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Pre-Game: Chiefs & Steelers From Pittsburgh


From Heinz Field, Pittsburgh

The inactive players for the Chiefs against the Steelers today are quarterback Aaron Murray, wide receiver Donnie Avery cornerback Marcus Cooper, running back Charcandrick West, center Eric Kush, guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, defensive end Nick Williams

The inactive players for the Steelers against the Chiefs today are quarterback Landry Jones, wide receiver Justin Brown, safety Troy Polamalu, cornerback Ike Taylor, defensive end Clifton Geathers, guard Chris Hubbard, tight end Matt Spaeth.

For the Steelers, Brice McCain will start at right cornerback for Ike Taylor and Will Allen will open at strong safety for Troy Polamalu.

For the Chiefs, Albert Wilson is expected to open with the No. 1 offense at the other receiver, opposite Dwayne Bowe.

The National Weather Service forecast for Sunday here in the Steel City is calls for mostly cloudy skies with temperatures near 40 degrees. There’s a very light wind like their always is right next to the spot where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers come together to form the Ohio River. But it’s not enough wind that it should play a part in the game. Kickoff temperature expected to be 37 degrees.

The playing surface at Heinz Field is in remarkable shape given the time of year and the amount of football games played in the stadium each fall. Not only is it the home for the Steelers, but also the University of Pittsburgh and numerous high school games. Generally, by this time of the year the ground is chewed up and there’s little turf left to play on. It looks like a nice fast track for these teams to play on right now.

The Steelers are just 2-4 at Heinz Field this season, having lost unexplainable performances against Tampa Bay and New Orleans. In the last three seasons, Pittsburgh is only 12-10 here at Heinz Field.

Jamaal Charles comes into the game needing just 50 rushing yards to pass the 1,000-yard mark for the fifth time in his career. It would also give him three consecutive seasons with 1,000-plus rushing yards. That would match the performance of Priest Holmes, who had 1,000-yard seasons in 2001-02-03.

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.

Chiefs-Patriots Drew Big TV Viewership Monday Night

The Chiefs 41-14 victory over New England was a big hit with television viewers and allowed ESPN win the ratings battle among all networks in households, viewers and all key male and adult groups. The game broadcast ranked as the top telecast of the night across the television landscape, averaging an 8.8 household rating, representing 10,219,000 households and 14,426,000 viewers according to Nielsen.

Game viewership peaked between 8:30-8:45 p.m. with a 10.2 rating and more than 17 million viewers around the country.

In Kansas City, the game delivered a 13.9 rating on ESPN and a 29.8 on KMBC-Channel 9, for a combined 43.7 rating in the market. In Boston the game drew a combined 30.1 rating.

The top 10 metered markets (in addition to the markets of the competing teams) included: Providence (20.8), San Diego (17.3), Las Vegas (15.1), Denver (13.5), Sacramento (13.2), Seattle (13.1), Indianapolis (12.4), New Orleans (12.3), West Palm Beach (12.2), and Phoenix (12.1).

Abdullah Should Not Have Been Penalized

The NFL public relations machinery has been broken in recent times but the folks in New York responded quickly to the 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty called Monday night against Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah.

After returning an interception 39 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, Abdullah slid on both knees in the end zone and then knelt and bent over in prayer. Abdullah is a Muslim faith, who follows the rules of his religion including spend several months each day kneeling on his prayer rug.

That’s what he did at the end of his slide and the game officials hit him with the 15-yard penalty. The flag ended up causing no problems for the Chiefs, but the league was quick to establish that the whole incident was not correct.

The league statement read: “Husain Abdullah should not have been penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct following his fourth quarter touchdown. Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1 (d) states ‘players are prohibited from engaging in any celebrations or demonstrations while on the ground.’  However, the officiating mechanic in this situation is not to flag a player who goes to the ground as part of religious expression, and as a result, there should have been no penalty on the play.”

Fans & Chiefs Look To Make Monday Night Noise

Whether the crowd at Arrowhead Stadium can make enough noise to take back from Seattle Seahawks fans the designation as the loudest sporting venue in the country will be decided by a guy holding a decibel meter.

Whether the Chiefs can make their own Monday night noise and push themselves back into the conversation among AFC contenders will depend not on machinery, but how they perform against and handle the visiting New England Patriots.

Kickoff is 7:15 p.m. with television coverage on ESPN and in Kansas City, KMBC-Channel 9.

The Chiefs are 1-2. The Patriots are 2-1. Both teams have been disappointments to their fans for underachieving in the season’s first three weeks. Both clubs have been hampered by injuries. Each team has offensive line problems. The Chiefs and Patriots are going to rely on their defenses at this point in the season.

Andy Reid’s team needs to carry a 2-2 record into Tuesday morning, and leave the Patriots with a similar 2-2 record. A K.C. victory would turn what began as a disastrous first quarter into a month of momentum for going forward with trips ahead to San Francisco and San Diego.

“I think it’s a great opportunity,” said quarterback Alex Smith. “They are all big opportunities and certainly this one is. I think momentum can be a big, big thing in this game and I feel like we’ve got a little bit going and would love to keep it going.” …Read More!

Andy & Bill Bring Victories Into Monday Night


372

That’s how many victories Andy Reid and Bill Belichick will bring to Arrowhead Stadium for Monday night football when the Chiefs host the Patriots.

No game currently on the 2014 NFL schedule will bring together coaches with as many winning regular season and post-season efforts as the meeting between Reid and Belichick.

Career head coaching records:

  • Belichick – 220-115-0, a .657 winning percentage in 20 seasons.
  • Reid – 152-110-1, a .580 winning percentage in 15 seasons.

They currently rank No. 1 (Belichick) and No. 4 (Reid) in most victories among active NFL head coaches. In league history Belichick ranks No. 5 and Reid is No. 21.

In fact, this game will feature the most victories between two head coaches for any game ever played at Arrowhead Stadium. It tops the 370 victories that Don Shula and Marty Schottenheimer carried into the October 13, 1991 game between the Dolphins and Chiefs. That was a blowout victory for Schottenheimer, as the Chiefs won 42-7. …Read More!

Officials Preview – John Parry & Crew

One of the NFL’s higher ranked officiating crews will work Monday night handling the Chiefs and Patriots in Monday night football at Arrowhead Stadium.

Referee John Parry is in his 15th season as an NFL official and eighth season as a referee. The Patriots know him well – he was the referee for Super XLVI in Indianapolis when the New York Giants beat New England. That’s Parry on the right, holding out a hand to help out a defeated Tom Brady at the Super Bowl.

