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Pete Carroll On Hawks Turnaround After Arrowhead

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll spoke to the media on Monday and he was asked about the turnaround in his team’s results after losing at Arrowhead Stadium to the Chiefs. Carroll gave credit to his 12-player leadership council for pulling the Hawks out of their slump and ripping off eight straight wins coming into Super Bowl 49. Here’s what Carroll said:

“There’s no question that the change took place the night we got together and the days to follow because of the leadership of the 12 guys that were in that meeting. They took the thought, they took the messaging and delivered it to the club. I told them I will do our best to keep us on topic, but you guys are going to have to embed the thoughts that are going to give us a chance to adjust at this point and they did a remarkable job.

“There’s no doubt that our team has changed and we’ve grown. In essence we really recaptured something that we had understood earlier and we just needed to get back in touch with it. We had lost a little contact with how crucial it is to play for each other and how crucial it is to support the people on your team and how crucial it is to get out of yourself and give to the guys around you. That’s really what has taken place and maybe that sounds oversimplified when I say it to you and all that, but it has been a powerful understanding that our guys have come to. It is the essence of team sport I think. It’s the essence of playing with the team. That it’s not about you, it’s about the people around you and you give yourself to them. That’s really what has taken place.”

Chiefs & NFL Notes: Deflate This!

“If you aren’t cheating, you aren’t trying.”

A head coach of the Chiefs once told me that in a quiet, off-the-record conversation. I never saw the team or this man outwardly cheat while he was in charge. They may have pushed the envelope here or there, but I’m unaware of any outright, pre-meditated violation of league rules.

Over the last week we’ve been hit with an avalanche of stories about the inflation/deflation of footballs used by the New England Patriots in their AFC Championship Game victory over Indianapolis. That blizzard will continue into this week when the football and sports media all congregates in the Arizona desert for Super Bowl 49.

(Right: Chiefs fans in the house Sunday night for the Pro Bowl in Glendale, Arizona.)

We have not devoted any bytes here to the story of the Patriots footballs because it’s of minimal value. New England did not dominate Indianapolis because they had balls that were under-inflated to less than the minimum of 12.5 pounds per square inch of air pressure. As we all know now, the balls must be between 12.5 and 13.5 psi.

That Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addressed the media in two consecutive days about the subject alone made it newsworthy. Watching quarterback Tom Brady squirm under public questioning of the type he’s never received before may have been entertaining. Ultimately, it’s all just noise.

There’s one thing I’ve been unable to understand in the whole story – why in heaven’s name does the NFL allow teams to use different balls during the game? …Read More!

Quiet Night For Chiefs At Pro Bowl

Playing at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona the NFL held its annual Pro Bowl. For anyone that cared Team Michael Irvin defeated Team Cris Carter 32-28 on Sunday night.

There were four Chiefs in the game and their contributions were few and far between. On offense, running back Jamaal Charles had four carries for 25 yards, a 6.3-yard average. His big carry was a 17-yard run in the first quarter and did not touch the ball again.

Defensively, nose tackle Dontari Poe and outside linebacker Tamba Hali took part in two tackles each. Outside linebacker Justin Houston was not credited with any statistics from the game.

Overall, the teams combined for 1,063 yards and eight touchdown passes. Team Irvin had 611 offensive yards. Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford was named the game’s top offensive player and Houston defensive end J.J. Watt was the Pro Bowl’s defender of the game.

Chiefs Working At Pro Bowl – Sort of

The Pro Bowl teams practiced at Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Arizona and there were plenty of folks interested in getting autographs from Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles. Teammates on the Chiefs and Team Carter for the game on Sunday were busy posing on defense: linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali along with nose tackle Dontari Poe. Luke AFB is home to the 56th Fighter Wing.

Chiefs vs. Lions In London On November 1

The NFL has announced that the International Series game between the Chiefs and Detroit Lions will be played on Sunday, November 1 at London’s Wembley Stadium.

Kickoff will be at 2:30 p.m. in London; that translates to an 8:30 a.m. kickoff in Kansas City.

The Chiefs-Lions will be the third of three games in the coming season in London. The New York Jets face the Miami Dolphins on October 4 and then three weeks later, it’s the Buffalo Bills against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

As the NFL likes to schedule teams playing in London with their bye week afterwards, expect the Chiefs to have Sunday, November 8 off. The rest of the 2015 schedule will be released sometime in March or early April.

 

All Pro Bowl Chiefs Are Part Of Team Carter

Jamaal Charles waits to be selected in the Pro Bowl Draft held Wednesday in Arizona

At least Jamaal Charles doesn’t have to worry about getting smacked in the Pro Bowl by one of his own teammates.

All four of the Chiefs that were selected to take part in the NFL’s annual all-star game this Sunday in Arizona landed on the same team. Charles, nose tackle Dontari Poe and linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali will all play for Team Carter, with team captain Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter.

Last year was the first time the players were not assigned by conferences and that had Charles taking a big hit from teammate Derrick Johnson that left everyone talking especially Chiefs general manager John Dorsey and head coach Andy Reid. Charles walked away from the blow without a problem, and Johnson did not apologize – it was all part of playing football.

This is the second year the NFL has broken up the selected talent not by AFC or NFC but through a draft and assignment process that was completed Wednesday night at the Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix. Carter has one team and the other has Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin serving as captain.

Poe was selected Tuesday night in a special pre-draft of certain positions. Charles was an early choice in Wednesday’s action with Houston and Hali being selected much later.

Coaching Team Carter will be Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and handling Team Irvin is Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett.

Kickoff this Sunday goes just after 7 p.m. CST from the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

Chiefs QB Suffers Serious Knee Injury

The Chiefs announced on Tuesday that quarterback Tyler Bray suffered a torn ACL in his left knee. Apparently, that’s one of the reasons they signed Terrelle Pryor as a reserve/futures free agent.

There were no details on how Bray suffered the injury.

“Anytime one of your players suffers a significant injury like Tyler’s it is disappointing, and we hurt for the player,” Chiefs General Manager John Dorsey said in a team released statement. “With Tyler’s injury having a longer recovery time, we’ve signed quarterback Terrelle Pryor to a reserve/futures contract. As we’ve said before, we are always looking to add talented players to our roster, and Terrelle was among the top players on our ready list at that position with his athleticism and experience. We believe having him in our quarterback room and working with our offensive coaches will enhance his growth.”

Bray signed with the Chiefs as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2013 out of the University of Tennessee. He spent the 2013 on the active roster as the No. 3 quarterback and did not take a regular season snap. Then, last season he spent on the injured-reserve list after he supposedly suffered an ankle injury in the final pre-season game. Bray spent the season with the team, including going to all practices even though he could not physically participate.

Almost all of the reserve/futures free agents like Pryor have already been established over the last three weeks. There are 19 in all:

  • Quarterback – Terrelle Pryor, 6-4, 233, Ohio State.
  • Fullback – Spencer Ware, 5-10, 229, LSU. 
  • Tight end – Brandon Barden, 6-4, 253, Vanderbilt; Adam Schiltz, 6-4, 256, Emporia State.
  • Wide receiver – Armon Binns, 6-3, 211, Cincinnati; Corbin Louks, 6-0, 200, Nevada; Da’Rick Rogers, 6-3, 215, Tennessee Tech; Fred Williams, 6-0, 190, St. Cloud State.
  • Offensive linemen – Curtis Feigt (T), 6-6, 310, West Virginia; Ricky Henry (G), 6-4, 310, Nebraska; Jarrod Pughsley (G), 6-4, 310, Akron; Derek Sherrod (T), 6-6, 321, Mississippi State.
  • Defensive tackle – Hebron Fangup, 6-0, 324, Brigham Young; Jerel Worthy, 6-2, 308, Michigan State.        
  • Linebacker – Jo Jo Dickson, 6-1, 245, Idaho.
  • Cornerback – Aaron Hester, 6-1, 207, UCLA; Deji Olatoye, 6-1, 194, North Carolina A&T.
  • Long snapper – Brandon Hartson, 6-2, 238, Houston; Jorgen Hus, 6-1, 232, Regina.

Belichick Leads List of 101 Banquet Honorees

The 45th 101 Awards and Banquet goes down on February 28 and on Tuesday the honorees were named during a press conference at the Truman Medical Center.

In voting by a committee of 101 media members around the country New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was named AFC Coach of the Year for the fourth time. Belichick has his team in a sixth Super Bowl coming up on February 1 in Arizona. The NFC Coach of the Year was Bruce Arians from Arizona, who earned the honor for the second time in his brief career as a head coach. He was honored in 2012 when as interim head coach of the Indianapolis Colts he helped guide the team to the playoffs in the absence of head coach Chuck Pagano who was being treated for leukemia.

The coaches were the only honorees that have stood in front of the Kansas City audience before to accept the nationally recognized distinction. The five players are all 101 rookies: …Read More!

The NFL Grants Draft Status to 84 Players

The NFL announced on Monday the names of 84 players that have been granted eligibility for the 2015 NFL Draft that’s set for April 30 through May 2 in Chicago.

A total of 74 players with eligibility remaining applied for draft status and 10 more notified the NFL that they earned their degrees and wanted to be included in this year’s selection meeting.

The 74 players that were granted special eligibility was a 24.5 percent drop in the number from last year when 98 players were added to the draft pool. It’s the first time the total number of players dropped from the season before since 2009.

There were 74 players that filed for the draft after spending three years since they left high school. Those players are: …Read More!

Super Bowl 49 Match Is Set, With A Chiefs Slant

In two weeks Super Bowl 49 will be played in the Arizona desert between two teams that the Chiefs beat in 2014.

The Seattle Seahawks made an improbable comeback and beat the Green Bay Packers 28-22 in overtime to win the NFC Championship Game and go to their second straight Super Bowl. The Chiefs beat the Hawks 24-20 back in the middle of November.

The New England Patriots smashed the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 to win the AFC Championship Game, gaining their sixth trip to the final game in the last 14 years. Back at the end of September, the Chiefs beat the Patriots 41-14, supposedly ending the New England dynasty.

A full-season body of work has the NFL’s two best teams meeting in Arizona, and even though the Chiefs found a way to win both of those games, they had no business even dreaming they could have been part of the 49th Super get-together. They beat the Seahawks and Patriots, but they are not in the same league as those teams. They lack the killer or winning instinct those teams possess.

Want an example? After losing to the Chiefs, the Patriots went 12-2, and one of those defeats was the meaningless regular-season finale. The Seahawks are unbeaten, 8-0 since falling at Arrowhead. These teams understand when it was time to slam their foot on the accelerator.

The Chiefs were 7-5 after the New England victory and 2-4 to close out the season in the games after beating Seattle. Andy Rei d’s team administered 25 percent of the defeats suffered in 2014 by the Patriots and Seahawks (2 of 8). But on this championship Sunday, the Hunt Family franchise was three weeks into its post-season vacation.

Action in Sunday’s games played out in opposite fashion for the winners. New England dominated and never trailed in busting up the Colts, while Seattle was down 16-0 at half-time and down nine points at the start of the fourth quarter. The Seahawks found a way to not only push the game into overtime, but win it.

Thoughts on what we saw in the championship game action: …Read More!

Chiefs Agree To 3 More Years For Camp in St. Joe

The Chiefs and Missouri Western State University have signed off on a new 3-year agreement that will keep the team’s training camp in St. Joseph through at least 2017.

The Missouri Western Board of Governors approved the new contract with the team on Thursday afternoon. The Chiefs first moved to St. Joe for the 2010 camp and have now spent five summers driving north on I-29.

“From a football perspective continuing to hold camp at Missouri Western makes sense for us,” head coach Andy Reid said in a statement. “The school and the community take great care of us, the people are phenomenal and it provides our team the resources and facilities necessary to build momentum towards the season. We are excited to be back.”

Under the contract extension, Missouri Western will provide improvements to the practice fields and reimburse the Chiefs for some expenses related to preparing and maintaining those fields. The team’s food costs will be frozen at last year’s numbers for the next three years and the school will provide additional dorm space and additional security.

The St. Joseph Convention & Visitors Bureau estimates the economic impact last year from the Chiefs training camp was $6.3 million to the area thanks to approximately 40,000 visitors.

Defense Dominates New Head Coaching Hires

Jack Del Rio (L), Todd Bowles (C) and Jim Tomsula (R) all got NFL head coaching jobs on Wednesday

Over the last decade the NFL has legislated the game and its rules to foster the offensive side of the ball.

But when replacing head coaches in 2015, owners are going defensive. There are seven spots that will change among the 32 teams and four have already been filled. So far, all of the coaches in new positions are men with backgrounds on defense.

Rex Ryan from the New York Jets to Buffalo, Todd Bowles to the Jets, Jack Del Rio from Denver to Oakland and Jim Tomsula with San Francisco are the names. Ryan was the defensive oriented head man with the Jets, while Bowles (Arizona) and Del Rio (Denver) were defensive coordinators and Tomsula was the 49ers defensive line coach.

With three jobs still open, three of the names at the top of the list for Atlanta, Chicago and possibly Denver are former Broncos head coach John Fox, Detroit defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. Fox was scheduled to meet with the Bears on Wednesday. Austin met with the Falcons on Tuesday while Quinn is out of the interviewing routine as the Seahawks prepare for the NFC Championship Game this Sunday against Green Bay. …Read More!

DAT Earns All-League Rookie Honors

The Chiefs running back/receiver/returner De’Anthony Thomas was named to the Pro Football Writers Association All-NFL rookie team that was announced on Tuesday.

The rookie out of the University of Oregon ran for 113 yards, caught passes for 156 yards, returned punts for 405 yards and kickoffs for 428 yards. That was 1,102 all-purpose yards on 85 touches or 12.9 yards per play. He was a fourth-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft by the Chiefs.

New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham was named the league’s rookie of the year and offensive rookie of the year. St. Louis defensive tackle Aaron Donald was named defensive rookie of the year.

The Rams led all clubs with three selections – Donald, cornerback E.J. Gaines and running back Tre Mason. Six teams – Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles and Oakland Raiders each had two players on the squad. In all, 19 clubs are represented among the honored 27 players. …Read More!

Denver implodes; K.C. & S.D. Celebrate, Oak Confused

Twenty-four hours before kickoff in Denver on Sunday afternoon, all things were possible for the Broncos.

Twenty-four hours after the conclusion of the game, the AFC West leaders no longer have a head coach and coaching staff and their quarterback may be finished as well.

Should Chiefs fans celebrate the departure of John Fox as Broncos head coach, leaving Monday afternoon in what was supposedly a mutual decision with the team’s top football man John Elway? Should they get excited about the fact Elway has told Fox’s coaching staff they can seek employment elsewhere, including offensive coordinator Adam Gase?

And, should there be dancing in the streets because of what appears to be the end of Peyton Manning’s NFL playing career?

Certainly, the sun was just a bit brighter in the sky over the Chiefs Nation, however celebration should be subdued for now. Remember the guy pulling the strings with the Broncos – a Chiefs fan of any standing will never breathe easy when Elway is involved in the process.

But the decision on Fox looks like a preview of the decision coming from Manning sometime in the next weeks or months. No matter what his physical ailments may have been, watching Manning over the last half of the Broncos season was a painful reminder that there’s one opponent even Peyton can’t beat – father time.

From the time the Broncos started pushing their running game on offense it was obvious there was something amiss with the quarterback. Let there be no doubt that Manning is the heart, soul and brains of the Denver offense. If he was physically able, there’s no way No. 18 would have stepped back and allowed the focus to shift from the quarterback to an undrafted running back although C.J. Anderson had success as the offensive engine.

With No. 1 wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and No. 1 tight end Julius Thomas both headed for unrestricted free agency as is wide receiver Wes Welker, there are going to be changes in the Broncos offense. With all the money spent on defensive players in last year’s free agency, there are going to be fewer cap dollars available.

However, if Manning hangs it up, Denver will have all sorts of cap room – $16.5 million since the quarterback currently accounts for $21.5 million under the 2015 salary cap.

There’s a good chance that Fox has severe doubts about the return of Manning, or why would he be taking a hike. Fox made it plain on Monday that he wants to continue to coach and that should interest the Jets, Bears, Raiders and Falcons who are all in need of a head coach. Oakland supposedly was very interested in Denver defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio. But with Fox now on the market, they would be crazy not to go after a guy that’s taken two different teams to the Super Bowl over Del Rio.

Fox’s coaching staff remains under contract for another season, but they were told on Monday that they can seek employment elsewhere.

More Honors For Justin Houston

There’s more recognition of the outstanding season of Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston as he was named to the All-NFL team by the Pro Football Writers of America.

The voting was conducted by the PFWA among writers and broadcasters that belong to the organization. Houston’s selection for the first team came thanks to his league leading and Chiefs record setting 22 sacks.

PRWA also releases All-AFC and All-NFC teams, and rookie punt returner De’Anthony Thomas was honored on the All-AFC team. Houston appeared on that team as well for the second consecutive season.

The Dallas Cowboys placed a league-high four players – wide receiver Dez Bryant, center Travis Frederick, running back DeMarco Murray and tackle Tyron Smith – on the 2014 All-NFL team. The New England Patriots were second with three All-NFL selections, and five clubs – the Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks – each had two players on the All-NFL team. In all, 17 clubs are represented among the 27 players honored by the PFWA. …Read More!

Former Chiefs All Over The Divisional Playoffs

Brandon Carr (L), Andy Studebaker (C) and Tony Moeaki (R) are former Chiefs in the playoffs

There are eight teams playing on Saturday and Sunday in the NFL divisional round games. Just about every one of those clubs has a player or coach that once worked for the Chiefs. Here are the familiar names you may see in the weekend’s four games:

Baltimore

  • Tight end Phillip Supernaw played two games for the Chiefs in 2014 (Seattle and at Oakland), catching one pass for three yards. He started the victory over the Seahawks. After three weeks with the Chiefs, he was released on December 1 and was signed almost immediately by the Ravens, where he’d previously been on the practice squad.

Carolina

  • Defensive tackle Kyle Love signed with the Panthers on December 15 and will see increased playing time against the Seahawks after Carolina lost defensive tackle Star Lotulelei to a broken foot after last weekend’s victory over Arizona. Love spent training camp and the pre-season with the Chiefs, signing with the club in May and he was released on August 30.

Dallas

  • Cornerback Brandon Carr had an inconsistent season with the Cowboys, but came on strong at the end of the schedule and that will need to continue against the Packers on Sunday. A 16-game starter, Carr finished without an interception, while giving up six touchdown passes. He also had 63 total tackles. Carr was the fifth-round choice of the Chiefs in the 2008 NFL Draft.

…Read More!

Chiefs Notes: College Hall of Fame Spot For Art Still

It is Hall of Fame time in the world of football and on Friday the College Football Hall of Fame announced its class for induction in 2015 and it included former Chiefs defensive end Art Still.

The Chiefs first-round selection in the 1978 NFL Draft, Still came out of the University of Kentucky where he was the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year in 1977 and collected consensus All-America honors.

Still spent 10 years playing for the Chiefs (1978-1987), and then finished up his career with two seasons in Buffalo. He was selected for the Pro Bowl four times in his career and was voted the team’s MVP in 1980 and 1984 by his teammates. With the Chiefs, he finished with 72.5 sacks and 922 total tackles.

The New Jersey native was one of 15 inductees announced by the National Football Foundation, the group that runs the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. Also part of that group was Kansas State University’s head coach Bill Snyder. …Read More!

Shields Gets Another Pro Football Hall of Fame Shot

Chiefs guard Will Shields was announced Thursday night as part of the group of 15 finalists for possible induction as part of the Class of 2015 for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Two others with Chiefs connections are part of the group as well: former Chiefs assistant coach (1989-91) and NFL head coach in Tampa Bay and Indianapolis Tony Dungy and former Chiefs kicker Morten Andersen (2002-03).

It’s the fourth year that Shields has been part of the final group, making the cut since he became eligible in 2012, followed by 2013, 2014 and now 2015.

The group of 15 will be sliced to 10 and then five during voting by the Hall of Fame selection committee on January 31, the day before Super Bowl 49 in Arizona. Ultimately, those five will be voted individually as yes or no selections. They must receive 80 percent of the vote in the final selection to achieve induction. …Read More!

Chiefs Notes: Terrelle Pryor Signed After Workout

After watching him in a workout Wednesday, the Chiefs signed former Raiders-Seahawks quarterback Terrelle Pryor as a reserve/futures free agent.

But did they sign him to play quarterback? More than once during his college career at Ohio State University and his time with Oakland and Seattle, folks thought he might be a better fit at wide receiver, maybe even running back.

The 25-year old Pryor is 6-6, 240 pounds and has been clocked running the 40-yard dash in anywhere from 4.32 to 4.5 seconds. He entered the NFL as a third round choice in the 2011 NFL Supplemental Draft. In three seasons with the Raiders, he played in 15 games with 10 starts. He completed 170 of 302 passes for 1,953 yards, nine touchdown throws and 12 interceptions. He also ran 93 times for 627 yards and three touchdowns.

A product of Jeannette, Pennsylvania, Pryor started against the Chiefs in the 2013 season at Arrowhead Stadium, where he threw three interceptions and was sacked nine times in a 24-7 loss. He was traded to Seattle in 2014, but was released by the Seahawks on the final cutdown to reach the 53-man roster limit. …Read More!

Chiefs Add Two More To Reserve/Futures List

The Chiefs have made a pair of future additions to their roster signing a cornerback and a jack of all football trades.

Cornerback Aaron Hester who played collegiately at UCLA was signed, as was wide receiver Corbin Louks out of the University of Utah and University of Nevada. Louks spent the last two weeks of the regular season on the Chiefs practice squad.

Hester is 6-2, 198 pounds who went undrafted in 2013 after being a three-year starter for the Bruins, opening 38 of 43 games over four seasons. The Los Angeles native signed with Denver and played in four pre-season games for the Broncos before he was released on the final roster cutdown. He had six total tackles and two tackles on special teams. He signed with Detroit in 2014, and went to training camp with the Lions, where he played in three games with five total tackles before he was released. He spent three weeks in October on the San Diego practice squad.

Louks is 6-0, 200 pounds and he played quarterback and running back for two years at Utah before transferring to Nevada, where he played safety and then wide receiver. The 25-year old California native spent time on the Seattle practice squad in 2012 and since then has played Arena Football with the San Jose Sabercats and in the FXFL this past fall with the Boston Brawlers.

Houston Joins Select Group Of Chiefs All-Pros

KC Chiefs photo

The term “All-Pro” is thrown around a lot in media reports about the NFL, but it’s frequently used improperly, to cover players that were named all-conference or were selected to the Pro Bowl.

The designation All-Pro means best in the league for that particular season, no matter the division or conference. This year only 27 players earned the designation All-Pro. Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston was one of them, as he lead all linebackers in votes received with 47 of the 50 cast by members of the media. How three voters could have left him off their ballot is hard to understand but fodder for future discussion.

Houston is only fourth Chiefs player to earn All-Pro honors in the last five years, joining Jamaal Charles (2010, 2013), Derrick Johnson (2011) and Eric Berry (2013).

Since the merger of the AFL and NFL was completed in 1970, the Associated Press All-Pro team has been the gold standard for honoring players. In those 45 seasons there have been 27 Chiefs players that received the first-team AP designation. Linebacker has been the position where the Chiefs have had the most All-Pros with five.

Here’s a position-by-position list of Chiefs All-Pros (1970-2014): …Read More!

Houston Earns AP First Team All-Pro Recognition

Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston was rewarded for his outstanding performance by being named to the Associated Press first-team All-Pro squad on Friday.

The NFL’s sack leader for 2014 picked up 47 of 50 votes for the starting squad. On defense, only Houston defensive end J.J. Watt had more votes as he was a unanimous selection. New England tight end Rob Gronkowski was the only other player to receive all 50 votes.

Fullback Anthony Sherman was voted as the fullback on the second-team All-Pro squad. Sherman received 14 votes, just four votes behind Green Bay’s J0hn Kuhn.

Other Chiefs that received votes were center Rodney Hudson and returner De’Anthony Thomas as each one picked up a single vote.  …Read More!

Ranking The 2014 Chiefs/No. 1 thru 53 – Part #3

Here are the final player rankings for the 2014 Chiefs. One proviso on these last 13 ratings – there isn’t a lot of difference between No. 41 and No. 51. In some cases there just hasn’t been enough playing time to make precision evaluations.

But then these rankings are fodder for discussion, not contracts for the 2015 season.

Donnie Avery (L), Marcus Cooper (C) and Donald Stephenson (R) have become non-factors

No. 41 through 53


41.
WR Junior Hemingway – It was a season where Hemingway was always battling injuries, starting in training camp. He eventually played in 14 games and even started twice as he joined the group trying to fill the void across from Dwayne Bowe. He ended up with 12 catches for 108 yards, with four receptions for 50 yards in the San Francisco game. In the last five games, he had four offensive snaps.

42. S Kelcie McCray – Picked up in a training camp trade with Tampa Bay, McCray saw only in the neighborhood of 50 defensive snaps during the season. But he was very active on special teams, serving as a four-squad contributor and he was among the better players in the kicking game.

…Read More!

Ranking The 2014 Chiefs/No. 1 thru 53 – Part #2

Here are our rankings of the Chiefs 2014 roster from positions No. 21 through No. 40.

Remember, this is fodder for discussion and the ratings are mine, not from the Chiefs or another NFL team. I’m sure the folks at Arrowhead feel differently about some of their players than I do. That’s the nature of football.

Enjoy our rankings of No. 21 through 40.

Dee Ford (L), Ron Parker (C) and Chris Owens (R)

No. 21 through 40

21 CB Chris Owens – Through the first part of the season, Owens was one of the most productive players on the Chiefs defense. Working as the nickel back and handling the slot receivers, he did a nice job in coverage and when he did give up a catch, there were seldom yards after the catch. But in the last month of the season, after he missed time because of a knee injury, Owens play dropped considerably. In the loss to Pittsburgh and the victory over San Diego, Owens was a liability. It was not a good finish and took some of the luster off what had been a good season.

