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Tale of the Tape – Chiefs vs. Rams

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next Opponent – St. Louis Rams

Game – No. 7.

Opponentthe St. Louis Rams.

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

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

Finally, Relief At Quarterback For Chiefs Defense

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

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

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

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

Chiefs Lose Practice Squad Linebacker To Tampa Bay

From the Truman Sports Complex

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

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

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

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

Jamaal’s Career Built On His Toughness

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

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

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

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

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

Chiefs Do The Practice Squad Shuffle Again

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

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

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

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

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

Alex Smith & Snap Judgments – San Diego

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

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

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

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

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

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

Statement Made With 23-20 Victory Over Bolts

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

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

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

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

Here’s our coverage:

Jamaal Charles & The Chiefs Record Book

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A decade later, Charles claimed the record.

CHIEFS MOST RUSHING YARDS, CAREER

#

Running back

Years

G

Carries

Yards

Rush TDs

1.

Jamaal Charles

2008-14

85

1,107

6,113

31

2.

Priest Holmes

2001-07

65

1,321

6,070

76

3.

Larry Johnson

2003-09

75

1,375

6,015

55

4.

Christian Okoye

1987-92

79

1,246

4,897

40

5.

Ed Podolak

1969-77

104

1,157

4,451

34

Chiefs Better Be Tough To Win In San Diego

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

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

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

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

Led by quarterback Philip Rivers, the Chargers are 5-1 and in first place in the AFC West. They’ve won five straight since losing the season opener by just one-point at Arizona.

There’s a lot left in the 2014 season, but losing to San Diego, the Chiefs would be three games behind the division leader with 10 games to play. That’s a tough hole for any team, including a tough one, to exit.

Toughness in football is a quality that seemingly easy to define, but that is just for those that want to use the physical to make the definition. There’s a lot more than being bigger and stronger. It’s also about being strong mentality, not being knocked off the path to victory because the game is played on the road. …Read More!

4 Keys To Victory For Chiefs Against Chargers

        

Four

Keep a handle on Chargers tight end Antonio Gates in the red zone

The 34-year old Gates is in his 12th season and remains a factor in the San Diego passing game. He’s been very successful against the Chiefs over the first 11 seasons; the K.C. defense has been his favorite end-zone target, with 14 touchdown catches. In those scoring plays against the Chiefs, 10 came in San Diego victories. This season, Gates has 24 catches and 25 percent of those went for touchdowns (6). With the exception of a 21-yard scoring play, his TD plays have all come inside the opponent’s 20-yard line – from the 12, 8, 8, 8 and one-yard lines. With both Eric Berry and Chris Owens out of the game, the Chiefs depth in the secondary is going to be severely tested. Backup safeties Kurt Coleman, Kelcie McCray and Jamell Fleming are going to be very important in this game to provide help for starters Husain Abdullah and Ron Parker. Keeping Gates out of the end zone would significantly improve the Chiefs chances for a victory.

…Read More!

Officials Preview: Referee Bill Vinovich & Crew

The San Diego Chargers will find the officiating crew in Sunday’s game against the Chiefs quite familiar.

Referee Bill Vinovich led the group of zebras that worked the Chargers regular-season opener against Arizona. That’s the only game San Diego has lost this season. In that game, the officials walked off six penalties for 47 yards against the Chargers. It’s not unusual for an NFL crew to see a team twice during a full season, but two games in seven weeks does not happen very often.

In six games this season, Vinovich and his crew have averaged 12.5 penalties walked off for 93.7 yards. Those numbers leave them near the top of the league’s list of least busy or least intrusive officiating groups. In those half-dozen games, the home teams are 5-1; the only visiting club that won with Vinovich and crew was Green Bay last week when the Packers beat the Dolphins in south Florida.

The last Chiefs game that Vinovich worked came in October 2013 when he handled the Chiefs 26-17 victory over the Titans in Nashville. Over his career, he’s worked five Chiefs games, and K.C. is 3-2 in those outings. …Read More!

Jamaal Reaches For Rushing Record In San Diego

The 32 career rushing leaders for each NFL team.

Ohio and Pennsylvania used to be the area of the country where an abundance of quarterbacks were developed. Florida always seemed to provide the wide receivers. The upper Midwest was home for linebackers and big linemen.

And Texas is where football has grown its running backs. That will be evident on Sunday, but not in the Lone Star State, but at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. That’s where Texas born and bred Jamaal Charles will take the field against the Chargers needing 53 yards to become the Chiefs career leader in rushing yards. He enters the game against the Chargers with 6,108 yards and he’s looking to pass another Texas-bred running back. Priest Holmes currently holds the franchise rushing yardage record with 6,070 yards in his 65 games wearing red and gold.

Going into this weekend’s schedule of games, there are 12 running backs from Texas among the top 100 career rushers in league history. No other state has more. Here’s the Lone Star State backs in that top 100 rushers.

There are a lot of goals Charles carries for his NFL career, starting with winning a Super Bowl and working down to a few individual honors. That includes moving past his fellow Longhorn for career rushing honors with the Chiefs.

“I think it’s cool,” Charles said on Friday after finishing up the practice week in preparation for the Chargers. “We went to the same school in college; we’re from the same state so I think that’s pretty cool more than anything. But at the end of the day, I just want to continue to make history.” …Read More!

Texas Runners In the Top 100 Career Rushers

Among the top 100 rushers in NFL history, 12 were born and bred in the state of Texas, including the two most productive backs in Chiefs history: Priest Holmes and Jamaal Charles. Here’s how the dozen backs rank in the top 100:

Rank

Back Hometown

Years

Carries

Yards

5

LaDainian Tomlinson Rosebud

2001-11

3,174

13,684

7

Eric Dickerson Sealy

1983-93

2,996

13,259

14

Thurman Thomas Sugar Land

1988-2000

2,877

12,074

28

Adrian Peterson Palestine

2007-14

2,054

10,190

33

Earl Campbell Tyler

1978-85

2,187

9,407

43

Priest Holmes San Antonio

1997-2007

1,780

8,172

59

Rodney Hampton Houston

1990-97

1,824

6,897

68

Lawrence McCutcheon Plainview

1972-81

1,521

6,578

81

Jamaal Charles Port Arthur

2008-14

1,085

6,018

82

Cedric Benson Midland

2005-12

1,600

6,017

95

Greg Pruitt Houston

1973-84

1,196

5,672

98

Delvin Williams Houston

1974-81

1,312

5,598

Franchise Rushing Yardage Leaders – Career

Here are the rushing yardage leaders for the 32 NFL franchises as of this weekend’s games. There are five franchise leaders in career rushing yards active this season: Houston’s Arian Foster, Frank Gore of San Francisco, Steven Jackson (leader of St. Louis) now playing with Atlanta, Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson and DeAngelo Williams of Carolina.

AFC

Team Leading Rusher

Seasons

Games

Carries

Yards

Baltimore Jamal Lewis

2000-06

91

1,822

7,801

Buffalo Thurman Thomas*

1988-99

173

2,849

11,938

Cincinnati Corey Dillon

1997-2003

107

1,865

8,061

Cleveland Jim Brown*

1957-65

118

2,359

12,312

Denver Terrell Davis

1995-2001

78

1,655

7,607

Houston Arian Foster

2009-14

64

1,237

5,576

Indianapolis Edgerrin James

1999-2005

96

2,188

9,226

Jacksonville Fred Taylor

1998-2008

140

2,428

11,271

Chiefs Priest Holmes

2001-07

65

1,321

6,070

Jamaal Charles

2008-14

84

1,085

6,018

Miami Larry Csonka*

1968-74, 79

106

1,506

6,737

New England Sam Cunningham

1973-82

107

1,385

5,453

New York Jets Curtis Martin*

1998-2005

123

2,560

10,302

Oakland Marcus Allen*

1982-92

145

2,090

8,545

Pittsburgh Franco Harris*

1972-83

165

2,881

11,950

San Diego LaDainian Tomlinson

2001-09

141

2,880

12,490

Tennessee Eddie George

1996-2003

128

2,733

10,009

NFC

Team Leading Rusher

Seasons

Games

Carries

Yards

Arizona Ottis Anderson

1979-86

99

1,858

7,999

Atlanta Gerald Riggs

1982-1988

91

1,587

6,631

Carolina DeAngelo Williams

2006-14

113

1,395

6,733

Chicago Walter Payton*

1976-87

190

3,838

16,726

Dallas Emmitt Smith*

1990-2002

201

4,052

17,162

Detroit Barry Sanders*

1989-98

153

3,062

15,269

Green Bay Ahman Green

2000-06, 09

104

1,851

8,322

Minnesota Adrian Peterson

2007-14

104

2,054

10,190

New Orleans Deuce McAllister

2001-08

97

1,429

6,096

New York Giants Tiki Barber

1997-2006

154

2,217

10,449

Philadelphia Wilbert Montgomery

1977-84

100

1,465

6,538

San Francisco Frank Gore

2005-14

138

2,280

10,370

Seattle Shaun Alexander

2000-07

119

2,176

9,429

St. Louis Steven Jackson

2004-12

131

2,396

10,138

Tampa Bay James Wilder

1981-89

113

1,575

5,957

Washington John Riggins*

1976-85

114

1,988

7,472

Active backs are in bold type. *- member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Chiefs Practice Report / No Eric Berry – October 17

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs began their final practice of preparation week for the Chargers without safety Eric Berry.

After practicing on Wednesday, Berry did not participate Thursday and late Friday morning he was not on the field during the period where the media was allowed to watch practice.

Berry has been trying to return from the high ankle sprain that he suffered on September 14 in the first half of the Chiefs game in Denver. He’s missed the last three games and appears to be on his way to missing a fourth.

Also not on the field was cornerback Chris Owens; he did not practice all week because of the knee injury he suffered in the San Francisco game.

But, running back Cyrus Gray was part of practice for the first time this week, wearing a cast to protect his fractured left hand. His status for Sunday remains up in the air.

Official injury reports for both the Chiefs and Chargers will come late Friday afternoon.

Next Opponent – San Diego Chargers

Quarterback Philip Rivers and the rest of the Chargers will be wearing their baby blues on Sunday vs. Chiefs

Game – No. 6.

Opponentthe San Diego Chargers.

2014 record – the Bolts are 5-1, riding a five-game winning streak. They lost the season opener to Arizona, 18-17. Since then, they’ve beaten Seattle by nine points, Buffalo by 12 points, Jacksonville by 19 points, the New York Jets by 31 points and last Sunday, they topped the Raiders in Oakland 31-28. They are plus-73 in point differential (164 scored, 91 given up), plus-7 in turnover ratio (2 giveaways, 9 takeaways) and plus-3 (9 allowed, 12 on defense.)

Franchise began – in 1960 as an original member of the American Football League and named the Los Angeles Chargers. The original owner was Barron Hilton, son of Conrad Hilton who began the Hilton Hotel chain that continues today. Barron Hilton branched out into many other businesses during his days as an active businessman. That included joining Lamar Hunt as a member of the so-called Foolish Club of original AFL owners. He’s the last surviving member of that founding group. Hilton moved the Chargers to San Diego in 1961 where they’ve been since. He sold his controlling interest in the Chargers for $10 million in 1966 to Los Angeles businessman Gene Klein, who also owned the Seattle SuperSonics team in the NBA. Hilton will turn 87 later this month and reportedly still holds a small sliver of ownership in the Chargers. And, he’s also the grandfather of Paris Hilton, who is famous for something but heaven knows what. …Read More!

Chiefs Practice Report – October 16

Not so good news for the Chiefs as they continued preparations on Thursday when safety Eric Berry did not participate in the team’s afternoon practice.

Berry continues to try to overcome the sprained ankle he suffered in the first half of the September 14th game in Denver. He was a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice but the Chiefs reported he did not practice on Thursday.

San Diego added center Rich Ohrnberger to the injury report with a back problem. He did not practice on Thursday.

Here are the participation/injury reports for both teams from Thursday:

Chiefs

DID NOT PRACTICE – Wide receiver Donnie Avery (groin), safety Eric Berry (ankle), running back Cyrus Gray (hand), cornerback Chris Owens (knee).

FULL PARTICIPATION – Cornerback Phillip Gaines (concussion), cornerback Sean Smith (groin).

Chargers

DID NOT PRACTICE – Linebacker Jerry Attaochu (hamstring), running back Donald Brown (concussion), cornerback Brandon Flowers (groin), running back Ryan Mathews (knee), center Rich Ohrnberger (back), linebacker Manti Te’o (foot).

LIMITED PARTICIPATION – Cornerback Jason Verrett (shoulder),.

FULL PARTICIPATION – Right tackle D.J. Fluker (ankle), linebacker Cordarro Law (ankle), wide receiver Eddie Royal (elbow), linebacker Reggie Walker (ankle), cornerback Shareece Wright (knee).

It’s No Longer The Chiefs Town

A torch was passed early Wednesday evening at the Truman Sports Complex.

Actually, it wasn’t so much passed as it was taken by the remarkable Kansas City Royals.

For the better part of the last 25 years, it was the Chiefs that controlled the sporting interest in Kansas City and environs. But that came to an end the moment that reliever Greg Holland got the final Baltimore batter to groundout to end Game No. 4 of the American League Championship Series. The Royals are now on their way to the World Series, having won eight straight post-season games.

After 29 years, they will compete for the championship of their game, facing either the San Francisco Giants or possibly the St. Louis Cardinals.

This weekend the Chiefs will travel to San Diego in an attempt to even their record at 3-3 for the NFL season. Football fans in K.C. have been waiting 45 seasons now for their team to play for a Super Bowl.

So you see in many ways the Royals are mere babes in the waiting department. They did carry a heavy burden going 29 years without even a game in the post-season. Since Len Dawson and the Chiefs won Super Bowl IV, they have made the playoffs in 13 seasons, but got within a game of playing for the title only once, and that was now 21 years ago. …Read More!

Tale of the Tape: Chiefs vs. Chargers

The Chiefs come back from their bye week and they face a real task – playing the AFC West leader in the San Diego Chargers on the road. The Bolts are 5-1 on the season, a half-game ahead of the Broncos and those two teams will meet next Thursday night in Denver. Before that game, the Chargers must take advantage of their strengths and handle the Chiefs at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego’s lovely Mission Valley.

Break down the matchup between these two teams and the Chargers have a big edge. Here’s the tale of the tape: …Read More!

Chiefs Add Tight End To Practice Squad

The Chiefs released a tight end from the practice squad last week and came back and added another one on Monday.

Brandon Barden was signed to the 10th spot on the developmental roster. A 6-5, 245-pound Georgia native has been on the street since he was released by Jacksonville on the final pre-season cutdown back at the end of August.

Barden came into the NFL as an undrafted rookie free agent with Tennessee in 2012. He was released after training camp that year, signed to the practice squad and was elevated to the 53-man active roster for the final three games of that season. He was released in 2013 and signed by the Jaguars.

He began his college career at Virginia Tech University, but transferred to Vanderbilt University after one semester. At Vandy, Barden caught 107 passes for 1,234 yards over his career.

Chiefs Return To Work; Berry Ready To Practice

The Chiefs returned to other team’s facility on Monday after enjoying the last seven days in a bye-week vacation gift from head coach Andy Reid.

“What I do is the players get a week off and coaches get a few days off and they were able to go back and do some self-scout work without any distractions where they have to worry about meetings,” Reid said Monday during a conference call with the media. “With the players, I thought it could kind of rejuvenate guys and get them back healthy.”

With a 2-3 record, coming off a loss to San Francisco and facing a game this Sunday against the Chargers in San Diego, might it have been more useful to have the players together and on the practice field for at least the one or two sessions that were allowed last week?

“Listen, I’ve done it this way for a long time and it’s been fairly successful,” said Reid, in his 16th season as an NFL head coach. “I think it’s good to step away whether you’re doing well or not doing well. Coming off a win or a loss I think sometimes it’s good to get away and get recharged.” …Read More!

. . . Suggestions & Comments On bobgretz.com

The Chiefs bye week provided your intrepid internet maven the first days of this year where the pace of life was not so frantic. The slower merry-go-round provided time for contemplation of many things, including this website. The support so many of you have shown since bobgretz.com began in 2008 has been powerful. So much has happened over the last seven years, especially with Kansas City’s football team, the league it plays in and the fans so interested in the red and gold.

At this point, I wanted to provide a venue for suggestions, questions and comments involving the site. Please, take the time to let me know what you like and what you don’t like. Or, items and post you’d like to see more/less of on certain subjects. Are there missing elements you’d like to see return to the site? Ideas of your own that may work? There are no restrictions on the subject.

Let me know by either leaving your thoughts in the comments on this post, or more privately by sending your message to info@bobgretz.com. I’ll answer all comments and questions, some collectively and others privately.

Thank you.

Defense At Bye – Consistency Grows Despite Injuries

Last year when they started the season with a nine-game winning streak, all the attention was on the Chiefs defense. Bob Sutton’s group was impressive and the foundation in Andy Reid’s club building that quick start that pushed them to the playoffs.

This season after five games, the K.C. defense has not been as productive as last year’s unit and the defense deserves its share of the blame for the team’s 2-3 record at the bye week.

Still, the defense has been the most consistent part of the Chiefs on-field efforts through five games. The offense has been all over the place and the special teams have not been consistent producers and have made a number of key mistakes.

The defense has been consistent even though they’ve been forced to play without key starting players at all three levels, especially the unit’s emotional and tackling leader in linebacker Derrick Johnson. Sutton’s side of the ball has performed from average to good all season: …Read More!

Offense At Bye Week – Struggling For Consistency

The first five games of the Chiefs season have been interesting to watch, especially trying to figure out what the team’s offense is going to do each week. Just where Andy Reid takes that side of the football over the last 11 games on the 2014 schedule will paint the picture of whether the Chiefs are a contender or a pretender.

After five games the Chiefs offense does not yet have a consistent personality. Like most NFL teams these days, Reid and his offensive staff construct a game plan each week based on the opponent. There’s no old school thinking where they tell the opponent “this is what we do when we have the ball, stop us and then we’ll adjust.” The working premise of opponent-driven game plan is the offense telling the defense “we think this is what you like to do, so we will develop our plan to make you do something you are not comfortable in doing.” It’s an obvious advantage to any offense if they have a running game and a passing attack that are both effective and productive. It’s imperative in the opponent-drive game plan.

So far this season, the Chiefs offensive inconsistency can’t totally be blamed on the game-plan approach. It has more to do with other factors. It’s come from the injuries that shuffled the offensive line at the start of the season. Another factor is the emergence of several playmaking threats that are new weapons for Reid and his offensive staff. They’ve also played an early schedule with three road games, and three of the five opponents have top 10 NFL defenses.

Whatever the reasons, in five games the Chiefs offense has been all over the road: …Read More!

Conversations With The Chiefs Assistant Coaches

As the Chiefs roll into their bye week, the assistant coaches were made available to the media on Tuesday, along with the three coordinators. Normally, only the coordinators speak to the media, and that happens once a week.

But several times during the year, the assistant coaches are made available in mass. At least they are on teams that trust their coaches to handle a few questions. Here are some of the best comments from Tuesday’s session.

Quarterbacks coach Matt Nagy (pictured right with Alex Smith) on distributing the targets in the Chiefs offense, and making sure playmakers like Jamaal Charles and Travis Kelce get more chance to have the ball in their hands: “The challenge for us as coaches is to try and make sure that we are in different personnel groupings and different formations, yet we don’t keep it too complicated for the players to where they don’t know where to line up and they don’t know what route to run and we don’t know what progression to go to. You see from Week 1 against Tennessee to where we are now, we are doing a lot more stuff. The guys are becoming more comfortable and understanding where we’re putting them and then they’re making plays.”

Running back coach Eric Bieniemy on Jamaal Charles on the cusp of setting the Chiefs record for most career rushing yards: “When you’re a player, you never really gain a full appreciation for anything while you’re playing. As you grow older and you get more mature, more than anything you get a joy out of your kids learning what you did. And I think more so than anything, he’ll appreciate it later on in life. His girls will appreciate it and I’m sure his family, they obviously appreciate it right now. But Jamaal has bigger goals. Obviously he wants to win the Super Bowl; he wants to accomplish other goals in life.”

…Read More!

Snap Judgments From San Francisco Game

Here are the snaps credited by the NFL to the Chiefs against the 49ers on offense, defense and in the kicking game. Names in bold are those that played 100 percent of their unit’s snaps:

Offense (50)

  • Backs – Alex Smith 50, Jamaal Charles 39, Knile Davis 29, Anthony Sherman 14, Knile Davis 7, De’Anthony Thomas 6, Cyrus Gray 3.
  • Receivers – Anthony Fasano 47, Dwayne Bowe 43, A.J. Jenkins 33, Travis Kelce 29, Junior Hemingway 13, Frankie Hammond 9, Demetrius Harris 7.
  • Line – Zach Fulton 50, Mike McGlynn 50, Rodney Hudson 50, Eric Fisher 50, Ryan Harris 50.

…Read More!

Chiefs Will Get Week Off To Lick Their Wounds

From the Truman Sports Complex

Andy Reid gave his team the entire week off so they can lick their wounds from a 2-3 start, especially the 22-17 loss to San Francisco.

They do not have to report back to work until next Monday, although injured players are expected to keep up their schedule with the training room.

“It’s important that we step back here and as coaches evaluate what we’re doing, look in the mirror first at what we’re doing and making sure we’re putting the players in the best position to make plays,” said Reid. “It’s important that the players are getting a little time off here and that they use it wisely and rest up. We’ve got a couple nicks and bruises and we need to make sure we get those cleaned up, so when they come back (next) Monday they are ready to go.”

Reid also gave his team the entire week off last season, but the 2013 Chiefs were 9-0 at their bye week.

Their 2-3 start this year is obviously quite a bit different, but Reid felt the need to break up the routine with the entire week off. By rule, teams can ask the players to practice twice during the week, but they must have four consecutive days off over next weekend.

Despite the losing record, quarterback Alex Smith says his team is headed in the right direction. …Read More!

Chiefs Ready For A Physical Game In San Francisco

Chiefs defense takes down Niners running back Frank Gore four years ago

A few days before the Chiefs headed off to northern California for Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers, Andy Reid was a bit uncomfortable as he took questions from the media horde.

Specifically, the subject was the improvement of the Chiefs offense from a brutal loss to Tennessee in the opener, to a two-game winning streak. Did Reid expect running back Knile Davis to have such a large role in the run game? Were pre-season plans for the passing game expected to feature young tight end Travis Kelce? Has the passing game exceeded expectations?