A financial advisor in suburban Akron, Ohio, Parry and his crew have averaged 15 penalties walked off for 143 yards in three games this season, including the NFL’s regular-season opener in Seattle between the Seahawks and Packers. They also worked the Arizona at New York Giants game and last week handled San Diego’s visit to Buffalo. That ranks them in the top third of flag throwers in the league.

This crew has leaned on the defense, walking off 27 of their 45 penalties against the defenders. That includes 18 coverage penalties, including eight illegal contact calls, more than any other crew. On the offensive side, they have walked off 14 penalties with half that total offensive holding.

The Chiefs are 2-3 in the last five games where Parry has been the referee; the most recent was the Monday night game last season in Denver, when they had fewer penalties than the Broncos but still lost.

…Read More!

4 Keys To Winning For the Chiefs Vs. Patriots

 

Four

Handle Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones

Here’s a number to consider when discussing New England’s third-year defender and 2012 first-round selection in the NFL Draft: 85.75 inches. That’s the wingspan of Chandler Jones and it’s a problem the Chiefs must deal with in Monday night’s game. The 6-5, 260-pound Jones has arms that are 35½ inches long; thus he can spread those wings more than seven-feet wide. That makes him a threat to knock down any pass on his side of the field, plus he’s a load to handle in pass protection. This year in three games Jones has 14 total tackles, two sacks and two passes knocked down. Against Minnesota, he blocked a field goal, picked up the ball and scored on a 58-yard return. Figure Bill Belichick and his defensive staff will find the weakest point of the Chiefs offensive line and attack there with Jones.

…Read More!

Jackson County Bridge Will Wear Len Dawson’s Name

On Friday morning the state of Missouri honored Chiefs and Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson by attaching his name to a bridge near Arrowhead Stadium.

Missouri General Assembly Bill No. 1866 designated the bridge on East Stadium Drive over Interstate 435 as the Len Dawson Bridge in ceremonies at the stadium.

“I’m excited and I’m also humbled to be the recipient (of this honor) in this very special way,” Dawson said. “A kid from Alliance, Ohio . . . I think we had a bridge there, I’m not too sure, but it wasn’t named after anybody.”

Dawson spent 18 years in Alliance, a small town just east of Canton. Then it was off to four years in West Lafayette, Indiana at Purdue University, three years in Pittsburgh after the Steelers selected him in the first round of the 1957 NFL Draft, and then two seasons in Cleveland when he was traded to the Browns before he landed in Dallas for a year with the Texans. In 1963 Dawson joined the rest of Lamar Hunt’s franchise and moved to Kansas City. It’s been his home for the last 52 years.

“I want to thank Lamar Hunt for bringing the franchise from Dallas to Kansas City,” Dawson said. “Kansas City is home and I wouldn’t want to think about being home in any other place but Kansas City.”

The honor comes as part of the Missouri Department of Transportation’s highway designation program that honors certain individuals, events, places or organizations on Missouri’s state highway system.

Tale of the Tape: Chiefs vs. Patriots

On the surface there would not seem to be much to compare between the Chiefs and their next opponent, the New England Patriots. It’s been 10 years since the Pats won a Super Bowl championship; it’s been 45 seasons since the Chiefs earned their only Super Bowl trophy. Over the last decade, New England averaged 12.4 victories per season; the Chiefs averaged half that in the same time period.

But as the teams get ready to face each other this coming Monday night at Arrowhead Stadium they are far closer than many would assume given recent history. Other than the all-important habit of winning that the Patriots have in buckets, there are not a lot of current differences between the teams.

Here is the head-to-head, position-by-position tale of the tape for the Chiefs and Patriots: …Read More!

Keeping The Stars Out of the Eyes of Young Defenders

That’s a Tamba Hali sack and strip of Tom Brady in a 2011 game at Foxboro

Tom Brady has been on the NFL’s radar screen for 15 seasons now. With three Super Bowl victories, two other appearances in the league’s final game, his boyish grin and Hollywood lifestyle, Brady has become one of the iconic figures in the game.

Many of the Chiefs defenders attempting to stop Brady on Monday night at Arrowhead Stadium were not even teenagers yet when Brady won his first championship ring in the 2001 season with the Patriots victory over St. Louis in New Orleans.

Nose tackle Dontari Poe and cornerback Marcus Cooper were 11 years old. Outside linebacker Justin Houston and defensive end Allen Bailey were 12. Running back/receiver De’Anthony Thomas will not be on the field against Brady, but he was just eight years old when Brady first held the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Playing against Brady tends to tighten the emotion strings on young defensive players. It can become a psychological jumble playing against a superstar they watched as a kid, knowing from film study and the defensive coaches that Brady always finds the defensive mistakes and weaknesses. They want to play perfectly because it’s a national stage of Monday night. They feel like they must be perfect given Brady’s experience and skills. But not even the coaches expect their players to go through a 60-minute game doing everything perfectly for the defense.

It’s a combination of emotions that can test the resolve of any young player. …Read More!

McKnight Goes Down With Ruptured Achilles

From the Truman Sports Complex

In a stunning announcement Friday morning, the Chiefs reported that running back Joe McKnight suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in practice Thursday. He will definitely not play Monday night against New England and he’s headed for surgery, ending his 2014 season.

After his performance against Miami last week where he caught two touchdown passes and had a very nice kickoff return, losing McKnight is a huge blow to the Chiefs depth and takes away a potential weapon from the offense and special teams.

“It’s unfortunate because he did have a tremendous game on Sunday,” said offensive coordinator Doug Pederson. “It tugs at your heart a little bit because he battled through injury here and injury in New York (Jets) and sitting out of football and knowing just how hard he worked, the time and effort he put in going all the way back to the OTAs. He was a guy that brought energy to that room and brought another skill-set to use. I just want to get him healthy and get back as soon as possible.”

No prognosis was given by head trainer Rick Burkholder when he announced the injury to the media Friday.

“He’s in the evaluation process right now and we are trying to determine when he’ll have the surgery and who will do the surgery,” said Burkholder. “It will be up to Coach Reid and John Dorsey to decide his status on the roster.”

McKnight had 132 all-purpose yards on 10 touches last Sunday against Miami. He had one rushing play for three yards, caught six passes for 64 yards and two touchdown catches and he returned three kickoffs for 65 yards.

Next Opponent: New England Patriots

The two-man Mt. Rushmore of the Patriots: Bill Belichick and Tom Brady

Game – No. 4.

OpponentNew England Patriots.

2014 record – they are 2-1, after losing their opener to Miami 33-20, and then posting back-to-back victories over Minnesota 30-7 and Oakland 16-9. They have allowed 49 points, while scoring 66. After three games they are ranked No. 26 in offensive yards with an average of 301.3 yards per game. Despite having quarterback Tom Brady, the Pats are No. 27 in passing yards per game at 196.3 yards. Defensively the Patriots are No. 3 in fewest defensive yards allowed, giving up an average of 272.7 yards. They are plus-6 in the turnover ratio and even in the sack ratio.

