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Evaluating The Chiefs Defense Going Into Camp

For your consideration, here’s a look at the 2015 Chiefs defense position-by-position, where they stood on New Year’s Day and where they stand as the team enjoys a vacation before starting training camp in late July in St. Joseph. The rating system is based on the following:

- Not good enough.

- Improvement needed.

- Can win with them.

- Among best in division/conference.

The Chiefs defense is the strongest part of the roster going into the 2015 season. But there are big questions that remain to be answered with the unit’s best players like Justin Houston, Tamba Hali, Eric Berry, Derrick Johnson and Mike DeVito.

Here’s how it all breaks down: …Read More!

Evaluating The Chiefs Offense Going Into Camp

Unless one happens to be wrapped up in the Tom Brady-Roger Goodell soap opera of deflated footballs and inflated egos, this is the quiet time in the world of pro football. It’s vacation time and after a few days off, players around the country will get back to work on their individual conditioning programs, to stay sharp for the end of July and the start of training camp.

For your consideration, here’s a look at the 2015 Chiefs offense position-by-position, where they stood on New Year’s Day, where they stand now and the direction the arrow is pointing, whether it’s an improvement, or it’s a step backward. Stars are based on the following:

- Not good enough.

- Improvement needed.

- Can win with them.

- Among best in division/conference.

…Read More!

Chiefs Add WR; Roster Now At 90 Players

The Chiefs players and coaches have scattered on vacation, but general manager John Dorsey and his personnel group continued to grind away on Friday, filling an open roster spot by signing wide receiver Jeret Smith.

At 5-9¼, 218 pounds, Smith played four seasons at McMurry University in Abilene, Texas. In the 2014 season for the War Hawks he caught 54 passes for 1,143 yards and 14 touchdown catches. He also scored a touchdown rushing and has done some returning during his career at the Division II school. He finished his college career with 2,729 receiving yards.

Smith attended the Seattle Seahawks rookie mini-camp as a tryout player and then did the same at the Chiefs rookie mini-camp. He joined the Chiefs this week as a tryout player in their full-team mini-camp for two days.

A native of Abilene, Smith runs the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds, and has a vertical jump of 36 inches and a standing broad jump of 10-1.

These are the numbers at each position on the Chiefs roster here at the end of the off-season program:

  • Quarterbacks – 4.
  • Running backs – 5.
  • Fullbacks – 2.
  • Wide receivers – 13.
  • Tight ends – 6.
  • Offensive line – 15.
  • Defensive line – 11.
  • Outside linebackers – 6.
  • Inside linebackers – 7.
  • Cornerbacks – 10.
  • Safeties – 7.
  • Special teams – 4.

Chiefs set 14 public practices For Camp In St. Joe

Beginning on Saturday, August 1, the Chiefs will hold 14 training camp practices that are open to the public at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph.

Two of those sessions will have a $5 admission charge (August 1 and August 8) otherwise there is no admission charge. Parking at MWSU is $5 at every practice.

Rookies and quarterbacks will hit campus on July 28, and they will practice on July 29, 30 and 31, but those sessions are closed to the public. The rest of the veterans will report on the afternoon of Friday, July 31.

Here’s the schedule:

  • Saturday, August 1: first open practice, starting at 3:30 p.m. $5 admission and a team autograph session.
  • Sunday, August 2: practice at 8:15 a.m., Alumni Day with a team autograph session.
  • Monday, August 3: practice at 8:15 a.m.
  • Tuesday, August 4: practice at 8:15 a.m.
  • Wednesday, August 5: practice at 9:15 a.m.
  • Friday, August 7: Practice at 8:15 a.m.
  • Saturday, August 8: Practice at 8:15 a.m., plus family fun day $5 admission fee and team autograph session.
  • Sunday, August 9: Practice at 8:15 a.m.
  • Monday, August 10: Practice at 9:15 a.m.
  • Tuesday, August 11: Practice at 8:15 a.m.
  • Wednesday, August 12: Practice at 8:15 a.m., season ticket appreciation day with a team autograph session.
  • Monday, August 17: Practice at 8:15 a.m.
  • Monday, August 18: Practice at 8:15 a.m.
  • Wednesday, August 19: Practice at 9:15 a.m., Military Appreciation Day.
  • Thursday, August 20: Chiefs break camp; no practice.

Chiefs Roster/Injury Notes As Mini-Camp Is Completed

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs wrapped up their off-season work on Thursday with a shortened practice to close out their mini-camp.

Afterwards, they made several roster moves, signing cornerback Kenny Penny and releasing guard Melvin Meggs and cornerback De’Vante Bausby.

Penny spent the mini-camp working with the defense on a tryout basis. The 5-10, 186-pound Texas native came out of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. He was not selected in the 2015 NFL Draft, but signed with the Cleveland Browns. Penny was released earlier this month by the Browns.

In 42 games with the Runnin’ Rebels, Perry had 113 total tackles, one interception and 19 passes broken up.

Kansas City native Bausby, out of Pittsburg State University, underwent surgery on Thursday for his broken clavicle. He was released with an injury designation and is unlikely to be claimed. Bausby would then move to the Chiefs injured-reserve list.

Meggs was not a participant in mini-camp’s final practice. He was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent out of South Alabama.

Also absent from Thursday’s session was starting right cornerback Sean Smith. Head coach Andy Reid said he was excused for personal reasons.

Speaking after it was all wrapped up, Reid said there was no update on the status of safety Eric Berry in his fight against Hodgkin lymphoma. He said running back Cyrus Gray (knee) and tight end Demetrius Harris (foot) continued to improve in their rehab from injuries. Quarterback Tyler Bray (knee) was with the team during mini-camp as the team wanted to get an evaluation of his rehab.

Chiefs Touched By South Carolina Tragedy

From the Truman Sports Complex

It was with a heavy heart that Chiefs safety Sanders Commings worked through the team’s final practice of mini-camp on Thursday.

His cousin Rev. Clementa Pickney was one of the nine victims that were killed at the Emmanuel AME Church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday evening. Pickney was a pastor at the church and was also a South Carolina state senator. He may have been the first victim as the gunman sat next to Pickney during a bible study session before opening fire on the group.

Commings did not speak after the Chiefs wrapped up mini-camp on Thursday, but earlier in the day he reacted on Twitter:

RIP to my cousin #ClementaPinckney#Prayers for Charleston.”

Commings went through the entire mini-camp practice and then was heading to South Carolina to be with his family.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Sanders Commings and his family,” said head coach Andy Reid. “He’ll be able to head back and take care of business.”

Pickney was 41 years old, the married father of two and had spent 19 years in the South Carolina state legislature.

Commings was a fifth-round selection in the 2013 NFL Draft out of the University of Georgia, but his career has been derailed with multiple injuries, including missing all of the 2014 season with an ankle injury. He’s played in just two of a possible 33 games.

The murderer, 21-year old Dylann Roof was arrested Thursday morning in Shelby, North Carolina.

Chiefs Push Through Day 2 Of Mini-Camp

From the Truman Sports Complex

The second of three mini-camp practices went down Wednesday afternoon at the Chiefs facility as Andy Reid and his coaching staff had 88 bodies to put through the paces.

Wide receiver Albert Wilson went down with a hamstring injury two weeks ago and he returned for the warmup period and positional drills, but did not take part in the full-team work.

Six of the 90 players on the roster were not practicing – outside linebacker Justin Houston (unsigned), safety Eric Berry (lymphoma), cornerback De’Vante Bausby (clavicle), quarterback Tyler Bray (knee), running back Cyrus Gray (knee) and tight end Demetrius Harris (foot).

Participating in Wednesday’s practice was guard Marcus Reed, claimed on waivers this week after he was released by the Green Bay Packers. Also working were four players on a tryout basis – wide receiver Jeret Smith from McMurray University in Abilene, Texas; wide receiver/returner Kealoha Pilareus from the University of Hawaii and the Carolina Panthers; cornerback Kenneth Penny out of Nevada-Las Vegas and the Cleveland Browns; guard Derrick Dennis from Temple University and time with Miami, New England, Chicago and Carolina.

Four men in the NFL’s developmental program for officiating have been on the field each day during practice.

On Thursday, the Chiefs hold their final practice of the off-season and then head for down time.

Chiefs Roll Through Mini-Camp Day 1


Chiefs first-round draft choice Marcus Peters was back on the field Tuesday, getting instructions on special teams from assistant coach Brock Olivo (KC Chiefs photo.)

From the Truman Sports Complex

Andy Reid and the Chiefs coaching staff had 85 bodies to work Tuesday afternoon in the first of three mini-camp practices at the team’s facility.

There were 82 roster players dressed and participating in the two-hour session, along with three tryout players. The best news for the Chiefs was inside linebacker Derrick Johnson and nose tackle Dontari Poe taking part with the No. 1 defense in team drills. Neither player has been full-go for practice in the last two weeks.

As expected outside linebacker Justin Houston was a no-show, as he continues to stay away from the Chiefs facility while waiting for a long-term contract to be negotiated with the team. Safety Eric Berry was not on the field as he continues to battle back from his Hodgkin lymphoma. …Read More!

Chiefs Sign Former K-State Offensive Tackle

Right tackle prospect Tavon Rooks was signed by the Chiefs on Monday, the day before the on-field work of the three-day mini-camp.

The 6-5, 299-pound Rooks was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the 2014 NFL Draft, going in the sixth-round, at selection No. 202. He spent the 2014 season on the Saints practice squad, then signed back in January with the Arizona Cardinals. Rooks was released by the Cardinals on June 5.

A native of Maryland, Rooks began his college career with two seasons at Navarro College, a two-year school in Corsicana, Texas. He moved on to Kansas State University, where he was a starter over two seasons for head coach Bill Snyder.

Chiefs Set For Mini-Camp, Minus Justin Houston

The Chiefs players arrived at the team’s facility Monday evening for the start of the 2015 mandatory mini-camp.

Andy Reid will have his team on the field for three practices on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, before the players and football staff head off for vacation time before the start of training camp near the end of July.

Missing will be outside linebacker Justin Houston. The team’s franchise player designee, Houston is not required to attend because he’s not signed the tender offer he received from the Chiefs. Last year, Houston boycotted the mini-camp while under contract and faced fines totaling nearly $70,000. That will not be the case this year. There is no other incentive for the league’s leading sacker in 2014 to break away from his training in Georgia. Obviously, missing time last year did not hinder Houston’s performance during the 2014 season.

Also, there have been no indications that safety Eric Berry will be at mini-camp as he continues to work on his return from his Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis. However, it would not be a surprise if Berry makes an appearance to see his teammates and the coaching staff. It would be an emotional lift not only for Berry, but the team and organization. …Read More!

Chiefs Wrap OTAs, Only Mini-Camp Left in Off-season

Teammates Charcandrick West and Andrew East watched Friday’s OTA. Chiefs need a North and South to cover all directions (KC Chiefs photo.)

The Chiefs hit the field for their 10th and final OTA practice of the off-season and now have just next week’s mini-camp to complete before they head off to vacation before the start of training camp at the end of July.

There were 76 of the team’s 90-man roster on the field and at full participation for the last session and fourth of the week.

“It’s been a good week of work; we got four good practices in,” said head coach Andy Reid. “The guys are competing; they’ve got good energy. We’re excited for next week to get here.”

That would be the team’s three-day mini-camp that begins Monday evening with the first of three practices on Tuesday. Other than the chance to have a bit more time on the field, there’s no difference between the OTA and mini-camp practices.

“This whole thing is a minicamp, that’s just a mandatory one,” Reid said of next week’s work. “I would expect the guys to continue to grow in the offense and the defense, special teams.” …Read More!

Progress Made on Chiefs OTA Injury Front

Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin was back on the field Thursday in the ninth OTA session for the Chiefs. Maclin missed the workout on Wednesday due to foot inflammation. His presence in the workout is an indication that the foot problem is nothing too serious.

Also back to full participation was inside linebacker Derrick Johnson. He’s been out since early in the month with knee inflammation. After several workouts where he took part only in position drills, Johnson handled the entire practice on Thursday.

Nose tackle Dontari Poe (back) did not practice and wide receiver Albert Wilson (hamstring) was limited in his participation.

Guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif did not practice on Thursday because of illness and outside linebacker Dee Ford was not present for the session due to personal reasons.

OTA #10 is scheduled for Friday. From there, the Chiefs will break for three days before the start of the team’s mini-camp next Tuesday.

Some tidbits that came from post-practice media access with selected players: …Read More!

Injury-Bug Continues To Bite Chiefs In OTAs

LB Josh Mauga chugs a Gatorade to compensate for the heat during Wednesday’s OTA (KC Chiefs photo.)

It’s June and there’s no reason for anyone in the red and gold universe to be looking for the panic button. But a series of injuries in the last few weeks has increased the fretting level around Arrowhead Stadium and it grew even larger on Wednesday as the Chiefs went through OTA session No. 8 at their facility in the Truman Sports Complex.

Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin did not practice because of a foot problem. Undrafted rookie cornerback and Kansas City native De’Vante Bausby suffered a broken clavicle on Tuesday and he’s done until training camp, at the earliest. Plus, Pro Bowl nose tackle Dontari Poe, inside linebacker Derrick Johnson and wide receiver Albert Wilson again were not full participants due to physical maladies.

There’s no indication of how serious these injuries might be, there’s no indication that any of the players with the possible exception of Bausby would miss training camp, the pre-season or the regular season. At this point in the league calendar the Chiefs are under no NFL rules about providing information on injuries. Unlike some teams however, they will acknowledge a player’s physical problems if they do not participate in the OTAs. There are always hopeful comments from head coach Andy Reid about the individual situations, but sometimes that’s wishful thinking and the head coach trying to establish keep a positive fame-of-mind. …Read More!

Final Week of OTAs Begins With Tuesday Workout

The Chiefs are allowed four more OTA sessions under the rules of the labor agreement between the NFL and its players. They ran through the seventh of 10 sessions on Tuesday at their facility in the Truman Sports Complex. The remaining three practices are set for Wednesday-Thursday-Friday.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if Andy Reid made cancelled that last workout. For what a team can get done during these sessions in shorts and without pads, the Chiefs appear to be ahead of where they were last season at the same time. With three more practices next week in what is the team’s mini-camp but will look an awful lot like OTA practices, pulling off the reigns in June for one workout would not be a surprise.

(Left, that’s Frankie Hammond grabbing a pass in front of Marcus Cooper during Tuesday’s OTA session.)(K.C. Chiefs photo.)

Updating the injury situation, starting with the two biggest names – nose tackle Dontari Poe and inside linebacker Derrick Johnson. Poe has not been back on the practice field since he walked off a week ago with back spasms. Johnson went through individual position drills on Tuesday, but then was shut down by the Chiefs trainers and did not work in the team portion of practice due to swelling on his knee.

Joining Poe on the do not practice list was wide receiver Albert Wilson (hamstring). Undrafted rookie and K.C. product cornerback De’Vante Bausby suffered a left shoulder injury and left the field during Tuesday’s practice. Undrafted rookie Keshawn Hill returned to practice after missing a week due to a hamstring injury.

A few tidbits that came out of post-practice media sessions: …Read More!

Chiefs Wrap Up Second Week Of OTAs

(KC Chiefs photo)

Other than a few injuries that popped up during the week, the Chiefs had a good second week of off-season practices. They wrapped up work on Thursday with a session that started outside, but then moved indoors when the weather turned nasty.