“I feel like these are end of the season questions; I’m having a hard time with it because we have so much room here to get better and we are right in the grinder of it,” Reid said. “We’re nowhere near where we need to be.”

That continued development of offense, defense and special teams will need to show Sunday afternoon at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara when they face the Niners in game No. 5 of the season.

Kickoff is 3:25 p.m. CDT with television coverage on CBS.

There’s no question the Chiefs level of performance and production has improved over the last month. They’ve begun to show a personality, looking more and more like a hard-nosed team that wants to play physical and complementary football on both sides of the ball.

In the last three weeks, a rhythm has developed with this team, one that’s close to what they showed last year. The eye is on the immediate target in front of them. They’ve dug themselves out of a two-game hole and gotten their record back to the .500 mark. Other than a growing confidence from their dismantling of the Patriots, the last two games means little when playing the 49ers. …Read More!

Mauga Knows What Chiefs Face Vs. Kaepernick

Josh Mauga was a starting linebacker at the University of Nevada in 2007 when starting quarterback Nick Graziano went down with an ankle injury and a tall, lanky freshman named Colin Kaepernick took over the Wolf Pack offense.

“Nobody really knew anything about this kid that came into the game,” Mauga said. “Colin was a freshman, it was early in the season and nobody heard much from him. His first start was against Boise State and we ended up going four overtimes in that game and he was running around all over the place.

“That was the day he blew up.”

Boise beat Nevada 69-67 in four overtimes, with Kaepernick throwing three touchdown passes and scoring on two running plays. He passed for 243 yards and ran for another 177 yards.

Kaepernick stayed in the offensive huddle at Nevada for four years, through the 2010 season, before heading off to the NFL as a second-round selection of the San Francisco 49ers.

Since then, Kaepernick has not been an anonymous player. He is no longer the unknown that came out of the shadows in Reno and ultimately left the Wolf Pack program after throwing for over 10,000 yards and running for more than 4,000 yards. He threw 82 touchdown passes and ran for 59 scores.

Mauga left Nevada in 2009 for the NFL and he’ll see Kaepernick again on Sunday when the Chiefs face the 49ers in Santa Clara, California. …Read More!

4 Keys To Winning For Chiefs Against Niners

           

Four

Stay balanced on offensive play calling

Andy Reid was talking about how important havng a balanced offense was for his team. He then went on to say that he’s always felt he’s been balanced at about 60 percent pass and 40 percent run. Not sure what type of math they may have taught back at Brigham Young in the day, but for this team at this time, Reid needs to have real balance, 50-50. It’s vital to the offense because it keeps the defense guessing, provides help for an offensive line that’s improved, but is still shaky in pass protection. So far this season, the offense has run 268 plays, with 127 runs and 141 passes. That’s a balance of 52.6 percent pass and 47.4 percent run. It’s imperative Reid stays as close to those numbers as possible. …Read More!

The Decision – Smith vs Kaepernick – 2 Years Later

No one has ever accused Jim Harbaugh of being afraid to make a decision, especially one that may have odds that are long for success.

In November 2012, Harbaugh walked out to the end of the NFL diving board and decided to jump.

Alex Smith was the quarterback that the then new San Francisco head coach molded into a consistent performer in the 2011 season. It was easily the best season of Smith’s career, and he continued to perform well through the first half of the 2012 season. As a new NFL head coach, it was a gift that made Harbaugh’s transition so much easier.

On November 11, 2012, in a game against St. Louis at Candlestick Park, Smith suffered a concussion. Second-year backup Colin Kaepernick walked into the Niners huddle and never left. Even when Smith was cleared to play weeks later, Harbaugh decided to stick with his young and physically gifted quarterback.

Behind Kaepernick, the 49ers made it to the Super Bowl where they lost to Baltimore. Last season, they made it back to the NFC Championship Game before losing to Seattle.

Sunday, Kaepernick will make his 28th regular-season start when he plays against the Chiefs for the first time. And, Smith will play against the Niners for the first time in his 10-year career. He moved to Kansas City in 2013 through a trade that sent a pair of second-round draft choices to San Francisco. …Read More!

Officials Preview: Walt Coleman Crew For KC vs. SF

Long-time referee Walt Coleman will work Sunday’s game between the Chiefs and 49ers

There was a lot of chatter around the NFL this week concerning officiating.

A short version is that the guys in the striped shirts are not happy with their bosses at the league office in New York. They are concerned with inconsistencies in grading on-field decisions.

One of their points of contention involves the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah after his end zone slide and moment of prayer in the Monday night victory over New England.

Abdullah was flagged, and the next morning the NFL was quick to announce that the game officials should not have pulled the yellow hankie. That penalty, along with one in a September 21 game between Washington and Philadelphia caused the consternation. On an interception thrown by Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, Redskins defender Chris Baker hit the passer after the pick by his teammate. He was penalized on the play, but league officials said the next day that Baker’s hit was legal under the rules.

The union said both calls were graded correct even after NFL executives announced that they were incorrect. “Consistency in penalty enforcement is extremely important to the players, coaches and fans,” said Jim Quirk, the executive director of the NFL Referees Association. “Uncertainty as to what the league wants called is not a road you want to go down.” …Read More!

Fisher Pushing Performance North, Not South

Eric Fisher (left) and Joe Staley (right): Central Michigan tackles

There hasn’t been much doubt in the minds of those in charge of football at Arrowhead Stadium that Eric Fisher would at some point show why he was the NFL’s first draft choice in 2013 out of Central Michigan University.

In this case, any doubts that may have developed over his first season and a quarter of his second were trumped by patience. With the background and knowledge that the process of becoming a left tackle in pro football is seldom a quick and easy road, being patient was a requirement for the start of Fisher’s career.

In the Chiefs two-game winning streak, Fisher turned in the two best performances of his career. His blocking in the run game against New England was a huge factor in the more than 200 yards Andy Reid’s offense racked up with Jamaal Charles, Knile Davis and Alex Smith. While Fisher gave up a sack of Smith against the Patriots, he’s coming off two games where his overall pass protection was significantly improved compared to the first two games of the season.

Notoriously hard on himself when evaluating his performance, even Fisher has felt and seen the improvement.

“Everything is really slowing down,” Fisher said this week as the Chiefs prepared to face the San Francisco 49ers. “I feel like I’ve made progress every game and it’s all improving. By no way I’m saying there isn’t room for improvement. I’ve got to get better.” …Read More!

Next Opponent – San Francisco 49ers

Game – No. 5.

OpponentSan Francisco 49ers.

2014 record – the Niners are 2-2 on the season, with an 11-point victory over Dallas in the opener and a 26-21 decision against Philadelphia last Sunday. In between those games, San Francisco lost by eight points to Chicago at home and by nine points in Atlanta. They are minus-1 in point differential (88 scored, 89 given up), plus-4 in the turnover ratio (five giveaways, nine takeaways) and minus-5 in sack differential (10 allowed, 5 on defense.)

Franchise began – in 1946 as an original member of the All-America Football Conference, a rival league to the established NFL. The 49ers were 39-15-2 in the 1946-49 seasons and they were one of three AAFC teams that were merged into the NFL for the 1950 season (Cleveland and Baltimore were the other teams.)

Ownership – Edward DeBartolo Sr. purchased the franchise in 1977 from the estate of brothers Tony and Victor Morbito, the last original owners from the team’s birth 30 years before. The team was controlled at the time of sale by their widows, Jane and Josephine Morbito. DeBartolo put his son Edward DeBartolo Jr., in charge of the operation under the parent company DeBartolo Corporation, located in Youngstown, Ohio. It was Eddie Jr. that hired Bill Walsh as the team’s head coach in 1979 and that led to a remarkable decade of success and multiple championships. Legal entanglements, including his guilty plea to a felony cost DeBartolo control of the franchise in 2000, as he team was taken over by his sister Denise DeBartolo York. She brought her husband John into the organization and now their son Jed is the team president. …Read More!

Tale of the Tape – Chiefs vs. 49ers

The Chiefs and 49ers faceoff on Sunday in the San Francisco Bay Area’s new Levi’s Stadium with matching 2-2 records and plenty of positions and areas of their teams are equal as well. Breaking down the two teams in 11 areas leaves little separating the clubs. That should make for an interesting and potentially entertaining game in week No. 5 of the 2014 season.

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

Snap Judgments/New England

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

Offense (67)

  • Backs – Alex Smith 67, Jamaal Charles 36, Knile Davis 29, Anthony Sherman 26, Joe McKnight 15, Cyrus Gray 3, Dontari Poe 1.
  • Receivers – Anthony Fasano 60, Dwayne Bowe 53, Donnie Avery 40, Travis Kelce 35, Junior Hemingway 28, A.J. Jenkins 11, Demetrius Harris 10, Frankie Hammond 4.
  • Line – Zach Fulton 67, Mike McGlynn 67, Rodney Hudson 67, Eric Fisher 67, Ryan Harris 67. …Read More!

Charles Earns AFC Honors

Running back Jamaal Charles was named the AFC offensive player of the week on Wednesday due to his performance in Monday night’s victory over New England at Arrowhead Stadium.

In the 41-14 outcome, Charles scored three touchdowns and produced 108 offensive yards on 18 carries and three catches. He scored on a two-yard run and caught scoring passes of five and eight yards.

All this came with Charles less than 100 percent because of a sprained ankle that kept him out of the Miami game the previous Sunday. He suffered the injury in the first half of the game in Denver on September 14.

It’s the third offensive player of the week honors that Charles earned over his seven-season career. He was also the AFC special teams player of the week in a 2009 victory over Pittsburgh.

Chiefs-Patriots Drew Big TV Viewership Monday Night

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

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

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

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

Abdullah Should Not Have Been Penalized

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

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

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

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

Fans & Chiefs Look To Make Monday Night Noise

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

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

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

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

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

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

Andy & Bill Bring Victories Into Monday Night


372

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

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

Career head coaching records:

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

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

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

Officials Preview – John Parry & Crew

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

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

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

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

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

…Read More!

4 Keys To Winning For the Chiefs Vs. Patriots

 

Four

Handle Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones

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

…Read More!

Jackson County Bridge Will Wear Len Dawson’s Name

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tale of the Tape: Chiefs vs. Patriots

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

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

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

Keeping The Stars Out of the Eyes of Young Defenders

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

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

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

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

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

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

McKnight Goes Down With Ruptured Achilles

From the Truman Sports Complex

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next Opponent: New England Patriots

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

Game – No. 4.

OpponentNew England Patriots.

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

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

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

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

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

Snap Judgments/Miami: TEs Changing Chiefs Offense

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 Keys To A Chiefs Victory Against Miami/Recap

 

Four

Keep pass rusher Cameron Wake out of the pocket

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

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

Three

Confuse Ryan Tannehill

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

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

Two

Take the ball away

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

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

One

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

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

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

Chiefs Earn A South Beach Victory Over The Dolphins

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

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

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

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

Here’s the coverage of Sunday’s victory:

Time For ’14 Chiefs To Show Just Who They Are

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tamba Hali vs. Branden Albert – One More Time

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

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

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

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

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

Officials Look: Triplette Crew For Chiefs-Dolphins

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

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

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

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

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

4 Keys To A Chiefs Victory Against The Dolphins

   

Four

Keep pass rusher Cameron Wake out of the pocket

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

…Read More!

The NFL’s New Rules On Drugs, PEDs

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

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

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

Chiefs Practice Report – September 19

From the Truman Sports Complex

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

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

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

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

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

Takeaways Disappear From Chiefs Defense

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

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

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

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

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

Next Opponent: Miami Dolphins

Game – No. 3.

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

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

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

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

…Read More!

Tale of the Tape – Chiefs vs. Dolphins

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

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

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

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

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

Chiefs Alumni: Two-Game Production Report

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

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

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

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

8 Former Chiefs Players, Coaches On Early Hall List

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chiefs Make Practice Squad Moves

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

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

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

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

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

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

Snap Judgments/Denver: Living With A Rookie Kicker

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zebra Report: Crew Fumbles Its Way Through Game

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#

Team

Player

Penalty

Yards

1.

Offense

R. Harris

Holding

Minus-10

2.

Offense

A.Smith

Illegal forward pass

`Minus-5

3.

Kickoff

*

Offsides

Minus-5

4.

Defense

T. Hali

Offsides

Minus-5

5.

Offense

Z. Fulton

Holding

Minus-10

6.

Offense

Z. Fulton

Holding

Minus-10

7.

Defense

J. Howard

Personal foul

Offsetting

8.

Defense

M. Cooper

Pass interference

Minus-17

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

Another Chance For ‘14 Chiefs To Show What They Are

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes: What Would Sanders Have Brought KC Offense?

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 Keys To Winning For Chiefs vs. Broncos

1

Raise the level of performance across the board in all phases

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

…Read More!

2014 NFL Roster Numbers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Injuries Have Already Changed Chiefs Season

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

On Thursday, Mike DeVito underwent the same surgery.

Friday brought surgery on the right biceps of Jeff Allen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Officials Preview: Chiefs vs. Broncos

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

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

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

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

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

Next Opponent – Denver Broncos


Game – No. 2.

Opponent – Denver Broncos.

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

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

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

D-Bowe Hoping to Bring Energy To Chiefs Offense

From the Truman Sports Complex

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

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

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

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

Tale of the Tape: Chiefs vs. Broncos

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

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

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

‘Big Vick’ Can Make Big Contribution To Chiefs Defense

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

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

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

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

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

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

Snap Judgments: Will Fans Keep Lining Up for Chiefs?

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

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

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

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

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

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


From the Truman Sports Complex

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

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

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

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

Season Opens With Question Marks For Chiefs

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

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

So what does Reid expect to see this time?

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

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

It Only Matters Where You Finish; More Chiefs Notes

One of the best things that football and almost all athletic endeavors teach us is that it really doesn’t matter where you start; it is how you finish.

In the last 35 years around the Chiefs there has been no better example of that than Brian Waters. He started as a street-free agent, signed off the practice squad of the Dallas Cowboys. Waters was a tight end then, but the Chiefs decided he had the skills to become an offensive lineman, a center in fact. They sent him NFL Europe so he could learn the snapping position by playing and not just practicing.

This week, Waters officially announced his retirement as a player. The 2014 season begins this weekend and Waters has been on the sidelines since getting hurt last year after playing seven games with Dallas. …Read More!

Different Faces In The Spotlight Against Tennessee

The spotlight always falls on players like Jamaal Charles and Tamba Hali. They are uniform numbers with career resumes that football fans know.

But as the Chiefs open the regular season on Sunday against Tennessee at Arrowhead Stadium there are a handful of other faces that will be wearing red that will feel some of the heat from attention spotlight. They are not as well-known as Alex Smith and Eric Berry, but for this Sunday they are very important actors in the drama of the 2014.

They are Jeff Allen, Donnie Avery and Anthony Fasano on offense, and Mike DeVito and Josh Mauga on defense. A lot of what happens on Sunday against the Titans will run through those five. …Read More!

NFL Officials: Rookie Ref Leads Crew For KC-TEN

Kicker Cairo Santos will not be the only rookie on the field Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium in a pressure position.

Meet Ronald Torbert (right), the lead dog on the NFL officiating crew for the game between Chiefs and Titans. In just his fifth season working in the NFL as an official, this will be Torbert’s first regular-season game as a referee.

He was promoted coming into the season from his previous post as a side judge. Two veteran referees retired after the 2014 season, and Torbert was named to replace one of them.

Good or bad for the Chiefs and Titans? That’s impossible to predict but this crew’s work in the pre-season provides an indication – they like to throw the yellow hankies.

Boy, do they like to throw the penalty flags:

  • Philadelphia @ Chicago – 23 penalties walked off for 192 yards.
  • Tennessee @ New Orleans – 32 penalties for 293 yards.
  • Jacksonville @ Detroit – 27 penalties for 232 yards.
  • Denver @ Dallas – 16 penalties for 120 yards. …Read More!

4 Keys To Victory For Chiefs vs. Tennessee

4

Keep hands off the Titans receivers

Should the NFL has its zebras calling the game as closely as happened during the pre-season will be shown in this first weekend of action. The Chiefs need to approach their season opener against the Titans with the idea that when in coverage, the officials are going to be watching them like a hawk scans a country meadow. Tennessee has weapons among their receivers. There’s a crafty 10-year veteran Nate Washington, along with speedy youngsters Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter. As a rookie last year, Hunter only had 18 catches but he averaged 19.7 yards a reception. The Chiefs defense cannot afford to give them penalty yards and first downs. …Read More!

Tale Of The Tape: Chiefs vs. Titans

The Chiefs and Titans will face each other Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.

It’s a matchup of teams trying to roll down the NFL path of rebuilding, and the Chiefs have a head start on Tennessee, their first cousin from the earliest moments of their football lives in the American Football League.

The Titans were 7-9 last season, a one-game improvement from the 2012 schedule. That wasn’t enough to save Mike Munchak’s job as head coach. As his replacement, Tennessee hired Ken Whisenhunt, but the general manager and personnel staff did not change.

The Chiefs began the week as a 3½-point favorite. Breaking down the teams position-by-position and that edge is visible, although the differences between the teams are not overwhelming.

Here’s how we see the tale of the tape, Chiefs vs. Titans: …Read More!

First Opponent – Tennessee Titans

Game – No. 1.

Opponent – Tennessee Titans, once the Houston Oilers.

Ownership – The children of late owner/founder Kenneth “Bud” Adams, Jr. control the franchise. When Adams passed away on October 21, 2013, ownership of the Titans was held by his three children: daughters Susie Adams Smith and Amy Adams Hunt and the estate of his late son Kenneth Adams III. Each child owns one-third of the team. Running the club since Bud Adams’ death has been his son-in-law Thomas Smith. Grandson Kenneth Adams IV is also involved in the Titans front office. At some point, the franchise will need to hire a president or chairman of the board-type to run the ship.

Franchise began – It was Bud Adams that joined Lamar Hunt in the summer of 1959 to announce the formation of the American Football League. After Hunt’s Dallas Texans franchise, Adams’ team was second in the league. He dubbed them the Oilers. The cost of joining the AFL was $25,000. According to estimates by Forbes magazine, the Titans are currently worth just a bit more than $1 billion.

Overall franchise record – 413-434-6 in 54 years of regular and post-season games, a .488 winning percentage.

Chiefs record in season openers – 28-26, with the most recent victory coming last season with a 28-2 decision in Jacksonville. …Read More!

Rookie Kickers Have Spotty Record In NFL

So just how much of a gamble have John Dorsey and Andy Reid taken going with a rookie kicker in Cairo Santos instead of veteran Ryan Succop for the 2014 season?

Recent history tells us that true rookie kickers have produced seasons that put them among the best in the league. They have also stumbled in seasons that ranked them among the NFL’s least productive kickers.

One of the major questions with the 2014 Chiefs will be just where Santos falls in that spectrum.

Special teams coordinator Dave Toub understands that handling a rookie kicker is a different animal from a veteran foot.

“You’re going to manage him a little bit differently,” Toub said. “You kind of got to get his feet wet and get him going and hopefully you have a couple short field goals first and then you go. It doesn’t always work out that way but you hope that that’s the case. It’s definitely in mind, for sure.”

There have been 22 true rookie kickers in the league since the 2000 season. Their success rate was 79.9 percent.

The Chiefs need better than that; in today’s NFL, 80 percent is a mediocre average. Last year only eight of 32 kickers had a season average of less than 80 percent. The league average for field goal kickers was 86.5 percent. There were 11 kickers that finished with a 90 percent or greater success rate. …Read More!

Chiefs Practice Report – September 3

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs began their week of preparation for the Tennessee Titans with all but one player taking part in Wednesday afternoon’s practice.

Only backup center Eric Kush was out of the on-field work as he continues to deal with a shoulder injury. Wide receiver A.J. Jenkins was part of practice after missing Monday’s workout due to the concussion he suffered last Thursday in the team’s final pre-season game. Jenkins has been cleared for participation.

Also taking part in practice was the newest member of the Chiefs, safety Kurt Coleman who was signed Tuesday. He’s wearing No. 27 and will likely get plenty of opportunities to contribute on special teams where he’s been very productive since entering the league five years ago with Philadelphia.

During the media window at practice it appeared that all the starting lineup alterations the Chiefs showed Monday are still in place for Sunday’s regular-season opener: Mike McGlynn at left guard, Jeff Allen at right tackle, Frankie Hammond at the No. 2 wide receiver spot, Josh Mauga working at middle linebacker and Marcus Cooper and Sean Smith as the opening cornerbacks.

The first official league injury/participation report will be issued late Wednesday afternoon.

Also, running back Joe McKnight is now wearing No. 22; he’d been sporting No. 30 through the pre-season.

NFL Quarterbacks 2014

Here are the first week quarterbacks on the roster of 32 NFL teams. On active rosters, practice squads and on various lists there are 98 quarterbacks employed in some fashion for the opening weekend.

St. Louis has five quarterbacks tied up with their claim off waivers of Case Keenum from Houston. There are two teams with four quarterbacks, the Chiefs and Philadelphia. There are two teams with only two quarterbacks, New York Giants and New Orleans.

Overall, 29 of the starters were drafted, including 17 in the first round and seven with the first pick. Of the 98 quarterbacks, 78 were selected in the NFL Draft. Among the other 20 are three starters: Shaun Hill in St. Louis, Brian Hoyer in Cleveland and Tony Romo in Dallas.

Here are all 98 quarterbacks:

…Read More!

Chiefs Add Safety To 53-Man Roster

The Chiefs have signed veteran safety Kurt Coleman and sent middle linebacker Joe Mays to the injured-reserve list.

After 3 p.m. on Tuesday, NFL teams can move one player currently on their active roster to the injured-reserve list/designated for return. That’s what they did with Mays, who suffered a torn tendon in his wrist in a game on August 17 against Carolina. He underwent surgery two weeks ago. The prognosis was something in the range of six to eight weeks rehab.

As for Coleman, head coach Andy Reid is very familiar with him; he was selected by Reid in Philadelphia during the seventh-round (pick #244) of the 2010 NFL Draft. The 5-11, 200-pound Ohio State University product played four seasons with the Eagles and was the starter at free safety for Reid in 2011-12.

Overall, Coleman has played in 59 games with 29 starts. He was credited with 207 defensive tackles, seven interceptions and two forced fumbles. He was signed as an unrestricted free agent by Minnesota for the 2014 season, but was released late last week in the Vikings move to a 53-man roster.

