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!

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.

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.”

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.”

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!

Chiefs Young O-Line – Good Or Bad For 2014?

Eric Fisher, Jeff Allen, Rodney Hudson, Zach Fulton, Donald Stephenson – the Chiefs baby blockers

Andy Reid, John Dorsey, Alex Smith – the big three on the football end of the Chiefs franchise have said it more than once, even twice. They say it all the time.

It goes like this: “Blah, blah, blah . . . we have a young offensive line, one of the youngest in the league . . . blah, blah, blah.”

Based on the depth charts of the 32 NFL teams in the second week of the 2014 pre-season, the Chiefs have the youngest starting offensive line in the league. Whether judged by experience or age, they are pro football’s baby blockers, averaging 2.6 years of experience and 23.8 years of age going into the opening game of the regular season against Tennessee. That group includes rookie right guard Zach Fulton; right now he’s one of 10 rookies that teams list as starters. None of the other nine are draft choices selected lower than the fourth round. The Chiefs picked Fulton in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Carolina, Dallas, Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Seattle – all have a majority of young blockers in the starting lineup, but none as young as the Chiefs. Third-year right tackle Donald Stephenson is the oldest player in the K.C. starting offensive line; he’s currently 25 years old and will turn 26 at the end of September. The oldest starter on the 31 other teams is at least 27 years old and there are 23 teams with a starter or starters that are 30 years or older. Among those other teams with young lines there are Super Bowl victories in recent seasons, including last year’s championship run by the Seahawks.

So this abundance of youth on the all-important line of scrimmage, is that a good thing for the 2014 Chiefs offense?

“It means I’ve got guys with fresh legs, they are hungry to learn and get better,” said offensive line coach Andy Heck. “It also means they’ve got to grow up fast.

“There are no excuses in this league. We have to get out there and do our thing and do it well.” …Read More!

Chiefs Training Camp Practice #19 – 8/12


Travis Kelce (left) and Sean Smith battle for the ball in Wednesday’s practice

KCChiefs photo

From St. Joseph, Missouri

The momentum of practices during NFL training camps ebb and flow like the daily tide washing through the harbor. One day it’s the defense that leads the way; the next day it’s the offense. Some coaches hope for that up and down because it can indicate strength on both sides of the ball. Of course, it can also mean that neither the offense nor defense is consistent or strong enough to be consistently competitive.

Throughout this year’s camp at Missouri Western State University, the back and forth has been very consistent. One practice the defense dominates, making it difficult for the running backs to find an opening or the quarterbacks to have a safe pocket to throw from. In the next practice suddenly the offense is breaking out with big plays, leaving defenders grasping at air as they run to the end zone.

“It’s a daily deal,” said quarterback Alex Smith. “There’s no question that you have a feeling of who won the day. That’s the goal, that’s the competitiveness we have in this locker room. It’s fun; it’s just daily competition going back and forth with one another. It’s great work for us.”

Wednesday morning it was the Chiefs defense that led the way. …Read More!

Riding The Roster Wave As The Clock Ticks


WR Weston Dressler (L) is trending down; DL Jaye Howard (R) is trending up

From St. Joseph, Missouri

There are 90 players currently on the Chiefs roster. There are 53 slots available for the regular season.

The math is not good for 41 percent of the men that have been sweating in the summer heat.

All of those players arrived at Missouri Western State University facing long odds when it came to making the final roster. Some improved their chances thanks to their play in St. Joe. Others have written their ticket out of town by not being able to consistently produce on the practice field. Here’s one man’s opinion on three players that have improved their chances, followed by three that have put their continued employment in jeopardy. This is based on what’s been seen so far, and with the understanding that a lot can change in the next 18 days. …Read More!

Chiefs Training Camp Practice #18 – 8/12


K.C. Chiefs photo

From St. Joseph, Missouri

It’s one of the oldest practice drills in the sport, and even in this age where throwing the football gets all the headlines, this exercise is still done by every one of the 32 NFL teams. Some do it every day.

The 9-on-7 drill features the offense with players at every position but the wide receivers. The defense traditionally has brought the front seven on the field, defensive line and linebackers. They line up across from each other, and the offense calls running plays and the defense works to stop the run game. It’s the hard and dirty work of practice, a very physical drill where players work on fundamentals, but also on their toughness.

The Chiefs have done the drill every day they’ve been in training camp at Missouri Western State University. They will do it on Wednesday and Thursday of each practice week before regular season games. Even though Andy Reid loves the passing game, he knows where games are won and lost: the line of scrimmage.

“You really get to see fundamentals big time on how you are going to stop the run,” said Reid. “Are the hands tight? Are both guys fighting for position? How’s the balance, how’s the leverage, how high are you? If you are willing to play, do you have enough counter-action in there where it holds the linebackers somewhat honest?

“And, it’s just about the overall toughness and competition against each other that I think is important.” …Read More!

The Best Players On K.C. Defense Are Linebackers


Coaches are working at getting LBs like Dee Ford (55) and James-Michael Johnson (52) into defensive schemes

From St. Joseph, Missouri

It’s a coda frequently voiced by football coaches of all eras and stripes. They chant, “We want to get our best players on the field.”

That apparently is what Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton is up to with some of the packages he has the defense working on in training camp practices at Missouri Western State University.

The Chiefs base defense is the 3-4-4 – three down linemen, four linebackers and four defensive backs. Last season, the Chiefs most often used a sub defense that was a 2-3-6, with defensive backs replacing a lineman and a linebacker.

The roster is different in 2014, and Sutton appears to be working to get as many linebackers on the field as possible in some of his sub-packages. How about a 1-5-5, and what if those five linebackers included four defenders that normally play on the edge? That’s what the Chiefs have shown in the last few practices with Tamba Hali, Justin Houston, Josh Martin and rookie Dee Ford in the huddle, along with inside linebacker Derrick Johnson.

“We call it the dog front,” Hali said of the defense that’s heavy on pass rushing linebackers. “Just a bunch of dogs going after (the quarterback) and barking.

“He’s just using the pieces like its chess, putting all his beset players out there and allowing them to do what they do best. We have five, six guys that can rush the passer.”

Sutton is operating from the idea of getting his most talented players on the field. Part of that goes in finding out the strengths of each player. …Read More!

Chiefs Training Camp Practice #17 – 8/11


On Monday Tamba Hali was busy in practice and afterwards with the fans at training camp

From St. Joseph, Missouri

His voice could be heard several times during the Chiefs practice on Monday morning, even though he was standing at the far end of the Missouri Western State University field, far from where the fans and media were watching.

It’s not the first time that Tamba Hali has been vocal during this training camp. As one of the most tenured players on the Chiefs roster, Hali has stepped forward to add his voice to the leadership by example he’s provided the defense for years.

“These are the grind days,” Hali said after the Monday practice. “At this time in camp, a lot of guys can shut it down . . . we’re talking and screaming and yelling their names, telling them to make plays just to keep their energy up. It gets them going.

“Every day I hear from the guys who say you got me through practice just by doing that.”

The entire roster has been on the field for 14 practices now, 12 of them in full pads, including Monday morning. The Chiefs have three more practices in St. Joe before they take everything back to their facility at the Truman Sports Complex just before they head to Charlotte to play the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

This week qualifies as the so-called “dog days” of camp, where practices all start to blend together, body parts ache, and the dorm room walls start to close in. As a nine-year veteran, Hali has been there many times. He’s doing what he can to help his teammates through the fog. …Read More!

Henry Moving Up The Depth Chart


From St. Joseph, Missouri

More and more, journeyman guard Ricky Henry is getting important chances to practice with the No. 1 offensive line in training camp at Missouri Western State University.

In Sunday’s morning full pads workout, Henry first spelled Zach Fulton at right guard, and then went to left guard in place of the established starter there in Jeff Allen.

When he thinks of Henry, head coach Andy Reid doesn’t conjure up images of previous blockers that played for his teams.

“He looks like Larry the Cable Guy and plays like Larry the Cable Guy,” Reid said after practice. “He’s kind of a dirt bag type of guy. He gets in there and he’s rough and tough and scrappy and all of that.” …Read More!

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.”

Sorting Out the Offensive Line Play


The play of the Chiefs offensive line was a subject of much concern as Andy Reid’s team went to training camp last month. With three new starters, including the always important left tackle spot and a very young group trying to fill the holes on the No. 1 unit. The preseason schedule promised to be very important for the integration of the offensive and thus the good health of running back Jamaal Charles and quarterback Alex Smith.

An opening game 41-39 victory over Cincinnati gave Reid and his staff a mixed bag to evaluate on Friday as the team returned to training camp at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph.

The No. 1 group saw action in the first quarter for just 10 plays that produced only 28 yards with one first down courtesy of a Bengals penalty. They could not convert a pair of third-and-two plays and Smith was sacked once, losing the ball on a fumble when he was hit by defensive end Robert Geathers. Left tackle Eric Fisher had the blocking assignment for Geathers.

But Reid was quick to provide some cover for last year’s NFL No. 1 overall draft choice.

“We should have dropped deeper on that play,” Reid said. “It was a three-step drop play and you can’t hold it forever. You have to secure the ball as a quarterback; you have to hang onto it and go somewhere else . . . I really don’t blame Eric on that particularly play.”

In fact, Reid liked how aggressively Fisher played in his first game after offseason surgery on his shoulder and a sports hernia. It’s limited the practice time for Fisher, especially in pass protection drills. …Read More!

Notes: Kicking Competition Remains Hot

From Arrowhead Stadium

The kicking game continues to be one of the most interesting and intense competitions in the Chiefs pre-season. Thursday night’s opening game against Cincinnati did little to help make a decision.

Veteran Ryan Succop and rookie Cairo Santos (right) have been matching each other kick-for-kick in training camp practices. They did the same against the Bengals:

  • Succop kicked a 27-yard field goal and made all three of his PAT kicks.
  • Santos had a 28-yard FG and made two PAT kicks.

The only difference between the two was on kickoffs and that turned out to be a question of coaching. Succop kicked off four times, three were touchbacks and the fourth landed four yards deep and was brought out. Santos kicked off four times, with one touchback, another kick into the end zone, one to the goal line and his first came down at the 4-yard line.

“We were trying to get where guys were returning the ball,” said head coach Andy Reid. “I mean this sounds crazy, but this is the pre-season so we were trying to get where we could get some returns so we could work on that part of it.

“They just traded kicks back and forth and I thought both of them kicked it well. I joke about that. It’s like watching the World Cup . . . it seems to end in a tie every day.”

More from the special teams

Punter Dustin Colquitt only kicked twice, but one of those was a 71-yard punt that went out of bounds at the Bengals seven-yard line . . . rookie Albert Wilson had a 65-yard kickoff return, and overall the Chiefs had five returns for an average of 30.8 yards . . . there were three punt returns for 97 yards, and De’Anthony Thomas’ 80-yard return . . . the kickoff coverage unit gave up an average of 28.3 yards on four returns.

From the defense

The Chiefs had a pair of sacks, one from inside linebacker Joe Mays and the other from defensive end Jaye Howard . . . they had five quarterback hurries, two from first-round draft choice Dee Ford . . . inside linebacker James-Michael Johnson was credited with eight tackles to lead the K.C. defense.

The Injury Report

Coming out of the game, Reid said there were two injuries: wide receiver Albert Wilson has an ankle sprain and defensive lineman Kona Schwenke a shoulder strain.

He also updated the status of defensive end Mike DeVito. “He actually broke a finger in his (left) hand,” Reid said. “It should be OK. We should be able to splint it up and he should be able to work here in the next couple days. For this game, it wasn’t going to work.”

There were nine other players that did not play in the game because of their continuing injuries and medical conditions: wide receiver A.J. Jenkins (hamstring), wide receiver Mark Harrison (hamstring), running back Joe McKnight (knee), wide receiver Junior Hemingway (hamstring), strong safety Eric Berry (heel), safety Sanders Commings (ankle surgery), outside linebacker Dezman Moses (elbow), defensive end Mike Catapano (illness) and defensive tackle Kyle Love (ankle).

The zebras need pre-season too

There were 16 penalties walked off by referee Clete Blakeman and his crew, with seven of those against the Chiefs. The officials threw 11 flags for violations by the Chiefs with three declined and one offsetting.

As expected, the new emphasis on keeping defenders from contacting and restricting wide receivers beyond the five-yard zone at the line of scrimmage made for a busy night against the Chiefs defense. All six flags thrown against Reid’s defense were for holding, illegal use of hands and illegal contact. Cornerbacks Ron Parker and DeMarcus Van Dyke were hit twice each for calls, as were cornerback Sean Smith and defensive end Jaye Howard, who was called for holding a running back trying to get free on a planned screen pass.

“We knew coming in that they were going to make those calls and it’s good for our defense, the corners to see that, to see what they can get away with and see what they can’t,” said Reid. “You get it all figured out in the pre-season as they see the points of emphasis this year.”

The Little Man Says Hello To Arrowhead


From Arrowhead Stadium

There are still moments when De’Anthony Thomas comes out of the offensive huddle and lines up in the wrong place.

But even in the wrong place, he’s still fast.

Sometimes Thomas does not quite run pass routes the way Andy Reid wants them done in his offense.

But even if he’s not quite on top of the routes, he’s still fast.

And, he’s tough little man. Thursday night in the pre-season opener Thomas introduced himself to the Chiefs Nation with an 80-yard punt return touchdown that helped turn the momentum of the game in favor of the Chiefs. It set up what was finally a 41-39 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

He scored even though the moment he caught the punt, he was hit by Bengals cover man Dre Kirkpatrick.

“I don’t really remember that,” said Thomas of Kirkpatrick running into him. “I was concentrating on making sure I secured the ball and then I just started running.”

One of the advantages of being 5-9, 170 pounds is a low-center of gravity that can absorb contact, but not get knocked over because he stands lower to the ground. Once he bounced off Kirkpatrick, no other Cincinnati player touched him as he ran past and through everyone for the score.

“It was a pretty amazing play right at the catch,” said Reid. “Then, he’s pretty fast. If he gets out there, there are not going to be a whole lot of guys that can catch him. He can scoot pretty good.”

During training camp in St. Joseph, Thomas has left observers with impressions of what he can do on the football field. He’s still just a rookie and sometimes the load of information that’s required in the Reid offense forces him to slow down. But once the ball is in his hands, whether as runner, receiver or returner, it’s a big play waiting to happen.

“He does it every day,” said quarterback Alex Smith. “He kind of only knows one speed. We all kind of joke about that. Even in a walkthrough he’s moving at 100 miles per hour. He’s the type of player that whenever he touches the ball, everyone’s holding their breath.

“I know I was screaming ‘fair catch’ on the sidelines. Then it was like ‘Oh, OK’.”

There were 56 seconds to play in the first quarter and the Chiefs trailed 10-3. After giving up a pair of first downs, the defense finally slowed the Cincinnati offense. With a fourth-and-16 situation at its 37-yard line, Kevin Huber’s punt hung in the air as Thomas circled under it at the 20-yard line.

From that moment came a return to remember. On the night, Thomas had the 80-yard punt return, a 35-yard kickoff return and three yards on a running play. He was not targeted in the passing game. That’s three touches, 118 yards and a touchdown.

“This is one game, the first game and there are a lot more games to play,” Thomas said. “I’m just trying to contribute on special teams and the offense.”

Chiefs Ride Point-Explosion To An Opening Victory


From Arrowhead Stadium

Not since the most legendary pre-season in franchise history have the Chiefs been part of game that twirled the scoreboard knobs as often as what happened Thursday night at Arrowhead Stadium.

Chiefs 41, Bengals 39, as Andy Reid’s team won its pre-season opener.

Those 80 points were the most scored in an exhibition game involving the Chiefs since August 23, 1967. That night at Municipal Stadium the Chicago Bears fell to Hank Stram’s defending AFL champions in a game that totaled 90 points – a 66-24 Kansas City victory.

After two weeks in St. Joseph, the Chiefs returned to Kansas City ready to work against some new faces. It was not a perfect effort and there will be a lot of instruction in the tape rooms and on the practice field next week involving some of the mistakes made against the Bengals. But they overcame those with an explosion of points that featured touchdowns from all three phases, including a big introduction to Arrowhead for rookie De’Anthony Thomas. His 80-yard punt-return touchdown late in the first quarter electrified the crowd.

“We had some good plays, offensively, defensively and special teams from young guys that will contribute this year and help us out,” said head coach Andy Reid. “That was a positive . . . there are a lot of good things and there are some things we need some work on. That’s why we’re doing the pre-season.”

