less time than that, because like the 31 other teams, if they decide they want to keep some of their potential free agents, they’ll need to get them signed before they hit the open market.

Most of the NFL has learned over the 20 seasons of free agency that the key is keeping your own players. For smart coaches and G.M.’s it comes down to the player they know compared to the player they don’t know.

That makes it hard to predict what will come from Reid and Dorsey; they don’t know the 20 Chiefs headed for free agency beyond what’s visible on the tape from the 2012 season. It will take extra investigation on their part to find all the plusses and minuses of the group and how they envision them fitting into their plan for the 2013 Chiefs.

Unless noted with (RFA)=Restricted Free Agent or (ERFA)=Exclusive Rights Free Agency, the rest of the players will be unrestricted free agents on March 12th. Ryan Lilja is not part of the list given his stated plan to retire. …Read More!

Where the Salary Cap Sits Ahead of Free Agency

Thanks to John Clayton of ESPN.com, we’ve got some idea of how much salary cap room NFL teams will have to work with for the 2013 season.

Early indications are that the cap will remain pretty much where it was last year at around $121 million. As always, some teams will have carryover from 2012 – that’s cap dollars not used during the just completed season.

According to the ESPN.com figures the Chiefs have a $14 million carryover and will have $16.1 million in cap space. That’s far less than they’ve had available in recent seasons, but it gives them plenty of room to maneuver and they can always clear more room by releasing players with big cap numbers.

That $14 million carryover by the Chiefs was the third highest in the league, behind only Jacksonville ($19.5 million) and Cleveland ($14.3 million).

Here are the numbers on what each team has available as of February 6th or how much they will have to trim to reach the figure before the cap starts on March 12: …Read More!

NFL Almanac – 2/6

Items of note

Oakland – the Raiders will reduce the capacity of the Oakland Coliseum for the 2013 season. The team plans to block off 28 sections in the upper deck. Capacity for the stadium in 2012 was 64,200, the second smallest in the league. The “capacity adjustment” as the Raiders are calling the move drops capacity to 53,200, the fewest seats of an NFL stadium. Since they returned to Oakland from Los Angeles for the 1995 season, the Raiders sold out 64 of 144 home games. …Read More!

NFL Almanac – 2/5

Item of note

Baltimore – An estimated crowd of 80,000 showed up at M&T Bank Stadium for a celebration of the Ravens victory in Super Bowl XLVII on Tuesday. A sort parade came through the city’s Inner Harbor area before coming to a conclusion inside the stadium. At one point fans ran through barriers to reach the vehicle that held LB Ray Lewis. S Ed Reed at one point carried the Lombardi Trophy into the crowd and allowed fans to touch the Super Bowl ornament.

Minnesota – head coach Leslie Frazier told a Twin Cities radio station that the future status of WR Percy Harvin with the Vikings “remains up in the air.” Frazier and Harvin had several heated exchanges last season before a left ankle injury stopped the receiver’s season in early December. Coach and player met for the first time since early December late last week. “We definitely had to talk just in general about a lot of things,” Frazier told 1500ESPN. “We talked, and it was good conversation. So, hopefully, everything will work out.” Harvin is in the final season of his contract, which will pay him $2.9 million. …Read More!

Pollard Played Super Bowl With 6 Cracked Ribs

Former Chiefs-now Ravens strong safety Bernard Pollard earned a championship ring on Sunday with Baltimore’s victory in Super Bowl XLVII.

And, Pollard did it all playing with a half-dozen cracked ribs.

That remarkable fact was something Pollard confirmed on Monday to the Baltimore Sun newspaper.

“Six of them, yep,” Pollard said. “Hey, it’s up to us to go out there and play and we did.”

Pollard actually played all but one game in the 2012 season without the rib injury. They were cracked in the second week against Philadelphia and then re-injured in the season’s 13th game playing Washington. He sat out the last 3 games of the regular season, but played in all four games in the playoffs.