Regular-Season Start Pushes Chiefs & Alex To A Deal


From the Truman Sports Complex

When two parties are haggling over money generally there has to be a deadline for any type of agreement to be reached.

That was certainly the case with the Chiefs and Alex Smith. While all the talks and negotiations that went down in the spring and summer were important to a successful deal, it was an unspoken deadline of the start of the regular season that accelerate completion of a four-year extension for the team’s starting quarterback.

“Personally, I just think with securing this type of player on your roster, it gives you stability,” said general manager John Dorsey. “It’s time to move on, it’s time to focus for the game of football and get ready for the Tennessee Titans and that’s all you can ask for.

“It’s important that it got done for Alex. It’s important that it got done for the franchise. It’s a good thing, a positive step moving forward.” …Read More!

NFL Roster Moves – August 30/31

Here are the personnel moves that have gone down in the league on Saturday and Sunday, including waiver claims and signings after the active roster cut to 53 players.

Chiefs

  • Claimed DE Damion Square off waivers from Philadelphia.
  • Released S Jonathon Amaya, S Malcolm Bronson, FB Jordan Campbell, TE Richard Gordon, DT Dominique Hamilton, WR Mark Harrison, G Ricky Henry, LB Alonzo Highsmith, ILB Nico Johnson, DT Kyle Love, CB Justin Rogers, DE Kona Schwenke, K Ryan Succop, LB Devan Walker, OT J’Marcus Webb, RB Charcandrick West, WR Fred Williams.
  • Placed QB Tyler Bray, CB DeMarcus Van Dyke, WR Kyle Williams on the injured-reserve list.
  • Placed DE Mike Catapano on the reserve/non-football injury list.
  • Placed WR Dwayne Bowe, OT Donald Stephenson on the reserve/suspended list.

…Read More!

Position-By-Position On Chiefs Roster 2.0/Defense

The defense now has 24 players on the Chiefs roster as of Sunday, along with three special teamers. Here’s how the defenders and kicking game breaks down:

Defensive Line (6)

  • Starters Dontari Poe, Allen Bailey, Mike DeVito. Backups
    – Jaye Howard, Damion Square, Vance Walker.
  • Age – Bailey/25, DeVito/30, Howard/26 in December, Poe/24, Square/25, Walker/27.
  • Contract status/salary-cap number – Bailey/last season on contract/$808,986; DeVito/2nd of 3 years/$4,900,000; Howard/2nd of 3 years/$570,000; Poe/3rd of 4 years/$3,087,274; Square/2nd of 3 years/$495,000; Walker/1st of 3 years/$1,750,000.
  • Cap total$11,611,260/9 percent of Chiefs 2014 cap.
  • Status – Right now besides putting together a new deal for outside linebacker Justin Houston, general manager John Dorsey must have Poe at the top of the to-do list for a new contract. He’s got this year and next on his rookie deal. They need to lock him up for extended years. All the money invested at linebacker makes it tough to sign big-dollar players on the D-Line. Although he’s played good football in his limited role t the Chiefs defense, DeVito’s cap number is too high and he’s unlikely to see the third-year of his deal without an adjustment.

…Read More!

Chiefs & QB Alex Smith Agree To Deal

The Chiefs have announced they reached a contract extension with starting quarterback Alex Smith.

It’s a four-year extension, with $68 million, and $45 million in guaranteed dollars.

The deal adds four years to Smith’s contract; he’s playing the 2014 season on the final year of the deal he brought with him when he was traded to the Chiefs from San Francisco in 2013. He’ll receive $7.5 million from that 49ers deal.

“It was a priority of ours to get this deal done and keep Alex in a Chiefs uniform long-term,” general manager John Dorsey said in a statement from the team. “Alex is a proven leader on and off the field. He is a special individual with a lot of ability, and we are fortunate to have him here.”

While particulars remain to be sorted out, Smith will receive $30 million guaranteed on signing the contract, with another $15 million guaranteed for injury that kicks in at the start of the 2015 league season in March.

Smith is now signed through the 2018 season and the extension averages $17 million per season. The Kansas City Star first reported the agreement.

“John and his staff along with Tom (Condon, Smith’s agent) and his group have worked hard to get this deal done; they’ve done a nice job,” head coach Andy Reid said. “Alex is a smart, talented football player that has adapted well to our offensive scheme. He also, obviously, has had a tremendous amount of success as a quarterback in this league. We as a team are very happy to have Alex as our quarterback moving forward.”

Postion-By-Position On Chiefs Roster 1.0/Offense

Here’s how the 27 players on offense came together for the initial Chiefs roster of the 2014 season:

Quarterback (3)

  • Starter Alex Smith. Backups – Chase Daniel, Aaron Murray.
  • Injured reserve (1)Tyler Bray.
  • Age – Smith/30, Daniel/28 in October, Murray/24 in November.
  • Contract status/salary-cap number – Smith/last season on contract/$8 million; Daniel/2nd of 3 years/$3.4 million; Murray/1st of 4 years/$465,606.
  • Cap total$11,865,606/9.1 percent of Chiefs 2014 cap.
  • Status – It’s probably the most stable position on the Chiefs roster in this first week of the 2014 season. With the exception of Murray, we have seen the position in action. The difference between this group and last year at this time is that Daniel had a chance to start a game and perform, as he did in the 2013 regular season finale against San Diego. That’s one more start than he previously had in his career.

…Read More!

Ask Bob – Post Cut To 53

Seems like a good time to open up the e-mail box and hear what you all think about the Chiefs one week away from the regular season opener.

You know the drill – just add your question/comment to this post. I’ll take questions until Monday night, and try to start answering immediately.

Chiefs Moves To Reach 53-Man Roster

As always the personnel decisions to reach the NFL roster limit of 53 players are dribbling out a few at a time. The deadline is 3 p.m. Central. Here are the names being reported so far, and we’ll update as we time goes on:

  1. WR Dwayne Bowe placed on the suspended list.
  2. OT Donald Stephenson placed on the suspended list.
  3. S Jonathon Amaya released.
  4. S Malcolm Bronson released.
  5. FB Jordan Campbell released.
  6. DT Dominique Hamilton released.
  7. WR Mark Harrison released.
  8. G Ricky Henry released.
  9. LB Alonzo Highsmith released.
  10. LB Nico Johnson released.
  11. DT Kyle Love released.
  12. CB Justin Rogers released.
  13. DE Kona Schwenke released.
  14. K Ryan Succop released.
  15. CB DeMarcus Van Dyke released (injured).
  16. LB Devan Walker released.
  17. OT J’Marcus Webb released.
  18. RB Charcandrick West released.
  19. WR Fred Williams released.
  20. QB Tyler Bray placed on injured-reserve list.
  21. WR Kyle Williams placed on injured-reserve list.
  22. DE Mike Catapano placed on non-football injury list.

Pre-Season Comes To An End With A Chiefs Defeat


From Lambeau Field, Green Bay

Andy Reid wasn’t in the mood to make any predictions about how his team will perform in the 2014 NFL season.

But he was of the mind that he was thrilled the pre-season was over after the Chiefs fell 34-14 to the Packers.

“I am not much on predictions,” Reid said. “We are going to work hard and take it one play at a time and crank it. We look forward to getting the season started.”

Thursday night’s performance by the Chiefs was something to quickly forget, especially the 14 penalties for 131 yards walked off. That’s the second game in August where they had 131 yards in penalties.

Here’s our coverage from Green Bay:

Players Not Available For Chiefs Tonight in Green Bay

From Lambeau Field, Green Bay

The Chiefs have said there are six players that will not play Thursday night against the Packers because of injury and illness. They are likely to be joined by another 20 of their teammates from the starting lineups that won’t participate under the plans of head coach Andy Reid.

Middle linebacker Joe Mays (wrist), left tackle Eric Fisher (illness), defensive end Mike Catapano (illness), wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (quadriceps), wide receiver Junior Hemingway (hip) and outside linebacker Tamba Hali (knee) are not dressed for the game. Mays, Fisher, Bowe and Hali would not have played anyway because of their status as starters.

One man who will be dressed and available to play the Packers is recently signed offensive lineman Mike McGlynn. He will be wearing No. 67.

The Packers announced 20 players that would not dress for the game and all but two are listed as starters. On offense not dressed will be quarterback Aaron Rodgers running back Eddie Lacy, wide receivers Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson, tight end Brandon Bostick, center J.C. Tretter (injured), guards T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton and tackles David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga. On defense not part of the action tonight will be defensive ends Datone Jones and Mike Daniels, linebackers Clay Matthews, A.J. Hawk, Brad Jones and Julius Peppers, cornerbacks Tramon Williams, Sam Shields and Demetri Goodson and strong safety Morgan Burnett.

A Meaningless Night For All But a Few


From the Land of Cheese

In the NFL nothing is forgotten quicker than the final game of the pre-season. It’s a meaningless contest, played at a meaningless time as everyone looks forward to the start of the real season.

However, there will be about 45 to 50 players on the field when the Chiefs and Packers play at legendary Lambeau Field on Thursday night that will not likely forget the evening.

Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.

Those guys are still fighting for their football lives. The bulk of that group already sense that their time wearing red and gold or green and gold is just about over. But Thursday night’s game is important not just for the moment of being around for the start of the 2014 regular season, but for future opportunities to play in the league.

That’s one of two reasons why most NFL coaches approach the pre-season finale with their key players on the bench or sitting at home. First and always foremost is the injury factor – there’s nothing left to prove at this point and even though the league is working hard to slow down this collision sport, stuff happens.

The second reason coaches give the bottom part of their roster all the playing time is so those 40 to 50 guys that have worked very hard will register something on tape for their efforts and future reference.

“I’m trying to give the guys an opportunity to show (what they can do),” said Andy Reid. “That’s one reason I normally hold the 1′s so I can get a pure evaluation of these young guys. Right now, we’ve got good competition on this team and so you want to try and be as right as you possibly can and give them every opportunity.

“And if they don’t make your club, at least they have some worthy plays on tape that other teams can evaluate more.” …Read More!

Jamaal Says Don’t Worry About Chiefs Offense

As the Chiefs get ready to close out the pre-season the guy that makes the first-team offense go will not play against the Packers in Green Bay on Thursday night.

So what the starters left on the field through three exhibition games is what it is – no touchdowns in 16 possessions.

However, according to the engine of the attack, that was not the real Chiefs offense.

Jamaal Charles says nobody should fret about the lack of production and efficiency in the pre-season.

“That doesn’t concern me,” Charles said. “With Coach Andy (Reid) in control of this offense and what he can do, it doesn’t worry me at all. We believe in each other and that’s all that matters. I know we can’t depend on what happened last year; that’s last year.

“This is a new season and we’ve got to get past that. Every game we play is not going to be easy like last year. We are going to have to work for every win we get and I know that.” …Read More!

Chiefs Position Analysis – Secondary

Over the next few days we’ll look at each position on the Chiefs current roster and speculate on how John Dorsey and Andy Reid will cut that number to 53 by Friday/Saturday.

Secondary

Last season – the Chiefs began the regular season with 11 defensive backs on the active roster. They ended up with 10 after claiming two players off league waivers and placing safety Sanders Commings on the injured-reserve list/designated return designation, allowing him to practice after six weeks of the season passed. Holdovers from the 2012 Chiefs were strong safety Eric Berry, cornerback Brandon Flowers and free safety Kendrick Lewis. Commings was selected in the 2013 NFL Draft. Joining the secondary in unrestricted free agency were safety Quintin Demps, cornerback Dunta Robinson and cornerback Sean Smith. Safety Husain Abdullah was added as a street free agent. Cornerbacks Marcus Cooper and Ron Parker were claimed on waivers and Bradley McDougald was an undrafted college free agent. That group of 11 were the only defensive backs that played for the Chiefs in the 2013 season; six of those players are no-longer with the team.

…Read More!

Chiefs Sign Guard That Andy Knows

On Wednesday morning the Chiefs announced the signing of veteran guard Mike McGlynn.

To make room for him, they released rookie free-agent center Ben Gottschalk.

The 6-4, 325-pound NFL journeyman spent training camp and the pre-season with the Washington Redskins. He was released on Tuesday in the team’s cut to reach the NFL roster limit of 75.

The Chiefs will be the fifth team that McGlynn has played for in his career. He entered the NFL as a fourth-round draft choice by Andy Reid with Philadelphia in 2008. He went on to become the Eagles starting center in the 2010 season.

McGlynn later played for Cincinnati (2011) and Indianapolis (2012-13) where he started the past two seasons as the Colts right guard. He was in the starting lineup for Indy’s come-from-behind victory over the Chiefs back in January in a first-round game in the AFC playoffs.

With his signing the 29-year old McGlynn becomes the oldest offensive lineman on the Chiefs roster. He’s three days older than tackle Ryan Harris.

The Ohio native played tackle at the University of Pittsburgh where he started 43 of the 47 games he played over four seasons (2004-07), with most of those starts at right tackle.

Smith Says Nothing New On Contract Front

From the Truman Sports Complex

While he wouldn’t acknowledge if talks between his agent and the Chiefs are ongoing, Alex Smith said Tuesday he’s not made a decision to shut down negotiations towards a new contract.

“I wish I had an answer for you,” Smith said after practice. “I feel like I’ve been locked into games and practicing. With camp winding down here, the preseason winding down, certainly we’ll see.

“But sorry, I’ve got no answer for you today.”

Smith says he’s not worried about whether his teammates are concerned about the situation or bothered that their offensive leader has such an unstable future. …Read More!

Chiefs Position Analysis – Linebackers

Over the next few days we’ll look at each position on the Chiefs current roster and speculate on how John Dorsey and Andy Reid will cut that number to 53 by next Friday/Saturday.


Linebacker

Last season – the Chiefs began the regular season with nine linebackers. The holdovers from the 2012 team were Tamba Hali, Justin Houston and Derrick Johnson. Through the 2013 NFL Draft came Nico Johnson, while Frank Zombo was signed as an unrestricted free agent. Akeem Jordan was signed as a street free agent; from the waiver wire came James-Michael Johnson and Dezman Moses and signed as a college free agent was Josh Martin out of Columbia University. The only other linebacker that had a spot on the active roster during the 2013 season was Robert James, who was signed for the game against Indianapolis in the playoffs when J-M Johnson went to the injured-reserve list. …Read More!

Starters Will Watch Chiefs Play Packers

Andy Reid confirmed Tuesday that his starters will not play against the Packers when the Chiefs visit Green Bay on Thursday night.

Essentially that means quarterback Alex Smith, running back Jamaal Charles and most of the starting linemen on offense will not play. Same for nose tackle Dontari Poe, linebackers Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson and Justin Houston on defense.

Just after last Saturday night’s game, Reid said some of his starters might play against Green Bay, but he did not confirm that on Tuesday. There’s a chance that left guard candidates Jeff Linkenbach and Ricky Henry may play, but it sounds like the rest of the starting offensive line will watch.

Reid said that Chase Daniel will start at quarterback and likely play through the first quarter. Tyler Bray and Aaron Murray will then work the final three quarters.

…Read More!

Chiefs Position Analysis – Defensive Line

Over the next few days we’ll look at each position on the Chiefs current roster and speculate on how John Dorsey and Andy Reid will cut that number to 53 by next Friday/Saturday.


Defensive line

Last season – the Chiefs began the regular season with seven defensive linemen. Holdovers from the 2012 team were nose tackle Dontari Poe, defensive end Tyson Jackson, defensive end Allen Bailey and defensive tackle Anthony Toribio. They signed as an unrestricted free agent defensive end Mike DeVito. In the 2013 NFL Draft they selected defensive end Mike Catapano and they claimed defensive end Jaye Howard on waivers before the regular-season opener. Toribio was released in November and replaced for a few weeks by defensive tackle Kyle Love. When Love was released in early December, the Chiefs re-signed defensive tackle Jerrell Powe. Overall, nine defensive linemen played for the Chiefs last year. …Read More!

Chiefs Hit 75 With 3 More Moves

The Chiefs reached the NFL roster limit of 75 on Tuesday morning, announcing the release of three players:

  • OT Ryan McKee.
  • C B Kevin Rutland.
  • CB Damond Smith.

Both McKee (knee) and Smith (abductor) have been injured but there was no designation made by the team on whether the moves involving those two players were waived/injured or waived with an injury settlement.

If waived/injured, both players would revert to the injured-reserve list if they pass unclaimed through NFL waivers.

Chiefs Practice Report – 8/25

From the Truman Sports Complex

On what felt like the hottest, most humid and sultry afternoon of the summer, the Chiefs practiced football Monday afternoon.

Andy Reid had his team scheduled for a nearly three-hour practice session in the heat of the early afternoon. But he eventually ended practice early, much to the pleasure of his players, as they worked for a bit over two hours.

After a dozen personnel moves earlier in the day, there were 78 players on the roster and 71 of them started practice. One did not finish, as wide receiver Mark Harrison was taken off the field on a cart. There was no word from the Chiefs after practice on what Harrison’s problem was, but he may have been overcome by the heat and humidity.

Returning to the practice field was safety Eric Berry, who took part in the entire practice on that sore heel of his for the first time since August 11. Also back on the field was middle linebacker Josh Mauga, who has practices with a groin strain. …Read More!

It’s the Newest Wardrobe Accessory in Chiefs Land

After Saturday night’s pre-season game, Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith met the media while wearing a shirt with the picture of another Chiefs quarterback on his chest.

Smith’s shirt had this on the front:

The shirt comes from the creative forces at something called Flat Black Cult that has created a number of shirts around the Chiefs, including one that pairs Derrick Thomas and Neil Smith.

Here’s a link to the website for Flat Black Cult and the Lenny shirt that comes in several styles and plenty of sizes for a $25 price tag.

It’s Time To Worry About Chiefs Offense – Alex Is

After Saturday night’s loss to Minnesota, Alex Smith was trying to say all the right things about the team’s offense. That’s the job of a good quarterback and leader.

But it was hard not to see the frustration on Smith’s face and feel his concern by reading between the lines of what he told the media horde.

“I just feel very comfortable with where we are at,” Smith said. “We’ve got a ton of great work in at camp and throughout the pre-season. I feel like we moved the ball well; we just needed to finish and we didn’t do it today.

“Obviously we need to get it fixed but I don’t think there’s anything to be panicked or worried about.”

Those words did not translate to Smith’s play on the field against the Vikings. He is a quarterback known for protecting the ball and no matter the situation Smith seldom throws interceptions, especially deep in the opponent’s territory.

But Smith threw two picks against Minnesota, and it wasn’t just turning the ball over, it was where the interceptions occurred. The line of scrimmage for both plays was at the Vikings 11-yard line or closer. It was in the red zone and with a starting offense that hasn’t been able to score a touchdown in three August games, these were not opportunities to waste.

The Chiefs offense got nothing from those possessions and they’ve not scored a touchdown in 16 chances with the ball. …Read More!

Reid Indicates Linebacker Could Be Out ‘Awhile’

Speaking early Sunday afternoon, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid made it sound like middle linebacker Joe Mays will not return any time soon after surgery on his wrist last week.

“I don’t think it’s a short period of time,” Reid said of Mays’ absence from the field. “I don’t know exactly how long it’s going to be. He tore one of the tendons there in his wrist, so he had surgery to repair that and that could be awhile.

“I would put it in the same category if not even a little longer than a broken bone. We’ve just got to see how that works out.”

Mays injury and surgery opens the door for second-year linebacker Nico Johns,on, who started at the position in Saturday night’s pre-season game against Minnesota. Plus, outside linebacker Frank Zombo played a few snaps inside vs. the Vikings and has been practicing there for the last 10 days or so. “We’re using Frank in both areas and we started doing that up at St. Joe,” he said.

Reid also said safety Eric Berry may test his injured heel in the short practice time this week ahead of the pre-season finale against Green Bay on Thursday. “I think he will do a little bit and try it out and see how it feels,” Reid said. “I think he feels pretty good right now, but I told you that before and it kind of came back on him. We’ve tried to rest him here an extended period of time, a little longer than we have before. We’ll just see how he comes out of it.”

The status of wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and his quadriceps strain was not mentioned, but given Bowe’s already known one-game NFL suspension for the regular-season opener, it’s unlikely he’ll see the practice field until his penalty time is served.

Players had the day off on Sunday and will report back Monday. They’ll have two practices before heading to Green Bay on Wednesday.

Chiefs Show Little Improvement In 30-12 Loss To Vikes

From Arrowhead Stadium

On a steamy Saturday night in the third week of the NFL pre-season, the Chiefs were unable to put a winning effort on the field and they fell to the Minnesota Vikings, 30-12.

This was not the type of performance that Chiefs head coach Andy Reid had in mind for his club in the most important of the games that do not count each August. Offense, defense, special teams – all three areas failed to provide a winning effort. That leaves the Chiefs 1-2 for the pre-season with only a trip to Green Bay this coming Thursday standing between them and the start of the regular season.

Here’s our coverage:

Notes: Cassel Returns To K.C. & Leaves With A Victory

From Arrowhead Stadium

Matt Cassel may have struggled to not throw interceptions and win games during his four seasons with the Chiefs. Cassel may have become the focal point of unhappy and frustrated fans. But he always handled a bad situation with class.

That continued Saturday night when he made his first football return to Kansas City as the starting quarterback for a team wearing something other than red and gold. Cassel helped lead the Minnesota Vikings to a 30-12 victory over the Chiefs.

Afterwards there was no gloating, no pounding of his chest, no revenge extracted. It was only a pre-season game, but that didn’t really matter.

“I had a great experience here,” Cassel told a horde of media types surrounding his locker in Arrowhead’s visiting locker room. “All three of my children were born here. I love Kansas City and we still have a lot of friends here. At the same time, football sometimes just doesn’t always work out the way you want there’s a multitude of reasons behind that.

“I wish I could have changed a lot of that, mainly just winning more games.”

Cassel left the Chiefs with a 19-29 record as the starting quarterback, eventually losing the starting job in the second half of the 2012 season as Brady Quinn was jumped ahead of him on the depth chart.

“I know how this goes,” said Cassel. “If you don’t win normally they make chances and they did (here). I was real happy to see that they had a lot of success. I know Alex Smith really well; he’s a heck of a quarterback, a great guy and I thought they did a remarkably good job last year to turn this thing around.”

Right now Cassel is trying to hold on to the Vikings starting job, with first-round draft choice Teddy Bridgewater breathing down his neck. Against the Chiefs, Cassel had the pinpoint accurate 53-yard pass for a touchdown to wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson in the first quarter. “It was a great way to start the game, no doubt about it,” Cassel said. “We were backed up on our own three and then to be able to get going like that and hit a long play, it was great.