Franchise began – in 1960 when the Boston Patriots were one of eight charter members of Lamar Hunt’s American Football League. They became the New England Patriots in 1971 when they moved into their new stadium in Foxboro, MA. That building changed names several times, but the Patriots played there until Gillette Stadium was built and opened in Foxboro for the 2002 season.

Ownership – The Kraft family owns 100 percent of the team. Robert Kraft, the family’s 73-year old patriarch holds 30 percent ownership. His four sons (Jonathan, Dan, Josh and David) equally share the other 70 percent. Kraft bought the Patriots in 1994 from St. Louis businessman James Orthwein for $175 million. Orthwein, a great-grandson of Anheuser-Busch found Adolphus Busch of brewery fame bought the franchise from New York businessman Victor Kiam in 1992. Kiam bought the team for $83 million in 1988 from the founding Sullivan family. It was Billy Sullivan who paid $25,000 in 1960 for a franchise in the AFL. Over the years, Sullivan had many partners and several times became 100 percent owner in the team. But Sullivan did not come from money, and eventually operating a team in a dilapidated stadium in Foxboro limited his income opportunities. Billy Sullivan died in 1988, forcing his heirs to sell the club because of the inheritance tax situation.

Quiz 1 – Patriots founder Billy Sullivan played a major part in Lamar Hunt’s life. What was his role? Sullivan made the presentation speech for Hunt when the Chiefs founder was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

General Manager?, the Patriots do not have a person listed as holding that title. The duties of the G.M. are split among several persons, with the most public being director of player personnel Nick Caserio. This 14th season with the Patriots, with 12 coming in the personnel department and two as an assistant coach. There is no question who holds the football power in the organization – read on. …Read More!

Snap Judgments/Miami: TEs Changing Chiefs Offense

As an offensive play-caller there’s one thing Andy Reid craves each Sunday – options. Give an offensive mind like the Chiefs head coach a toolbox full of different implements and there’s no predicting what he can build when his team has the football.

The game within the game that’s played out in every game on Sunday is where the offensive and defensive coaching staffs try to decipher what the other guys have shown in previous games, and then create a game plan to leave the other guys guessing.

Over the last two weeks, Reid and his offensive coordinator Doug Pederson have not put together cookie-cutter game plans. They have taken their basic offensive scheme and continue to make subtle changes. That comes with the motion and shifting of players when the offense comes out of the huddle and there are the personnel packages created to run the plays.

On Sunday in Miami, the offensive game plan included a heavy dose of the Chiefs running a three tight end alignment. But this wasn’t the standard short yardage/goal line three tight ends. Due to the skills of Anthony Fasano, Travis Kelce and Demetrius Harris, the Chiefs can put formations on the field that don’t provide any clue of what’s about to happen.

“They give you some flexibility because they’re all good receivers,” Reid said Monday. “We put that in for OTAs and then we ran it a little bit last week (against Denver) where we threw the ball. We thought we could get a decent match up there with them in the run game.”

The Chiefs had 11 snaps on offense with all three tight ends on the field. It always started with all three lined up to the outside of right tackle Ryan Harris, usually with Fasano, Harris and Kelce in that order. In effect, it gave the Chiefs five blockers on the right side of the center. On several of those plays, Kelce went in motion from right to left. …Read More!

4 Keys To A Chiefs Victory Against Miami/Recap

 

Four

Keep pass rusher Cameron Wake out of the pocket

Over the last four seasons, Wake is one of the most prolific sackers in the league, pulling down the passer 53.5 times in 79 games since joining the Dolphins in 2009 out of the Canadian Football League. Left tackle Eric Fisher will see a lot of No. 91 and the Chiefs second-year blocker must show that he’s up to the task. Fisher’s performance against Denver last week was an improvement but then going up is just about the only direction he could have traveled. Alex Smith does not need to get swallowed up in the wake of Cameron. Fisher and left guard Mike McGlynn need to be a damn against the pass rush on that back side.

OUTCOME: the Chiefs pass protection was not good, but they were able to handle Wake well enough that he did not have one of the Dolphins five quarterback takedowns. Overall, the pass protection was not up to standards, but it wasn’t Wake in the pocket. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

Three

Confuse Ryan Tannehill

Sunday’s game will be NFL start No. 35 for Tannehill, and Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton made a good point this week: Tannehill has a limited history at the position. At Texas A&M University he was a wide receiver/quarterback and started 19 games under center. He’s been a full-time QB for just five years; he’s still learning on the job. Tannehill is talented and he can make plays to help his team win. He can also make plays that kill the Dolphins chances of success. He’s a mobile quarterback and can escape the pass rush, but as he’s running the ball is exposed to the defense. Plus, when he throws on the move, the chances of interception increase.

OUTCOME: hard to say that Tannehill’s troubles came because he was confused, but the numbers say that might have been the case. He didn’t complete 50 percent of his passes and he averaged just 4.8 yards per attempt. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

Two

Take the ball away

It’s hard to believe that in two games the Chiefs defense has not registered a turnover – no interceptions and zero fumbles recovered. In fact, Tennessee and Denver only fumbled the ball one time in those games and the Titans recovered the ball, so the Chiefs are not even causing fumbles. They are one of three teams left in the league that does not have a takeaway (Pittsburgh and New York Giants are the other two.) It’s darn near impossible for the Chiefs to win more games than they lose if they don’t take the ball away. The confusing part is that on the practice field and in the meeting rooms, takeaways are constantly stressed to the players and even the least intelligent player understands how big an interception or fumble recovery is to his team’s chances of winning.

OUTCOME: it’s now even harder to believe the Chiefs are without a turnover after three games. In this game they had opportunities, as Tamba Hali caused a fumble on his sack of Tannehill that Miami recovered. Cornerbacks Chris Owen and Sean Smith both had possible interceptions in their hands and couldn’t make the play. FAILED

One

Match the intensity of the second game performance, not the first game

The Chiefs appeared more intense, better prepared and committed in their Game No. 2 loss to Denver than anything they showed in Game No. 1 when losing to Tennessee. The results were the same, but the type of performance they had against Tennessee gives the Chiefs little opportunity to win. If they play as they did against Denver, the Chiefs will have a chance to win any game they play this season. Right now, they need to win one game and it needs to be this one. Ahead on the schedule are New England, San Francisco and San Diego. Miss gaining a “W” this week and this team is looking 0-6 right in the eye.