22. ILB Joe Mays – Due to the wrist ligament injury he suffered in the middle of August, Mays was not able to wear his shoulder pads and get on the field until Game No. 9 and over the second half of the season he saw fewer than 125 defensive snaps. When he did get a chance to play, he was effective in playing the run and was not a liability in limited plays where he had to drop in pass coverage. Availability was Mays’ downfall. He will be 30 years old and an 8-year veteran in 2015 and it’s hard to see where he would fit in. …Read More!

Ranking The 2014 Chiefs/No. 1 thru 53 – Part #1

We’ve kept our notes from 16 games. We’ve gone back and checked a few tapes over the holidays. We burned up the phone lines and cell towers with communication to sources among the NFL coaches and personnel types.

The goal was simple in theory, but complex in follow through – line up the 2014 Chiefs from best player to worst, from No. 1 through No. 50-plus. Assigning positions on the list proved more difficult than in past seasons because there really were not that many Chiefs that had exceptional seasons. Plus, some of the best players on the roster were not playing; they were on the injured-reserve list.

But with guidance from the pros that do this for a living, we’ve come up with our list. We’ll start today with players 1 through 20, and then bring the rest of the roster in future posts over the next few days. Remember, this is fodder for discussion and the ratings are mine, not from the Chiefs or another team. I’m sure the folks at Arrowhead feel differently about some of their players than myself and others do.

That’s the nature of football. Enjoy our rankings of No. 1 through 20.

No. 1 through 10

  1. OLB Justin Houston – It’s easy to focus in on Houston’s skills as a pass rusher because there are 22 examples of how good he is at taking the quarterback to the ground. But the rest of the league sees even more. “He really does play his position, rather than going after the quarterback on every play,” said one personnel man. But Houston is the league’s best pass rusher and he had a visible effect on the quarterback (sack, hit, pressure) on over 75 plays during the season. …Read More!

Chiefs Add Another Long Snapper

The Chiefs signed another reserve/futures free agent and he happens to be another long snapper.

That’s Brandon Hartson, a 6-2, 238-pound product of the University of Houston. He was signed in December 2013 by the Chicago Bears when they had injury problems at long snapper, but he did not make it into a game. Hartson went to training camp with the Bears but was released before the start of the regular season.

He joins Jorgen Hus who signed earlier as a reserve/futures free agent. Veteran Thomas Gafford is at the end of his contract and there’s no question the Chiefs were not happy with his work at the end of the just completed season.

The Chiefs now have signed 15 reserve/futures.

Chiefs Sign 14 Reserve/Futures Players

As one season ends, the next one begins and in pro football that means clubs signing reserve/futures free agents.

The Chiefs have reached contracts with 14 of those players, including nine that were on their practice squad for the season finale against San Diego.

Part of that group is former 1st-round draft choice Derek Sherrod, an offensive tackle out of Mississippi State University. Sherrod was selected with the No. 32 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft by Green Bay. With the Packers, he played in only 20 games and made one start before being released at mid-season by Green Bay. He missed the 2012 and half of the 2013 seasons after suffering a leg injury in a 2011 game at Arrowhead Stadium while playing the Chiefs.

Running back Spencer Ware was signed. The Louisiana State University product was selected in the 6th-round of the 2013 NFL Draft by Seattle at pick No. 194. The 5-10, 228-pound Ware played in two games with the Seahawks in the ’13 season, running three times for 10 yards.

Long snapper Jorgen Hus signed as well. Coming out of the University of Regina, Canada in 2013, he signed with St. Louis as an undrafted free agent. He did not make the Rams roster. Last year, he went to training camp with Seattle, but did not make the Seahawks 53-man list. He’s 6-1, 232 pounds. …Read More!

What We Learned After Chiefs Finished 2014 Season

There was a lot of talk coming out of the Chiefs locker room and organization at the conclusion of the 2014 season. That was a good thing because since they missed the playoffs with their 9-7 record, the folks who have something to say about the Hunt Family franchise are going to be pretty quiet.

Heavy-duty planning for 2015 is ahead. I’m sure there has been plenty of that already done, but it’s always good to take a few days after the conclusion of a season to take a breath and clear the brain. General manager John Dorsey was asking for just that on Monday.

“What we’re going to do is we’re sitting and planning and kind of laying out our plan as we move forward here,” Dorsey said. “This is fresh from 25 hours of the game being played right now. Today (Monday) we had all the players in and we kind of just wanted to sit and talk to the players a little bit. Tomorrow (Tuesday) we’ll kind of begin that process of laying out that plan as we move forward here by the week.”

There is a lot to plan for when the organization looks ahead to next season. Here are some of the topics touched on in the aftermath of the 19-7 victory over San Diego. …Read More!

Statistics & Snap Judgments – San Diego

Here are the snaps credited by the NFL to the Chiefs against the Chargers on offense, defense and in the kicking game. Names in bold are those that played 100 percent of their unit’s snaps:

Offense (60)

  • Backs – Chase Daniel 60, Jamaal Charles 39, Knile Davis 21, De’Anthony Thomas 13, Anthony Sherman 10.
  • Receivers – Travis Kelce 57, Dwayne Bowe 48, Albert Wilson 40, Anthony Fasano 31, Jason Avant 26, Richard Gordon 13, Junior Hemingway 1, Frankie Hammond 1.
  • Line – Eric Fisher, Ryan Harris, Rodney Hudson, Zach Fulton & Jeff Linkenbach, each with 60.

Defense (70)

  • Defensive line – Allen Bailey 63, Dontari Poe 61, Jaye Howard 17, Vance Walker 2.
  • Linebackers – Josh Mauga 70, Tamba Hali 69, Justin Houston 68, Joe Mays 22, Dee Ford 14.
  • Secondary – Husain Abdullah, Ron Parker & Sean Smith, 70 each; Jamell Fleming
    69, Chris Owens 59, Kurt Coleman 43, Kelcie McCray 3.

Special teams (26)

James-Michael Johnson & Frank Zombo each with 20; Josh Martin 19, Hemingway-Owens & Daniel Sorensen each with 18; McCray 17, Sherman 13, Cairo Santos 12, Coleman-Dustin Colquitt & Thomas Gafford each with 11; Bailey-Kevin Vickerson & Charcandrick West each with 8; Mays & Gordon each with 7; Fisher-Fulton-Hudson-Kelce & Linkenbach each with 6; Abdullah-Hammond & Thomas each with 5; Davis-Mauga-Parker & Poe each with 2; Howard 1. …Read More!

Early 2015 NFL Draft Order

With the outcome of Sunday’s game, the Chiefs and Chargers will have one more competition before the start of the 2015.

Because they both finished with 9-7 records against opponents that had a winning percentage of .512, they will have a coin flip to decide which team picks No. 17 in the 2015 NFL Draft and which team picks at No. 18. Normally these coin flips are done at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis in late February.

The Tampa Bay Bucs have the No. 1 pick, followed by Tennessee, Jacksonville, Oakland and Washington to round out the top five.

Here’s the draft order for the 20 teams out of the playoffs. The 12 clubs still playing will fill in the spots between 21-32:

Pick

Team

Record

Strength of

Schedule

1

Tampa Bay

2-14

.486

2

Tennessee

2-14

.506

3

Jacksonville

3-13

.514

4

Oakland

3-13

.570

5

Washington

4-12

.496

6

N.Y. Jets

4-12

.543

7

Chicago

5-11

.529

8

Atlanta

6-10

.482

9

N.Y. Giants

6-10

.512

10

St. Louis

6-10

.531

11

Minnesota

7-9

.475

12

Cleveland

7-9

.479

13

New Orleans

7-9

.486

14

Miami

8-8

.512

15

San Francisco

8-8

.527

16

Houston

9-7

.447

17

Chiefs

9-7

.512

Chargers

9-7

.512

19

Buffalo

9-7

.516

20

Philadelphia

10-6

.490

Led By Justin Houston & Defense, Chiefs Win Finale


From Arrowhead Stadium

There was very little chance the Chiefs were going to be able to reap enough good fortune to reach the AFC playoffs on the final Sunday of the regular season. All they did was take care of their own business, beating the San Diego 19-7 and knocking the Chargers out of the post-season.

Help was needed from Cleveland and Jacksonville, but the Browns and Jaguars were not up to the task. Baltimore beat Cleveland and earned the last spot in the AFC tournament, while Houston beat Jacksonville.

The Chiefs finished the season 9-7 and out of the chance for January games. They were already kicking themselves for some of the seven losses they had in the season.

“This was a good team,” said outside linebacker Justin Houston. “I feel like every game we lost, we gave it away.”

With four sacks, Houston finished up one of the best pass rushing performances in NFL history, as he finished with 22 sacks, breaking the Chiefs record for sacks in a single season and finishing No. 1 in the NFL, just a half-sack ahead of Houston’s J.J. Watt.

“It will mean a lot one day, but today I’m more disappointing that we are going home this week rather than playing another game,” said Houston.

Here’s our coverage of the Chiefs and Chargers:    

Chiefs Head For Playoffs Or Off-season Behind Chase

It has been a season unlike any other in recent Chiefs history. What’s gone down over the last five months with the Hunt Family franchise has been a unique combination of moments that culminates Sunday afternoon.

Or, will it? The immediate future of the Chiefs will depend first on whether they can beat the San Diego Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium.

Kickoff is just after 12 noon with television coverage on CBS.

If they can beat the Bolts and finish the season at 9-7, to make the AFC playoffs they will also need the Cleveland Browns to win on the road against the Ravens in Baltimore and the Jacksonville Jaguars must protect their home field and beat the Houston Texans. All of the games begin at the noon hour in the Central Time Zone, so right around 3:15 p.m. the Chiefs immediate future will be very clear.

The Chiefs must win their game without starting quarterback Alex Smith, felled by a lacerated spleen that he suffered in last Sunday’s 20-12 loss to the Steelers in Pittsburgh. For only the second time in his NFL career, Chase Daniel will start. The first time came last year in game No. 16, against the same San Diego Chargers. That start came because the game’s outcome meant nothing for the Chiefs and their standing in the AFC playoffs – they were locked into the fifth seed. Head coach Andy Reid rested his first team and thus Daniel got the start and took the Chargers into overtime before San Diego grabbed a 27-24 victory. …Read More!

Tale of the Tape – Chiefs vs. Chargers

In the final week of the 2014 NFL season the matchup between the Chiefs and San Diego Chargers appears to be pretty lopsided. That’s despite the fact the Chiefs own an early season victory over the Chargers in San Diego.

But with the Chargers needing only a victory to make the playoffs and the Chiefs needing a winning effort and then help from others, San Diego has the edge.

Here’s the tale of the tape: …Read More!

Chiefs/Chargers Practice-Injury Report – December 26

Chiefs

OUT – Cornerback Phillip Gaines (illness), quarterback Alex Smith (lacerated spleen).

QUESTIONABLE – Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (shoulder), running back Jamaal Charles (hamstring/ankle), right guard Zach Fulton (foot/toe).

PROBABLE – Tight end Anthony Fasano (knee), outside linebacker Tamba Hali (knee), outside linebacker Josh Martin (hand), inside linebacker Joe Mays (knee).

Chargers

OUT – Running back Ryan Mathews (ankle), punter Mike Scifres (shoulder).

DOUBTFUL – Wide receiver Keenan Allen (ankle/shoulder).

QUESTIONABLE – Center Chris Watt (ankle).

PROBABLE – Defensive tackle Corey Liuget (ankle), quarterback Philip Rivers (chest/back), cornerback Shareece Wright (concussion).

Lacerated Spleen Ends Alex Smith’s Season

A small laceration on his spleen suffered in last Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh will keep quarterback Alex Smith out of this weekend’s action against San Diego.

That was the announcement the Chiefs made on Friday after tests on Smith that were done Christmas Day showed the 3-meter cut on his spleen, which is also slightly enlarged.

“It’s a non-surgical case; it will heal on its own,” said Chiefs head trainer Rick Burkholder. “But he’s going to have to have some time down from contacts and collisions.”

Normal recovery takes about six weeks, so even if the stars align and the Chiefs somehow make the AFC playoffs, Smith would not be able to play any earlier than the Super Bowl. Chase Daniel will make the start this Sunday against the Chargers.

“They were talking about it rupturing and so you’re talking about emergency surgery or bleeding out,” Smith said. “Obviously pretty scary endings. It’s a different deal when you’re getting told those types of things. I know Chris Simms kind of had to deal with his spleen and an emergency situation going to the hospital and getting on an airplane and potentially really be dealing with some dangerous stuff.”

Smith thinks the hit he took in the third quarter on an incomplete pass to wide receiver Albert Wilson caused the injury. On the play, the Steelers defense ran a stunt with their defensive line and linebacker Jason Worilds came free after both right guard Zach Fulton and running back Jamaal Charles missed blocks on him. As he released the ball, Worilds hit Smith in the stomach with his helmet.

“I’m kind of guessing as far as the hit; I think it was that one,” Smith said. “It wasn’t until after I showered up, even dressed, adrenaline kind of got out of me and I noticed some discomfort in my stomach area. Pressure, cramping and I thought it was, I don’t know, something I ate. I didn’t even necessarily relate it to a hit, but definite discomfort down there.

“I went and saw Doc, he examined me, told me some things to kind of keep an eye out for. I literally took some antacid stuff there. I didn’t know what to make of it and it just didn’t go away. It was kind of next day, same thing, the day after that, same thing.”

The quarterback was examined by the team internist Dr. Mike Monaco on Wednesday and he was encouraged to get a scan done on his abdominal area. It took a lot of convincing from Dr. Monaco to get Smith to go for the scan on Thursday afternoon.

“Thankfully, Doc kind of urged me to get the test,” said Smith. “I was pretty reluctant yesterday, Christmas Day. I was telling him ‘I’m fine. I’ll be alright.’ He really kind of pushed me to go get it checked out and make sure everything was OK.”

It wasn’t and Smith’s playing season is over. He plans to be on the sideline helping Daniel in whatever way possible in facing San Diego.

“Yes. I’m planning on being there,” Smith said. “The big thing is just no contact, so really I think other than that, it’s just normal activities.”

Enjoy & Give Thanks

To you and yours in this time of celebration may you have a wonderful and joyous holiday with family and friends.

We are going to spend Thursday traveling with the fam so much like the Chiefs, we are taking the day off.

We’ll check back on Friday.

Chiefs/Chargers Practice-Injury Report – Dec. 24

Chiefs

DID NOT PRACTICE – Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (shoulder), right guard Zach Fulton (foot/toe), OLB Tamba Hali (knee).

LIMITED PARTICIPATION – Running back Jamaal Charles (hamstring/ankle), tight end Anthony Fasano (knee), cornerback Phillip Gaines (illness), inside linebacker Joe Mays (knee).

FULL PARTICIPATION – Outside linebacker Josh Martin (hand).

Chargers

DID NOT PRACTICE – Wide receiver Keenan Allen (ankle/shoulder), running back Ryan Mathews (ankle), punter Mike Scifres (shoulder), center Chris Watt (ankle).

FULL PARTICIPATION – Defensive tackle Corey Liuget (ankle), quarterback Philip Rivers (chest/back), cornerback Shareece Wright (concussion).

What You Need To Know About The Chargers

Record – The Chargers are 9-6 on the season, going 5-3 in the first half of the schedule and 4-3 since. They’ve had a five-game winning streak and a three-game winning streak along the way. San Diego’s hopes for the playoffs stayed alive when they came back from being down 21-0 to beat San Francisco 38-35 in overtime last Saturday night. They had just lost back-to-back home games to New England (by 9 points) and Denver (by 12). They are 4-3 on the road.

Season story – Last Saturday night the season appeared to be all but over for the Chargers when San Francisco jumped to a 21-0 lead and then held a 28-7 lead at half-time. But behind quarterback Philip Rivers’ four touchdown passes, San Diego outscored the 49ers 28-7 in the second half and then got the game winning field goal in overtime. The 21-point deficit the team overcame tied the greatest comeback in team history and the Chargers became the first team in the NFL since 1970 to give up more than 355 yards rushing and still win the game. It was a night that showed all the ups and downs of the whole season for San Diego. They’ve had more than their share of injuries with six major contributors on the injured-reserve list. Center has been a revolving door with four different players starting there: Nick Hardwick, Rich Ohrnberger, Doug Legursky and rookie Chris Watt, who currently holds the position. The other three are on injured-reserve. In the San Francisco victory they lost right guard Johnnie Troutman who had started all 15 games. He will be replaced by undrafted rookie Jeremiah Sirles from the University of Nebraska.

…Read More!

Charles, Poe, Hali & Houston Named To Pro Bowl

Last year by the time the Pro Bowl was played in Hawaii, there were 10 Chiefs players participating in the all-star game.

This season the Chiefs start with four, all returning from last season: running back Jamaal Charles, outside linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston and nose tackle Dontari Poe.

They were part of the players named Tuesday night for this year’s Pro Bowl that will be played at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona the week before the Super Bowl. The date is January 25, 2015.

Denver led all teams with nine players selected. Dallas had six players selected and there were six teams with five players each: Green Bay, Indianapolis, New England, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Seattle.

There were four teams without a player selected: Jacksonville, Minnesota, New York Giants and Tennessee.

Charles is making his fourth trip to Hawaii for the game. This is Hali’s fourth selection and No. 3 for Houston. Poe is returning for his second appearance.

Here are the selections: …Read More!

Another Second Half Swoon For The Chiefs

There’s no time right now for Andy Reid and his coaching staff to analyze big picture items on the Chiefs agenda. They have one more opponent to prepare for and forgetting their miniscule chances to make the playoffs, what really matters for Reid and his team is to finish with a victory over San Diego this Sunday.

Then, they can dive head first into the question:

Why are the Chiefs less successful in the second half of the season compared to the first half?

In the last two seasons with Reid and his staff in charge, the Chiefs are 13-3 in the first eight games on the schedule. But in the second half, they are now 6-9 with the game ahead against the Chargers.

They win 81 percent of games one through eight. They win 40 percent of their games in games nine through 16.

Reid’s teams start fast and finish slow. It happened last year when they went 3-5 in the second half and they are 3-4 this year. Does the man in charge see any similarities between last year’s late season swoon and this year’s dive?

“By the number of wins, there’s probably something there,” Reid said. “Other than that I don’t think there (are common factors.”) …Read More!

Andy’s Gamble, Post-Game Stats & Snap Judgments

The late Chuck Noll never said it publicly that I know of, but the four-time Super Bowl winning coach showed it in his actions during his long tenure as head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

If points were available, take them. Do not walk away from moving your number on the scoreboard. Don’t take points off the scoreboard once they are there and when facing a strategic decision, always go for the points.

Against Noll’s old team on Sunday, Andy Reid went the other way late in the second quarter when he walked away from what would have been a 30-yard field goal attempt by Cairo Santos and decided to go for a first down on a 4th-and-inches play. Pittsburgh’s defense stuffed the Jamaal Charles run for no gain.

It’s one of those decisions that head coaches know will cast them as a smart cookie (if it works) or an idiot (if it does not.) Today, in the minds of many Chiefs fans, Reid is an idiot for not putting three more points on the board.

Turns out that the reason Reid decided to run an offensive play on fourth down was because of his belief in his offensive line. That may have been the biggest mistake he made in the decision making chain on Sunday. Right now, the Chiefs blockers are struggling and that was especially evident against the Steelers. …Read More!

Andy Knows His Chiefs Need Help; Injury Update

In the bright glare of daylight 24 hours later, Andy Reid understands the difficult position his team occupies with one game left in the 2014 season.

“You’re sitting here at the end of a long season with an opportunity,” Reid said. “We need help now. Not only do we need to take care of business this weekend, but we need some other people to do the same thing for us to get in.

“We have a good San Diego team coming in here, we have to prep ourselves and make sure we go through that whole process here so we’re ready to go.” 

The Chiefs must beat the Chargers and then get help from Cleveland (beating Baltimore) and Jacksonville (beating Houston). Reid knows the formula and just wants to get his team into January football.

“If you get in, then anything goes; you’ve seen that year-in and year-out for many years,” said Reid. “When teams get in the playoffs, you can throw the records out and you go play. We have to take care of business here first this week.”

On the injury front, wide receiver Dwayne Bowe came out of the game with a shoulder sprain that Reid said was “a bit tender today.” The head coach also said he expects Bowe will play on Sunday. “Knowing Dwayne, he doesn’t miss much,” Reid said. “I think he’ll be OK once it’s all said and done here.”

Right guard Zach Fulton has a foot strain coming out of the game. Outside linebacker Josh Martin has a hand contusion and cornerback Phillip Gaines has the flu.

Reid has adjusted the team’s schedule for the Christmas holiday week. They will practice on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, taking Christmas Day off.

NFL Post-Season Scenarios For Final Weekend Of 2014

From the NFL office, here are the post-season possibilities for those teams in the AFC & NFC that are still in the mix for a spot in the playoffs.

AFC

CLINCHED: New England – AFC East; Denver – AFC West; Indianapolis – AFC South; Pittsburgh.

NEW ENGLAND (12-3)

(If Denver beats Cincinnati Monday night):

  • The Patriots can clinch home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with a 1.) victory over Buffalo or 2.) Denver loss.

(If Cincinnati beats Denver Monday night):

  • The Patriots clinch home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs.

DENVER (11-3, before Monday night game)

(With victory over Cincinnati Monday night):

  • The Broncos clinch a first-round bye. They can clinch home-field advantage through the AFC playoffs with two victories and a New England loss.

(If Cincinnati beats Denver Monday night):

  • The Broncos would clinch a first-round bye with a victory over Oakland or a Cincinnati loss to Pittsburgh.

…Read More!

Chiefs Face Must Win Sunday Against The Steelers


From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The confluence of an unusual combination of football stories will go down Sunday afternoon at the confluence of the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio Rivers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers host the Chiefs at Heinz Field in a game that has major post-season implications for both teams. The Steelers make the playoffs with a victory and set up a possible showdown on the final Sunday of the regular season with Cincinnati for the AFC North title.

The Chiefs must beat the Steelers to keep alive their hopes of slipping into one of the two wildcard spots in the AFC bracket. If they match a Pittsburgh victory with one against San Diego next Sunday, they are in.

Kickoff is set for just after 12 noon with television coverage on CBS-TV.

The unusual factors are these, in no certain order of importance – 1.) The most experienced post-season team in this game is not the Steelers. It’s the Chiefs. 2.) The Steelers defense is not very good, but its offense under coordinator and former Chiefs head coach Todd Haley is very good. 3.) Playing in Pittsburgh has never been very good news for the Chiefs, with one noteworthy exception. 4.) The Chiefs haven’t won a game like this in 20 years.

Let’s break them down: …Read More!

Pittsburgh Week Notes – Fun With Numbers


From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Travis Kelce has a fumbling problem. The Chiefs tight end has coughed up the ball four times this season, with opponents recovering three times. He’s lost a fumble in the last two games.

This has come with Kelce catching 56 passes.

Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell does not have a fumbling problem. Bell has not fumbled this season. He’s had the ball in his hands on 338 offensive plays. The second year back has touched the ball 627 times in his short 27-game career and he’s fumbled once – that came last season in a late season game against Green Bay. The Packers recovered that fumble.

Since then he’s handled the ball 371 times without losing the ball.

Bell’s lack of fumbling is remarkable. Compare him to Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles. In the 2013-14 seasons, Charles has played 28 games and touched the ball 546 times. He has fumbled seven times, and lost four of those.

The Chiefs have forced only 16 fumbles this season, and recovered seven. …Read More!

Officials: Chiefs See Rookie Referee Again

Ronald Torbert was one of three rookie referees that began the season in the NFL. Torbert and his crew got their scheduled started handling the Titans-Chiefs game in the opener.

That did not work out well for the Chiefs, as they somehow allowed Tennessee to walk out of Arrowhead Stadium with a victory. The officials did not have much to do with that outcome, as they walked off 12 penalties against the Titans and only three against the Chiefs. Those 15 penalties was just below the crew’s average on the season – in 13 games they are averaging 16.4 penalties called per game.

According to statistics compiled by ESPN, Torbert’s group has thrown more penalty flags for offensive holding than any other NFL crew, 47 in those 13 games, or more than four per game. The Chiefs offense has been called for 17 holding penalties in 14 games, led by rookie right guard Zach Fulton and tight end Anthony Fasano with three each. Center Rodney Hudson, left guard Mike McGlynn and left tackle Eric Fisher have each been called twice. The other holding calls went against right tackle Ryan Harris, tackle Donald Stephenson, guard Jeff Linkenbach, running back Knile Davis and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe. …Read More!

Snoop Dog’s Favorite Coordinator Is Enjoying Himself

Nobody’s heard from Snoop Dog lately about the Pittsburgh Steelers firing Todd Haley.

For a while earlier this season the Snoopster, who claims to be a big Steelers fan, did not like the offensive production of the black and gold and called for the firing of Haley, the offensive coordinator.

That’s about the only so-called “controversy” that’s found Haley in this 2014 season, and that’s just fine with him. The former Chiefs head coach is very happy being back home in Pittsburgh. He’s enjoying the job of moving around the pieces of the most productive offense in the NFL.

“We’ve got a good group,” Haley said this week. “When everybody’s healthy, there are a lot of things we can do.”

There have not been storm clouds hanging over Haley this season. In 2011, it was Haley’s third season as head coach of the Chiefs, but he didn’t survive the year as he was fired with three games to go. In 2012 was the return to Pittsburgh and all the stories about his relationship with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Last season the rumors of Haley-Roethlisberger problems continued to bubble up, and then there were a couple of civil lawsuits that made the headlines.

But other than Snoop Dog, the only thing out of the ordinary that’s gone public this season with Haley was when he got caught in traffic and missed the Steelers’ charter flight to Baltimore. He ended up driving; lucky the game wasn’t on the west coast. …Read More!

4 Keys To Winning For Chiefs Vs. Steelers

   

Four

Make sure the field goal chain is solid

There’s a difference of 67 points between what the Steelers have scored this year and what the Chiefs have put on the board. That’s a mere difference of just less than five points per game. On the road, a team must cash in on every scoring opportunity presented to them. When the Chiefs have to settle for a field goal, they must have Cairo Santos knocked it between the pipes. And, as we found out this week, the snap from Thomas Gafford needs to be true each time. Dustin Colquitt handles the snaps without much problem. Santos showed against the Raiders that he does not handle well a wayward snap. Eventually, he’ll need to be successful no matter what happens before his foot meets the ball.