Reid’s defense added a pair of touchdowns on interception returns by cornerback Sean Smith and safety Malcolm Bronson. The offense had two touchdowns as well, including a 69-yard catch and run by tight end Travis Kelce where he showed speed even his teammates had not seen before Thursday night.

Alex Smith and the starting lineup had just a quarter of play and they were not very impressive, putting up no touchdowns and only 28 yards on 10 plays. Failing to convert a pair of third-and-two situations pushed them off the field. Before connecting with Kelce for the long touchdown play, No. 2 quarterback Chase Daniel threw an interception that was returned by Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick for a touchdown.

“This is certainly a teaching tool for everybody,” said Smith. “No matter where you are on the depth chart, certainly we’ll look at this and we have a lot to improve on. Couldn’t convert on the third-and-one, couldn’t convert on third-and-two. You put yourself in good situations and as an offense that’s what you want to be. You have to be able to execute there.”

The touchdown returns helped the defense make up for the 376 offensive yards they allowed Cincinnati, including 180 rushing yards at 5.6 yards per carry. The Bengals No. 1 units were on the field and off so fast, they hardly worked up a sweat. Starting quarterback Andy Dalton was in for eight plays before exiting. One reason for his short stay was a No. 1 offense line that was missing three starters.

It was a 53-yard completion from Dalton to wide receiver A.J. Green that set up the first score of the game, a 30-yard field goal by Cincinnati kicker Mike Nugent. On the next Chiefs possession, defensive end Robert Geathers hit Smith from behind forcing a fumble and it was recovered by teammate Carlos Dunlap at the Chiefs 16-yard line. Geathers beat left tackle Eric Fisher on the pass rush.

With Dalton already out of the game, backup Jason Campbell moved the offense in three plays for a touchdown, hitting wide receiver Brandon Tate on a nine-yard touchdown pass. Tate beat cornerback Ron Parker off the line of scrimmage for the score. The PAT kick gave Cincinnati a 10-0 lead.

The Chiefs needed a spark and they got one from rookie Albert Wilson. He took the ensuing kickoff and rang up a 65-yard return and with 15 yards added on a personal foul penalty against the Bengals that gave Smith and the offense a drive start at the Cincinnati 25-yard line. But five plays later forward movement stalled and Ryan Succop kicked a 27-yard field goal and the Chiefs trailed by seven points.

The defense forced a Bengals punt and that brought a second explosion from the K.C. special teams. Thomas caught the 43-yard punt at the Chiefs 20-yard line, was hit immediately by Kirkpatrick and then took off like a shot. Nobody else touched him as he roared 80 yards for a touchdown. The PAT kick tied the scoreboard at 10-10 with 38 seconds left to play in the first quarter.

And, before the period ended, the Chiefs led 17-10 when Smith intercepted a Campbell pass intended for wide receiver Cobi Hamilton and returned it 36 yards for a pick-six touchdown. The first quarter fell away with the Chiefs holding a 17-10 lead.

The second quarter was just as fast and furious as the first. The Bengals tied the score when Kirkpatrick grabbed an overthrown Daniel pass and returned it 40 yards for Cincinnati’s own pick-six. That tied it up at 17-17.

Rookie Cairo Santos hit a 28-yard field goal and again the Chiefs held the lead. But the Bengals put together a nine-play, 81-yard drive that finished up with Campbell connecting on an 26-yard touchdown pass with wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher. The PAT kick gave Cincinnati a 24-20 lead with just under two minutes to play in the half.

It was a lead that did not last long. Daniel got a first down for the offense, but with 30 seconds to play, faced a 2nd-and-10 play at his own 31-yard line. With good protection, Daniel found Kelce open across the middle and the second-year tight end out ran the Cincinnati defense, scoring on a 69-yard touchdown play that gave the Chiefs a 27-24 lead that they did not relinquish over the rest of the night.

The defense made sure of that early in the second half when Bronson grabbed a Campbell pass and returned it 51 yards for the second Chiefs defensive touchdown of the night and a 34-24 lead.

A fumble by quarterback Tyler Bray as he was being sacked was recovered by the Bengals and early in the fourth quarter they added another touchdown on a nine-yard throw from third quarterback Matt Scott to wide receiver James Wright. The Chiefs offense tacked on another score, with running back Cyrus Gray scoring on a two-yard run.

That proved to be a big score, as the Bengals had eight more points coming, as Scott hit wide receiver Conner Vernon for a 12-yard touchdown pass. Scott then ran for two points and the Chiefs lead was cut to two points, 41-39.

With less than a minute to go, the Chiefs went to the victory formation after recovering an on-side kick and what was left of the Arrowhead crowd went home happy to enjoy such an unexpected evening of points and a victory.

Chiefs Kickoff Pre-Season Against The Bengals

The last time the Chiefs walked off the field of competition was early January and they limped to the locker room at Lucas Oil Stadium stunned by what had just happened.

A 28-point lead over Indianapolis with 28 minutes to play melted away from the heat coming off the right arm of Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. The 2013 season was over in a 45-44 loss.

The 2014 season begins Thursday night when the Chiefs hosting the Cincinnati Bengals at Arrowhead Stadium. Kickoff is 7 p.m. There are plenty of good seats available.

Nothing is forgotten quite as quickly as the NFL pre-season. Who can remember the outcome when the Andy Reid Era opened a year ago in New Orleans with a game against the Saints? The Chiefs lost 17-13.

Almost six months later, the Chiefs scored 44 points and still lost, in a game that had far more meaning then that first outing in New Orleans. The table has a much different setting in August 2014 than it did a year ago. The skills of Reid and his coaching staff showed themselves last season. Same with some of the players on the Chiefs roster.

Points of attention for Chiefs vs. Bengals

But that January afternoon in Indianapolis was evidence enough that there was still a lot of work that needed to be done before the Chiefs can be considered a legitimate Super Bowl contender. That makes every opportunity they have to step on the field of play important in the big scheme of things.

Even if it’s the first game of the pre-season. …Read More!

Points of Attention For Chiefs vs. Bengals

1

Pass protection for all four quarterbacks

The Chiefs offensive line, first, second and third teams, remain far from well-oiled blocking machines. The starters have been inconsistent, and the backups, even those with NFL experience are not challenging the No. 1 guys for playing time. Center Rodney Hudson and rookie guard Zach Fulton have been camp’s best performers – everyone else in the mix must be much more consistent. That starts against Cincinnati.

2

Covering cornerbacks

The Chiefs secondary remains a position group in flux and every pre-season game will provide an opportunity for evaluation of the talent. Marcus Cooper, Ron Parker, Sean Smith, Chris Owens, Phillip Gaines, DeMarcus Van Dyke and others all have flashed at various times during training camp. Consistency has been lacking. The first guys that show the coaching staff they can be counted on will probably get the starting jobs.

3

Bray & Murray, or is it Murray and Bray?

If Reid slices up the quarterback snaps the way it’s gone during practice, Tyler Bray will get the third quarter and Andy Murray the fourth. Neither one will get snaps with offensive first teamers, so it’s any guess as to how this will play out against the Bengals. There are decisions that must be made at the position and Bray and Murray need every opportunity to show they desire a roster spot.

4

The most competitive position on the team: kicker.

Special teams coordinator Dave Toub did not reveal how he plans to split the kicking work load for this game, but for the first time in several years, watching the kickers closely will be important in the pre-season. Rookie Cairo Santos has matched veteran Ryan Succop kick for kick, not only on field goals but kickoffs. Plus, Santos seems to have about five to 10 yards more on every kick. All that has come on practice fields with a few hundred people watching and nobody trying to block the kick. That changes for Santos Thursday night.

5.

Adjusting to rules changes

Contact between defenders and receivers is going to be watched very closely by the officials this season and that will be a point of emphasis even in the games where the outcome matters not. It’s a big factor for the Chiefs because they like to play so much press, man-to-man coverage. They like to get their hands on receivers, and in practice they are prone to holding on too long. Can they stop that habit in the games?

AFC West 2014 Analysis – Kicker

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 K) –Broncos 85, Chiefs 94, Chargers 95, Raiders 96.

Kicker

1. Matt Prater, Denver

5-10, 195 pounds, born 8/10/1984, 8th NFL season, entered the league as an undrafted rookie free agent in ’07 by the Falcons out of the University of Central Florida. He kicked two games in Atlanta, before he was released and signed later that season by the Broncos where he’s kicked since. In 100 games, Prater has made 142 of 174 FG attempts, 81.6 percent.

Prater benefits from the high altitude of Denver and that’s especially noticeable on his kickoffs, as he finished with 81 touchbacks last season with his kickoffs going an average of 71 yards. That’s an impressive tool for the Broncos each week. Last year, he made 25 of 26 attempts, 96.2 percent the best FG average in the league. His only miss was from 52 yards and he established a new NFL record for longest FG when he hit from 64 yards against Tennessee. …Read More!

Crowded Field At Wide Receiver Needs Clarity


Rookies Albert Wilson (8) and De’Anthony Thomas (1) have been making big impressions among the receivers in training camp

The meeting room the wide receivers use at Missouri Western State University has been crowded since the first day of training camp. Very crowded.

As the Chiefs get ready to kick off the 2014 pre-season on Thursday night they have 13 wide receivers on their 90-man roster. No other team in the AFC has as many pass catchers. Seven of those 13 are rookies or first-year players; only Pittsburgh and Jacksonville can match that number when it comes to inexperienced receivers.

Will Andy Reid and his offensive coaching staff have enough plays in practice and four pre-season games to accurately evaluate which five or six receivers will be on the 53-man roster for the regular-season opener?

Reid says the players will sort themselves out before the first weekend in September.

“Yes, as time goes on they will,” said Reid. “You’re seeing it right now. One day it’s one, and then another one shows up. That’s how it works and then you go with who we feel are the best players.

“Just keep playing them. We give them as many reps as we can. Everybody is going to play once we get to the first pre-season game. We’ll evaluate them and play the best guys.” …Read More!

AFC West 2014 Analysis – Punter

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 P) – Broncos 84, Chiefs & Chargers 91, Raiders 94.

Punter

1. Dustin Colquitt, Chiefs

6-3, 210 pounds, born 5/6/1982, 10th NFL season, selected in 3rd-round (#99) of the ’05 NFL Draft by the Chiefs out of the University of Tennessee. Colquitt has punted in 142 regular season games, kicking 744 times for an average of 44.9 yards. He’s had five punts blocked and has a career high punt of 81 yards.

Few punters in the NFL are as versatile as Colquitt, who is equally at home bombing a punt for distance and hang-time, as he is kicking the ball out of bounds in the directional game. He’s been very consistent over the last three seasons, averaging 45.9, 46.8 and 46 yards per punt. In the ’13 regular season he punted 87 times, with 38 of those punts returned by the opponent for an average of just 6.5 yards. Colquitt had one kick blocked and 35 punts inside the 20-yard line with a 40-yard net average. …Read More!

Chiefs Training Camp Practice #14 – 8/4

From St. Joseph, Missouri

Another rookie was the star of the day for the Chiefs practice Monday morning at Missouri Western State University.

Safety Daniel Sorensen seemed to be everywhere as he worked with the Chiefs defense, most of that time with the No. 2 unit, but sometimes finding snaps with the No. 1 guys.

It’s a continuation of what the 6-2, 208-pound product of Brigham Young University has been doing since he was signed after the NFL Draft back in May.

“He did have a good day today,” said head coach Andy Reid. “He had a lot of (pass) break ups and a pick or two. He’s playing good football.”

(Photo right: that’s Sorensen (49) grabbing his first interception of the day covering tight end Demetrius Harris (47).

Reid has always professed his interest in Sorensen, since he’s from his alma mater. But the Utah native has shown throughout camp that he’s able to adapt and learn very quickly in coordinator Bob Sutton’s defensive scheme.

“He’s making progress as we go,” Reid said of Sorensen. “The thing you see with the young guys, the rookies, is you start putting days together. It’s not just one practice, its two, then three practices.” …Read More!

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.

Chiefs Training Camp Practice #13 – 8/3

From St. Joseph, Missouri

It was a soggy Sunday morning at Missouri Western State University, as thunderstorms forced the Chiefs to move practice inside, there first full pads, indoor workout of this training camp.

And the change in venue didn’t alter what was on the practice plan for the team’s 13th practice. “No, this was going to be our style today,” said offensive coordinator Doug Peterson of what went down during the two-hour and 30-minute session.

But the new wrinkle came from defensive coordinator Bob Sutton. He unveiled a new scheme during Sunday’s practice, a 1-5-5; that was one defensive lineman, nose tackle Dontari Poe and five – that’s right five – linebackers. On Sunday, that group was starters Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson and Justin Houston, and they were joined by outside linebackers Dee Ford and Josh Martin.

Certainly, that’s a lot of pass rush firepower, as those six players upfront are the best on the Chiefs roster at putting pressure on the quarterback.

“That’s a lot more speed out there at one time,” said Houston. “It’s going to put a lot of pressure on the quarterback.” …Read More!

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 Training Camp Practice #12 – 8/2

From St. Joseph, Missouri

He’s the smallest player on the roster, as long as rookie kicker Cairo Santos isn’t included. Running back/ wide receiver/ returner De’Anthony Thomas is 5-9, 170 pounds.

But he gets bigger and bigger in the Chiefs plans as each training camp practice rolls on at Missouri Western State University.

Thomas was the star of Saturday morning’s practice, showing off his speed in many different ways, whether it was taking a pitch from the quarterback on an option-type play and breaking the edge of the defense, or going up the middle of the offensive line and wiggling past the linebackers, or getting a step on coverage from defensive backs and hauling in passes.

He even broke up an interception in the end zone, when free safety Husain Abdullah had the throw in his hands, but Thomas was able to reach in and got the ball out and on the ground.

The fifth-round draft choice from the University of Oregon has drawn the respect of his defensive teammates. …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!

Another Kicking Duel Highlights Friday Practice

From St. Joseph, Missouri

A good one-on-one duel in the sporting world requires several elements. First, the participants must have similar standards of talent. Second, there’s a lot of back and forth, with the competitive edge constantly in flux.

And third, there has to be something on the line, some sort of prize desired by the parties involved in the duel.

Well folks, we have a real competition going on for the job of kicker for the 2014 Chiefs. Veteran Ryan Succop and rookie Cairo Santos were both kicking on Friday morning at practice. At one point while the rest of the team was on the west field, the kickers were on the east field going through 12 field goal attempts each.

After Monday’s practice, they were pretty even, but Succop gained a slight edge from the kicking that went on in Wednesday’s workout. Friday it was Santos that stepped forward and pushed the competition back to even.

“It’s a real battle,” said special teams coordinator Dave Toub. “The pre-season games are going to tell us a lot.”

In more than a week of training camp, Santos has proven that he has the stronger leg of the two kickers; every one of his field goal attempts was a good 10 yards longer at the finish than Succop. …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.

AFC West 2014 Analysis – Third Cornerback

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 3CB) –Broncos 73, Chargers 80, Raiders 83, Chiefs 84.

Third Cornerback

1. Chris Harris, Denver

5-10, 190 pounds, born 6/18/1989, 3rd-NFL season, signed by the Broncos as an undrafted free agent in ’11 out of the University of Kansas. In three seasons, he’s played in 47 games with 31 starts at both left and right cornerback. Harris has seven interceptions, including two that he returned for TDs, along with 203 total tackles and 2.5 sacks.

Harris has just begun to be able to practice as he’s recovering from ACL surgery from back in February; he was injured in Denver’s first game in the post-season against San Diego. He’s been cleared for light practice work and says he’ll be cleared to play by the end of the Broncos pre-season schedule. The question is whether he’ll return to the starting lineup, where he opened 16 of the 17 games he played last year at either left cornerback or slot corner. He did start one game at right cornerback. Overall, he saw 1,086 defensive snaps, was targeted by opposing passers 92 times, and they completed 52 for an average of 10.9 yards a completion. He allowed only one touchdown pass, grabbed three interceptions and posted 65 total tackles. …Read More!

Chiefs Training Camp Practice #10 – 7/31


KC Chiefs photo

Darryl Surgent (#14) is about to make the best catch of Thursday’s practice.

From St. Joseph, Missouri

Andy Reid had his Chiefs offense working in the red zone during a three-hour practice on Thursday morning at Missouri Western State University.