“It’s tough dealing with pain,” Pollard told the Sun. “For us as football players, we know we’re going to go through it. At the same time, that’s the name of the game.”

The Ravens defense had 329 plays in four games. Pollard was on the field for 327 plays.

What Ravens Have That Chiefs Do Not


Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh speaking Monday morning with the Lombardi Trophy

If there’s one thing the Chiefs can learn from the championship season of the Baltimore Ravens it’s the importance of mental toughness.

More than any one trend in recent seasons, mental toughness has become the most important element in a team’s ability to win a championship in today’s NFL.

OK, so what is mental toughness? It’s the ability to win by overcoming problems that derail ordinary teams. It’s being able to look at the inevitable injuries of a season and truly say “next man up” and believe it is true. It’s being unfazed by the normal struggles that happen in every game. It’s about winning anywhere and winning when it’s most important.

Do not confuse mental toughness with physical toughness – they are two very different things. For championship teams, they work in concert, the combination of head, heart and body.

It’s something the Chiefs have not had for many, many years. It’s been 20 years or so, when Montana, Marcus and Marty were roaming Arrowhead Stadium. Since then – zip, zero, nada, nothing. The best evidence would be the last Chiefs victory in the playoffs – January 16, 1994. …Read More!

NFL Almanac – 2/4

Items of interest

Chiefs – the Baltimore Sun newspaper reported that Husain Abdullah will work out for the Chiefs on Friday. Abdullah did not play in 2012, joining his brother Hamza for a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia as part of their faith as Muslims. Abdullah (6-0, 204) played 4 seasons with Minnesota, appearing in 54 games with 24 starts. The 27-year old Washington State product has 4 career interceptions, 2 sacks and 130 total tackles.

NFL – The 2013 waiver period began on Monday, allowing teams to release players under contract. As the team with the worst record last season, the Chiefs have first dibs on anyone placed on the waiver wire. If they claim a player, they also claim his current contract.

New Orleans – The 34-minute power outage at the Superdome in the second half of the Super Bowl was not caused by Beyonce and her half-time show. “There’s no indication at all that this was caused by the half-time,” said Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Television – early ratings on CBS-TVs broadcast of Super Bowl XLVII have 108.4 million viewers and a 46.3 rating according to SportsBusiness Daily. Last year’s game drew a 47 rating and 111.3 million viewers. …Read More!

Ravens Offense Built Lead; Won Title with Defense

For over a decade the Baltimore Ravens were about defense, as they fielded one of the league’s most powerful units. In recent years, the luster on the Ravens defense dulled as the team became more of an offensive force.

That’s certainly what they were on Sunday night as Baltimore grabbed a victory in Super Bowl XLVII over San Francisco 34-31 based largely on the talents of the offense with QB Joe Flacco, RB Ray Rice and WR Anquan Boldin. Flacco was named the game’s MVP as he threw 3 touchdown passes; Boldin caught 104 yards worth of passes with one TD. WR Jacoby Jones had a 109-a

But at the end, it was the Ravens defense that saved the day and sent retiring leader MLB Ray Lewis out with a title thanks to a goal-line stand as good as any the NFL has seen in championship play. …Read More!

A Few Thoughts On Hall of Fame Class of 2013

Warren Sapp, Jonathan Ogden and Cris Carter react to Hall of Fame vote.

For the first time in 17 years I did not sit in the voting room on the Saturday before the Super Bowl, deciding on the next class of enshrines for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

I did not think I would miss it, but I did. There’s a certain amount of tedium that goes with the honor of being part of the Board of Selectors. One thing that shows itself quickly is how much getting that ticket punched for Canton means to those voted in. Just look at the three men pictured above – Warren Sapp, Jonathan Ogden and Cris Carter. One look at their faces reveals what’s going on inside their hearts. Voting on the Hall is not a responsibility to be taken lightly; it never is when making decisions on people’s hopes and dreams.