…Read More!

Chiefs Lead The NFL In Happy Returns


From the Truman Sports Complex

No NFL team in the last two seasons has enjoyed more happy returns on special teams than the Chiefs.

From the arrival of head coach Andy Reid and special teams coordinator Dave Toub, the Chiefs have returned six punts and kickoffs for touchdowns.

How impressive is that total? It’s twice what Baltimore and Minnesota have done with three return scores each. Only the Chiefs have more touchdowns on punt and kick returns than the Ravens and Vikings in the last 30 games.

How unusual are the half-dozen touchdown returns? Only once in 55 seasons of Dallas Texans-Chiefs football have they scored more than six in a two-season span. That came in 2002-03 when Dante Hall took seven punts and kickoffs to the end zone. The Chiefs also did six TD returns in 2003-04, all of those belonging to Hall.

Over five seasons (2002-06) Hall ripped off 11 return touchdowns on punts and kickoffs, a franchise record and he ranks second in NFL history for punt and kick return TDs with one franchise. He ranks tied for third in overall punt/kick return scores with 12 (he had one in 2007 with St. Louis.)

The 2013-14 Chiefs have not been a one-man show; the six return scores came from four different people: Knile Davis with two kickoff returns, Quintin Demps with a kickoff return, Dexter McCluster with two punt returns and Thomas with the 81-yard punt return score last Sunday against Oakland. …Read More!

It was a fake, not a fake fake

From the Truman Sports Complex

Now the truth can be told – last Sunday against Oakland when punter Dustin Colquitt looked like he was ready to throw the ball, that’s just what he wanted to do.

But he pulled the ball down and was able to get off a punt that backed up the Raiders deep in their territory.

Colquitt was not faking a fake. He really was trying to throw the ball.

Let special teams coordinator Dave Toub tell the story:

“I don’t want to tell you exactly what we are trying to do there, but it was a look. We felt we had a look, not everybody felt like we had the look. It was one of those deals. Obviously Dustin (Colquitt) thought we had the look, and comes up throwing.”

So the teammates he was going to throw to didn’t have the look?

“Exactly,” said Toub. “But I’m going to tell you one thing, he’s experienced. He was able to see it, boom, get the ball down and get it out and still get the ball on the 6-yard line. Pretty impressive.”

Notes: Tamba, Dates & Salary Cap Items

Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali will be the team’s choice as a nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.

The honor goes each year to the NFL player that performs on well the field and off-the-field with involvement in community service. All 32 teams nominate a player.

Hali has been in the news recently for his personal donation and the fund raising help he’s provided Heart to Heart International in building a Ebola treatment clinic in his native country of Liberia. He’s been a frequent contributor in relief efforts to West Africa.

In Kansas City, Hali has been involved with the Bishop Sullivan Center in providing healthy meals to local families and seniors. He’s also made several donations to his alma mater Teaneck High School in New Jersey.

“I’m honored to be nominated for such a prestigious award,” Hali said. “The Kansas City community means a lot to me. Our fan base has given me and my family a tremendous amount of support over the years, and I’m going to give back as much as I can.” …Read More!

Tale of the Tape – Chiefs vs. Steelers

On paper, the Pittsburgh Steelers carry the edge into Sunday’s game against the Chiefs. Even the positions where Andy Reid’s operation has an edge, it’s very slim.

The Chiefs carry the edge with depth at running back and tight end and they also get more out of their special teams than the Steelers do. Defensively, these teams are close in their talent levels, with Pittsburgh carrying a slight edge. When it comes to “been there, done that”, the Steelers carry a big edge into a game meaningful for both teams.

Here’s the tale of the tape: …Read More!

Chiefs Finishing The Season In Unfamiliar Territory

From the Truman Sports Complex

Last season, the Chiefs made the playoffs in large part thanks to a 9-0 start that allowed them to lead the wildcard race as they sat behind the division winning Denver Broncos in the standings. The last game of the 2013 season was so meaningless for their post-season berth that Reid rested his starters.

It’s the opposite situation this year. They shed a three-game losing streak last Sunday with a victory over the 2-12 Raiders. But their opponent this week is a very different football animal. They face a 9-5 Pittsburgh offense that leads the league with 424.9 yards per game and a Steelers defense that’s struggled at times this year, but can still cause havoc.

“You’re at that time of the year where if you’re still in the hunt, every game is magnified,” said Reid. “Both teams know that you’re down towards the end of the season so it should be a heck of an environment for a football game. The players, there’s a little extra juice involved in these things. At the same time you’ve got to go through the process. If you eliminate the process then you’ve got problems.”

Last week in hopes of ending a three-game losing streak, Reid asked his team to relax and have some fun with the so-called process. It was a continuation of a theme he’s stressed with the players since his first day at Arrowhead Stadium last year – let your personality show, work hard and smart; enjoy the preparation and the games. …Read More!

Chiefs Make An Interesting Practice Squad Addition

Generally, the moves on the practice squad by an NFL team are worthy of attention, but seldom noteworthy.

Not so with a move the Chiefs made on Wednesday.

They pulled to players off the squad, releasing tight end Adam Schiltz and placing wide receiver Armon Binns on the practice squad/injured list.

Filling those two spots, the Chiefs signed wide receiver Corbin Louks of the University of Nevada and long snapper Charley Hughlett from the University of Central Florida. …Read More!

DAT Grabs AFC Special Teams Player Of Week

Chiefs punt returner De’Anthony Thomas was still scoring on Wednesday from his 81-yard punt return touchdown against the Raiders on Sunday.

The rookie running back/wide receiver was named the AFC’s Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance in the Chiefs 31-13 victory.

Along with the touchdown return, Thomas had the second best punt-return game in club history, with eight returns for 156 yards, a 19.5-yard average. On the season, he’s returned 28 punts for a 11.7-yard average. He currently ranks fourth in the league in punt returns behind Philadelphia’s Darren Sproles (13.7-yard average), New England’s Julian Edelman (12.3) and Cincinnati’s Aaron Jones (12.0).

What You Need To Know About the Pittsburgh Steelers

Le’Veon Bell is the midst of a very productive 2014 season with over 2,000 offensive yards

Record – The Steelers are 9-5 on the season, winners of their last two and three of their last four games. In the last two weeks they beat the Bengals in Cincinnati 42-21 and then last Sunday they knocked off the Falcons in Atlanta 27-20. In their last home game, they were beaten by the New Orleans Saints, and they’ve lost two home games this season. Pittsburgh is tied with Baltimore, just a half-game behind Cincinnati in the AFC North.

Season story – The Steelers had a tough start to the 2014 season, going 3-3 over the first six weeks, including losing to Tampa Bay at home and to the Browns in Cleveland. Pittsburgh has always been about defense, but this year that side of the ball has struggled, giving up 339 points and 37 touchdowns in 14 games. Injuries created inconsistency on the defense that’s a veteran group with nine of the 11 starters having five seasons in the league or more. Outside linebacker James Harrison returned to the team after “retiring” following a season in Cincinnati. Defensive end Cameron Heyward leads the team with five sacks and cornerback William Gay has three interceptions, all returned for Pittsburgh touchdowns. The Steelers offense has been explosive at times, putting up 51 points against Indianapolis, 43 versus division rival Baltimore and 42 against Cincinnati. They have weapons for both the run and pass to compliment quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has already thrown for 4,415 yards. They like to run the ball and do so with Le’Veon Bell getting almost all the carries. Bell is also a gifted receiver, catching 76 passes on the season. Roethlisberger has four other very productive receivers he can throw to, led by wide receivers Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton and rookie Martavis Bryant, along with veteran tight end Heath Miller. …Read More!

Smith Nominated For Sportsmanship Award

Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith was named Monday as one of eight finalists for the first NFL Sportsmanship Award.

The honor will be presented annually to an NFL player that best demonstrates the qualities of on-field sportsmanship including fair play, respect for the game and opponents and integrity in competition.

Each team nominated one player for the award and then a panel of former players cut the 32 nominees down to eight finalists. Current players will vote on the award later this week when Pro Bowl balloting is conducted.

Smith is joined by wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald of Arizona, linebacker Thomas Davis of Carolina, linebacker Chad Greenway of Minnesota, wide receiver Calvin Johnson of Detroit, safety Troy Polamalu of Pittsburgh, wide receiver Matthew Slater of New England and defensive end DeMarcus Ware of Denver.

The winner will be announced on January 31st, during the 4th Annual NFL Honors show the night before Super Bowl XLIX. The winner will receive a $25,000 donation from the NFL to a charity of his choice.

Field Goals, Snap Judgments & Stats/Post-Oakland

Ironic that Cairo Santos handled all the cold weather games the Chiefs have seen in the last month, the windy conditions and even moisture, without a problem. But get one of those rare December days at Arrowhead Stadium where it’s 60 degrees, and all the sudden the rookie kicker has problems.

Santos had hit 14 straight field goals until he missed from 44 yards on Sunday against Oakland. Before the day was over, he missed another one from 47 yards. In between he made a field goal from 41 yards.

Andy Reid says the problem may not be Santos, but the entire field goal chain of snapper Thomas Gafford and holder Dustin Colquitt.

“We’ve got to get that snap, hold, kick, that whole thing working a little smoother than what it is right now,” Reid said on Monday. “We were off just a tad and we have to get that thing back on track.”

Santos is now 17 of 21 on the season, 81 percent. He’s 5 of 8 (62.5%) between the 40 and 49-yard line. In today’s NFL, those are pedestrian results.

“As the snapper and holder you want to make sure you keep the kicker in rhythm and not allow that to be altered at all,” said Reid. “Then that kicker knows that not everyone is going to be perfect and he’s got to still strike the ball if it gets off rhythm a bit.”

The next game will provide a real test for Santos – Heinz Field in Pittsburgh is not kind to visiting kickers on field goals, especially those kicked in the open end of the field that looks out over the rivers. It’s always windy at that south end of the stadium. …Read More!

Chiefs Face Witching Hour On Hopes For The Playoffs

When the Chiefs host the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, it will be a game of triple importance for the Hunt Family franchise.

So much is on the line for the noon kickoff, with television coverage on CBS.

The Chiefs are considered 10-point favorites by the odds-makers in Las Vegas, an odd number given that they’ve lost three in a row and the Raiders have won two of the last three, including a 24-20 victory over the Chiefs back in Oakland a month ago.

But the Chiefs are playing at home, and the Arrowhead advantage generally comes into play. Still, the Chiefs have lost twice in the building, falling to Tennessee in the season opener and losing their most recent home game to Denver.

Sunday’s game is the proverbial fork in the road for the Chiefs and their 2014 season.

“There’s nobody that knows better than the coach and the player,” said head coach Andy Reid. “We’ve got to do a better job. We know that and so that’s where we are putting our effort.” …Read More!

Bobby Bell – College Graduate

Chiefs hall of fame linebacker Bobby Bell achieved a lifelong dream – he’s earned a college degree.

Bell left the University of Minnesota after the 1962 season to move on to pro football, where he signed with the Dallas Texans just a few months before they would become the Kansas City Chiefs.

He went on to have a Hall of Fame career with the Chiefs, playing for 12 seasons and earning induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983.

When Bell left Minnesota, he was only a few classes away from earning his degree. With the help of the folks at the school and others, he spent the fall semester finishing up three classes to earn the credits he needed for a degree. The 74-year old Bell plans to walk with his much younger classmates in graduation ceremonies in May.

Here’s the whole story from the St. Paul Pioneer-Press.

http://www.twincities.com/sports/ci_27132401/ex-gophers-star-bobby-bell-college-grad-at?source=rss

4 Keys To Winning For the Chiefs vs. Oakland

   

Four

Jump on Raiders early and make the crowd a factor

The Raiders beat the Chiefs in a game where emotions were high in Oakland with a national TV game and a division rival in house. They picked up the victory. A week later, they went to St. Louis with no emotional element and got blasted 52-0 by the Rams. Now last week, the Raiders got excited about another game, beating their Bay Area rival San Francisco 49ers by 11 points. What does all that tell you? The Raiders are up and down when it comes to emotions of the day. Despite losing 52-0, Oakland has kept the games close when they’ve been on the road. In the previous five games where they traveled, they lost by an average of seven points. That includes losing by seven points in New England and San Diego and by six points in Seattle. The question is will there be any reason for the Raiders to be emotional on this Sunday. The Chiefs need to quickly douse any fire that begins to burn on the Oakland sideline. Jump on them early and bring the crowd into the game. It’s the Raiders, they’ll make mistakes.

…Read More!

Officials Preview: Jerome Boger & Crew

It’s referee Jerome Boger and his crew for Sunday’s game between the Chiefs and Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium.

Whether that’s good or bad for either team remains to be seen, but Boger’s crew always seems to attract controversy. One reason may be how busy they are throwing the penalty flag.

So far in 13 games, they have thrown an average of 17.5 flags per game, and they’ve walked off 14 of those penalties for an average of 120 yards per game. All those numbers make them the third busiest crew in the league this season. …Read More!

Weak WRs Group Allows Avant To Rise To The Top

How weak and shallow is the Chiefs depth chart at wide receiver?

In the past two weeks, the team’s leading receiver has been Jason Avant, who was not even with the team when they started their current three-game losing streak back on a Thursday night in Oakland.

Two games, targeted 11 times, Avant has caught seven passes for 94 yards. Those are the type of numbers that good receivers in the NFL put up in one game. With the Chiefs, it’s the best two-game receiving performance by a wide receiver in those two games. In fact, it’s not even close; rookie Albert Wilson had four catches for 53 yards against Arizona and in two games Dwayne Bowe had four catches for 47 yards.

Avant has contributed more than just a handful of catches. Against the Cardinals, his blocks sprung Jamaal Charles for both of his touchdowns.

“They were both sprung by him,” said Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson. “He knows it. He gets it. He understands his role and that’s key.”

His role is to provide contributions in both the pass and run games. Avant’s background with Andy Reid in Philadelphia prepared him for what would be asked of him as a blocker, so there was no transition there.

“That’s part of the role for receivers in this offense,” Avant said. “Everybody here does it.”

Few do it as well as Avant did last Sunday in Arizona. …Read More!

Chiefs Practice Report – December 12

From the Truman Sports Complex

Jamaal Charles was a full participant in practice on Friday and he will be available for duty on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium.

Charles has been dealing with knee and ankle injuries he carried out of last Sunday’s game against Arizona, missing Wednesday’s practice and working in a limited fashion on Thursday.

When asked if he would have full use of Charles on Sunday, head coach Andy Reid simply said: “Yeah.”

The only player who did not participate in Friday’s practice was defensive end Allen Bailey, who is still trying to get through the NFL concussion protocols. Cornerback Phillip Gaines who is also trying to comeback from a concussion took part in Friday’s practice according to Reid.

Tale of the Tape – Chiefs vs. Raiders

The first time these teams met, the Chiefs dominated the tale of the tape, lining up with an edge in 10 of 11 categories.

There’s been some re-evaluation since then, based on the Chiefs three-game losing streak and the Raiders victory against the Chiefs back on November 20th in Oakland. The Chiefs still have the edge on paper in seven of the 11 areas of discussion. The Raiders are tops in four categories and very close in two others.

Here’s this week’s tale of the tape: …Read More!

Run Defense Trying To Stop Recent Slide

Latavius Murray, C.J. Anderson and Kerwynn Williams – all ran for 100 yards or more against the Chiefs defense in the last three games.

That’s not exactly a trio on the order of Walter Payton, Barry Sanders and Eric Dickerson. But against the Chiefs they ran with abandon and great production, combining for 380 yards on 55 carries in the last three weeks.

It’s no mere coincidence that the Chiefs lost all of those games. The Chiefs were in position to win all three in the fourth quarter, but the offense could not take advantage of scoring opportunities and on defense they could not stop the running game of the Raiders, Broncos and Cardinals.

After 13 games, the Chiefs are the NFL’s No. 31 defense in rushing yards allowed, giving up an average of 136.8 yards per game. Only the 2-11 Tennessee Titans give up more rushing yards per game at 141.5 yards. Just seven weeks ago, the Chiefs were ranked No. 18 in fewest rushing yards allowed. That was after beating St. Louis and Buffalo. Since then they’ve fallen to 19th, 20th, 25th, 26th, 30th and this week that No. 31 position.

So what’s happened to the run defense? …Read More!

What You Need To Know About The Oakland Raiders

Raiders fullback Marcel Reece reached the end zone last Sunday in Oakland’s victory over San Francisco

Record – The Raiders are hot right now – for the Raiders. They’ve won two of their last three games, including that 24-20 victory over the Chiefs on Thursday night, November 20th in Oakland. They followed that with an embarrassing 52-0 loss to St. Louis, but bounced back with a 24-13 upset of San Francisco last Sunday. The victories now have the Raiders at 2-11 on the season, tied with Jacksonville, the New York Jets, Tampa Bay and Tennessee for the worst records in the league.

Season story – There was a common denominator in the two victories by the Raiders – emotion. They were playing in a national TV game against their long-time rival in the Chiefs when they earned victory No. 1. They beat their Bay Area neighbors last Sunday for a second winning performance. Emotion ebbs and flows with the Raiders and based on their record it’s apparent the feelings haven’t been flowing all season. Opening the season 0-10 cost head coach Dennis Allen his job after four games. He was replaced by Tony Sparano, the club’s offensive line coach. There’s been a lot of focus on young quarterback Derek Carr, who has had a solid rookie season with 17 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions, while completing 60.5 percent of his throws. One major reason for that is good pass protection, as he’s been sacked 16 times, ranking No. 5 in the league for fewest sacks allowed. Defense has been solid, but unspectacular, producing only 28 big plays (takeaways & sacks.) They’ve lost three key players in their secondary to the injured-reserve list – safeties Tyvon Branch and Usama Young and cornerback Carlos Rogers. …Read More!

The Position Dragging Down the Chiefs: Wide Receiver

Frankie Hammond (85), Jason Avant (81) and Albert Wilson (12) haven’t been able to jump start the wide receiver position

It’s not true that the Chiefs are without a wide receiver on their roster with a touchdown catch this season.

Jason Avant caught a 14-yard touchdown pass back on September 14th against Detroit. Of course, he was a member of the Carolina Panthers at the time he pulled in that throw from quarterback Cam Newton in the Panthers 24-7 victory.

That no Chiefs wide receiver has carried the ball into the end zone has become that point of fact to illustrate the team’s troubles recently in losing three straight games and leaving themselves on the brink of elimination from the playoffs. It’s a story that Andy Reid and Alex Smith are tired of hearing about, yet it’s now 13 games without one of them making sure the scoring drought came to an end for their wide receivers.

Since late in the first quarter of the Chiefs victory over the Washington Redskins on December 8, 2013, Smith and Chase Daniel have thrown 488 passes without hooking up with a wide receiver for a touchdown. Now, that does not count the loss to Indianapolis in the first-round of the AFC playoffs back in early January. In that game, Smith connected with both Dwayne Bowe and Donnie Avery for touchdown passes in the first half.

So that’s 488 straight throws in the regular season that did not lead a Chiefs wide receiver to the end zone. Its uncharted territory in the league, but it’s hardly a surprise given the depth chart at the position. Even had one of the receivers actually reached the end zone this season, it would not wipe away the fact the Chiefs went into training camp, the pre-season and then the regular season without enough talent on the roster at the position. …Read More!

Chiefs Make Practice Squad Moves

It wouldn’t be another week of the NFL season without the Chiefs making changes on their practice squad.

Gone are guard Jarrod Pughsley and linebacker Ja’Gared Davis. In are offensive tackle Curtis Feigt and linebacker JoJo Dickson.

Pughsley and Feigt have been doing the practice squad pogo ride for the last month, back and forth on the practice squad. Generally this is used as a way of keeping another body tied up and compensated under the salary cap.

Davis was with the team for two weeks but was signed to the 53-man roster by Washington on Monday. Replacing him is Dickson, a 25-year old linebacker out of the University of Idaho who has spent time with Jacksonville, Cleveland, the New York Jets and Arizona. The 6-1, 245-pound native of Hawai’i originally signed with the Jaguars as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2011.

He spent the 2014 pre-season with Arizona he played in three games with two tackles and a sack.

Snap Judgments & Stats – Arizona

The Chiefs had 65 snaps on offense against Arizona on Sunday. That’s the most offensive plays they’ve had since they beat the Chargers in San Diego with 70 plays back on October 19th.

In the last five games, there was a steady decline in opportunities for the offense, as they averaged 11 plays a game fewer than what they averaged in the first seven games.

Why is that important? The more offensive plays a team can rack up, the more chances to score and the more time they keep the ball out of their opponent’s hands. It’s pretty simple football math; losing snaps does not make it impossible for a team to win, but a steady dose of quiet on the offensive side of the ball makes the effort much tougher.

That’s why it was good news that the Chiefs had 65 chances to advance the ball against Arizona. Now, they just have to make something more of those extra plays, especially when they land in the scoring zone. That did not get done vs. the Cardinals. …Read More!

Berry Diagnosed With Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Chiefs Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and will begin chemotherapy treatment immediately to attack the cancerous tumor in his chest.

The announcement was made on Monday by the Chiefs and the Emory University Hospital’s Winship Cancer Institute in Atlanta, Georgia. That’s where Berry will receive treatment.

“This is a diagnosis that is very treatable and potentially curable with standard chemotherapy approaches,” said Dr. Christopher R. Flowers, director of the Emory Lymphoma Program. “The goal of Mr. Berry’s treatment is to cure his lymphoma and we are beginning that treatment now.”

Hodgkin’s lymphoma showed itself in Berry with a tumor in the right side of his chest that was discovered during tests done after the Chiefs-Raiders game on Thursday night, November 20th. The medical report did not indicate surgery was contemplated at this time. Instead, Berry will undergo chemotherapy with an outside chance he may also undergo radiation treatments; both are part of the normal treatment protocol for lymphoma. …Read More!

Chiefs Continue Losing Ways With Arizona Loss

The losing streak continues as the Chiefs dropped their third straight game on Sunday, losing to the Arizona Cardinals 17-14 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

The Chiefs built a 14-6 lead at half-time but could not score in the second half as they turned the ball over twice, once on a controversial replay review decisions that wiped out a big third down pass completion from Alex Smith to Travis Kelce and gave possession of the ball to Arizona. It was just one of several officiating decisions that did not go the Chiefs way.

No matter that, they are now 7-6 on the season and they’ve stumbled to the bottom of a pack of 11 NFL teams that remain close enough to be mathematically considered for one of the six spots in the AFC post-season bracket. None of that matters to Smith, as the Chiefs quarterback wasn’t thinking of anything but stopping his club’s losing streak.

“It starts with a win; we’ve got to get a win this next week,” Smith said after the game. “I don’t know all the scenarios and I really don’t care. So much of that stuff is out of our control. What we can control is how we play in this next week. We need to focus on that.”

Here’s our coverage of the Chiefs and Cardinals:

Arizona Visit Starts Season’s Most Important Month

An NFL season is 16 games. In the final reckoning, they all count the same.

Sort of. There’s a different feel, an increased importance when the calendar turns to December. If a team has won enough games in September, October and November, there’s something to play for in the last month of the year. The stakes incr ease, the margin of error grows slimmer. They are not just the last games on the schedule, they are afternoons and evenings that define a football team.

That’s where the Chiefs sit on the first Sunday in December 2014, as they land in the desert to face the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. Kickoff is just after 3 p.m. with television coverage on CBS.

Andy Reid’s team is 7-5 and on a two-game losing streak. With four games to play, their future in the AFC post-season remains in their own hands. They control their chances to play in January.

“We talk about it, sure, yeah,” Reid said at the end of last week’s preparation for Sunday’s game. …Read More!

4 Keys To Winning For Chiefs Vs. Cardinals

          

Four

Make third down Chiefs territory – on offense and defense

Just over a month ago, the Chiefs were one of the NFL’s best teams on third down whether it was with the ball or on defense. That level of performance has dropped with both units and it’s made winning very difficult for the Chiefs. Offensively, they can’t string together enough productive possessions to keep the offense on the field. That makes life more difficult for the defense and they make it worse when they can’t stop the opponent on third down. Both teams are sitting in similar third down situations coming into the game. Arizona converts 43.1 percent of the time, while the Chiefs are right behind at 42.6 percent. Defensively, both teams are giving up third-down conversions 37.7 percent of the time.

…Read More!

Poor Tackling Can Become An Epidemic For A Defense

It’s one of the most important of football basics.

A player on one team has possession of the football; players on a second team must stop his forward progress. That’s done by taking him to the ground, generally in whatever manner necessary to stop movement. A whistle blows, bodies unpile and the sequence starts again.

Running with the ball; tackling the ball – that’s football. The Chiefs defense had a major problem last Sunday night at Arrowhead Stadium. In their loss to Denver, they had troubles with the basic – tackling the ball. By various counts, they missed anywhere from 14 to 17 tackles in the game. Denver behind running back C.J. Anderson ran for 214 yards, with Anderson hitting for 168 yards on his 32 carries.

It was the worst tackling performance the Chiefs have had in two seasons under defensive coordinator Bob Sutton. Taking nothing away from Anderson, who has been a real find for the Broncos as an undrafted free agent last year, they were not trying to stop one of the league’s top running backs. Weeks ago, Anderson was Denver’s third choice at the position behind now injured Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman.

So what happened? Easy question, but as expected, nobody provides easy answers. …Read More!

Officials Preview: KC official works Chiefs-Cardinals

First-year NFL referee Craig Wrolstad and his crew will work Sunday’s game in Arizona between the Chiefs and Cardinals.

The most experienced official in that seven-man group is Kansas City resident Mark Hittner. Working as the head linesman, Hittner is in his 18th season enforcing the rules and throwing the flag in the NFL.

(That’s Hittner to the left getting an earful from New England head coach Bill Belichick.)

A native of Boonville, Missouri, Hittner was an All-Conference quarterback at Pittsburg State University, finishing up his career as the second leading passer in Gorillas history.

Hittner lives north of the river in Kansas City, and operates as a financial planner and investment manager for Premier Financial Partners, a St. Louis-based firm. …Read More!