“The guys have worked very hard,” head coach Andy Reid told the media after the week’s final practice. “We’re challenging each other, both sides of the ball are making plays. They’re getting good work on special teams, getting good work in the weight room, so I think all of those are positive things.

“I like that the mistakes – in particular with the ones and twos – are kind of smoothing out there. It’s way more functional than it’s been the last two years at this time. And then, I think the threes, because the ones and twos are doing well, those young guys are coming in and it helps them out.”

This week the Chiefs were physically nicked up as inside linebacker Derrick Johnson, nose tackle Dontari Poe and wide receiver Albert Wilson were not full participants in Thursday’s practice. Johnson took part in the warmup portion, but did not work with the defense because of swelling on his left knee. Poe was not practicing due to back spasms that began early in Tuesday’s workout. Wilson left Wednesday’s session with a hamstring issue.

Reid indicated that none of the injuries should be a major issue. Plus, at this time of the year the doctors and trainers are always very conservative in working players back into activity.

The Chiefs have now used six of their 10 OTA sessions. The last four are scheduled for Tuesday through Friday of next week. Then the off-season program ends with the team’s mini-camp.

Alex Works On More Consistency For KC Pass Game

From the Truman Sports Complex

Footwork has been on the mind of quarterback Alex Smith as he’s gone through the 2015 Chiefs offseason program.

Smith has been concentrating on being more consistent in his throwing mechanics. Even going into his 10th NFL season, the fundamentals remain a work in progress.

“Footwork is something that never goes away; you are constantly trying to get better with your feet,” Smith said. “For me it’s about working to be more consistent whether under center or in the (shot) gun. It’s something than when looking at the tape from last year I was all over the place.

“It’s (footwork) really so important to quarterbacks. It’s the foundation of throwing and I’m working to get to a point where I’m consistent with that. I think with that you are more balanced and over the long haul you are going to complete more balls and throw better balls. I’m trying to be as efficient as I can.”

Over nine seasons with the 49ers and Chiefs, Smith has completed 60.4 percent of his throws, but in his last 41 games he’s improved to 66.7 percent and last season he turned in one of the most successful passing seasons of his career, completing 65.3 percent of his throws. …Read More!

D.J., Poe Out Of OTA Session On Tuesday

From the Truman Sports Complex

Thank goodness for the Chiefs defense that it’s just early June. If there was a game to be played this coming weekend, they might have a problem. Two Pro Bowl starters were out of action on Tuesday during the team’s fourth OTA session held at the team’s facility.

Inside linebacker Derrick Johnson was on the field but he did not participate in the two-hour practice because of some swelling on his knee. Coming off last season’s ruptured Achilles tendon that kept him out for 15 games Johnson worked with no restrictions last week.

Nose tackle Dontari Poe left the field very early in the practice with what the Chiefs called a back issue. He was walked off by three members of the training staff. That’s never a good sign at any point and it was surprising because Poe has been the rock inside the Chiefs defense since he was drafted in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid did not speak to the media after practice so there was no indication of how serious either of the problems were with Johnson and Poe. As always the test will be how soon either one gets back in the No. 1 unit.

Also off the field were quarterback Tyler Bray (knee), cornerbacks Steven Nelson and Marcus Peters (NFL rules), safety Eric Berry (lymphoma), running back Cyrus Gray (knee), running back Keshawn Hill (hamstring), linebacker Justin Houston (without contract) and tight end Demetrius Harris (foot). Offensive lineman Jarrod Pughsley returned to practice after missing last week with a hamstring injury.

OTA Question: How Deep Is Cornerback Depth?

Whether they get complete answers or not, there were four key questions attracting the attention of Andy Reid and John Dorsey this week when the Chiefs began on-field work in the OTAs and an upcoming mini-camp. The Chiefs passing game was addressed here, injuries here and the offensive line here.

  1. How much progress can Alex Smith make with his new cadre of receivers, topped by Jeremy Maclin and Chris Conley?
  2. How far along physically are injured starters inside linebacker Derrick Johnson and defensive end Mike DeVito? What about safety Tyvon Branch, signed in free agency that missed most of the 2014 season in Oakland? Will they see safety Eric Berry in the next three weeks?
  3. What combinations will they create along the offensive line, with old and new faces?
  4. With draft picks Marcus Peters and Steven Nelson out of action because of NFL rules, what kind of depth can the Chiefs develop at cornerback, where they always seem to need talented bodies?

It has become a fact of life in today’s NFL – a defense can never have too many good cornerbacks. During the 256-game regular season, the league’s 32 teams averaged 4,028 passing yards. Last season, 11 of the teams had a starting quarterback that threw for more than 4,000 yards and the top half of the league’s passers threw for 3,398 yards or more.

(Right) rookie CB Justin Cox breaks up a throw to WR/RB De’Anthony Thomas during OTA work (KC Chiefs photo.)

…Read More!

Chiefs Secondary Leads The Way in First Week OTAs

From the Truman Sports Complex

The ebb and flow of NFL practices constantly shifts the advantage from offense to defense and back again, and again, and . . .

As the Chiefs wrapped up their first week of OTA practices on Thursday afternoon, it was Andy Reid’s defense that led the way. Specifically, it was the secondary that kept making plays and taking the football away from the Chiefs pass offense.

“The work has been good out here,” Reid said of the three workouts in the 10 off-season sessions he’s allowed to hold. “It’s been all positive. The guys are challenging each other. Offense makes a few plays, defensive plays and that’s how you like it.”

Cornerback Sean Smith had two interceptions, with cornerback Deji Olatoye and safeties Kelcie McCray and Daniel Sanderson hauling in passes in the middle of the field that were tipped by teammates.

“You need the turnovers on the defensive side,” said Reid. “You obviously don’t want them on the offensive side, but we’re getting good work in there where both sides are being effective. I like it. I like the way they’re challenging each other within the rules of you can’t tackle and you can’t play bump, so they’re doing a good job.” …Read More!

OTA Question: Who Will Start On The Offensive Line?

(KC Chiefs photo.)

The Chiefs will wrap up their first week of OTA sessions on Thursday with their third practice of the week. They are trying to answer a handful of off-season questions about their roster and units during the OTAs. Andy Reid and John Dorsey are focused on every move and play, especially four key areas where they will focus on personnel and how they are utilized. Those questions are:

  1. How much progress can Alex Smith make with his new cadre of receivers, topped by Jeremy Maclin and Chris Conley?
  2. How far along physically are injured starters inside linebacker Derrick Johnson and defensive end Mike DeVito? What about safety Tyvon Branch, signed in free agency that missed most of the 2014 season in Oakland? Will they see safety Eric Berry in the next three weeks?
  3. What combinations will they create along the offensive line, with old and new faces?
  4. With draft picks Marcus Peters and Steven Nelson out of action because of NFL rules, what kind of depth can the Chiefs develop at cornerback, where they always seem to need talented bodies?

We covered the passing game and the status of injured players earlier this week. Today’s epistle tackles the offensive line. …Read More!

OTA Questions: Seeking Answers On Injuries

Whether they get complete answers or not, there are four key questions attracting the attention of Andy Reid and John Dorsey as the Chiefs began on-field work in the OTAs and an upcoming mini-camp. The Chiefs passing game was addressed here. This post focuses on No. 2:

  1. How much progress can Alex Smith make with his new cadre of receivers, topped by Jeremy Maclin and Chris Conley?
  2. How far along physically are injured starters inside linebacker Derrick Johnson and defensive end Mike DeVito? What about safety Tyvon Branch, signed in free agency that missed most of the 2014 season in Oakland? Will they see safety Eric Berry in the next three weeks?
  3. What combinations will they create along the offensive line, with old and new faces?
  4. With draft picks Marcus Peters and Steven Nelson out of action because of NFL rules, what kind of depth can the Chiefs develop at cornerback, where they always seem to need talented bodies?

Derrick Johnson was on the practice field Tuesday after missing 15 games last year due to injury. (KC Chiefs photo.)

The status of injured Chiefs came into a much clearer picture on Tuesday as they worked through their first OTA. The focus of attention was on inside linebacker Derrick Johnson and defensive end Mike DeVito. The defensive starters both went down in the 2014 regular-season opener with ruptured left Achilles. Both underwent surgery and began the arduous task of rehabbing what is one of the toughest injuries to come back from in sports, and especially football. For a pair of players older than 30, an Achilles repair is even tougher to come back and reach performance levels of previous seasons. …Read More!

OTA #1 Report – Work Begins On Offensive Line

From the Truman Sports Complex

Andy Reid kicked off his third season of OTAs with the Chiefs on Tuesday and 79 of the 90 players currently on the roster took part in the 90-minute outdoor workout at the team’s facility.

“I thought the guys got to work at a little better speed and that’s always helpful,” said Reid, conversing with wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (left.)

A few injuries including one surgery, NFL rules, the arrival of a baby and poor weather in the Southeast kept the turnout down compared to the previous two seasons when 84 players showed up for both opening practices in 2013-14.

KC Chiefs photo

“I thought it was really good work, a clean practice,” said quarterback Alex Smith. “You don’t have pads on, but you want to get the most out of it. Guys worked at good speed.”

There was a lot of attention on the Chiefs offensive line, the position group that needs to show the most improvement over last season’s performance. There could be four new starters compared to last season, including new additions in guard Ben Grubbs and second-round draft choice Mitch Morse.

“We are going to find the five best guys; that’s what we are trying to get to,” Reid said. “I really don’t care where they play. I just want the five best. Then, we line up and play.” …Read More!

13 Practices/24 Days-The Heart of Chiefs Off-Season

Starting Tuesday is the most important part of the Chiefs off-season program – 13 OTA and mini-camp practices over the next 24 days.

These sessions are not exactly football – there are no pads and no tackling. Physical contact, especially along the line of scrimmage, is prohibited by the league’s labor agreement with the players.

But, these practices are as close to actual football as teams are allowed by that same contract. That doesn’t mean there’s not information to be gleaned from the work. In the case of all 32 teams it’s another step in evaluating where they sit with the 90-man roster. That starts with the 22 starters on offense and defense and then the next 22 backups and special teams performers.

Whether they get complete answers or not, there are four key questions that attract the attention of Andy Reid and John Dorsey. In no certain order they are: …Read More!

Gridiron Glory Exhibit Opens On Friday


Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson got an early peek at the Gridiron Glory exhibit at Union Station

From Union Station, Kansas City, Mo.

The histories of the Chiefs and of the National Football League have come together in one exhibit at Kansas City’s Union Station.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Gridiron Glory exhibit opens Friday at the station, bringing together artifacts from the NFL along with a host of memories from the Kansas City Chiefs. Originally scheduled to open Saturday morning, Union Station executive Georgie Guastello announced Thursday night during an opening reception that the exhibit is ready to go and will be open a day early.

There is more than 10,000-square feet of exhibit space and there are 200 artifacts from the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, coming in the form of photos, jerseys and rare documents. There’s another 4,000-square feet dedicated to the history of the Chiefs. There are multi-media exhibits and plenty of video of the KC red and gold and the rest of the league. Also on display is the Vince Lombardi Trophy awarded to the Chiefs after their Super Bowl IV victory over Minnesota in January 1970.

For the first week of the exhibit, the Hall of Fame allowed the bust of Chiefs founder Lamar Hunt to leave the building in Canton and travel to Union Station. It was unveiled Thursday evening by Hall of Famers Len Dawson and Bobby Bell. The folks at the Hall seldom allow a bust to travel to another site.

Gridiron Glory – The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame is a traveling exhibit that is taken throughout the country, celebrating the history, both past and current of the league. It’s as close as a football fan can get to the Hall of Fame without traveling to Canton. It will be on display at Union Station through Labor Day weekend. This Saturday, former Chiefs safety Deron Cherry will appear at the exhibit in a meet and greet session from 1-3 p.m.

Time To Encourage 2-Pointers Within NFL Rules

It has been part of football since the sport morphed out of the evolutionary swamp of rugby. There has always been an extra-point attempt after a touchdown. Only after a winning touchdown on the last play of the game keeps the point-after-touchdown try off the field.

As a historic part of the sport the PAT kick survived over one hundred years without major change. Along the way the two-point play was introduced into football, first by colleges, then the AFL and finally by the NFL before the 1994 season.

However, the one-point kick is now considered boring because it’s a play generally automatic in success. Thus, the NFL owners voted this week to move the snap spot for the PAT kick from the 2-yard line to the 15-yard line. That turns the kick into the equivalent of a 32/33-yard field goal. Supposedly, this will make the PAT kick more relevant.

If anything, the league has not gone far enough. First, digest these numbers for the 2014 season:

  • PAT kicks – 1,222 of 1,230, for 99.4 percent.
  • FGs from 32 and 33 yards – 58 of 60, for 96.7 percent.

Is a three percent difference in success anything that will make the PAT kick more exciting?            …Read More!

Chiefs make post-minicamp roster moves

The Chiefs released three players and signed four others after going through the personnel evaluations after the team’s three rookie mini-camp practices.

Gone are fullback/tight end Manasseh Garner from the University of Pittsburgh, tight end Earnest Pettway from Villanova University and offensive tackle Charles Sweeton out of the University of Tennessee-Martin.

The four players that were added to the roster were top-heavy in offensive linemen. They signed: …Read More!

Rookie Mini-Camp Brought Results For Andy

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs wrapped up Rookie Camp Andy ’15 on Monday afternoon with their third practice with 68 players on the field for another session in helmets and shorts.

“It’s been a good couple days that we’ve had a chance to spend with the rookies and some of the other guys that have been with other teams,” said head coach Andy Reid. “I liked what I saw. We looked a little bit bigger and faster and they picked it up well.”

They also rolled through the camp without major injury. First-year offensive tackle Curtis Feigt was the only player missing due to injury. The Chiefs released him Monday with what was termed a non-football injury. Feigt was bothered by a hip problem.

“The guys worked hard; I’ve got to give them credit for the effort that they put out here and they did stay healthy,” said Reid. “I’m sure they’re sore, but they stayed healthy and worked hard and my hat’s off to them.”

Veterans will return to action at the team’s facility on Tuesday as they work through their final week of Phase II of the off-season program. The team’s on-field OTA sessions for the entire roster begin next Tuesday, May 26th.

CB Justin Cox (45) and WR Chris Conley (17) battle during Monday’s mini-camp. (K.C. Chiefs photo)

…Read More!

Conley Working The Mental Side In Rookie Camp


K.C. Chiefs photo

Receivers coach David Culley speaks with his receivers during practice at the Chiefs rookie mini-camp

From the Truman Sports Complex

Visually, Chiefs third-round draft choice Chris Conley is an impressive young man. The wide receiver out of the University of Georgia looks like an NFL pass catcher, at least the current incarnation of the position. He stands 6-3, weighs 205 pounds and much of that weight is chiseled into muscle.

Conley can run fast, jump high and battle for every ball thrown in his area. He’s shown that several times during the Chiefs weekend rookie mini-camp where he’s been the best of what appeared to be a nice group of young wide receivers. Conley, along with seventh-round draft choice Da’Ron Brown, undrafted college free agent Kenny Cook and tryout player Mark Roberts all made notable catches.

The Georgia native is the leader of that group and while he’s done nice things on the field, Conley has worked hardest in the meeting room and at the hotel every night, absorbing the extensive offensive playbook of Andy Reid.