By the looks of the seven-man class that was voted in on Saturday in New Orleans, the Board of Selectors faced many of the same issues that have been dealt with for the last five or six years. There were plenty of good candidates and not enough spots. There was a log jam at wide receiver, and there were names in the 15-man finalist pool that had been there for several years.

Here’s how I would have used my ballots to whittle 17 names down to no more than seven inductees: …Read More!

Adrian Peterson NFL MVP; Arians Coach of the Year

The top individual honors for the 2012 NFL season were announced Saturday evening in New Orleans. And, isn’t interesting that not one of the players or coaches on either team that will play in Sunday’s Super Bowl received a vote, let alone won an award.

The Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers were shutout, as were the Chiefs, although there was no surprise in that.

Going into the evening there was one hard to determine trophy – the NFL MVP. Would it go to Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, the man of the 2,097 yards rushing season? Or was the winner going to be Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and his remarkable performance after sitting out the previous season with a neck injury?

The winner was Peterson; he received 30.5 of the 50 votes cast by a panel of NFL media types arranged by the Associated Press. Manning was second with 19.5 votes.

Manning did win the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award in a near unanimous vote over Peterson. But the Vikings back did pick up a second honor as he was named the league’s Offensive Player of the Year with 36 votes. Manning was a distant second, picking up 8 votes while New England quarterback Tom Brady, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson each received two votes. …Read More!

Culp Joins Hall; Shields Must Wait For Another Day

Curley Culp, a starter for the Chiefs in Super Bowl IV and pro football’s first nose tackle joined the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday as part of the induction class of 2013.

Will Shields, the durable guard who never missed a game due to injury over his 14-year career and was a 12-time visitor to the Pro Bowl, did not receive the necessary percentage of votes from the Hall’s 46-person Board of Selectors.

The Hall’s class of 2013 that was announced at approximately 5 p.m. CST features:

  • Culp, who spent 7 seasons with the Chiefs, six with the Oilers and one with Detroit.
  • OLB Dave Robinson from the Packers, a starter in Super Bowl I and II and a seniors candidate along with Culp.
  • Bill Parcells, former head coach of the Giants-Patriots-Jets-Cowboys.
  • OT Jonathan Ogden of the Ravens.
  • DT Warren Sapp of the Buccaneers and Raiders.
  • WR Cris Carter of the Eagles, Vikings and Dolphins.
  • OL Larry Allen of the Cowboys and 49ers.

Culp becomes the 10th person that established himself in pro football as a member of the Chiefs to gain a ticket to Canton. He joins team founder/owner Lamar Hunt, head coach Hank Stram and players OLB Bobby Bell, MLB Willie Lanier, DT Buck Buchanan, CB Emmitt Thomas, QB Len Dawson, LB Derrick Thomas and K Jan Stenerud. …Read More!

The Commish’s State of the NFL

It’s always part of the schedule on the Friday before the Super Bowl – the commissioner of the NFL essentially provides a state of the league address with the help of questions asked of him by the media horde. Sometimes those questions help.

It started with Pete Rozelle and it’s a tradition carried forward by Roger Goodell. There was great anticipation of this year’s speech because of the circumstances that made Goodell persona non grata with many from Irish Bayou to Houma – the bounty scandal involving the Saints and the suspension of players, administrators and head coach Sean Payton.

From what Goodell had to say, the reception he’s received in the last few days as he’s been out and about in the Big Easy has been … easy.

“I couldn’t feel more welcome here,” Goodell said Friday morning. “When you look back at it, my picture was in every restaurant, I had a float in the Mardi Gras parade and we got a voodoo doll.

“I’m serious; the people here have been incredible.”

Despite all the emotions, law suits, legal proceedings and then finally a ruling by former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue serving as an arbitrator in the case that vacated most of the league discipline, Goodell has few regrets on his decisions. …Read More!

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