Chiefs Never Got To Know Jim Swink – It’s Our Loss

On Wednesday in the east Texas town of Rusk, Dr. Jim Swink passed away. He was 78 years old and had battled health problems for the last several years.

When the Kansas City Chiefs began life as the Dallas Texans in 1960, Swink was part of the original roster created by team founder Lamar Hunt and head coach Hank Stram that hit the field for the American Football League’s charter season.

It was such a different time and place than where the game of football and America’s society sits 55 years later. Despite the fact he grew up in the football hotbed of Texas, where he was one of those high school legends that earned a nickname – “The Rusk Rambler” – the game was not the most important thing in Jim Swink’s life. It was only part of his special story.

A two-time All-America running back out of Texas Christian University, Swink finished second in the voting for the 1955 Heisman Trophy behind Ohio State University’s Howard “Hopalong” Cassady. He ran for 2,618 yards on 413 carries for TCU, at a time when the Horned Frogs were changing the face of that program with successful seasons and competing in the Southwest Conference.

That Swink got out of Rusk at all is chapter one to his story. As he was growing up, both of his parents were diagnosed with tuberculosis. At the time, TB was still a respiratory disease that caused panic in small towns across the country, where it could easily be transmitted through coughing and sneezing. Those infected were often sent away to sanitariums in remote and less populated locals. Swink’s parents were sent to different facilities in west Texas and it left Swink living with an older couple in Rusk, as what amounted to a TB orphan. …Read More!

Dee Ford’s Rookie Season Not 1st-Round Quality

As the first-round selection of the Chiefs in the 2014 NFL Draft much is expected from linebacker Dee Ford in what the team believes will be a productive career.

Those expectations have not borne initial fruit. With two Pro Bowlers ahead of him on the depth chart, nobody was expecting the Auburn University product to become an immediate starter. A quick contributor was a status of another matter. Given the amount of tinkering defensive coordinator Bob Sutton did in training camp and the pre-season with Tamba Hali, Justin Houston and Ford on the field together, Ford figured to have a lot of plays in him for this rookie season.

It has not worked out that way, not even close. With 75 percent of the season past, Ford has been a ghost on the playing field for the Chiefs. Defensively, the Chiefs have faced 764 snaps from opposing offenses; Ford has been on the field for 50 of those, or just less than 7 percent of the plays.

Combined with 73 snaps from special teams, and Ford has been on the field for 123 plays. With the Chiefs having played close to 1,800 plays so far on offense, defense and in the kicking game, that’s 7 percent of the snaps. …Read More!

Tale of the Tape – Chiefs vs. Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals have a 9-3 record that’s two games better than the 7-5 Chiefs. But when you break down these two teams on paper, there’s not a lot of real difference between the two at important positions and coaching. The Chiefs have an offensive edge; the Cardinals have better defensive groups. It figures to make for an interesting Sunday afternoon at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale

Here’s how the teams break down on paper for this week’s tale of the tape: …Read More!

The Chiefs Troubles Showing On The Scoreboard


From the Truman Sports Complex

At no point in this 2014 season have the Chiefs been a point-producing engine. Possibly the only moment they qualified for that distinction came during late September, when they scored 34 points in a 19-point victory over Miami and 41 points in the unprecedented blowout of New England when they won by 27 points.

Since they scored 34 points in a victory over St. Louis in the last weekend of October, the Chiefs have had trouble moving the scoreboard. In the five games since, they’ve reached as many as 24 points only twice, in beating the Jets and Seahawks. Last Sunday night, they managed only 16 points in losing to Denver. In five games, they scored 101 points.

Point production is a problem for the Chiefs right now.

“Certainly we’re concerned about scoring points and scoring touchdowns,” said quarterback Alex Smith.

They should be. It’s not hard to correlate post-season success with points scored, which just happens to be one of the most important statistics in the game.

“I don’t worry about who gets them, I’m concerned that you score them, whatever position it is,” said head coach Andy Reid. “We’ve needed more than what we’ve done the past couple of weeks so we’ve got to do better there.” …Read More!

What You Need To Know About . . . Arizona Cardinals

Former Pitt State WR John Brown has been a big addition to Arizona’s offense in his rookie season.

Record – They are leading the NFC West at 9-3 after opening with three straight, then a loss followed by a six-game winning streak and now they’ve lost back-to-back games. In the last two games they were outscored 48-21 by Seattle and Atlanta. Their most recent victory came in the middle of November when they beat Detroit 14-6. They are 6-0 at home on the season and 2-1 against the AFC West.

Season story – A long string of injuries have made the season difficult for the Cardinals, but they have been able to achieve success despite losing key performers, including starting quarterback Carson Palmer who was lost in game against St. Louis with a torn ACL. In six Palmer starts, Arizona was 6-0 and he threw 11 touchdown passes against three interceptions. The other six starts belong to Drew Stanton, with a 3-3 record, six TD passes and five INTs. Defense has been the engine for the Birds season, allowing more than 20 points just twice and holding five teams to 14 points or less.

Standing in the league – the Cardinals are No. 23 in offensive yards per game, 31st in the run game and 13th in the passing game. They are No. 13 in yards allowed on defense, 6th against the run and 27th vs. the pass. They are plus-8 in the turnover ratio and among the most sure-handed teams, losing just 5 fumbles on the season. Arizona has allowed 224 points, tied with the Chiefs for fourth fewest in the league after 12 games. …Read More!

Snap Judgments & Stats – Denver

Here are the snaps credited by the NFL to the Chiefs against the Broncos on offense, defense and in the kicking game. Names in bold are those that played 100 percent of their unit’s snaps:

Offense (45)

  • Backs – Alex Smith 45, Jamaal Charles 43, Anthony Sherman 9, De’Anthony Thomas 5, Knile Davis 2.
  • Receivers – Dwayne Bowe 43, Travis Kelce 37, Jason Avant 31, Donnie Avery 27, Anthony Fasano 17, Frankie Hammond 10.
  • Line – Eric Fisher, Zach Fulton & Rodney Hudson, each with 45;
    Ryan Harris 35, Mike McGlynn 28, Jeff Linkenbach 17, Donald Stephenson 11.

…Read More!

Chiefs Swap Out No. 3 Tight Ends on 53-Man Roster

The Chiefs never ending tinkering with their rosters continued on Tuesday when they re-signed tight end Richard Gordon to the active roster.

Gordon (6-4, 268 pounds) played two games for the Chiefs last season, catching one pass for three yards in limited playing time on offense. A former sixth-round selection by Oakland in the 2011 NFL Draft, he signed with Tennessee and appeared in three games and started twice for the Titans before he was released last week.

To make room for Gordon, the Chiefs released tight end Phillip Supernaw, who spent the last three weeks with the team after being signed off the Baltimore practice squad. Supernaw was active for two of those games and caught one pass for three yards.

Tale of the Tape Recap: It all went Denver’s Way


From Arrowhead Stadium

Position

Pre-Game

Post-Game

Reasons

 

Quarterback

The victory was not one of the more memorable performances in Peyton Manning’s storied NFL career. He completed just 50 percent of his passes, a number far below the norm for him. But thanks to better pass protection, he was the best quarterback on the field.

Running back

C. J. Anderson was the best running back at Arrowhead for this game. Yes, we all know that Jamaal Charles is among the best running backs in the league, but he was not a factor against Denver. Neither was Knile Davis – he did not have a carry.

Tight end

Give it up to veteran tight end Anthony Fasano – he earned the tight end gold medal thanks to his 20-yard touchdown catch in the end zone. It was his only reception of the game. Travis Kelce had three catches for 36 yards. Denver TEs had 2 catches for 14 yards.
 

Wide receiver

It was not a big production night for Denver’s flashy wide receiver duo of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders – a combined 12 catches for 136 yards and a touchdown. Chiefs wide receivers had 5 catches for 68 yards and another game without a WR touchdown grab.

Offensive line

An outstanding performance by the Broncos offensive line was visible in the 214 rushing yards and the sack total of one in 35 pass plays. The Chiefs blockers had their worst performance of the season, allowing six sacks and 12 other hits on Alex Smith.

Defensive line


Denver’s front four was active and productive throughout the game, as they got their hands on Alex Smith and some of his passes, including a tipped ball that defensive end DeMarcus Ware grabbed for an interception.

Linebackers

Justin Houston led the Chiefs with 8 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble, but as a whole the Denver linebackers seemed to be everywhere, with Von Miller producing 1.5 sacks and Brandon Marshall added another.

Secondary

Not only did the Broncos defensive backs get the job done in coverage, not allowing a completion of more than 20 yards, but they also got after Smith on the blitz, as the secondary posted two sacks as well.

Special teams

Other than a fake punt that gave the Broncos a first down that led to a field goal, the kicking game didn’t give Denver a lot of juice in this game. It provided the Chiefs even less, as they lost the ball on a fumble and allowed the fake punt.

Coaching

John Fox and staff had their team ready to come out of the chute right from the start and that attitude helped them build a 17-0 lead midway through the second quarter that became a mountain that the Chiefs could not get over. Strong defensive moves by coordinator Jack Del Rio.

Intangibles

The Broncos are developing an offense that can now rely on the run, even when their top two running backs are out with injuries. They showed their veteran moxie and came out prepared and flying to the ball, a great combination for any team fighting for a spot in the post-season field.

Chiefs Take Another Step Backwards In AFC West Race


From Arrowhead Stadium

Two weeks after beating the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks all things seemed possible for Andy Reid’s Chiefs.

A fortnight later, those possibilities are gone. That’s what happens after losing back-to-back division games, including Sunday’s night’s loss to the Denver Broncos 29-16.

Unable to stop not future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning, but unknown running back C. J. Anderson, the Chiefs got behind early and never got close to catching the now 9-3 Broncos.

The loss leaves the Chiefs 7-5 and in a jumble of other AFC teams fighting for two wildcard spots. Right now, it’s not pretty, but a lot can happen in four weeks.

Here’s our coverage from Sunday night:

Chiefs-Broncos Battle for Control Of AFC West

There are not a lot of mysteries when the Chiefs and Broncos face each other twice a season. Always there are a few new faces on the field, different plot lines playing out with each team.

But no matter the faces in place on the field and sidelines, it’s always just Kansas City versus Denver – teams that don’t like each other and play hard fought games that sometimes create classic moments.

They will meet again Sunday night at Arrowhead Stadium in front of a national television lineup. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. with television coverage on NBC.

These teams met back in week two of the 2014 season and while it did not create a classic moment that will be remembered in this rivalry’s history, it was another episode where the teams were competing for victory down through the final ticks of the clock. Fourth quarter, 105 seconds to play and the Chiefs offense had the ball 1st-and-goal at the Denver 9-yard line. Needing a touchdown to tie, the Chiefs gained 2, 3 and no yards, before on 4th-down quarterback Alex Smith’s pass to wide receiver Dwayne Bowe was knocked down by Broncos defensive lineman Terrance Knighton.

That’s been the trend in recent seasons in these games – Denver has won five in a row and they’ve proven they are not hamstrung by the noise and passion of the Arrowhead crowd, winning three straight. Peyton Manning has a track record that shows Arrowhead didn’t really bother him, whether wearing a horse shoe on his helmet or a horse’s head. …Read More!

The Helmet Sticker Tennessee Wears Today For Berry

The University of Tennessee was not forgetting one of their own, as they took the field for today’s game against Vanderbilt University wearing the helmet sticker below, honoring former Volunteers All-America Eric Berry. The Chiefs safety saw his football season end earlier in the week with a tumor in his chest.

Berry has younger twin brothers playing for the Vols, Evan and Elliott Berry. The VFL on the sticker stands for Volunteer For Life.

Officiating Crew For KC-Den slow on pulling hankies

For the second time this season, referee Walt Coleman will lead the officiating crew handling a Chiefs game. Coleman and his crew that handled the game in San Francisco back in early October.

The best thing about Coleman’s crew is they are not quick to throw the flag. In all flags thrown, they rank among the three least active crews with an average of 14.1 flags. They walk off an average of 11.4 penalties.

But more important will be how they handle themselves in penalties on contact between defenders and receivers. That point of emphasis no longer gets the attention it did earlier in the season, but Coleman’s crew hasn’t paid it much mind from the start.

In 10 games, they’ve thrown just 15 penalty flags for defensive holding, pass interference and illegal contact. That’s the fewest of any of the NFL’s 17 officiating crews. …Read More!

4 Keys To Winning For the Chiefs Vs. Broncos

     

Four

Stop the Broncos running game

Denver’s top two running backs are out, so they are relying on No. 3 & 4 backs: C.J. Anderson and Juwan Thompson. Both are undrafted free agents that have a combined 101 carries for 522 yards and four touchdown runs this season. To stop even the Broncos third and fourth backs, the Chiefs must control the line of scrimmage, something they did not get done their last time out when they lost to Oakland. As crazy as it always sounds, the Chiefs need to make Peyton Manning and the Denver offense one-dimensional. If the Broncos run, they take some of the attention off the Denver passing game. So far this year, they’ve averaged 100 rushing yards per game, and that’s coming off the 201 yards they ran for last Sunday against Miami. To win the Chiefs must keep the Broncos run game closer to that 100 mark than 200 yards.

…Read More!

Tale of the Tape – Chiefs vs. Denver

The Chiefs and Broncos will play for the 110th time in their 55-season series built from their status as original members of the American Football League.

Denver has dominated the series in recent seasons, winning five in a row and six of the last seven. The Broncos swept the two games in 2012 and 2013 and after a seven-point victory in September they have a chance to make it three consecutive sweeps.

On paper, the Broncos have the edge in six of the 11 categories. Here’s the tale of the tape: …Read More!

Chiefs Practice/Injury Update – Thanksgiving Day

Tight end Anthony Fasano and defensive lineman Kevin Vickerson took part in the Chiefs practice on Thanksgiving Day, leaving only wide receiver Junior Hemingway on the sidelines as they continued their preparation for Sunday night’s game against Denver.

Fasano (knee) and Vickerson (calf) were both declared limited participants in the workout. Neither practiced on Wednesday.

Here’s the report for both teams from Thanksgiving Day’s practices:

Chiefs

DID NOT PRACTICE – Wide receiver Junior Hemingway (concussion).

LIMITED PARTICIPATION – Wide receiver Donnie Avery (groin), tight end Anthony Fasano (knee), cornerback Jamell Fleming (hamstring), linebacker Tamba Hali (knee), cornerback Chris Owens (knee/abdomen), defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson (calf).

FULL PARTICIPATION – Punter Dustin Colquitt (calf), offensive tackle Donald Stephenson (shoulder), cornerback Sean Smith (groin).

Broncos

DID NOT PRACTICE – Running back Montee Ball (groin), running back Ronnie Hillman (foot), linebacker Brandon Marshall (concussion), cornerback Aquib Talib (hamstring), cornerback Kayvon Webster (shoulder).

LIMITED PARTICIPATION – Safety Quinton Carter (ankle), defensive end Quanterus Smith (ankle), tight end Julius Thomas (ankle).

FULL PARTICIPATION – Safety David Bruton (finger), tight end Virgil Green (calf), running back Juwan Thompson (knee).

A Flurry Of Special Teams Notes From Chiefs

From the Truman Sports Complex

In the second half of last Thursday’s game against the Raiders, punter Dustin Colquitt appeared to suffer a right calf injury after getting away a kick into the rainy night at the Oakland Coliseum.

The team’s training staff worked on Colquitt on the sidelines and kicker Cairo Santos worked out with a few punts into a net behind the Chiefs bench. Luckily, for the rest of the game the Chiefs needed Colquitt only as a holder for Santos and not as a punter.

It turns out that Colquitt had already gotten in a gut-check evening before that last punt. He actually suffered the injury in the pre-game warm-up period and underwent treatment in the locker room just to get on the field to kick.

That’s just one of several special teams’ related bites that came out Wednesday from the Chiefs facility as they ratcheted up preparations for Sunday night’s game against Denver.

Coordinator Dave Toub said that rookie De’Anthony Thomas would remain as the team’s primary punt returner, despite obvious struggles against the Raiders, including a return for minus-12 yards. Also, Toub spoke of the diminished kickoffs over the last month from Santos. …Read More!

Some Chiefs Thoughts As They Prepare For Broncos

We’ll find out on Wednesday a bit more of what De’Anthony Thomas’ future may be as the Chiefs punt returner. Far be it for me to tell a very good special teams coordinator like Dave Toub how to handle his job, but . . . it’s time to let Frankie Hammond handle those kicks and give DAT his chances with the ball on offense.

DAT was a disaster in Oakland. Whether he was spooked by the rain and wet ball, or had trouble handling the prime-time spotlight and his chance to show the league and the country what he can provide the Chiefs, he was a negative on punt returns.

He was back for four punts and got his hands on two, producing returns of 15 and minus-12 yards. A negative punt return of more than a few yards is inexcusable for any returner. As he did on three other punts, Thomas allowed the ball to hit the ground, two yards in front of him. He caught the ball on the bounce at the 20-yard line, and started trying to run around the coverage that enveloped him very quickly.

Even with that backward return, Thomas got another chance. The Raiders punt could have easily been caught, and at the least he could have called for a fair catch. Instead, he allowed the ball to hit the turf; it bounced at the 16-yard line, and was downed by the Raiders at the 10-yard line. …Read More!

Chiefs Fill Berry’s Roster Spot With D-Lineman

With an open spot on the active roster due to Eric Berry moving to the reserve-non-football illness list, the Chiefs signed defensive lineman Nick Williams off the Pittsburgh practice squad.

The 6-5, 309-pound Williams was selected in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Steelers. He spent the 2013 season on the injured-reserve list after suffering a pre-season knee injury. He’s spent the entire 2014 season on the Pittsburgh practice squad. The 24-year old Alabama native played four seasons at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.

The Chiefs also swapped linebackers on the practice squad on Monday. Darin Drakeford was moved to the practice-squad-injured list and replacing him is 6-1, 235-pound outside linebacker Ja’Gared Davis. A Texas native and product of Southern Methodist University, Davis has spent the last two years with New England. The Patriots released him from their practice squad on Saturday. Over two seasons, he’s been on and off the active roster and practice squad. He was on New England’s active roster for six games. Davis is 24 years old and entered the league in 2013 with Houston as an undrafted rookie free agent.

Lymphoma: It Will Be Eric Berry’s Toughest Opponent

If the early diagnosis is correct, Chiefs safety Eric Berry is about to face the toughest opponent of his young life.

Cancer is a nasty bastard no matter what form it takes. If you have not experienced dealing with cancer whether in your own health, or that of family and friends, consider yourself very lucky. And, also understand that the clock is ticking – your time is coming.

Freakin’ cancer is everywhere. Visit Children’s Mercy Hospital and you can find infants, toddlers and children of all shapes, sizes and ages dealing with cancer in their earliest days. Visit a cancer clinic during an average day of appointments and hundreds of good folks will roll through the waiting room, men and women of all ages and races, all struggling with some form of cancer.

Eric Berry is now part of that group. If there were any remaining doubts about the ability of cancer to hit anyone they should be gone with Monday’s news that Berry has a tumor on the right side of his chest and the preliminary diagnosis is lymphoma.

Cancer.

How are we supposed to understand how a 25-year old in better physical condition than 99.9 percent of the population comes down with cancer? How does that happen? Why does that happen? It’s a reminder that the bastard spares no one. Billions of dollars devoted over the decades, the life’s work of more than a million people around the world, and so much of cancer’s story remains a mystery. …Read More!

Berry Done For Season Due To Mass In His Chest

The Chiefs have lost Pro Bowl strong safety Eric Berry for the rest of the season due to a mass discovered in his chest over the weekend.

“We don’t have a definitive diagnosis, but the leading consideration (for) what he has right now is lymphoma,” Chiefs head trainer Rick Burkholder said on Monday. “The next step in the process is to finish some testing. He’s about 75 percent done with the testing.”

Because of the initial diagnosis, the Chiefs have played Berry on the reserve-non-football illness, and he’s done for the remainder of the 2014 season and playoffs.

Berry complained of discomfort in his chest during Thursday night’s game in Oakland. He was examined by team doctors during and after the game, but continued to play. When he was still reporting pain on Friday, the Chiefs did an x-ray that came back negative according to Burkholder. Doctors decided to expand the testing and that’s when the mass was discovered on the right side of his chest.

“We got an MRI Friday afternoon and discovered he had a mass in his chest,” said Burkholder. “On Saturday further testing was done with CT scans, blood work and a PET scan.

“His family and our Chiefs family have decided to get him to Atlanta to the Emory University Hospital and see Dr. Christopher Flowers, a specialist in lymphoma. That evaluation will continue tomorrow through the next couple of days.”

The 2014 season has been one of injuries for Berry, starting with heel problems in training camp and then a high ankle-sprain in Game No. 2 against Denver. But all those pale in comparison to what he may be dealing with when it comes to lymphoma.

“I am truly thankful for all of the support from family, friends, coaches, teammates and the entire Chiefs kingdom,” Berry said in a statement released by the Chiefs. ”At first I was in shock with the diagnosis on Saturday and did not even want to miss a game. But I understand that right now I have to concentrate on a new opponent. I have great confidence in the doctors and the plan they are going to put in place for me to win this fight.

“I believe that I am in God’s hands and I have great peace in that. I know my coaches and teammates will hold things down here the rest of the season and until I am back running out of the tunnel at Arrowhead. I am so thankful and appreciative of being a part of this franchise and playing in front of the best fans in the NFL. I will be back!”

The Picture For AFC Playoffs – 11/23

Other than moving the race for the AFC playoffs one more week down the road, the activities of week No. 12 did not clear the smoke that hangs over the last four slots in the post-season bracket.

It’s still New England and Denver leading the way and then another eight teams sporting winning records and dreams they could be playing in January.

That group on top could have included the Chiefs with the Patriots and Broncos, but they failed to win game No. 8, falling last Thursday night to Oakland.

Cincinnati sits just a half-step ahead of the rest of the field at 7-3-1, and then it’s the Chiefs and at least four other teams at 7-3, all with at least three losses in the AFC. That group could grow to six teams with a Baltimore win against New Orleans in the regularly scheduled Monday night game.

The Chiefs ended up losing more in position for the playoffs than any team during the week. But it was not a step back as much as it was the familiar to step forward. That leaves them trying to fight through five tough weeks and at least five other teams. …Read More!

Stats & Snap Judgments – Oakland

Here are the snaps played in the rain and credited by the NFL to the Chiefs in Thursday night’s game against the Raiders, on offense, defense and in the kicking game. Names in bold are those that played 100 percent of their unit’s snaps:

Offense (66)

  • Backs – Alex Smith 66, Jamaal Charles 60, De’Anthony Thomas 33, Anthony Sherman 12, Knile Davis 5, Charcandrick West 1.
  • Receivers – Travis Kelce 62, Dwayne Bowe 61, Frankie Hammond 56, Albert Wilson 17, Junior Hemingway 16, Phillip Supernaw 4, Anthony Fasano 2.
  • Line – Eric Fisher, Zach Fulton, Ryan Harris, Rodney Hudson & Mike McGlynn, each with 66; Jeff Linkenbach 1.

…Read More!

Chiefs Make Roster Change At Wide Receiver

The Chiefs announced Friday that they signed wide receiver Jason Avant to the 53-man active roster.

To make room for Avant, wide receiver A.J. Jenkins was placed on the injured-reserve list due to a shoulder injury he suffered last week in practice.

The 6-0, 210-pound Avant is a veteran of nine NFL seasons, including eight years with Philadelphia. In seven of those seasons he played for Eagles head coach Andy Reid. He began the 2014 season with the Carolina Panthers, catching 21 passes for 201 yards and a touchdown catch. Avant was released on Tuesday.

In 127 NFL games (52 starts) Avant caught 318 passes for 3,847 yards (12.1-yard per catch average) with 13 touchdown receptions. He entered the NFL as a fourth-round choice (#109) of the Eagles in the 2006 NFL Draft. Avant played at the University of Michigan, where he finished third in Wolverines history with 169 catches for 2,247 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Jenkins wrapped up his season with missing the last two games after suffering a shoulder injury in practice. He caught nine passes for 92 yards in the Chiefs offense.

Chiefs-Raiders Highlights New Oakland Quarterback

Another chapter in one of the most historic rivalries in the history of pro football goes down Thursday night when the Chiefs visit the Raiders in Oakland.

Kickoff is set for 7:25 pm. CST at the Oakland Coliseum with television coverage on the NFL Network and in Kansas City on Channel 41.

It will be the 111th time the Dallas Texans-Kansas City Chiefs have faced the Oakland-Los Angeles-Oakland Raiders. Some 40 years ago when the American Football League was rolling through its final days, the Chiefs and Raiders rivalry reached its apex, as one or the other played in three of the first four Super Bowls against the NFL.

That’s all prehistoric times in pro football, especially in today’s world of 144-character rants and immediate analysis and reaction from the Internet and social media. These teams have not played each other in a game that mattered in the month of November or December in many years. Actually, the last critical game was just a few hours into the 21st Century when the Raiders under head coach Jon Gruden showed up for the first game of the 2000s and the last game of the 1999 season. A Chiefs victory in Gunther Cunningham’s first year as head coach would have sent his team to the playoffs but Oakland won in overtime.

Since then, the Raiders have struggled to play with any sort of respectability. The Chiefs have often done the same. Thursday they arrive for the first of two outings this season with the Chiefs at 7-3 and the Raiders at 0-10. Oakland is the only team in the league that has not won a game in this 2014 season and their last victory was 367 days ago.

It’s an interesting situation for the Chiefs. The Thursday night game brought a short preparation week for Andy Reid, his staff and players. They had Monday and Tuesday to think and act Raiders and then left on Wednesday for the Bay Area. That’s about half their normal amount of prep time for a game. …Read More!

4 Keys To Winning For the Chiefs Against The Raiders

     

Four

Volume #3 of keeping Alex Smith’s uniform without a blemish from the Raiders defense

With the exception of the game in Buffalo when Smith was sacked six times by the Bills defense, the protection for the Chiefs quarterback has improved each week, with no sacks allowed last week against Seattle. The Seahawks have a far more formidable defense than the Raiders, who have just 10 sacks in 338 passing plays through the first 10 games. What’s helped is the success of the running game; that’s taken some of the focus off the pass protection issues the team has carried through the season.