“Initially when you look at it and the totality of it, it can be overwhelming,” Conley said of the Reid playbook. “It’s similar to some of the stuff we ran in college; we ran a pro-style offense.

“(But) you have to really slow things down and kind of marinate different concepts for a couple days.” …Read More!

Chiefs Open Mini-Camp With 67 Bodies

From the Truman Sports Complex

Andy Reid opened the Chiefs 2015 Rookie Mini-Camp on Saturday with 67 guys running around in shorts. Just how many “players” are actually in that group remains to be seen.

There were all nine draft choices, 13 undrafted free agents, five street free agents and 40 tryout players working inside and outside at the Chiefs facility.

“This is just the first install day, putting the training wheels on,” said first-round draft choice Marcus Peters. “It’s just getting us ready to go out and practice.”

The biggest part of the three-day camp for the players are the playbooks dropped on them for Reid’s offense and defense. This is the basics of how the Chiefs do things, but it’s vital for all involved that the young players pick up the vibe as quickly as possible.

“Initially, when you look at the totality of it, it can be overwhelming,” third-round draft choice Chris Conley said of the Chiefs offensive playbook. “It’s something you have to break down into smaller pieces. Once you do that, you can start to look at concepts, you start to look at personnel groupings, and the way you want them.”

The team roster listed 69 players on a pre-camp roster, but two were not on the field. First-year offensive tackle Curtis Feigt did not practice because of a hip problem. Tryout offensive tackle Kelvin Palmer is expected to be on the field Sunday. These are the players on the Chiefs roster. Each one is designated as (DC) draft choice, (CFA) undrafted college free agent, (FA) first-year street free agents and (T) tryout players: …Read More!

Chiefs Wrap-Up Contracts With All Draft Picks

The Chiefs now have all nine of their draft choices under contract.

The team announced late Friday afternoon that first-round cornerback Marcus Peters, third-round wide receiver Chris Conley and third-round cornerback Steven Nelson signed contracts. That wraps up the entire 2015 NFL Draft class for the Chiefs.

In other roster moves on Friday, the Chiefs released tight end Brandon Barden and defensive tackle Hebron Fangupo.

They also signed undrafted college free agent defensive tackle Charles Tuaau out of Texas A&M-Commerce. Tuaau is 6-3½, 328 pounds and is a native of Hawaii. He played junior college ball at Riverside Community College in California and then spent two years at the school that was formerly known as East Texas State University. Tuaau played in 23 games, with 86 total tackles, 34 tackles for loss, 17 sacks. In two years at Riverside C.C., he had 93 total tackles, 35 tackles for loss and 14 sacks. He was timed in 5.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash, with 24 repetitions in the bench press at 225 pounds, a 24.5-inch vertical jump.

The Chiefs have now signed 21 rookies to their roster.

A Busy Weekend Ahead At The Sports Complex

The Truman Sports Complex neighbors will be very active this weekend with the Royals hosting the New York Yankees, and the Chiefs staging their rookie mini-camp at the team’s facility.

The draft choices, college free agents and tryout players will check in on Friday and then have three days of practices and meetings, ending on Monday afternoon. They’ll return eight days later for the first OTA session in the off-season program.

All nine draft choices should take part in some portion of the mini-camp. So far the Chiefs have announced 11 undrafted rookie free agents that have been signed. There will likely be another 20 to 25 players participating on a tryout basis.

Draft choices

With graduation ceremonies going on this weekend around the country there could be a practice or two missed by draft choices. Otherwise all nine are expected on the field. Here they are with the uniform numbers they’ve been assigned. On defense it will be cornerbacks Marcus Peters (22) and Steven Nelson (20), linebackers Ramik Wilson (53) and D.J. Alexander (57) and defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches (99). Offensively, it’s center Mitch Morse (61), wide receivers Chris Conley (17) and Da’Ron Brown (4) and tight end James O’Shaughnessy (80). …Read More!

Chiefs Sign 10 Undrafted Rookie Free Agents

Although the Chiefs have not announced the signing of undrafted rookie free agents, the NFL’s personnel report for Monday listed 10 players signed by the Chiefs.

The biggest name among those 10 was Mississippi State University cornerback Justin Cox. Before he was kicked off the team back on November 21st when he was arrested and charged with domestic violence. He played both safety and cornerback during his college career at East Mississippi Community College and Miss. State.

Also part of the group is defensive lineman David Irving, who was kicked off the Iowa State University football team last April after he was arrested in two different incidents including a domestic violence case. He’s quite a physical specimen, standing just a tick under 6-8, weighing 273 pounds and he runs the 40-yard dash in 4.84 seconds with a 38-inch vertical jump. …Read More!

Chiefs Get 6 of 9 Draft Choices Signed

With a rookie mini-camp ahead this coming weekend, the Chiefs have joined the rest of the NFL in getting the 256 selections in the 2015 NFL Draft signed to contracts.

Signing their deals were second-round choice center Mitch Morse, fourth-round selection linebacker Ramik Wilson, fifth-round pick linebacker D.J. Alexander, fifth-round tight end James O’Shaughnessy, sixth-round choice defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches and seventh-rounder selection wide receiver Da’Ron Brown.

The Chiefs still have to finalize three deals: first-round cornerback Marcus Peters, third-round wide receiver Chris Conley and third-round cornerback Steven Nelson. Those three can participate in the rookie mini-camp if they sign an injury waiver.

Chiefs Slice 4 From Roster

The Chiefs are getting ready to announce the undrafted college free agents they have signed, and to do that, they needed to whittle away at their roster to create some room. They released four players on Tuesday.

The only name of note in the group was quarterback Terrelle Pryor, once a supplemental draft choice by the Oakland Raiders out of Ohio State University. The Chiefs are the third team where he’s washed out, after Oakland and Seattle.

Also getting their walking papers were linebacker JoJo Dickson, long snapper Jorgen Hus and wide receiver Corbin Louks.

With Pryor gone, the Chiefs now have four quarterbacks, and they’ll likely add another one before the start of training camp given the physical status of Tyler Bray after he suffered a torn ACL back in January.

Chiefs 2015 Draft Was About Now, Not Later

Without a doubt, the driving force behind the nine players selected by the Chiefs in the 2015 NFL Draft was need.

All but a small handful of players that come into the league through the draft must be developed once they join a team. Teams often label some of their selections as developmental picks. That’s NFL code for “we aren’t sure if he can play in this league any time soon.”

The Chiefs were not using those words either publicly or privately with their 2015 draft class. If first-round choice Marcus Peters isn’t the starter at left cornerback for the opener it will be a major disappointment for G.M. John Dorsey and head coach Andy Reid. Should second-round center Mitch Morse not be the opening-game snapper, there will be concern in the building. If third-round wide receiver Chris Conley does not get the second most offensive snaps at the position behind Jeremy Maclin, then the Chiefs will not be happy.

Fourth-round linebacker Ramik Wilson or fifth-round backer D.J. Alexander – one of them needs to get the snaps next to Derrick Johnson. In the little picture, the Chiefs hope D.J. comes back from his ruptured Achilles and can play to the level expected of him. In the big picture, this season will be Johnson’s last as a starter – the Chiefs must have a player ready to fill that spot for 2016. If Wilson and Alexander do not get significant playing time in the coming season then the team has failed in preparing for the future. That’s why the future is now. …Read More!

Chiefs Close Out Draft With 7th-Round Wide Receiver

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs finished up the 2015 NFL Draft by selecting wide receiver Da’Ron Brown from the University of Northern Illinois in the seventh round at pick No. 233. Brown became the ninth player in the team’s class for the ’15 Draft.

A native of Chicago, the 6-0, 205-pound Brown played in 55 games for the Huskies, catching 155 passes for 2,295 yards and 19 touchdown receptions. He averaged 14.8 yards per catch. In the 20014 season when he earned second-team All-MAC honors, Brown had 68 catches for 1,065 yards and six scores, a 15.7-yard average. He also contributed 10 plays in the run game for 108 yards and a touchdown.

Brown was invited to the NFL Combine where he was timed in 4.54 seconds in the 40-yard dash, with 17 reps in the bench press at 225 pounds, a 37-inch vertical jump and 10-feet in the broad jump. What he may lack in top end speed, Brown makes up for with his reliable hands – he seldom drops a pass. One reason is his 10¼-inch hands.

He was an All-City quarterback twice at Morgan Park High School on the far-Southside of Chicago. He was a running-passing-receiving threat, especially in his senior season when he ran for 1,800 yards on 147 carries with 23 TD runs. He threw for 1,200 yards and 13 TD passes and caught 15 passes for 415 yards and four touchdowns.

Morgan Park H.S. is the same school that produced former Chiefs first-round draft choice Trezelle Jenkins in 1995.

Sixth-Round Pick: Chiefs Select Southern Miss DT

From the Truman Sports Complex

On the last selection of the sixth round in the 2015 NFL Draft the Chiefs used the No. 217 selection on a big defensive tackle.

Rakeem Nunez-Roches comes out of Southern Mississippi University, where he grabbed 132 tackles, 17 sacks and four forced fumbles over his career.

A native of the Central America country of Belize, Nunez-Roches moved to the United States with his mother in 2000 when he was six years old. They settled in Phenix City, Alabama where he played at Central High School and was coached by former NFL linebacker and Chiefs assistant coach Woodrow Lowe.

He played in six games as a true freshman in 2011, became a starting defensive tackle the next season, but suffered a knee injury in the second game of the 2012 season and missed the rest of the season. He was granted a medical redshirt year and came back in 2014 and played in 11 games with 58 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss and three sacks as he earned All-Conference USA first team honors.

Nunez-Roches participated in the NFL Combine and was clocked in 5.02 seconds in the 40-yards dash with 26 reps on the bench press at 22 5 pounds and a 34-inch vertical jump.

Fifth-Round Picks: Another Inside-LB and a Tight End

From the Truman Sports Complex

Again, the Chiefs went with need picks late in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. With back-to-back compensatory selections late in the round Saturday afternoon, they grabbed:

  • Oregon State inside linebacker D.J. Alexander with pick No. 172.
  • Illinois State tight end James O’Shaughnessy with choice No. 173.

Both positions were on the club’s need-list as they approached the start of the selection meeting on Thursday. They’ve now drafted two cornerbacks, a center, a wide receiver, two inside linebackers and a tight end. …Read More!

Fourth-Round Pick: Chiefs Pick Another Georgia LB

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs started Day 3 of the 2015 NFL Draft in a similar mode they used in the first three rounds – they made sure they filled needs on their roster. That’s why they grabbed linebacker Ramik Wilson in the fourth round at selection No. 118.

A two-year starter at both inside and outside linebacker for the Bulldogs defense, the 6-1 ¾, 237-pound native of Florida is viewed as an inside linebacker by the Chiefs.

“They used him in base and nickel,” said area scout Dom Green who handles the southeast schools. “He’s big, fast, he can run and he can hit. Those are the things that jump out at you on tape. He has 33-inch arms and he’s got a big catch radius that can distract the quarterback and makes him put air under the ball. He can run with anybody.

“He’s an inside linebacker.” …Read More!

#2 Third-Round Pick: CB Steven Nelson, Oregon State

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs added another piece for competition at cornerback when they used the 98th choice of the 2015 NFL Draft to select Steven Nelson from Oregon State University.

In two seasons with the Beavers, the 5-10, 197-pound defensive back played in 25 games with 21 starts at left cornerback. He had 122 total tackles, eight interceptions and knocked down 16 passes in the OSU defense. Plus, he scored the game winning touchdown on an interception return against San Diego State.

A native of Warner Robins, Georgia, Nelson committed to the University of Georgia, but could not qualify academically.

“Basically, I was slacking off in high school; I wasn’t an (NCAA) qualifier,” Nelson said last year. “I didn’t realize until my senior year that I was actually good and maybe I should have been working hard (in the classroom) all of high school. By then, it was too late.”

So he went the junior college route, landing at the College of the Sequoias in Visalia, California. In two seasons, he had 71 tackles, six interceptions and 19 passes broken up and was considered among the best defensive backs coming out of the JUCO ranks after the 2012 season. He originally committed to Georgia, but decided against it and ended up on the Corvallis campus.

Coming out of Northside High School in Warner Robins, he had seven interceptions and seven punt return touchdowns as a senior. He also added 30 tackles. Nelson holds the Georgia state record for punt return touchdowns with 16 over his career at Northside. He also participated in track and was timed at 11.15 seconds in the 100 meters.

#1 Third Round Pick: WR Chris Conley From Georgia

From the Truman Sports Complex

With their first choice of the third round Friday evening, the Chiefs continued to add talent to their wide receiver position by selecting University of Georgia receiver Chris Conley with the No. 76 selection.

The Chiefs moved up four spots from No. 80 to make sure they acquired Conley, making a deal with Minnesota. They gave up their sixth-round choice, No. 193.

At 6-2, 213-pound, Conley has size and speed. At the NFL Combine, he was timed at 4.35 seconds in 40-yard dash, with an outstanding 45 inches in the vertical leap and 11-feet, 7 inches in broad jump. Those were the best marks by a wide receiver at the Combine since at least 2006. He did 18 reps on the bench press.

In four seasons with the Bulldogs, Conley played in 49 games with 23 starts. He caught 117 passes for 1,938 yards, a 16.6-yard average per catch. He grabbed 20 touchdown passes. Last season, he had 36 receptions for a career high 657 yards and eight touchdown catches.

Conley was named the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2014, as he graduated last December with a degree in Journalism.

Christian Robert Conley is a native of Dallas, Georgia and went to North Paulding High School, where he was named all-state in Class AAAA first team offense. As a senior, he caught 61 passes for 1,021 yards and 15 touchdown catches.

Second Round: Chiefs Draft Mizzou Blocker

From the Truman Sports Complex

With the 49th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft the Chiefs went just a couple hours east and grabbed University of Missouri offensive lineman Mitch Morse.

And, that move surprised the heck out of the versatile 6-5, 305-pound blocker from head coach Gary Pinkel’s program with the Tigers.

“Oh no, no,” Morse said Friday evening when he was asked if he expected to be drafted among the top 50 players in the draft. “I’m feeling really fortunate. It’s the most blessed I ever felt in my life. I get to stick close to home, which is Mizzou, and Kansas City is such a great place to be. My Dad was born in Kansas City and his whole side of the family is there.”

Morse admitted he had no idea where he was going to land in the NFL’s annual selection meeting, but allowed that he felt his name would be called by the end of draft business on Friday. “I had no freakin’ idea,” he said. …Read More!

How Much Of A Gamble Is Marcus Peters?


From the Truman Sports Complex

During the 2014 college football season Marcus Peters was a hothead, a loose cannon, a bad attitude wearing No. 21 with the University of Washington Huskies.

The Chiefs vetted him and decided he was worth the No. 18 selection in the 2015 NFL Draft.

So how much of a gamble did John Dorsey and Andy Reid take when they decided Peters was their man?

“We did extensive research in regards to this person and we talked to his coaches, his former coaches,” Dorsey said late Thursday night as the first round wrapped up. “Listen, you know what the kid is: competitive. He’s a very competitive kid.

“I do not (see it as a risky pick). Not after seeing the kid. You guys have known me long enough; if I didn’t think he would fit in the culture or the environment of this community or the organization, he would be here.”