“I don’t know (if he solidified his hold on the starting job.) They will have to make that decision and hopefully it gets made sooner rather than later. I’m going to go out and keep competing and hopefully it all works out for the best.”

Zebras pull in the whistles and hankies

In a pre-season where the most active participants on the field were the guys in striped shirts, veteran referee Walt Coleman and his crew stayed in the football shadows. There were just five penalties walked off for a total of 77 yards. A pass interference call against Minnesota cornerback Josh Robinson accounted for 42 of those 77 yards.

The Chiefs were hit with just two penalties: a false start call against tight end Demetrius Harris and a holding call on a punt return by running back Joe McKnight.

That five flags for 77 yards is easily the fewest penalties and yards walked off against two teams in any game this pre-season.

From the Chiefs training room & personnel file

Andy Reid announced after the game that the Chiefs had not sustained any new injuries during the evening and there wasn’t much discussion on previous injuries other than neither wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (quadriceps) and safety Eric Berry (heel) dressed for the game, while running back Jamaal Charles (foot) did, but he did not play a snap.

Other players scratched because of injury were linebacker Joe Mays (wrist), offensive tackle Ryan McKee (knee), defensive end Mike DeVito (hand), wide receiver Junior Hemingway (hip) and defensive end Mike Catapano (illness). Also not dressed for participation were running back Charcandrick West, cornerback Damond Smith, inside linebacker Josh Mauga and defensive lineman Kona Schwenke.

According to press box accounting, 20 Chiefs players did not participate in the game. That group included kicker Ryan Succop, quarterbacks Chase Daniel and Aaron Murray.

Representing the Chiefs at mid-field for the opening coin flip were wide receiver Donnie Avery, running back Cyrus Gray, safety Husain Abdullah, linebacker Justin Houston and tight end Anthony Fasano.

Some numbers stuff vs. Vikings

Minnesota’s 75-yard punt return in the second half is the longest return on a kickoff or punt that they’ve allowed since Dave Toub was hired as special teams coordinator by Andy Reid last year. Until Saturday night, the longest punt return in a pre-season, regular season or post-season game since 2013 was a 22-yard return . . . the Chiefs had three sacks against Minnesota, the biggest being the sack, forced fumble and safety generated by defensive end Jaye Howard. Outside linebacker Tamba Hali and inside linebacker Derrick Johnson had the other sacks . . . Hali, Johnson and safety Malcolm Bronson led the Chiefs with four tackles each . . . cornerback Ron Parker had an interception in the first half . . . along with his sack, Johnson stopped a running play for negative yardage.

Offense Finally Produces With Bray At QB


From Arrowhead Stadium

It was an important game for Tyler Bray on Saturday night against the Minnesota Vikings. This was going to be his best opportunity to show where he might fall on the quarterback ladder for the Chiefs in the 2014 season. Is he going to stay as the No. 3 behind Alex Smith and Chase Daniel? Might he be No. 4 and falling behind rookie Aaron Murray? Could he be traded somewhere else as the rosters shrink with NFL cut-down dates coming over the next week? Could he end up being released? Might Bray be claimed by another team on the waiver wire?

On this big evening, things did not start well for Bray. In his first three possessions leading the Chiefs offense they went three plays and out, three plays and out and three plays and out. In those nine plays, Bray did not complete any of his four passes, throwing an interception and being sacked.

“Just bad throws; you really can’t pinpoint sometimes why the throws aren’t happening,” Bray said. “It could go back to footwork. Maybe I was standing up a little too tall in the pocket and not getting a throwing base.”

A fourth possession finally saw some production, as the Chiefs kept the ball for eight plays and Bray was two of four throwing the ball, but it was just for nine yards.

Finally on a fifth chance, Bray got the Chiefs offense rolling. They went 80 yards in nine plays and Bray was seven-of-seven in the drive for 76 yards and ending with a one-yard touchdown throw to rookie wide receiver Albert Wilson.

“We were running the ball great and that always helps,” Bray said. “I finally wasn’t throwing over the receivers heads; that might help too. We just started clicking. We were executing well and we were moving the ball down the field.”

By that fifth possession, the offensive line in front of Bray had changed. When he got his first opportunities after Smith left in the third quarter, Bray had the No. 1 offensive line in front of him. That went nowhere. When the backups came in, that’s when the offense clicked on that final possession.

“We’re still trying to mesh,” Bray said. “We’re moving a lot of guys around on the O-Line so they’re still trying to click. Once they do, we’re going to have a great offense.”

But will Tyler Bray be part of the equation, even if all he does is serve as the club’s scout team quarterback?

“I believe I’m going to play in this league and when that happens I don’t know, but I’m not sitting around worried about what might happen,” Bray said. “I just have to go out every day and get better.”

Here are the numbers for all four Chiefs quarterbacks after three pre-season games:

Player

Att.

Cmp.

%

Yds.

A/A

TD

INT

LG

Sacked

Rating

Tyler Bray

17

11

64.7

122

7.2

1

1

30

4-17

81.0

Chase Daniel

14

11

78.6

161

11.5

1

1

69

3-7

108.6

Aaron Murray

10

5

50.0

81

8.1

1

1

43

1-0

71.3

Alex Smith

51

31

60.8

286

5.6

0

2

21

6-43

59.8

It Was A Picky Night For Alex Smith

From Arrowhead Stadium

Alex Smith just does not throw interceptions, certainly the Alex Smith of the last four seasons (2011-14). In that time-frame he’s played in 58 games in the pre-season, regular season and post-season.

In those games he’s thrown just 21 interceptions or just under one pick every three games.

Only twice in the previous 57 games did he throw more than one interception against an opponent in a game. It’s now three times in the last 58 games as he chucked a pair of interceptions Saturday night against the Minnesota Vikings.

“That’s one of his strengths,” said head coach Andy Reid. “We’ve got to be more secure with the football.”

Interceptions are not welcome no matter the game situation, but obviously throwing a couple away in the pre-season is not any reason to panic. When an offense has struggled to score touchdowns in the manner that the Chiefs No. 1 offense has in three August games, it takes on more significance.

And, those interceptions really hurt when they come inside scoring territory.

Both of Smith’s picks were thrown inside the Vikings 11 yard line. The first was a 1st-and-goal play at the Minnesota 10-yard line. His throw into the end zone to wide receiver Frankie Hammond was picked off by cornerback Captain Munnerlyn . . . no touchdown, no field goal, no points, only disappointment.

“It was just a matter of being late,” Smith said of his throw. “He was open and I needed to see it a little sooner and cut it loose in there. I tried to fit it in there a little late.”

Smith’s second interception came on a 3rd-and-4 play at the Minnesota 11-yard line. He looked right for tight end Travis Kelce on a slant route out of the right slot. But linebacker Chad Greenway read his eyes the whole way and stepped in front of the pass, snuffing another scoring chance.

“I was really disappointed in the second one,” said Smith. “Third down, trying to make it happen, trying to move the chances there. To force an in; I didn’t see the guy until the end. It was a bad decision, but I think they are two things that are very fixable and they certainly need to be fixed.”

What needs fixed is the Chiefs offense, as the starters have had 16 possessions in three games and have not score a touchdown. With the regular-season opener just two weeks away, the offensive line in a state of flux and key contributors dealing with injuries, the pressure mounts for the No. 1 group to turn the tide.

“You would have loved to have shown a little better,” Smith said. “I just feel very comfortable with where we’re at. We’ve got a tone of great work in at camp and throughout this preseason. I feel like we moved the ball well, we just needed to finish and we didn’t do it today. Obviously we need to get it fixed, but I don’t think anything is to be panicked or worried about.”

O-Line Remains Work In Progress, Without Progress


From Arrowhead Stadium

In two weeks the Chiefs will face prime-time in the NFL when they open the regular season against the Tennessee Titans. Their offensive line at this time can accurately be called “The Not-Ready for Prime-Time Players.”

At a point where the group of blockers should be developing some consistency and continuity, the starting offensive line is struggling. With personnel changes invoked by head coach Andy Reid for Saturday night’s game against Minnesota, the No. 1 blockers contributed to another poor offensive performance in a 30-12 defeat.

The Chiefs starting offense did not score a touchdown in eight possessions. They turned the ball over twice on interceptions thrown by quarterback Alex Smith. Pass protection was spotty at best, as Smith was sacked three times and took off running on three other plays. The running game without Jamaal Charles was almost invisible, producing just 31 yards on 12 carries by the running backs, with the longest run just eight yards.

It was ugly and it all started upfront.

“Offensively it clearly wasn’t good enough,” said Reid. “Whether it was protection or blocking we’ve got to executive better.”

Friday’s announcement that right tackle Donald Stephenson will serve a four-game NFL suspension starting with the opener had Reid making changes, some that he showed in practice during the week before the game. Left guard Jeff Allen was moved to right tackle, and taking his spot at left guard were Jeff Linkenbach and Ricky Henry, who alternated from possession to possession.

New faces in new places produced old results.

“I need to get the guys who are going to play at the beginning of the season ready to go,” Reid said of why Stephenson did not play against Minnesota. “I wanted to make sure guys get in there and have a chance to work. We have a new right tackle and left guard and they needed the work so I left them in there a little longer so they could get a little bit of that.

“They’re good players and we’ll continue to work and get ourselves ready.”

Reid and his staff may think they are good players, but the new faces struggled to show that against the Vikings, especially Linkenbach and Henry inside. “There were issues,” Reid admitted. “I probably need to look at the tape before I say too much here, but obviously it wasn’t good enough. The quarterback got hit too many times. You can’t do that.”

Pass protection was spotty. With Smith in the game there were 30 passing plays called by Reid. Smith threw 24 passes, was sacked three times, ran on three other plays and was hit after releasing the ball on three plays. That’s contact on nine of the 30 passing calls. At times, Smith was running for his football life as pressure poured in, especially in the middle of the blocking unit where Linkenbach and Henry had their problems. It was also easily the worst performance in practice or games that rookie Zach Fulton has shown at right guard.

With a few exceptions, center Rodney Hudson was solid. At right tackle, Allen actually played better there than he had been playing at left guard. Much maligned left tackle Eric Fisher actually played a pretty good game, with his biggest problems coming on plays where the Vikings did some stunts against the left side of the Chiefs offensive line thanks to the lack of continuity with Fisher, Linkenbach and Henry.

“You can’t just produce the type of teamwork you need up front in just a few days of practice,” said Allen. “But the only way to do that is to play, so I’m sure every one of us learned a lot in this game.”

Reid certainly hopes so because right now, that No. 1 group features what appears to be his five best blockers.

“If they’re guys that we end up keeping then they’re guys that have that much more experience under they belts,” Reid said.

Chiefs Fail To Show Improvement In Loss To Vikings


From Arrowhead Stadium

In the NFL pre-season, coaches seek improvement from one week to the next. The games are not so much about who wins and who loses, but whether individual players and segments of the team are getting better with every game opportunity.

As the Chiefs sit two weeks away from their 2014 regular season opener there is darn little for Andy Reid and his coaching staff to identify as improved production. Certainly, there was no evidence in their 30-12 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on a sultry Saturday evening at Arrowhead Stadium.

Offense, defense and the kicking game all contributed to an ugly night for the Chiefs. They were not able to score a touchdown until there were just 25 seconds to play in the game. They turned the ball over three times and allowed five sacks. Despite providing a safety and forcing a pair of turnovers from Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel; the K.C. defense allowed three touchdowns and gave up five offensive plays of 20-plus yards. Even the special teams failed, allowing a 75-yard punt return in the second half that set up one of the Minnesota touchdowns.

“I’ve got to make sure that I put the guys in a better position to do things,” said head coach Andy Reid. “Then when given the opportunity we’ve got to make sure we execute . . . they got the best of us today.”

Most concerning to the Chiefs has to be the No. 1 offense. Yes, they played without running back Jamaal Charles, wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and right tackle Donald Stephenson. But that does not explain the mistakes and problems they had throughout the game. Quarterback Alex Smith threw a pair of red zone interceptions that snuffed out touchdown opportunities.

“Tonight was disappointing because we treated it like a game-week,” said Smith. “There was more game-planning and preparation. We got down there twice and to walk away with no points because of the turnovers hurts.”

The starting offense under Smith’s direction has 16 possessions in three pre-season games and they’ve not produced a touchdown. The Chiefs had one Smith pass caught in the end zone, but that was an interception by Minnesota cornerback Captain Munnerlyn in the first quarter. On the evening, Smith posted a passer rating of 40.3 thanks to those interceptions and a paltry average of 5.8 yards per attempt.

“Throwing the ball, we just had no rhythm,” said Reid “Offensively it clearly wasn’t good enough.”

Much to the chagrin of Chiefs fans, former K.C. starter Cassel was the best quarterback on the field. He finished with a 78.6 passer rating completing 52.9 percent of his throws with an interception. But he also averaged 8.9 yards per passing attempt and did throw a touchdown pass.

The Vikings offense put up a touchdown on their first opportunity with the ball. Returning to Arrowhead for the first time since he was released in the winter of 2013, he led a five-play, 97-yard drive that was built on a pair of long completions. Cassel first connecting on a pass to running back Matt Asiata for 31 yards and then when wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson got behind Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen, he connected on a 53-yard touchdown play with a perfect throw. It was just five minutes into the game and Minnesota held the lead, 7-0. They would not surrender the advantage at any point in the night.

After Munnerlyn’s end-zone interception and his return of 14 yards, the Chiefs defense produced two points, as defensive end Jaye Howard was on Cassel in the end zone and knocked the ball out of his hands. The ball went out of the back of the end zone and the Chiefs had a deuce.

Regaining possession after the post-safety free kick from the Vikings, Smith drove the offense inside the Minnesota 11-yard line. But a third-down throw to tight end Travis Kelce was intercepted by linebacker Chad Greenway. The defense was able to hold Minnesota in check and the Chiefs offense got the ball back. That’s when the No. 1 group put together their only scoring drive of the game, holding the ball for 14 plays, while moving 77 yards in 7 minutes, 43 seconds but still they had to settle for a 21-yard field goal from rookie kicker Cairo Santos.

At this point the Chiefs trailed 7-5 and were very much in the game when cornerback Ron Parker intercepted a Cassel pass deep in Kansas City territory. But the teams finished the half trading possessions, with Minnesota grabbing three more points on a 41-yard field goal by Blair Walsh with 67 seconds left in the second quarter that set the intermission score at 10-5.

Walsh added another field goal, this one from 32 yards about 10 minutes into the third quarter, pushing Minnesota’s lead to 13-5. That’s when matters got away from the Chiefs

When Smith left the game and was replaced by Tyler Bray. The second-year quarterback’s first pass was intercepted by Vikings cornerback Shaun Prater on what appeared to be a miscommunication between Bray and wide receiver Kyle Williams.

With rookie Teddy Bridgewater making his first on field appearance of the night, it was just three plays before Minnesota had a touchdown. Bridgewater found tight end Allen Reisner open in the right side of the end zone for an eight-yard touchdown play, with Chiefs safety Jerron McMillian trailing in coverage. The PAT kick gave the Vikings a 20-5 edge.

A few moments later, they pumped up that lead to 22 points on another touchdown pass from Bridgewater to Reisner, this one for five yards. That one-play, five-yard drive was set up on a pretty 75-yard punt return by Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen. He caught the ball at the Minnesota 20-yard line and was not brought down until running back Knile Davis made a hustling rolling block that knocked him out at the Chiefs five-yard line. The Vikes scored on the next play.

That was two touchdowns for Minnesota in the span of 104 seconds, set up by a pair of errors from the Chiefs with the interception and failure to cover the punt.

The rest of the game was a mish-mash of back and forth as neither team got much going in the fourth quarter as they used all those players on the fringe of making the regular-season roster. The Chiefs offense finally produced a touchdown on a nine-play, 87-yard drive with Bray connecting on a one-yard touchdown pass with wide receiver Albert Wilson. The PAT kick from Santos set the final score at 30-12.

Time is not on the Chiefs side as they get ready for the final week of the pre-season. They have a short window to get healthy and prepare just a little for a Thursday night game in Green Bay. The next day, the roster will be slashed to 53 and the focus will turn to the Tennessee Titans.

Chiefs vs. Vikings – Game-Night Roster Update

From Arrowhead Stadium

The Chiefs will be without two former Pro Bowl participants Saturday night when they play host to Minnesota in pre-season game No. 3.

One of those is not running back Jamaal Charles. He returned to practice on Thursday with that bruised foot that he suffered moving out of the dorms at Missouri Western State University. His presence figures to be very brief, maybe a quarter or so.

Not on the field are wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and safety Eric Berry will sit out the encounter with the Vikings.

Bowe suffered a quadriceps strain last Sunday night in the game against Carolina and has not practiced since then.

Berry continues to be troubled by what head coach Andy Reid called tendinitis in his heel. There has been no prognosis on when Berry may return to the field, whether it’s practice or game action.

Along with Bowe and Berry, the Chiefs will be without wide receiver Junior Hemingway (hip), offensive tackle Ryan McKee (knee), running back Charcandrick West, cornerback Damond Smith (abductor), defensive end Mike Catapano (illness), linebacker Joe Mays (wrist), defensive end Mike DeVito (hand), ILB Josh Mauga (groin) and defensive lineman Kona Schwenke (quadriceps.)

Jeff Allen will start at right tackle rather than Donald Stephenson, with Jeff Linkenbach opening at left guard. Als0 on offense Frankie Hammond will start at wide receiver for Bowe. Defensively, in the starting lineup will be defensive end Jaye Howard, LB Nico Johnson, RCB Sean Smith and SS Daniel Sorensen.

Also active is the newest member of the team, safety Kelcie McCray. He will wear No. 46.

The Vikings will keep All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson on the sidelines for the game against the Chiefs. Also on the sideline will be nose tackle Linval Joseph (calf), tight end Chase Ford (foot), cornerback Jabari Price (shoulder), linebacker Brandon Watts (leg) and linebacker Gerald Hodges (knee).

Progress Imperative For Chiefs vs. Vikings

Matt Cassel returns to Kansas City with the Vikings for a Saturday night pre-season encounter with the Chiefs. The last time these teams met was memorable for this sideline encounter between Cassel and head coach Todd Haley.

The next to last game on the schedule has always been the most important outing of the pre-season. It’s the game where starters and regular contributors get the most time on the field and the greatest number of snaps together.

It still doesn’t matter whether the game ends in victory or defeat. But it is imperative that productivity is apparent, particularly when there hasn’t been progress in previous weeks.

That makes Saturday night’s game between the Chiefs and Vikings at Arrowhead Stadium an important evening. Kickoff is just after 7 p.m.

There are no panic buttons for NFL teams in the pre-season. At least that’s true for good organizations, the clear-headed and stable operations. Andy Reid and his coaching staff are not going to overreact to a lack of producton from their offensive and defensive starters.

In the third pre-season game they want to see improvement, they want to see consistency and they want to see results from their starters and other key personnel. …Read More!

Prepare For A Hot One Saturday Night

The Chiefs are encouraging fans attending Saturday night’s pre-season game against Minnesota to be prepared for the potential for high temperatures and humidity.

National Weather Service predictions call for temperatures at 90 degrees with 42 percent humidity for kickoff at 7 p.m.

Fans are encouraged to take precautions and understand the help that will be available at Arrowhead Stadium:

  • Stay hydrated, use sunscreen and wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • In the parking lots prior to the game, Fans First personnel will have carts with water available for fans.
  • Ticket holders will be allowed to bring one factory-sealed bottle of water into the stadium.
  • Fans may also bring an additional empty personal water bottle to refill inside the stadium. Water fountains are located behind sections 108, 111, 127, 129, 205, 220, 228, 243, 304, 309, 316, 320, 327, 332 and 344. Fans can get a cup at any Fans First Booth which can be filled at any of the water foundations.
  • Water misters will be located on the upper level by the island bars at sections 321 and 326 on the south side of the stadium and between section 301/346 and 302/303 on the north side.
  • There will be cooling stations in section 339 on the west side of the upper level and in section 316 on the east side of Arrowhead.
  • First aid stations will be located behind sections 114, 132, 241, 307, 316, 329 and 339.

Stephenson Suspension Adds To Offensive Line Woes

The gray hair on the heads of NFL head coaches and general managers can be blamed on two things: heredity and players like Donald Stephenson.

In some cases the lack of hair can be traced solely to players that do stupid things.

There’s no other way to explain why Stephenson will miss the Chiefs first four games of the regular season after he was slapped with a four-game suspension by the league on Friday.

The drug involved is unknown, but it landed Stephenson in the category of performance enhancing drugs. In a statement released by the NFL Players Association, Stephenson said he was negligent on checking with the league, union or team medical personnel before he started taking the drug. He indicated it was prescribed for therapeutic purposes, and if that was truly the case, he could have received an exemption from the league on use of the medication.

Here’s what leaves the GM and head coach with silver strands on their head: Stephenson knew the procedure. It’s something that is stressed to the players once, twice, three times in a season. The league brings it to their attention, the union does as well, and you can bet every team in the league addresses these issues once or twice a season. There is no gray area. No reason to doubt

So when the very public rules are not followed, there’s only one word to describe the situation: an act of stupidity. …Read More!

Chiefs Position Analysis – Offensive Line

Over the next few days we’ll look at each position on the Chiefs current 90-man roster and speculate on how John Dorsey and Andy Reid will cut that number to 75 by next Tuesday, and then 53 by next Friday.

Offensive line

Last season – the Chiefs began the regular season with eight blockers on the 53-man roster. Branden Albert, Jeff Allen, Jon Asamoah, Rodney Hudson and Donald Stephenson were holdovers from the 2012 team. Eric Fisher and Eric Kush were selected in the 2013 NFL Draft. Geoff Schwartz was signed as an unrestricted free agent. On the practice squad were Tommie Draheim, Rishaw Johnson and Rokevious Watkins; both Johnson and Watkins eventually reached the 53-man roster. On the injured-reserve list were Ricky Henry, Colin Kelly and Dustin Waldron. Later in the season, Chandler Burden, Jordan Miller and Matt Reynolds all spent at least one week on the practice squad. By the end of the season, 10 linemen had played in a game.

…Read More!

Chiefs Lose Stephenson On NFL’s Suspension Friday

The National Football League has taken to handing down player suspensions on Fridays.

Last week, wide receiver Dwayne Bowe was hit with his one-game suspension. This Friday it’s offensive tackle Donald Stephenson.