“I thought there were some good things on both sides,” Reid said after practice. “It kind of traded back and forth. We did all ones vs. ones, twos vs. twos, threes vs. threes. Overall there were some good things and there are some things we need to work on for both sides.”

Last season, the Chiefs finished No. 8 in the league in scoring touchdowns during possessions in the red zone/inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. They had 57 chances and scored 33 touchdowns, or 57.9 percent of the time.

However, they finished No. 31 in the league in total scoring off red zone possessions. Along with 33 touchdowns came 13 field goals, of 46 of the 57 opportunities or 80.7 percent. That was better than only the Jacksonville offense.

The 11 trips inside the 20 produced included two fumbles lost, two interceptions, a missed field goal (34 yards), three times they lost possession on downs and there were three times when the half or game ended. …Read More!

AFC West 2014 Analysis – Right Cornerback

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 RCB) –Broncos 72, Chargers 76, Raiders 80, Chiefs 82.

Right Cornerback

1. Carlos Rogers, Oakland

6-0, 192 pounds, born 7/2/1981, 10th-NFL season, 1st-season with the Raiders, who signed him as a street free agent from the 49ers. Rogers was selected in the 1st-round (#9) of the ’05 NFL Draft by the Redskins out of Auburn University. He played six seasons with Washington and the last three with San Francisco, where he signed as a free agent in ’11. He’s played 126 games with 116 starts, collecting 17 interceptions, including two he returned for touchdowns, 445 total tackles, one sack and four forced fumbles.

Rogers has played both left and right cornerback, and earned Pro Bowl honors in ’11 on the left side in his first season with the Niners. Last year he played in 17 regular and post-season games, starting all but the NFC title game against Seattle. He had 1,091 defensive snaps and opponents targeted him 98 times, completing 59 passes for an average gain of 12.3 yards. He allowed three touchdown passes, while he grabbed a pair of interceptions and 50 total tackles. …Read More!

Camp Notes: Physical Play Continues To Increase


KC Chiefs photo

From St. Joseph, Missouri

Andy Reid is old school when it comes to what he wants to see from his players during training camp.

That’s why contrary to the recent trend in the league where head coaches eliminate contact in camp, Reid encourages physical play. He does not call for full-speed, game-like intensity. But he wants players running into each other because football is a collision sport and how better to prepare for banging bodies than to do it on the practice field.

More than a few Chiefs fans held their breath Wednesday morning when All-Pro running back Jamaal Charles went down under a pile of bodies on a running play. The early part of that play is pictured above.

“It’s a physical game and we’ve got to get Jamaal ready to play and he’s got to understand that he’s going to get hit in a lot of these live periods,” said offensive coordinator Doug Pederson. “We don’t keep him in there very long. As coaches we’re smart about that. You’ve got to get them ready to go because this first pre-season game he’s going to get hit.” …Read More!

Tyler Bray Is Showing His Improvement

From St. Joseph, Missouri

The best quarterback on the field was not the starter, the No. 1 backup or the draft choice. It was the second-year undrafted free agent that had a very nice performance on Wednesday morning at Missouri Western State University.

Tyler Bray had his best practice of his week on campus, and that’s saying something because he’s had good sessions before.

But Bray did the little things on Wednesday, things that he couldn’t have fathomed doing last year in his rookie season out of the University of Tennessee.

“I’m a lot more comfortable,” Bray said in comparison to last year’s camp. “You’ve just got to feel it. You have to know your reads and know where everyone’s coming from.”

There is some much nuance to playing the quarterback position at its highest level of competition. Eventually, a quarterback learns the important pieces of his profession, or he ends up selling insurance. There’s never been any doubt about Bray’s physical tools, especially his arm which is the strongest of the four quarterbacks on the roster.

Case in point: the Chiefs were working a lot of goal-line offense in Wednesday’s practice. The action was about as full speed as it can be without all-out hitting like a game. Bray and some backups on offense were facing the Chiefs No. 1 defense. On the play, Bray faked a handoff to the running back and then moved to his left. Defenders had problem locating the ball, because Bray had it on his hip and away from defensive eyes. He pulled it off his hip at the last instant and flipped the ball to tight end Richard Gordon, who was wide open. …Read More!

Chiefs Training Camp Practice #9 – 7/30


From St. Joseph, Missouri

After their day off, the Chiefs got back to practice on Wednesday morning. They also got back some of their injured players.

Right tackle Donald Stephenson, center Eric Kush and safety Sanders Commings joined their teammates in full pads after missing previous practices because of various ankle and foot injuries.

Stephenson had his left ankle rolled up on in Saturday’s practice and missed the workouts on Sunday and Monday. But that does not mean he wasn’t sweating.

“I know my team needs me, so I did double treatment to get back on the field,” Stephenson said. “I got back faster than I thought I would and I’m proud of it.”

Sadly, Commings first practice time of camp was cut short because of a right ankle injury he suffered on the field. He has missed the first five practices because a foot problem he suffered in the days before reporting to Missouri Western State University. It was last year in the second day of camp that he suffered a broken collarbone that kept him out of all but two games during his rookie season.

The practice featured goal line and short yardage offense and defense, along with field goal and kickoff work. The offense, particularly the No. 1 unit, had more apparent busted plays and assignment problems than in any practice so far. Several of quarterback Alex Smith’s passes were thrown to areas downfield where there were no receivers. One was thrown downfield to the right side where running back Jamaal Charles and wide receiver Frankie Hammond were running deep routes. Smith’s throw landed between the two receivers, who did not seem to know the ball was coming. …Read More!

Notes From A Day-Off At Camp Andy


From St. Joseph, Missouri

The Chiefs players have a day off on Tuesday, with no practice, no walkthrough, no lifting and conditioning.

The mini-vacation does not come because Andy Reid wanted to reward his players or was worried about their physical and mental health. In fact, the head coach had nothing to do with the off-day.

It comes courtesy of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement between owners and players. The contract reads that in camp the players must get a day of rest every five days of practice. The Chiefs worked on the field Thursday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday-Monday, so they were due down time.

Of course it’s not really a day off for 90 percent of the roster. They will remain on campus at Missouri Western State University, where they will sleep, get treatment for bumps and bruises, maybe watch some practice tape and possibly get out and see a bit of St. Joe. I doubt they’ll be at the Pony Express Museum, but more likely they’ll be at the mall or shopping center, maybe at the grocery store, stocking the room for another week.

Here’s what makes training camp such an important physical-psychological laboratory. The flow of training camp naturally goes in an up-and-down motion. Decision makers like general managers and coaches make assessments every day on how the players handle themselves. The first-week All-Pro at training camp can disappear by the third-week of practice. A rookie that jumps to the front in the early sessions can end up at the back of the line long before decisions are made on roster spots. …Read More!

AFC West 2014 Analysis – Inside Linebacker

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 ILB) –Broncos 64, Chargers 68, Raiders 73, Chiefs 75.

Inside Linebacker

1. Derrick Johnson, Chiefs

6-3, 240 pounds, born 11/22/1982, 10th NFL season, selected in the 1st-round (#15) of the ’05 NFL Draft by the Chiefs out of the University of Texas. Over his 137-game career, Johnson started 124 times, posting 981 total tackles, with 22.5 sacks, 11 interceptions and 19 forced fumbles.

Johnson had a solid season ’13, earning another trip to the Pro Bowl with his consistent play in all three areas: run defense, pass rush and pass coverage. He finished the season with four sacks and 19 other plays involving the quarterback. He had 107 total tackles, 4.5 sacks and two interceptions. In pass coverage he was targeted 59 times, giving up 41 completions for an average gain of 10.5 yards. But the great ability that Johnson showed last year was his availability. He played 16 of the 17 games, held out of the regular season finale in San Diego with the other veterans. During the regular season he had 1,105 defensive snaps, missing only 29 plays in the 15 regular-season games that he was on the field. …Read More!

The Most Competitive Position On K.C. Roster – Kicker

From St. Joseph, Missouri

They are only on the field and the focus of attention for a few minutes during a Chiefs training camp workout.

But after five practices kickers Ryan Succop and Cairo Santos are putting on the most competitive battle for a roster spot at Missouri Western State University. Each one has tried 17 field goals, ranging from 30 yards to just over 50 yarders. So far here’s how they breakdown:

  • Santos – he’s made 16 of 17, including all five that he kicked Monday morning.
  • Succop – he’s also made 16 of 17, including all five of his Monday kicks.

They have kicked field goals three different times in five practices; on Thursday, Saturday and Monday. Both were 6-for-6 on Thursday, 5-of-6 on Saturday and then 5-for-5.

“They are challenging each other,” said Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. “Both of them are good kickers. Today was a tie. I told them it was like the World Cup. We practiced for an hour and they were tied.” …Read More!

Chiefs Training Camp Practice #8 – 7/28


Demetrius Harris is set to catch a pass in Monday’s Chiefs practice

From St. Joseph, Missouri

It was a defensive day on the practice fields at Missouri Western State University on Monday, as the full Chiefs squad worked together for the fifth consecutive day.

The difference between the Chiefs this year and last year at the same time could be seen in the offensive script for the practice. Last year, the team was feeling its way with Andy Reid’s offense. Now, the head coach and his staff are confident enough to begin early work on the two-minute drill just five practices into camp.

But the Chiefs offense ran into a few roadblocks that were thrown at them by the Chiefs defense. This was not a stifling effort from the defensive squad, but when it was time to make a play, that stood up and kept the offense out of the end zone. …Read More!

AFC West 2014 Analysis – Middle Linebacker

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 MLB) –Broncos 60, Chargers 66, Raiders 70, Chiefs 74.

Middle Linebacker

1. Nick Roach, Oakland

6-1, 235 pounds, born 6/16/1985, 8th NFL season, 2nd-season with Raiders who signed him in ’13 as an unrestricted free agent from the Bears. Roach entered the NFL as an undrafted rookie free agent in ’07 with the Chargers out of Northwestern University. He was released by San Diego and was signed by the Bears where he spent six seasons. In seven seasons he’s played 96 games with 75 starts, registering 346 total tackles with nine sacks, an interception and eight forced fumbles.

In the ’13 season, Roach played every defensive snap the Raiders had, finishing with 1,105 plays. Although the Raiders struggled last year, his addition in the middle of their defense was an improvement. He started all 16 games, and finished up the season with a career high 5.5 sacks and 112 total tackles along with an interception and four forced fumbles. Roach was stronger in pass coverage and the pass rush than in stopping the run, especially in two games against the Broncos. …Read More!

Long-Shot Tackle Puts Coaching Career On-Hold

From St. Joseph, Missouri

After Sunday morning’s practice at Missouri Western State University backup offensive tackle Ryan McKee trudged up the hill to the players’ locker room.

A year ago, he would have turned not into the players’ quarters, but the coaching locker room. Last football season McKee was out of the NFL, but not out of the game. McKee was a graduate assistant coach working with the offensive line at the University of North Carolina.

Today, he’s a long shot, street free agent trying to earn an NFL roster spot with the Chiefs.

“I thought I was done as a player,” McKee said. “I’m enjoying the chance to try again.”

McKee earned more practice snaps on Sunday when starting right tackle Donald Stephenson went down with a left ankle injury. That forced adjustments on the right side, and left McKee as pretty much the only backup for starting left tackle Eric Fisher. Since last year’s No. 1 choice in the NFL Draft is on restricted snaps because of his surgically repaired shoulder, McKee had multiple chances in the pass protection/pass rush one-on-one drills.

And, he held up his end. Facing off against pass rushers like Tamba Hali, Justin Houston, Mike Catapano and Allen Bailey, there were victories in pass protection and defeats; his ratio of good to bad plays was the same as every other blocker working on Sunday, especially the tackles.

“There a few things I know I’ll see on the tape that I’ll have to correct,” McKee said. “But going up against those guys will get your motor running.” …Read More!

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!

AFC West 2014 Analysis – Left Outside Linebacker

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 LOLB) –Broncos 54, Chargers 59, Raiders 66, Chiefs 71.

Left (Strong) Outside Linebacker

1. Justin Houston, Chiefs

6-3, 258 pounds, born 1/12/1989, 4th NFL season, selected in the 3rd-round (#70) by the Chiefs in the ’11 NFL Draft out of Georgia. In 43 games with 37 starts, Houston has 26.5 sacks and 180 total tackles. He also has an interception and a forced fumble.

At some point here in the next six to nine months, Houston is going to score big on a new contract, especially if he continues to perform as he did last year when healthy. He missed five games with an elbow injury that stopped what was one of the best defensive seasons in the league. He had 724 defensive snaps, producing 11 sacks and 61 total plays on the quarterback, with 34 total tackles. The only place he struggled was in coverage, giving up seven completions on seven targets against him, but only allowing 52 total yards. He has the size, strength and speed to be a 10 to 15-sack defender for the next five to seven years. …Read More!

Chiefs Training Camp Practice #5 – 7/25

From St. Joseph, Missouri

The Chiefs got one step closer to actually having a real football practice as they got through a two-hour-plus session Friday morning at Missouri Western State University.

That’s to say it was another training camp practice without full pads, so there was little in the way of physical contact. Such are the labor rules these days that the veterans get three days to acclimate to football before they use their shoulder pads and go about actually practicing in the same manner the game is played.

The defense hasn’t had a chance to show much due to the lack of physical play. The offensive line is still punching at air and practice dummies, not defensive linemen. The running game hasn’t had the opportunity to really show its stuff as the offensive line can only steer the defenders, not hit them. All that will come to an end on Saturday, when the pads go on and the practices look more like football.

But that doesn’t mean there can’t be improvement and goals accomplished in the building of the 2014 Chiefs. Here is what we saw and heard under mostly cloudy skies, with occasional bursts of sunshine that sent the temperature and humidity soaring: …Read More!

Chiefs Training Camp Practice #4 – 7/24

From St. Joseph, Missouri

It was a busy Thursday for the Chiefs players as they had a conditioning session in the morning and then practice on the field and in the heat here at Missouri Western State University in the afternoon.

Since the NFL rules did not allow them to wear full pads, Andy Reid had them in helmets and shorts, and they did not have a normal training camp practice. Reid scheduled one of his 10-10-10 practices, where the No. 1 offense went against the No. 2 defense for 10 plays, followed by the No. 1 defense facing the No. 2 offense for 10 plays, and back and forth as they ran through quite a few rotations.

The pace was fast and there was very little down time during the practice that ran for almost two hours. Here are some of the items and moments that stood out:

– The starting offense lined up with Rishaw Johnson at right guard. The rest of the unit was as expected with receivers Dwayne Bowe, Donnie Avery along with Junior Hemingway, tight end Anthony Fasano, running back Jamaal Charles, fullback Anthony Sherman, quarterback Alex Smith and the offensive line from left to right tackle of Eric Fisher, Jeff Allen, Rodney Hudson, Johnson and Donald Stephenson.

– The No. 1 defense lined up just as it finished the off-season work, with Sean Smith on the sideline and Marcus Cooper and Ron Parker at the cornerback spots; Cooper right, Parker left. At safety it was Eric Berry and Husain Abdullah, with outside linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, inside linebackers Joe Mays and Derrick Johnson, defensive ends Mike DeVito and Allen Bailey, along with nose tackle Dontari Poe. …Read More!

AFC West 2014 Analysis – Right Defensive End

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 RDE) –Broncos 52, Chargers 55, Raiders 63, Chiefs 70.

Right Defensive End

1. Justin Tuck, Oakland

6-5, 268 pounds, born 3/29/1983, 10th NFL season, 1st-season with the Raiders who signed him in March as a free agent. He entered the NFL as a 3rd-round (#74) selection by the Giants in the ’05 NFL Draft out of Notre Dame University. In 127 games with the Giants, Tuck had 60.5 sacks, along with two interceptions, 18 forced fumbles and 453 total tackles.

The Giants had a bad season last year, but it wasn’t because Tuck went in the tank. He was strong across the board against the run and pass, and had only one or two games that were judged with a negative grade. He played all 16 games, started 15 and had 896 defensive snaps. He had 12 sacks, 12 hits on the passer and 44 quarterback hurries. That’s 68 plays affecting the quarterback. Tuck also had 44 tackles. He did turn 31 earlier this year, but over the last six season he had only one year (’11) where he missed more than one game. He’s been durable and available and he figures to be a huge addition for the Raiders defense. …Read More!