Any of the 256 players selected in this year’s draft, or any other year for that matter, is a gamble. Every single one of them is a roll of the dice. From this year’s Jameis Winston at No. 1, to the Mr. Irrelevant selection at No. 256 – it’s all a crap shoot. …Read More!

Chiefs Grab Troubled Cornerback In First Round


From the Truman Sports Complex

Any draft pick is a roll of the dice in pro football, sometimes the odds are just a bit higher. The Chiefs on Thursday night rolled the first-round bones and came up with former University of Washington cornerback Marcus Peters.

Listed at 5-11½, 190 pounds, Peters was kicked off the Huskies football team in November last season after a confrontation with a member of head coach Chris Petersen’s coaching staff.

That brought an end to a 34-game career at Washington, where he started 22 games, grabbed 11 interceptions and totaled 129 tackles, with two defensive scores.

Peters’ problems last season began early in the schedule when he was penalized during a game with Eastern Washington for head-butting a wide receiver. After he was pulled from the game, he threw his helmet and gloves during a sideline outburst. He was suspended for the next game.

Then, in November there was an argument with the coaches during Washington’s victory over Colorado on Saturday. He missed practice on Tuesday with no explanation and then got into an argument with an assistant coach during practice on Wednesday. Peters was suspended on November 6th.

“We feel comfortable bringing Marcus in here,” said Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. “We all make mistakes at times in life. Marcus realizes that. We feel comfortable he realizes that. It was an emotional situation and he didn’t handle it the right way. I think he’s learned from it from our experience with him.

“He was upfront with us. He said ‘I goofed.’ That’s half the battle; if you know the issue. This guy is so competitive he let his competitive juices get carried away. You learn to handle them. That’s the maturing process that comes with young guys.”

The Chiefs met with Peters at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis back in February, brought him to Kansas City for a personal visit in early April and then this week they sent director of player personnel Chris Ballard to Oakland to meet with Peters and his family. Reid had long discussions with Petersen and former Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian who is now at Southern Cal.

“We felt after all these meetings that it had it under control,” Reid said. “Obviously felt good enough that we picked him … We look forward to bringing him into a very strong locker room here,” said Reid. “With great coaches to support him and you’ll see his playmaking ability. I felt he was the best cornerback in this draft.”

Roster Review/Draft Preview – Receivers/Backs

The leading receivers returning to the Chiefs from 2014 are WR Albert Wilson (L) & TE Travis Kelce (R)

The roster and payroll are major factors in all NFL Draft decisions. To better understand where the Chiefs may direct their attention in this week’s 2015 selection meeting, it’s good to know what type of talent is already in house, and its expiration dates.

One need not be Vince Lombardi to understand the Chiefs must select receivers in the 2015 NFL Draft. As the clock ticks toward the start of this year’s selection meeting, the analysis is quick: they need to draft not one wide receiver, but two. They need to draft a tight end. If there are any picks left over, they need to draft another wide receiver.

The Chiefs do not have an apparent need at quarterback and running back. They need to walk out of the backs department at the NFL mega-store and concentrate on the receivers department. It does not have to be their first choice, but they need a catcher by the end of draft business on Friday and another on Saturday. …Read More!

Roster Review/Draft Preview – Offensive Line

Tackle Eric Fisher (L) & guard Zach Fulton (R) are the only returning starters on the Chiefs offensive line

The roster and payroll are major factors in all NFL Draft decisions. To better understand where the Chiefs may direct their attention in this week’s 2015 selection meeting, it’s good to know what type of talent is already in house, and its expiration dates.

Here’s a look at the offensive line, broken down into four groups – tackles, guard-tackles, guards and centers.

We have included the performance grades for the 2014 season from Pro Football Focus, one of several websites that attempt to judge the play of individual NFL players. While I don’t agree with all of their rankings, they seem to have a good feel overall when compared to information gained from those actually evaluating personnel for NFL teams.

Here are the in-house blockers going into the draft: …Read More!

Roster Review/Draft Preview: Defensive Line

Defensive end Allen Bailey (L) & defensive tackle Dontari Poe (R) top the Chiefs defensive line depth chart

The roster and the payroll are major factors in draft decisions. To better understand where the Chiefs may direct their attention in this week’s NFL Draft, it’s good to know what type of talent is already in house, and its expiration dates.

Here’s a look at the defensive line, they we’ll follow up with offensive position groups leading up to Thursday’s first-round.

We have included the performance grades for the 2014 season from Pro Football Focus, one of several websites that attempt to judge the play of individual NFL players. While I don’t agree with all of their rankings, they seem to have a good feel overall when compared to information gained from those actually evaluating personnel for NFL teams.

Defensive tackles

Currently, the Chiefs have just one defensive tackle/nose tackle that played in the league during the 2014 season – Pro Bowler Dontari Poe. In fact, among the nine defensive linemen listed on the roster, only Poe, Allen Bailey and Jaye Howard played throughout last year’s schedule. The other six combined posted three games played.

Poe is a solid nose tackle but had a plateau season in 2014; they will need him to take a step forward in the coming season. With the Chiefs decision to impose the option season in Poe’s first contract, they have him for two more seasons before they have to make a financial decision on his future with the club. Andy Reid and his staff must continue to monitor the number of snaps Poe plays. After playing 1,004 snaps in the 2013 season, he was on the field for 966 snaps in the 2014 season. No other defensive tackle in the league has played as many snaps as Poe has in the last two seasons.

Defensive tackle should not be a priority need for the Chiefs in the 2015 NFL Draft. …Read More!

Roster Review/Draft Preview: Linebackers

Justin Houston inside (L) & Josh Mauga outside (R) top the Chiefs LB depth chart

The roster and the payroll are major factors in draft decisions. To better understand where the Chiefs may direct their attention in this week’s NFL Draft, it’s good to know what type of talent is already in house, and its expiration dates.

Coming up next will be a look at the defensive line and other position groups leading up to Thursday’s first-round.

We have included the performance grades for the 2014 season from Pro Football Focus, one of several websites that attempt to judge the play of individual NFL players. While I don’t agree with all of their rankings, they seem to have a good feel overall when compared to information gained from those actually evaluating personnel for NFL teams. …Read More!

Roster Review/Draft Preview: Secondary

Best athlete available – no matter how often those that make the decisions in the NFL Draft talk about the BAA, they do not discount the roster they currently own and where the weaknesses may be in that group.

It’s not surprising when the BAA tends to play at a WPG – weakest position group. There isn’t any decision-maker in the NFL so secure that he can just stand up to the draft bar and order up say offensive tackles for five straight drafts. OK, maybe Bill Belichick can do that, but nobody else in the league has that kind of juice. John Dorsey, Andy Reid and their scouting and coaching staffs pulled together their evaluations and created a draftable board that likely is ranked in BAA order. However, there is seldom that big of a difference in the No. 5 ranked player and the guy that’s ranked No. 15.

Translation: the BAA approach covers a lot of the waterfront in the NFL Draft, and it’s easier for a general manager or coach to make that their public declaration for draft strategy. They would rather not reveal their actual approach and they do not want to get into the business of expounding on their team’s weaknesses.

The roster and the payroll are major factors in draft decisions. To better understand where the Chiefs may be targeting in this week’s NFL Draft, it’s good to know what type of talent is already in house, and its expiration dates.

Starting with the secondary, over the next three days we’ll analyze the position groups leading up to Thursday’s first-round. …Read More!

The 5 Worst Draft Choices in Chiefs History

The Kansas City Chiefs have had their share of draft duds over the years. Every team in the NFL has players chosen in the annual selection meeting for college talent that fail miserably to make an impression on pro football in any way, shape or form. There are teams that have more early draft disasters in their history than the Chiefs. Just gaze for a time at the Detroit Lions, the new Cleveland Browns, the Cincinnati Bengals and the St. Louis Rams.

There is no hiding from the draft day disasters that have been part of Chiefs history since the days of the Dallas Texans. There were plenty of selections that were considered for this top, or low five. Some of those draft busts were selected by the same people that drafted some of the best players in Chiefs history.

Nobody hits 100 percent in the NFL Draft, and these next five players are examples of that. Here are the Chiefs worst five draft choices going into this week’s 2015 NFL Draft. …Read More!

The 5 Best Draft Choices in Chiefs History

In preparing to write the book Tales from the Chiefs Sideline there were only so many words allotted to the project.

Translation: I had more words than the publisher wanted. One segment that I sliced from the manuscript is this post, and another that will go up on the site late Sunday: the best and worst draft choices in Chiefs history.

Selecting just five best and worst picks was not as easy as it may sound. The team has plenty of both in its 55-year history of adding players through the AFL, AFL-NFL and NFL Drafts. There were so many possibilities, but only five at the top and the same number at the bottom made this story.

This is strictly this man’s opinion after serious research and conversation with personnel types involved in drafting these players and others that watched from afar. There is not an NFL team without skeletons in its draft closet. We’ll get to those in the next installment. Now, here are the top five, ranked in order from best to the fifth best.

Let the arguments and discussion begin. Enjoy. …Read More!

Chiefs Schedule Set For 2015

Pre-Season

Day

Date

Opponent

Site

Time

TV

Saturday

August 15

Arizona

Away

8p

KCTV

Saturday

August 21

Seattle

Home

7p

KCTV

Friday

August 28

Tennessee

Home

7p

KCTV

Thursday

September 3

St. Louis

Away

7p

KCTVS

Regular Season

September

Day

Date

Opponent

Site

Time

TV

Sunday

13

Houston

Away

Noon

CBS

Thursday

17

Denver

Home

7:25p

CBS

Monday

28

Green Bay

Away

7:30p

ESPN

October

Day

Date

Opponent

Site

Time

TV

Sunday

4

Cincinnati

Away

Noon

CBS

Sunday

11

Chicago

Home

Noon

FOX

Sunday

18

Minnesota

Away

Noon

CBS

Sunday

25

Pittsburgh

Home

Noon

CBS

November

Day

Date

Opponent

Site

Time

TV

Sunday

1

Detroit

London

8:30a

FOX

Bye Week

Sunday

15

Denver

Awary

3:25p

CBS

Sunday

22

San Diego

Away

7:30p

NBC

Sunday

29

Buffalo

Home

Noon

CBS

December

Day

Date

Opponent

Site

Time

TV

Sunday

6

Oakland

Away

3:05p

CBS

Sunday

13

San Diego

Home

Noon

CBS

Sunday

20

Baltimore

Away

Noon

CBS

Sunday

27

Cleveland

Home

Noon

CBS

January

Day

Date

Opponent

Site

Time

TV

Sunday

3

Oakland

Home

Noon

CBS

Thoughts on the Chiefs 2015 Schedule

Team Andy was handed a schedule of games by the NFL on Tuesday that has some good, and some bad.

On the good side – three of the last four games on the season at Arrowhead Stadium. The bad – that’s three out of their first four games to start the season on the road. Those opening four games will be tough ones against Houston, Denver, Green Bay and Cincinnati. At the end of the schedule, only one opponent made the playoffs last year, that at Baltimore.

The Chiefs will like have what amounts to a bye week after two games, with a nine-day break between the home opener on a Thursday night against Denver and then a Monday night trip to Green Bay. They will get their scheduled week off after returning from their game against Detroit in London.

The league has given them three prime-time games, with the Thursday night home opener against the Broncos and Peyton Manning, followed by the Monday night game against the Packers and Aaron Rodgers. Then, they’ll be on the road again for a Sunday night game against the Chargers and (maybe) quarterback Philip Rivers.

Five of their last eight games are against AFC West opponents.

Breaking down the season by quarters, the best block of four games as it appears right now is the fourth quarter with San Diego, Baltimore, Cleveland and Oakland, and only the Ravens games is on the road. The most testing quarter would be the first, with only one game at home and three of the four teams that made the playoffs last season and Houston was in the hunt for the post-season until the final weekend.

Chiefs Kickoff 2015 With Off-Season Program

From the Truman Sports Complex

Team Andy began the 2015 season on Monday with the start of their off-season training program. Most of the Chiefs roster was in the house for a meetings and strength and conditioning work. Plus, the quarterbacks and receivers were able to work on some pass routes, and the team also worked did some walkthrough work on special teams.

The noteworthy no-show was not a surprise – outside linebacker Justin Houston. The Chiefs designated franchise player is without a contract for the 2015 season, so he is not allowed to take part in the team functions. The Chiefs are unlikely to see him until the start of the regular season, maybe halfway through training camp.

“Both sides want to be here, no matter what is said, the jockeying that goes on and how it all works out when you are doing negotiations,” Reid said. “They’ll come to a number that’s good for both sides and it will all work out and he’ll be here for a long period of time …. sometime these things take time to get worked out.”

Houston missed the off-season program last season, including the team’s mandatory mini-camp in June. Based on his production in 2014, that did not slow him down, as he finished with 22 sacks to lead the league and set a franchise record. Reid has no concerns about Houston getting into physical condition. …Read More!

First Round of NFL Draft Just Two Weeks Away

NFL Draft Guide by BlueFireCable.com [INFOGRAPHIC]

What’s Been Happening The Last Few Months

I’ve been remiss not posting information over the last couple months. Let me fill you in on what’s been happening.

Item #1 – This week I’m wrapping up a book project that has dominated my time since the first of the year. The title is Tales from the Kansas City Chiefs Sideline: A Collection of the Greatest Chiefs Stories Ever Told. Publishing the book is Skyhorse Publishing out of New York and it’s part of a series that’s already produced 25 books on NFL teams and probably two dozen college football programs. Publication date is September 1st.

Item #2 – Although the NFL Draft is right around the corner, the status of bobgetz.com remains undecided. The website does not produce enough revenue for me to pay the bills, and I’ve been surviving on freelance projects and taping into retirement money. No more.

No punches to pull here – I’d like to continue the site; I still enjoy what I do, but it appears it may be time to grow up. A final decision hasn’t been made because quite frankly there hasn’t been time with the book project to fully flesh out all my thoughts. I hope to do that in the coming weeks, probably after the Draft.

Thanks for your understanding and support in what’s been a tough 18 months and throughout the now eight years of bobgretz.com.

More to come.

Chiefs Pre-Season Opponents Set For This Summer

The Chiefs will visit Arizona and St. Louis, while hosting Seattle and Tennessee in the 2015 pre-season. That was part of the schedule announced Thursday by the NFL.

No days and dates were announced for the four games Andy Reid’s team will play, but they will run off the exhibition schedule in this order:

  • Weekend of August 13-16 – at Arizona.
  • Weekend of August 20-23 – Seattle.
  • Weekend of August 27-30 – Tennessee.
  • Thursday, September 3 – at St. Louis.

The Chiefs played the Cardinals, Seahawks and Rams last season, and faced those three teams in the 2012 pre-season. The last time they met the Titans in the exhibition schedule was 2000.

The regular season NFL schedule should be released sometime in the next 10 days.

Yes, The NFL Is Getting Busy Too

On the sports calendar it’s time for the Final Four championship game, the season opener for baseball and the first major golf tournament of the year, The Masters.

And, don’t forget football.

Three NFL teams will began their off-season programs on Monday, and two more will start on Tuesday as the league attention begins to turn more to what will happen on the field, rather than on the payroll.

Monday saw Atlanta, Buffalo and the New York Jets kick off their strength and conditioning programs. Tuesday they’ll be joined by Oakland and San Francisco.

Next Monday, Chicago and Denver will start. Those seven are the teams with new head coaches, so they get extra time to begin preparing for the 2015 season.