The NFL hit Stephenson with a four-game suspension for testing positive for a performance enhancing substance. There’s no idea of what the drug or supplement was, but through a statement that came from the NFL Players Association, Stephenson said he did not go to the league or union to receive a therapeutic use exemption for a medication he started taking.

Not only will Stephenson be out paychecks for four games, but the Chiefs will be fined as an organization since he’s the second player to be suspended.

The rules between league and union are explicit and players are given notice every year that there is no wiggle room on failed tests or use of unapproved medication and supplements.

Stephenson will miss the games against Tennessee, Denver, Miami and New England. His suspension will start next Friday, the day after the team’s final pre-season game, and extend to Tuesday September 30, the day after the Monday night game against the Patriots.

“I’m extremely sorry that I failed to check with the NFL, NFLPA, or Chiefs medical team before I took a medication that requires a therapeutic use exemption,” Stephenson said in a statement. ”The rules are strict and without at TUE, the consequence is a four game suspension . . . It is not a mistake I will ever make again.  I will train extremely hard during my time away from the team, and I will be ready to contribute to my team’s effort to win a Super Bowl as soon as I return.”

Chiefs Position Analysis – Tight Ends

Over the next few days we’ll look at each position on the Chiefs current 90-man roster and speculate on how John Dorsey and Andy Reid will cut that number to 75 by next Tuesday, and then 53 by next Friday.

Tight end

Last season – the Chiefs had three tight ends on their roster for the first-week of the schedule. Anthony Fasano was signed as an unrestricted free agent. Travis Kelce was picked in the third-round of the 2013 NFL Draft and Sean McGrath was claimed on waivers from Seattle just before the season opener. Kevin Brock was signed on September 16, about a month before Kelce was placed on injured reserve (October 12). The Chiefs had at least one, sometimes two tight ends as game-day inactive players for six consecutive games. Demetrius Harris was signed to the practice squad, while Tony Moeaki was placed on the injured-reserve list; he eventually was released on October 22. During the season, Brock, Dominique Jones and Richard Gordon were signed to the active roster. Only Gordon was still around at the end of the season and remains on the Chiefs roster.

…Read More!

Chiefs Position Analysis – Running Backs

Over the next few days we’ll look at each position on the Chiefs current 90-man roster and speculate on how John Dorsey and Andy Reid will cut that number to 75 by next Tuesday, and then 53 by next Friday.

Running backs

Last season – the Chiefs had four running backs on their first-week roster. Jamaal Charles and Cyrus Gray were holdovers from the 2012 team. They added Knile Davis through the draft and FB Anthony Sherman came over in a trade. Signed to the practice squad was FB Toben Opurum, who went on and off the developmental squad all season.

2014 Roster Spots – 3 to 5 slots with 1 slot possible on the practice squad

  • Currently on the roster (8) – Jordan Campbell (FB), Charles, Davis, Gray, Joe McKnight, Sherman (FB), De’Anthony Thomas, Charcandrick West.
  • Averages: age – 24.3 years; NFL experience – 2.9 seasons; height – 5-10¼; weight –212.3 pounds.
  • Sources: Chiefs draft choices (4) – Charles, Davis, Gray, Thomas; street free agents (2) – Campbell, McKnight; college free agents (1) – West; trade (1) – Sherman. …Read More!

Chiefs Practice Report – 8/21

Speed returned to the practice field for the Chiefs on Thursday as running back Jamaal Charles and wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas were participating in the team’s last full practice of the week.

Charles had been out of action since late last week after he turned his ankle while moving out of the dorm at Missouri Western State University. He spent most of his time working with the scout team, indicating it’s unlikely that he’ll play this Saturday night against Minnesota.

Thomas woke up Wednesday morning with a sore hamstring and only took part in some early work before he was shut down for the rest of that practice. From special teams coordinator Dave Toub it sounds like there’s a chance he’ll handle at least a return or two against the Vikings.

“He practiced today, looked good and ran around well,” said Toub. “That was what we wanted to see.”

Also returning to the field for practice on Thursday were outside linebacker Josh Martin (quadriceps), defensive lineman Jermelle Cudjo (quadriceps) and cornerback Chris Owens (knee).

Middle linebacker Joe Mays was not on the field because of his wrist injury and he will undergo surgery soon. Mays suffered the injury in the first half of last Sunday night’s game against Carolina.

…Read More!

Chiefs Trade Guard For Safety

It wasn’t a deal close to last year’s pre-season trade that sent a disappointing first-round draft choice (Jon Baldwin) for another team’s disappoint first-round pick (A.J. Jenkins).

But on Thursday, the Chiefs traded a player that wasn’t going to make their team, for another player that wasn’t going to make his team.

They shipped guard Rishaw Johnson to Tampa Bay and in return received safety Kelcie McCray.

The 6-1, 205-pounds McCray played in 15 games last season with Miami (4) and Tampa Bay (11). He entered the NFL in 2012 as an undrafted free agent with the Dolphins, but spent that first year on the injured-reserve list after surgery on a broken foot. He was released early last October and the Buccaneers claimed him off the waiver wire. In 15 NFL games he has seven tackles and a fumble recovery.

He’s 25 years old and comes out of Arkansas State University where he was a three-year starter at safety for the Red Wolves. Over his career, McCray started 37 of the 49 games he played, with 220 total tackles, 10 interceptions, two forced fumbles and three recovered fumbles. He grew up in Columbus, Georgia.

Johnson began the off-season program as the starting right guard, but by the end of the team’s June mini-camp, he lost that status to rookie Zach Fulton. In training camp his slot on the depth chart fell to the third team.

 

Chiefs Position Analysis – Wide Receiver

Over the next few days we’ll look at each position on the Chiefs current 90-man roster and speculate on how John Dorsey and Andy Reid will cut that number to 75 by next Tuesday, and then 53 by next Friday.


Wide receivers

Last season – the Chiefs carried six wide receivers on their first-week roster. Dwayne Bowe, Junior Hemingway and Dexter McCluster were holdovers from the 2012 team. Donnie Avery was added as an unrestricted free agent. A.J. Jenkins came in a trade with San Francisco for receiver Jon Baldwin and Chad Hall was claimed from the waiver wire from the Niners. Undrafted rookie Frankie Hammond was signed to the practice squad and spent all 17 weeks on the developmental team. On November 13, the Chiefs claimed Kyle Williams off the waiver wire from the 49ers, while parting ways with Hall. …Read More!

Chiefs Practice Report – 8/20

From the Truman Sports Complex

Andy Reid juggled his team’s schedule for Wednesday practice, moving up the two-hour, 15-minute workout two hours to escape the hottest part of the day.

It was still a hot and humid workout, as the coaching staff put the team through what would be the schedule for a Thursday practice during the regular season. The pace was quick, although not as fast as Reid wanted at times as he could be heard exhorting his players to pick up the pace.

Blitz, short yardage and goal line segments took up most of the practice, as Reid and his staff put together the most extensive game plan of the pre-season for Saturday’s meeting with Minnesota. It’s also a good chance they worked on some situational stuff for the regular-season opener against Tennessee.

“We changed up practice a bit so we could beat the hit,” said Reid. “It was good work.”

There were 11 players that did not participate, and a handful of others that left during the practice, all because of injury. Leading that group was running back Jamaal Charles with his bruised foot suffered almost a week ago as he moved out of the team’s dorm at Missouri Western State University.

“Jamaal is making progress and we’ll just see how he does here in the next several days,” said Reid. …Read More!

It’s Time For Patience With Eric Fisher

John Alt (l) and Eric Fisher

It’s far too early to construct any type of conclusion to the Eric Fisher story. That hasn’t stopped some fans and media types from pulling the chain and flushing the future of last year’s NFL’s No. 1 draft choice. Declaring Fisher one of the great draft busts in Chiefs and possibly NFL history is very premature and to bring that into focus there are two words Chiefs fans need to remember:

John Alt.

In the history of the Chiefs franchise there have been two outstanding left tackles. Jim Tyrer was the first, selected in the third round of the 1961 AFL Draft by the Texans after an All-America career at Ohio State University. Tyrer started 180 games for the Texans/Chiefs and was a full-time starter for 12 seasons. He earned AFL All-Star and Pro Bowl honors nine times. Tyrer entered the Chiefs Hall of Fame in 1977.

The other left tackle of note was Alt, a first-round selection (No. 15) in the 1984 NFL Draft out of the University of Iowa. He played 13 seasons with the Chiefs, appearing in 179 games with 149 starts. Alt made two Pro Bowls (1992-93) and was the 2002 inductee to the Chiefs Hall of Fame.

That Alt would go to the Pro Bowl and be honored as one of the team’s greatest players would have seemed laughable after his rookie season, or his second, third and fourth seasons. By the time the 1988 season was about to start, he was considered a bust outside the Chiefs facility. In four seasons, he played 44 of 64 games, starting just 16 times. Injuries kept him off the field, especially a back problem that seemed to flare up at least once a season. …Read More!

Chiefs Practice Report – August 19

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs rolled through a two-hour, 30-minute practice on Tuesday, in the first of what will be close to 60 practices in the 2014 NFL season.

Andy Reid’s team remains in training camp mode, as they worked in full pads under a hot afternoon sun with not a breath of wind and high humidity.

(Note: now that the public cannot view Chiefs practices, the media is more restricted on what it’s allowed to report. That will continue through the end of the season.)

Not visible on the field during the early practice was running back Jamaal Charles, as he tries to recover from the bruised foot suffered moving out of the dorms at Missouri Western State University last week.

Also missing was wide receiver Dwayne Bowe; he came out of the game last Sunday night against Carolina with a quadriceps injury. Safety Eric Berry (heel) did not take part in practice. Middle linebacker Joe Mays (wrist) was also a non-participant.

Rounding out the injured list and off the practice field were offensive tackle Ryan McKee (knee), defensive lineman Jermelle Cudjo (quadriceps), linebacker Josh Martin (quadriceps) and wide receiver Junior Hemingway (hip). …Read More!

Penalties, Mistakes Stop Chiefs In Visit to Carolina


From Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte

It ended up being an ugly night for the Chiefs in pre-season game No. 2. They lost 28-16 to the Carolina Panthers. The Chiefs chances of winning were destroyed by yellow hankies – 13 penalties walked off against them that cost them 131 yards and over 200 yards in field position.

There was certainly not the type of overall improvement that Andy Reid was looking for from his team. Now 1-1 on the pre-season, they return home to Arrowhead Stadium to face the Minnesota Vikings this coming Saturday.

Here’s our coverage from the Queen City:

Notes: Kicking Battle Continues

From Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte

Ryan Succop made sure that his homecoming to North Carolina had something special for all the friends and relatives there were in Bank of America Stadium on Sunday night.

In doing so, he added another chip to his bank when it comes to keeping his job as the Chiefs kicker.

Succop nailed a 54-yard field goal in the first half. The kick tied his career-long for any game (preseason, regular season or postseason.) His previous 54-yard FG came against Minnesota on October 2, 2011 in a game played at Arrowhead Stadium. On that afternoon he made all five of his attempts.

He later added a 25-yard field goal. Rookie Cairo Santos hit his only attempt from 44 yards in the second quarter.

On kickoffs, Succop sent two kicks out of the end zone completely for touchbacks, and then hit one for a bit of hang-time to the Carolina three-yard line. Santos drilled one kick seven yards deep in the end zone, and another one he placed at the Carolina three-yard line.

Defense

The Chiefs finished the game with four sacks of Carolina quarterbacks. Cornerback Chris Owens, safety Husain Abdullah and middle linebacker Joe Mays each had one take down of the passer, with the other sack shared between outside linebacker Dee Ford and defensive end Vance Walker . . . Inside linebacker Nico Johnson finished the game as the Chiefs leading tackler with six . . . Inside linebacker Derrick Johnson knocked down a throw by Carolina quarterback Cam Newton and almost picked up an interception.

Special teams

Punter Dustin Colquitt kicked five times, for a 39-yard average, with three punts inside the 20-yard line . . . the Chiefs allowed nothing on punt returns, as Carolina had just one return for a single yard . . . on kickoff returns, wide receiver Frankie Hammond got to show his stuff as he had two returns for a 28-yard average. That does not include his 51-yard return that was wiped out by a penalty . . . Punt returner De’Anthony Thomas had two returns for 27 yards.

Rivera clamping down on outbursts

At two different points in the first half, Carolina cornerback Josh Norman displayed some behavior that eventually saw him pulled out of the action by Panthers head coach Ron Rivera. The first was when he launched himself at a sliding Alex Smith when the Chiefs quarterback was flushed out of the pocket. Norman got up and wagged his finger at Smith, in effect indicating he shouldn’t try that again. Then, Norman and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe got into a little dust up. That brought Panthers veteran linebacker Thomas Davis running across the field to confront not Bowe, but his teammate Norman.

That was enough for Rivera, who has been telling his players all through training camp that they need to be more disciplined. His post-game comments on the situation were interesting.

“There’s a point where you have to draw a line and a guy has to understand that if you do this and continue to do this, then I’m going do something,” Rivera said. “We want guys to understand that we have to maintain our composure on the field. That’s why we lost in the playoffs (to San Francisco). It started with me; I made the mistake of getting caught up in that emotion. We have to learn how to control that. We’ve got to do things the right way and we’ve got to be able to handle it. We are going to play smart football.”

Odds & Ends

According to the NFL’s official Gamebook for Sunday night’s contest there were seven Chiefs players dressed that did not play: wide receivers Deon Anthony, Fred Williams and Jerrell Jackson, offensive linemen Ben Gottschalk and J’Marcus Webb, tight end Adam Schiltz and quarterback Tyler Bray.

The Chiefs won the opening coin toss as new daddy fullback Anthony Sherman called for tails. When it came up, the Chiefs deferred until the second half. Representing the Chiefs at midfield for the toss were Sherman, long snapper Thomas Gafford, center Rodney Hudson, linebacker Joe Mays and nose tackle Dontari Poe.

Charles Injury Not Considered Serious


From Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte

Ask anybody that’s done it and they’ll tell you that the process of moving can physically cause pain, whether from carrying boxes or moving any kind of furniture. Just ask Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles. He was held out of the Saturday night game against Carolina because of a foot bruise he suffered while moving out of the dorms at Missouri Western State University late last week.

The Chiefs were heading out of St. Joseph after three weeks in the dorms and Charles was carrying a box to his car when he stepped off a curb and rolled his ankle. It wasn’t serious enough in his view to do anything that day, but when he reported back to the team’s facility 24 hours later, he mentioned his misstep to the trainers, who detected a bruise and some minor swelling. That’s all it took for the Chiefs to leave Charles at home as a precaution.

“It was kind of a freak thing; it was crazy,” said head coach Andy Reid. “It didn’t happen in practice. It was after practice as we were leaving. We held him out for precautionary measures.”

Of course when it’s Charles, the Chiefs are always very careful when it comes to his health, no matter how minor the situation. If the game against the Panthers had been a regular season affair, the Chiefs say Charles would have played.

“I think he’s going to be fine,” Reid said. “I left him back at home and we will go from there. But he is doing well.”

Also left at home by the Chiefs because of injuries were safety Eric Berry (heel), defensive end Mike DeVito (hand), wide receiver Albert Wilson (ankle), running back Joe McKnight (knee), defensive end Mike Catapano (illness), linebacker Josh Mauga (groin), cornerback Damond Smith (abductor), safety Sanders Commings (ankle) and defensive lineman Kona Schwenke (shoulder).

During the game came two injuries the Chiefs will hope for good news when they get back to Kansas City and get a chance for some tests. Middle linebacker Joe Mays left the game with a sprained wrist and wide receiver Junior Hemingway had a hip flexor strain

Chiefs Play Poorly In 28-16 Loss To Carolina


From Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte

This was not a performance that will engender a lot of confidence in the improvement of the 2014 Chiefs.

It was Carolina 28, Chiefs 16 in Sunday night pre-season action where Andy Reid’s team sputtered and stuttered before a national television audience with mistakes, penalties and a continued lack of point production from the offense.

The killer was the 13 penalties walked off against them for 131 yards and that’s a direct link to losing any NFL contest. The turn in field position caused by the penalties was devastating to any chance the Chiefs had of winning.

“The tale of this thing was the 13 penalties we had,” said Reid. “Offensively we took big plays away from ourselves. That’s not the way you function and be a successful team in the National Football League. We’ve got to do better there.”

Only once did the Chiefs dent the end zone, and that came in the third quarter when rookie quarterback Aaron Murray threw his first pass in the NFL – it was a 43-yard touchdown toss to tight end Travis Kelce.

Essentially that’s it when it comes to highlights for the Chiefs. Everything else was lowlights, especially the 13 penalties.

“It’s ridiculous, you can’t do that,” said Reid. “Even if you are counting by fives (five-yard penalties), 13 is too many.”

The first quarter was all about the Chiefs defense. The No. 1 unit limited Carolina’s first offense to just one yard on nine plays. Cam Newton struggled to throw the ball, as the Chiefs staff used a variety of pass rushes to get after the Panthers starting quarterback who was playing for the first time since off-season ankle surgery.

Sandwiched between a pair of three plays for six-yard possessions by Carolina, the Chiefs put together a scoring drive, moving 44 yards in eight plays and overcoming an offensive holding call against right guard Zach Fulton. They settled for a 54-yard field goal from Ryan Succop, kicking in his home area for the first time in his career. The kick matched the longest FG of his career, pre-season, regular season or post-season.

The defense got after Newton again on the Panthers third possession, as safety Husain Abdullah went flying up from safety and knocked the quarterback down.

Smith then led the offense in another possession where their momentum was slowed by a penalty, this time a 10-yard offensive pass interference call against tight end Anthony Fasano. The Chiefs settled for a 44-yard field goal from rookie Cairo Santos and they held a 6-0 lead on the first play of the second quarter.

“I think every drive you can point to a penalty or a sack that caused us to fail,” said Smith. “They are a good defense. It was a great challenge for us.”

From that point, the Panthers took over the game on offense and defense, with help from the guys in the striped shirts. After just one yard on nine plays, Newton came out and led the offense to a 4-play, 66-yard drive for a touchdown. Running back Jonathan Stewart scored on a two-yard run, but the biggest play for Carolina was a 32-yard pass interference call against cornerback Ron Parker. The PAT was good and the home team had a 7-6 lead.

They added another touchdown on their next possession, as Newton hit a pair of big passes for 24 yards to rookie wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin and 25 yards to wide receiver Jason Avant. On Avant’s catch, Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith was called for an illegal contact penalty that was declined by Carolina.

The Panthers wrapped up the possession with a three-yard scoring run by Stewart, who went up the middle and was untouched as he cruised into the end zone. The PAT kick gave Carolina a 14-6 lead that they carried into the half-time locker room.

The Chiefs opened the second half with the No. 2 offense and quarterback Chase Daniel moved them 73 yards on 11 plays and inside the scoring zone, before they had to settle for another field goal. This one was 25 yards by Succop, making the score 14-9.

They went up 16-14 on the Murray to Kelce touchdown throw. But Carolina came right back with 70-yard, seven-play drive, as backup quarterback Derek Anderson connected with wide receiver Brenton Bersin on a 16-yard touchdown play.

Murray recorded his first NFL interception as linebacker A.J. Klein stepped in front of pass for tight end Demetrius Harris and he returned it to the Chiefs eight-yard line. Five plays later, with the help of another defensive penalty, Carolina running back Fozzy Whitaker scored on a one-yard touchdown run, making the score 28-16 with just seconds to go in the third quarter.

That was also the final score.

“I expect us to learn from our mistakes,” said Reid. “I expect to see progress, that’s what pre-season games are for. We have to do a better job executing.”

Chiefs No. 1 Offense Remains Missing In Action


From Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte

Going back to the start of the off-season program, the Chiefs offense talked about having one goal heading into the 2014 season. They were not going to start over, or remake their attack. They wanted to pick up where they left off in the last January’s game in the playoffs when they scored five touchdowns.

As the eighth month of the year heads into its final fortnight those scores against Indianapolis remain the only touchdowns the Chiefs offense has registered in the 2014 calendar year.

“We sustained some drives for long periods but you have to be able to finish those off,” said quarterback Alex Smith. “Against a team like that in the regular season, those two field goals don’t do a tone for you and can hurt you. You never know when you are going to get back down there. It was self-inflicted so many times, whether it was a penalty or a sack or something.”

In the pre-season opener against Cincinnati, the No. 1 offense had three possessions that produced only a field goal. Sunday night against Carolina, they had five possessions in the first half that produced two more field goals.

The numbers for the Smith-led group in this pre-season are not good:

  • 8 possessions.
  • 46 plays.
  • 189 yards.
  • 4.1 yards per offensive play.
  • 3 sacks allowed.
  • 1 turnover.
  • 11 first downs.
  • 4 of 11 on third down.

The running game has been very inefficient, and yes Jamaal Charles was not part of Sunday night’s game because of a bruised foot. In two games, the No. 1 offense has 15 carries for 67 yards.

What hurts the evaluation more than anything is the fact that they’ve had marginal prospects to actually score a touchdown. On eight possessions, only once have they been inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. They penetrated to the Cincinnati nine-yard line in a possession that led to a Ryan Succop field goal. They also advanced to the 20 once, but produced only another field goal, this one from rookie Cairo Santos.

Those eight possessions produced nine points.

Against Carolina, the mistakes were plentiful for the offense, but they all seemed to come from the No. 1 offensive line. Protection for Smith was shoddy, including a blown blitz pickup block from Knile Davis that allowed Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly to take the quarterback down on a third-and-nine play. On the next possession, left tackle Eric Fisher was flagged for holding and then left guard Jeff Allen couldn’t handle defensive tackle Star Lotulelei who took Smith down for a nine-yard loss.

“We have a young offensive line and they have to learn,” said Andy Reid. “We’re going to feed them the things they need to get better. We’re not hiding that part of it. We know that they are going to get better with practice.”

Smith started getting the ball out of his hands faster, but that didn’t work either, as one possession ended with two passes that produced minus-four and minus-two yards.

There’s really only one game remaining for the No. 1 offense and that’s this coming Saturday night against Minnesota at Arrowhead Stadium. It makes the coming week an important time for the Chiefs to get their offensive house in order.

“Soon I look for us to take another step,” said Smith. “I felt like we did take a step tonight you know. I’d like to take another one.”

Penalties Make Life Difficult For The Chiefs


Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin and Chiefs CB Chris Owens scuffle in one of the few cases where the Chiefs were not penalized. The flag went against Benjamin.

From Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte

The NFL made it clear before the pre-season even started that they were going to be quick to throw the penalty flag, especially when it came to defenses and their coverage of receivers down the field.