OUTCOME: they definitely got this done. The Dolphins kind of meandered through the game, only getting excited when they scored 12 points in three minutes while producing just 19 offensive yards. The Chiefs were business-like in their approach, but showed some emotion in getting their first victory of the season. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

Chiefs Earn A South Beach Victory Over The Dolphins

The odds are nearly impossible for an NFL team to reach the playoffs after starting the season 0-3. The numbers since 1990 show only 2 percent improve enough to make the tournament.

Andy Reid and his Chiefs will not have to worry about those numbers, as they picked up the season’s first victory, bouncing the Miami Dolphins 34-15 in a Sunday afternoon meeting at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Without running back Jamaal Charles, inactive because of his sprained ankle, Davis became the offensive engine, running 32 times for 132 yards. Quarterback Alex Smith threw three touchdown passes, including a pair to running back Joe McKnight. The defense didn’t get a takeaway, but the pass rush pressure on Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill produced four sacks.

Now 1-2, the Chiefs host the New England Patriots next Monday night at Arrowhead Stadium.

Here’s the coverage of Sunday’s victory:

Time For ’14 Chiefs To Show Just Who They Are

Two weeks ago, the Chiefs bad overall performance led to loss No. 1. A week ago they had a much better day of production and still they were slapped with loss No. 2.

It’s the third week of the 2014 season and reading the tea leaves on this year’s edition of the Hunt Family franchise remains nothing but guess work. There are obvious reasons for the team’s inconsistency against Tennessee and Denver. They started the season with seven new starters (including the kicker) and after two games they now have a dozen different starters from last year’s team that made the AFC playoffs.

On this Sunday, the Chiefs are in south Florida to face the Miami Dolphins and Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens. It’s a 3:25 p.m. start with television coverage on CBS.

“Certainly it’s not where we hoped to be two weeks ago,” said quarterback Alex Smith. “It’s a long season and you never know what can happen and I think that’s the reason the mentality is win this week and put some things together. You never know what can happen; there are so many things out of your control that you can’t worry about.

“The one thing we can control is how we prepare and go out and play the Dolphins and let’s just focus on that.” …Read More!

Week #3 Notes: Cradle of Kickers – St. Augustine, FL?

Some 300 miles from Miami, traveling up Interstate-95 along the east coast of Florida is St. Augustine.

Known as the oldest continuously inhabited village in the continental United States, St. Augustine saw European explorers as early as Ponce de Leon in 1513 and what became a permanent settlement was set up in 1565. There’s 600 years of history there that went down on the Atlantic Ocean and in the many rivers that crisscross the city.

But it’s doubtful anyone has ever called St. Augie the cradle of kickers. But of the 32 men booting the ball in the NFL, two are from St. Augustine and they’ll be together on the field Sunday afternoon when the Chiefs and Dolphins face off back down I-95 in Miami Gardens.

Caleb Sturgis will be kicking for the Dolphins. He’s in his second season with the team out of the University of Florida and St. Augustine High School. Cairo Santos will be booting the ball for the Chiefs. He will be in his third NFL game after signing as an undrafted free agent out of Tulane University with his high school days coming at St. Joseph Academy in St. Augustine.

Of the 30 other kickers this week around the league there are two that kicked at the same high school – Notre Dame High in Sherman Oaks, California: Nick Folk of the New York Jets and Kai Forbath of the Washington Redskins. Sturgis and Santos are two of six kickers that have come out of Florida, from St. Augustine in the north, to Ft. Lauderdale in the south. There are also six Texas raised kickers in the league. No other state or area had more than two kickers.

Sturgis and Santos have never kicked against each other in a game – St. Augie and St. Joe were in different leagues and classifications, so they never went head-to-head. But they have spent many hours kicking together in St. Augustine during springs and summers when they came back for visits. …Read More!

Tamba Hali vs. Branden Albert – One More Time

Through his nine seasons in the NFL, Tamba Hali has been taking notes, a lot of notes. Before each game in preparation, and after each game in analyzing the action, Hali records what he saw on tape and then what he saw in live action from the guy trying to block him.

But in week three of this, his ninth season, Hali didn’t have any notes to use in his preparation to face the left tackle of the Miami Dolphins, a fellow by the name of Branden Albert.

“It’s all right here,” Hali said Friday, taping his head to indicate his scouting report was filed away on his mental hard drive. “We both know each other’s strengths and weaknesses that’s for sure.”

Hali actually has more information about Albert than any opponent he’s faced since arriving in 2006. That’s what comes from six years of going against each other constantly in practices and training camp. They probably had a thousand or more snaps between the 2008 season when Albert arrived as a first-round draft choice, through the 2013 season that proved to be the last for Albert in red and gold. In March he signed a five-year $47 million contract with the Dolphins as an unrestricted free agent.

Has Albert been sharing what he knows about the Chiefs defensive scheme? …Read More!

Officials Look: Triplette Crew For Chiefs-Dolphins

The Chiefs are without a victory in the young 2014 NFL season, but one part of their troubles has not been penalties.

So far, they’ve seen 10 flags walked off against them for 87 yards. That’s No. 6 in the league for fewest penalties and No. 7 for fewest penalty yards. Overall, in the Chiefs first two games there have been 33 penalties and 268 yards walked off against both teams.

This week, the Chiefs will get referee Jeff Triplette (right) and his veteran crew when they face the Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. Triplette is in his 19th season as an NFL official, joining the league in 1996 as a field judge and promoted to referee in 1999.

Off the field, he’s the CEO and President of ArbiterSports, a business he founded that’s developed hardware and software that allows sporting organizations to educate, assign and pay officials for any athletic event. Triplette has also worked in risk management consulting and worked 32 years for Duke Energy Corporation in North Carolina. He’s a retired Colonel with over 32 years of service in the U.S. Army National Guard and Reserve. He was awarded the Bronze Star while serving in the first Persian Gulf War.

Triplette and his crew worked the Jacksonville at Philadelphia game in the opening weekend, and they had St. Louis at Tampa Bay last Sunday. Home teams are 1-1 on the season with Triplette as the referee. His crew has walked off a total of 22 penalties for 200 yards. That ranks them near the top of the list of NFL crews that have thrown the fewest flags. …Read More!

4 Keys To A Chiefs Victory Against The Dolphins

   

Four

Keep pass rusher Cameron Wake out of the pocket

Over the last four seasons, Wake is one of the most prolific sackers in the league, pulling down the passer 53.5 times in 79 games since joining the Dolphins in 2009 out of the Canadian Football League. Left tackle Eric Fisher will see a lot of No. 91 and the Chiefs second-year blocker must show that he’s up to the task. Fisher’s performance against Denver last week was an improvement but then going up is just about the only direction he could have traveled. Alex Smith does not need to get swallowed up in the wake of Cameron. Fisher and left guard Mike McGlynn need to be a damn against the pass rush on that back side.

…Read More!