The rest of the NFL’s 25 teams including the Chiefs will start two weeks from now on April 20th. …Read More!

Drafting On the Numbers

The AFL Draft, the AFL-NFL Draft and now 45 years of the NFL Draft as we know it today – all have played a part in the fortunes of the Kansas City Chiefs.

In the 2015 NFL Draft, the Chiefs will have 10 selections at their disposal, a number that could go up or down depending on trade action. But it’s the most choices they’ve had since the 2008 Draft when they had 12 picks, including six of the first 82 players selected. That was the draft that brought Glenn Dorsey, Branden Albert, Brandon Flowers and Jamaal Charles to Kansas City.

This year’s selection meeting is now a month away, so we decided to provided a taste of the draft. These are the positions where the Chiefs currently own selections. For comparisons purposes, there is the last Chiefs choice taken at that spot (if any) and then the players chosen on those numbers in the last five drafts.

Enjoy. …Read More!

Order of Chiefs 2015 NFL Draft Choices

The NFL announced on Tuesday the official order or selection for this year’s NFL Draft set for April 30, May 1 and May 2.

The Chiefs have 10 selections after being awarded four compensatory selections on Monday. Here’s where their picks are slotted:

  • 1st-round, No. 18.
  • 2nd-round, No. 49.
  • 3rd-round, No. 80.
  • 3rd-round, No. 98 (compensatory).
  • 4th-round, No. 118.
  • 5th-round, No. 172 (compensatory).
  • 5th-round, No. 173 (compensatory).
  • 6th-round, No. 192.
  • 6th-round, No. 217 (compensatory).
  • 7th-round, No. 233.

Again, compensatory selections cannot be traded.

As Expected Chiefs Get 4 Extra Picks In 2015 Draft

The NFL announced Monday night the 32 compensatory selections in the 2015 NFL Draft and the Chiefs picked up the four choices they expected:

  • 3rd-round, pick No. 98.
  • 5th-round, pick No. 172.
  • 5th-round, pick No. 173.
  • 6th-round, pick No. 217.

Those four additions go with the six draft choices they already held. That’s 10 picks total that Andy Reid and John Dorsey will be able to use in the NFL Draft on May 1-2.

The Chiefs were one of three teams that picked up the maximum number of choices. They were joined by Denver and Seattle. Teams with three comp picks were Baltimore and Houston. In total there were 14 teams picking up the extra choices.

Compensatory choices started in 1994 and the Chiefs have now received 19 selections in 22 drafts.

Here are the 2015 comp picks: …Read More!

Chiefs Find Out Monday About Compensatory Picks

It was about 10 years ago or so that I was asking then-Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson about how the league determined what teams received the 32 compensatory draft picks in each year’s NFL Draft.

Peterson began to explain, laughed and said “I’m not sure I understand all the factors, so it’s silly for me to try and explain.”

Two days later, Peterson handed me a piece of paper with a disgusted look on his face. “See if you can figure this out,” he said in that low grumble of his. “If you figure it out, come tell me.” The paper was a copy of an e-mail he received from the league when he asked for an explanation of the process. The note made absolutely no sense and it turned out they had left out part of the equation in making the decisions. They didn’t even want the member clubs to know the details. They still don’t.

But a decade later the formula used by the NFL Management Council for deciding on these extra picks is less of a mystery. That’s largely due to the now 20-plus years of the compensatory choices being part of the NFL Draft. On Monday at the NFL annual meetings at the Arizona Biltmore resort in Phoenix, the compensatory selections will be announced. The Chiefs should see four extra choices for the 2015 NFL Draft. …Read More!

A Handful Of Free Agent News from ChiefsLand

The NFL personnel wire on Thursday reported the Chiefs re-signed linebacker Dezman Moses.

The team did not provide a tender offer to Moses last week when free agency began. That allowed Moses to become an unrestricted free agent, able to sign with any team in the league without the Chiefs receiving compensation. Obviously, there were not any teams knocking down the door to sign Moses, who spent all of last season on the K.C. injured-reserve list.

It’s a one-year deal for Moses.

Chiefs find an infusion for their salary cap

The Chiefs were close to having only $100,000 under the salary cap on Tuesday after a week of action in free agency.

Two days later, the Chiefs were listed with $2,845,675 under the cap according to the NFL Players Association salary cap tracker on Thursday evening. More than likely that reflects the re-do of guard Ben Grubbs contract after the trade with New Orleans that brought him to the Chiefs. The NFLPA says the Chiefs now have 77 players under contract. Only the top 51 paychecks are accounted for under the salary cap right now. …Read More!

Dorsey Discusses Chiefs Offensive Line Moves

There has been a pause in the rollicking action for the Chiefs in 2015 free agency and on Wednesday, general manager John Dorsey took a moment to speak with the media about what the club has achieved to this point the off-season.

“I think we’ve done a nice job,” Dorsey said. “I think we’ve improved as a team. That’s all you can ask for.”

A lot of the questions were about the Chiefs offensive line situation, specifically the interior positions of center and the guards. Last year’s starting center Rodney Hudson is gone, signed as a free agent by Oakland. Last week, the Chiefs traded for left guard Ben Grubbs and signed right guard Paul Fanaika as an unrestricted free agent.

Dorsey said it’s far too early to create a depth chart for the group in the upcoming season. …Read More!

Free Agency Pace Grinds To Halt At Arrowhead

The Chiefs wallet for signing and trading for players has gone back into general manager John Dorsey’s pocket as the NFL begins the second week of the new league season.

After last week’s flurry of signings, trades and roster moves, the Chiefs have been quiet this week. There’s a reason why – they’ve run out of room under the salary cap.

According to the NFL Players Association salary-cap tracker, the Chiefs have the fewest dollars available under their cap among the 32 teams in the league.

On Tuesday afternoon, the NFLPA listed the Chiefs at 76 players under contract with just $135,675 remaining on their cap number for this season of $146,008,525. …Read More!

Chiefs Getting Ready To Wrap Up Fruitful Week

The Chiefs front office led by general manager John Dorsey was staying busy over the weekend in the closing days of the first week of the NFL 2015 season.

On Friday they completed the trade for guard Ben Grubbs with New Orleans, and also worked out a new contract with the seven-season veteran. They announced the retention of three of their own free agents in wide receiver Jason Avant, tight end Richard Gordon and safety Kelcie McCray. Plus, they signed street free agent long snapper James Winchester.

Saturday brought the re-signing of defensive back Ron Parker to a 5-year, $30-million contract.

According to the NFL Players Association, at the close of business on Saturday, the Chiefs had 71 players under contract and just a little more than $1.4 million available under their 2015 salary cap number of $146,144,200.

Here’s a recap of the moves made over the last 10 days by the Chiefs. They are ranked in order of their importance to the Chiefs: …Read More!

The DBowe Show Is Over – In Kansas City

What was expected for days finally became official on Thursday afternoon as the Chiefs announced that they had released wide receiver Dwayne Bowe.

Driven by salary cap concerns and a lack of productivity over the last two seasons relative to his 5-year $56 million contract, Bowe’s time with the club had run out. He was the Chiefs first-round selection and No. 23 player taken in the 2007 NFL Draft out of Louisiana State University.

“This was a tough decision to make,” General Manager John Dorsey said in a statement released by the team. “Dwayne is a team-first guy and he holds a number of team receiving records. We felt this was in the best interest of the club at this time.”

Bowe was carrying a $14 million salary-cap charge for the 2015 season from that mega-contract that he signed before the 2013 season. But in two seasons with that contract, Bowe played 31 games and caught 125 passes for 1,577 yards and six touchdown catches. Not quite the numbers of a receiver ranked among the top five contracts at the position. …Read More!

Chiefs Add Veteran Guard In Trade With Saints

Ben Grubbs, a two-time Pro Bowl guard with 133 games of NFL experience, joined the Chiefs on Thursday in a trade with the New Orleans Saints.

The Chiefs gave up their fifth-round selection in the 2015 NFL Draft to pick up Grubbs, who has been a starter since his rookie season of 2007 with the Baltimore Ravens. The 6-3, 310-pound blocker was a first-round choice at pick No. 29 out of Auburn University.

Grubbs signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Saints in 2012, inking a 5-year, $36 million contract. The 2015 season will be the fourth year of that deal and he’s due to receiver a base salary of $6.5 million with a $100,000 workout bonus. He’ll count $6.6 million on the Chiefs salary cap.

In the last three years in New Orleans, Grubbs has not missed a game and in fact was on the Saints injury report for just one week in those seasons. The only games he’s missed were in 2011 with the Ravens, when he was knocked out because of a toe injury. In those 122 games, Grubbs has been penalized 23 times, 11 for holding and 10 on false starts. Last year with New Orleans, he allowed just one sack of quarterback Drew Brees.

Born in Georgia, raised in Alabama, he was recruited to Auburn as a linebacker but eventually grew into the role on the offensive line.

Chiefs Ready To Sign Big Guard From Cardinals

Right guard Paul Fanaika has banged around the NFL for seven seasons and he’s about to join his fifth team as he signs a 3-year deal with the Chiefs.

Various media outlets are reporting the deal is done as soon as he passes his physical.

The 6-5, 327-pound Fanaika started 31 of the last 33 games played by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2013-14 seasons. He missed two games last season due to a sprained left ankle. One of those was the Chiefs visit to the desert near the end of the year. Fanaika did start the Cardinals opening round game in the playoffs against Carolina.

He entered the league as a seventh-round (#213) selection of the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2009 NFL Draft, selected by then Philly head coach Andy Reid. Fanaika was released at the end of the pre-season and spent time on the Eagles practice squad. In November he was signed to the active roster of the Washington Redskins, but did not play before he was released in June 2010. Fanaika was claimed off the waiver wire by Cleveland but released before the season started and signed to the Browns practice squad.

In December 2010, the Seattle Seahawks signed him to their active roster. He bounced between the Seattle active roster and practice squad in the 2011 season. Fanaika did not play the 2012 season, and signed with Arizona in April 2013.

Fanaika grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, attending Mills High School in Milbrae. He was a freshman walk-on at Arizona State University, earning a scholarship in his second year. Overall he played in 48 games for the Sun Devils with 35 consecutive starts at right guard.

His full name is Pauliasi Fanaika, pronounced fuh-NYE-kuh.

Maclin: “I thinks this Fits Me.”

KC Chiefs photo

Jeremy Maclin said Wednesday that his move to the Chiefs leaves him three hours from home in St. Louis and an hour and a half from his college home at the University of Missouri.

When a guy signs a 5-year, $55 million contract with $22.5 million in guaranteed money like Maclin received, he can buy a mode of transportation that will get him down I-70 a lot faster than ordinary folks. That contract would allow him to buy an airplane or a helicopter.

“It’s not all about the money; this was a perfect situation with the familiarity with what I came into the league doing,” Maclin said Wednesday afternoon during a press conference at the Chiefs facility in the Truman Sports Complex. “Being able to come back to the area where it all started, three hours from home, and hour and a half from where I went to college, it was kind of a non-brainer for me. I’m happy to have the opportunity.”

Maclin comes to the Chiefs after six years with the Eagles where he was selected in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft by now Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. He played four seasons under Reid who had nothing but positive things to say about how Maclin will fit into the 2015 Chiefs offense because of his versatility and knowledge. …Read More!

Chiefs Make It Official – Maclin Signed

The Chiefs made it official late Wednesday morning that they had signed unrestricted free agent wide receiver Jeremy Maclin.

No details provided of course, but the 5-year deal is reportedly worth an average of $11 million per season.

Maclin will meet the media Wednesday afternoon at the Chiefs facility.

The 6-0, 198-pound product of the University of Missouri appeared in 75 games for the Philadelphia Eagles, starting 73 times in five NFL seasons. Maclin’s career numbers include 343 receptions for 4,771 yards (a 13.9-yard average) with 36 touchdown catches. Maclin’s most productive season was 2014 when he caught 85 passes for 1,318 yards (a 15.5-yard average) with 10 touchdown receptions. He also occasionally served as a returner for the Eagles, adding 15 punt returns for 101 yards (a 6.7-yard average) and eight kickoff returns for 146 yards (a 18.3-yard average.).

Chiefs, NFL 2015 Free Agency: Day One

Dwayne Bowe will soon be gone; Tyvon Branch can knock the ball loose.

The Chiefs did not announce the signing of unrestricted free agent wide receiver Jeremy Maclin on Tuesday in the first hours of the 2015 NFL Year and that start of free agency.

The only absolute news the Chiefs made in the first day was the signing of former Raiders safety Tyvon Branch to a 1-year deal for $2 million with the chance to earn more in performance bonuses.

It’s doubtful there’s any problem with the Chiefs-Maclin deal for 5 years, $55 million. More than likely it has something to do with the NFL promising to investigate negotiations between players and teams that went down during the three-day period where agreements were not allowed to be finalized. Expect the Maclin signing to be announced in the next 48 hours.

Information from the NFL Players Association Tuesday night listed the Chiefs with 68 players under contract. Only the 51 players with the highest cap numbers count right now. The Chiefs salary-cap number this season is $145.3 million, and the NFLPA says they are now $838,450 under the cap. That likely does not include the cap number for Maclin, which is why veteran wide receiver Dwayne Bowe is likely headed to the waiver wire sometime in the next 48 hours. It appears that one wide receiver-deal is attached to another wide receiver-deal. …Read More!

Free Agency Period Begins With 453 Free Agents

The National Football League announced Tuesday that 453 players are free agents and can negotiate with all 32 clubs. Here’s a list of free agents by club in various categories: …Read More!

Chiefs Sign Branch Ahead of Free Agency

A touch of the old days returned to the AFC West on Tuesday. The Raiders will announce the signing of Chiefs center Rodney Hudson as an unrestricted free agent.

The Chiefs have come back and signed former Oakland strong safety Tyvon Branch to a 1-year contract.

While the Hudson/Branch moves are not connected, they recall the 1990s when these teams went after the same players and each other’s players on almost a yearly basis. The best example came in 1995 when the both clubs wanted to sign free agents cornerback James Hasty and safety Brian Washington. The Chiefs ended up stashing both players in a hotel in the Country Club Plaza and kept them in town when the Raiders were trying to get them to visit Oakland.

The 5-11, 197-pound Branch had been with the Raiders for eight seasons, after he was selected in the fourth round of the 2008 NFL Draft at pick No. 100 out of the University of Connecticut. Oakland traded up to the first choice of the round to select Branch.

Over the last two Raiders seasons Branch played in just five games due to injury. In 2013 he suffered a fractured fibula in the third game of the season. Last season, he suffered a foot fracture in the Raiders second game and did not return. …Read More!

Chiefs Roster & Salary Cap Door Continues To Spin

Tamba Hali (l) is staying, Jeremy Maclin (c) is coming and Rodney Hudson (r) is leaving

The action was fast and furious on the second floor of Chiefs headquarters at the Truman Sports Complex on Monday as the team and the rest of the league heads for the start of the new NFL year on Tuesday afternoon.