Chiefs Training Camp Practice #3 – 7/23

From St. Joseph, Missouri

The rookies and selected veterans participating in practice the last three days at Missouri Western State University worked hard Wednesday morning, even though everybody on campus was more interested in the team’s arriving veterans, and maybe a few that were not arriving, i.e. Jamaal Charles and Justin Houston.

There were 32 players on the field, as veteran quarterbacks Alex Smith and Chase Daniel were excused from the work. Another four players were on the sideline due to injury, including third-round draft choice Phillip Gaines. He went down late in Tuesday’s practice with a hamstring injury.

Without the top two quarterbacks, that gave all the snaps to Tyler Bray and Aaron Murray and it’s safe to say that neither gained much of an advantage of the other in the passing work.  Andy Reid had his offense working a lot in the red zone, and both Bray and Murray connected on scoring plays, and missed on others.

Reid was very vocal at times in the practice, especially with some of the younger players. The word “details” kept being repeated over and over again. The player who heard it most was rookie running back/receiver De’Anthony Thomas and tight end Demetrius Harris. Reid had one-on-one conversations with both on their footwork in short pass routes. Running backs coach Eric Bieniemy was vocal with Thomas when he cut short a pass route. …Read More!

Busy Chiefs Sign Offensive Tackle, Linebacker

From St. Joseph, Missouri

Among the new faces on campus at Missouri Western State University on Wednesday were a couple of new names for the Chiefs roster.

They have signed offensive tackle Ryan Harris and inside linebacker Josh Mauga. No word yet on what moves will be made to create room on the 90-man pre-season roster. Before the veterans officially arrived, the Chiefs were at 90 players.

The 29-year old Harris has been with Denver, Philadelphia, Denver again, and most recently with Houston.  In the last two seasons he played in all 32 games for the Texans, starting five times at both left and right tackle. Harris, 6-5, 302 pounds, came into the NFL as a third-round (#70) selection in the 2007 NFL Draft by the Broncos out of Notre Dame University.

Harris played four seasons with Denver, appearing in 46 games and starting 34 at right tackle. He signed with the Eagles in 2011, but underwent back surgery before the season started and he was released. Denver signed him in the post-season as an injury replacement, waiving him in August 2012. That’s when he signed with Houston.

The 27-year old Mauga came into the league with the New York Jets as an undrafted rookie free agent out of the University of Nevada. He played there for Chiefs consultant Chris Ault (Nevada head coach) and worked with Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton with the Jets. The 6-1, 245-pound native of Hawaii has spent most of his career battling injuries, the most recent was a torn pectoral muscle that sent him to the injured-reserve list in New York after five games of the 2012 season. Mauga did not play in 2013.

AFC West 2014 Analysis – Left Defensive End

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 LDE) – Broncos 47, Chargers 50, Raiders 58, Chiefs 65.

Left Defensive End

1. Malik Jackson, Denver

6-5, 293 pounds, born 1/11/1990, 3rd NFL season, selected in the 5th-round (#137) of the ’12 NFL Draft by the Broncos out of the University of Tennessee. In two seasons with Denver, Jackson has played 30 games with five starts. He has six career sacks and 65 tackles.

Jackson is a physically gifted California native who did two years at the University of Southern California before transferring to play his last two college seasons for the Volunteers in Tennessee. Going into the ’12 NFL Draft, he was timed at 4.85 seconds in the 40-yard dash while carrying 284 pounds. As a rookie, he had limited defensive snaps, but last year during the Broncos run to the Super Bowl, Jackson saw 601 defensive plays, with six sacks and 43 plays on the quarterback along with 31 total tackles. When starter Derek Wolfe went down with physical problems, Jackson stepped in and handled the position. He’ll likely get the first chance to stay there in ’14. …Read More!

AFC West 2014 Analysis – Defensive Tackle

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 DT) – Chargers 46, Broncos 46, Raiders 56, Chiefs 62.

Defensive Tackle

 1. Antonio Smith, Oakland

6-3, 274 pounds, born 10/21/1981, 11th NFL season, 1st season with Raiders who signed him to a 2-year contract back in March. He was selected in the 5th-round (#135) of the ’04 NFL Draft by the Cardinals out of Oklahoma State. Smith spent five seasons in Arizona, and then signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Texans in ’09. He spent five seasons in Houston. Overall, Smith has played in 140 games over 10 seasons, totaling 41.5 sacks and 282 total tackles. He also has a touchdown on a fumble return.

Most of Smith’s NFL career has been spent playing defensive end, but with today’s hybrid defensive schemes, he’s expected to play more of a defensive tackle position for the Raiders. Last year with the Texans, he started and played 15 games, with 770 offensive snaps. He was penalized five times, had five sacks, a forced fumble and 30 total tackles.

…Read More!

Chiefs Training Camp Practice #2 – 7/22

From St. Joseph, Missouri

The hottest day of the year – so far – greeted the Chiefs rookies and selected veterans for the second practice of training camp here at Missouri Western State University. It was hot, muggy, steamy, broiling . . . otherwise typical training camp weather for the Midwest.

Some would say Eric Fisher’s timing was poor. Last year’s No. 1 NFL draft choice was on the field Tuesday, upping the head count among offensive linemen to four. Fisher is coming off dual surgeries from the off-season, on his shoulder and for a sports hernia.

Hot weather or not, Fisher was very glad to be wearing his red No. 72 and wiping off little rivers of sweat that rolled off his head.

“I had the surgeries and I needed to get out here and get situated before the vets get here,” Fisher said after practice. “I’m glad to be here early. It felt good. It was back to football and that’s what I’ve been doing my whole life.” …Read More!

Chiefs Training Camp Practice #1 – 7/21

From St. Joseph, Missouri

The Chiefs rookies and selected other veterans went through the first practice of training camp Monday morning at Missouri Western State University.

Only, somebody forgot to tell the wide receivers; there were 35 players on the field and 10 of those were receivers, and just about every one of them dropped multiple passes through the one-hour, 45-minute workout. Tight ends had the same problems.

Balls littering the field are never a good sign for a football team. But on July 21st and the first day of training camp, it’s something to note and move on from, just as long as the receivers bounce back.

“We have to shake off a couple of cobwebs,” said Kyle Williams. “A lot of balls on the ground and we have to clean that up.” …Read More!

First Wave of Chiefs Arrives In St. Joe

From St. Joseph, Missouri

In the first afternoon of the Chiefs second Camp Andy here on the Missouri Western State University campus, the head coach got right to the point when asked about goals for the 2014 training camp.

“We weren’t good enough last year,” Reid told the media horde outside the team’s home-away from-home, Scanlon Hall. “Doggone we made some strides but we weren’t good enough. The guys know that and they came into the off-season looking forward to getting better. The coaches, we didn’t do a good enough job there, so we went back and re-evaluated some things.

“Now we get to play. Now we get to see if we can’t be a better football team. That’s exciting; that’s what it is all about.”

Over the next three days quarterbacks, a handful of selected veterans and rookies will be on the practice field at Missouri Western each day. They will have walkthrough practices indoors on two of those days. None of those sessions are open to fans. …Read More!

AFC West 2014 Analysis – O-Line #7

Half-dozen sources in the NFL helped us with our evaluations of the personnel for the AFC West teams going into the 2014 season. We keep 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 where they are rated. For example, the No. 3 spot means 3 points.

AFC WEST SCOREBOARD (thru OL#7) – Chargers 38, Broncos 41, Raiders 52, Chiefs 59.

Offensive line No. 7

1. Will Montgomery, Denver

6-3, 304 pounds, born 2/13/1983, 9th NFL season, 1st with the Broncos who signed him in ’14 as a street free agent from the Redskins. He entered the NFL as a 7th-round (#234) choice in the ’06 NFL Draft by the Panthers out of Virginia Tech University. He has played with Carolina, the N.Y. Jets and Washington. For the past three seasons, Montgomery has started all 16 games each year for the Redskins at center.

Montgomery was a quiet but potentially big addition for the Broncos. He was released by the Redskins in a salary cap-decision that saved the team $2 million under their limit. Should Denver have trouble inside at center or guard, Montgomery brings 90 games of experience into the situation, with starts at both guard positions and center. Last season, he had 1,172 offensive snaps in 16 starts for the ‘Skins. He was penalized 11 times, but allowed only two sacks and 22 total plays where his man bothered the passer. …Read More!

AFC West 2014 Analysis – O-Line #6

A half-dozen league sources helped us with our evaluations of the personnel for the AFC West teams going into the 2014 season. We are keeping score to decide the most talented division roster (on paper). The team with the fewest points will be considered the best as the points match where the rating. For example, the No. 3 spot means 3 points.

AFC WEST SCOREBOARD (thru OL#6) – Chargers 38, Broncos 43, Raiders 52, Chiefs 57.

Offensive line No. 6

1. Jeff Linkenbach, Chiefs

6-6½, 303 pounds, born 6/9/1987, 5th NFL season, 1st-year with Chiefs who signed him as an ’14 unrestricted free agent from the Colts. Linkenbach entered the league as an undrafted rookie free agent in ’10 signed by Indianapolis out of the University of Cincinnati. Coming into the ’14 season, Linkenbach has played 60 games, with 33 starts at both tackles and guard spots.

The signing of Linkenbach achieved one of the foundation goals set by general manager John Dorsey – increase the competition at every position on the roster. Linkenbach gives the Chiefs that increased talent at four of the five offensive line positions, missing only at center. He has started five times at left tackle, 16 times at right tackle, five starts at left guard and seven at right guard. Last season with the Colts in their season that earned them a trip to the playoffs, Linkenbach played 12 games, starting five times (four at right guard, once at right tackle.) He missed several games because of a quad muscle pull. Overall, he saw 395 offensive snaps, with one penalty against him. He allowed two sacks. Evaluations of him ranked his pass blocking ahead of his run blocking. …Read More!

AFC West 2014 Analysis – Right Tackle

A half-dozen NFL front-office sources helped us with our evaluations of the personnel for the AFC West teams going into the 2014 season. We are keeping score to decide the division’s most talented roster (on paper). The team with the fewest points will have the best group, as the point’s match where they are rated. For example, the No. 3 spot means 3 points.

AFC WEST SCOREBOARD (thru RT) – Chargers 36, Broncos 40, Raiders 48, Chiefs 56.

Right Tackle

1. Chris Clark, Denver

6-5, 315 pounds, born 10/1/1985, 5th NFL season, signed by the Broncos in ’10 as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Southern Mississippi University. In four seasons, he has played in 56 games with 20 starts, most of those coming in the ’13 season.

Clark and his performance stepping in at left tackle for injured starter Ryan Clady was one of the keys to the Broncos successful ’13 season and quarterback Peyton Manning’s record-setting play. Clark was penalized seven times in the regular season and allowed 7 sacks. That’s not a bad ratio given that he did not miss a snap starting from the third game through the Super Bowl. Overall, he played 1,303 snaps in the season. With Clady expected back at his left tackle spot, Denver’s blocking until becomes even better as Clark goes to right tackle and last year’s right tackle Orlando Franklin moves inside to left guard, it’s a formidable front for the Broncos. …Read More!

AFC West 2014 Analysis – Right Guard

We used over a half-dozen sources for our evaluations of the personnel for the four teams in the AFC West going into the 2014 season. We are keeping score to decide the most talented division roster (on paper). Team with the fewest points will be considered the best as point total matches rating. For example, the No. 3 spot means 3 points.

AFC WEST SCOREBOARD (thru RG) – Chargers 29, Broncos 38, Raiders 44, Chiefs 49.

Right Guard

1. Louis Vasquez, Denver

6-4, 330 pounds, born 4/11/1987, 6th NFL season, 2nd-season with the Broncos who signed him in ’13 as an unrestricted free agent from the Chargers. He entered the NFL when he was selected in the 3rd-round (#78) of the ’09 NFL Draft by San Diego out of Texas Tech University. In five seasons he played/started 70 games.

There are NFL scouts that say Vasquez had the best season of any blocker in the league last season. Signed away from a division rival, he was plugged right into the starting lineup. In 20 games for Denver, he graded out by most scouts evaluation positive in 19 of those games. The one he missed was the Super Bowl when he was inconsistent against Seattle. But in those games, he was a machine, playing every snap except 15 plays in the Super Bowl. That was 1,443 snaps on offense and in the regular season he had just two penalties called against him. Vasquez did not allow a sack and his man got near quarterback Peyton Manning just 14 times in 16 regular season games. Consider that he pass blocked on 643 plays last year, the fact Vasquez did not allow a sack of Manning ranks among the season’s top efforts. Only Green Bay left guard Josh Sitton’s performance was close to Vasquez among all NFL blockers. …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!

AFC West 2014 Analysis – Left Guard

In this series of stories we analyze the four teams in the AFC West position-by-position. We used over a half-dozen sources for our evaluations, relying on pro personnel scouts around the league and a few coaches as well. As we go along, we’ll keep score and find out which of the four AFC West teams has the most talented roster (on paper); in this case the team with the fewest points will be considered the best. Points match where they are rated. For example, the No. 3 spot means 3 points.

AFC WEST SCOREBOARD (thru LG) – Chargers 26, Broncos 37, Raiders 42, Chiefs 45.

Left Guard

1. Chad Rinehart, San Diego

6-5, 320 pounds, born 5/4/1985, 7th NFL season, 2nd-season with Chargers who signed him as an unrestricted free agent in ’13 from the Bills. He entered the NFL selected in 3rd-round (#96) of ’08 NFL Draft by the Redskins out of Northern Iowa. Rinehart spent two seasons with the Washington before he was released. He spent time on the practice squads of the Jets and Bills, and Buffalo promoted him to the active roster in December ’10.

The left guard position is not one of the strongest spots in the AFC West and Rinehart must be considered a shaky holder of the No. 1 ranking. Last season with San Diego, he played in 11 games, starting at both left and right guard. Reinhart missed time because of a foot injury and played 684 offensive snaps, committed two penalties and he allowed just one sack of quarterback Philip Rivers. Rinehart was much stronger in pass blocking than in the run game last year, although that didn’t seem to slow down running back Ryan Mathews; he ran for more than 1,000 yards. …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!

AFC West 2014 Analysis – Offensive Surprise

In this series of stories we analyze the four teams in the AFC West position-by-position. We used over a half-dozen sources for our evaluations, relying on pro personnel scouts around the league and a few coaches as well. As we go along, we’ll keep score and find out which of the four AFC West teams has the most talented roster (on paper); in this case the team with the fewest points will be considered the best. Points match where they are rated. For example, the No. 3 spot means 3 points.

AFC WEST SCOREBOARD (thru offensive surprise) – Chargers 25, Broncos 31, Raiders 38, Chiefs 42.

Offensive Surprise

1. Latavius Murray, Oakland

6-3, 230 pounds, born 1/18/1990, 2nd NFL season, selected in 6th-round (#181) of the ’13 NFL Draft by the Raiders out of Central Florida University.

Murray was placed on Oakland’s injured-reserve list on August 27th last season and did not play as a rookie because of a foot injury. At Central Florida, he played in 45 games, running for 2,424 yards on 453 carries and 37 touchdown catches. He also caught 50 passes for 524 yards and six touchdown runs. Murray was not invited to the ’13 NFL Combine, but he was impressive in his pro day, turning in a time of 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 1.48 seconds in the 10-yard split, with a 36 inch vertical jump and 22 repetitions on the bench press at 225 pounds. In the Raiders off-season work, Murray apparently nailed down the No. 3 RB spot on the Oakland roster. With his size and speed, he will contribute to the Raiders offense. …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!

AFC West 2014 Analysis – Tight End #3

In this series of stories we analyze the four teams in the AFC West position-by-position. We used over a half-dozen sources for our evaluations, relying on pro personnel scouts around the league and a few coaches as well. As we go along, we’ll keep score and find out which of the four AFC West teams has the most talented roster (on paper); in this case the team with the fewest points will be considered the best. Points match where they are rated. For example, the No. 3 spot means 3 points.

AFC WEST SCOREBOARD (thru TE#3) – Chargers 21, Broncos 28, Raiders 34, Chiefs 37.

Tight End #3

1. Virgil Green, Denver

6-3, 248 pounds, born 8/3/1988, 4th NFL season, selected in the 7th-round (#204) of the ’11 NFL Draft by the Broncos out of the University of Nevada-Reno. In three previous seasons with Denver, he played in 43 games, catching 17 passes for 132 yards. Last year, Green caught nine passes for 45 yards.