…Read More!

Tale of the Tape: Chiefs vs. Raiders

There are 11 categories in our weekly Tale of the Tape comparison, and generally the Chiefs have posted a majority in their favor each game, somewhere around six or seven areas of the competition.

But Thursday night’s Tale of the Tape falls decidedly in favor of the Chiefs. That would have been expected given the seven-game difference in the loss column between the teams. It’s a decided difference, as in our estimation the Chiefs have an edge in 10 of 11 areas, missing only at wide receiver.

That’s on paper; it will be fun to see it play out on that suspect field in Oakland: …Read More!

Chiefs Low On Receivers – Injury Report November 19

The Chiefs will step on the field again Thursday without a full complement of wide receivers; the club declared Donnie Avery and A.J. Jenkins out of the prime-time game against Oakland.

Avery and Jenkins missed last Sunday’s game against Settle. Avery practiced this week, but apparently has not improved enough in the eyes of the team’s medical staff to be able to play a full game. He’s coming back from a sports hernia injury/surgery. Jenkins did not practice after suffering a shoulder injury in practice last week.

Also declared out of Thursday night’s game is cornerback Chris Owens as he continues to work at getting back from a knee injury he suffered on October 5th.

Chiefs

OUT – Wide receiver Donnie Avery (sports hernia), wide receiver A.J. Jenkins (shoulder), cornerback Chris Owens (knee).

QUESTIONABLE – Tight end Anthony Fasano (knee), cornerback Jamell Fleming (hamstring).

PROBABLE – Right guard Zach Fulton (ankle), cornerback Phillip Gaines (ankle/quadriceps), outside linebacker Tamba Hali (knee), tight end Travis Kelce (ribs/shoulder), left guard Mike McGlynn (knee), right cornerback Sean Smith (groin).

Raiders

OUT – Tight end David Ausberry (foot), cornerback T.J. Carrie (ankle), safety Jonathan Dowling (back), left cornerback Carlos Rogers (knee).

QUESTIONABLEG Gabe Jackson (knee).

PROBABLE — Linebacker Miles Burris (hip), quarterback Derek Carr (quadriceps),

Expected starters in bold.

Why Everybody Is Trapped Into Talking Trap Game

It’s one of the favorite terms of the short week for the Chiefs:

Trap game.

As in – will the 7-3 Chiefs fall into the trap of taking the 0-10 Raiders lightly in Thursday night’s game in Oakland?

It’s a silly premise, especially in today’s National Football League. Every time a big underdog pulls a surprise victory does not mean it was a trap game. Every time a heavy-favorite stumbles and ends up on the wrong side of the score does not define the term trap game.

From this man’s well-worn football seat, a trap game requires as part of the equation a team that’s actually accomplished something. That would eliminate the Chiefs from the equation right off the bat.

Yes, the Chiefs went 11-5 last year and made the playoffs. And, they’ve comeback this season after an ugly 0-2 start and are now 7-3 with a share of first place in the AFC West. That’s impressive and makes for plenty of hope in the Chiefs nation.

But they haven’t accomplished anything that should make them think they are superior to their other brethren in the league. They’ve accomplished nothing of significance. They have no recent championships, whether the titles are from a division, conference or league.

For the 2014 Chiefs to overlook an opponent would be an act of stupidity that does not fit the profile of this team. They win football games with smart play and limited self-inflicted blunders. It’s not going to happen, not even with a game against Denver looming just ahead on the schedule. …Read More!

Shields Advances In 2015 Hall of Fame Process

Will Shields advanced yet another step Tuesday in the process for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as he joined the semi-finalist group of 26 names that will be considered for induction early next year.

Hall of Fame voters will cut that number down to 15 before the final voting takes place on Saturday, January 31, the day before the Super Bowl in Arizona.

It would be an upset if Shields did not make the final 15. He’s been there in the previous three years. In voting for the class of 2012 and 2013 he was eliminated in a cut from 15 to 10. In voting this past February for the class of 2014, he was eliminated in the vote from 10 to 5.

The only other semi-finalist with ties to the Chiefs is kicker Morten Andersen. Here’s the complete list of men still under consideration for Canton’s Class of 2015: …Read More!

Chiefs/Raiders Practice-Injury Report – November 18

Although wide receiver Donnie Avery participated in practice on Tuesday afternoon, head coach Andy Reid indicated it was unlikely Avery would be ready to play on Thursday night against Oakland.

Wide receiver A.J. Jenkins and cornerback Chris Owens did not practice. Earlier in the day, Reid said Owens would practice, but the participation report indicated otherwise.

Out in Oakland, quarterback Derek Carr was a limited practice participant for the second consecutive practice because of a strained quadriceps.

Here are the details for each team:

Chiefs

DID NOT PARTICIPATE – Wide receiver A.J. Jenkins (shoulder), cornerback Chris Owens (knee).

LIMITED PARTICIPATION – Wide receiver Donnie Avery (sports hernia), tight end Anthony Fasano (knee), outside linebacker Tamba Hali (knee).

FULL PARTICIPATION – Cornerback Jamell Fleming (hamstring), right guard Zach Fulton (ankle), cornerback Phillip Gaines (ankle/quadriceps), tight end Travis Kelce (ribs/shoulder), left guard Mike McGlynn (knee), right cornerback Sean Smith (groin).

Raiders

DID NOT PARTICIPATE – Tight end David Ausberry (foot), cornerback T.J. Carrie (ankle), safety Jonathan Dowling (back), left cornerback Carlos Rogers (knee).

LIMITED PARTICIPATION – Linebacker Miles Burris (hip), quarterback Derek Carr (quadriceps), left guard Gabe Jackson (knee).

Expected starters in bold.

Sometimes Versatility Makes For A Tough Road In NFL

This is a story about Chiefs defensive end Allen Bailey.

But first, it’s a story former long-time Chiefs guard Dave Szott.

In the 1990 NFL Draft, the Chiefs selected Szott out of Penn State University in the seventh round, pick #180. He would spend the next 11 seasons with the Chiefs, appearing in 143 games, starting 135 games at left guard, next to fellow ’90 draft-class member Tim Grunhard.

Szott seriously outplayed his draft position; seventh round choices don’t spend 11 seasons in the league, with more than 100 starts. Did the Chiefs and the rest of the NFL poorly evaluate Szott coming out of Penn State? No, they really never got the chance to accurately assess him. Szott never had a home with the Nittany Lions – he played on the offensive line and defensive line for head coach Joe Paterno. He was such a good athlete – impressive upper-body strength and remarkably quick feet – that when the Penn State staff needed to plug a hole, they would usually shift Szott to the other side of the football.

It wasn’t until he landed with the Chiefs that he became strictly an offensive lineman, strictly a guard and a pretty darn good one.

Back to Allen Bailey, a third-round choice by the Chiefs in the 2011 NFL Draft. It has taken almost eight years for Bailey to find a home on the football field. In four seasons playing college ball for the University of Miami Hurricanes he was constantly moved on the roster, from defensive end, to defensive tackle, even some spring ball at tight end. Then, there were three more years of being a jack of all trades on the Chiefs defensive line, where he played defensive end on both the left and right side, and defensive tackle in sub-defenses at both the right and left side.

This was a player without a home, but with playing time. The old saying “Jack of all trades, master of none” might as well have been written about him. …Read More!

Alex’s Not Running; Snap Judgments From Seattle

One of the aspects of Alex Smith’s game last season that was so important to the Chiefs offense was his running ability.

It wasn’t just his talent to step away from pass-rush pressure and stay out of the grasp of defenders. It was how Smith could take off and gain important yardage for the Chiefs offense, turning potential disaster into big plays. He set a franchise record for rushing yardage by a quarterback and he finished sixth among starting NFL quarterbacks with 431 rushing yards.

Every season is different for every NFL team and while the Chiefs have returned to contender status after opening in a 0-2 hole, they have not done it the same manner that produced last year’s 11-5 season. That’s especially true of Smith. Despite sometimes shaky pass protection, Smith is not taking off on the run like he did last year. Whether he’s been asked to pull back, or it’s just how circumstances have fallen together over 10 games, he’s run 25 fewer times for 131 fewer yards through 10 games than he did last season.

Overall, he’s run 33 times for 186 yards. That still has him No. 6 among running quarterbacks in the NFL this year, behind Russell Wilson (571 yards), Colin Kaepernick (322), Cam Newton (293), Ryan Tannehill (261) and Blake Bortles (204).

In the Chiefs last three games, Smith has run just six times for 24 yards. Against Seattle, he had two runs for minus-1 yard. Three games ago against the New York Jets, he did not have a single run. …Read More!

Chiefs-Raiders Practice/Injury Report – November 17

The Thursday night game moves up all the rules and regulations on teams reporting on injuries, so that Monday essentially becomes a Wednesday for a regular Sunday game.

That’s why both the Chiefs and Raiders released practice/injury info on Monday afternoon. Here’s what they reported to the league office:

Chiefs

DID NOT PARTICIPATE – Wide receiver Donnie Avery (sports hernia), wide receiver A.J. Jenkins (shoulder), cornerback Chris Owens (knee).

LIMITED PARTICIPATION – Tight end Anthony Fasano (knee), outside linebacker Tamba Hali (knee), left guard Mike McGlynn (knee).

FULL PARTICIPATION – Cornerback Jamell Fleming (hamstring), right guard Zach Fulton (ankle), cornerback Phillip Gaines (ankle/quadriceps), tight end Travis Kelce (ribs/shoulder), right cornerback Sean Smith (groin).

Raiders

DID NOT PARTICIPATE – Tight end David Ausberry (foot), cornerback T.J. Carrie (ankle), safety Jonathan Dowling (back), left cornerback Carlos Rogers (knee).

LIMITED PARTICIPATION – Quarterback Derek Carr (quadriceps), left guard Gabe Jackson (knee).

Expected starters in bold.

Chiefs Extend Win Streak With Victory Over Seattle


From Arrowhead Stadium

Keyed by a strong defensive effort in the second half, the Chiefs have now won five straight as they beat the visiting Seattle Seahawks on a cold Sunday afternoon at Arrowhead Stadium.

Although they were pounded by the sturdy legs of running back Marshawn Lynch, the Chiefs defense bent but did not break, stopping the Seahawks on three different fourth down plays in the fourth quarter.

Their victory along with the 22-7 upset of Denver by St. Louis has the Chiefs 7-3 and tied with the Broncos for first place in the AFC West with six games to play.

Here’s our coverage from Sunday and remember it grows hourly into the wee hours of Monday morning. Enjoy:

Here’s our coverage of the Chiefs and Seahawks:

Chiefs Face Another Big Test With Visit From Seahawks

They once shared space in the AFC West, spending 25 seasons bumping up against each other twice a year.

NFL realignment broke up that relationship back in 2002 and over the last 13 NFL seasons, the Chiefs and Seattle Seahawks have seen each other infrequently, just three times and only once at Arrowhead Stadium. When they meet on Sunday they will get reacquainted in a big way. Kickoff is just after 12 noon with television coverage on the FOX network.

Both clubs are 6-3 and in the middle of the fight for one of the spots in the conference playoffs brackets. With tough schedules ahead for both teams in the next six weeks, they need the help of a victory against a team from the other conference, even if it doesn’t help so much in the tie-breakers

“One of the things you learn in this league is that all that tie-breaker stuff is absolutely useless on Sunday when you are working to win a game,” said defensive end Kevin Vickerson. “We can’t look beyond anything but kickoff. If you win, that stuff takes care of itself.”

The Chiefs have now won four consecutive games to inject themselves into the AFC’s post-season picture. The Seahawks are the defending Super Bowl champions but they’ve already lost as many games as they did in 19 games last year. They’ve now won three in a row and need to keep pace with division leading Arizona, just like the Chiefs must stay on the heels of AFC West leader Denver. …Read More!

4 KEYS TO VICTORY FOR CHIEFS VS. SEAHAWKS

             

Four

Extra emphasis on ball security against Seahawks

Years ago, Marty Schottenheimer invoked special instructions during the preparation week for two meetings each year against the Seahawks. He called it the “Seattle Rule” created because of the Hawks ability to take the ball away. In practice, offensive players were required to hand the ball to officials working the workouts. That was then, but even now Seattle has a dynamic defense that likes to take the ball away from opponents. They have 12 takeaways and a dozen sacks this season and those are not league leading numbers of any kind. They are tied for 20th in turnovers caused and are No. 28 in sacks per pass plays faced. But with the likes of cornerback Richard Sherman and safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas they are capable of much more. The Chiefs are among the league leaders with just 8 giveaways; this is not a game where they should break that profile. …Read More!

So You Want To Build a Super Bowl Team?

Seahawks owner Paul Allen, head coach Pete Carroll and G.M. John Schneider with the Lombardi Trophy

History sits there waiting for us to use it as a resource; there are lessons to be learned from the success and failure of those who came before.

Consider the task of building a Super Bowl championship team. There have been 48 trophies awarded since the first game was played after the 1966 AFL and NFL seasons. Of the league’s 32 teams, 19 have won at least one Super title, with a dozen franchises picking up multiple Lombardi Trophies.

Change is constant in the NFL, so the lessons of building a championship team from the 1970s do not always translate to the football business of today. One thing that factors into every championship equation is having enough players that are schooled, motivated and physically gifted. The changes come in how those players are acquired from one era to another.

Led by general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll, the Seattle Seahawks finished the 2013 season with a 16-3 overall record and a convincing 43-8 victory over Denver in Super Bowl XLVIII. They bring the 2014 version of the Seahawks to Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, just a year removed from their championship squad.

“This is year five right now,” Carroll said of his tenure in charge of the Seahawks. “I think how you develop a championship mentality that gives you an opportunity to play on late in the season and see how far you can take it every year . . . we’re focused on what’s up and what’s right here right now. That’s the way we’ve done it.”

…Read More!

Chiefs Roster Structure Compared To Seahawks

The Chiefs and Seahawks operate with a shared outlook at their big-picture plans for obtaining players. It’s a product of each team’s general manager getting his first real instructions on building a team under legendary NFL G.M. Ron Wolf. Over 40 years in pro football, Wolf worked in various personnel department roles for the Raiders, Eagles, Jets, Buccaneers and Packers. It was in Green Bay where he retired in 2001.

Essentially, Wolf’s approach that he passed down to Chiefs G.M. John Dorsey and Seahawks G.M. John Schneider was to leave no stone unturned. Draft choices were valuable, but only if they were used wisely. Free agency was not something to be afraid of, but was also not something to embrace. The personnel department needed to work closely with the coaching staff, but not cede authority on making decisions. Scouts find talent, coaches develop the talent found.

Here’s a tale of the tape of sorts on how the current rosters for both teams were built: …Read More!

Tale of The Tape – Chiefs vs. Seahawks

The Chiefs and Seahawks bring identical 6-3 record into Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday for the first game between these teams in four seasons. Both teams made the playoffs last year, with Seattle going home with the Lombardi Trophy while the Chiefs finished up in the first round of the tournament blowing a 28-point lead in 28 minutes.

It’s now a different time and place in the NFL and what happened last year does not necessarily translate into what happens in 2014. Here’s how we see these teams matching up, position-by-position going into Sunday’s game. It comes down to this – there’s little difference between these teams on paper. We’ll see how they play off the paper and on the field come Sunday.

Here’s a look at the tale of the tape: …Read More!

Bill Leavy’s On the Way; Nobody Is Happy About That

It will be Bill Leavy and his crew that will handle the officiating duties for Sunday’s game between the Chiefs and Seahawks at Arrowhead Stadium.

Safe to say that neither team has many good memories of Leavy and his group. Certainly the Seahawks do not. Although it’s now nearly a decade ago, it was Levy that was the lead official in Super Bowl XL between Seattle and Pittsburgh that saw a number of calls go against the Seahawks. Two of those mistakes were acknowledged by Leavy himself, one was publicly pointed out by the league office.

Now the Chiefs concerns with Levy and crew are not nearly as important, but they are very recent. They go back to the final game of the 2013 season with the Chiefs and Chargers playing in San Diego. Remember, this was the game where the Chargers needed a victory to make the playoffs. If they lost, Pittsburgh would have been the final team in the post-season AFC tournament.

It was Leavy and his crew that missed an illegal formation penalty on San Diego when the Chargers had seven men on one side of the snapper during Ryan Succop’s missed 41-yard field goal attempt with eight seconds to play. Under a rule enacted last season, the defense could have no more than six men on either side of the snapper. Succop should have had another chance at a FG, this time from 36 yards. …Read More!

Next Opponent – The Seattle Seahawks

Game – No. 10.

OpponentThe Seattle Seahawks.

2014 record – The Bills are 6-3 on the season and they’ve won three in a row, after losing back-to-back games in October. They started the season 1-1, and then were 3-3 before their current win streak. They’ve beaten Green Bay by 20 points (in the opener), Denver by 6, Washington by 10, Carolina by 4, Oakland by 6 and last week, the New York Giants by 21 points. The lost on the road in San Diego by 9 points, fell to Dallas by 7 points in Settle and dropped one in St. Louis by 2 points to the Rams. They are 2-2 on the road this year and they are 2-1 against the AFC West.

Seattle is plus-49 in point differential (240 scored, 191 given up), plus-3 in turnover ratio (9 giveaways, 12 takeaways) and minus-5 in sack ratio (18 allowed, 15 on defense.) Overall in offensive yards they rank #10 in the league, #1 in the running game and #31 in passing yardage. In yards allowed on defense they are #3 overall, #4 against the run and #18 versus the pass.

Buffalo is the league leader in rushing yards per game (170.9) and average yards per carry (5.5). They are #6 in converting on fourth down (3 of 5) and #7 in points per game (26.7.) They are among the NFL’s bottom ranked teams in punt coverage at #32 (14.7 yards per), #29 in punting (36.4-yard net average) and #28 in sacks per pass plays (13 in 328 pass plays.) …Read More!

Seahawks Can Run, And Run, And Run

Last Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks had the most productive NFL rushing performance in the last two years when they rang up 350 yards on the ground against the New York Giants.

That’s the running game that will visit Kansas City on Sunday when the Chiefs and Seahawks face off at Arrowhead Stadium.

After nine games, Seattle leads the NFL in rushing offense, averaging 170 yards per game. The Chiefs are the No. 20 run defender, allowing an average of 115.6 yards each week.

Seattle ripped through the Giants defense that is now ranked No. 32 in the league after the game.

“The Beast” Marshawn Lynch was the hammer that beat on New York, scoring four touchdowns and pushing the ball in the second half on 16, 17 and 22-yard runs.

In the last 30 NFL seasons, the Seahawks performance was the seventh best running day for a team. The Chiefs were involved in two of the other six big running days. In December 2012, the Chiefs ran for 352 yards against Indianapolis in a game they lost 20-13 in that disastrous 2-14 season. Jamaal Charles ran for 226 yards that day, while the forgettable Peyton Hillis ran for 101 yards.

Defensively, the Chiefs were dented in December 2009 by Cleveland for 351 yards in a 41-34 loss. Jerome Harrison set a Browns franchise record that day with 286 rushing yards. …Read More!

Chiefs Staying Away From Zebras/Yellow Hankies

They sport one of the best records in the AFC after nine games, but the Chiefs have not been a dynamic contender. They do not have an offensive play that gained more than 48 yards. They do not have a lot of big plays on defense either, with one touchdown but only eight takeaways or not even an average of one per game.

No, the Chiefs are not a highlight-making club. They have built their season on efficient if not spectacular play on both offense and defense. They have made minimal mistakes. Andy Reid’s Chiefs are not beating themselves.

There is no greater evidence of their efficiency than penalties. The Chiefs have the fewest penalties against them than any team in the league in the 2014 season. There have been 49 penalties called, and 42 infractions walked off. That’s an average of 4.6 flags and 37.4 yards per game.

This year’s average for NFL teams is 62.4 penalties for 525.6 yards. To provide a bigger picture, the most penalized team in the league is Pittsburgh with 83 penalties walked off and New England has given up 699 yards in penalties.

A team’s penalty level does not translate to a successful season. Last year, the Seattle Seahawks led the NFL in penalties with 128 and won the Super Bowl. However, for a team like the Chiefs that has a slim margin of error, it’s vital that they do not give their opponent yardage or take away some of their own gains with penalties.

The team’s tendency away from forcing the yellow hanky to the ground is testimony to the Chiefs coaching staff’s stubbornness of working the fundamentals in practice. Whether offense, defense or special teams, there are portions of practice each day where the Chiefs go over the basics they handled on the first day of training camp. …Read More!

Sherman Gets Special Teams Player of Week Honor

From the Truman Sports Complex

Fullback Anthony Sherman was named the AFC special teams player of the week on Wednesday for his performance in the kicking game in last Sunday’s victory over Buffalo.

Sherman was part of the special teams play of the game against the Bills when he and wide receiver Albert Wilson forced a fumble by punt returner Leodis McKelvin. It was Sherman that recovered the ball and two plays later, the Chiefs scored what proved to be the winning points on a touchdown run by quarterback Alex Smith.

On the season, Sherman has eight tackles in the kicking game, leading the Chiefs.

Who Gets To Play? / Snap Judgments – Buffalo

How can a player perform if he can’t get on the field?

Plays or “snaps” in live action can be one of the most revealing statistics available in football for establishing just where a player stands on his team’s personnel evaluation list.

When asked publicly, coaches will frequently say that a specific player remains in good standing or is healthy enough to play, then a look at the post-game snap counts indicates something else. Yes, there are a finite number of plays in each game with 45-plus players all trying to capture a moment in competition.

From game-to-game, differences in snaps can be misleading, due to injuries or strategic reasons involving that week’s opponent. But as the weeks and games string together, the trends begin to reveal that something is up.

It always revealing when the discussion is about rookies and other inexperienced players. Take outside linebacker Dee Ford. Maybe it’s just coincidence, maybe it’s something more, but from the San Francisco game, where he had that embarrassing moment when he ran away from a tackle of 49ers running back Frank Gore, Ford has just 18 snaps on defense. That’s 18 defensive plays in four games, with 16 coming in the fourth quarter of the blowout victory over St. Louis. …Read More!

Chiefs Have Busy Day With Roster Shuffle

Cyrus Gray and Demetrius Harris are down and out. Phillip Supernaw is in, Charcandrick West is up and Adam Schiltz has returned.

Those were the actors that were part of a busy personnel Tuesday for the Chiefs. Here are the details:

  • Gray – The running back/special teams stalwart goes to the injured-reserve list due to a knee injury (torn ACL) that he suffered last Sunday in Buffalo.
  • Harris – The first-year tight end broke his right foot during pre-game warmups in Buffalo and did not play in the game. He’s also headed to the injured-reserve list.
  • Supernaw – He was signed off the Baltimore practice squad, where he spent most of the season with the exception of four games on the active roster (see more below).
  • West – A 5-10, 205-pound undrafted rookie out of Abilene Christian University, West has spent the first 10 weeks of the season on the Chiefs practice squad. In the 2014 pre-season, he carried the ball six times for 31 yards.
  • Schiltz – He was claimed at the start of training camp off the waiver wire after his release by Tennessee. Schiltz was released on August 24th, signed to the Chiefs practice squad on September 9th, released on September 16 and now signed again.

In Honor Of Those That Serve & Protect

There are a lot of made up holidays on the calendar each year. The most important comes on November 11 – Veterans Day.

Honoring those that have allowed us to enjoy the greatest country on earth demands more than a single 24 hours – there should be daily acknowledgement of those that protect the opportunities and freedoms we enjoy in the land of the free and the home of the Chiefs brave.

On a sunny and cold November 11, this moment popped up in my e-mail, sent by a friend who challenged and wagered with me to not shed a tear. I lost.

Happy Veteran’s Day.

http://www.packers.com/media-center/videos/Marine_surprises_wife_with_return_at_Lambeau_Field/98111f49-472f-4904-a1dd-0b19e29e9ea0

Chiefs Sign Ravens Practice Squad Tight End

With tight end Demetrius Harris down with a broken foot and a roster spot coming open with the knee injury suffered by running back Cyrus Gray, the Chiefs signed tight end Phillip Supernaw off the Baltimore Ravens practice squad.

The 6-5, 252-pound Supernaw has spent time over the last three NFL seasons with Houston and Baltimore. This season with the Ravens, he’s been a game-day active player three times, appearing in 2 offensive plays and 34 special teams snaps. Against Pittsburgh on November 2, he caught one pass for minus-2 yards.

Supernaw came into the NFL as an undrafted free agent signed by the Texans in the spring of 2012. The Nashville, native spent all of the 2012-13 seasons on the Houston practice squad, although he was activated for the Texans ’13 season finale, where he saw action on three offensive plays and 11 special teams snaps. He was released in May and signed with Baltimore, where he’s bounced back and forth between the practice squad and active roster.

At Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas, Supernaw was a four-year starter, appearing in 40 games and catching 64 catches, 710 yards and 10 touchdown catches.

Gray is expected to be moved to the injured-reserve list on Tuesday after suffering a torn ACL in his knee during Sunday’s victory over Buffalo.

Gray Headed For Injured-Reserve

From the Truman Sports Complex

There were no moves on the active roster Monday with the Chiefs, but at least one will come down sometime in the next 24 hours.

Running back and special teams contributor Cyrus Gray tore the ACL in his left knee in the third quarter of Sunday’s game in Buffalo. Gray is more than likely headed for surgery and that will end his chances of returning to play this season.

The injury report Monday was not any different than it was after Sunday’s 17-13 victory in Buffalo. Gray and tight end Demetrius Harris were the most seriously injured players; Gray with the knee and Harris suffered a broken right foot.

Head coach Andy Reid also mentioned running back Jamaal Charles (shoulder) and tight end Anthony Fasano (knee).

Reid also said that an ankle injury suffered last week limited cornerback Philip Gaines to just a handful of special teams snaps against the Bills.

The Chiefs did make a move on the practice squad, re-signing guard Jarrod Pughsley. To make room for him they released offensive tackle Curtis Feigt.