The moves were many, and there are probably some that haven’t been completed or finished, but here’s what has broken:

  • Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin is coming over from the Eagles on a 5-year, $55 million contract.
  • Center Rodney Hudson is leaving, agreeing to terms with Oakland on a 5-year, $44.5 million deal that’s heavily loaded in the next few years to take advantage of the large salary cap room carried by the Raiders.
  • Outside linebacker Tamba Hali has taken a $3 million salary haircut and restructured his contract, creating $7 million in cap room for the Chiefs this year.
  • Defensive end Mike DeVito also took a pay cut and signed a new deal that provided the Chiefs another $1.2 million in cap space for 2015.
  • Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and his status for 2015 remains unknown.
  • Safety Tyvon Branch formerly of the Raiders was scheduled to be in town on Monday to meet with the Chiefs. Branch was released by the Raiders last week and can be signed at any time.

Thoughts on these moves at this time: …Read More!

2015 NFL FREE AGENCY QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

Q.  When does the 2015 free agency signing period begin?

A.  At 3:00 p.m. CDT on Tuesday, March 10.

Q.  What are the categories of free agency?

A.  Players are either “Restricted Free Agents” (RFA) or “Unrestricted Free Agents” (UFA). An RFA may be subject to a qualifying offer. An RFA or UFA may be designated by his prior club as its Franchise Player or Transition Player.

Q.  What is the time period for free agency signings this year?

A.  For RFAs it’s from March 10 to April 24. For UFAs that have received the June 1 tender from their prior club, from March 10 to July 22 (or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later). For Franchise Players, from March 10 until the Tuesday following the 10th week of the regular season (November 17). For Transition Players, from March 10 until July 22. If the player does not sign by November 17, he must sit out the season.

Q.  What is the difference between a Restricted Free Agent (RFA) and an Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA)? …Read More!

Andy & Maclin Reunion Appears Set

In the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft, then Philadelphia head coach Andy Reid selected wide receiver Jeremy Maclin out of the University of Missouri with pick No. 19.

There are indications they will have Kansas City reunion.

ESPN reported Sunday evening that Maclin will sign as an unrestricted free agent with the Chiefs at the start of the new league year on Tuesday.

If true it’s a major addition to the Chiefs offensive roster and likely indicates that Dwayne Bowe’s time in Kansas City is over. No details on the contract terms but given the Chiefs problems in getting under the salary that also starts on Tuesday, it’s hard to believe they could carry both a new deal for Maclin and Bowe’s contract and his big salary cap number.

Given the market for receivers it’s likely a deal that will average between $9 and $10 million per season. Over the weekend, Green Bay re-signed wide receiver Randall Cobb to a 4-year, $40 million deal with $17 million guaranteed. There was not a lot of difference between Cobb and Maclin last season other than the Packers receiver had Aaron Rodgers throwing to him. Here are their numbers: …Read More!

Chiefs Busy On Defense – Re-sign ILB, Cut DE

Defensive end Vance Walker is gone, but inside linebacker Josh Mauga is staying.

That was the early Friday scorecard from Arrowhead Stadium as the Chiefs head to the start of free agency this coming Tuesday.

They released Walker who last year as an unrestricted free agent signed a 3-year, $10,020,000 contract with a $3 million signing bonus. By releasing him, the Chiefs gain $1.7 million under the 2015 cap. They will carry $2 million in dead money; that’s the final two years of his pro-rated bonus. Walker provided little for the Chiefs defense last season, finishing with 19 total tackles and two sacks. He saw minimal playing time with 229 defensive snaps, an average of 14 per game. But Walker had four games where he was on the field for five or fewer plays.

Mauga reportedly signed a 3-year, $8 million deal. No details yet on how the contract breaks down in salary and bonuses. The deal averages almost $2.7 million per season but cap ramifications depend on the signing bonus, if any that Mauga received.

He joined the team in the first week of training camp and went on to lead the Chiefs in tackles with 103 as he started all 16 games inside due to injuries suffered by Derrick Johnson and Joe Mays.

Chiefs Keep Trimming – Release LB Joe Mays

Shaving the payroll continued with the Chiefs on Thursday as they parted ways with inside linebacker Joe Mays.

Signed last year as a free agent to a 2-year, $6 million contract, Mays was pegged to fill the middle linebacker spot next to Derrick Johnson. But he suffered a serious injury to a ligament in his wrist and underwent surgery in August and missed the first half of the 2014 season. Eventually he got back into the playing rotation and appeared in eight games, contributing 17 total tackles and he recovered a fumble. Mays also had three tackles in the kicking game.

Moving him off the roster opens up $2.7 million under the NFL salary cap for the 2015 season. He will cost the Chiefs $1 million in dead money on this year’s cap.

Roster Musings: DBowe & Soon To Be Free Agents

According to league employed media the Chiefs are working to trade wide receiver Dwayne Bowe.

NFL.com reported Thursday morning that without a trade partner the Chiefs plan to release Bowe to get out from under the $14 million charge next to his name under the 2015 salary cap. They can gain $5 million under the cap with him off the roster, but would have to carry $9 million of dead money. They can also designate him a post-June 1 release which would push some of the cap hit into 2016.

Not really shocking news because the Chiefs don’t have a lot of ways to turn given the decisions they’ve made. There’s a very good chance these types of moves will not end with Bowe.

The league is also now five days away from the start of the new league year and the start of free agency. The Chiefs most certainly have made internal decisions on how they would like to proceed with the players that will come off their roster next Tuesday. Those evaluations will become obvious in the coming weeks and months.

This weekend, NFL teams can start talking to representatives of players headed for free agency – not that it hasn’t already happened behind the scenes – but they can’t make an agreement or sign a free agent until the near league year kicks off Tuesday afternoon.

But here’s one man’s opinion on how the Chiefs would like to approach free agency with those that were with them last season: …Read More!

R.I.P. Tom Bettis

One of the best coaches to ever work the Chiefs sideline was buried on Tuesday in Katy, Texas.

Former assistant coach, defensive coordinator and interim head coach Tom Bettis died on Saturday in that Texas town near Houston. He was 81 years old.

Ironically, he passed away on the same day that cornerback Gary Green went into the Chiefs Hall of Fame. It was in 1977 that Green joined the Chiefs as a first-round selection in the ’77 NFL Draft. His first position coach and defensive coordinator was Bettis, who halfway through that season was named interim head coach after Paul Wiggin was fired.

“The best coach I ever had,” Green said of Bettis on Saturday without knowing the coach had passed away. “I played for four different head coaches, four different coordinators and four different defensive back coaches (with the Chiefs) and Tom Bettis was the smartest guy I was around. I always wished that I would have had the chance to spend more than one season with him.”

Green was not the only Chiefs defensive player that held Bettis in high esteem. Over the years Hall of Famers like Willie Lanier, Emmitt Thomas and Bobby Bell have all spoken about the coaching smarts that Bettis displayed throughout his early Chiefs career when they played for him.

William Thomas Bettis was born on St. Patrick’s Day 1933 in Chicago, Illinois. He grew up in the Windy City and went off to play college football at Purdue University. He was the first-round selection of the Green Bay Packers in the 1955 NFL Draft as a linebacker. Bettis played seven seasons in Green Bay, including an NFL Championship in 1961. He then played one season with Pittsburgh and one season with the Chicago Bears team that won the 1963 NFL Championship.

Bettis began his NFL coaching career in 1966 on Hank Stram’s staff with the Chiefs. He stayed for 12 years before he was fired at the end of the 1977 season along with the rest of Wiggin’s coaching staff. He then spent seven years coaching with the St. Louis Cardinals (1978-84), and then one-year stints with Cleveland (1985) and Houston (1986-87), before he returned to coach on Frank Gansz’s staff with the Chiefs for the 1988 season. He finished up his coaching career with two seasons in Houston (1993-94).

He’s survived by three daughters and nine grandchildren.

Chiefs Play Tag With Houston

To the surprise of no one, the Chiefs will use their franchise player designation on Monday on outside linebacker Justin Houston.

The deadline for using the tag was 3 p.m. CST. Joining Houston with the designation are Denver wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, Dallas wide receiver Dez Bryant, New England kicker Stephen Gostkowski and New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Pau. Miami tagged tight end Charles Clay with the transition player designation.

The Chiefs will use the non-exclusive version of the franchise tag. That means Houston can seek contract offers from other teams, but it would cost that suitor a fairly large chunk of money and salary-cap space and two first-round draft choices.

“Justin is a talented player and a key contributor to our defense,” General Manager John Dorsey said in a statement provided by the Chiefs. “Today was the deadline to designate a franchise player, and it was in the best interest of the club to place the tag on Justin. We will continue to discuss long-term options with him and his agent. Our goal is to reach a deal that is mutually beneficial. We want to keep Justin in a Chiefs uniform for years to come.”

The tender offer for a franchise linebacker is $13.195 million.

Next step belongs to Houston – he must decide when he signs the offer. As soon as he signs the tender, it’s guaranteed for the season whether he blows out a knee or gets run over by a bus. Also, signing will take him off the market for the next year.

If he decides to put off signing the franchise offer, then he remains without a contract and does not have to attend the Chiefs off-season program or training camp. If he signed the tender offer before the start of the season, he could still make the entire amount. If he sits out until the 10th week of the season, he would still qualify for another season under league rules, but it would cost him seven weeks pay. That would be a loss of approximately $5.5 million.

With the non-exclusive designation, Houston can negotiate with other NFL teams. If he got an offer sheet, the Chiefs would have the right to match the contract terms. If they decided not to match, the team signing Houston would have to give up two first-round draft choices.

Also, the Chiefs can rescind the franchise designation at any time, but that would make Houston an unrestricted free agent with no compensation back to the team.

Franchise Tag Worth $13.19 million For Houston

The NFL and the NFL Players Association let the league’s 32 teams know some important numbers for the 2015 season on Monday. That’s the salary cap number and the tender offers for franchise and transition players.

The Chiefs are tagging outside linebacker Justin Houston with the franchise designation and that means their offer to the NFL’s leading sacker in 2014 will be $13,195,000.

The salary cap number is $143.28 million, but the cap for each team is different because of carryover money from the 2014 season. According to NFLPA figures the Chiefs pushed $2,246,790 from last year’s cap into the coming season. That should put the Chiefs cap number at $145.526 million for the coming season.

Here are the franchise and transition player numbers for the coming season: …Read More!

Chiefs Welcome Back Gary Green With HOF Honors

Gary Green Now & Then, as a high school head coach in San Antonio (L) and as a cornerback for the Chiefs (R).

As the participants at the NFL 101 Awards press conference walked to the dais Saturday afternoon, there was one face that I did not recognize. De’Anthony Thomas was there, introduced as the winner of the Mack Lee Hill Award as the team’s best rookie performer in the 2014 season. Sitting next to Thomas was Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt and then there was this mystery man.

Hunt introduced the third person as the 2015 inductee to the Chiefs Hall of Fame – former cornerback Gary Green.

But the person in front of the room at the Westin Crown Center Hotel did not look like the Gary Green I remembered, last seen with the Chiefs at the end of the 1983 season when he knew his time with the franchise was short. It wasn’t until he opened his mouth and began to speak about the honor of being named the 45th member of the team’s HoF that his identity was confirmed. He has less hair, maybe carrying just a few more pounds, but he still has the same high-pitched voice, the same smile and still shows that glint in his eyes that made him a locker room favorite for seven years with the Chiefs.

Gary Green was back with the Chiefs. Now, that’s an unexpected headline. …Read More!

Teammates Honor Houston & DAT For Play In 2014

The annual NFL 101 Awards Banquet honors some of the best performances by players and coaches in the league from the 2014 season. That’s why Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman, Pittsburgh’s duo of wide receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le’Veon Bell, Houston defensive end J.J. Watt and Arizona head coach Bruce Arians were in the house Saturday night at the Westin Crown Center Hotel.

It’s also the night the Chiefs announce their honors from last season: the Derrick Thomas Award as the team’s most valuable player went to outside linebacker Justin Houston, while the Mack Lee Hill Award for best rookie performance went to running back/receiver/returner De’Anthony Thomas.

Saturday night, Thomas was in the house for the event, but Houston was not. His absence is hardly a surprise given his current situation. Houston and everyone else in the NFL waits to see if the Chiefs tag the linebacker with the franchise player designation. They have until Monday to do that. For Houston, it would have been a long night of being asked what’s happening with his contract; reportedly he had a prior commitment. His original four-year contract with the team will officially end in 10 days when the new league year begins. …Read More!

Who Survives the Chiefs Version Of Musical Chairs?

Maybe I’m showing my age here, but the current behind the scenes action among the NFL’s teams at this time of year reminds me of a game of musical chairs. Do they even do musical chairs anymore?

For youngsters out there that may not know, musical chairs starts with say 10 people walking around a circle of nine chairs. Music is played and when it stops, everybody tries to get a seat. With nine seats, obviously one of the 10 players is left standing and is out of the contest. Another chair is removed, the music starts again and so on until there’s two participants, one chair and the person sitting is the winner.

Right now, the Chiefs are going through a similar exercise. They have a salary cap to deal with, and players that they want to keep who are about to gain their football freedom through free agency. Cap room is tight, with a lot of scrambling for chairs at the NFL dinner table. Big decisions have to be made on current Chiefs and players they hope to add for the coming season.

These are the names that have crossed the radar screen of general manager John Dorsey and head coach Andy Reid For all the armchair general managers out there, let us know what you would do about the following players and their status with the team. What would you do? Players are listed in alphabetical order. …Read More!

Chiefs Cut Fasano

It’s a busy time around the personnel wing of Arrowhead Stadium as the Chiefs spend time working on their salary cap, making moves to apply the franchise player tag on outside linebacker Justin Houston and adjusting their roster.

Another one of those moves came on Thursday when the Chiefs released veteran tight end Anthony Fasano. The move will create almost $2 million in room under the salary cap. Fasano was scheduled to count $4,209,375 on the cap tab for the Chiefs. By releasing him, they gain $1,959,375 of cap room but have to eat the rest as dead money.

Fasano signed a 4-year, $16 million deal with the Chiefs in 2013. Over the last two seasons, he’s played in 24 of 32 games, making 22 starts and catching 48 passes for 426 yards and seven touchdown receptions. He will be 31 years old in April and is heading into his 10th season in the league.

The development of Travis Kelce made Fasano expendable. They also have Demetrius Harris coming off the injured-reserve list and also on the roster are Brandon Barden, Adam Schiltz and veteran Richard Gordon.

The NFL Combine Numbers Sometimes Lie

They put away the tape measure, scale and stopwatch at Lucas Oil Stadium on Monday as the league wrapped up the physical testing at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. The players were all out the door on Monday, and the club personnel will be on their way on Tuesday.

Many consider the Combine to be nothing more than underwear Olympics and there’s no question that a lot of attention goes to the guys that post top-flight numbers in the testing whether it’s in the 40-yard dash, bench press or the 60-yard shuttle. Any group of football players will present a broad spectrum of body types and physical talents, and within that collection of over 340 players, there are some truly outstanding athletes.

That does not always translate to being a productive player in the NFL. The history of the NFL Draft is filled with examples of workout wonders that turned heads running around in t-shirt and shorts, lifting their station in the group. The poster child for the Combine bump was defensive end Mike Mamula out of Boston College in 1995.

Before the Combine that year, he was pegged as a mid-round prospect coming off a senior season when he had 13 sacks and 73 total tackles at B.C. But Mamula spent months getting ready not for football, but for the drills run during the Combine. He ended up running the 40-yard dash in 4.58 seconds at 250 pounds. That was faster than wide receiver J.J. Stokes. On the bench press with 225 pounds, he ripped off 28 repetitions or two more than offensive tackle Tony Boselli. He posted a 38.5-inch vertical jump, an unheard of number for a player of his size.