After Sunday night’s game, the Chiefs say “enough.” They were hit with 15 penalties, with 13 accepted for 131 yards walked off against them.

It’s just another step in what has been a yellow hanky filled pre-season where the officials seem intent on testing their arms when throwing the flag.

“I think the officials are learning as we go too; it’s their pre-season,” said Andy Reid. “If I don’t like what I am seeing, I will try to coach them up to it. That’s how it goes. We are all in this together. We are trying to get better.”

The officials and the Chiefs need to try harder based on what was delivered Sunday evening. There was the 131 yards the Panthers received courtesy of the K.C. flags. But that doesn’t take into account the field position lost with the penalties. The Chiefs gave up 225 yards in field position during the game.

“Man, we just have to do better,” said cornerback Sean Smith, one of four players in the secondary that was flagged for a penalty. His was declined. “They came to camp and told us what they were going to do. We just have to figure it out.”

Of the 15 penalties called there were five against the offense, five against the defense and five on the special teams. The areas that stood out for penalty attention were the secondary and the offensive line, each with four flags against them.

“That’s two areas where we are young,” said Reid. “We are still going to test them, we’re going to throw the football and we are going to run the football. We have a young offensive line and they have to learn.

“In the secondary, you have to be able to cover people. They were throwing the football. You go do that and you’re getting experience as you go along here. I expect to see progress.”

Here is the penalty list for the Chiefs:

#

Squad Player Penalty Yards Outcome

1.

Offense Z. Fulton Holding Minus 10 Created 1st-and-20

2.

Offense A. Fasano Pass int. Minus 10 Wiped out 10-yard pass

3.

Defense R. Parker Pass. Int. Minus 32 Created 1st-and-Goal @ 6

4.

Kick return F. Zombo Holding Minus 7 Wiped out 40-yard return

5.

Kick return Hemingway Illegal block Declined

6.

Offense D. Stephenson False start Minus 5 Created 3rd-and-8

7.

Defense S. Smith Illegal contact Declined Carolina 25-yard gain

8.

Offense E. Fisher Holding Minus 10 Set up 1st-and-20

9.

Defense M. Cooper Pass int. Minus 19

10.

Kick return M. Bronson Holding Minus 10 Cost 22 yards in field position

11.

Defense P. Gaines Holding Minus 3 Gave Carolina 1st-and-goal

12.

Offense R. Johnson Holding Minus 10 Field position change of 61 yards

13.

Punt V. Kearney Out of bounds Minus 5 Yards added to punt return

14.

Punt Delay of Game Minus 5

15.

Defense D. Ford Offside Minus 5 Gave Panthers a 1st-and-5 play

There Was A Bright Spot Sunday Night – Travis Kelce


From Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte

Now, if only Alex Smith can hook up with Travis Kelce – maybe that would jump start the Chiefs offense.

For the second week in a row, Kelce grabbed a touchdown pass. It turned out to be the Chiefs only touchdown in their 28-16 loss to the Carolina Panthers. The play was almost a copy of his touchdown against Cincinnati in the pre-season opener. This time he went for 43 yards on a pass from rookie quarterback Aaron Murray.

Kelce showed speed and power as he broke through the middle of the field and banged his way into the end zone.

“It was a great play call, perfect for the coverage,” said Murray of his first professional TD pass. “Kelce did a great job of pretty much blowing by the linebackers, and then a great job afterwards of getting in the end zone.”

There were three more catches for Kelce, who finished with four for 63 yards, more than any other Chiefs receiver. He averaged 15.8 yards per catch.

“He adds another element at the tight end position,” Smith said of Kelce. “I think we can really stretch some defenses and can do some things with the ball in his hands. It was exciting for me to see.”

Combined with his performance against the Bengals, including the 69-yard touchdown lay on a pass from Chase Daniel, Kelce is the team’s leading pre-season receiver, catching six passes for 136 yards for a healthy 22.7-yard average per catch.

“He just keeps coming with it,” said head coach Andy Reid. “Now, there’s more than just the route running. You have to be able to run block and detail all your work there. You sure have to give him credit for the effort . . . he sure has a nice skill level.”

Jamaal & Others Will Not Play In Carolina

From Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte

The surprise of Jamaal Charles’ absence from the field for Saturday night’s pre-season game was the big news from the Chiefs announcement on players that will not participate against the Panthers.

Charles was left at home and did not make the trip east because of a bruised foot. He did not suffer the injury during practice at training camp in St. Joseph, but arrived at the locker room Friday and mentioned a problem. The Chiefs made the precautionary decision to shut him down for this game, although he should be ready for practice on Tuesday.

Also left at home by the Chiefs because of injuries were safety Eric Berry (heel), defensive end Mike DeVito (hand), wide receiver Albert Wilson (ankle), running back Joe McKnight (knee), defensive end Mike Catapano (illness), linebacker Josh Mauga (groin), cornerback Damond Smith (abductor), safety Sanders Commings (ankle) and defensive lineman Kona Schwenke (shoulder).

Chiefs Will Not Have Jamaal vs. Panthers

From Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte

The Chiefs will be without running back Jamaal Charles for Saturday night’s game against Carolina.

Charles turned up with a foot problem Friday as the Chiefs reported back to their facility at the Truman Sports Complex. It’s nothing major and it would not have kept him out of a game during the regular season. But the Chiefs decided to allow him a weekend of rest, and Charles did not make the trip.

Keeping An Eye On Chiefs Offense vs. Carolina


From Charlotte, North Carolina

The Chiefs go national Sunday night for pre-season game No. 2, facing the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Kickoff is 7 p.m. with the telecast by FOX.

What the rest of the country will see from the Chiefs remains a subject in question. They came out of their first game with scores from all three phases of the game. Yet, they still couldn’t salt away a victory until the final minutes of the game.

The 41-39 victory over Cincinnati was unimpressive, especially from the first-team units, and especially the Chiefs starting offense. Quarterback Alex Smith and the rest of the No. 1 lineup had eight plays, turned the ball over on a sack and fumble and failed to convert a pair of third-and-short plays that would have given them more snaps.

Smith wasn’t happy with the performance and wants to see his side of the ball step-up the quality of its play.

“Hold on to the football, that was the biggest play for me,” said Smith of his fumble that set up a Bengals touchdown. “You look at two third-and-shorts that we didn’t convert. One was on the run play and the last on the pass play. There was a miscommunication with the receivers. You just can’t have it.

“To me, two plays jumped out – the fumble; you just can’t have it, can’t have turnovers. The second one was that third-and-two in the red zone. If you convert, you have a good chance of walking away with a touchdown. Those are big downs; we know that. You have to execute those.” …Read More!

Succop Returns Home For the First Time

Ryan Succop is very familiar with Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.

He knows the concession stands, where the restrooms are and can easily pinpoint the nearest exit to get back to the parking lot.

Sunday night Succop will get his first chance to visit the bowels of the stadium that is the home of the Carolina Panthers, as the Chiefs hit the building to play pre-season game No. 2.

It’s the first time in his six years in the NFL that Succop has gone “back home” to kick. He grew up in Hickory, North Carolina, about an hour north of Charlotte. His family had season tickets for the Panthers almost from the expansion team’s first season in 1995. Other kids latched on the stars of those early Carolina teams like quarterback Kerry Collins, wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad and linebacker Sam Mills.

Succop (right) and Cairo Santos (5) will continue their fight for the Chiefs kicking job.

Not Succop. His favorite member of the Panthers was kicker John Kasay, who ended up spending 15 seasons with Carolina among the 20 seasons and 301 games that he kicked in the NFL.

“We had seats down in the lower level, we had seats in the upper deck, we had seats all over the place,” Succop was remembering the other day after the end of the Chiefs training camp in St. Joseph. “John Kasay was my guy. He was a really good kicker, very consistent; just solid.

“I’m really excited about being able to kick there. I think I’ve kicked in every stadium in the league except Bank of America.” …Read More!

NFL Slaps Bowe With One-Game Suspension

The Chiefs will not have wide receiver Dwayne Bowe for their regular-season opener on September 7 when they host the Tennessee Titans. Bowe was handed a one-game suspension by the NFL on Friday.

The penalty was caused by his arrest just before midnight on Sunday, November 10, 2013 in Riverside, Missouri. He was charged with speeding (48 in a 35 mph zone) and possession of a controlled substance (marijuana.) In April, Bowe pleaded guilty to amended charges of operating defective equipment and littering, paying fines totaling $610. The plea bargain did not include Bowe pleading guilty to marijuana possession. It made the legal ramifications go away, but did not preclude the NFL from disciplining him for the incident.

That news came down Friday. The league’s labor agreement provides Bowe with five days to appeal the suspension, but indications are he will not do so. Bowe released a statement on Friday after the suspension was announced:

“I am extremely sorry that I can’t be on the field for the first game of the 2014 season because I made an error in judgment. I take responsibility for my mistake, and it will not happen again. I hope that my teammates, coaches, and Chiefs fans accept my sincere apology. I will be supporting my teammates in week one, and I cannot wait to get back on the field to help us win in week two and beyond as we work towards our goal of winning the Super Bowl.”

Bowe will be allowed to play in the final three pre-season games, and he will be able to practice over the next two weeks. But the day after the Chiefs wrap up the pre-season in Green Bay, Bowe will be forced to stay away until the day after that opening game against the Titans.

“We are disappointed in the situation and will miss him on the field, but we support the league’s decision,” said the Chiefs in a prepared statement that was three sentences long. “The club will have no further comment on the matter.”

There was no name attached to the statement.

For Bowe, it’s the second league suspension of his career. He received a four-game slap in 2009 after he tested positive for a diuretic. That’s considered part of the performance enhancing drug policy in the league; PED users have taken diuretics in an attempt to mask their use of banned steriods. At the time, Bowe said he took some of his grandmother’s diet pills in an attempt to make weight at the start of training camp.

Here is the NFL statement on the penalty: “Dwayne Bowe of the Kansas City Chiefs has been suspended without pay for the first game of the 2014 regular season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. Bowe will be eligible to return to the Chiefs active roster on Monday, September 8 following the team’s September 7 game against the Tennessee Titans. Bowe is eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games.”

Andy Gets Dunked For ALS

K.C. Chiefs photo

From St. Joseph, Missouri

It’s happening all over the country, even earlier this week at Missouri Western State University when Chiefs general manager John Dorsey and the team’s training staff all took the ice-water bath that has come to symbolize the fight against Lou Gehrig’s Disease, or ALS.

Thursday as the Chiefs closed the St. Joseph portion of their pre-season, Andy Reid joined the club. After practice was over, Reid stood still as quarterback Chase Daniel and running back Jamaal Charles dumped a Gatorade container of ice and water on his head.

It’s called the ALS Ice-Bucket Challenge and through social media it’s gone across the country and has involved sports figures, entertainers, politicians and every day folks. A challenge is made to the potential dunkee and they can either get wet or make a contribution to the ALS Association. Generally, they end up doing both. Reid was challenged by Sporting Kansas City CEO Rob Heineman.

Since the end of July the Ice-Bucket Challenge has helped bring over $4 million in donations to ALS Association. That’s almost four times more than the normal level of contributions in that time period. Bigger than the money is the exposure that’s been brought to the fight against ALS.

“We have never seen anything like this in the history of the disease,” said Barbara Newhouse, the President and CEO of The ALS Association. “We couldn’t be more thrilled with the level of compassion, generosity and sense of humor that people are exhibiting as they take part in this impactful viral initiative.”

Kickers Duel Remains Even; Succop Has A Sore Groin

From St. Joseph, Missouri

The competition between returning kicker Ryan Succop and rookie Cairo Santos continued Saturday. But only Santos took part.

Succop was held out of practice because of what head coach Andy Reid said was “a little bit of inflammation in his groin.” He received treatment Saturday morning and did not show up on the field until the last 15 minutes of practice.

That gave Santos the chance to do all the kicking and he took advantage of the opportunity, going nine of 10 on field goal attempts from that ranged from 33 to 54 yards.

So where does the fight stand at kicker after one round game?

“It’s even right now,” said special teams coordinator Dave Toub. “Succop might’ve shown a little bit stronger leg on the kickoffs. What we were trying to do with the kickoffs was to kick high hang times and just get those guys (Bengals) to return it. We wanted to test our kickoff coverage unit. He was hitting the ball so well, and he was hitting it sweet and the thing was really taking off.”

Veteran Safety Announces His Retirement

Signed 10 days ago because of a rash of injuries at the safety position, veteran safety Steve Gregory announced Saturday that he was retiring.

Gregory put out the word through his agent David Canter, who released this statement from the safety:

“It is with tremendous respect, appreciation, and admiration for the game of football that I’ve decided to announce my retirement effective immediately.

After entering the game as an undrafted free agent, I was fortunate enough to play twice as long as the average player. This past off-season, my wife Rosanne and I were blessed to welcome a daughter, Aviana, and spending time with her has changed my life’s perspective.

It is my hope to continue in football as a coach and I look forward to what the future holds. I’m tremendously happy with my decision and being able to walk away from this great game both healthy and on my own terms. I would be remiss in announcing my retirement without thanking my great family, coaches, teammates, scouts, trainers, agent and all of the fans that have supported me along the way.

Thank you, Steve Gregory.”

Gregory played eight seasons in the league with San Diego (2006-11) and New England (2012-13). He played 27 snaps Thursday night against Cincinnati and had three tackles in the game.

Chiefs Shuffle Linebackers

From St. Joseph, Missouri

The Chiefs moved one linebacker off the roster Saturday, and added another to take his place.

Outside linebacker Dezman Moses was released. Moses has been dealing with an elbow problem and head coach Andy Reid said after Saturday morning’s practice that the linebacker had surgery. If he rolls through the waiver process without being claimed, Moses will go to the Chiefs injured-reserve list. He can also negotiate an injury settlement with the Chiefs if he wants to play for another team in the 2014 season once he’s healed.

Filling the roster spot is Devan Walker, 6-1¾, 236 pound outside linebacker that played his college football at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond. Walker was on the practice field Saturday morning. He’s wearing No. 59.

Undrafted in 2013, Walker signed with San Diego after the NFL Draft. During training camp with the Chargers, he suffered a torn meniscus in a knee and was waived with an injured designation on August 7. A week later, he was waived after an injury settlement with the club.

During four seasons with the Lions in the Southland Conference, Walker played in 42 games with 34 starts, making 168 total tackles, 38 tackles for loss and 15 sacks. A native of California, he grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Chiefs Open Pre-Season with 41-39 Victory Over Cincy


From Arrowhead Stadium

The Chiefs began their 2014 pre-season schedule with an explosion of points, as offense, defense and special teams all contributed touchdowns in a 41-39 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

The game featured 80 points, 10 touchdowns and five turnovers that helped produce nearly half of those points in a game that had a host of ups and downs for both teams. The Chiefs put 41 points on the board, more than they have in a pre-season game since 1996.

In the end it made for a good start to the four-game exhibition schedule. Here’s our coverage from the Chiefs victory:

Out of Thursday’s Game Against Cincinnati

From Arrowhead Stadium

The Chiefs have ruled 10 players out of Thursday night’s pre-season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals.

There are no surprises in the bunch, with two starters included on the no-play list: strong safety Eric Berry (heel) and defensive end Mike DeVito (hand).

The inactive players are:

Offense: wide receiver A.J. Jenkins (hamstring), wide receiver Mark Harrison (hamstring), running back Joe McKnight (knee), wide receiver Junior Hemingway (hamstring).

Defense: Berry, DeVito, safety Sanders Commings (ankle surgery), outside linebacker Dezman Moses (elbow), defensive end Mike Catapano (illness), defensive tackle Kyle Love (ankle).

Bengals Do Lengthy Deal With QB Andy Dalton


From St. Joseph, Missouri

The Cincinnati Bengals have agreed to terms with quarterback Andy Dalton on a contract extension. It’s a six-year, $96 million package with the chance for that total payout to jump even higher if Dalton and the Bengals have post-season success.

The agreement leaves one starting quarterback in the league with a first name that starts with A looking for a contract extension or new deal: the Chiefs Alex Smith.

It was the first question Smith was asked when he met with the media horde after Monday morning’s practice.

“To be honest, I had no idea they were even talking or that was happening,” said Smith. “I found out walking off the field, just to give me a heads up because I’d probably get asked it. Other than that, I’ve got nothing for you.”

The deal between the Bengals and Dalton will bring the young quarterback $18 million this year in salary and bonuses and $25 million over the first two years. Almost every penny of that is guaranteed. It’s an average of $16 million per, but would rise to $19 million per year with escalators involving Dalton’s playing time and the team’s success in the playoffs.

Dalton is in his fourth season, and this is the last year of his original rookie contract with the Bengals. The 30-year old Smith is in his 10th season of play. This year is also the last year of a contract he signed while with the 49ers. …Read More!

Chiefs Cut Two, Add One

From St. Joseph, Missouri

The Chiefs cut two players on Sunday that never reached the practice field in training camp and added a defensive lineman.

Rookie cornerback David Van Dyke was released after he finally passed the team’s physical. Van Dyke has been on the sidelines since June when he suffered a

James Baker, a rookie running back was released from the reserve/did not report list. Baker took part in all the off-season work, but did not return for training camp.

The newest face on the Chiefs roster is defensive tackle Jairus Campbell out of Bowling Green University in Ohio. At 6-4, 310 pounds, Campbell was not selected in the 2014 NFL Draft but signed on May 11th with the Baltimore Ravens. He was subsequently released. The 23-year old Ohio native played in 41 games in college, with 82 total tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and two sacks, along with a pair of forced fumbles.

Campbell missed most of the 2012 season with a severe Lisfranc injury that required surgery and screws implanted in his left foot.

The Chiefs were in need of bodies on the defensive line as they had only seven on the practice field on Sunday, as defensive tackles Jermelle Cudjo (hamstring) and Kyle Love (ankle) joined Mike Catapano (illness) out of action. The only available defensive tackles were Dontari Poe and Jaye Howard.

AFC West 2014 Analysis – Free Safety

A half-dozen NFL personnel sources helped us with evaluations of the personnel for AFC West teams going into the 2014 season. We are keeping score to decide the most talented team in the division (on paper). The club with the fewest points will be considered the best, as points match the ratings; example, the No. 3 spot means 3 points.

AFC WEST SCOREBOARD (thru FS) –Broncos 77, Chargers 81, Raiders 85, Chiefs 87.

Free Safety

1. Eric Weddle, San Diego

5-11, 200 pounds, born 1/4/1985, 8th NFL season, selected in the 2nd-round (#37) by the Chargers in the ’07 NFL Draft out of the University of Utah. Weddle has played 108 games in San Diego, starting 93 times. He has 18 career interceptions and three that he returned for TDs. He has six sacks, five recovered fumbles including one he ran back 86 yards for a TD. He’s been credited with 658 total tackles.

Weddle is coming off the second Pro Bowl season of his career. He has established himself as the heart of the Chargers defense and very definitely the leader of the group. Last year he did not miss a defensive snap in the 18 games played in the regular and post-seasons. That was 1,017 plays where he contributed two interceptions, one sack and 103 total tackles. Weddle was targeted 57 times by opposing passers, as they completed 40 for an average of 9.4 yards. He did not give up a touchdown pass. …Read More!

Chiefs That Should Be In Canton

As the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2014 was inducted Saturday evening in Canton, Ohio, the fans of 32 NFL franchises were discussing their favorite players that are not in the Hall.

I spent more than 15 years on the Hall of Fame selection board and I can guarantee this: every team has three or four people they believe should have bronze busts in Canton. Do the math: 32 teams x 4 deserving players/coaches/ contributors, and that’s a pool of 128 players. That group grows every year because there are at best seven spots for each class.

There’s a group of Chiefs that should receive more consideration for the Hall. Here’s this man’s opinion on those most deserving, but still on the outside:

Guard Will Shields (1993-2006) – There’s no doubt that Shields will one day have one of those gold jackets they give to members of the Hall of Fame. It’s not a question of if, but when, and that’s impossible to predict. Believe me, I spent five straight years presenting Derrick Thomas for induction, and finally in the fifth year he was voted in. To this day I have no idea what was different, but D.T. got the honor he deserved.

So will, Will Shields. The evidence is overwhelming with his 224 games, 223 starts, and the fact he never missed a game over 14 seasons. He made the Pro Bowl 12 times, was first-team All-Pro twice. He’s been a finalist for three straight years, ever since he was eligible for induction. …Read More!

Gregory Trying To Catch Up With Chiefs Defense

From St. Joseph, Missouri

On Wednesday, Steve Gregory was at home in Syracuse, New York, enjoying time with his five-week old daughter Aviana.

On Thursday he was on a plane to Kansas City.

On Friday, he was on the field for practice at Missouri Western State University. Gregory was scrambling to digest and sort through the defensive playbook he was handed by defensive coordinator Bob Sutton.

“He’s been in a lot of different systems,” Sutton said of Gregory. “The biggest transition will be his terminology. What he might’ve been used to calling apples, we call oranges, so that’s going to be his first transition. He’s probably familiar with everything that we’ve done. He’s got to work on terminology and getting his feet under him.

“I know his background and I know it’s a good one. He’ll be fine.” …Read More!

Injuries Force Chiefs To Add Veteran Safety

The injury bug that has bitten the Chiefs secondary in training camp practices forced the team back to the street to find an acceptable body to jump in at safety.

Nine-year NFL veteran Steve Gregory was signed on Thursday, after Eric Berry suffered an ankle injury and Sanders Commings underwent surgery on his ankle.

Gregory, 5-10½, 185 pounds has played in 111 games with 54 starts for San Diego and New England. He spent the last two seasons with the Patriots, appearing in 26 games with 23 starts. The New York native entered the NFL with the Chargers as an undrafted free agent out of Syracuse University in 2006.

Over his career, Gregory has 357 total tackles, three sacks, seven interceptions with a touchdown return and two forced fumbles. He played eight games against the Chiefs, picking up 33 total tackles, one sack and one interception. He was released on February 28th by the Patriots in what was largely a salary-cap cut.

To create room for Gregory the Chiefs released rookie inside linebacker Ben Johnson.

Chiefs Add Defensive Back Due To Injuries

From St. Joseph, Missouri

With four defensive backs down because of injuries, the Chiefs were forced to bring in another body in the secondary.

On Monday they signed Damond Smith, a 5-11 ¼, 184-pound cornerback that played at both Western Michigan University and the University of South Alabama.

