Mile High Tidbits From Denver

From Denver, Colorado

Now here’s the obscure historical tidbit of the week when it comes to the Chiefs and Broncos.

The last time the Chiefs won a November game in Denver their starting quarterback was … Len Dawson.

That’s right, the Chiefs haven’t taken a November victory out of the mile high city since November 18, 1974 when they won 42-34 in a Monday night game at old Mile High Stadium.

The truth is that in 51 seasons of playing against each other, this Sunday’s game is only the fourth time they have met in Denver during the month of November. They only played a November game in Denver twice after ’74, in 1986 and 1988, losing both games.

WHAT LOSING MCCLUSTER HAS MEANT TO THE CHIEFS

WR/RB Dexter McCluster figures to be absent again from the Chiefs offense on Sunday against the Broncos. He did not participate in practice this week, although he did do some footwork and movement drills. It looked like there was improvement made with that ankle sprain of he suffered back on October 24.

McCluster’s absence is a big one for the Chiefs offense. Since he’s been out, the Chiefs have had trouble scoring. In the two games before McCluster was inactive they scored 31 and 42 points, an average of 36.5 points per game. In the two games he missed, they scored 13 and 20 points, an average of 16.5 points per game.

It would be wrong to say McCluster is worth 20 points per game to the Chiefs, because there are many other factors involved in those four games. No doubt they miss his abilities and speed, but there’s a domino effect as well for the rest of the offense’s playmakers. Last week against Oakland, Jamaal Charles spent more time lined up in the slot or at wide receiver than he had in any previous game. That put more carries into the hands of Thomas Jones, with minimal results.

Offensive coordinator Charlie Weis said this week that without McCluster, the Chiefs just have to adapt, just as they do each week facing different defenses.

“Every week it’s a different set of encyclopedias; the Broncos are going to be different than the Raiders, and different than Arizona,” Weis said. “Every week is going to be a different set based off of who their personnel is and our personnel is. You can’t go by any one player; you just have to go by who you’re playing and what they do.

“I think any time you have a guy that has physical attributes that you could utilize, you have to figure out ways to do them. That’s one of the things that our coaching staff does, starting from the head coach on down, is try to figure out who you have and what they can do and try to utilize them properly.”

And find ways to make up for those attributes when they are not available.

GETTING BETTER IN THE SECOND HALF IN THE SECOND HALF

One of the first things Todd Haley said this week about his team is that they needed to get better in the second half of games. The Chiefs have been outscored after half-time 95-94. In the first half they have an 89-50 edge on the scoreboard.

So how did the Chiefs go about working on that during the practice week? As usual, Haley had a plan to help his team.

“We’ve attacked it on a number of different levels,” Haley said. “We made an attack from a health standpoint of pushing protein drinks after workouts, some of the new things that are out there that our trainers and Coach (Mike) Clark have some opinion on and feel they could have an effect.

“Throughout practice this week, specifically kickoffs as opposed to just having a special teams kickoff period, I threw it in with other portions of practice. Before we started our little 10-play move the field period, which is the closest we’ll get to the game, I had a kickoff, just one kickoff and said here’s the start of the second half – defense, you’re alert, we’re starting the second half, you’re on the sideline; just trying to recreate the game atmosphere.

“It took them out of the routine a little bit and got us into a little more of thinking on our feet, be ready, sense of urgency, just trying to get the antennas up and guys to understand so that come game day, there would be something in there that makes them focused a little more because that’s all really it takes, just a little more focus in the second half.”

ON HOW IMPORTANCE OF THE FIRST QUARTER

If the previous games in the 2010 season are any indication, the first quarter figures to be important to the game’s outcome.

In eight games, the Chiefs are plus-11 in first quarter points, while the Broncos are minus-33 points. Denver has just one TD in the first period. The Broncos are one of four teams that in eight games have not scored on their first offensive possession at least one time.

“When they (Kansas City) have scored first, they have done fairly well this year,” said Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels. “Certainly, that’s something that we want to do much better than we have. If you can get out to a lead against a team like this that runs the ball the way that they do — you are not going to create a one-dimensional team, they are not going to abandon their philosophy and they shouldn’t. They have too many good players, and they have so much production from it.

“But if you can help yourself by forcing them to play from behind I think that is a big thing. It would be a big plus for us, and certainly that’s what our intention will be on Sunday.”

HALEY’S HANDS WEREN’T ALWAYS SO GOOD

In practice this past week, Todd Haley jumped into a drill with the defensive backs and made a diving catch, going horizontal and hauling in the throw.

There was another time he was trying to make a catch where things did not go so well. Craig Colquitt will be the proud father in the stands on Sunday watching his sons Dustin and Britton punt for the Chiefs and Broncos respectively. Craig Colquitt’s NFL career was spent with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where Haley’s father Dick Haley was one of those responsible for drafting Colquitt in 1978.

On game days at Three Rivers Stadium, Todd Haley would shag punts for Colquitt.

“I remember the highlight of my week being home games at Three Rivers (Stadium) right before kickoff, getting to go down into the corner of Three Rivers where the band sat and I’d catch four or five punts from him,” Haley remembered this week. “The most memorable being one that I didn’t catch that went through my hands, hit the turf and ricocheted up into a non-desirable part of my body. Then to do it in front of a full-capacity Three Rivers, and running back trying to show that nothing had occurred. That’s the most memorable.”


One Response to “Mile High Tidbits From Denver”

  • November 14, 2010  - Tracy says:

    One memory from early KC-Denver games at Mile High involved Mike Garrett. He was a second or third year player. He got clotheslined on one play and had to go to the sideline. The offending player was a friend or neighbor of Denny Biodrowski, who started on KC’s O-line. No matter. The next play, the entire offensive team on the field, except for the QB, made a beeline for that Denver player, who ended up being carted off the field. Maybe the refs looked the other way but I don’t recall a flag.
    Just matriculatin’ on down the field.




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