Even the third tight end catches passes in Peyton Manning’s offense. Green was on the field for 323 snaps and was targeted 11 times; catching nine and he dropped just one pass of the 11. His playing time will be directly tied to his ability to block, something he did last year as 272 of his 344 total offensive snaps (regular and post-season) were as a blocker for the run and pass. On a team with a lot of offensive threats, Green does not get much of a chance to make a name for himself, but he’s more than adequate as the third tight end. …Read More!

AFC West 2014 Analysis – Tight End #2

In this series of stories we analyze the four teams in the AFC West position-by-position. We used over a half-dozen sources for our evaluations, relying on pro personnel scouts around the league and a few coaches as well. As we go along, we’ll keep score and find out which of the four AFC West teams has the most talented roster (on paper); in this case the team with the fewest points will be considered the best. Points match where they are rated. For example, the No. 3 spot means 3 points.

AFC WEST SCOREBOARD (thru TE#2) – Chargers 19, Broncos 27, Raiders 31, Chiefs 33.

Tight End #2

1. Ladarius Green, San Diego

6-6, 237 pounds, born 5/29/1990, 3rd NFL season, selected in 4th-round (#110) of the ’12 NFL Draft by the Chargers out of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. In two seasons, Green played in 20 games for San Diego, catching 21 passes for 432 yards and three scores. Last year in 16 games with eight starts he caught 17 passes for 376 yards, including a 60-yarder.

Last year, two of Green’s three touchdown catches came against the Chiefs so they already have an idea of this young man’s growing ability to eventually replace Antonio Gates as San Diego’s No. 1 tight end. One of those scores was a 60-yard TD where Green eluded several Chiefs defenders. He saw 370 offensive snaps and was targeted 28 times with his 17 catches averaging 22.1 yards per reception. Six of his 17 balls went for 20 yards or more. Green has long arms (34½ inches) and big hands (10 1/8 inches) and has been timed in 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He is far more developed as a receiver than blocker and that’s one area of his game that must improve. But his offensive snaps are sure to go up this season and ’14 could be a breakout year from Green.

…Read More!

AFC West 2014 Analysis – Tight End #1

In this series of stories we analyze the four teams in the AFC West position-by-position. We used over a half-dozen sources for our evaluations, relying on pro personnel scouts around the league and a few coaches as well. As we go along, we’ll keep score and find out which of the four AFC West teams has the most talented roster (on paper); in this case the team with the fewest points will be considered the best. Points match where they are rated. For example, the No. 3 spot means 3 points.

AFC WEST SCOREBOARD (thru TE#1) – Chargers 18, Broncos 24, Raiders 27, Chiefs 31.

Tight End #1

1. Antonio Gates, San Diego

6-4, 260 pounds, born 6/18/1980, 12th NFL season, signed as an undrafted rookie free agent in ’03 by the Chargers out of Kent State University. In his first 11 seasons in San Diego only two other tight ends have caught more passes for more yards than Gates: Tony Gonzalez and Jason Witten. He’s played 163 games (158 starts), made 719 catches for 9,193 yards and 87 touchdown receptions. Gates earned eight trips to the Pro Bowl and two seasons with more than 1,100 receiving yards. After injury-plagued seasons in 2010-11, he missed just one game in the last two seasons. In the Chargers ’13 season, Gates caught 77 passes for 872 yards and four touchdowns.

Gates was the second of the basketball playing tight ends that made a big mark in the NFL, following a few years behind Tony Gonzalez’s entrance into the pros with the Chiefs. When he’s been available, Gates has been productive in all but one season since his rookie year. That was in ’12 when he caught 49 passes for 538 yards, his lowest output since his rookie season. Last year for the first time in four years he was able to play all 16 games and he was on the field for 996 offensive snaps. With Gates out there, quarterback Philip Rivers looked for him, throwing the ball 109 times in his direction. The big man still has his athletic ability as 400 of his 872 receiving yards came after the catch. Last season was a big one for Gates and his future with the Chargers and in the NFL. He has two more seasons to go on his current contract and it’s unlikely he’ll continue with San Diego after this season, especially with the development of backup Ladarius Green. Gates may see his snaps drop this year, but he will not be forgotten, especially by Rivers.

…Read More!

AFC West 2014 Analysis – Wide Receiver #4

In this series of stories we analyze the four teams in the AFC West position-by-position. We used over a half-dozen sources for our evaluations, relying on pro personnel scouts around the league and a few coaches as well. As we go along, we’ll keep score and find out which of the four AFC West teams has the most talented roster (on paper); in this case the team with the fewest points will be considered the best. Points match where they are rated. For example, the No. 3 spot means 3 points.

AFC WEST SCOREBOARD (thru WR#4) – Chargers 17, Broncos 22, Raiders 24, Chiefs 27.

Wide Receiver #4

1. Malcom Floyd, San Diego

6-5, 225 pounds, born 9/8/1981, 10th NFL season, signed as an undrafted rookie free agent in ’04 by the Chargers out of the University of Wyoming. In 90 games with San Diego, Floyd caught 239 passes for 4,133 yards and 25 touchdowns. Last year he played just two games, catching six passes for 11 yards. A neck injury ended his season and put his football future in doubt.

In 2012, Floyd was named the Chargers offensive player of the year and he started strong last year, racking up 100 receiving yards in the first half against the Eagles. But then he took a hit on the neck and the back of his head and he left Lincoln Financial Field in an ambulance with a neck injury/concussion. That ended his season. How much does Floyd have left in his 33-year old tank? He’ll get the chance to show that in training camp. If he can return to his form, the Chargers and Philip Rivers will have a nice group of receivers with Floyd, Keenan Allen, Eddie Royal and Vincent Brown.

…Read More!

AFC West 2014 Analysis – Wide Receiver #2

The NFL is enjoying its pre-training camp vacation and most rosters are set for the start of pre-season. In this series of stories we analyze the four teams in the AFC West position-by-position. We used about a half-dozen sources for our evaluation, relying on pro personnel scouts around the league and a few coaches as well. As we go along, we’ll 1keep score and find out which of the four AFC West teams has the most talented roster (on paper); in this case the team with the fewest points will be considered the best. Points match where they are rated. For example, the No. 3 spot means 3 points.

AFC WEST SCOREBOARD (thru WR#2) – Chargers 13, Broncos 18, Chiefs 19, Raiders 20.

Wide Receiver #2

1. Wes Welker, Denver

5-9, 190 pounds, born 5/1/1981, 11th NFL season, 2nd season with Broncos who signed him as an unrestricted free agent from the Patriots; signed as undrafted rookie free agent in ’04 by the Chargers out of Texas Tech University; released after one game that year in San Diego and joined the Dolphins, spending 46 games in Miami; traded in ’07 to New England and spent six seasons with the Patriots. In 153 games, Welker has caught 841 passes for 9,358 yards and 48 touchdown catches. Last year with the Broncos, he caught 73 passes for 778 yards and 10 scoring receptions.

For a guy that cracked the NFL as an undrafted rookie free agent, Welker has lived a lucky football life, first catching passes from Tom Brady and now Peyton Manning with the Broncos. Last season was his least productive in the last seven seasons. He led the league in catches in ’07, ’09 and ’11 and in five of those seasons he totaled more than 1,000 receiving yards. Where Welker shined for Denver was working in the slot and in the end zone. His 10 TD catches were the most of his career and 84 percent of his 787 snaps last year were in the slot position. He was targeted 109 times by Manning and dropped 10 passes. The 33-year old has a problem however, and that’s his health, specifically his mental health. Welker suffered a pair of concussions last year and missed three games during the season. From his previous NFL stops he accumulated other head injuries that cost him playing time. There a wealth of possible targets in Denver’s passing game, including a pair of additions in Emmanuel Sanders and draft choice Cody Latimer, along with a quickly developing tight end Julius Thomas. Welker is in the second season of the free-agent contract signed in ’13 and his future, including the coming season, remains in some question.

…Read More!

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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!

AFC West 2014 Analysis – Wide Receiver #1

The NFL is enjoying its pre-training camp vacation and most rosters are set for the start of pre-season. In this series of stories we analyze the four teams in the AFC West position-by-position. We used about a half-dozen sources for our evaluation, relying on pro personnel scouts around the league and a few coaches as well. As we go along, we’ll 1keep score and find out which of the four AFC West teams has the most talented roster (on paper); in this case the team with the fewest points will be considered the best. Points match where they are rated. For example, the No. 3 spot means 3 points.

AFC WEST SCOREBOARD (thru WR#1) – Chargers 10, Chiefs 15, Broncos 17, Raiders 18.

Wide Receiver #1

1. Demaryius Thomas, Denver

6-3, 229 pounds, born 12/25/1987, 5th NFL season, selected in 1st-round (#22) in ’10 NFL Draft by the Broncos out of Georgia Tech University. In 53 games over four seasons, Thomas has caught 240 passes for 3,698 yards and 30 TD catches. Last season in the Denver offense, he caught 92 passes for 1,430 yards and 14 scores.

His first two seasons in the league were filled with injuries, as Thomas was felled by a bruised forearm, concussion, ankle, Achilles and broken pinkie finger. But it was in the 2011 playoffs that he broke out, catching an 80-yard touchdown pass on the first play of overtime as Denver beat Pittsburgh in the fastest extra-period game in league history. Since then, he’s been one of the most productive receivers in the league. In the 2012-13 seasons, Thomas averaged 89.5 yards per game and only Calvin and Andre Johnson averaged more receiving yards. Only Dez Bryant and Jimmy Graham had more than his 24 touchdown catches in those two years. He was huge in the ’13 playoffs, catching 28 passes in three games for 307 yards and five touchdown catches. With 13 catches against Seattle, Thomas established a new record for receptions in the NFL title game. Over the season, Thomas was on the field for 1,131 offensive snaps, as testimony to his reliability and availability for QB Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense. His combination of size and speed make for matchup problems for opposing defenses. Thomas averaged 7.7 yards after contact, one of the highest averages in the league. Manning and Thomas are a combination that’s been almost impossible to stop. That makes Thomas the division’s best receiver.

…Read More!

AFC West 2014 Analysis – Fullback/Running Back #3

The NFL is enjoying its pre-training camp vacation and most rosters are set for the start of pre-season. In this series of stories we analyze the four teams in the AFC West position-by-position. We used about a half-dozen sources for our evaluation, relying on pro personnel scouts around the league and a few coaches as well. As we go along, we’ll 1keep score and find out which of the four AFC West teams has the most talented roster (on paper); in this case the team with the fewest points will be considered the best. Points match where they are rated. For example, the No. 3 spot means 3 points.

AFC WEST SCOREBOARD (thru FB/RB#3) – Chargers 8, Chiefs 12, Raiders 14, Broncos 16.

Fullback or Running Back #3

1. Marcel Reece, Oakland

6-1, 240 pounds, born 6/23/1985, 6th NFL season, signed as undrafted rookie free agent by the Dolphins in ’09 and released; signed with the Raiders in ’09. Reece became the starting fullback in 2010 and over 62 games in Oakland, he’s started 45 games and run 152 times for 723 yards and caught 138 passes for 1,481 yards. He has 11 offensive touchdowns. Last season for the Raiders, he played all 16 games, with 78 touches for 549 yards and four scores.

Coming out of the University of Washington, NFL teams could not figure out just where Reece fit on the offensive side of the ball. Eventually, he landed with the Raiders and they worked him at fullback. Over his time in Oakland, injuries have also forced him to work as the Raiders running back, something he did last year. Despite that, Reece was selected for his second Pro Bowl appearance. He’s a big man and powerful runner, averaging 3.2 yards after first contact. Where he really made his mark in Oakland catching passes out of the backfield. He was targeted 53 times, catching 32 passes last year, but he dropped four passes.

…Read More!

AFC West 2014 Analysis – Running Back #2

The NFL is enjoying its pre-training camp vacation and most rosters are set for the start of pre-season. In this series of stories we analyze the four teams in the AFC West position-by-position. We used about a half-dozen sources for our evaluation, relying on pro personnel scouts around the league and a few coaches as well. As we go along, we’ll 1keep score and find out which of the four AFC West teams has the most talented roster (on paper); in this case the team with the fewest points will be considered the best. Points match where they are rated. For example, the No. 3 spot means 3 points.

AFC WEST SCOREBOARD (thru RB#2) – Chargers 6, Chiefs 9, Broncos 12, Raiders 13.

Running Back #2

1. Danny Woodhead, San Diego

5-8, 200 pounds, born 1/25/1985, 6th NFL season, signed as UFA in ’13 by Chargers; broke into NFL with Jets, playing 11 games over two seasons (2009-10), before landing with the Patriots and playing 45 games over three seasons (2010-12). In 16 games last year with San Diego he ran 429 yards on 196 carries and caught 76 passes for 605 yards. He scored eight touchdowns for the Chargers. Over his 72-game career, he has 3,366 offensive yards and 22 touchdowns.

Woodhead was a huge addition to the Chargers offense last year, as he produced 1,034 yards from scrimmage while playing in just 45 percent of San Diego’s offensive snaps. Among the division’s running backs, Woodhead has the surest hands as a receiver as he caught 91 percent of the passes thrown his way and in 83 targets, he dropped just three balls. Only Jamaal Charles (693) had more receiving yards out of the backfield than Woodhead’s 605 yards. Because of his size, his workload must be limited and he’ll never produce big numbers after contact; he averaged just 1.9 yards after taking the first hit from the defense. Woodhead is not an elite back like Charles, but he just might be the second most-productive back in the division.

…Read More!

AFC West 2014 Analysis – Running Back #1

The NFL is enjoying its pre-training camp vacation and most rosters are set for the start of pre-season. In this series of stories we analyze the four teams in the AFC West position-by-position. We used about a half-dozen sources for our evaluation, relying on pro personnel scouts around the league and a few coaches as well. As we go along, we’ll 1keep score and find out which of the four AFC West teams has the most talented roster (on paper); in this case the team with the fewest points will be considered the best. Points match where they are rated. For example, the No. 3 spot means 3 points.

AFC WEST SCOREBOARD (thru RB#1) – Chargers 5, Chiefs 6, Broncos 8, Raiders 11.

RUNNING BACK

1. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs

5-11, 199 pounds, born 12/27/1986, 7th NFL season, 3nd-round choice ’08 by Chiefs. Last season, Charles continued his role as one of the most dynamic and productive offensive players in the league last season. He finished with 1,980 offensive yards, with 1,287 rushing and 693 receiving; both totals led the Chiefs. He also had 19 total touchdowns, more than any player in the NFL.

When the Chiefs passing offense had trouble getting started last season, it was Charles that was the K.C. offense. He led the team in rushing, receiving and scoring touchdowns and did it all while taking the worst pounding of his career. But the one thing that Charles has established is his toughness and availability. As much as he needs rest during a 16-game season, it’s tough for Andy Reid and the offensive staff to take him off the field when he’s the best runner, receiver, scorer and skill-position blocker on the team. His performance against the Raiders in Oakland was one of the most impressive in recent Chiefs history, especially his four touchdown catches among eight catches for 195 receiving yards. He added a rushing touchdown, giving him five on the afternoon. He became the only player in NFL history to record four receiving touchdowns and at least one rushing touchdown in the same game. His four touchdown receptions are the most TD catches in a game by a running back in NFL history. In the last two seasons, Charles has had 3,725 yards from scrimmage. That’s more than all but one other player: Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson. The question Reid and staff must ponder is how much tread Charles has left on his tires. Last year he played 78 percent of the offensive snaps and the season before he played 55 percent of the plays. The man himself says he’s got plenty left, and history would say he’s correct for the next three seasons. But the concussion suffered in the post-season game against Indianapolis is one of those plays that can begin to add up for a back.

…Read More!

AFC West 2014 Analysis – Backup QB

The NFL is enjoying its pre-training camp vacation and most rosters are set for the start of pre-season. In this series of stories we analyze the four teams in the AFC West position-by-position. We used about a half-dozen sources for our evaluation, relying on pro personnel scouts around the league and a few coaches as well. As we go along, we’ll keep score and find out which of the four AFC West teams has the most talented roster (on paper); in this case the team with the fewest points will be considered the best. Points match where they are rated. For example, the No. 3 spot means 3 points.

SCOREBOARD (thru backup QB)–Chargers 3, Broncos 4, Chiefs 5, Raiders 8.