Smith was eligible for the NFL’s 2013 Supplemental Draft, but was not selected and no team signed him last season. In fact, he’s not played a full-field game since the 2011 season when he played just four games with South Alabama, with 18 total tackles. He did spend time in the Canadian Football League on the practice squad of the B.C. Lions and he was also on the roster of the Pittsburgh Power in the Arena Football  League.

At Western Michigan he played 18 games in the 2009-10 seasons, starting six times. He had two interceptions and 55 total tackles.

The signing moved the Chiefs roster back to 90 players. They have 45 on offense (four quarterbacks, eight running backs, five tight ends, 13 wide receivers, 15 offensive linemen), 41 players on defense (10 defensive line, 13 linebackers, 18 defensive backs) and four special teams players.

Chiefs Training Camp Practice #6 – 7/26


When camp gets physical, bodies tumble like WR Fred Williams and CB Kevin Rutland

From St. Joseph, Missouri

Real football practices are when players begin to perform against each other in one-on-one and unit-by-unit situations with little in the way of restrictions.

That was the highlight of the first padded practice of the 2014 training camp for the Chiefs. Andy Reid put his team through the two-hour, 30-minute session Saturday morning at Missouri Western State University under cloudy skies and very humid conditions.

It grew more humid when offense and defense started banging against each other in the first steps towards the development and growth of the ’14 Chiefs. It was a day the players looked forward too, understanding that they can’t play successful football unless they practice football.

“It felt good out there,” said second-year linebacker Nico Johnson. “It probably won’t feel so good tonight, but it was another step for us. It was football.”

Here is some of what we observed and heard at the practice:

– Injuries & participation: the Chiefs started with 85 players working with five players off the field just as they were on Thursday and Friday – tight end Sean McGrath (retired), running back Joe McKnight (knee), guard Rokevious Watkins (back), cornerback David Van Dyke (hamstring) and safety Sanders Commings (foot).

During practice, inside linebacker Joe Mays eventually went to the sidelines due to a knee injury he brought with him to camp. Safety Eric Berry suffered a dislocated finger and wide receiver Junior Hemingway had a spasm in one of his hamstrings.

Left tackle Eric Fisher’s snaps were limited and he did not take part in the one-on-one session against the Chiefs pass rushers. …Read More!

More Major Payroll Decisions Ahead For Chiefs

From St. Joseph, Missouri

John Dorsey . . . welcome to your job as an NFL general manager.

Holding the position for going on 20 months now, Dorsey and the Chiefs faced a triple crossroads with big ramifications on the near term and future for the Hunt Family franchise. The decisions made in the current contract negotiations between the Chiefs and three of their best players are not just in the real time of the 2014 season. They will reverberate over the next four or five seasons, maybe longer.

Alex Smith, Justin Houston and now Jamaal Charles all want more money than they received from the Chiefs in 2013 and what they are scheduled to pull down in the coming months. Last year, the Chiefs paid the three players a combined total of $12 million and change. This year, they are on the books for $12.8 million, but that’s only if Charles reports because once he does, he is due a $1 million reporting bonus.

A deal was worked out with Charles on Wednesday, with a two-year extension and $18.1 million in new money for the running back. He now has a four-year contract.

So that’s one down, two more to go, or at least two more that we know about. This contract pickle is the price of success. When a team wins 11 games and goes to the playoffs, the cost of players goes up. The NFL does not work in an economic vacuum and on-field results influence revenue and expenditures. There were not many folks looking for a raise coming off a 2-14 season like the one the Chiefs posted in 2012. …Read More!

Charles & Chiefs Agree On Contract Extension

From St. Joseph, Missouri

It tells us plenty about the importance of Jamaal Charles that his holdout from training camp will be measured in minutes, rather than days.

By mid-day on Wednesday, the running back had agreed to a two-year extension on his contract, picking up $18 million in new cash for the effort. He’s now tied up for the next four seasons at something in the neighborhood of $28 million.

Charles was on his way to camp on Wednesday and should be on the field Thursday afternoon for the team’s first full-squad practice.

With the extension, Charles will receive $8.3 million this year rather than the $3.9 million due him under the contract he signed in December 2010.

The deal elevates him to a spot near the top of the league’s running backs.

Notes From The Chiefs – July 18


From the highways, byways and flyways of America

A thought or two about a thing or four as St. Joe grows bigger in the windshield . . .

Getting those last swings in

Chiefs quarterback was very talkative on Wednesday and Thursday, largely because he was accessible to the media at the American Century Championship at Lake Tahoe.

Smith went off Friday morning in the first round of the event at the Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, playing with Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer and Cincinnati TE Tyler Eifert.

On the NFL Network, Smith was asked if new contract terms will be agreed upon any time soon with the Chiefs.

“Who knows?” Smith said. “Certainly, there’s been a lot of continued open conversation between both sides. But come camp for me that’s going to be forgotten about. For me, it’s all about football. And if it gets done, it gets done. But until then, it’s focused on that first game really.”

Other Chiefs related names taking part in the 25th edition of this celebrity tournament are former players Marcus Allen and Trent Green, and former head coach Herm Edwards.

In fact, Herm has the most interesting group, as he will play with former vice-president Dan Quayle and former Notre Dame coach-now ESPN college basketball analyst Digger Phelps.

The defending champion is former NFL quarterback Billy Joe Tolliver. Television coverage on Saturday and Sunday will show up on NBC. …Read More!

Waiting For Smith & Houston Deals

At a time when the start of Chiefs training camp is so close one can taste it, the chatter has picked up considerably about the contract status of quarterback Alex Smith and outside linebacker Justin Houston.

And, it figures to get only louder in the next week as the first full-team practice of training camp is scheduled for next Thursday afternoon in St. Joseph. The players, the fans and the Chiefs want these contract extensions and/or new contracts done, signed and put into the fulfillment/payout box in the Hunt Family vault.

In the NFL more often than not the big-money deals need a deadline for completion. Right now, there is no deadline for either deal to be done between the players and Chiefs over the next six months. Both Smith and Houston are under contract for the 2014 season and there is not much either player can do to challenge that fact. They could stage a holdout, but that is not an option they should consider for several different reasons.

There’s been no indication that Smith will not show; he was active in all parts of the off-season program. On Wednesday, every media outlet except the Tool & Dye Times was reporting that Houston was “expected” to report next week for camp, but that he “wasn’t happy” about the lack of a new deal. There were no names attached to these “scoops” but it would be unusual at this point in the drama for Houston sources to start talking, even behind closed doors and only identified as “sources close to the situation.”

But it’s just common sense that Houston will show next Wednesday. …Read More!

2014 Training Camps Start Opening On Wednesday

By the end of business on Wednesday, three NFL teams will have players in training camp.

Rookies for Baltimore, Buffalo and San Francisco will be in camp, the first wave of the 32 teams with rookies and veterans reporting for the start of the 2014 season. The last group to report will be the Detroit veterans that will show up on July 27th.

But there’s one team where the players may show up early – that’s the New Orleans Saints. Head coach Sean Payton is taking his club to the mountains of West Virginia for the first weeks of training. It will all go down at The Greenbrier Hotel (pictured above) in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. The Saints veterans may show up early because the resort has five golf courses and Tom Watson is the golf professional emeritus. There’s so much more with 55 different activities including off-road driving, horse riding, falconry, a gun club, archery, paint ball, ice skating, fly fishing, a casino, a spa, shopping and 14 restaurants and bars. All of that is on 10,000 acres. It is posh.

And, it’s almost 900 miles away from the Big Easy and about 20 degrees cooler on a daily basis, with much lower humidity. That was the attraction for Payton in helping his players rebound each day from practice.

“Every year we evaluate all areas of our operations and look for ways to improve,” Payton said. “We all understand the importance of training camp – that’s to get the team ready for the regular season. As far as the time we will spend at The Greenbrier, it offers a tremendous opportunity to our team in a more moderate summer climate.”

The Chiefs rookies will not report to first-class resort. They’ll start arriving at Missouri Western State College on Sunday afternoon and have their first practice on Monday. The three rookie practices next week are closed to the public. The veterans report on Wednesday with the first public practice on Thursday.

Andy Reid and his campers are one of 13 NFL teams that do not hold training camp at their regular season facility. More and more teams have stopped transporting players to a remote setting where they stay in a dormitory or hotel. …Read More!

Time To Tell The Nation About Joe Delaney

Last week I spent over an hour talking on camera with the film crew that is putting together the ESPN 30-for-30 series program on former Chiefs running back Joe Delaney.

Based on the questions I was asked by the producers and the other people that were on the interview list this will be a strong feature that will expose the entire country to Delaney’s story. The questions ranged from his time growing up and living in Haughton, Louisiana, to college at Northwest Louisiana State University and then NFL with the Chiefs. The ending is still a sad one, as Delaney’s died in a construction pond in Monroe, Louisiana where 31 years ago (June 29th) he tried to save three boys that were in trouble. Delaney drowned; he did not know how to swim.

Turns out, the producers behind this project are long-time Chiefs fans, Grant Curtis and Jeremy Wheeler. They are natives to the area; Curtis grew up in Warrensburg, Missouri and was a huge Royals-Chiefs fan over the years. Wheeler is the son of former Chiefs executive Mitch Wheeler the chance to grow up around the team as a child.

Curtis has quite a resume as a producer. Most recently he was one of the executive producers of the 2013 film Oz the Great and Powerful and he served as producer for the three most recent Spiderman movies. He’s worked extensively with director Sam Raimi and has done dozens of documentaries over his career since graduating with from the Central Missouri State University.

This story is one he has wanted to tell for years. …Read More!

Notes From The Chiefs – July 13

From the highways, byways and flyways of America

A thought or two about a thing or four . . .

A night of nostalgia in San Fran

I’ve been traveling a lot but my itinerary did not get me to the competition I most wanted to attend. No, not the World Cup. Don’t count me as a soccer hater, or soccer lover. All I know is football requires a helmet and a strange oblong ball.

No, the game I missed was Saturday evening in San Francisco at a soon to be demolished Candlestick Park. It was billed as the Legends of Candlestick and was the final event inside the stadium built in the early 1960s for the baseball Giants when they moved to the Bay Area from New York.

This flag-football event drew 25,000 fans and all proceeds were going to police and firemen charities in northern California. The leader of this event was former 49ers-Chiefs quarterback Joe Montana. But he wasn’t the only former player that wore red and gold taking part: quarterback Dave Krieg, quarterback Steve Bono, guard Will Shields, guard Dave Szott, safety Mark Collins and defensive tackle Dan Saleaumua.

Also part of the night was the Chiefs equipment manager Allen Wright. He was asked by Montana to join them and help with the locker room stuff. Montana always bonded with folks that worked behind the scenes and that happened in his two years in K.C. with Wright. That’s Wright posing above with Shields, Montana, Collins, Krieg and Szott.

The game was won by the 49ers alumni 45-40 with Montana connecting with former Niners owner Eddie DeBartolo for the winning score. Eddie D. wandered onto the field from the sidelines and was wide open. …Read More!

Pickings Slim in 2014 NFL Supplemental Draft

A University of North Carolina linebacker leads the list of four players that have been deemed eligible for the NFL’s 2014 Supplemental Draft on Thursday.

Tar Heels middle linebacker Darius Lipford appears to be the only one of the four with any chance of being selected among the 224 slots. He was all set to return to Chapel Hill for his senior season, but decided to leave sometime after spring practice.

Last season with the North Carolina defense, the 6-3, 250-pound Lipford played outside linebacker in 10 games, with 29 total tackles, six tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. During spring practice with the Tar Heels he was moved to middle linebacker and was expected to be the starter there this fall.

Lipford missed the 2012 season because of a torn ACL in his left knee. He originally suffered the injury in the 2011 Independence Bowl when North Carolina played the University of Missouri. The North Carolina native re-injured the ligament during rehab in July ’12 and had surgery.

The NFL Supplemental Draft is scheduled each year to deal with players that became eligible after the main NFL Draft in the spring. Teams can use a 2015 draft choice to select a player in one of the seven rounds. …Read More!

Notes From The Chiefs Off-Season

 

Workers at Missouri Western are moving to make room for the arrival of the Chiefs

They are busy at Chiefs headquarters in the Truman Sports Complex, and they are busy at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph.

The team and MWSU are both getting ready for the start of the Chiefs 2014 training camp. As of Tuesday, it’s a dozen days until the staff and rookies report to campus with a practice on Monday, July 21st that’s not open to the public. The rookies will practice for three days and then the veterans report and the first full-team workout is Thursday, July 24th.

A lot of work must get done before it all comes together. Last week, the folks in St. Joe were moving the school’s equipment out of the workout facility that will be the working home of the Chiefs for three weeks.

“That first Monday after the Fourth of July, we start packing,” said Jay White, the school’s athletic operations director. “This is our fifth year doing it and it’s just standard protocol now.”

As they move out, Chiefs equipment manager Allen Wright and his crew begin moving in and setting up an equipment room, training room and meeting rooms.

Football is almost here! …Read More!

Chiefs Guard Slapped With 4-Game NFL Suspension

Three months ago, Rokevious Watkins had the opportunity to establish himself as a contender for the starting job at right guard for the Chiefs.

Now, he’ll be lucky to have a spot on the 53-man roster.

The NFL announced Thursday that Watkins has been suspended for the first four games of the 2014 regular season because of a violation of the league’s drug policy.

Watkins can participate in training camp and the pre-season, but will then have to serve four games on the sidelines. Of course, that’s if he’s still on the Chiefs roster or with another team. He would be eligible to return on September 30th.

Thursday afternoon the Chiefs acknowledged the NFL suspension and had no further comment on the situation.

This is the second strike against Watkins in the NFL drug program. He served a one-game suspension at the start of the 2013 season  after he was released by St. Louis and spent the pre-season with the Chiefs.

Back in March when Geoff Schwartz and Jon Asamoah departed in free agency, the right-guard spot was wide open, with Watkins and Rishaw Johnson the favorites to fill that role from the returning roster. Both players have sunk behind sixth-round draft choice Zach Fulton, who finished the off-season program as the No. 1 left guard.

Abdullah Heading To Middle East Again

Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah missed the 2012 NFL season so he could make a pilgrimage to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia that fall.

Abdullah is returning to the Middle East in just a few days. This time he’s not there for an extended stay. He’ll be back to join the Chiefs in training camp in late July at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph.

He will head to Doha, Qatar where Abdullah will take part in various activities promoting American football and how he balances his career as a player with his Islamic faith.

“Being chosen from an elite pool of professional athletes is humbling,” Abdullah said in a publicity release from the sponsoring group for the trip, the Aspire Zone Foundation. “I look forward to teaching, coaching and sharing my passion for American Football with participants in Doha.

“Nothing in this world is more important to me than worshipping Allah the way He has instructed us to do. With American football being a sport I love, I must find balance to make sure that my enjoyment of sport does not interfere with my worship of Allah. I continue to work towards a balanced lifestyle so I can continue enjoying the game I love, while keeping Allah first.”

Abdullah’s schedule will include training sessions for local flag football teams and a special coaching clinic for the youth of Qatar.

Updating Chiefs Injury Situation Before Camp

Kyle Williams (L), Eric Fisher (C) and Travis Kelce (R) remain physical question marks for Chiefs

Last season, the Chiefs were among the healthiest teams in the NFL.

Now, healthy is a relative term when it comes to pro football. Every player hurts, in time many of those hurts become injuries, and over the course of training camp, pre-season and the 16-game regular season, nobody escapes pain.

In Andy Reid’s first season in charge, the Chiefs lost 24 games from starters and key contributors, or an average of 1.5 players gone per game. There were five games where the Chiefs had all their starters and key contributors. Those games came in week two (Dallas), week seven (at Tennessee), week eight (Cleveland), week nine (at Buffalo) and week 10 (at Denver.) The game where the most starters/contributors missed the action was game 14 in Oakland against the Raiders. That day left tackle Branden Albert, tight end Anthony Fasano, outside linebacker Justin Houston and wide receiver Dexter McCluster were all in active.

Reid will give credit for the relative health of his team to his two leaders in that category: head trainer Rick Burkholder and strength and conditioning coach Barry Rubin. Both have been around football and the NFL for a long time and are known around the league for their expertise. What cannot be ignored, however, is the element of luck. That includes timing of injuries, and what position they play.

The Chiefs did not lose a start at quarterback, running back, nose tackle, safety, one cornerback spot, inside linebackers and one cornerback spot. The offensive line missed the most starts with 10 (Albert 4, right tackle Eric Fisher 3, guard Jon Asamoah 2, and guard Jeff Allen 1.) Only seven games saw the starting offensive line at the time together on the field.

The roster’s off-season rest and work periods are over, and they are now on a month-long build up to the start of training camp. There will not be much in the way of vacation for the players if they are smart. Too much blood and sweat has been shed to give it back by lying on the beach for four weeks.

As they scattered around the country, here’s an update on where injured and previously injured players stand: …Read More!

Flo Stays In AFC West, Signs 1-Year Deal With Chargers

The Chiefs won’t have Brandon Flowers for 16 games in the 2014 season, but there’s a very good chance they’ll see him twice on the field.

Flowers agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the San Diego Chargers. The terms of the deal include a $1.5 million base salary, $1.5 million signing bonus and another $2 million available through various personal and team incentives.

The Chargers did not officially announce Flowers’ signing, as they were still working on clearing a roster spot on their 90-man pre-season list. He was released by the Chiefs on June 13th and was contacted by numerous teams that were interested in his services. Flowers made two visits last week to San Diego and San Francisco.

When he joins the Chargers, Flowers will be the 11th cornerback on the roster for a team that struggled in pass defense last season. At the end of the year the starters were Shareece Wright on the right side and Richard Marshall on the left. San Diego selected Jason Verrett in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft and other cornerbacks on the roster are Crezdon Butler, Marcus Cromartie, Chris Davis, Greg Ducre, Brandon Ghee, Brandon Jones and Steve Williams.

Shifting, Juggling Dominate Chiefs Offensive Line

As the Chiefs hold their final three practices of the 2014 off-season with the mini-camp starting Tuesday there’s one thing that’s crystal clear after the team’s 10 OTA sessions:

Don’t use ink when listing the offensive line starters.

That’s not entirely true, given that Rodney Hudson has been the No. 1 center in the starting group all through May and June. At the other four spots, matters are not so obvious. That’s especially true at right guard, where Andy Reid and his coaching staff are seeking a starter to replace the departed duo of Jon Asamoah and Geoff Schwartz.

As G.M. John Dorsey and Reid start to look at cutting their current 15 offensive linemen down to a group of seven to 10 for the 53-man regular-season, they are mixing and matching at guard and tackle.

“That’s one group that’s improving,” Reid said of the blockers. “There are guys that have stepped up. The other guys have grasped it pretty well and look like their doing pretty good.

“You need more than five. You need to make sure that you have a good 10 of them ready. You want to find that number, whether it’s eight, nine, 10; you want to see what you’ve got there. …Read More!

Father’s Day Thoughts On Dad, Noll & Flowers

Found myself thinking about a lot of different things on the first Father’s Day of my life without my Dad. I thought about him, his father and his father’s father. I thought about my kids, their kids and the juggle of past, present and future.

I’m quite sure my Dad would be mourning the death of Chuck Noll. On Friday night, the 82-year old former head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers died in his sleep at his home in Sewickley, Pennsylvania. Noll is the only coach in the Super Bowl era that’s taken his team to a championship victory four times.

My father was a big Noll fan because he saw the coach turnaround a franchise that had been in the NFL gutter for decades. As my Dad grew up, became an adult, earned a pharmacy degree, got married and had children, the Steelers were awful. It led to the frequently used saying amongst the folks of western Pennsylvania: S-O-S – Same Old Steelers.

What Noll did with the Steelers was nothing short of a miracle. The franchise went from laughingstock to one of the most revered, feared and hated teams in the league. Hall of Famers were everywhere on that team, and they became some of the biggest names in the game: Bradshaw, Mean Joe, Franco, Swann, Stallworth, Iron Mike, Lambert, Ham and on.

Noll was the chief engineer behind the turnaround, but spent no time pounding his chest and taking credit for his success. That’s another thing my Dad liked about the Steelers coach: he wasn’t a loud-mouth, a headline maker, a yakker, or a jagov to use the parlance of western Pennsylvania. …Read More!

Flowers Move Is The First Falling Domino For Chiefs

So you’re not happy that the Chiefs cut Brandon Flowers on Friday. That feeling is understandable; Flowers has been a good to very good player for the Chiefs defense over the last six seasons.

But how would you feel if the Chiefs still had Flowers, but not outside linebacker Justin Houston? What if Flowers was still wearing his No. 24 and the Chiefs were without quarterback Alex Smith?

That’s the situation the Chiefs faced as they attempt to build a consistently successful roster and do it within the limits set by the league’s salary cap. In this day and age, a team can’t keep all its good players and pay them accordingly. Decisions must be made. Sometimes they are distasteful, but it’s part of business in the NFL.

The release of Flowers came when it did so the Chiefs could split the so-called “dead money” on their cap to be used in the 2014 and 2015 seasons. That’s $7 million, divided by two years, so Flowers will still count $3.5 million under the team’s cap in the next two seasons.

Flowers carried a $10.5 million number under this year’s salary cap, so releasing him will free up $7 million cap dollars. According to the NFL Players Association, the Chiefs had $2,632,465 remaining under the cap. Add $7 million and the Hunt Family franchise now has close to $10 million. …Read More!

Chiefs Cut Flowers

Brandon Flowers, the starting left cornerback for the Chiefs since he was selected in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft, was released by the Chiefs on Friday.

The news comes just days ahead of the team’s mandatory mini-camp that starts on Tuesday at their facility. Flowers has been absent from the Chiefs off-season program and OTA practices, where attendance is voluntary.

“We appreciate Brandon’s contributions to the team over the last six seasons,” Chiefs GM John Dorsey said in a team release. “It’s in the best interest of the club and the player to part ways at this time. We wish him nothing but the best as he continues his career.”

Flowers played in 88 games in six NFL seasons with the Chiefs, positing 421 total tackles, 17 interceptions, 2.0 sacks, four forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries. He returned those INTs for 344 yards and three touchdowns.

Last year working into the Chiefs new defense under Andy Reid and coordinator Bob Sutton, Flowers struggled at times. In 13 games he had 68 total tackles, but just one interception and seven passes knocked down. He added an interception in the post-season loss to Indianapolis. Despite that, he was named to the NFL Pro Bowl roster for the first time in his career.