Chiefs Fourth Quarter Touchdowns Beat Buffalo, 17-13

In a combination of tough defensive play, strong special teams and an opportunistic offense to push their winning streak to four games with a 17-13 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday afternoon at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

A pair of fourth quarter touchdowns gave the Chiefs a come-from behind victory and leave them at 6-3 on the season and rising in the AFC picture for the playoffs. One was set up by a special teams play, where they forced a fumble, recovered and knocked in what proved to be the winning points with an eight-yard read-option touchdown run by quarterback Alex Smith.

There’s so much to talk about in the aftermath of this victory as the Chiefs have now won six of their last seven games. They are headed back to Arrowhead Stadium next Sunday to host the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. Here’s our coverage of the Chiefs and Bills encounter in Buffalo:

AFC Post-Season Picture – November 9

Right now the Chiefs are tied for the third best record in the AFC at this point in the season.

Only New England (one a bye this week) and Denver, winners over Oakland, sport better marks than the Chiefs 6-3 season.

They are joined at that mark by Indianapolis and Cleveland, with Baltimore and Pittsburgh also sporting six victories.

Andy Reid’s team has important AFC victories already in the vault against New England, Buffalo, Miami and San Diego.

Here is the AFC breakdown:

Record

Team AFC Div

Next

Then

Then

Then

7-2

New England 5-2 2-1

@IND

DET

@GB

@SD

7-2

Denver 5-1 3-0

@STL

MIA

@KC

BUF

6-3

Chiefs 5-2 1-1

SEA

@OAK

DEN

@AZ

6-3

Indianapolis 5-2 3-0

NE

JAX

WAS

@CLV

6-3

Cleveland 4-3 2-2

HOU

@ATL

@BUF

IND

6-4

Baltimore 3-4 2-3

BYE

@ NO

SD

@MIA

6-4

Pittsburgh 5-3 2-2

@TEN

BYE

NO

@CIN

5-3-1

Cincinnati 4-3 2-1

@NO

@HOU

@TB

PIT

5-4

Buffalo 2-4 2-1

@MIA

NYJ

CLV

@DEN

5-4

Miami 4-2 1-1

BUF

@DEN

@NYJ

BAL

5-4

San Diego 4-3 1-2

OAK

STL

@BAL

NE

Chiefs Fourth Quarter Touchdowns Beat Buffalo, 17-13

In a combination of tough defensive play, strong special teams and an opportunistic offense to push their winning streak to four games with a 17-13 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday afternoon at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

A pair of fourth quarter touchdowns gave the Chiefs a come-from behind victory and leave them at 6-3 on the season and rising in the AFC picture for the playoffs. One was set up by a special teams play, where they forced a fumble, recovered and knocked in what proved to be the winning points with an eight-yard read-option touchdown run by quarterback Alex Smith.

There’s so much to talk about in the aftermath of this victory as the Chiefs have now won six of their last seven games. They are headed back to Arrowhead Stadium next Sunday to host the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. Here’s our coverage of the Chiefs and Bills encounter in Buffalo:

A Pair of 5-3 Teams Fight For Momentum In Buffalo

The Chiefs and Bills have played many important games over the last 50 seasons, but it’s safe to say it’s been many years since one of their meetings has carried significance for both teams.

That won’t be the case Sunday afternoon when they play at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. Both teams are 5-3, both teams are playing good football and both teams need to establish credentials for the race to the AFC playoffs.

Kick off comes just after 12 noon, with television coverage by CBS.

It’s far too early for extensive discussion the 2014 post-season. However, in this game it’s a factor that cannot be ignored. Both of these teams are not only in the chase for the playoffs at mid-season, and both are not division leaders. Ahead of the Chiefs in the AFC West is Denver, with New England pacing the Bills in the AFC East. These teams will fight for wildcard spots in the tournament, and there are quite a few other clubs in the mix for those two spots.

This is the 46 game between these original brothers of the American Football League. The Chiefs and Bills played at the end of the 1966 season for the chance to appear in the first Super Bowl. K.C. won that game in Buffalo’s War Memorial Stadium. There were plenty of other impactful encounters between the teams. It was especially true in the 1990s when they played two games in the playoffs and several regular-season contests that drew attention across the league. …Read More!

Against Buffalo, Offensive Line Faces Biggest Test Yet

They are not of the stature where they’ve earned their own nickname; no Fearsome Foursome nor Steel Curtain here. A team needs victories galore to get that type of notoriety, and it certainly more success is needed than the Buffalo Bills have enjoyed in the last five years.

But the defensive line on the field against the Chiefs on Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium is one of the most talented in the league. Some teams have two stout defensive linemen. Few have three, like Mario Williams, Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus. Even Buffalo’s fourth, defensive end Jerry Hughes can play at a high level.

There is no question that the front four has been the engine that’s allowed to Bills to rank among the league’s best defenses so far this season. Buffalo is ranked No. 8 in the league in fewest yards allowed and fewest rushing yards given up. They are No. 13 in passing yards allowed. In the most important statistic, they are No. 6 in fewest points allowed.

It’s the strongest part of the Bills roster, and it will go against one of the weakest parts of the Chiefs roster. The man that stands behind those blockers thinks is teammates are up to the task.

“The thing that really jumps out is the pride they have as a group, the pride they have going out there and playing and setting the tone for us,” said Alex Smith. “They really take that on; they take it on every single week. They’re detailed, they’re tough and it’s a good, good group. And like I said, I think they do set the tone for us.”

That tone will have to be rough and tough against the Bills front four: …Read More!

Officials Preview: Rookie Referee Brad Allen

The Chiefs will have another rookie referee handling their game Sunday in Buffalo.

First-year official Brad Allen’s crew will handle things on the floor of Ralph Wilson Stadium. It’s the group’s ninth assignment of the year to date.

A native of Lumberton, North Carolina, Allen was a late addition to the list of NFL officials for the 2014 season and came into the fold in the spring as an umpire. But when Mike Carey made a late retirement to work for CBS-TV, Allen was promoted to a referee’s position.

Allen is the first rookie NFL official that debuted as referee in 62 years. The 44-year old grew up in southeastern North Carolina and attended Pembroke State University. Allen worked his way up through the college ranks, eventually landing in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

…Read More!

Chiefs Activate Linebacker Joe Mays

Just before they headed off for Buffalo and Sunday’s game against the Bills, the Chiefs made a roster move. They activated linebacker Joe Mays from the injured-reserve list and he’ll be available to play his first regular-season game in a Chiefs uniform.

Mays was placed on injured reserve/designated for return in the first week of the regular season. That was due to a wrist injury he suffered in an August 17th pre-season game against Carolina. Mays tore a ligament in his right wrist that required surgery to repair. He returned to the practice field last week working with the scout team.

Just how he fits into the defensive scheme at this point of the season remains to be seen, but he should be able to contribute immediately on special teams.

To create a spot for Mays on the 53-man active roster, the Chiefs released linebacker Jerry Franklin, who had already been declared out of Sunday’s game because of a hamstring injury.

4 Keys To Victory For Chiefs Against Bills

      

Four

Make sure the defense continues to limit big plays

Offensively, the Bills have been inconsistent as personnel issues and injuries have led to changes at quarterback, running back and shuffling of receivers. Thus, they rank in the bottom half of the league in offensive yards, both rushing and passing, and points. But Buffalo is one of the league’s top offenses when it comes to big pass plays, with 30 completions for 20 yards or more. That total includes completions of 61, 80 and 84 yards. That comes from weapons like Sammy Watkins and C.J. Spiller (currently on the injured-reserve list.) The Chiefs defense has allowed only 20 passing plays of 20 yards or more and none of those went for more than 48 yards. It’s the biggest reason the Chiefs pass defense is ranked No. 1 in the league, allowing less than 200 yards per game. With a strong pass rush, better production from the safety position and more zone coverage schemes, the Chiefs have kept opposing receivers in front of them in the secondary. It’s the biggest area of improvement for the 2014 defense.

…Read More!

Time Off For Poe Should Pay Off For Chiefs Defense

From the Truman Sports Complex

Most 24-year old players in the National Football League are trying to get on the field of competition as often as possible

Dontari Poe is pretty typical of that group. The 24-year old Chiefs nose tackle does not believe he should ever watch a single defensive snap from the sidelines. Last season there were a handful of situations where he refused to be a spectator, begged off the rest offered by the coaches and got back into the game.

That’s why Poe was the only interior lineman in the NFL that played over 1,000 defensive snaps during the 2013 season.

By the end of last season it was apparent Poe was not performing at the same pace he was in the first eight games. After the 2013 bye week, he was credited with 13 hits/hurries of the quarterback with no sacks. In the first nine games, leading into the Chiefs week off, he had 25 sacks/hits/hurries on the passer.

Poe insisted he was not worn out, but Andy Reid and Bob Sutton decided they were not going to put their big man into the same situation in 2014. The plan was to get Poe off the field more often, to give him a chance to be fresher in the fourth quarter of games and the season. …Read More!

Tale Of The Tape – Chiefs vs. Bills

The Chiefs and Bills bring matching 5-3 records into their game on Sunday in Buffalo. When the teams are broken down position-by-position, there’s not a lot of margin between the teams. Buffalo has better wide receivers and a stout defensive line. The Chiefs have better running backs, tight ends and linebackers. Breaking down the other categories for comparison and these clubs are close.

Here’s how we see the tale of the tape: …Read More!

Why London Game Is A Waste For The Chiefs

The Chiefs already know that on November 1, 2015 they will be “hosting” the Detroit Lions at Wembley Stadium in London, England.

This must be big news in the NFL because it was announced almost a year ahead of time, something the league seldom does. So obviously this game is important, right?

It is important, but not for the b.s. reasons that will be regurgitated by the Chiefs and the league for the next year, that started with the announcement of the London game on Thursday. There will be plenty of talk about advancing the game overseas and helping burnish the brand of the Chiefs in the United Kingdom, Europe and beyond.

There’s only one reason this game is important and it has nothing to do with global benefits. It’s important because it counts in the standings. This is not a pre-season game, an extra exhibition game. There are only 16 chances in a regular season schedule for NFL teams to establish their credentials and position for a championship. That makes each game an important part of the process, and none more so than the eight times they get to play at home, in front of their fans. …Read More!

Chiefs Headed For London in 2015

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs are giving up a home game next season so they can play in London’s Wembley Stadium and face the Detroit Lions on November 1, 2015.

“It is an honor for Kansas City to represent the NFL on an international stage,” Chiefs President Mark Donovan said. “We are excited for the opportunity this creates for our fans, our city and the global growth of the Chiefs brand.”

It’s one of three games the league announced on Thursday for play in England next season.

Along with the Chiefs hosting the Lions, the Miami Dolphins will host the New York Jets and Jacksonville will play Buffalo. …Read More!

Next Opponent – The Buffalo Bills

Late owner & founder Ralph Wilson (L) and new owner Terry Pegula (R)

Game – No. 9.

OpponentThe Buffalo Bills.

2014 record – The Bills are 5-3 on the season and they are coming off their bye week. They’ve won three of their last four games, after starting the season with 2-0 record with victories over Chicago in overtime by three points and 19 points over Miami. They also had victories by 3 points over Detroit, 1-point over Minnesota and 20 points in their last game over the New York Jets. They lost by 12 points to San Diego, 6 points to Houston and 15 points to New England.

They are plus-13 in point differential (178 scored, 165 given up), plus-7 in turnover ratio (11 giveaways, 18 takeaways) and plus-5 in sack ratio (23 allowed, 28 on defense.) Overall in offensive yards they rank #24 in the league, #23 in the running game and #20 in passing yardage. In yards allowed on defense they are #8 overall, #8 against the run and #13 versus the pass.

Buffalo is among the league leaders in sacks with 28 (#2), interceptions with 18 (#3t), fewest points allowed with 165 (#5) and third-down defense, holding opponents to a 36.2 conversion percentage (#5). They are among the NFL’s bottom ranked teams in pass protection at #28 (23 sacks in 301 passing plays) and No. 31 in first downs (135). …Read More!

Chiefs Practice/Injury Report – November 5

From the Truman Sports Complex

There were no surprises for the Chiefs as they got back to work on Wednesday and began preparations for a Sunday game in Buffalo against the Bills.

Three players did not take part in the Chiefs afternoon practice due to injury: cornerback Jamell Fleming, linebacker Jerry Franklin and outside linebacker Josh Martin. All three players are suffering from injured hamstrings.

Coming off its bye week, Buffalo had all of its players practicing on Wednesday.

Here are the practice reports for both teams from Wednesday:

Chiefs

DID NOT PRACTICE – Cornerback Jamell Fleming (hamstring), linebacker Jerry Franklin (hamstring), outside linebacker Josh Martin (hamstring/knee).

LIMITED PARTICIPATION – Wide receiver Donnie Avery (sports hernia), outside linebacker Tamba Hali (knee), cornerback Chris Owens (knee).

FULL PARTICIPATION – Safety Eric Berry (ankle), cornerback Phillip Gaines (ankle/quadriceps), running back Cyrus Gray (hand), wide receiver Junior Hemingway (hamstring), tight end Travis Kelce (ribs).

Bills

LIMITED PARTICIPATION – Cornerback Ron Brooks (groin), wide receiver Marcus Easley (knee), wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (hamstring), running back Fred Jackson (groin), wide receiver Sammy Watkins (groin).

FULL PARTICIPATION – Wide receiver Robert Woods (back).

Expected starters in bold type.

Chiefs Sign Fullback To Contract Extension

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs announced Wednesday that they’ve have agreed to terms on a contract extension with fullback Anthony Sherman.

Details were not announced by the club, but the contract adds three years to Sherman’s deal with a potential payout of $7 million if he reaches personal and team incentives. He was in the final season of a four-year deal he signed with Arizona in July 2011. The Chiefs acquired Sherman in an off-season trade before the 2013 season. The Cardinals received former Chiefs cornerback and returner Javier Arenas.

“It’s good to know that somebody wants you to be part of the team,” Sherman said before Wednesday’s practice. “I just try to contribute where I can.”

Sherman is an old-school version of the fullback position, where he’s asked to do handle the run game, passing game and blocking assignments. In the west coast offensive scheme that head coach Andy Reid runs, the fullback always plays a role in the passing game as a receiver. …Read More!

Free Agency’s Tale of the Tape At Mid-Season

Now that the Chiefs are halfway through their schedule, it’s a good time to take a look at some of the decisions made over the last nine months in free agency.

Just how have the players that were signed as free agents fit in with the Chiefs? How have those free agent players that the Chiefs did not sign performed with their new teams. Each player leaving does not always lead to a player arriving at the same position. But it’s a good starting point to the comings and goings of the roster.

Here are key players from 2013 that departed and what they’ve been able to accomplish in their new homes at the mid-season point. That’s followed by the free agents the Chiefs signed for the 2014 season and how they have stepped into the K.C. offense, defense and special teams.

The third grouping is our evaluation of the free agents comings and goings and how they’ve helped/hurt the team so far in 2013, with grades of plus, minus or even.

…Read More!

Chiefs at 5-3 & Snap Judgments From Jets Victory

So the Chiefs started 0-2 and have won five of six games since, to post a 5-3 record at their mid-season mark.

What comes next will be interesting? The Chiefs will likely need another 5-3 in the last eight regular season games to earn a spot in the AFC playoffs come January.

Right now, there are five teams sporting better records this week than the Chiefs: New England is 7-2, Denver is 6-2, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis are 6-3 and Cincinnati is 5-2-1.

There are six slots in the AFC bracket. Battling for the No. 6 position are the Chiefs, Buffalo and Miami, all at 5-3. They already have a tie-breaker edge over the Dolphins thanks to a victory in head-to-head competition back in September.

It’s early, but it makes Sunday’s trip to Buffalo very important to the Chiefs. Certainly, it’s too early to be pondering ramifications for the playoffs at this point. It’s just important for Andy Reid’s team to keep winning.

Over 55 years of play, the Chiefs have been 5-3 in 15 seasons. Only six of those seasons found them in the post-season tournament. In those six seasons, they played seven games in the playoffs and posted a 1-6 record: …Read More!

Chiefs Win Third Straight With Victory Over New York

From Arrowhead Stadium

The momentum the Chiefs built against San Diego and St. Louis kept rolling on Sunday with the Chiefs 24-10 victory over the New York Jets.

Offense, defense and special teams all had their hand in moving the Chiefs record to 5-3 on the season, a remarkable turnaround from their 0-2 opening to the season. That’s three straight winning performances and victories in five of the team’s last six games.

With Denver getting smacked on Sunday by New England, the Chiefs sit just one game behind the Broncos in the AFC West, and half the season remains to be played.

Here’s our coverage of the Chiefs and Jets:

There Will Be A Familiar Look for Chiefs Against Jets

It’s hard to imagine teams sporting 4-3 and 1-7 records having many similarities even in an NFL that’s dedicated to parity among its 32 clubs.

When the Chiefs and New York Jets hit the field Sunday afternoon at Arrowhead Stadium they will seem like twin brothers, in a football sense. Although four games separate the teams in the loss column, they are nearly identical in how they approach the game through their coaching staffs. Evidence will be available starting at 12 noon with television coverage by CBS.

The Chiefs and Jets run the same offensive scheme; they are branches from the west-coast offensive tree of the late Bill Walsh. They also operate out of the same defensive scheme; the aggressive package that came out of the Baltimore Ravens in the early 2000s.

“It is a unique situation where two teams play both the same offense and the same defense and it should be a heck of a football game,” Andy Reid said on Friday.

Offensively, Reid remains the Chiefs play-caller on game day. The Jets play caller is Marty Mornhinweg, who spent 10 seasons working on Reid’s coaching staff with the Philadelphia Eagles (2003-12). Before that, they spent time working together in Green Bay with the Packers and on the college level at the University of Missouri and at the University of Texas-El Paso. Reid and Mornhinweg are both from the Mike Holmgren arm of the west-coast offense. …Read More!

4 Keys To Victory For Chiefs vs. Jets

    

Four

Inject wide receivers back into a functioning role with the Chiefs offense

At this point the dearth of production from wide receivers has not disabled the Chiefs offense and does not preclude beating an opponent like the New York Jets. It’s unlikely New York head coach Rex Ryan and his defensive staff burned the midnight oil in the last week worrying about handling Dwayne Bowe and the rest of the K.C. wide receivers. They are coming into the game worried about the Chiefs running attack and the short passing game out of the west coast offensive playbook. It presents an opportunity to get the wide receivers back into the flow of the offense, whether short or long. The Jets pass rush is unlikely to allow Alex Smith to spend much time in the pocket looking down field, but that doesn’t mean the intermediate areas can’t be exploited and provide as the Chiefs hope, yards after the catch.

…Read More!

Officiating Preview: Referee Tony Corrente & Crew

It’s a chance for a home game on Sunday for head linesman George Hayward as part of the crew working with referee Tony Corrente.

A native of St. Joseph and a graduate of Missouri Western State University, Hayward joined the NFL in 1991 and is working his 24th season wearing the striped shirt in the NFL.

At mid-season, Hayward and the rest of Corrente’s crew are the fifth most-active group in the league when it comes to throwing the flag – averaging 18.3 penalties called per game. The visiting team has won four of the seven games this group has handled, including Washington’s victory last weekend over the Cowboys in Dallas.

In the last five games that Corrente has worked involving the Chiefs, they have a 3-2 record, losing the most recent game at Arrowhead Stadium last December when Indianapolis came to town. …Read More!

Chiefs Wide Receivers Are Missing In Action

The Chiefs are 4-3 and one of the hottest teams in the NFL over the last month.

They’ve come back from a 0-2 start by going 4-1 in the last few weeks, and it has taken improved performances from offense, defense and special teams to make that happen. Every position group has made significant contributions.

Well . . . every position save one: wide receiver.

Seven games into the season and not a single Chiefs wide receiver has broken the plain of the end zone. That’s 57 catches among six wide receivers with no touchdown receptions. There are 103 wide receivers that have caught a touchdown pass this season in the NFL. That leaves all the Chiefs wideouts tied at No. 104 in the scoring column, without a six-pointer.

The Chiefs have gotten on the winning road in recent weeks, but there’s no escaping the fact they are doing it with little coming from an important offensive position. When one specific area of a team is not producing on the field, it forces increased contributions from other parts of the offense/defense to maintain a team’s momentum. That’s been done by many teams over the years, including the Chiefs in 2014. However, it squeezes the margin of error for any club, making consistent performances harder to expect and predict.

“It’s strange that things have happened that way for us,” said offensive coordinator Doug Pederson. “I think a part of it is our ability to run the football, particularly in the second half (of games) which we did this past weekend. We had success there. The other thing is, if you do throw it short you expect your guys to break tackles and make longer runs. We just have to continue to use the formula that’s been working for us and continue to grow off of that.” …Read More!

Chiefs Promote Sorensen To Active Roster

The Chiefs made what for them is an unusual Saturday roster move, as they promoted rookie safety Daniel Sorensen from the team’s practice squad.

The move indicates Sorensen will be active for Sunday’s game against the New York Jets. Unless some sort of injury has popped up in the last 24 hours, or safety Eric Berry has suffered another setback trying to return from his high ankle sprain, Sorensen’s promotion is likely tied to the absence of cornerbacks Jamell Fleming and Chris Owens from special teams. Both players have been ruled out of Sunday’s game, as has outside linebacker Josh Martin, the club’s best special teams performer.

Sorensen played in the opener against Tennessee, but was then released and added to the practice squad. The 6-2, 208-pound Sorensen went undrafted this past spring coming out of Brigham Young University.

To make room for Sorensen, the Chiefs released defensive end Damion Square. After being claimed on waivers from Philadelphia in the week before the opener, Square has been on the 53-man active roster for seven games, but was declared a game-day inactive player each week.

Tale of the Tape – Chiefs vs. Jets

One team has lost three games, the other seven. Those numbers alone show us who has the edge in the tale of the tape between the Chiefs and New York Jets on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.

A position by position look at the two teams lays out the big edge the Chiefs carry into the game. There are only two or three areas of the teams where New York carries an edge when compared to the Chiefs. The rest of the comparisons show a big edge for the Chiefs and indicates on paper what should be a fairly easy victory for Andy Reid’s team: …Read More!

Next Opponent – The New York Jets

Game – No. 8.

OpponentThe New York Jets.

2014 record – The Jets are 1-7, and losers of seven straight. They won the season opener by 5 points over Oakland. Since then, they have lost by 7 points to Green Bay, 8 points to Chicago, 7 points to Detroit, 31 points at San Diego, 14 points to Denver, 2 points to New England and 20 points last Sunday to Buffalo. They are 1-4 playing at home and 0-3 on the road.

They are minus-84 in point differential (144 scored, 228 given up), minus-15 in turnover ratio (18 giveaways, 3 takeaways) and plus-2 in sack ratio (22 allowed, 26 on defense.) Overall in offensive yards they rank #28 in the league, #4 in the running game and #32 in passing yardage. In yards allowed on defense they are #6 overall, #5 against the run and #14 versus the pass.

Franchise began – The younger of the two NFL franchises in New York, the Jets began life in 1960 as the New York Titans, one of the eight original teams in Lamar Hunt’s American Football League. The franchise struggled its first three seasons under the ownership of under-funded broadcaster Harry Wismer. Eventually, the team convinced Wismer to sell and the franchise was purchased by New York entertainment impresario Sonny Werblin. The injection of Werblin’s cash and business savvy stabilized the franchise and they went on as the New York Jets, eventually moving into the newly built Shea Stadium and signing University of Alabama quarterback Joe Namath to at that point unheard of $430,000. …Read More!

Chiefs Practice/Injury Report – October 30

Here are the injury/practice reports that the Chiefs and Jets filed on Thursday afternoon:

Chiefs

DID NOT PRACTICE – Wide receiver Donnie Avery (sports hernia), cornerback Jamell Fleming (hamstring), linebacker Josh Martin (hamstring.)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION – Safety Eric Berry (ankle), cornerback Chris Owens (knee.)

FULL PARTICIPATION – Running back Jamaal Charles (back), tight end Anthony Fasano (shoulder), cornerback Phillip Gaines (quadriceps), running back Cyrus Gray (hand), wide receiver Junior Hemingway (hamstring), tight end Travis Kelce (ribs), left guard Mike McGlynn (foot), quarterback Alex Smith (shoulder), cornerback Sean Smith (groin.)

Jets

DID NOT PRACTICE –Cornerback Darrin Walls (calf.)

FULL PARTICIPATION – Left guard Oday Aboushi (shoulder), cornerback Phillip Adams (groin), outside linebacker Antwan Barnes (knee), tight end Jeff Chamberlain (shoulder), right guard Willie Colon (knee), outside linebacker Demario Davis (finger), wide receiver Eric Decker (hamstring), middle linebacker David Harris (shoulder), running back Chris Johnson (ankle), wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (illness), center Nick Mangold (shoulder), linebacker Trevor Reilly (knee), wide receiver Greg Salas (wrist/ankle), quarterback Geno Smith (shoulder.)

Knile Davis Picks Up AFC Special Teams Player Honors


From the Truman Sports Complex

Knile Davis was honored Wednesday with the AFC special teams player of the week award after his 99-yard touchdown return in last Sunday’s victory over St. Louis.

It was the second touchdown return of his short NFL career, joining the 108-yard scoring run he posted against Denver last year.

Not bad for a player the Chiefs did not consider a kick returner when he joined the team from the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft out of the University of Arkansas. Head coach Andy Reid admitted that in pre-draft evaluations in the spring of 2013, Davis was not considered a returner, and it was something he did not do for the Razorbacks or in high school. Consideration for the duties did not come until special teams coordinator Dave Toub got a look at the running back during OTAs in that first spring with the team.

“I think with kick returns it’s important that you see it and you hit it,” said Reid. “You’re not dancing in the hole; you see daylight and hit that daylight and hit hard and aggressive and he does that. He’s blessed with great speed along with size; he’s a powerful young man.” …Read More!

One Team’s Trash, Becomes Treasure For The Chiefs

Injuries force (left to right) Josh Mauga, Mike McGlynn, Ryan Harris and Jamell Floyd into scrapbook starters

There are several qualities that make for a good NFL team. Talented players are a must. Top shelf coaching is equally important. Often overlooked is a factor vital to the process of building a winning team. It’s the ability of a franchise to acquire raw and/or specifically talented players while creating a coaching atmosphere that stresses development of those young players.