1. Kellen Clemens, Chargers

6-2, 225 pounds, born 6/6/1983, 9th NFL season, UFA signed in ’14 by Chargers, acquired in trade ’10 by Seahawks, 2nd-round choice (#49) ’06 by the Jets. Clemens has played for the Jets and Rams, and also on the roster in Houston and Washington. He’s appeared in 41 games, starting 21 times and posting an 8-13 record. Last season with St. Louis, he appeared in 10 games with nine starts. Clemens completed 142 of 242 throws (58.7 percent) for 1,673 yards and eight TD passes with seven interceptions.

Clemens has been the journeyman back-up QB for most of his career. His nine starts last year with the Rams were the most in any one season as he stepped in for injured starter Sam Bradford. St. Louis was 4-5 in those starting assignments. With the exception of touchdown passes, his numbers last year were very similar to Bradford. His only other extensive playing time came in 2007 when he stepped in for the injured Chad Pennington with the Jets. Clemens has been part of four different offensive schemes, so it’s unlikely anything that will come down in San Diego will be a problem for him. …Read More!

AFC West 2014 Analysis – Starting Quarterback

The NFL is enjoying its pre-training camp vacation and most rosters are set for the start of pre-season. In this series of stories that starts with this post we analyze the four teams in the AFC West position-by-position. We used about a half-dozen sources for our evaluation, relying on pro personnel scouts around the league and a few coaches as well. As we go along, we’ll keep score and find out which of the four AFC West teams has the most talented roster (on paper); in this case the team with the fewest points will be considered the best. Points match where they are rated. For example, the No. 3 spot means 3 points.

AFC WEST 2014 SCOREBOARD (thru QB#1) – Broncos 1, Chargers 2, Chiefs 3, Raiders 4.

1. Peyton Manning, Broncos    

6-5, 230 pounds, born 3/24/1976, 16th NFL season, signed as FA in ’12 by Broncos; 1st-round choice in ’98 by Colts and played 13 seasons with Indianapolis and the past two in Denver. His career numbers rank among the most prolific in league history. Last season, he started every week for the Broncos, turning in one of the best single-season performances the NFL has ever seen: 5,477 passing yards, completing 450 of 659 passes, a completion percentage of 68.3 percent, with 55 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions. His career record as a starting QB in regular and post-season play is 178-85.

Another chapter in the Peyton Manning Story was written back in February when the Broncos could not get past the Seahawks and ended up losing the Super Bowl. That makes Manning 1-2 as a starting quarterback in the championship game. His record in the post-season over his career as a starter is now 11-12 and in the last 10 games his team was 4-6 and it’s been eight seasons since he won the Lombardi Trophy with the Colts. At this point, Manning does not rank with Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, Tom Brady, Troy Aikman and a few others including his brother Eli, that have more than one winning Super Bowl effort in their careers. Last season was one of the best in his career, especially that plus-45 in his TD-INT ratio. The only negative was the 11 fumbles that he was part of, significantly more than any previous season in his career. He’s no longer has mobility, finishing with minus-31 yards in 32 running attempts. …Read More!

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!

A Short & Unplanned Answer Bob

Over the weekend I checked my e-mail and found a post from long-time subscriber and contributor KC_Guy. He had some questions about the Chiefs and with no advertised Answer Bob segment on the plate, he couldn’t hold it in.

I have been derelict in having an Answer Bob after the completion of the Chiefs off-season program. I will correct that error in the coming weeks. But I thought I’d answer KC_Guy’s queries because they are on the minds of quite a few Chiefs fans. So, here’s a short edition of Answer Bob.

“Kicker: Ryan Succop or Cairo Santos? I guess Santos has the tie-breaker (money/cap hit) in his favor and quite honestly, I’ve not been all that happy with Succop’s leg for a while.”

There are a lot of people talking about Santos and the strong leg he showed in the off-season program. There are a couple of things to keep in mind on this question: (1.) there was no defensive rush on any of those kicks, (2.) there was no crowd creating distracting noise, (3.) the field and weather conditions were perfect, whether kicking inside or outside, and (4.) there was nothing on the line for the team when Santos brought his foot to ball.

Those factors do not work against him until he shows an inability to handle them, and that won’t come until training camp and pre-season games. There is no question Succop is vulnerable.

…Read More!

Chiefs Wrap-Up Mini-Camp & Off-Season

From the Truman Sports Complex

The New York Giants, Washington Redskins and San Diego Chargers all saw their head coach cancel the third practice of their mini-camps on Thursday.

No such luck for the Chiefs, although Andy Reid did shorten up the final practice of the off-season. It was held indoors because of the wet conditions on the practice fields and other than a lengthy session of the 7-on-7 passing drill, there was not a lot of offense vs. defense in the session.

However, like his head coaching compatriots with the Giants, Redskins and Chargers, Reid was pleased with the work his coaching staff and team got done since the end of March.

“We added a few things on both sides of the ball and on special teams and I thought they handled it well,” Reid said. “There was some recall from (last) season and with the new things, they took it all in and worked hard on it. That’s a good feeling that we were able to add to our packages. All and all it was a good offseason.” …Read More!

Mini-Camp Day #2 Report/DAT Returns To Practice


From the Truman Sports Complex

His first mini-camp practice ended with De’Anthony Thomas staggering off the field with the help of a trainer, overcome by the heat and humidity of a normal June day in the Midwest.

Thomas’ second practice wrapped up in a much better manner, sort of. After he finished practice on Wednesday – the entire practice – the fourth-round draft choice met with the media horde. That’s an event that can make just about any rookie feel sick to his stomach.

But the University of Oregon product handled his brief interrogation quite well, flashing a smile as he talked about how the heat felled him 24 hours earlier.

“It’s just me and getting used to this weather,” Thomas said. “I just have to train with it and get better.”

How will he adapt his training regime in the next five weeks before he lands in the outdoor oven that’s St. Joseph in August? The question stumped Thomas. The Oregon campus in Eugene and his hometown of Los Angeles, California can’t produce the combination of heat and humidity of a normal summer day in the Central Time Zone.

“I’ve just got to keep working hard and keep some fluids in my body,” Thomas said. …Read More!

Mini-Camp Day #1 Report/Houston Absent

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs kicked off their three-day mandatory mini-camp at their facilities Tuesday and outside linebacker Justin Houston was absent, just as he’s been for the Chiefs entire off-season program.

With one year remaining on his contract, the NFL’s labor rules require Houston to attend the mini-camp. By missing the first day, the Chiefs have the opportunity to fine him $11,575 and more than $69,000 if he misses all three days.

Of the 89 players currently on the roster, 86 took part in Tuesday’s practice. Missing were Houston, cornerback Sean Smith (illness) and wide receiver Weston Dressler (nursing a hamstring injury.)

(Left: rookie wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas was back with the Chiefs Tuesday, but did not finish practice.)

On the same day that No. 50 was boycotting mini-camp, it appeared Houston’s spot in the starting lineup was no longer held by veteran backup Frank Zombo. First-round draft choice Dee Ford was running with the first team Tuesday afternoon.

And, another rookie was in the starting lineup, as sixth-round choice Zach Fulton opened at right guard.

Last week’s release of starting cornerback Brandon Flowers and Smith’s absence due to an illness made for a shuffling at the position. Marcus Cooper moved from left to right and Ron Parker stepped into the starting lineup at left corner.

The Chiefs were excited about seeing another one of their draft choices, fourth-round running back De’Anthony Thomas. Under NFL rules, Thomas was unable to participate in the OTA sessions, after working and impressing coaches in the rookie mini-camp. …Read More!

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!

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 Defense Strikes Back In Wednesday OTA

From the Truman Sports Complex

Day-to-day it’s hard to make chiseled-in-stone pronouncements about a football team and where it stands in June and how that translates to success or failure when playing the regular-season schedule.

Given that reality it would be foolhardy to make conclusive evaluations of the 2014 Chiefs based on what’s happening on the practice field in the final week of OTAs and next week’s full-squad mini-camp. June performances while wearing shorts and no pads often trend up and down on roller coaster tracks.

Still, there are visible early signs of what the Chiefs might be about this coming season. The offense has been efficient and productive, far ahead of the group’s pace last year at this same time. The defense lagged behind, especially when the first group went against the No. 1 offense.

Then, in Wednesday’s OTA at the team’s facility, the defense answered back. Quarterback Alex Smith’s completion percentage dropped as the defenders kept breaking up passes. Linebackers, cornerbacks and safeties all contributed to incompletions. A couple of those throws were intercepted by the defense.

“They say they come in bunches,” inside linebacker Derrick Johnson said of deflections and interceptions by the defense. “We definitely don’t want to get discouraged when we don’t have a lot of picks or don’t knock the ball down. Today, we had a lot of PBUs (passes broken up.) Myself, I had a couple of PBUs. We just have to get on the Jugs (machine) a little bit more so I can catch the ball.” …Read More!

Chiefs Offense Rolling Through OTAs


From the Truman Sports Complex

The progress of the Chiefs offense from last year to this one can be judged by how many times head coach Andy Reid blows his whistle.

The shrill noise signifies the end of the action for each play. Last year, Reid spent a lot of time blowing his whistle before the ball was even snapped. The Chiefs struggled in the early days of learning his version of the west coast offense and at least a half-dozen times per-practice, they were sent back to the huddle to re-group line up correctly and run the play.

During the current OTA sessions that continued Tuesday with an indoor practice at the team’s facility, players running with the first-team offense have given Reid an opportunity to save his breath. Even the No. 2 offense and the new faces on the roster are cruising through practice plan with a minimum amount of pre-snap mental errors involving alignment, movement and motion.

“Everyone is a lot further along in the playbook than we were last year at this time,” said fullback Anthony Sherman. “It makes these practices so much better because everyone is on the same page and knows what to do. We are much improved from last year.”

Sean Smith charged with DUI & careless driving/details at the end of the post

…Read More!

What We Saw In Week #2 Of OTAs

Chiefs defense in the walkthrough portion of a recent OTA practice. (kcchiefs photo)

After the first week of OTAs, we took a look at what the Chiefs offense was getting done in the practices. In the recently completed second week, our attention has turned to the defense. Here are some observations, opinions and information on the work done by the defense:

The Chiefs are not wasting any time in getting first-round draft choice Dee Ford involved in the defense.

Over three OTA practices this past week, Ford got quite a few snaps with the No. 1 defense and the No. 1 sub-defense in the nickel and dime schemes. There are plays available since starting outside linebacker Justin Houston has not taken part in the voluntary sessions. But veteran Frank Zombo has been running in Houston’s spot in the starting defense.

Ford is getting his chances in the No. 1 defense at right or weakside linebacker, in Tamba Hali’s spot. Hali has gotten more plays off than other linebackers, giving Ford a chance to work with the first unit. When his time with the second defense comes up, Ford handles the left or strong side, where Houston has been the starter.

“I think he’s done a great job of jumping in the books and learning the drops and the things that you need to do with the pass coverage,” said head coach Andy Reid. “That’s not an easy thing with all the combination things that we do.” …Read More!

Chiefs Finish Week Throwing The Long Ball

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs are more than halfway through their allotted 10 OTA practices and improvement is visible in all three phases over a half-dozen sessions, including Thursday’s work that was pushed inside due to the morning rain.

“We are at the halfway point and feel good about the competition,” said Andy Reid. “It’s going back and forth between the offense and the defense, with each one making plays. We are getting good special teams work in. The young guys are improving.”

On Thursday, the practice plan included more plays with the offense looking for the deep ball and all four quarterbacks hit and missed on throws down the field. The two best catches were by tight ends. Anthony Fasano caught a pass on his outstretched finger tips from Alex Smith and Demetrius Harris came back and topped that, stretching for a deep pass thrown by Tyler Bray, grabbing it and keeping his body in bounds for a legal reception. …Read More!

Defense, Special Teams Conversation At OTAs


Coordinator Bob Sutton talks defense with OLB Tamba Hali during OTA. (kcchiefs photo)

From the Truman Sports Complex

As the Chiefs hit the midway point of their 10 OTA practices, the coordinators and assistant coaches were accessible to the media horde to talk about the off-season work. An earlier post came with the words of offensive coaches.

Now, here are the thoughts from the defensive side and special teams:

Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton on what he seeks from his safeties in the Chiefs defense: “We try to play both safeties equally – we don’t really have a strong and a free, so both guys have to know both jobs. But you’re really looking for guys that have a lot of range. Free safeties can do a lot of things, a lot of it goes unnoticed but you can cap off a play. A play that maybe was run or caught for 20 yards but that guy is there to stop it at 20 yards. That’s a big part of being successful, anytime you can limit the explosive players and keep them down the better off you are. You’re asking a lot, you’ve got to be a center fielder and you’ve got to have good knowledge of the defense, like every team is asking out of their safeties. Those would be the main things that we’d be looking for.” …Read More!

Offensive Coaches Talk From Wednesday’s OTA


RB coach Eric Bieniemy works with his players during OTA (kcchiefs photo)

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs made their coaching staff available to the media after Wednesday’s OTA, and coordinators and assistants on both sides of the football spent time answering questions.

Here are some nuggets from the offensive side. Defensive coaching comments will come later.

Offensive coordinator Doug Pederson on filling the holes left by free agency departures: “We’re rolling people in there right now. This is a time to experiment with different combinations at all positions. As we get closer to camp, things get ironed out a little bit more, and we’ll go into the season that way.”

Quarterbacks coach Matt Nagy on the focus of the offense in this year’s OTA workouts: “Last year it was focused on the details; this year it’s more on detailing the details. We’re really honing in on the details of the game. For instance in a specific play, Alex (Smith) last year might be trying to learn the concept of the play, whereas now this year he’s really focusing in on not the concept of the play so much as maybe his footwork or whether he’s going to take a single hitch versus a double hitch on a five‐step play versus a seven‐step play. It’s really detailing the details more than it is just learning the concept of the play.” …Read More!

What We Saw In This Week’s Chiefs OTAs

From the Truman Sports Complex

A year ago, the Chiefs offense was learning how to walk in Andy Reid’s offense.

This week as the OTA practices started for the 2014 off-season, the offense was light years ahead of where it was a dozen months ago. They aren’t walking now, they are up and running and it showed as quarterback Alex Smith directed the offense in three practices.

“It’s tough to even compare and put into words; you’re learning to crawl last year at this time and for the guys that are back and here, obviously it’s a night and day difference,” Smith said. “The unique thing is that there are new faces and you have to get them caught up and get them in the mix. That’s everybody in the NFL; that’s the name of the game. There is turnover from year-to-year and getting everybody caught up because it takes 11 guys to execute.” …Read More!

Tamba Sweatin’ As An ‘Oldie’

From the Truman Sports Complex

The drops of sweat rolled down Tamba Hali’s face like an early summer rain. His shirt was drenched in the after-effects of a busy OTA practice at the Chiefs facility. Hali was handed a towel, he dried his shaved head, but within seconds little eads of sweat formed on his head.

Hali was working hard in preparation for the 2014 Chiefs season. Reports circulated that Hali had arrived to start the off-season program several weeks ago tipping the scales at 284 pounds.

While not confirming the number, Hali said he enjoyed the speculation.

“I like it, they don’t talk about me; it’s something to talk about,” Hali said. “I like it.

“I always show up for camp out of shape,” Hali added with just a touch of sarcasm.

Asked what he weighed this week, Hali said 275 pounds. He said he plays between 260 and 265 pounds during the season. The Chiefs are just about 60 days away from the first practices in pads for the veterans at training camp in St. Joseph. It won’t take a special diet plan for Hali to drop a pound every six days.

“It’s very important to be out here and around the team,” Hali said of the off-season work that continues on Thursday with the third OTA session of week. “The coaches are putting plays in our systems.” …Read More!

Off-season Practices Start Without Houston, Flowers

From the Truman Sports Complex

It always happens.

When a team gathers for the first time in a season, fans and media end up focusing attention on the players that are not participating, rather than those that are on the practice field.

Such was the case Tuesday as the Chiefs began their OTA practices. Thoughts in the Chiefs Nation were not of the 84 players on the field for the first practice. Instead, the focus was on two absent defensive starters and a starting quarterback that was present but still does not have a new contract with the club.

Missing were two key defenders: left (strong) outside linebacker Justin Houston and left cornerback Brandon Flowers. No explanations were available for their no-show status at the beginning of the voluntary off-season sessions.

Quarterback Alex Smith was there, and ran the first-team offense, but negotiations on a long-expected contract extension with the Chiefs do not appear to be making progress. The club and Smith’s agent Tom Condon have been talking since the first of the year when team chairman Clark Hunt publicly called a new contract for the quarterback an offseason priority. The deal Smith brought with him from San Francisco runs through the 2014 season. …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.