The NFL’s New Rules On Drugs, PEDs

On the same day that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke publicly about questions of handling players involved in domestic and child abuse cases, the league and players union released details on new rules and regulations that have recently been agreed to between the parties involving drugs of abuse and performance enhancing substances.

There are wide-ranging changes to programs on substances of abuse and PEDs, including revised disciplinary standards for DUIs and marijuana and the use of third-party arbitration process for appeals of positive tests. It also sets up the start of testing for human growth hormone (HGH) within the next few weeks.

These are the important changes made in the policy: …Read More!

Chiefs Practice Report – September 19

From the Truman Sports Complex

Jamaal Charles was working, De’Anthony Thomas was not as the Chiefs wrapped up preparations for Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins.

The practice report was identical to what went down during Thursday’s workout when Charles was a limited participant. Thomas along with safety Eric Berry were not on the field.

It remains hard to believe that Charles will be able to play on Sunday with his high ankle sprain. Should he play against the Dolphins, remarkable might not be a strong enough word to describe his comeback. Generally that injury is a four to six-week recovery period.

Thomas continues to be sidelined with the hamstring injury suffered on September 3 during practice. On Wednesday, the rookie from the University of Oregon spoke with excitement about getting his first chance to play in a regular-season game. He was listed as a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice but now it’s obvious that he had some sort of setback in trying to return to the field.

Berry will likely be listed as out or doubtful for Sunday against the Dolphins; he hasn’t practiced all week due to the sprained ankle suffered in Denver.

Takeaways Disappear From Chiefs Defense

Bob Sutton described the situation with the Chiefs defense right now in two words:

“It’s sad,” the defensive coordinator said Thursday

Sutton was not speaking of the entire performance and effort of the defense in the first two games of the 2014 season. What’s sad in his view is the big fat zero that sits next to one of the most important statistics for any defense: takeaways. They’ve been shut out so far, one of three NFL teams that do not have an interception or fumble recovered in the season’s first two weeks (Pittsburgh and the New York Giants are the others.)

“We talk to our players all the time about how you just have to stay the course and just keep going and those things happen,” Sutton said. “I’m not sure why and when they happen but you’ve got to keep flying to the ball and when your opportunity comes, you want to be there whether the ball is tipped, or the ball is on the ground.”

In the season’s first two games, the Titans and Broncos have fumbled just one time. The defense didn’t even cause that one, as it was on a Tennessee kickoff return in the opener. The hit that knocked the ball out came from an offensive guy: fullback Anthony Sherman. …Read More!

Next Opponent: Miami Dolphins

Game – No. 3.

OpponentMiami Dolphins, lead by quarterback Ryan Tannehill (above).

2014 record1-1, with a 33-20 home victory over New England and a 29-10 loss to the Bills in Buffalo.

Franchise began1966, as the first of two expansion teams in the 10-year history of the American Football League. The partnership of Minneapolis lawyer Joseph Robbie and entertainer Danny Thomas paid $7.5 million for the franchise. They began play at the Orange Bowl in the 1966 season after selecting 31 players in an expansion draft, along with 31 selections in the 1966 AFL Draft. From the Chiefs in the expansion draft, the Dolphins grabbed DT Al Dotson, DE Mel Branch, WR Frank Jackson and LB Ron Caveness. Robbie died in January 1990 with no succession planned worked out. That led his family to sell 15 percent of the team to Miami businessman Wayne Huizenga two months later. In 1994, Huizenga purchased the remaining 85 percent, along with Joe Robbie Stadium.

Ownership – New York real estate magnate Stephen M. Ross bought 50 percent of the Dolphins in 2008, becoming a partner with Wayne Huizenga and then buying another 45 percent of the team in 2009. Ross now owns 95 percent of the Dolphins, Sun Life Stadium and real estate around the stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. Ross is the chairman and founder of Related Companies, an international real estate and development firm that owns over $15 billion of real estate devoted to offices, apartments and condos, event centers and retail. Ross’ company built and developed the Time Warner Center in New York and is creating the largest development in United States history, the Hudson Yards project that is scheduled to be completed in 2024. Ross has a business degree from the University of Michigan and a law degree from Wayne State University. He lives in New York City and Palm Beach, Florida. There are six celebrities listed as Ross’ partners: sisters Serena and Venus Williams, Black Eyes Peas singer Fergie, singer Gloria Estefan and her husband Emilio and singer-actor Marc Anthony.

…Read More!

Tale of the Tape – Chiefs vs. Dolphins

There’s a lot on the line for both the Chiefs and Dolphins in the third game on the 2014 NFL schedule.

Kansas City needs a victory after losing two by a combined score of 50-27. Miami wants to contend in what could be a competitive AFC East, especially after the Fins season opener beat down of the Patriots. They gave some of that back with a 19-point loss to Buffalo last Sunday. They need to protect their home field if they want to have any chance in the division.

As it shakes out, the Chiefs have a very slight advantage over the Dolphins when the teams are matched position-by-position. The Chiefs have a slight offensive edge thanks to Alex Smith, Knile Davis and the tight ends. Miami has the better groups on the line of scrimmage, something that hasn’t been said about south Florida’s team very often in recent seasons.

If both teams play like they did in the season’s first week, the Dolphins will cruise to an easy victory. If both clubs play like they did last week, the Chiefs have a serious chance to win one on the road.

Here is the head-to-head, position-by-position tale of the tape: …Read More!

Chiefs Alumni: Two-Game Production Report

The Chiefs will see a familiar face this Sunday when they travel to south Florida to face the Miami Dolphins.

Former first-round draft choice (2008) Branden Albert is the starting left tackle in the Dolphins offense, protecting the blind side of quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Albert signed back in the spring in the first hours of free agency with Miami.

He’s one of 14 Chiefs draft choices that are on active rosters elsewhere in the league and nine of that group are starters: Albert, right guard Jon Asamoah and defensive lineman Tyson Jackson with Atlanta, cornerbacks Brandon Carr (Dallas) and Brandon Flowers (San Diego), defensive end Jared Allen (Chicago), safeties Bernard Pollard (Tennessee) and Kendrick Lewis (Houston) and defensive tackle Jerrell Powe (Houston).

Here are the Chiefs alumni that were in the league through the end of the pre-season: …Read More!

8 Former Chiefs Players, Coaches On Early Hall List

The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its Modern Era list of players and coaches that will have a chance to be part of the Hall’s Class of 2015.

There are 113 names on the list and eight have a connection to the Chiefs either as player or coach:

  • Kicker Morten Andersen (2002-03).
  • Quarterback Rich Gannon (1995-.).
  • Running back Priest Holmes (2001-07).
  • Cornerback Ty Law (2006-07).
  • Cornerback Albert Lewis (1983-93).
  • Head coach Marty Schottenheimer (1989-98).
  • Guard Will Shields (1993-2006).
  • Head coach Dick Vermeil (2001-05).