When the start of the ’95 NFL Draft came around, the Philadelphia Eagles traded up from No. 12 in the first round to No. 7 so they could select Mamula. It cost them a pair of second-round draft choices. Mamula was not a bust, but he never justified his selection at No. 7 with his play on the field. In five seasons with the Eagles he collected 31.5 sacks, eight forced fumbles and an interception. …Read More!

How Fast Were NFL Combine Wide Receivers?

The NFL Combine featured the wide receivers on the field Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, including running the 40-yard dash, the best measurement for speed that evaluators in pro football have at their disposal.

There was no record setting performance by any of this year’s receivers. The fastest time University of Alabama-Birmingham receiver J.J. Nelson, the dash in 4.28 seconds. Nelson is 5-10¼, 156 pounds and last year in 12 games with UAB he caught 35 passes for 655 yards and 4 touchdown catches. A two-time high school 100 meters champion in Alabama, Nelson is the lightest player in the Combine since 2002 when wide receiver Aaron Lockett from Kansas State University weighed 155 pounds.

Coming into the Combine, University of Miami (FL) receiver Phillip Dorsett was expected to push on the event record for the 40-yard dash that was set in 2000 by running back Chris Johnson at 4.24 seconds. But Dorsett was timed in 4.33 seconds, taking the 40-yard dash silver medal. There was a tie for the bronze between University of Georgia’s Chris Conley and West Virginia University’s Kevin White; they both ran 4.35 seconds.

Former University of Missouri receiver Dorial Green-Beckham (left) turned in a time of 4.49 seconds, running at 229 pounds. K-State’s Tyler Lockett ran the 40 in 4.44 seconds to finish in the upper half of the 40 receivers that were timed by scouts and league officials on Saturday.

There were five receivers that did not run the 40 on Saturday: Dres Anderson of the University of Utah (torn left meniscus), Geremy Davis of the University of Connecticut (hamstring) Breshad Perriman of the University of Central Florida (hamstring), DeAndre Smelter from Georgia Tech (torn ACL) and Cam Worthy of the University of East Carolina (foot).

Here’s the 40-yard dash times posted Saturday by the NFL. Also, the height and weight numbers are from the Combine: …Read More!

Dorsey Speaks At The NFL Combine

It was John Dorsey turn in the media pit on Thursday at the NFL Combine in Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis.

Much as his head coach did, the Chiefs general manager held his cards very close to his vest when it came to talking about the roster, free agency and the NFL Draft. We wouldn’t have expected anything but the quiet and cautious approach from Dorsey

There were plenty of questions concerning outside linebacker Justin Houston and just where the Chiefs stand with their league leading sacker.

“I think Justin Houston is a fine football player,” Dorsey said. “I think what he did this year, I mean, he did a wonderful job. We applaud him for that. His representative is in town and I’ve had ongoing discussions with his representative.”

Other words from Dorsey: …Read More!

Andy On Injured List At NFL Combine

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid limped up to the podium at Lucas Oil Stadium when he met with the media at the 2015 NFL Combine in Indianapolis on Wednesday.

Reid also used a cane – he’s rehabbing from knee replacement surgery in January. When asked if he would ready for off-season duties, Reid said: “I’ll be ready to go. I won’t be starting on PUP.”

In his answers to questions from the media Reid did not break any news about the Chiefs. He seldom does.

Here are some of Reid’s answers:

Decision to release wide receivers Donnie Avery and A.J. Jenkins: “I appreciate both of those guys, Donnie and A.J. Two different situations, one guy is a little bit younger than the other guy and Donnie has had a lot of good years in the National Football League. Hopefully he continues to have good years. I’ m pulling for him. A.J.’s just learning. He’ll continue to do that and hopefully hooks on with someone and has that opportunity.” …Read More!

Chiefs Start Housecleaning At Wide Receiver

The Chiefs got busy on Tuesday cleaning up their roster and payroll at the wide receiver position by releasing Donnie Avery and A.J. Jenkins.

The moves should save the team close to $5 million under the salary cap for the 2015 season, while leaving them with only minimal dead money on their account. Both receivers were in the final year of their contracts. Avery’s dead money will be just $500,000; that’s a pro-rated portion of his signing bonus and Jenkins won’t cost the Chiefs a thing because they acquired him in a trade with San Francisco in 2013 and there was no signing bonus pro-ration.

Avery was scheduled to make $2.7 million in base salary in 2015 with a $500,000 bonus if he was on the roster and $200,000 workout bonus. It was all part of the 3-year, $8.55 million deal he signed in 2013 as an unrestricted free agent. His release gives the Chiefs $3.4 million in cap savings in 2015. Jenkins was scheduled to make $660,000 in base salary with a $677,390 roster bonus. His release gives the Chiefs a cap saving of $1,337,390.

Both Avery and Jenkins dealt with injuries far more than they did with catching passes. Avery missed 14 games in two seasons because of injury and ended up catching 55 passes for 772 yards and two touchdown catches. He also had a 79-yard scoring catch against Indianapolis in the 2013 playoffs. Jenkins did not play in 11 games over the last two seasons and caught 17 passes for 223 yards and no touchdowns. He also had a catch for 27 yards against the Colts in the post-season.

NFL Clock Starts Monday On Franchise Player Tags

The official 2015 NFL business year starts March 10, but as of Monday league teams may use their franchise player and transition player designations to protect players that have played out their contracts and will become unrestricted free agents.

Players like Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston. Media reports over the weekend, led by ProFootballTalk.com, indicated that Chiefs negotiators and Houston’s agent Joel Segal will continue to work on a new contract this coming week. That news quite obviously came out of the Houston camp, so that may be wishful thinking on their part.

What is not in doubt is this – if a long-term contract can’t be reached by 3 p.m. Central Time on March 2nd, the Chiefs will use their franchise player tag on Houston. Whether they use the non-exclusive or exclusive franchise designation, the move will limit Houston’s options in free agency to one team – the Chiefs.

The NFL has not yet released a concrete figure on the salary cap number for the 2015 season. That very likely will be released to the teams sometime in the next two weeks, probably at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis that starts on Tuesday and runs through February 23rd. That number will help set the tender offer that teams must make to their franchise player. …Read More!

Alex’s Feeling Better; He’s Playing At Pebble Beach

On Saturday Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith finished up three days of play at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament on the PGA Tour.

Smith was paired with professional Jason Gore and they finished 16-under par over 54 holes. That wasn’t close to making the cut in the Pro-Am portion of the annual event. The low 25 duos will play on Sunday. Playing with PGA Tour pro Aaron Baddeley and country singer Clay Walker, Smith and his partner shot 64-66-69, finishing among the top 60 teams.

Remember, Smith’s football season ended a week early when he suffered a lacerated spleen and was forced to miss the final game of the season against San Diego. Smith said at the time the only thing he could not do according to the doctors was put his body at risk of being physically hit. That certainly wasn’t a problem at the Pebble Beach Golf Links, not unless he possibly ran into comedian Bill Murray who might try to tackle him in a sand trap.

At the famous par-3, hole No. 17, the CBS-TV coverage team did a video look at Smith’s golf swing with commentary from announcer Peter Kostis, a noted teacher of the game. On the 17th tee, Smith hit a nice tee shot on the green, but he blew the putt going up the hill and did not come close to a true birdie. It’s the same hole where Tom Watson chipped in and won the 1982 U.S. Open.

Also playing at Pebble Beach this week is former Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards. He was paired with pro John Daly. The only other footballer that was taking part was former San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Harris Barton. In the past the field has included Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and other big football names.

Chiefs Add Another Defensive Back To Roster

This week the Chiefs signed cornerback Shaquille Richardson to a one-year contract.

The 6-1, 190-pound Richardson was selected in the fifth-round (pick #157) of the 2014 NFL Draft by Pittsburgh out of the University of Arizona. He was released before the start of the regular season and signed to the Steelers practice squad. During the season he was injured in practice and eventually reached an injury settlement with the team in November.

At Arizona, Richardson played in 49 games with 37 starts. He picked up 189 total tackles along with 10 interceptions, including one he returned for a touchdown in 2011. He also forced three fumbles and recovered two others.

He will be 23 years old in March and was timed in the 40-yard dash going into last year’s NFL Draft in 4.43 seconds.

LaDainian Tells Talk of Fame Network Jamaal Is Best

Appearing on the Talk of Fame Network this week, former San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson said that Jamaal Charles is the best running back in the NFL right now.

“If I’m thinking about a guy who sparks fear in a defense,” Tomlinson said, “it has to be Jamaal Charles.”

Tomlinson told hosts Rick Gosselin, Clark Judge and Ron Borges that the versatility Charles has shown makes the difference in being the NFL’s best back.

“The threat of a running back who can run it and catch … but, at the same time, be able to take it 80 yards on any given play, that’s rare,” Tomlinson said. “And that sparks fear in a defense.”

Here’s the link to the site and the interview with Tomlinson.

NFL Coaching Carousel Finally Stops Spinning

With the passing of the 2014 NFL season, attention turns toward the coming season. It’s been a busy time in the NFL coaching ranks, not just with seven teams hiring new head coaches, but new coaching staffs and individual changes across other teams with a returning head man.

After all the shuffling, there were 20 of 32 teams that changed a head coach, offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator or special teams coach. Some of those coordinator positions opened up due to firings and promotions. Seattle lost its defensive coordinator Dan Quinn who became head coach in Atlanta. Quinn was replaced by Kris Richard who was part of the Seahawks defensive staff. Baltimore’s offensive coordinator last season was Gary Kubiak, but he’s now the head coach in Denver. Replacing Kubiak with the Ravens is fired Chicago head coach Marc Trestman.

There are seven different head coaches, a dozen different offensive and defensive coordinators and nine new special teams coordinators/coaches.

The Chiefs were one of a dozen teams with no changes at the top in head coach or coordinator positions. As near as we know, Andy Reid has not made any deletions or additions to the staff that was employed last season. …Read More!

Chiefs Will Zero-In On WRs At Upcoming NFL Combine

There will be 44 wide receivers working at the 2015 NFL Combine in Indianapolis in two weeks. They will go through the typical tests and drills the Combine has always offered, and they will interview with individual teams.

Whether it’s the first round, or picks in later rounds, the Chiefs are going to draft a wide receiver. After ignoring the position in their first two drafts, general manager John Dorsey and head coach Andy Reid can’t afford to look past the pass catchers in the 2015 NFL Draft. It’s a position of need and there appears to be an abundance of talented prospects.

Their selection(s) don’t have to come from the NFL Combine list but generally they do; Dorsey and Reid made 14 selections in the 2013 and 2014 NFL Drafts and 11 players were Combine invitees. The only players drafted without that trip to Indy were center Eric Kush and linebacker Mike Catapano in ’13 and guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif in ’14. All three were sixth and seventh-round selections.

The Chiefs need an infusion of talent at other positions beyond the receivers, and they’ll be busy keeping their eye on blockers and tacklers at the Combine as well.

Today, here’s a look at the invited wide receivers. They are listed in alpha order and the statistics are from their 2014 college seasons. The last column is an early projection from NFL types on the round the player will be selected in the ’15 Draft. Overall, the projections come off the play of these receivers during last season. Some receivers will move up in round projection and some down based on evaluations from all-star games, the Combine and workouts for individual teams. Players without a round are currently candidates to be undrafted college free agents. …Read More!

NFL Combine Invites 324 Players To Indy

The NFL will select 256 players in the 2015 NFL Draft. That means some 68 of the 324 players invited to this year NFL Combine in Indianapolis will not be selected.

Actually, that number will be higher because several draft choices will be used on players that were not tendered invitations to the activity on February 17-23 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indy.

Among the invitees there are 168 offensive players (15 quarterbacks, 36 running backs, 44 wide receivers, 20 tight ends and 53 offensive linemen.) There are 144 defensive players (55 defensive linemen, 35 linebackers and 54 defensive backs.) There are 12 specialists (5 kickers, 1 long snapper and 6 punters.) Among the group are 64 underclassmen that declared for this year’s draft.

Kansas State, Missouri and Kansas had 10 players that received invitations:

  • K-State (2) – OL B.J. Finney, WR Tyler Lockett.
  • Mizzou (5) – DL Markus Golden, WR Dorial Green-Beckham, OL Mitch Morse, RB Marcus Murphy, DL Shane Ray.
  • KU (3) – LB Ben Heeney, PK Trevor Pardula, DB Jacorey Shepherd.

Here are the invited players for this year’s Combine, list in alpha order: …Read More!

Chiefs Add Veteran Defensive Lineman

The Chiefs have signed five-year veteran defensive lineman Vaughn Martin to a contract. The deal was announced this week on the NFL’s daily personnel wire.

Martin, 6-4 and 300 pounds did not play in the NFL during the 2014 regular season; he was released in June last year by Detroit. Previously, he spent four seasons with San Diego and one season in Miami. He entered the league in the 2009 NFL Draft, selected in the 4th-round (#113) by the Chargers out of the University of Western Ontario in Canada. Martin was the first underclassmen out of Canada ever selected in the NFL Draft.

He’s Jamaican born and Canada raised and will be 29 years old in April. He battled a hernia problem in 2013-14 which lead to his release by the Dolphins in November ’13 and his release last season by the Lions. In 48 NFL games, he’s started 27 times with 78 total tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble playing at left defensive end. During his time in San Diego, he played against the Chiefs six times and totaled 11 total tackles.

NFL Makes It Official – Chiefs Own Pick No. 18

The NFL released on Tuesday the official order for the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Selecting first will be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, followed by the Tennessee Titans. Both teams finished 2-14 on the season, but the Bucs get the initial selection because their strength of schedule was worst last year than the Titans.

The Chiefs will have selection No. 18 in the first round. After that, they will shuffle the deck for rounds No. 2 through 7 with the three other clubs that finished the season 9-7: Houston, San Diego and Buffalo.

Only once previously has the Hunt Family franchise owned the 18th pick in the draft. That was in the 1964 AFL Draft and pick No. 18 was in the third round. They drafted defensive tackle Ken Kortas out of the University of Louisville. Kortas signed with the NFL and played six seasons for the Rams, Steelers and Bears. He’s best known as the player that wore No. 75 for the Steelers before Mean Joe Greene, who joined Pittsburgh in 1969. …Read More!

Super Bowl Weekend Leftovers: It Takes a Team

It will go down as one of the most watched, most bet on and most exciting Super Bowl games in the 49 that have been played. The New England Patriots 28-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks was in doubt until the final 30 seconds, and the game was filled with performances by known stars and unknown contributors.

For the last stanza of the 2014 season, the NFL couldn’t have produced a better sign off considering the type of year it was for the league.

Random thoughts:

It Takes A Team

Football is a game that cannot be dominated by a single player. Tom Brady was named the Super Bowl 49 MVP and while that selection can be debated, there’s no question he was a big part of the Patriots victory. But he had so much help.

Let us remember this – Tom Brady was the 199th player selected in the 2000 NFL Draft. He was a 6th-round draft choice. The winning touchdown pass was thrown by Brady to wide receiver Julian Edelman, who came into the league without being selected in the NFL Draft. He finished the game with nine catches for 109 yards and that touchdown. New England’s touchdown before the throw to Edelman went to wide receiver Danny Amendola, another receiver that came into the NFL was an undrafted rookie free agent.