Chiefs Wrap Up Rookie Mini-Camp; OTAs Next


From the Truman Sports Complex

The smoke cleared early Monday afternoon for the 65 players taking part in the Chiefs rookie mini-camp.

After three practices over the Memorial Day weekend, Andy Reid and his coaching staff put their camp roster through some quick and intense work that tested them mentally and physically. It wasn’t quite football, but it was as close as the league rules would allow.

With more than five dozen young men trying to grab attention from the coaching staff, it’s impossible to legislate against physical contact. In Monday’s session, a couple of guys wearing No. 48 collided in the end zone; it was tight end Dustin Greenwell and safety Shann Schillinger. Both tryout players walked away, but it caught the head coach’s attention.

“Let’s be smart out here,” Reid loudly told his team. “Smart, smart, smart.”

It turned out to be a very “smart” mini-camp as the Chiefs started with 65 players and went through Monday’s practice with 64 players. Only nose tackle Risean Broussard went down with an injury, tweaking a knee that Reid said was not a serious problem. …Read More!

Rookie Mini-Camp Report – Practice #3

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs wrapped up a three-day rookie mini-camp with a practice that was largely built on working in the red zone for Andy Reid’s offense and defense.

There were a lot of close-quarter plays that tested the offense and accuracy of the quarterback throws and receiver routes. Defensively, the secondary and inside linebackers had to work through the crisscrossing patterns and some shoving from the receivers.

(Right, that’s Dee Ford (#55) coming up behind Aaron Murray (yellow jersey) on a play where the quarterback was chased out of the pocket.) KC Chiefs photo

In the end, it provided perfect results as the offense won some, the defense won other plays, but the coaches and players all got a lot of tape to analyze in coming days.

“The way you get better in any offense and especially at the quarterback position, is just getting reps, reps, reps,” quarterback Aaron Murray said. “Repping the plays out, seeing new defenses, seeing how certain plays work against certain coverages and blitzes; the more reps you get the better.” …Read More!

Rookie Mini-Camp Report – Practice #2

From the Truman Sports Complex

After working the first practice of the Chiefs rookie mini-camp indoors on Saturday, head coach Andy Reid took his squad outside for work in practice No. 2 on a muggy Sunday afternoon.

On top of that, Reid put them through almost two hours of work at a very brisk pace. Those players who were not in tiptop condition struggled near the end of practice. Given that only a handful of players had actually been in an NFL mini-camp before, it’s not a surprise that the youngsters got an education in just what the pros expect from productive physical condition.

The roster for the three-day mini-camp stands at 65 players, broken down this way:

  • 2014 Chiefs draft choices – 6.
  • 2014 undrafted rookie free agents – 11.
  • Players designated as first-year – 13.
  • Tryout players – 35.

They worked only in helmets, with no other pads and no tackling. That makes it folly to divine any real evaluation of talent. All one can do is see which players get the most practice snaps and how they are used.

Here are observations from Sunday’s practice: …Read More!

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.

Rookie Mini-Camp Kicks Off Saturday

Starting Saturday afternoon the Chiefs will hold the first of three practices of their rookie mini-camp at the Truman Sports Complex.

It’s also the kickoff to the most intense on-field period of the off-season for Andy Reid, his coaches and players. They will have 16 practices in 27 days between Saturday and June 19th when they break until the start of training camp at the end of July in St. Joseph.

The rookies already on the roster have been at the Chiefs facility over the last two weeks since the end of the NFL Draft. They were able to attend meetings and take part in the limited on-field work allowed by the league’s labor agreement. That’s six draft choices and 11 undrafted college free agents signees that they’ve announced to date.

But they’ll be more bodies taking part in the three practices as the Chiefs are allowed to bring in players on a tryout basis for the mini-camp. The Chiefs should have about 30 to 40 players going through the practices.

The meetings and practices give the youngsters a chance to get their feet wet in the ways of Reid and his coaching staff. The work also gives them a running start on Tuesday for the first of 10 scheduled OTA practices that feature the full squad. …Read More!

Answer Bob – Chapter #4 – May 23

Here is the fourth and final set of replies to questions for Ask Bob. Again, thanks for your interest.

——————————————

Ernie Barney says: Hey Bob, your opinion please of the veteran players on this team. Who do think might not be on the 2014 opening day roster? I’m always too optimistic to write off an upcoming season so early but I’ll agree with other opinions here that it appears we are looking at a tough year in 2014 and significant personnel changes for 2015. Of the veteran players on the current roster who will be playing their final year in the Red and Gold in 2014? Thanks Bob!

Bob says: Ernie I don’t think we’ll see that much veteran turnover in the final 53-man roster. In a sense, that’s already happened with the departures of Branden Albert, Dexter McCluster, Tyson Jackson, Jon Asamoah, Geoff Schwartz, Akeem Jordan and Quintin Demps; the free agents that left the roster. But, if there are players that may be facing the final season in red and gold the list would have to include Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson, Brandon Flowers, Dwayne Bowe, Mike DeVito, Anthony Fasano and Chase Daniel. If Hali was dispatched, it would leave $3 million in dead money on the 2015 salary cap, but would save $9 million. If Johnson was not part of the picture, there would be no dead money and a savings of $5.25 million. Flowers departure would leave $4 million in dead money, while saving $7.5 million. That’s a lot of defensive talent to remove from the roster, but just those three would create $21.75 million in cap savings. …Read More!

Answer Bob – Chapter #2 – May 22

Why not trade up for Brandin Cooks (L)? why draft Aaron Murray (R)?

More of your questions, more of my answers . . . enjoy.

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ChuckXX says: Hi Bob, I want to “Thank You” for everything you do for us. I have just a “two-parter”: (1.) Can you give us your unbiased opinion of Dee Ford? It was an “understatement” to say most of us were very surprised with that pick. (2.) Can you give us your unbiased opinion of Aaron Murray? I think he was another surprise pick. Why waste a valuable 5th round pick for a “3rd stringer”? It makes very little sense to most of us. I’m still shocked that they didn’t take the best WR in the first round. They probably should have “leap frogged” over the Saints for Brandin Cooks. When he sets all kinds of records it will be a “woulda, coulda, shoulda”, but didn’t.

Bob says: Chuck, come up for air pal! I understand there might be some confusion on how the Chiefs handled things in this Draft, but the moves made sense in the big picture of where this team sits and where they want to go. Fans and media want draft picks that are going to improve weaknesses and contribute immediately on the field. That’s not always realistic to think a draft choice is going to produce immediately. Come the second and third seasons talented players will work their way onto the field.

With Tamba Hali’s salary cap/contract situation and Justin Houston in the final year of his contract, it was necessary for the Chiefs to prepare for being without one or both pass rushers. Ford was the second best pass rusher in the draft, behind only No. 1 choice Jadeveon Clowney. If what he’s shown so far is his best, then it’s not enough and Ford will not be worthy of his No. 23 spot in the draft. If he can improve and produce, he will be well worth the selection. The concern is injury and how well he can play when he’s hurting. He has unusual athletic skills for rushing the passer and must continue to develop those. …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 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!

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 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.

Chiefs Continue Roster Deletions & Additions

After a busy time with the NFL Draft, the Chiefs have begun the roster juggling process that will go on until the first week of the 2014 regular season.

Released were running back Eric Kettani and wide receiver Rashad Ross. Both players did time on the Chiefs practice squad last season, Kettani for one game, Ross for seven games. Both were signed on January 6 as reserve/futures.

That puts the roster at 73 signed players, giving the Chiefs 17 openings to sign undrafted free agents at this time. Draft choices do not count against the roster limit until they sign a contract.

On Monday they officially announced the signing of six undrafted free agents, names we provided Saturday evening: OLB Ben Johnson, Tennessee-Martin; SS Daniel Sorenson, Brigham Young; WR Darryl Surgent, Louisiana-Lafayette; FS David Van Dyke, Tennessee State; RB Charcandrick West, Abilene Christian; WR Albert Wilson. …Read More!

Undrafted Free Agent List For the Chiefs

The Chiefs were busy once the 2014 NFL Draft was over, signing undrafted free agents to add to the roster. They had 15 spots on the roster where they can sign free agents. They have 75 players with contracts, not counting the six draft choices that are not signed but may participate in offseason work starting on Monday.

Here are the names of the undrafted free agents that we’ve been able to collect through various sources:

RB James Baker, 6-2, 237 pounds, Idaho

A Florida native, Baker spent two years at Independence Community College in the Kansas Jayhawk League before landing at Idaho. In the last two seasons he played 10 games for the Vandals, rushing for 587 yards on 140 carries and six TD runs. He caught 10 passes for 186 yards and three scores. In his Pro-Day workout, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.55 seconds while weighing 237 pounds. There were six scouts at the workout in Moscow, and afterwards Baker had a private workout with a Chiefs scout.

RB Joey DeMartino, 5-11, 200 pounds, Utah State.

DeMartino received All-Mountain West honors in 2013 as he finished fifth in the league and 31st in the country with 13 rushing touchdowns. He averaged 87.2 rushing yards per game, playing all 14 and starting eight times. He went over 100 rushing yards in five of his final seven games and finished the season with 1,221 rushing yards. The San Diego native earned offensive MVP honors in the Poinsettia Bowl after running 23 times for 143 yards and a touchdown in a victory over Northern Illinois. In his 32 games for the Aggies, DeMartino ran for 1,378 yards on 250 carries with 14 touchdowns. He caught 15 passes for 139 yards and a touchdown catch. …Read More!

Ford Ready To Make Beautiful Music With Chiefs


From the Truman Sports Complex

The musician in Dee Ford started before he was a football player.

“He was about five years old and he would take a spoon and bang on the pots and pans,” said his father James Ford Sr. “Eventually we got him a set of drums.”

The Chiefs first-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft soon was on the football field, and he worked his way from All-Alabama status in high school to All-Southeastern Conference honors at Auburn University. Thursday, he worked his way into the No. 23 selection in the first round.

“During the whole draft process I told myself it doesn’t matter where I’m drafted because it’s out of my hands and I can’t control that,” Ford said on Friday at the Chiefs facility. “But I can control my work ethic and my craft itself. I’ve just been working on what I do. I said at the top of my mind that I don’t care where I’m drafted, I just need the opportunity.

“So I have goals in my mind that I’ve already set. Until I’m done with the NFL, I won’t cross my finish line.” …Read More!

Chiefs Grab Pass Rusher Dee Ford With 1st-Round Pick


From the Truman Sports Complex

“You can’t have enough pass rushers,” is how Chiefs head coach Andy Reid described Kansas City’s selection of Auburn defensive end/outside linebacker Dee Ford with the 23rd selection of the 2014 NFL Draft. The pick went down Thursday night just before 10 o’clock.

“He has an extremely high motor, he’s intelligent, he’s a concert pianist on top of being a heck of a football player,” Reid said. “We look forward to bringing him in. I’ve said it and John (Dorsey) has said it: you can never have enough of those guys.”

Ford will be worked at outside linebacker in the Chiefs 3-4 scheme, mixing in with returning starters Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. Reid said Ford is viewed as a pass rusher first, but that during his career at Auburn and playing in the Southeastern Conference, he played well against the run and pass.

The 6-2, 252-pound Ford is out of Odenville, Alabama and he spent five years at Auburn, joining the team as a 214-pound defensive end for the 2009 season. He played just three games in the 2011 season then suffered a back injury that ended his participation and gave him a medical redshirt season. In the 2013 preseason camp with the Tigers he sprained his left knee and missed the first two games of the season.

But it was his play at the end of Auburn’s season, against Texas A&M, Missouri in the SEC Championship Game and Florida State in the national championship game that Ford really showed the Chiefs what type of skills he could bring to the K.C. defense. His performance at the Senior Bowl was the clincher, as he earned defensive MVP honors in the all-star game in Mobile, Alabama.

“Go watch the one-on-one tape of him at the Senior Bowl,” said Reid. “He gets low on the ground and he keeps his speed; he doesn’t slow down. He’s a heck of a player.” …Read More!

First Round Goes Tonight; Chiefs Still Holding No. 23

That’s the likely No. 1 selection Jadeveon Clowney visiting NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s office on Wednesday.

Thankfully, the 2014 NFL Draft is finally here, kicking off Thursday night with 32 first round selections.

It goes down at Radio City Music Hall in New York, starting somewhere in the minutes just after 7 o’clock. Television coverage can be found on ESPN and the NFL Network throughout the three-day affair. Teams have 10 minutes to make their choice known to their rivals and the world in the first round.

Owning the No. 23 selection the Chiefs will likely be on the clock sometime between 8:30 and 9:15 p.m. The pace of the first round is always dictated by the number of discussions about trades among the 32 slots. Thursday figures to bring many, many phone calls between teams; those that are in the bottom third are looking to move up, while many of the teams on top of the draft would like to trade down to pick up extra draft choices.

It’s all because of what’s been called a very deep pool of talent, the number of top-rated, first round players ranks somewhere between 20 and 25; a normal year generally has 15 to 20 players rated that high. There are some positions where top-ranked talent rolls into the second and third rounds.

If the Chiefs don’t trade up or trade down they will have the opportunity to add a talented player with their choice. In total, they have six picks in the seven rounds.

“I think that there are good football players to be found in every round,” said Chiefs general manager John Dorsey. …Read More!

Chiefs Have Scored With Players For Draft Pick Trades

So the latest rumor about the Chiefs entering the 2014 NFL Draft is that they are willing to trade Brandon Flowers if he can bring them a decent payback on a draft choice.

Whether it’s true or not doesn’t really matter when the heat gets turned up on the NFL grapevine during the annual selection meeting. There are reasons for the Chiefs to deal Flowers. There are reasons where it would be folly for them to deal their starting left cornerback.

The same can be said for every player wearing a Chiefs uniform – there are no untouchables on the roster. Only two players would even deserve consideration for that status: nose tackle Dontari Poe and outside linebacker Justin Houston. An argument can be made for dealing everyone else because of age, size of contract/salary cap numbers, poor production or declining talent.

There should always be one caveat when dealing away a starter or key reserve for a draft choice – make sure the departing player’s talents and production are replaced on the field.

In their two most recent “major” trades of a starting player for draft choices the Chiefs failed to replace the production. Dealing tight end Tony Gonzalez in 2009 and defensive end Jared Allen in 2008 were done for several different reasons. And trading either one or both would have been fine if the Chiefs had found a productive tight end for the offense and an explosive pass rusher for the defense. Instead, the departure of both players left the offense and defense hamstrung in important facets of the game.

Here are five deals where the Chiefs traded players for draft choices. Some worked out, others did not. Like everything else involving the NFL Draft, there are no sure-things. …Read More!

First Round Trade-Downs Haven’t Helped Chiefs

Trading down worked for Chiefs in adding linebackers Donnie Edwards (L) and Justin Houston

The idea is solid for any NFL team situated in the bottom half of the first round in any NFL Draft. Move down, gain more draft picks and that increases the odds of finding talented players. That’s improved quantity with a slight drop in quality.

It’s good thinking that has not paid big dividends for the Chiefs. Over the last 20 years, they have traded down four times in the first round, all with picks from No. 16 and lower. In those deals they picked up nine extra draft choices, giving the team the chance to add players like current outside linebacker Justin Houston, and former starter on the outside Donnie Edwards. Those trades also added players like cornerback Alphonso Hodge, cornerback Julian Battle, linebacker Troy Dumas and quarterback Steve Stenstrom; those four played a total of 39 games with the Chiefs.

With the 2014 NFL Draft first round scheduled for Thursday night, here’s a look at those four deals: …Read More!

Trade Up/Trade Down, Chiefs Will Need A Draft Partner

Neil Smith (L), Tony Gonzalez (C) and Ryan Sims (R) all came from the Chiefs trading up in the first round.

John Dorsey made it very clear on Friday where he and the Chiefs stand on a possible trade involving their No. 23 selection in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

“You call all 31 teams and you let them know that if something happens, you’d like to move up or you’d like to move down,” Dorsey said. “You know, our phones are always open.”

Trading first-round draft picks has become big business in the NFL over the last decade, and the deals don’t go down unless teams partner up and play let’s make a deal.

“Somebody else has to be interested,” former Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson said several years ago. “You may want to move up, but somebody has to want to move down. It’s not quite as easy and people think.”