Also early candidates with Chiefs ties are former KC assistant coaches Bill Cowher (1989-91) and Tony Dungy (1989-91).

Vermeil’s Greatest Show on Turf team with the Rams that won the Super Bowl after the 1999 season has four key players who are eligible for the first time: quarterback Kurt Warner, tackle Orlando Pace and wide receivers Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce.

The late Chargers-Dolphins-Patriots linebacker Junior Seau is also a first-year nominee.

Here are the 113 potential Hall of Famers. The selection committee will cut that group to 25 in voting that will conclude on January 31 at the Super Bowl in Arizona: …Read More!

Chiefs Make Practice Squad Moves

Last week the Chiefs were the most active team in the NFL on Tuesday’s personnel wire, ultimately making moves involving 15 players coming and going from the active roster and the practice squad.

A week later, they were busy only on the practice squad, and that’s a good sign right now for the injury-riddled Chiefs. It’s an early indication that right now running back Jamaal Charles and safety Eric Berry will not miss significant time with their ankle injuries.

The Chiefs released tight end Adam Schiltz and cornerback Robert Steeples. Both were signed last week in the flurry of roster moves.

Returning to the practice squad is fullback Jordan Campbell. He was with the Chiefs in training camp and the pre-season and spent the first week of regular season on the practice squad.

The other spot was taken by tight end Justin Jones. The 22-year old is 6-7, 274 pounds and out of East Carolina University. He spent training camp time with the New England Patriots but was released there on August 25.

At ECU, the Conyers, Georgia native played in 32 games over three seasons, starting nine times and catching 52 passes for 598 yards and 21 touchdown receptions. He was declared ineligible for the 2013 season by the school. When he was not drafted, he signed with the Patriots.

Snap Judgments/Denver: Living With A Rookie Kicker

Back in the 1980s the Chiefs had a punter named Jim Arnold. He was a Southern boy out of Georgia and he was as down home a character as one could find in an NFL locker room.

Arnold was a pretty good punter for three seasons (1983-85) with the Chiefs and had a 12-year career in the NFL. To last a dozen seasons as a punter/kicker in the league, a leg man must learn to deal with the stress of performance, the highs and the lows of putting foot to ball and the expectations of coaches, teammates and the fans.

“There are three gremlins you can’t let into your head,” Arnold used to say. “You can’t have fear, doubt and worry sitting on your shoulder. It’s no way to kick. You can’t let them in your head.”

Two games into his NFL career Cairo Santos battles Arnold’s gremlins. Fear, doubt and worry have landed on the narrow shoulder pads of the Chiefs rookie kicker. Just check out the agonizing picture with this post, taken in Denver after he missed the second of his two field goal attempts. That’s a young man grabbing his helmet’s facemask as if he’s trying to hold onto his confidence.

Two games, four field goal attempts, two made, a 50 percent success rate and major concern about whether Santos is up to the task.

“Sometimes you get into a funk as a kicker and you’ve got to work your way out of it,” Andy Reid said of his rookie foot. “He hasn’t missed many field goals in his time, so this is a new experience for him. …Read More!

Zebra Report: Crew Fumbles Its Way Through Game

Sunday was not the best of games for Gene Steratore’s officiating crew that worked the Chiefs game on Sunday against Denver.

The best example of their troubles came in the second quarter, when Chiefs running back Knile Davis caught a pass on the sideline, attempted to turn and run with a Broncos defender tackling him and the ball left his hands and rolled out of bounds.

On the field, the first call was a catch and fumble out of bounds. But then, the crew changed its mind and called it an incomplete pass. That’s when Andy Reid threw the red challenge flag and the play went for replay review.

Once Steratore came out from under the hood, the call was changed back to a catch and fumble out of bounds.

There was another replay review that went the Chiefs way, and that came with less than two minutes to play. Alex Smith dropped back to throw the ball and was hit from behind by Denver defensive end DeMarcus Ware. The ball did not leave Smith’s hand and fall to the turf. Instead, Smith’s arm was going forward and the ball went forward, where there was a scramble for the ball and the officials ruled that Denver recovered.

But that was overturned by replay review that ruled that Smith was in the act of throwing the ball, so it was an incompletion.

“I know I had the sack,” said Ware. “I thought the rule that was put in this year was for that. You just have to take it with a grain of salt. The refs are the refs. They’re going to call what they want to call.”

Reid went one-for-two on his replay challenges, losing the review on a pass from Peyton Manning to Emmanuel Sanders that was ruled a catch on the field. The replay seemed to show it was a catch and fumble. But the decision backed up the on-field call and with 2:37 to play in the first half, Reid was out of challenges.

Denver struggled with penalties all day, with 11 flags walked off for 71 yards. That included eight penalties on the Denver defense. The Chiefs ended up with four first downs thanks to those defensive calls.

Here’s the hanky report for the Chiefs against Denver:

#

Team

Player

Penalty

Yards

1.

Offense

R. Harris

Holding

Minus-10

2.

Offense

A.Smith

Illegal forward pass

`Minus-5

3.

Kickoff

*

Offsides

Minus-5

4.

Defense

T. Hali

Offsides

Minus-5

5.

Offense

Z. Fulton

Holding

Minus-10

6.

Offense

Z. Fulton

Holding

Minus-10

7.

Defense

J. Howard

Personal foul

Offsetting

8.

Defense

M. Cooper

Pass interference

Minus-17

Offense-4, Defense-3, Special teams-1. *-Player not named.

Another Chance For ‘14 Chiefs To Show What They Are

Consider the affair that will go down Sunday afternoon at Denver’s Sports Authority Field as the Chiefs 2014 Season Opener II.

Most coaches are never quite sure what they will see in any season’s first game. But once that’s over, the staff usually has a handle of what their team is capable of doing on the field.

Andy Reid and his staff take the Chiefs on the field for an AFC West game against the Broncos not any more certain of what they’ll see than they were a week ago against Tennessee. Blame that on the team’s poor performance against the Titans in all three phases of the game and the departure of three starters for the rest of the season due to injury.

That makes this 109th meeting between the Chiefs and Broncos another opener for Reid and his team. What they will show remains quite unpredictable. Kickoff is 3:25 p.m. CDT with television coverage on CBS.

Derrick Johnson, Mike DeVito and Jeff Allen are gone, all victims of injuries and surgeries that came off the 26-10 loss to Tennessee a week ago. That’s 14 percent of the starting lineup eliminated in a single game. And still, they must play the Broncos.

“You’ve got scheme and you’ve got players that can play,” said Reid. “We still have a lot of good football players on this team. You’ve got a personnel department that’s looking at different options and we’ve still got a lot of games left. That allows for optimism there.” …Read More!