At 5-9, 187 pounds, Flowers does not fit the cornerback prototype general manager John Dorsey seeks at the position. Flowers was the team’s smallest returning cornerback by three inches. They now prefer defenders on the corner that are tall, long-armed and lanky, more along the lines of Marcus Cooper (6-2, 195), Sean Smith (6-3, 218) and third-round draft choice Phillip Gaines (6-0, 195 pounds).

Chiefs Add 2, Subtract 1 From Roster

The Chiefs added a former quarterback now wide receiver and a veteran NFL cornerback to their roster on Thursday.

Signed was Deion Anthony, a quarterback the last two seasons at Troy University in Alabama. He’s penciled in as a wide receiver for his NFL chance with the Chiefs.

In a second signing, the Chiefs inked cornerback Justin Rogers, a former seventh-round selection of Buffalo in the 2011 NFL Draft. In three seasons with the Bills (2011-13), Rogers played in 34 games, picking up 76 total tackles and three interceptions. A product of the University of Richmond, he averaged 28.7 yards on 15 kickoff returns for Buffalo.

To make room for the additions the Chiefs waived injured defensive tackle Risean Broussard. Earlier in the week they released offensive tackle Colin Kelly. …Read More!

Chiefs Make Roster Move on O-Line

Thirty-five players were on a tryout basis with the Chiefs during the three-day rookie mini-camp that ended Monday.

One man remained on Tuesday, as the Chiefs signed offensive tackle Ryan McKee and added him to the 90-man roster. The 6-6, 305-pound native of Pine Bluff, Arkansas came into the league in 2009 as an undrafted college free agent out of Southern Mississippi University. Claimed on waivers by St. Louis near the end of the ’09 season, McKee spent the next three seasons with the Rams, with most of that time spent on the practice squad.

At Southern Miss he was a three-year starter at right tackle. The 27-year old McKee was not in the NFL last season; he worked as a graduate assistant coach with the University of North Carolina football program.

To create room for McKee the Chiefs released offensive lineman Chandler Burden.

Honoring Those That Served – Salute Memorial Day

Chiefs Sign First-Round Choice

The signing season for 2014 was closed out Saturday when first-round draft choice Dee Ford signed a four-year contract with the Chiefs.

It’s easily the earliest finish to the negotiations on new contracts for a season in club history. That doesn’t mean there won’t be more negotiations and signings, but the to-do list for the 2014 roster is finished before the end of May. That’s unprecedented for the Hunt Family franchise.

Now, general manager John Dorsey and his staff can really zero in on getting deals done for 2015 with quarterback Alex Smith and outside linebacker Justin Houston. Both men are entering the final season of their contracts, and both are headed for big money, certainly bigger than their salary cap numbers for the 2014 season: Smith $8 million and Houston $1.598 million.

For the first practice of the Chiefs rookie mini-camp on Saturday, Ford was wearing No. 55. Since being selected with pick No. 23 in the first round, Ford had been sporting No 90.

D.T. Grabs Another Hall of Fame Spot

As expected the College Football Hall of Fame announced its induction class for 2014 and among the 16 newest members is former Chiefs and University of Alabama linebacker the late Derrick Thomas.

One has to wonder what took so long for the voters involved with the college hall to see Thomas’ credentials after his four seasons with the Crimson Tide. He is still the NCAA major college leader with 52 career sacks. D.T. finished with 204 total tackles, 74 tackles for loss, 10 forced fumbles, a pair of safeties and nine blocked kicks

Alabama was 35-5-1 during his four years in Tuscaloosa, and he played in four bowl games. After the 1988 season, Thomas was named the Southeastern Conference’s defensive player of the year and was a unanimous All-America selection as a senior.

Thomas was the Chiefs 1989 first-round selection in the NFL Draft, taken at No. 4 after Troy Aikman (Dallas), Tony Mandarich (Green Bay) and Barry Sanders (Detroit). He played 11 seasons and was selected for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009.

Joining Thomas in the 2014 class is a former blocking antagonist, another former member of the Chiefs and Pro Football Hall of Famer Willie Roaf. When the Chiefs held training camp in River Falls, Wisconsin and the New Orleans Saints were in La Crosse, there were frequent practices between the teams and the Thomas-Roaf battles were outstanding football theater.

The rest of the 2014 College Football Hall of Fame class: …Read More!

Murray Signs, Plus Other Roster Movement

The Chiefs picked up a signature from quarterback Aaron Murray on Wednesday, as he becomes the fifth of six 2014 NFL Draft picks to sign with the club.

The only unsigned Chiefs draft choice is first-round outside linebacker Dee Ford.

Also on the personnel wire for Wednesday was one player coming, another going. Departing the roster was offensive lineman R.J. Dill. He was signed earlier this year as a reserve-futures player.

Added to the roster was undrafted rookie free agent linebacker/safety DeRon Furr out of Division II Fort Valley State in Georgia. He’s 6-2½, 232 pounds and was clocked in the 40-yard dash in times under 4.7 seconds. Furr had 60 total tackles in 13 games during the 2013 season. Coming out of Carver High School in Columbus, Georgia, he originally signed to play at Auburn University. Furr left before he got on the field and transferred to the University of Memphis, where he played two seasons. He finished up his college career with two seasons at Fort Valley.

Chiefs Alumni Named To New Posts

Jimmy Raye (L) and Bill Kuharich (R) named to new posts

Two men with recent history of working for the Chiefs were named to new management positions in the league on Tuesday.

In Cleveland, Bill Kuharich was named executive chief of staff for Browns general manager Ray Farmer. Kuharich spent a decade with the Chiefs (2000-09) in various personnel roles including vice-president of player personnel.

At the league office in New York, former Chiefs assistant coach and offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye was hired as one of three senior advisors to the new executive vice-president of football operations Troy Vincent. …Read More!

Chiefs Signing Defensive Tackles

The personnel business is a busy one across the NFL right now and the Chiefs have joined the chorus with near daily comings and goings.

On Tuesday, the club zeroed in on defensive tackles, signing a pair of street free agents, announcing the signing of an undrafted rookie free agent and the release of two players.

Added to the roster were Jermelle Cudjo, Kyle Love and Kona Schwenke. Released were defensive tackle Cory Grissom and outside linebacker Ridge Wilson.

Released last week, the 6-2, 311-pound Cudjo spent the last four NFL seasons with St. Louis. He appeared in 38 games, starting four times and picking up 45 total tackles, 1.5 sacks and three passes knocked down. He missed the 2011 season with a back injury. The 27-year old Oklahoma native grew up in Lawton, and was a Division II All-America selection at Central Oklahoma University.

Love spent two weeks on the Chiefs active roster last season, appearing in a game against San Diego and he was inactive the next week against Denver. The 6-1, 315-pounder spent three seasons in New England (2010-13), playing in 42 regular season games with 25 starts, along with six post-season games with four starts. Love had 80 total tackles, 5.5 sacks and one recovered fumble. Born in South Korea where his father Colonel Anthony Love was stationed, he grew up in Fairburn, Georgia, the same hometown as Chiefs Pro Bowl strong safety Eric Berry. He played college football at Mississippi State University.

The signing of Schwenke, a 6-4, 297-pound Notre Dame product out of Hawaii was covered Monday right here.

Chiefs Add Tackle, College Free Agents – Update

The Chiefs added veteran offensive tackle J’Marcus Webb to the roster, signing the free agent over the weekend.

The 6-7, 333-pound Webb has spent four seasons in the NFL, playing for Chicago and Minnesota. He appeared in 54 games and started 45 at both left and right tackle. The Texas native came into the league as a seventh-round selection of the Bears in the 2010 NFL Draft.

In college, he played at the University of Texas, Navarro (Junior) College and West Texas A&M.

The team also announced the signings of three undrafted college free agents: fullback James Baker (Idaho), center/guard Ben Gottschalk (SMU) and kicker Cairo Santos (Tulane). Plus, the alma mater of another undrafted rookie says he signed with the Chiefs and on the NFL’s daily transaction report, it shows the Chiefs signing another undrafted player.

Here’s a rundown on those five: …Read More!

Time For Another Edition Of Ask Bob

The NFL Draft is now a week old and the Chiefs rookie mini-camp is just ahead over the Memorial Day weekend. It seems an appropriate time to open up the Ask Bob mailbox.

Attach your questions, evaluations and concerns to this post in the comments. The mailbox will stay open until Tuesday at noon.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

De’Anthony De’Signs His De’al

Another day, another Chiefs draft choice putting his John Hancock to an NFL contract.

Fourth-round running back De’Anthony Thomas agreed to terms Friday on a four-year deal. Financial terms were undisclosed. The University of Oregon product figures to have the best chance of making a contribution in his rookie season with the Chiefs offense and special teams.

Thomas brings to four the number of Chiefs draft choices with contracts. Only two remain unsigned – first-round choice outside linebacker Dee Ford and fifth-round pick quarterback Aaron Murray.

At the close of business on Friday, 93 draft choices had signed or agreed to terms on their first NFL contracts.

Chiefs Have Half Of Draft Class Already Signed

The signing season started early in the NFL and just a week after the first round of the 2014 Draft there are already 48 selections that have signed or agreed to terms.

One of those was Chiefs third-round pick cornerback Phillip Gaines of Rice University. He signed a four-year contract; financial terms were not released.

That leaves three of the six draft choices without deals: first-round outside linebacker Dee Ford, fourth-round running back De’Anthony Thomas and fifth-round quarterback Aaron Murray.

On Thursday, Oakland became the second team to sign a first-round selection, getting linebacker Khalil Mack’s signature on the four-year contract.

Another Draft Pick Signs With Chiefs

It’s two down, four to go in the draft choice signing department for the Chiefs.

After getting sixth-round pick guard Zach Fulton locked up on Tuesday, the club’s other sixth-rounder offensive tackle Laurent Duvernay-Tardif from McGill University in Canada agreed to terms on Wednesday.

There were no details on the deal, but draft picks generally sign four-year contracts that start with $2.455 million in base salaries; that’s the total of the minimum salaries for the players over the next four seasons: 2014-$420,000, 2015-$585,000, 2016-$675,000, 2017-$775,000. The only difference in these deals comes in the bonuses, whether signing, workout or other possibilities.

The remaining 2014 choices without contracts are outside linebacker Dee Ford, cornerback Phillip Gaines, running back De’Anthony Thomas and quarterback Aaron Murray.

Chiefs Sign First Draft Choice

Less than a week after the NFL Draft, there are more than a half-dozen choices that have already signed their rookie contracts.

That includes Chiefs sixth-round selection guard Zach Fulton out of the University of Tennessee. He inked his deal on Tuesday, becoming the first of the six Chiefs draft choices to sign.

When the current labor agreement between the owners and players went into effect in 2011, it made formal what had always been the slotting of pay for draft choices. That and limiting the amount of money teams can pay their rookies through the salary cap takes a lot of the guess work and negotiating histrionics out of the picture.

No details on terms of the deal for the 6-5, 323-pound Illinois native.

Breaking Down The Chiefs May ’14 Roster

The NFL roster limit right now is 90 players, but that only counts the players under contract. After the moves since the draft and the undrafted free agent signings the Chiefs have announced they have 79 men under contract. That does not include the team’s six unsigned draft choices.

Here’s a look at the roster as it stood on Monday night. Players in italic are those that were part of the team at some point in the 2013 season. This year’s half-dozen draft choices are included in the count. Only the six undrafted free agents announced by the Chiefs have been included:

Quarterbacks (4)

Tyler Bray, Chase Daniel, Aaron Murray, Alex Smith

This will be all about the No. 3 spot as Bray and Murray compete against each other. It would not be a shock if come September all four quarterbacks remain on the 53-man roster. …Read More!

He’s Now Dr. Alex Smith

Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith can hardly be considered old. He will turn 30 years old next Wednesday and he’s working on his 10th season in the NFL. In the real world, he’s a youngster.

But he now holds an honorary doctorate in human letters presented to him Thursday night during graduation ceremonies in Salt Lake City for his alma mater, the University of Utah. Smith graduated in three years from the school with a degree in economics in 2004 and he returned this week as the commencement speaker, selected by a student vote.

There were almost 8,000 graduates, from 76 countries, all 50 states and ranged in age from a remarkable 15 to 71 years old. They and their families and friends filled the Huntsman Center where Smith actually asked them to boo him at the start of his speech. It was a transition for him into the theme of his address, specifically learning to “embrace the challenge of your own imperfection.” He talked about his up and down time with the 49ers before his trade to the Chiefs last season. It was a very personal message. …Read More!

Chiefs Add Offensive Lineman

The Chiefs deepened the depth on their offensive line on Thursday when they announced the signing of Otis Hudson.

Selected in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL Draft, Hudson spent three years with the Cincinnati Bengals, most of that time on the team’s practice squad. He was on the 53-man roster for eight games in the 2011 season, but he was a game-day inactive player all eight times, including the Bengals game in the 2011 playoffs.

A native of Chicago, Hudson started his high school career in the city at John Marshall High, but finished in the suburbs at Barrington High School. The 6-5, 330-pounder began his college career at the University of Minnesota where he spent three years. Hudson then transferred to Eastern Illinois University, where he played in the 2008 and 2009 seasons, starting 21 games at right tackle.

With the Bengals, he was listed as a guard and played there during pre-season games. Hudson was not signed before the 2013 season, but spent several weeks with the Bengals in the pre-season after an injury opened a spot for him.

Coming out of Eastern Illinois, where he claimed a degree in construction management, Hudson was measured with 34-inch arms, 10.5-inch hands and he ran the 40-yard dash in 5.1 seconds.

Hudson is the seventh guard on the Chiefs roster joining Jeff Allen, Chandler Burden, Ricky Henry, Rishaw Johnson, Jeff Linkenbach and Rokevious Watkins.

Smith Confirms Contract Talks, But No Deal Yet

From the Truman Sports Complex

Alex Smith said Monday there was no agreement on a new contract with the Chiefs. But the quarterback said conversation between the team and his agent, former Chiefs guard Tom Condon were on going.

“(Condon) handles all of that,” Smith said on the first day of the team’s off-season program. “That is why you hire that guy, to take care of that so you can focus on football.”

Smith has one season left on the contract he brought with him from San Francisco last year when he was traded to the Chiefs. He’s set to make $7.5 million and will count $8 million against the salary cap for the 2014 season. Team chairman Clark Hunt has said publicly several times in the off-season that a new deal for his quarterback was a priority.

“I had no date as far as an expectation,” Smith said. “I didn’t have any expectations and don’t know when it will get done.”

The sooner an extension gets done, the sooner Smith will bank a major payment, either in a signing bonus or guaranteed base salary. He says it’s not something he’s worried about.

“I’ve played long enough, going into year 10 now,” said Smith. “It’s all year-to-year in my mind at this point. You have to continually prove yourself, so I don’t think it changes anything as far as my mindset and approach to the game at all.”

Chiefs Start 2014 Season By Dealing With Last Year

From the Truman Sports Complex

Eric Berry watched the tape many times over the last four months. Derrick Johnson hasn’t hit the play button even once.

Two very different ways of dealing with the gut wrenching aftermath of January’s disastrous loss in the first round of the playoffs when the Chiefs blew a 28-point lead with 28 minutes to play, eventually losing to Indianapolis.

It was a subject addressed upon the start of the Chiefs nine-week off-season program on Monday at the team’s facility. Head coach Andy Reid would not indicate how many of the players on his roster were in the house, saying only “we had a good turnout.”

The day began with a team meeting and words from Reid, and he went right for the white elephant in the room – the blown lead and subsequent loss to the Colts. Typical of Reid’s straight ahead style, he immediately addressed the subject.

“There are great things you can learn from that football game as a young team,” Reid said. “They came into a game, a game in the playoffs; got this great lead and you learn you’ve got to keep your foot on the accelerator for four quarters. You can’t let up an inch against a good football team.

“We can take some things out of that game that will make us better this year.” …Read More!

NFL Off-Season Rules Have Become Ridiculous

Jobs that require high performance from mind and body require extra effort to achieve individual and team success.

Yet, the NFL has become an enterprise that limits the amount of time a player and thus a team can devout to their craft. Striving for excellence was outlawed in the league’s labor agreement that was signed in 2011.

On Monday, the last batch of NFL teams will begin their nine-week off-season programs. That group includes the Chiefs, who will gather at the team’s facility in the Truman Sports Complex for the first time since the loss in the first round of the playoffs back in early January. Teams with new head coaches got a jump on their start date, opening two weeks ago. All of the clubs are limited in the amount of organized team activities (workouts, meetings and no-pads practices) they can hold.

Other than these nine weeks, players are not allowed to meet with their team’s coaching staff. They are not allowed to go into the team’s facility and run through a physical workout under the direction of team trainers or strength coaches. They can get treatment for injuries and ailments that they carried out of the 2013 season, but that’s the only active involvement allowed under the rules between players and the team.

Think about that for a minute in another context – a bright young cello player works with one of the top orchestras in the country. But his practice time is limited by rules developed by the cello players union. He must go months at a time without playing his cello or listening to recordings of his performances. Does that make better music? Does that make any sense, for the musician or his employer?

Would other professions or business put up with similar rules limiting the search for achievement? …Read More!

Some Easter Egg Notes On The Chiefs

Enjoy the holiday weekend folks and remember the Chiefs off-season program starts on Monday. It’s the first step in the 2014 NFL marathon and comes on the same day when they stage the Boston Marathon.

Now, on to some notes, quotes and informational nibbles from the Chiefs and pro football:

One more step ahead for Bowe

The case of the City of Riverside vs. Dwayne Bowe was walked off the legal agenda this week when the Chiefs wide receiver took a plea bargain, agreeing to guilty charges of defective equipment and littering instead of speeding and marijuana possession.

Bowe wasn’t even in the courtroom when it all went down on Wednesday. He paid $610 in fines and the marijuana charge was dismissed completely. It was all a product of Bowe being stopped on November 10th last year while driving home from the airport with two friends. He was clocked at 48 miles per hour in a 35 mph zone and was stopped by Riverside police, who subsequently found marijuana in the car.

On the legal docket, Bowe has cleaned up the matter, but that does not necessarily clear him when it comes to possible NFL discipline. Commissioner Roger Goodell has wide-ranging powers to fine and suspend players for conduct detrimental to the league. A plea deal does not lessen the possibility of action out of the NFL office. …Read More!

On The Surface, All’s Quiet In The Chiefs Draft Room

It went down last week at the Chiefs facility in the Truman Sports Complex and reverberations were felt a thousand miles away in Georgia. Down in the ATL, former general manager and now assistant G.M. of the Falcons Scott Pioli’s head had to be spinning and belching smoke.

Why? Pioli’s successor John Dorsey and the Chiefs invited media members to a conversation about the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft. The session provided background on the team’s draft preparations and carried one limitation – comments by Dorsey were not to be reported publicly. The meeting went down in the Chiefs draft room on the second floor of their offices. It’s where Dorsey, head coach Andy Reid and the team’s hierarchy will gather to select six draft choices on May 8-9-10.

In four seasons running the franchise into the ground, Pioli banned the media from the second floor of the building and did not allow the locals to even know where the draft room was located, let alone step inside. It wasn’t just the media either but many of the people on the Chiefs payroll. Pioli’s insecurities and poor decisions made it imperative that he operated in the shadows. Thankfully for Chiefs fans, those problems now belong to the Falcons.

Dorsey does not share those personality defects, so bringing a group of scribblers, golden throats and hairdos into the draft nerve-center for a chat was nothing for him to worry about. The Chiefs did cover up their current draft ratings and all Dorsey revealed is that once final evaluations are completed, the team will have approximately 150 players for consideration on their draft board. That’s a pretty standard number for most teams. …Read More!

Aldon Smith’s Waste Of Talent, Career & Life

Aldon Smith has as many mug shots as action photos in last eight months

He is 24 years old and despite fame and fortune, Aldon Smith is still acting like a troubled teenager.

The local kid out of Raytown and the defensive end for the San Francisco 49ers can’t seem to get out of his own way, adding another chapter to what is now a two-year rap sheet of trouble. Smith was arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday, his third legal entanglement in the last eight months. Upset when he was selected for a secondary security check, Smith reportedly told a TSA agent that he had a bomb. He was allowed to walk away, but was then arrested at his gate as he waited for his flight.

Being annoyed about airport security checks does not make Smith any different than many other travelers these days. But he again showed his immaturity and inability to control his temper by failing to deal with his situation as an adult. That was visible before when he was arrested in September for driving under the influence and marijuana possession. It was there again in October when he was charged with three felony counts of illegal possession of assault rifles.

Smith went off to rehab, missed five games last year, returned and he was looking to the future. Right now, his 2014 season is suddenly in danger. More importantly, his life is at a crossroads. Over at Mizzou, wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckam got booted off the team for a series of behavior problems that finally overpowered his talent. His choice now is to mature and smarten up.

It may be time for the 49ers or NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to do the same with Aldon Jacarus Ramon Smith. It’s time to grow up. …Read More!

Bengals, Panthers, Vikes & Pack In Chiefs Pre-Season

The Chiefs opponents for the 2014 pre-season were announced Wednesday and among the four games Andy Reid’s club will face three division champions from last year and a nationally televised game.

That comes on Sunday, August 17th, when they visit Charlotte to play the Carolina Panthers, the top team in the NFC South in 2013. The game will be broadcast by FOX-TV with kickoff set for 7 p.m. CDT.

They will travel to Green Bay to finish up the pre-season schedule. Home games are against Cincinnati and Minnesota at Arrowhead Stadium. The Packers finished in the top spot in the NFC North and the Bengals won the AFC North.

Actual dates and times have not been finalized for three of the four games. The regular season schedule should be released sometime by the end of April.

Here’s how the August schedule breaks down: …Read More!

NFL 2014 Pre-Season Television Schedule

Date

Game

Net/Kickoff (CDT)

Sunday, August 3 New York Giants vs. Buffalo
Hall of Fame Game / Canton, Ohio
NBC / 6 p.m.

Week 2 (August 14-18)

Thursday, August 14 Jacksonville at Chicago ESPN / 7 p.m.
Sunday, August 17 Chiefs at Carolina FOX / 7 p.m.
Monday, August 18 Cleveland at Washington ESPN / 7 p.m.

Week 3 (August 21-24)

Friday, August 22 Oakland at Green Bay CBS / 7 p.m.
Saturday, August 23 New Orleans at Indianapolis CBS / 7 p.m.
Sunday, August 24 San Diego at San Francisco FOX / 3 p.m.
Sunday, August 24 Cincinnati at Arizona NBC / 7 p.m.
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