This factor can be summarized as turning one team’s trash into another team’s treasure. In this case it’s the treasure of the 2014 Kansas City Chiefs.

Consider this: in Sunday’s victory over the St. Louis Rams, the Chiefs had four starters that were not with the franchise during the off-season program, OTAs or mini-camp. One of those four players saw but a sliver of pre-season playing time wearing a red Chiefs jersey. Another wasn’t part of the roster until after the regular-season opener.

In a season that began with so much turmoil caused by major injuries, the Chiefs are now 4-3, and sitting on the edge of contention for another berth in the AFC playoffs. A big reason they overcame a poor start (0-2) and injuries were the contributions from the trash they’ve cleaned up and polished so they now sparkle.

Right tackle Ryan Harris, inside linebacker Josh Mauga, left guard Mike McGlynn and cornerback Jamell Fleming all arrived as late additions to the roster, signed because of injuries at their positions. …Read More!

Secondary & Snap Judgments/Post-St. Louis

The Chiefs are seven games into the 2014 season. They are 4-3 and alive in the fight for a spot in the AFC tournament field for January.

But so far they are more than alive when it comes to pass defense. The Chiefs go into their mid-season mark game against the New York Jets as the No. 1 ranked defense in the league against the pass.

They are allowing an average of 195.7 passing yards per game. That’s 15 fewer passing yards per game than the No. 2 ranked pass defense: the New England Patriots at 210.9 yards.

With the injuries that dominated the defense at the start of the 2014 season, the problem area seemed to fall directly on the secondary. There was a new starter at left cornerback in Marcus Cooper and a new starter at free safety with Husain Abdullah. When strong safety Eric Berry went down with an ankle injury in the second game, Ron Parker stepped into the scene and has remained there; he may have been the best defensive back on the field in Sunday’s victory over St. Louis.

Chris Owens came in and earned the nickel/slot coverage role. When Cooper struggled, the Chiefs moved Jamell Fleming into the starting lineup, joined by rookie Phillip Gaines who stepped in for an injured Owens.

There have been a lot of moving parts just at the back of the defense, but they’ve pulled together fairly quickly, faster that even the perpetually positive Andy Reid could have imagined. …Read More!

The Worlds of Reid & Vick Intersect Once Again


From the Truman Sports Complex

“I love Andy Reid for the man that he is. As far as the football game, football is football. I just want to go out there and do what’s best for the team and hopefully try to get a win.” New York Jets quarterback Michael Vick.

On Monday, New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan decided Michael Vick would be his starting quarterback this Sunday when the Chiefs host the boys from the Meadowlands at Arrowhead Stadium.

Vick will replace Geno Smith; the second-year quarterback has struggled in the spot this season for the 1-7 Jets. The 34-year old Vick was signed in March as an unrestricted free agent after spending five seasons with the Eagles (2009-13.)

The man who put him back into the NFL with then Eagles-now Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. Philadelphia signed Vick once he finished serving a federal prison term after pleading guilty to running an unlawful interstate dogfighting business. The Atlanta Falcons released him, and once his NFL suspension ended, Vick joined Red and the Eagles in 2009. He eventually started 42 games for Philadelphia. …Read More!

Alex Smith Has A Sprained Right Shoulder

From the Truman Sports Complex

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid told the media early Monday afternoon that quarterback Alex Smith suffered a sprained right shoulder in Sunday’s victory over St. Louis.

“It happened in the game and he was able to go through the game and everything worked out OK,” Reid said. “It’s a bit sore today, but it should be fine.

“It’s tender today, but he’s upbeat about it. But we are doing all the precautionary things in looking at it.”

Reid indicated the sprain came late in the first half, on one of the back-to-back sacks where Smith was taken down by St. Louis defensive end Robert Quinn. On both of those sacks, his right shoulder was the first thing that hit the turf, but the second one appeared most violent when his body hit the ground under Quinn.

“It’s more of a bruise than anything,” said Reid. “He’ll need some time to get the soreness out of there.”

The rest of Reid’s injury report on Monday included:

  • Cornerback Jamell Fleming hamstring strain.
  • Outside linebacker Josh Martin hamstring strain.
  • Cornerback Chris Owens “is making progress with his knee strain” but Reid said he wouldn’t be able to practice today.
  • Wide receiver Donnie Avery is “making progress” coming back from his sports hernia injury and surgery.
  • Safety Eric Berry will continue to work on his sprained ankle.

REPORT CARD: Highest Grades Of The Season For K.C.

From Arrowhead Stadium

PASSING OFFENSE:  A – It was a very good performance for the Chiefs offense throwing against the St. Louis defense. Quarterback Alex Smith was on fire, completing 85.7 percent of his passes and averaging 8.1 yards on his 28 passing attempts. Smith had no interceptions, was sacked twice and he did a good job of distributing the ball, connecting with eight different receivers.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B – The Chiefs did not have great individual productivity in the run game against St. Louis. The only thing that came close was a 36-yard touchdown run in the second half by Jamaal Charles that was part of a 73-yard game on 13 carries for the man that’s their offensive engine. That was the team’s longest scoring run of the season and the longest run of any kind for Charles in 2014.

PASS DEFENSE: A – The Chiefs defense took advantage of inexperienced Rams quarterback Austin Davis, along with an injury situation on the offensive line that did not allow for continuity in pass protection. In the first St. Louis possession, Davis hit a 43-yard gain to wide receiver Kenny Britt. After that play, Davis was 14 of 23 for only 117 yards. The K.C. defense gave him no room to breathe.

RUSH DEFENSE: B – The way the game unfolded, St. Louis did not have many opportunities in the second half to keep working on its running game. The young backs trio of Zac Stacy, Benny Cunningham and Tre Mason showed promise and hit a couple of nice runs, but overall the Kansas City defense stifled the Rams runners.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A – Until Sunday, the kicking game struggled to make a contribution for the 2014 Chiefs. They expected big plays on a weekly basis because that was something they did last year. But the trickle-down effect from the team’s early injury situation this year shuffled the cards for the special teams and they are only now producing consistent effort in the kicking game. Against the Rams, the Chiefs produced a kickoff return touchdown from Knile Davis and rookie kicker Cairo Santos produced a 53-yard field goal.

COACHING: A – Week-by-week, the profile of this team is being established by the play-calling and actions of head coach Andy Reid and his coaching staff. The offense has shown success when Reid splits the opportunities 50-50 between run and pass. Defensively, the Chiefs are transitioning away from all press man-to-man coverage to more off-coverage and zones. It’s helped limit the big plays against them. This team started 0-2 and was hampered by injuries. They’ve now gone 4-1 in the last five games as injury replacements have been blended into the effort.

Strong 2nd-Half Lifts Chiefs to 34-7 Victory Over Rams

Here’s our coverage of Sunday’s Chiefs victory over St. Louis:

Chiefs Host Rams With Chance To Gain Momentum

The demanding six-game opening to the Chiefs 2014 schedule is now behind them. They went 3-3 record, after an ugly 0-2 start.

On Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, stage two of the schedule begins with a visit from the St. Louis Rams. Kickoff comes just a few moments after 12 noon. FOX provides the television coverage.

This next stage of the season covers five games and at this time four appear very winnable for the Chiefs. The opponents will be St. Louis (2-4), the New York Jets (1-6), Buffalo (4-3), Seattle (3-3) and Oakland (0-6). The recent stumbles of the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks may make Andy Reid’s team a favorite to win all the games.

It’s a five-week stretch that will set up the last part of the season and determine whether the Chiefs make a run to a spot in the playoffs or suffer through a non-descript season where January will be spent at home and not on the field.

Other than its .500 record, the ups and downs of the first six games have helped burnish the character of the 2014 Chiefs. There’s a resilient nature visible from Andy Reid’s team. They had a chance to win five of their first games but lost by seven at Denver and five points at San Francisco in moments where they were unable to execute like a winning team. That was not the case with the 23-20 victory over San Diego last Sunday.

“We were a couple plays away from being 4-1,” said quarterback Alex Smith. “We understood that we didn’t make the plays (to win). ” …Read More!

Officials Preview: Chiefs Get Another Triplette Visit

It’s unusual for an NFL team to see the same officiating crew twice in a season, and it seldom works out that a team sees the same group of zebras twice in five weeks.

But that’s the case with the Chiefs as they host the St. Louis Rams on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium along with the officiating crew of referee Jeff Triplette.

This same group worked the Chiefs game against Miami on September 21st, where they walked off four penalties against the Chiefs, and 10 in all. That’s been a pretty good example of what Triplette’s crew has done all season. They average 12.1 penalties per game and 15.5 flags thrown each week. Those numbers rank them among the least active crews walking off penalty yardage in the league. They rank in the bottom third of total penalties.

This crew is no stranger to controversy, as Triplette and pals frequently come out on the wrong side of decisions. In 2014, they worked the Seattle at Washington game where three Percy Harvin touchdowns were nullified by penalty flags. …Read More!

4 Keys To Victory For Chiefs Against Rams

     

Four

Continue to build momentum

The Chiefs are hitting a spot in their schedule where they can build momentum to carry them into the second half of the season. That includes winning games that they should win, and Sunday’s game against the Rams is one of those moments. They are at home, playing a team with a record off less than .500 and they are producing winning football on offense and defense. To date, they have not held a winning record this season, but a victory over St. Louis would leave them 4-3 with upcoming games against the Jets and Bills. There’s been a lot of notice given to the Chiefs 3-3 record over the tough starting stretch of their schedule. That’s all well and good, as long as it’s a foundation to more. The next floor on their post-season dreams must be built starting against the Rams.

…Read More!

The Frequently Forgotten Governor’s Cup

Chiefs celebrating Governor’s Cup victory in 2002 regular season at Arrowhead.

Rivalry trophies have been part of college football for more than a century.

There’s the Old Oaken Bucket (Indiana against Purdue), the Little Brown Jug (Michigan vs. Minnesota), Paul Bunyan’s Axe (Minnesota vs. Wisconsin), the Apple Cup (Washington vs. Washington State) and dozens of other pieces of gridiron hardware that are handed out each year.

In pro football, the closest example of a rivalry trophy is the Governor’s Cup, to honor the winner of games between Missouri’s pro football teams, the Kansas City Chiefs and first the St. Louis Cardinals, now the St. Louis Rams.

The Guv Cup began in 1968, growing from the fertile football mind of Chiefs founder Lamar Hunt and with the interest of Cardinals owner Billy Bidwill. Hunt loved the pomp and ceremony that came from the world of college football, extras like marching bands, cheerleaders, pom-pom girls and special trophies. Hunt was forever trying to add college elements and ideas to the pro game. The frequently cheap Bidwill saw the trophy and games against the Chiefs as a way to possibly sell a ticket or two and increase revenue.

To say the Governor’s Cup became a coveted piece of hardware for the Show-Me State professional football teams would be a stretch. It never really caught on, certainly not with the players and coaches of the Chiefs, and it was no better across the state along the Mississippi River, whether the team was the Cardinals or ultimately the St. Louis Rams.

The best evidence of that disinterest came with the fact that Cup was frequently misplaced. The morning after the August pre-season game, it would land somewhere in the winning team’s facility, usually in a spot where everybody would remember its place a year later.

Except, sometimes they didn’t remember, or they just completely forgot about the trophy. …Read More!

Tale of the Tape – Chiefs vs. Rams

In the last three seasons the Chiefs and Rams have produced victories and defeats in almost matching numbers:

  • Kansas City – 16-23, .410 winning percentage.
  • St. Louis – 16-21-1, .434 winning percentage.

The Chiefs have an extra game in the equation because of their appearance in the first round of the 2013 AFC playoffs. It’s been nine years since the Rams were in the post-season tournament.

Still, there is a real difference between the clubs as they get ready to face off on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs have been trending up, while the Rams have been headed in the other direction, especially this season with its 2-4 record. Injuries have caused problems for St. Louis, but nobody with the Chiefs is providing any sympathy given the problems they’ve had with injuries.

Even with the Rams recent victory over Seattle fresh in everyone’s mind, there’s no doubt that on paper, the Chiefs have the edge in talent for this meeting. The key for Andy Reid and his team is to make sure what’s on paper comes alive on the field.

Here’s the tale of the tape in 11 key positions and areas between the teams: …Read More!

Next Opponent – St. Louis Rams

Game – No. 7.

Opponentthe St. Louis Rams.

2014 record – the Rams are 2-4, winners of their last game, beating Seattle 28-26 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis last Sunday. They lost the season opener to Minnesota, 34-6. But they’ve scored 2-point victories over Tampa Bay and Seattle. Along with losing to the Vikings, the Rams have fallen to Dallas by 3 points, Philadelphia by 6 points and San Francisco by 14 points.

They are minus-47 in point differential (129 scored, 176 given up), minus-3 in turnover ratio (10 giveaways, 7 takeaways) and minus-12 in sack ratio (16 allowed, 4 on defense.) Overall in offensive yards they rank #13 in the league, #18 in the running game and #11 in passing yardage. In yards allowed on defense they are #23 overall, #28 against the run and #14 against the pass. …Read More!

Finally, Relief At Quarterback For Chiefs Defense

Super Bowl winner Peyton Manning one week, multiple Super Bowl champion Tom Brady pops up a few weeks later. It’s Super Bowl starter Colin Kaepernick and Philip Rivers in consecutive games. The Chiefs have opened the season against some of the best quarterbacks in the National Football League and beaten two of them – Brady and Rivers.

The quarterback cycle for the Chiefs defense turns in a different direction starting Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium when they host the St. Louis Rams.

Coming up first is second-year, non-drafted Rams starter Austin Davis (left), followed by the Jets struggling second year starter Geno Smith. There’s a trip to Buffalo to face the Bills and journeyman Kyle Orton. Seattle visits Arrowhead with Russell Wilson leading the Seahawks before the Chiefs head to Oakland and face the Raiders with their rookie starter Derek Carr.

Last year, the Chiefs started their season winning nine consecutive games with most of those coming against inexperienced and marginal quarterbacks. When they faced quarterbacks like Manning, Rivers and Andrew Luck in six of the season’s last eight games, they were 2-6 and done after losing a first-round game in the playoffs. …Read More!

Chiefs Lose Practice Squad Linebacker To Tampa Bay

From the Truman Sports Complex

Linebacker Orie Lemon stay the Chiefs practice squad lasted less than a week, as he signed on Wednesday to a spot on the 53-man roster with Tampa Bay.

It’s the second practice squad linebacker to leave for a spot on the active roster of another NFL team. Nico Johnson moved on last week to the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Chiefs announced they signed linebacker Darin Drakeford to fill the practice squad spot previously held by Lemon. The 6-1, 240-pound product of the University of Maryland, Drakeford signed with the Chiefs last year as an undrafted rookie free agent, spending the 2013 pre-season with the club and registering six total tackles and a forced fumble. He was released in the final roster cut before the 2013 opener and signed to the Chiefs practice squad where he spent four games.

Since then he’s spent time with the New York Giants, Indianapolis and Atlanta.

Jamaal’s Career Built On His Toughness

I’ve written these words many times over the last seven NFL seasons; spoken them quite often as well. I feel compelled to repeat:

Pound-for-pound Jamaal Charles is the toughest football player I’ve seen play.

Tough is a word with many branches off its trunk, involving physical, emotional and mental qualities all rolled into the definition.

Charles has all of that . . . and more. The swirl around him over the last few days – did he suffer a concussion in San Diego or not? – was caused by Charles himself. It was probably not the smartest move to talk publicly about having flashes of light in his vision, or that he did not want to take concussion tests because he wasn’t going to leave the game.

It had nothing to do with setting the franchise record for career rushing yards. It had everything to do with how Charles views his place with this team – he is the man, the engine, the star, the motivator, the leader by what he says and does especially how he plays with a level of toughness that exceeds that of ordinary players. When he gets knocked down, Charles gets back up, sometimes bouncing up like nothing happened. More than once he took a rib-rattling shot from a tackler, got immediately to his feet and patted the defensive player on his head before heading back to the offensive huddle. …Read More!

Chiefs Do The Practice Squad Shuffle Again

Churning the 10-man practice squad is something the Chiefs do on a weekly basis. This week, the attention fell on the big boys on the line of scrimmage, as they released a defensive tackle and signed a guard.

Gone is Jerel Worthy, a defensive tackle out of Michigan State University who spent six weeks with the Chiefs since signing on September 9th.

Filling the open spot on the practice squad is guard Jarrod Pughsley, a 6-4½, 308-pound blocker from the University of Akron. Pughsley played in 35 games over four seasons with the Zips, where he joined the program as a walk-on out of Lima High School in Lima, Ohio. He made starts at both left and right tackle, and left guard over his college career.

Pughsley went undrafted back in May and signed with Dallas on May 12. Two weeks later, he was waived injured by the Cowboys and then moved to the injured-reserve list with a torn biceps muscle. He was waived on July 24 after reaching an injury settlement with Dallas.

He becomes the 21st player that’s been part of the Chiefs practice squad this season.

Alex Smith & Snap Judgments – San Diego

It’s hard to boil down a quarterback’s performance in a game down to a single play.

But in the Chiefs 23-20 victory over San Diego on Sunday, there was one play that epitomized all the things about Alex Smith that head coach Andy Reid loves.

There were 95 seconds left in the game and the Chiefs faced a second-and-15 play at their 27-yard line. It was a pressure situation for Reid and his offense. There was enough time to at the least move the ball into range to kick a field goal. On the other hand, the score was still tied – a conservative move would have been to kill the reset of the clock and play for overtime.

Smith took the shotgun snap and scanned the field. Pressure came at him from his right side, forcing him out of the pocket and running to his left. As he neared the sideline and with more pass rushers honing in on his position, Smith found wide receiver Dwayne Bowe open in the middle of the field.

First down Kansas City, as they were now at their 46-yard line. Four plays later, Cairo Santos kicked the 48-yard field goal that provided the winning points for the Chiefs.

But it was that Smith play that showcased what he brings to the offense. …Read More!

Statement Made With 23-20 Victory Over Bolts

With two weeks to prepare the Chiefs did something on Sunday in San Diego that does not happen often – they won.

When rookie kicker Cairo Santos made a 48-yard field goal with 21 seconds to play giving the Chiefs a 23-20 victory, Kansas City’s favorite football team had its first victory in seven years in San Diego and only their third in this century.

It was a performance where all three parts of the Chiefs game made big contributions. The offense did not give the ball away and kept the San Diego offense on the sidelines. The defense gave the Chargers very few opportunities when they did stay on the field and the special teams provided three field goals from Santos, including that game winner.

Now 3-3 on the season, the Chiefs have two straight home games coming up against St. Louis and then the New York Jets.

Here’s our coverage:

Jamaal Charles & The Chiefs Record Book

On Sunday, Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles became the leading rusher in franchise history, passing Priest Holmes during Sunday’s game against the Chargers in San Diego.

Charles now has 6,113 yards, or 43 yards more than Holmes put up during his seven years with the Chiefs (2001-07).

Here is the chronological order of the passing of the rushing torch from the early days of the franchise to Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium:

Abner Haynes – when he left the Chiefs after the 1964 season, Haynes had run for 3,814 yards on 794 carries in 70 games. His hold on the record stood for a dozen years.

Ed Podolak – on December 12, 1976 in a 39-14 victory over Cleveland, Podolak ran for 137 yards on 29 carries with three touchdown runs. That gave Podolak 3,815 career yards and he finished the season with 3,901 yards on 1,024 carries in 91 games. He played in the 1977 season as well and the Iowa native finished his nine Chiefs seasons with 104 games played 1,157 carries and 4,451 yards. His hold on the record lasted for 15 seasons.

Christian Okoye – when the Chiefs faced the Seattle Seahawks on September 13, 1992, Okoye ran 63 yards on 18 carries and became the franchise’s leading rusher with 4,152 yards. He finished his career with 79 games, 1,246 carries and 4,897 yards. He held the record for eight years.

Priest Holmes – joining the team in 2001 as a free agent signee from Baltimore, Holmes in 49 games passed Okoye’s mark. It came down during a September 26, 2004 game against Houston when he ran 32 times for 134 yards. By the time his running days with the Chiefs were done, Holmes had 6,070 yards on 1,321 carries in 65 games.

A decade later, Charles claimed the record.

CHIEFS MOST RUSHING YARDS, CAREER

#

Running back

Years

G

Carries

Yards

Rush TDs

1.

Jamaal Charles

2008-14

85

1,107

6,113

31

2.

Priest Holmes

2001-07

65

1,321

6,070

76

3.

Larry Johnson

2003-09

75

1,375

6,015

55

4.

Christian Okoye

1987-92

79

1,246

4,897

40

5.

Ed Podolak

1969-77

104

1,157

4,451

34

Chiefs Better Be Tough To Win In San Diego

Asked what he liked about his team as it reached its bye week after five games, Andy Reid pointed to one trait displayed by his players.

“They’ve got a certain toughness about them, which I like,” Reid said of his 2-3 club. “That’s a tough thing to coach, that toughness thing. Until you are in the fight of playing the game, you don’t exactly know that part of it and you have to experience that.

“I would tell you that there is some grit to this team and some of the fundamentals and techniques we’ve got to get corrected, but that grit . . . we can take care of the other stuff but that a tough thing to coach and they’ve showed that they’ve got a little of that.”

The Chiefs are going to need a lot of that if they expect to win on Sunday afternoon at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego against the Chargers. Kickoff is 3:05 p.m. with television coverage by CBS.

Led by quarterback Philip Rivers, the Chargers are 5-1 and in first place in the AFC West. They’ve won five straight since losing the season opener by just one-point at Arizona.

There’s a lot left in the 2014 season, but losing to San Diego, the Chiefs would be three games behind the division leader with 10 games to play. That’s a tough hole for any team, including a tough one, to exit.

Toughness in football is a quality that seemingly easy to define, but that is just for those that want to use the physical to make the definition. There’s a lot more than being bigger and stronger. It’s also about being strong mentality, not being knocked off the path to victory because the game is played on the road. …Read More!

4 Keys To Victory For Chiefs Against Chargers

        

Four

Keep a handle on Chargers tight end Antonio Gates in the red zone

The 34-year old Gates is in his 12th season and remains a factor in the San Diego passing game. He’s been very successful against the Chiefs over the first 11 seasons; the K.C. defense has been his favorite end-zone target, with 14 touchdown catches. In those scoring plays against the Chiefs, 10 came in San Diego victories. This season, Gates has 24 catches and 25 percent of those went for touchdowns (6). With the exception of a 21-yard scoring play, his TD plays have all come inside the opponent’s 20-yard line – from the 12, 8, 8, 8 and one-yard lines. With both Eric Berry and Chris Owens out of the game, the Chiefs depth in the secondary is going to be severely tested. Backup safeties Kurt Coleman, Kelcie McCray and Jamell Fleming are going to be very important in this game to provide help for starters Husain Abdullah and Ron Parker. Keeping Gates out of the end zone would significantly improve the Chiefs chances for a victory.

…Read More!

Officials Preview: Referee Bill Vinovich & Crew

The San Diego Chargers will find the officiating crew in Sunday’s game against the Chiefs quite familiar.

Referee Bill Vinovich led the group of zebras that worked the Chargers regular-season opener against Arizona. That’s the only game San Diego has lost this season. In that game, the officials walked off six penalties for 47 yards against the Chargers. It’s not unusual for an NFL crew to see a team twice during a full season, but two games in seven weeks does not happen very often.

In six games this season, Vinovich and his crew have averaged 12.5 penalties walked off for 93.7 yards. Those numbers leave them near the top of the league’s list of least busy or least intrusive officiating groups. In those half-dozen games, the home teams are 5-1; the only visiting club that won with Vinovich and crew was Green Bay last week when the Packers beat the Dolphins in south Florida.

The last Chiefs game that Vinovich worked came in October 2013 when he handled the Chiefs 26-17 victory over the Titans in Nashville. Over his career, he’s worked five Chiefs games, and K.C. is 3-2 in those outings. …Read More!

Jamaal Reaches For Rushing Record In San Diego

The 32 career rushing leaders for each NFL team.

Ohio and Pennsylvania used to be the area of the country where an abundance of quarterbacks were developed. Florida always seemed to provide the wide receivers. The upper Midwest was home for linebackers and big linemen.

And Texas is where football has grown its running backs. That will be evident on Sunday, but not in the Lone Star State, but at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. That’s where Texas born and bred Jamaal Charles will take the field against the Chargers needing 53 yards to become the Chiefs career leader in rushing yards. He enters the game against the Chargers with 6,108 yards and he’s looking to pass another Texas-bred running back. Priest Holmes currently holds the franchise rushing yardage record with 6,070 yards in his 65 games wearing red and gold.

Going into this weekend’s schedule of games, there are 12 running backs from Texas among the top 100 career rushers in league history. No other state has more. Here’s the Lone Star State backs in that top 100 rushers.

There are a lot of goals Charles carries for his NFL career, starting with winning a Super Bowl and working down to a few individual honors. That includes moving past his fellow Longhorn for career rushing honors with the Chiefs.

“I think it’s cool,” Charles said on Friday after finishing up the practice week in preparation for the Chargers. “We went to the same school in college; we’re from the same state so I think that’s pretty cool more than anything. But at the end of the day, I just want to continue to make history.” …Read More!

Texas Runners In the Top 100 Career Rushers

Among the top 100 rushers in NFL history, 12 were born and bred in the state of Texas, including the two most productive backs in Chiefs history: Priest Holmes and Jamaal Charles. Here’s how the dozen backs rank in the top 100:

Rank

Back Hometown

Years

Carries

Yards

5

LaDainian Tomlinson Rosebud

2001-11

3,174

13,684

7

Eric Dickerson Sealy

1983-93

2,996

13,259

14

Thurman Thomas Sugar Land

1988-2000

2,877

12,074

28

Adrian Peterson Palestine

2007-14

2,054

10,190

33

Earl Campbell Tyler

1978-85

2,187

9,407

43

Priest Holmes San Antonio

1997-2007

1,780

8,172

59

Rodney Hampton Houston

1990-97

1,824

6,897

68

Lawrence McCutcheon Plainview

1972-81

1,521

6,578

81

Jamaal Charles Port Arthur

2008-14

1,085

6,018

82

Cedric Benson Midland

2005-12

1,600

6,017

95

Greg Pruitt Houston

1973-84

1,196

5,672

98

Delvin Williams Houston

1974-81

1,312

5,598

Franchise Rushing Yardage Leaders – Career

Here are the rushing yardage leaders for the 32 NFL franchises as of this weekend’s games. There are five franchise leaders in career rushing yards active this season: Houston’s Arian Foster, Frank Gore of San Francisco, Steven Jackson (leader of St. Louis) now playing with Atlanta, Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson and DeAngelo Williams of Carolina.