Notes: What Would Sanders Have Brought KC Offense?

Imagine how the Chiefs offense might be different if Emmanuel Sanders was wearing red and gold?

The small and speedy catcher was a free agent in the off-season and seemed on the verge of signing with the Chiefs. In fact, in early March he was in Kansas City, waiting for a deal to be completed between himself and the club.

By the end of that weekend, he was in Denver signing with the Broncos. The Chiefs say Sanders and his agent reneged on a verbal agreement, but without a signature it was he said, she said.

“It was close,” Sanders told the Denver media this week. “We still had a lot of stuff that we had to deal with in terms of incentives. I think we had the foundation of the contract ready but I wasn’t happy with the incentives.”

Sanders got what he wanted from the Broncos and he’s never looked back. Who would, when Peyton Manning is the guy throwing the ball?

“There wasn’t anything in stone, and they (Chiefs) tried to make it seem that way, but I’m way past that,” Sanders said. “I just feel like I was a better fit here in Denver. They throw the football. In college (SMU), I played under a guy by the name of June Jones, who runs the run-and-shoot offense. I like to catch the ball. In college, we threw the ball on third-and-1, on fourth-and-1. I feel like that’s the mold that Denver has up here and I’m enjoying it.” …Read More!

4 Keys To Winning For Chiefs vs. Broncos

1

Raise the level of performance across the board in all phases

The Chiefs failure in game No. 1 was in all phases – the offense couldn’t produce, the defense was vulnerable to run and pass and the kicking game was nothing special. There’s nowhere to go but up for all parts of their performance, and to have any shot of pulling the biggest upset of the NFL’s second week of games, the 13-point underdog Chiefs can’t slack in any single area. The Broncos are not an unbeatable group; just ask Seattle. In the second half of their opener, the Colts came blasting back on Denver, much as Indy did against the Chiefs in the playoffs. They have some holes in their roster, but the Chiefs have more, especially now with losing Derrick Johnson, Mike DeVito and Jeff Allen. Even if those three starters were on the field, the entire 46-man active roster would have to play at a much higher level. If not, they have no chance and they will start the season 0-2.

…Read More!

2014 NFL Roster Numbers

It’s just about impossible with 32 rosters in the NFL to put together a completely accurate picture of all 53 players with each team. That’s 1,696 players, with about 50 of those names in flux every week of the season.

But the league sat down and put together some numbers on the average height, weight, age and experience for the 32 rosters and their players.

When it comes to height and weight there is not a lot of difference from the tallest and heaviest to the shortest and lightest. There are more differences between teams in age, NFL experience and players 30 years and older.

The Chiefs average 6-feet, 1½ inches, making them tied for 23rd among the tallest teams. They average 243.89 pounds, making them one of the league’s lightest squads, ranked at No. 28. The average age of the roster was 25.72 and that tied them at the 11th youngest team in the league. They averaged 3.75 seasons of play in the league, tied for No. 9 in least experienced. They were tied for eighth in rookies and first-year players with 12 and they were No. 17 with the most players that are 30 or older with eight players.

Here are the No. 1 and No. 32 teams in each category.

  • Height: tallest – Arizona, 6-feet, 2 ¼ inches; shortest – Cleveland, 6-feet, 1 ¼ inches.
  • Weight: heaviest – Indianapolis, 252.26 pounds; lightest – Seattle, 242.26 pounds.
  • Age: oldest – Chicago, 27.08 years; youngest – St. Louis, 25.15 years.
  • Experience: most – Chicago, 4.94 seasons; least – St. Louis 3.26 seasons.
  • Rookies/1st-Year: most – Cleveland, 14; least – Tennessee, 6.
  • Players 30 or older: most – Chicago 16; least – St. Louis 3. …Read More!

Injuries Have Already Changed Chiefs Season

On Wednesday, Derrick Johnson had surgery on his right Achilles tendon.

On Thursday, Mike DeVito underwent the same surgery.

Friday brought surgery on the right biceps of Jeff Allen.

Welcome to life in the NFL, where a carefully constructed roster can be left in tatters in the matter of one afternoon thanks to ruptured tendons and torn muscles.

Left – Derrick Johnson rests after surgery on his ruptured Achilles tendon.

It’s an important reminder that football is not a contact sport. Basketball is a contact sport. The game of football is a collision sport. Bodies crash into each other on every single play. Sometimes the effect of those collisions can be seen immediately as the doctors and trainers run onto the field. Other times it’s the cumulative result of hit after hit and the body responds by breaking down, screaming anatomically that it’s had too much.

Lost playing time caused by injuries happens to every player and every team in every season. The 12-month physical training and conditioning programs can only mitigate the damage. Success or failure of any NFL team comes down to the luck of timing. Check any Super Bowl champion and they’ll have a roster that spent very little time out of the action due to injuries.

So far the 2014 Chiefs have not had the luck of timing. One game into the season and their position in the division and conference has been undermined by injuries. And, there are 15 games to be played.

Already, the Chiefs can count 47 lost games to injuries among the team’s starting 22: …Read More!

Officials Preview: Chiefs vs. Broncos

Last week the Chiefs saw an NFL rookie in Ronald Torbert leading the officiating crew onto the field for the season opener against Tennessee. Torbert was handling his first regular-season game as a referee.

This week the Chiefs see a seasoned pro in Gene Steratore and his crew for the game against the Broncos in Denver.

Steratore is in his 12th season as an NFL official and he’s been a referee since 2006. He has not worked a Chiefs game since November 2012 when he led the crew for the game against Cincinnati at Arrowhead Stadium.

Last week, the Steratore crew worked the Cincinnati at Baltimore game, where the road team was able to win. Overall, there were seven penalties walked off in the game for 74 yards. That was the fewest flags and penalty yards in any of the opening weekend games. The group threw eight flags, with one penalty declined, and it was four on the offense, three on defense and once in the kicking game. They showed no obvious tendencies but they flagged offensive holding twice and called unnecessary roughness twice. There was only one penalty involving pass coverage and that was a defensive pass interference against Cincinnati.

In the first weekend of the regular season, home teams won 10 of the 16 games. In seven of those games the team with the fewest penalties walked off against them won. The most penalized team was St. Louis, hit with 13 flags for 121 yards by Ed Hochuli’s crew. The least penalized team was Tampa Bay in its loss to Carolina. The Buccaneers had three penalties for 15 yards. …Read More!

Next Opponent – Denver Broncos


Game – No. 2.

Opponent – Denver Broncos.

Franchise began – in 1960 as one of the original teams in the American Football League established by Lamar Hunt. The founder of the Denver franchise was the Howsam family with father Lee and brothers Bob and Earl. With Bob Howsam in charge, they got the franchise off the ground for the initial AFL season.