The winning interception was pulled off by cornerback Malcolm Butler, also not selected in the NFL Draft last year. In fact, he wasn’t even signed immediately after the draft. He was invited as an unsigned player to the Patriots rookie mini-camp and ended up being signed after his performance over that weekend.

There are talented football players everywhere, not just in the opening rounds of the NFL Draft. Give New England credit – they not only identify and find those players, but they develop them. That’s the two pronged attack that has allowed them to overcome the problems facing today’s NFL teams with free agency and the salary cap. They find and develop. …Read More!

Early Vegas Odds On Winning Super Bowl 50

It does not take long for the oddsmakers in Las Vegas to react in the world of sports. Within minutes of the New England 28-24 victory over Seattle in Super Bowl 49 on Sunday in Arizona, they posted the first of what will be many odds on what teams will be part of Super Bowl 50 a year from now.

No surprise that the Seahawks and Patriots are the favorites. The Chiefs are listed as 40-to-1 shots, along with Arizona, St. Louis, the New York Giants and San Diego.

2016 Super Bowl Odds

  • 6/1 – Seattle.
  • 7/1 – New England.
  • 8/1 – Green Bay.
  • 12/1 – Denver, Indianapolis.
  • 18/1 – Dallas.
  • 25/1 – Philadelphia.
  • 30/1 – Baltimore, Detroit, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, San Francisco.
  • 35/1 – Cincinnati.
  • 40/1 – Chiefs, Arizona, N.Y. Giants, St. Louis, San Diego.
  • 45/1 – Carolina, Miami.
  • 50/1 – Atlanta, Houston.
  • 60/1 – Chicago, Minnesota.
  • 70/1 – Buffalo, Cleveland.
  • 125/1 – New York Jets.
  • 140/1 – Washington.
  • 200/1 – Tampa Bay.
  • 300/1 – Jacksonville, Oakland, Tennessee.

Why The Seahawks Are Super, Chiefs Are On Vacation

The Chiefs and Seattle Seahawks were west division winners in 2010. In Kansas City, they finished 10-6 in the second year of what was a dysfunctional marriage between general manager Scott Pioli and head coach Todd Haley.

The Pacific Northwest the Seahawks were just 7-9, but that was good enough to make the playoffs ahead of St. Louis as the Rams also finished at 7-9. That was the first year of what has become a storybook football marriage between general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll.

The Chiefs have not played a game since December 28th. The Seahawks are in action Sunday in Super Bowl 49 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Seattle is looking for back-to-back titles after winning a year ago in a dominating victory over Denver.

Four seasons ago, the Chiefs and Hawks appeared to be on equal footing. As the 2014 season comes to an end with the Patriots and Seahawks kicking off right around 5:30 p.m. CST the question must be asked:

What happened? …Read More!

Timing Is Right – Shields Makes The Hall of Fame

Will Shields became the 11th member of the Kansas City Chiefs to gain election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.

That news came down from Phoenix where the Hall’s selection committee voted in a class of eight that will be inducted in August in ceremonies in Canton, Ohio.

Joining Shields will be linebacker Junior Seau, running back Jerome Bettis, defensive end/linebacker Charles Haley, wide receiver Tim Brown, senior candidate Mick Tingelhoff and contributors Ron Wolf and Bill Polian.

Shields made the Hall in his fourth season of eligibility. The Chiefs third-round selection in the 1993 NFL Draft did not start the first game of his rookie season, but he finished the game and did not miss a start for the rest of his career.

He’s the first Chiefs offensive lineman to be selected for the Hall and only the second offensive player. He joins team founder Lamar Hunt, former head coach Hank Stram, quarterback Len Dawson, kicker Jan Stenerud and defensive stars Bobby Bell, Willie Lanier, Derrick Thomas, Emmitt Thomas, Curley Culp and Buck Buchanan.

The other members of the Hall of Fame class of 2015 are: …Read More!

It’s About Timing For Will Shields and Hall of Fame

For 16 years I sat in the meeting room on Super Bowl Saturday as part of the Selection Committee for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

There was not a time in all those years that I walked out after seven, eight, nine hours of discussion that I felt I knew what was going to be announced when it came time to introduce the inductees. Each of those meetings had a life and personality of its own. No two were alike. The results generally were not predictable.

If I was walking into that room on this Super Bowl Saturday, I would be wondering like everyone else what direction the voting will take. There are 18 men waiting for the chance to become part of the Hall of Fame. As many as eight can make it, but likely the number will be short of that, somewhere in the neighborhood of six or seven.

One of those that will be under consideration is former Chiefs guard Will Shields. Without a doubt, Shields will gain induction to the Hall. He was one of the NFL’s best players in the 1990s and early 2000s. Everyone with a vote in that room knows the facts of his career.

So why hasn’t he already been voted in? …Read More!

Super Bowl 49 Prop Bets To The Minute

Worldwide, an estimated $10 BILLION is projected to be bet on Super Bowl 49, and over half of adult Americans are expected to have some money at risk on the game.

And get this: less than 1 percent of the total amount bet is expected to be wagered legally in Nevada.

Forty-eight hours before kickoff the New England Patriots are a 1-point favorite over the Seattle Seahawks. Reports from the Las Vegas sports books indicate that the controversy over deflated footballs has had no effect on the number of people wagering on the game.

The folks in Vegas say that 90 percent of the Super Bowl 49 action comes from recreational (non-professional) bettors. This is highest percentage of recreational bettors for any American sporting event.

And remember this: Vegas wins 92% of the time. Nevada has kept separate Super Bowl accounting for 24 years and Vegas has won (net) money in 22 years, with bettors winning money only twice. …Read More!

From the Super Bowl – NE Coordinator Josh McDaniels

His stay with the Chiefs last just one season, as Brian Daboll served was the offensive coordinator of the ill-fated 2012 Chiefs. Daboll joined the team after stints in Cleveland and Miami and was hired by then-general manager Scott Pioli to serve as Romeo Crennel’s offensive play caller.

After he was fired with most of Crennel’s staff and Pioli following a 2-14 season, he went back to his roots in New England and this year he’s handled the tight ends, including Rob Gronkowski. The Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels talked this week about what Daboll brings to the Pats offense:

“Brian is a great resource, for all of us, Bill (Belichick), me and all of our offensive staff and players. He is a guy that grew up similarly to the way I did here, first on defense, then on offense. He has a background that we share that in common. He is a guy that we have tremendous faith in. He can coach whatever position we want him to coach. He was helping Dante (Scarnecchia) with the offensive line last year and moved over to coach the tight ends this year and did a phenomenal job with those guys. He has been a coordinator. He has been a quarterback coach. He has coached receivers. This is a guy that brings experience and value to our offense. I don’t know; that could be understated. Every day he has his hands in the game planning process, the preparation, the scouting report. He is a guy that I lean on significantly in my role. He has been one of my best friends ever since I met him at Michigan State. We are lucky to have him back here.”

In the 2014 season, New England tight ends caught 111 passes for 1,427 yards and 18 touchdown catches.

Pete Carroll On Hawks Turnaround After Arrowhead

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

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

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

Chiefs & NFL Notes: Deflate This!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quiet Night For Chiefs At Pro Bowl

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

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

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

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

Chiefs Working At Pro Bowl – Sort of

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

Chiefs vs. Lions In London On November 1

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

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

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

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

 

All Pro Bowl Chiefs Are Part Of Team Carter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chiefs QB Suffers Serious Knee Injury

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

There were no details on how Bray suffered the injury.

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

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

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

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

Belichick Leads List of 101 Banquet Honorees

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

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

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

The NFL Grants Draft Status to 84 Players

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

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

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

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

Super Bowl 49 Match Is Set, With A Chiefs Slant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Defense Dominates New Head Coaching Hires

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

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

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

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

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

DAT Earns All-League Rookie Honors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Honors For Justin Houston

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

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

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

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

Former Chiefs All Over The Divisional Playoffs

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

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

Baltimore

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

Carolina

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

Dallas

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

…Read More!

Chiefs Notes: College Hall of Fame Spot For Art Still

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

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

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

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

Shields Gets Another Pro Football Hall of Fame Shot

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

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

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

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

Chiefs Notes: Terrelle Pryor Signed After Workout

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

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

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

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

Chiefs Add Two More To Reserve/Futures List

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

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

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

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

Houston Joins Select Group Of Chiefs All-Pros

KC Chiefs photo

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

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

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

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

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

Houston Earns AP First Team All-Pro Recognition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No. 41 through 53


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

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

…Read More!

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

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

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

Enjoy our rankings of No. 21 through 40.

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

No. 21 through 40

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No. 1 through 10

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

Chiefs Add Another Long Snapper

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

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

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

The Chiefs now have signed 15 reserve/futures.

Chiefs Sign 14 Reserve/Futures Players

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

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

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

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

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

What We Learned After Chiefs Finished 2014 Season

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

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

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

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

Statistics & Snap Judgments – San Diego

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

Offense (60)

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

Defense (70)

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

Special teams (26)

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

Early 2015 NFL Draft Order

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

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

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

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

Pick

Team

Record

Strength of

Schedule

1

Tampa Bay

2-14

.486

2

Tennessee

2-14

.506

3

Jacksonville

3-13

.514

4

Oakland

3-13

.570

5

Washington

4-12

.496

6

N.Y. Jets

4-12

.543

7

Chicago

5-11

.529

8

Atlanta

6-10

.482

9

N.Y. Giants

6-10

.512

10

St. Louis

6-10

.531

11

Minnesota

7-9

.475

12

Cleveland

7-9

.479

13

New Orleans

7-9

.486

14

Miami

8-8

.512

15

San Francisco

8-8

.527

16

Houston

9-7

.447

17

Chiefs

9-7

.512

Chargers

9-7

.512

19

Buffalo

9-7

.516

20

Philadelphia

10-6

.490

Led By Justin Houston & Defense, Chiefs Win Finale


From Arrowhead Stadium

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s our coverage of the Chiefs and Chargers:    

Chiefs Head For Playoffs Or Off-season Behind Chase

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

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

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

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

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

Tale of the Tape – Chiefs vs. Chargers

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

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

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

Chiefs/Chargers Practice-Injury Report – December 26

Chiefs

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

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

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

Chargers

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

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

QUESTIONABLE – Center Chris Watt (ankle).

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

Lacerated Spleen Ends Alex Smith’s Season

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy & Give Thanks

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

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

We’ll check back on Friday.

Chiefs/Chargers Practice-Injury Report – Dec. 24

Chiefs

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

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

FULL PARTICIPATION – Outside linebacker Josh Martin (hand).

Chargers

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

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

What You Need To Know About The Chargers

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

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

…Read More!

Charles, Poe, Hali & Houston Named To Pro Bowl

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the selections: …Read More!

Another Second Half Swoon For The Chiefs

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

Then, they can dive head first into the question:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Andy Knows His Chiefs Need Help; Injury Update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NFL Post-Season Scenarios For Final Weekend Of 2014

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

AFC

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

NEW ENGLAND (12-3)

(If Denver beats Cincinnati Monday night):

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

(If Cincinnati beats Denver Monday night):

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

DENVER (11-3, before Monday night game)

(With victory over Cincinnati Monday night):

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

(If Cincinnati beats Denver Monday night):

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

…Read More!

Chiefs Face Must Win Sunday Against The Steelers


From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s break them down: …Read More!

Pittsburgh Week Notes – Fun With Numbers


From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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

This has come with Kelce catching 56 passes.

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

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

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

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

Officials: Chiefs See Rookie Referee Again

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

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

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

Snoop Dog’s Favorite Coordinator Is Enjoying Himself

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 Keys To Winning For Chiefs Vs. Steelers

   

Four

Make sure the field goal chain is solid

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

…Read More!

Chiefs Lead The NFL In Happy Returns


From the Truman Sports Complex

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was a fake, not a fake fake

From the Truman Sports Complex

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

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

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

Let special teams coordinator Dave Toub tell the story:

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

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

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

Notes: Tamba, Dates & Salary Cap Items

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

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

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

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

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

Tale of the Tape – Chiefs vs. Steelers

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

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

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

Chiefs Finishing The Season In Unfamiliar Territory

From the Truman Sports Complex

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

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

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

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

Chiefs Make An Interesting Practice Squad Addition

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

Not so with a move the Chiefs made on Wednesday.

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

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

DAT Grabs AFC Special Teams Player Of Week

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

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

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

What You Need To Know About the Pittsburgh Steelers

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

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

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

Smith Nominated For Sportsmanship Award

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

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

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

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

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

Field Goals, Snap Judgments & Stats/Post-Oakland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chiefs Face Witching Hour On Hopes For The Playoffs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bobby Bell – College Graduate

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 Keys To Winning For the Chiefs vs. Oakland

   

Four

Jump on Raiders early and make the crowd a factor

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

…Read More!

Officials Preview: Jerome Boger & Crew

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

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

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

Weak WRs Group Allows Avant To Rise To The Top

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chiefs Practice Report – December 12

From the Truman Sports Complex

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

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

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

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

Tale of the Tape – Chiefs vs. Raiders

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

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

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

Run Defense Trying To Stop Recent Slide

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

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

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

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

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

What You Need To Know About The Oakland Raiders

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

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

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

The Position Dragging Down the Chiefs: Wide Receiver

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chiefs Make Practice Squad Moves

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

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

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

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

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

Snap Judgments & Stats – Arizona

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

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

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

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

Berry Diagnosed With Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

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

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

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

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

Chiefs Continue Losing Ways With Arizona Loss

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

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

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

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

Here’s our coverage of the Chiefs and Cardinals:

Arizona Visit Starts Season’s Most Important Month

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

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

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

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

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

4 Keys To Winning For Chiefs Vs. Cardinals

          

Four

Make third down Chiefs territory – on offense and defense

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

…Read More!

Poor Tackling Can Become An Epidemic For A Defense

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

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

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

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

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

Officials Preview: KC official works Chiefs-Cardinals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tale of the Tape – Chiefs vs. Cardinals

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

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

The Chiefs Troubles Showing On The Scoreboard


From the Truman Sports Complex

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

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

Point production is a problem for the Chiefs right now.

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

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

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

What You Need To Know About . . . Arizona Cardinals

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

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

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

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

Snap Judgments & Stats – Denver

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

Offense (45)

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

…Read More!

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

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

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

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

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


From Arrowhead Stadium

Position

Pre-Game

Post-Game

Reasons

 

Quarterback

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

Running back

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

Tight end

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

Wide receiver

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

Offensive line

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

Defensive line


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

Linebackers

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

Secondary

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

Special teams

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

Coaching

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

Intangibles

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

Chiefs Take Another Step Backwards In AFC West Race


From Arrowhead Stadium

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

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

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

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

Here’s our coverage from Sunday night:

Chiefs-Broncos Battle for Control Of AFC West

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

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

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

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

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

The Helmet Sticker Tennessee Wears Today For Berry

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

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

Officiating Crew For KC-Den slow on pulling hankies

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

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

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

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

4 Keys To Winning For the Chiefs Vs. Broncos

     

Four

Stop the Broncos running game

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

…Read More!

Tale of the Tape – Chiefs vs. Denver

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

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

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

Chiefs Practice/Injury Update – Thanksgiving Day

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

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

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

Chiefs

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

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

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

Broncos

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

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

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

A Flurry Of Special Teams Notes From Chiefs

From the Truman Sports Complex

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

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

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

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

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

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