AFC

Team Leading Rusher

Seasons

Games

Carries

Yards

Baltimore Jamal Lewis

2000-06

91

1,822

7,801

Buffalo Thurman Thomas*

1988-99

173

2,849

11,938

Cincinnati Corey Dillon

1997-2003

107

1,865

8,061

Cleveland Jim Brown*

1957-65

118

2,359

12,312

Denver Terrell Davis

1995-2001

78

1,655

7,607

Houston Arian Foster

2009-14

64

1,237

5,576

Indianapolis Edgerrin James

1999-2005

96

2,188

9,226

Jacksonville Fred Taylor

1998-2008

140

2,428

11,271

Chiefs Priest Holmes

2001-07

65

1,321

6,070

Jamaal Charles

2008-14

84

1,085

6,018

Miami Larry Csonka*

1968-74, 79

106

1,506

6,737

New England Sam Cunningham

1973-82

107

1,385

5,453

New York Jets Curtis Martin*

1998-2005

123

2,560

10,302

Oakland Marcus Allen*

1982-92

145

2,090

8,545

Pittsburgh Franco Harris*

1972-83

165

2,881

11,950

San Diego LaDainian Tomlinson

2001-09

141

2,880

12,490

Tennessee Eddie George

1996-2003

128

2,733

10,009

NFC

Team Leading Rusher

Seasons

Games

Carries

Yards

Arizona Ottis Anderson

1979-86

99

1,858

7,999

Atlanta Gerald Riggs

1982-1988

91

1,587

6,631

Carolina DeAngelo Williams

2006-14

113

1,395

6,733

Chicago Walter Payton*

1976-87

190

3,838

16,726

Dallas Emmitt Smith*

1990-2002

201

4,052

17,162

Detroit Barry Sanders*

1989-98

153

3,062

15,269

Green Bay Ahman Green

2000-06, 09

104

1,851

8,322

Minnesota Adrian Peterson

2007-14

104

2,054

10,190

New Orleans Deuce McAllister

2001-08

97

1,429

6,096

New York Giants Tiki Barber

1997-2006

154

2,217

10,449

Philadelphia Wilbert Montgomery

1977-84

100

1,465

6,538

San Francisco Frank Gore

2005-14

138

2,280

10,370

Seattle Shaun Alexander

2000-07

119

2,176

9,429

St. Louis Steven Jackson

2004-12

131

2,396

10,138

Tampa Bay James Wilder

1981-89

113

1,575

5,957

Washington John Riggins*

1976-85

114

1,988

7,472

Active backs are in bold type. *- member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Chiefs Practice Report / No Eric Berry – October 17

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs began their final practice of preparation week for the Chargers without safety Eric Berry.

After practicing on Wednesday, Berry did not participate Thursday and late Friday morning he was not on the field during the period where the media was allowed to watch practice.

Berry has been trying to return from the high ankle sprain that he suffered on September 14 in the first half of the Chiefs game in Denver. He’s missed the last three games and appears to be on his way to missing a fourth.

Also not on the field was cornerback Chris Owens; he did not practice all week because of the knee injury he suffered in the San Francisco game.

But, running back Cyrus Gray was part of practice for the first time this week, wearing a cast to protect his fractured left hand. His status for Sunday remains up in the air.

Official injury reports for both the Chiefs and Chargers will come late Friday afternoon.

Next Opponent – San Diego Chargers

Quarterback Philip Rivers and the rest of the Chargers will be wearing their baby blues on Sunday vs. Chiefs

Game – No. 6.

Opponentthe San Diego Chargers.

2014 record – the Bolts are 5-1, riding a five-game winning streak. They lost the season opener to Arizona, 18-17. Since then, they’ve beaten Seattle by nine points, Buffalo by 12 points, Jacksonville by 19 points, the New York Jets by 31 points and last Sunday, they topped the Raiders in Oakland 31-28. They are plus-73 in point differential (164 scored, 91 given up), plus-7 in turnover ratio (2 giveaways, 9 takeaways) and plus-3 (9 allowed, 12 on defense.)

Franchise began – in 1960 as an original member of the American Football League and named the Los Angeles Chargers. The original owner was Barron Hilton, son of Conrad Hilton who began the Hilton Hotel chain that continues today. Barron Hilton branched out into many other businesses during his days as an active businessman. That included joining Lamar Hunt as a member of the so-called Foolish Club of original AFL owners. He’s the last surviving member of that founding group. Hilton moved the Chargers to San Diego in 1961 where they’ve been since. He sold his controlling interest in the Chargers for $10 million in 1966 to Los Angeles businessman Gene Klein, who also owned the Seattle SuperSonics team in the NBA. Hilton will turn 87 later this month and reportedly still holds a small sliver of ownership in the Chargers. And, he’s also the grandfather of Paris Hilton, who is famous for something but heaven knows what. …Read More!

Chiefs Practice Report – October 16

Not so good news for the Chiefs as they continued preparations on Thursday when safety Eric Berry did not participate in the team’s afternoon practice.

Berry continues to try to overcome the sprained ankle he suffered in the first half of the September 14th game in Denver. He was a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice but the Chiefs reported he did not practice on Thursday.

San Diego added center Rich Ohrnberger to the injury report with a back problem. He did not practice on Thursday.

Here are the participation/injury reports for both teams from Thursday:

Chiefs

DID NOT PRACTICE – Wide receiver Donnie Avery (groin), safety Eric Berry (ankle), running back Cyrus Gray (hand), cornerback Chris Owens (knee).

FULL PARTICIPATION – Cornerback Phillip Gaines (concussion), cornerback Sean Smith (groin).

Chargers

DID NOT PRACTICE – Linebacker Jerry Attaochu (hamstring), running back Donald Brown (concussion), cornerback Brandon Flowers (groin), running back Ryan Mathews (knee), center Rich Ohrnberger (back), linebacker Manti Te’o (foot).

LIMITED PARTICIPATION – Cornerback Jason Verrett (shoulder),.

FULL PARTICIPATION – Right tackle D.J. Fluker (ankle), linebacker Cordarro Law (ankle), wide receiver Eddie Royal (elbow), linebacker Reggie Walker (ankle), cornerback Shareece Wright (knee).

It’s No Longer The Chiefs Town

A torch was passed early Wednesday evening at the Truman Sports Complex.

Actually, it wasn’t so much passed as it was taken by the remarkable Kansas City Royals.

For the better part of the last 25 years, it was the Chiefs that controlled the sporting interest in Kansas City and environs. But that came to an end the moment that reliever Greg Holland got the final Baltimore batter to groundout to end Game No. 4 of the American League Championship Series. The Royals are now on their way to the World Series, having won eight straight post-season games.

After 29 years, they will compete for the championship of their game, facing either the San Francisco Giants or possibly the St. Louis Cardinals.

This weekend the Chiefs will travel to San Diego in an attempt to even their record at 3-3 for the NFL season. Football fans in K.C. have been waiting 45 seasons now for their team to play for a Super Bowl.

So you see in many ways the Royals are mere babes in the waiting department. They did carry a heavy burden going 29 years without even a game in the post-season. Since Len Dawson and the Chiefs won Super Bowl IV, they have made the playoffs in 13 seasons, but got within a game of playing for the title only once, and that was now 21 years ago. …Read More!

Tale of the Tape: Chiefs vs. Chargers

The Chiefs come back from their bye week and they face a real task – playing the AFC West leader in the San Diego Chargers on the road. The Bolts are 5-1 on the season, a half-game ahead of the Broncos and those two teams will meet next Thursday night in Denver. Before that game, the Chargers must take advantage of their strengths and handle the Chiefs at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego’s lovely Mission Valley.

Break down the matchup between these two teams and the Chargers have a big edge. Here’s the tale of the tape: …Read More!

Chiefs Add Tight End To Practice Squad

The Chiefs released a tight end from the practice squad last week and came back and added another one on Monday.

Brandon Barden was signed to the 10th spot on the developmental roster. A 6-5, 245-pound Georgia native has been on the street since he was released by Jacksonville on the final pre-season cutdown back at the end of August.

Barden came into the NFL as an undrafted rookie free agent with Tennessee in 2012. He was released after training camp that year, signed to the practice squad and was elevated to the 53-man active roster for the final three games of that season. He was released in 2013 and signed by the Jaguars.

He began his college career at Virginia Tech University, but transferred to Vanderbilt University after one semester. At Vandy, Barden caught 107 passes for 1,234 yards over his career.

Chiefs Return To Work; Berry Ready To Practice

The Chiefs returned to other team’s facility on Monday after enjoying the last seven days in a bye-week vacation gift from head coach Andy Reid.

“What I do is the players get a week off and coaches get a few days off and they were able to go back and do some self-scout work without any distractions where they have to worry about meetings,” Reid said Monday during a conference call with the media. “With the players, I thought it could kind of rejuvenate guys and get them back healthy.”

With a 2-3 record, coming off a loss to San Francisco and facing a game this Sunday against the Chargers in San Diego, might it have been more useful to have the players together and on the practice field for at least the one or two sessions that were allowed last week?

“Listen, I’ve done it this way for a long time and it’s been fairly successful,” said Reid, in his 16th season as an NFL head coach. “I think it’s good to step away whether you’re doing well or not doing well. Coming off a win or a loss I think sometimes it’s good to get away and get recharged.” …Read More!

. . . Suggestions & Comments On bobgretz.com

The Chiefs bye week provided your intrepid internet maven the first days of this year where the pace of life was not so frantic. The slower merry-go-round provided time for contemplation of many things, including this website. The support so many of you have shown since bobgretz.com began in 2008 has been powerful. So much has happened over the last seven years, especially with Kansas City’s football team, the league it plays in and the fans so interested in the red and gold.

At this point, I wanted to provide a venue for suggestions, questions and comments involving the site. Please, take the time to let me know what you like and what you don’t like. Or, items and post you’d like to see more/less of on certain subjects. Are there missing elements you’d like to see return to the site? Ideas of your own that may work? There are no restrictions on the subject.

Let me know by either leaving your thoughts in the comments on this post, or more privately by sending your message to info@bobgretz.com. I’ll answer all comments and questions, some collectively and others privately.

Thank you.

Defense At Bye – Consistency Grows Despite Injuries

Last year when they started the season with a nine-game winning streak, all the attention was on the Chiefs defense. Bob Sutton’s group was impressive and the foundation in Andy Reid’s club building that quick start that pushed them to the playoffs.

This season after five games, the K.C. defense has not been as productive as last year’s unit and the defense deserves its share of the blame for the team’s 2-3 record at the bye week.

Still, the defense has been the most consistent part of the Chiefs on-field efforts through five games. The offense has been all over the place and the special teams have not been consistent producers and have made a number of key mistakes.

The defense has been consistent even though they’ve been forced to play without key starting players at all three levels, especially the unit’s emotional and tackling leader in linebacker Derrick Johnson. Sutton’s side of the ball has performed from average to good all season: …Read More!

Offense At Bye Week – Struggling For Consistency

The first five games of the Chiefs season have been interesting to watch, especially trying to figure out what the team’s offense is going to do each week. Just where Andy Reid takes that side of the football over the last 11 games on the 2014 schedule will paint the picture of whether the Chiefs are a contender or a pretender.

After five games the Chiefs offense does not yet have a consistent personality. Like most NFL teams these days, Reid and his offensive staff construct a game plan each week based on the opponent. There’s no old school thinking where they tell the opponent “this is what we do when we have the ball, stop us and then we’ll adjust.” The working premise of opponent-driven game plan is the offense telling the defense “we think this is what you like to do, so we will develop our plan to make you do something you are not comfortable in doing.” It’s an obvious advantage to any offense if they have a running game and a passing attack that are both effective and productive. It’s imperative in the opponent-drive game plan.

So far this season, the Chiefs offensive inconsistency can’t totally be blamed on the game-plan approach. It has more to do with other factors. It’s come from the injuries that shuffled the offensive line at the start of the season. Another factor is the emergence of several playmaking threats that are new weapons for Reid and his offensive staff. They’ve also played an early schedule with three road games, and three of the five opponents have top 10 NFL defenses.

Whatever the reasons, in five games the Chiefs offense has been all over the road: …Read More!

Conversations With The Chiefs Assistant Coaches

As the Chiefs roll into their bye week, the assistant coaches were made available to the media on Tuesday, along with the three coordinators. Normally, only the coordinators speak to the media, and that happens once a week.

But several times during the year, the assistant coaches are made available in mass. At least they are on teams that trust their coaches to handle a few questions. Here are some of the best comments from Tuesday’s session.

Quarterbacks coach Matt Nagy (pictured right with Alex Smith) on distributing the targets in the Chiefs offense, and making sure playmakers like Jamaal Charles and Travis Kelce get more chance to have the ball in their hands: “The challenge for us as coaches is to try and make sure that we are in different personnel groupings and different formations, yet we don’t keep it too complicated for the players to where they don’t know where to line up and they don’t know what route to run and we don’t know what progression to go to. You see from Week 1 against Tennessee to where we are now, we are doing a lot more stuff. The guys are becoming more comfortable and understanding where we’re putting them and then they’re making plays.”

Running back coach Eric Bieniemy on Jamaal Charles on the cusp of setting the Chiefs record for most career rushing yards: “When you’re a player, you never really gain a full appreciation for anything while you’re playing. As you grow older and you get more mature, more than anything you get a joy out of your kids learning what you did. And I think more so than anything, he’ll appreciate it later on in life. His girls will appreciate it and I’m sure his family, they obviously appreciate it right now. But Jamaal has bigger goals. Obviously he wants to win the Super Bowl; he wants to accomplish other goals in life.”

…Read More!

Snap Judgments From San Francisco Game

Here are the snaps credited by the NFL to the Chiefs against the 49ers on offense, defense and in the kicking game. Names in bold are those that played 100 percent of their unit’s snaps:

Offense (50)

  • Backs – Alex Smith 50, Jamaal Charles 39, Knile Davis 29, Anthony Sherman 14, Knile Davis 7, De’Anthony Thomas 6, Cyrus Gray 3.
  • Receivers – Anthony Fasano 47, Dwayne Bowe 43, A.J. Jenkins 33, Travis Kelce 29, Junior Hemingway 13, Frankie Hammond 9, Demetrius Harris 7.
  • Line – Zach Fulton 50, Mike McGlynn 50, Rodney Hudson 50, Eric Fisher 50, Ryan Harris 50.

…Read More!

Chiefs Will Get Week Off To Lick Their Wounds

From the Truman Sports Complex

Andy Reid gave his team the entire week off so they can lick their wounds from a 2-3 start, especially the 22-17 loss to San Francisco.

They do not have to report back to work until next Monday, although injured players are expected to keep up their schedule with the training room.

“It’s important that we step back here and as coaches evaluate what we’re doing, look in the mirror first at what we’re doing and making sure we’re putting the players in the best position to make plays,” said Reid. “It’s important that the players are getting a little time off here and that they use it wisely and rest up. We’ve got a couple nicks and bruises and we need to make sure we get those cleaned up, so when they come back (next) Monday they are ready to go.”

Reid also gave his team the entire week off last season, but the 2013 Chiefs were 9-0 at their bye week.

Their 2-3 start this year is obviously quite a bit different, but Reid felt the need to break up the routine with the entire week off. By rule, teams can ask the players to practice twice during the week, but they must have four consecutive days off over next weekend.

Despite the losing record, quarterback Alex Smith says his team is headed in the right direction. …Read More!

Chiefs Ready For A Physical Game In San Francisco

Chiefs defense takes down Niners running back Frank Gore four years ago

A few days before the Chiefs headed off to northern California for Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers, Andy Reid was a bit uncomfortable as he took questions from the media horde.

Specifically, the subject was the improvement of the Chiefs offense from a brutal loss to Tennessee in the opener, to a two-game winning streak. Did Reid expect running back Knile Davis to have such a large role in the run game? Were pre-season plans for the passing game expected to feature young tight end Travis Kelce? Has the passing game exceeded expectations?

“I feel like these are end of the season questions; I’m having a hard time with it because we have so much room here to get better and we are right in the grinder of it,” Reid said. “We’re nowhere near where we need to be.”

That continued development of offense, defense and special teams will need to show Sunday afternoon at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara when they face the Niners in game No. 5 of the season.

Kickoff is 3:25 p.m. CDT with television coverage on CBS.

There’s no question the Chiefs level of performance and production has improved over the last month. They’ve begun to show a personality, looking more and more like a hard-nosed team that wants to play physical and complementary football on both sides of the ball.

In the last three weeks, a rhythm has developed with this team, one that’s close to what they showed last year. The eye is on the immediate target in front of them. They’ve dug themselves out of a two-game hole and gotten their record back to the .500 mark. Other than a growing confidence from their dismantling of the Patriots, the last two games means little when playing the 49ers. …Read More!

Mauga Knows What Chiefs Face Vs. Kaepernick

Josh Mauga was a starting linebacker at the University of Nevada in 2007 when starting quarterback Nick Graziano went down with an ankle injury and a tall, lanky freshman named Colin Kaepernick took over the Wolf Pack offense.

“Nobody really knew anything about this kid that came into the game,” Mauga said. “Colin was a freshman, it was early in the season and nobody heard much from him. His first start was against Boise State and we ended up going four overtimes in that game and he was running around all over the place.

“That was the day he blew up.”

Boise beat Nevada 69-67 in four overtimes, with Kaepernick throwing three touchdown passes and scoring on two running plays. He passed for 243 yards and ran for another 177 yards.

Kaepernick stayed in the offensive huddle at Nevada for four years, through the 2010 season, before heading off to the NFL as a second-round selection of the San Francisco 49ers.

Since then, Kaepernick has not been an anonymous player. He is no longer the unknown that came out of the shadows in Reno and ultimately left the Wolf Pack program after throwing for over 10,000 yards and running for more than 4,000 yards. He threw 82 touchdown passes and ran for 59 scores.

Mauga left Nevada in 2009 for the NFL and he’ll see Kaepernick again on Sunday when the Chiefs face the 49ers in Santa Clara, California. …Read More!

4 Keys To Winning For Chiefs Against Niners

           

Four

Stay balanced on offensive play calling

Andy Reid was talking about how important havng a balanced offense was for his team. He then went on to say that he’s always felt he’s been balanced at about 60 percent pass and 40 percent run. Not sure what type of math they may have taught back at Brigham Young in the day, but for this team at this time, Reid needs to have real balance, 50-50. It’s vital to the offense because it keeps the defense guessing, provides help for an offensive line that’s improved, but is still shaky in pass protection. So far this season, the offense has run 268 plays, with 127 runs and 141 passes. That’s a balance of 52.6 percent pass and 47.4 percent run. It’s imperative Reid stays as close to those numbers as possible. …Read More!

The Decision – Smith vs Kaepernick – 2 Years Later

No one has ever accused Jim Harbaugh of being afraid to make a decision, especially one that may have odds that are long for success.

In November 2012, Harbaugh walked out to the end of the NFL diving board and decided to jump.

Alex Smith was the quarterback that the then new San Francisco head coach molded into a consistent performer in the 2011 season. It was easily the best season of Smith’s career, and he continued to perform well through the first half of the 2012 season. As a new NFL head coach, it was a gift that made Harbaugh’s transition so much easier.

On November 11, 2012, in a game against St. Louis at Candlestick Park, Smith suffered a concussion. Second-year backup Colin Kaepernick walked into the Niners huddle and never left. Even when Smith was cleared to play weeks later, Harbaugh decided to stick with his young and physically gifted quarterback.

Behind Kaepernick, the 49ers made it to the Super Bowl where they lost to Baltimore. Last season, they made it back to the NFC Championship Game before losing to Seattle.

Sunday, Kaepernick will make his 28th regular-season start when he plays against the Chiefs for the first time. And, Smith will play against the Niners for the first time in his 10-year career. He moved to Kansas City in 2013 through a trade that sent a pair of second-round draft choices to San Francisco. …Read More!

Officials Preview: Walt Coleman Crew For KC vs. SF

Long-time referee Walt Coleman will work Sunday’s game between the Chiefs and 49ers

There was a lot of chatter around the NFL this week concerning officiating.

A short version is that the guys in the striped shirts are not happy with their bosses at the league office in New York. They are concerned with inconsistencies in grading on-field decisions.

One of their points of contention involves the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah after his end zone slide and moment of prayer in the Monday night victory over New England.

Abdullah was flagged, and the next morning the NFL was quick to announce that the game officials should not have pulled the yellow hankie. That penalty, along with one in a September 21 game between Washington and Philadelphia caused the consternation. On an interception thrown by Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, Redskins defender Chris Baker hit the passer after the pick by his teammate. He was penalized on the play, but league officials said the next day that Baker’s hit was legal under the rules.

The union said both calls were graded correct even after NFL executives announced that they were incorrect. “Consistency in penalty enforcement is extremely important to the players, coaches and fans,” said Jim Quirk, the executive director of the NFL Referees Association. “Uncertainty as to what the league wants called is not a road you want to go down.” …Read More!

Fisher Pushing Performance North, Not South

Eric Fisher (left) and Joe Staley (right): Central Michigan tackles

There hasn’t been much doubt in the minds of those in charge of football at Arrowhead Stadium that Eric Fisher would at some point show why he was the NFL’s first draft choice in 2013 out of Central Michigan University.

In this case, any doubts that may have developed over his first season and a quarter of his second were trumped by patience. With the background and knowledge that the process of becoming a left tackle in pro football is seldom a quick and easy road, being patient was a requirement for the start of Fisher’s career.

In the Chiefs two-game winning streak, Fisher turned in the two best performances of his career. His blocking in the run game against New England was a huge factor in the more than 200 yards Andy Reid’s offense racked up with Jamaal Charles, Knile Davis and Alex Smith. While Fisher gave up a sack of Smith against the Patriots, he’s coming off two games where his overall pass protection was significantly improved compared to the first two games of the season.

Notoriously hard on himself when evaluating his performance, even Fisher has felt and seen the improvement.

“Everything is really slowing down,” Fisher said this week as the Chiefs prepared to face the San Francisco 49ers. “I feel like I’ve made progress every game and it’s all improving. By no way I’m saying there isn’t room for improvement. I’ve got to get better.” …Read More!

Next Opponent – San Francisco 49ers

Game – No. 5.

OpponentSan Francisco 49ers.

2014 record – the Niners are 2-2 on the season, with an 11-point victory over Dallas in the opener and a 26-21 decision against Philadelphia last Sunday. In between those games, San Francisco lost by eight points to Chicago at home and by nine points in Atlanta. They are minus-1 in point differential (88 scored, 89 given up), plus-4 in the turnover ratio (five giveaways, nine takeaways) and minus-5 in sack differential (10 allowed, 5 on defense.)

Franchise began – in 1946 as an original member of the All-America Football Conference, a rival league to the established NFL. The 49ers were 39-15-2 in the 1946-49 seasons and they were one of three AAFC teams that were merged into the NFL for the 1950 season (Cleveland and Baltimore were the other teams.)

Ownership – Edward DeBartolo Sr. purchased the franchise in 1977 from the estate of brothers Tony and Victor Morbito, the last original owners from the team’s birth 30 years before. The team was controlled at the time of sale by their widows, Jane and Josephine Morbito. DeBartolo put his son Edward DeBartolo Jr., in charge of the operation under the parent company DeBartolo Corporation, located in Youngstown, Ohio. It was Eddie Jr. that hired Bill Walsh as the team’s head coach in 1979 and that led to a remarkable decade of success and multiple championships. Legal entanglements, including his guilty plea to a felony cost DeBartolo control of the franchise in 2000, as he team was taken over by his sister Denise DeBartolo York. She brought her husband John into the organization and now their son Jed is the team president. …Read More!

Tale of the Tape – Chiefs vs. 49ers

The Chiefs and 49ers faceoff on Sunday in the San Francisco Bay Area’s new Levi’s Stadium with matching 2-2 records and plenty of positions and areas of their teams are equal as well. Breaking down the two teams in 11 areas leaves little separating the clubs. That should make for an interesting and potentially entertaining game in week No. 5 of the 2014 season.

Here is the head-to-head, position-by-position, tale of the tape for the Chiefs and Niners: …Read More!

Snap Judgments/New England

Here are the snaps credited by the NFL to the Chiefs on offense, defense and in the kicking game from playing the Patriots. Names in bold are those that played 100 percent of their unit’s snaps:

Offense (67)

  • Backs – Alex Smith 67, Jamaal Charles 36, Knile Davis 29, Anthony Sherman 26, Joe McKnight 15, Cyrus Gray 3, Dontari Poe 1.
  • Receivers – Anthony Fasano 60, Dwayne Bowe 53, Donnie Avery 40, Travis Kelce 35, Junior Hemingway 28, A.J. Jenkins 11, Demetrius Harris 10, Frankie Hammond 4.
  • Line – Zach Fulton 67, Mike McGlynn 67, Rodney Hudson 67, Eric Fisher 67, Ryan Harris 67. …Read More!

Charles Earns AFC Honors

Running back Jamaal Charles was named the AFC offensive player of the week on Wednesday due to his performance in Monday night’s victory over New England at Arrowhead Stadium.

In the 41-14 outcome, Charles scored three touchdowns and produced 108 offensive yards on 18 carries and three catches. He scored on a two-yard run and caught scoring passes of five and eight yards.

All this came with Charles less than 100 percent because of a sprained ankle that kept him out of the Miami game the previous Sunday. He suffered the injury in the first half of the game in Denver on September 14.

It’s the third offensive player of the week honors that Charles earned over his seven-season career. He was also the AFC special teams player of the week in a 2009 victory over Pittsburgh.

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