OwnershipPatrick Bowlen and family. The Bowlens bought the team in 1984 from Edgar Kaiser for approximately $70 million. Kaiser and his family’s business empire that was founded by his grandfather were facing financial difficulties at the time, so he sold the team that he bought in 1981 for $33 million. Joining Pat Bowlen in ownership were his brothers John and Bill and sister Marybeth. On July 23rd of this year, the 70-year old Bowlen gave up control of the franchise because of the memory issues he was dealing with as a result of Alzheimer’s disease.

General ManagerJohn Elway is following up his Hall of Fame playing career with a very successful stint as the man in charge of the football operations with the Broncos, or the fancy title of executive vice-president/general manager. Elway was named to the job on January 5, 2011 by the team’s managing owner Patrick Bowlen. In Elway’s three full seasons as G.M., the Broncos have a record of 38-17, a .691 winning percentage with three straight AFC West division titles and a trip last February to the Super Bowl. As a starting quarterback with the Broncos from 1983-98, Elway posted a winning percentage of .645 (162-89-1.) …Read More!

D-Bowe Hoping to Bring Energy To Chiefs Offense

From the Truman Sports Complex

“Where have you guys been?” Dwayne Bowe asked Thursday as the media horde surrounded him in the Chiefs locker room before practice.

The obvious reply was “where has D-Bowe been?” This week is the first time Bowe has surfaced with his team in three weeks. A quadriceps contusion kept him off the field for the last two weeks of the pre-season and then last week he missed the regular-season opener serving his one-game NFL suspension.

Bowe was happy to be back on the Chiefs radar screen.

“It feels awesome, I’m feeling good, feeling great; happy to be back to help my team,” Bowe said. “Just do what Dwayne Bowe does, bringing high energy and just play my game to the best of my abilities.” …Read More!

Tale of the Tape: Chiefs vs. Broncos

The difference between the 2013 AFC champion Broncos and the Chiefs was two games and 100 percentage points. Denver finished 15-4 (.750) including their run to losing in the Super Bowl to Seattle. The Chiefs finished 11-6 (.647) after losing in the first round of the AFC playoffs to Indianapolis.

As the 2014 season begins, the difference between the two teams has only grown – that was visible based on their performances in the opening week of the season. Denver won 31-24 over the Colts; the Chiefs were soundly beaten 26-10 by Tennessee. Match the teams up across the board and the Chiefs appear to have no chance at winning on Sunday. Position-by-position the Broncos have a clear edge in all but two or three areas. On a normal day in the NFL, that’s not enough to win.

Here’s how these teams match up from offense, defense, special teams and coaching: …Read More!

‘Big Vick’ Can Make Big Contribution To Chiefs Defense

The Chiefs defense against the run got punched in the mouth last Sunday by Tennessee – 162 rushing yards given up on 38 run plays, or 4.3 yards per carry. The Titans running backs had 32 of those carries for 148 yards, or 4.6 yards per carry.

So this week the Chiefs decided to bring in a tough guy that can punch back.

Nine-year veteran Kevin Vickerson has a reputation for playing hard against the run and doing it with an aggressive personality.

Translation: “Big Vick” doesn’t like to get punched in the mouth by offensive linemen. In fact, he doesn’t like the big guys across the line of scrimmage that are blocking him, or in his mind holding him.

Vickerson signed with the Chiefs on Tuesday and was on the practice field Wednesday as preparations began for Sunday’s game in Denver against the Broncos.

“Football is one on one,” Vickerson said. “Football is simple and you can’t overthink it. The game is the game, just go out and play fast and physical.” …Read More!

Snap Judgments: Will Fans Keep Lining Up for Chiefs?

When a loss comes down the way the Chiefs lost to the Titans it’s hard to round up just one father for the defeat. There were many responsible for getting smacked around and losing by 16 points in the season opener.

In 90 percent of the games played in the NFL, winning and losing comes down to one element – talent. With few exceptions, the team that has the best players wins the most games. Sometimes a less talented team can pull an upset, but a team with talent that’s properly prepared and educated will win nine out of 10 times.

Given that the Chiefs won 11 games last year, went to the playoffs and had 10 players honored with a trip to the Pro Bowl, they seemed to be the most talented team on the field at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday. Tennessee was coming off a 7-9 season, had a new head coach and staff and the Titans only 2013 Pro Bowler (cornerback Alterraun Verner) was gone in free agency.

But take Dwayne Bowe, Donald Stephenson, Marcus Cooper and De’Anthony Thomas off the field, and the Chiefs talent level dropped. Extract Derrick Johnson and Mike DeVito from the action, and diminish the role of Jamaal Charles almost to the point of irrelevance and viola – the team with the most talent won this game – Tennessee.

The outcome of the opener figures to begin a weekly referendum on the talent level of the roster built by general manager John Dorsey and head coach Andy Reid. Any examination of the players that are in-house must focus on those added through the NFL Draft. The last three administrations that ran the building all focused on using that avenue to build a team, or at least they said that was their plan. …Read More!

Andy Confirms – D.J. & DeVito Out For the Season


From the Truman Sports Complex

It was confirmation of what everyone knew Sunday evening when they filed out of Arrowhead Stadium after the Chiefs 26-10 loss in the season opener to Tennessee.

Head coach Andy Reid told the media Monday afternoon that inside linebacker Derrick Johnson and defensive end Mike DeVito will undergo surgery on ruptured Achilles tendons in their right legs. Their season is over.

“Our heart goes out to them because we know the hard work that both of them put into preparing for the season,” said Reid. “But we have some good, young players that are going to do a good job and step in, because that’s what is expected of them.”

There is no way for the Chiefs to replace Johnson, the most tenured player on the roster in his 10th season with the franchise. The 2005 first-round draft choice has not only been the defense’s leading tackler for years, but he’s the leader of that unit and stays on the field no matter the game situation. …Read More!

Season Opens With Question Marks For Chiefs

A year ago as the Chiefs prepared for the regular-season opener against Jacksonville, new head coach Andy Reid was asked what he expected to see from his team. Given it was the first game of the Reid Era, the coach said he wasn’t sure how the game would play out.

The second season of the Reid Era kicks off Sunday when the Tennessee Titans visit Arrowhead Stadium for a noon kickoff. Television coverage is on CBS.

So what does Reid expect to see this time?

“I know I’ll see great effort,” Reid said. “This crew here, they play hard and they are tough kids.”

But that try-hard stuff does not fill out the entire picture of the 2014 Chiefs. As many question marks as the Chiefs carried into the Jacksonville game last year, there are as many, maybe more for this year’s opener. …Read More!

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