In a nutshell, a trade of a first-round choice comes for three reasons: (1.) a team sees an available player they must have, (2.) they don’t see any players at their slot that they want or need, or (3.) they just like to wheel and deal, and are constantly shuffling their collection of picks, usually in hopes of setting up the next trade. New England has become the champion of that approach under Bill Belichick – it’s the Patriots way.

“A man told me once never pass up a good player,” Dorsey said when asked if trade is more likely when a player a team wanted was taken earlier. “If I can acquire some additional picks in a draft that could or could not be deep, then I’ll do that. I’m going to do what’s in the best interest of the Kansas City Chiefs future.” …Read More!

A Slice Of Chiefs Draft History Appears Tonight

On Wednesday night the NFL Network features previously unseen video from inside the Chiefs draft room from 20 years ago.

The program is called Caught in the Draft-1994, a one-hour documentary-style look at that year’s NFL Draft and events surrounding those selections. It will be shown at 8 p.m. and then again four hours later.

NFL Films was in Arrowhead Stadium for that draft and captured the build up to the selection of running back Greg Hill with the Chiefs first-round choice.

Familiar faces abound in the film: president-general manager Carl Peterson, head coach Marty Schottenheimer, player personnel director Lynn Stiles, former top scout Terry Bradway and founder-owner the late Lamar Hunt.

The inside look at the Chiefs comes in the minutes just before their chance to draft at No. 25 in the first round. The Chiefs are considering three running backs for the pick: Mario Bates from Arizona State, William Floyd out of Florida State and Hill from Texas A&M. …Read More!

So Just What Does A Team Get At No. 23?

Ozzie Newsome and Dwayne Bowe: a couple of #82s drafted at No. 23

A team owns the 23rd choice in the first round of the NFL Draft. Just what can they expect to find at that spot in the bottom third of the initial round?

There are many possibilities for any team sitting in that spot, given that only 22 names would have been taken out of that year’s pool of talent. Still, whether that player can be a successful contributor for the club remains a roll of the football dice. In most seasons, evaluators generally agree that there are 15 to 20 players with first-round talents. Some years the talent pool is more fallow; other times there’s an abundance of choices.

Would a team be happy taking a tight end like Ozzie Newsome at No. 23? That was a home run pick by the Cleveland Browns in 1978 when they selected Newsome out of the University of Alabama. He went on to a Hall of Fame career with the Browns.

Teams looking for a Hall of Famer at the 23rd slot have not been very successful at finding one over the years. Since the NFL Draft began in 1936, and including the AFL Drafts (1960-66), only three of the 83 players taken at that spot went on to a Hall of Fame careers: Newsome, punter Ray Guy (1973) and linebacker Bill George (1951). …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!

Off-season Program Dates Set For Chiefs

The Chiefs off-season program will begin on the day after Easter and finish up four days after Father’s Day.

So much of the timing and structure of the spring and summer work by NFL players is controlled by the labor agreement between owners and players. Andy Reid put his schedule together for his second Chiefs team under those parameters.

On Monday April 21st, the team’s strength and conditioning program will begin. The players will lift and run for the next five weeks, with classroom work added near the end of that time.

A rookie mini-camp will start on Saturday, May 24th for three days over the Memorial Day weekend. Rookies, first-year players and others in for tryouts can take part.

Tuesday, May 27th begins the OTA portion of the off-season, as the team will be on the field for 10 practices that are scheduled to last just under two hours: May 27-28-29, June 3-4-5 and June 10-11-12-13.

That leads into the team’s mandatory mini-camp that starts on Tuesday, June 17th for the first of three practices that will wrap up the off-season program.

Cooper Scores With League’s Performance Bonus

Part of the labor agreement between NFL owners and the players is a performance-based bonus that’s intended to provide extra compensation for players that outperformed their contract.

Essentially it’s a way to reward late-round draft choices, undrafted rookies and street free agents that received more playing time than expected when they signed their contracts. Most of those deals were for the league minimum. The bonus is not based on production numbers like rushing yards or tackles. Instead, it’s based on how much playing time a player saw during the season.

There’s $110.72 million in the performance pool for the 2013 season, or $3.46 million per team. From last year’s Chiefs there were 61 players that received bonus money topped by rookie cornerback Marcus Cooper. When the league pays out these bonuses in April 2016, Cooper will receive $253,737. That ranked him at No. 15 among all the league players. Offensive tackle Jordan Mills of the Chicago Bears had the biggest bonus at $318,244.

Last season Cooper earned $405,000 in base salary with the Chiefs after he was claimed off the waiver wire from San Francisco the week before regular season game No. 1. According to NFL reckoning, he appeared in nearly 54 percent of the team’s plays in the 2013 regular season. …Read More!

Mays, Linkenbach Excited About K.C. Opportunities

New Chiefs inside linebacker Joe Mays said Thursday that two items punched his ticket to join the team this week as an unrestricted free agent.

“I want to go to a place where my family would love it, and I’ve heard nothing but great things about (Kansas City),” Mays said during a conference call with the KC media. “That was important to me.

“And, getting the chance to link up with Andy Reid, that was important to me too because he’s such a great person and a great coach. Why wouldn’t you want to be around someone like that?”

Mays came into the NFL with Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles through the 2008 NFL Draft. He was the 200th player selected coming out of North Dakota State.

Since then, he’s also played in Denver and Houston, but he’s maintained his connection with Reid. …Read More!

Chiefs Sign A Pair of Free Agents

Inside linebacker Joe Mays (L) and offensive lineman Jeff Linkenbach are the newest Chiefs

The Chiefs reversed the direction of the player flow on their roster Wednesday when they added a pair of unrestricted free agents.

After losing five of their own free agents on Tuesday, the Chiefs signed inside linebacker Joe Mays and offensive lineman Jeff Linkenbach.

The 5-11, 245-pound Mays will turn 29 in July. He entered the NFL out of North Dakota State in the 2008 NFL Draft, selected in the sixth round by Andy Reid when he was in Philadelphia.

Mays played two seasons with the Eagles, three with Denver and last season with Houston. He’s played in 61 games, with 36 starts and had 204 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble and he scored a safety last season.

The 6-6, 303-pound Linkenbach will be 27 years old in June. He entered the NFL as an undrafted rookie free agent out of the University of Cincinnati in 2010 with Indianapolis. In four seasons with the Colts, he played in 60 games, with 33 starts at right tackle and both left and right guard.

First Day of Free Agency Leaves Holes In Chiefs Roster

In the first hours of free agency, the Chiefs lost T Branden Albert (L), guard Geoff Schwartz (C) and guard Jon Asamoah (R)

For a time Tuesday it was like a revolving door was attached to the Chiefs locker room and it just kept spinning as player after player ran away from Kansas City and grabbed the dollars in the first hours of free agency:

  • Branden Albertgone, to the Miami Dolphins for $46 million over five seasons with $25 million guaranteed.
  • Jon Asamoahadios, as he moved on to the Atlanta Falcons on a deal that averages $4.5 million per year.
  • Dexter McClusterarrivederci, as Dex is off to Nashville to join the Tennessee Titans for $12 million over three seasons and $4.5 million guaranteed.
  • Tyson Jacksonsayonara, as he too landed in Hot-lanta for a five-year deal at $25 million.
  • Geoff Schwartzauf Wiedersehen, with the guard coming off his honeymoon to sign with the Giants.

By the end of the first 12 hours of free agency, the Chiefs had lost five, added none and re-signed safety Husain Abdullah. No details yet on his new deal.

In free agency, there are no extra touchdowns that come from scoring big on the first day. The reverse of that is the off-season is not a disaster if a team does not rack up a half-dozen signings in the first moments of free agent shopping. …Read More!

Answer Bob/Pre-Free Agency – Part #2

Here’s the second installment of your questions and my answers. Many thanks.

————————————————–

Tucson Chiefs fan says: Hi Bob, how much do you think a player’s personality (free agent or draftee) comes into play when Dorsey/Reid look at players? It may seem like an odd question but I believe we had a losing mentality for quite some time and I think that may be the biggest hurdle for us to overcome (although we definitely have started). People are talking about copying Seattle’s blueprint for success with tall press coverage. That’s great but what I see with the Seahawks is a team that consistently expects they will win each week. Same with New England – new players all the time but the “cocky, we are winners” attitude prevails. Is attitude a big or small part of what they look for?

Bob says: Tucson, great question and not odd at all. Personality is a huge part of what they are looking for in players. Both Dorsey and Reid said at the NFL Combine last month that they want to find payers with a passion for the game. That passion shows itself not just on the field during a game, but in practice, the off-season, the locker room, the meetings – every aspect of the job. They want to see and hear that passion when they meet and interview college players. They seek as much information on the history of veteran players as they can dig up. Players with the Chiefs are asked to give a lot, in everything from time, to sweat and blood. If they don’t have a passion for the game, it’s not going to work. The bodies trying to crack NFL rosters all possess outstanding athletic ability. The ones that stick bring something else to the team. That’s what they attempt to find. Last year, Dunta Robinson proved to be over the hill as a cornerback and his signing did not help the Chiefs defense on the field. But Robinson’s presence was not a compete bust – he’s one of those guys that approaches his business with passion. He had a huge influence on the rest of the secondary with his advice and the work ethic he displayed. Robinson did this even when his playing time shrunk and then disappeared. …Read More!

Answer Bob/Pre-Free Agency – Part #1

Thanks for your questions about the Chiefs and free agency. It all begins Tuesday afternoon and we’ll bring you analysis and commentary for moves by the Chiefs and the rest of the NFL.

Here are the first questions and answers.

————————————————–

R W says: Excellent! Great to have “Ask Bob” back again. My question: Is Dorsey/Reid basking in the glow, treading water, or embarrassed from 2013 free agent/draft picks . . . and WHY once you assign a status on the mentioned choices?

Bob says: R W, it’s nice to be back. As for Dorsey/Reid and how they reacted to their 2013 acquisitions, I would say their emotion was simply, “We’ve got to get back to work.” I can guarantee you that the personnel and coaching staffs are not resting on any laurels from last season. In the NFL, every team starts new again every season – it’s impossible for a team to stay intact in the locker room.

Looking back at 2013, the roster additions were less than scintillating and would fall into your category of treading water. In unrestricted free agency, they hit on defensive end Mike DeVito and guard Geoff Schwartz. Some of the other signees made contributions but they were inconsistent and not always reliable: wide receiver Donnie Avery, cornerback Sean Smith, inside linebacker Akeem Jordan and safety-returner Quintin Demps would be the best examples. On a grading scale of one (horrible) to 10 (outstanding), the UFA class was a four. …Read More!

Charles, Cooper, Holmes Honored By Chiefs

The annual 101 Banquet is a night where Kansas City honors the NFL’s best from the 2013 season. It’s also an evening for celebrating the best Chiefs performances past and present.

That went down Saturday evening at the Westin Crown Center Hotel. During the black-tie affair the Chiefs announced:

  • Running back Jamaal Charles was selected the team’s MVP for the 2013 season, winning the Derrick Thomas Award.
  • Cornerback Marcus Cooper was named the club’s top rookie for last season, winning the Mack Lee Hill Award.
  • Former running back Priest Holmes was chosen as the 44th member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame.

Charles won the MVP title for the fourth time in five years (2009-10-12-13). He had 1,980 offensive yards over the season and led the NFL in scoring touchdowns with 19. Charles also earned his third trip to the Pro Bowl and was named first-team All-Pro for his 2013 performance.

Cooper joined the team in the week before the first regular-season game, claimed off the waiver wire from San Francisco. He ended up playing in 16 games, making six starts, picking off 3 passes and contributing 41 total tackles. Cooper also recovered a muffed punt in the end zone for a touchdown against Tennessee.

Holmes spent seven seasons with the Chiefs (2001-07), earning three trips to the Pro Bowl (2001-03) and two Chiefs MVP awards (2001-02). He finished with 6,070 rushing yards, 76 rushing touchdowns and 83 total scores. He led the NFL in rushing during the 2001 season with 1,555 yards.

More From John Dorsey At The NFL Combine

From Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis

General Manager John Dorsey met the media on Friday afternoon at the NFL Combine and succeeded in replying to questions while providing minimal information. In just one year, Dorsey has already mastered the No. 1 trait for the typical league GM.

He did touch on a couple subjects that provided new information or a different look at the Chiefs players and position groups.

Here’s what Dorsey said about

The rookie season of last year’s No. 1 NFL Draft choice, offensive tackle Eric Fisher: “I think he made great strides as the season went along. You could see a great degree of comfort with him in the second half of the season. I’ve always said that between the first and second year, that’s when those guys make their greatest strides and I expect great things from Eric in his second year.” …Read More!

Recent Events and the course of history


Over the next few days I will post reaction to recent events. They’ll be short and sweet, or in this case, not so sweet.

The Chiefs turnaround from 2-14 to 11-5 was this season’s bounce-back story of the NFL and reconfirms the belief that in the NFL a team can go from worst to almost first very quickly.

It’s really not that easy. When an NFL team has been controlled by bad management, one season is not enough to turn the ship. A team that lacks a creative decision maker can leave a franchise in a very deep hole for some time.

From recent events, here’s an example of how former GM Scott Pioli was devoid of creativity in the personnel business and his cloud still hangs over the roster.

This past Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks won Super Bowl 48, using a stifling and active defense to shutdown Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. The Hawkers did this with an offense that was directed and led by second-year starting QB Russell Wilson.

A sensation since he was selected with the No. 75 choice in the 2012 NFL Draft, Wilson was supposedly too small to be a successful passer in the pros; he’s 5-11. Certainly, Pioli could not see or appreciate the qualities Wilson brought to the NFL. He was wrapped up in numbers when analyzing quarterbacks; he brought from the Patriots a QB template that required a player stand no shorter than 6-3. Thus, Wilson was not even a consideration. …Read More!

Do Chiefs Matchup With Super Bowl Teams? Part #4

As we continue to take a very close look at Super Bowl teams Seattle and Denver, and where the Chiefs land in comparison to those clubs, we’ve looked at the premier positions on offense, defense and special teams.

This time, we look at offensive roster of the three teams; it’s an important comparison of productive talent, and the depth on the roster for each team.

It’s not just that the Seahawks and Broncos are in the title game; they posted the best regular season records in the league. They are experienced, talent-filled rosters and that’s the type of team the Chiefs must match and exceed if they plan to play in next year’s Super Bowl.

The rankings at each position come from discussions with personnel leaders around the league.

Here are the offensive comparisons: …Read More!

Answer Bob/Volume Last – January 17

The final batch from Ask Bob. You guys kept me working. Thanks and enjoy.

cychief24 says: Great questions from my Gretz.com brothers! Almost leaves no stone unturned. Bob, prayers to you and Anita. I have a personal business question for you. How is BobGretz.com doing? I know we all want/need you to succeed. Is there anything we as members can do to help this site be more profitable besides recruiting others? When we click on ads does that help? Can those sponsors tell if we purchased from them off your link? I appreciate being able to use PayPal.

I heard the Alex Smith interview on WHB on my iPhone app. Loved everything I heard! He mentioned how the offense and defense needs to be as consistent as the special teams were all year. I think the offense took a while to learn and get going. The defense sank because of the injuries to Hali and Houston. So my question is: do we need a change at DB coaching? Kendrick Lewis continually looks to the sideline on EVERY play wondering what he should do. Does he ever study game film? I love Emmitt Thomas but he looked disconnected at the last few games on the sideline from my seat both at Arrowhead and at Indy.
From your grades is Albert a cap-eater good enough to sign compared to Stephenson starting?

Bob says: cy thanks for your support and prayers. I’ve got to be honest with you and everyone else that has found this site and supported it: right now bobgretz.com hangs by a thread. I’m not ready to talk about it currently because the last two months have been a roller coaster fighting with that bastard cancer and what it’s done and is doing to the woman I love. Let me just say that coming up in the future, hopefully near future, I will be in touch with a wonderful group of subscribers and let you know the whole story and what the future may hold. I love doing what I do; I don’t want to stop, but at some point we all have to grow up and get a real job, if any of those exist out there anymore. Right now, there are more important matters that demand my time. Stay tuned.

As for Alex Smith – I’m sold on this guy because of what’s in his past. He was bruised and battered both physically and emotionally with the 49ers. Even when he had the chance and grabbed the starting job, they were trying to replace him. I’ll take a quarterback like that any season of the decade. I think he’s also willing to make his feelings known not only in the locker room, but to the coaching staff and the front office. There’s so much respect for him and what he’s been through and the fact it did not destroy him. I’ve talked quite a bit in these segments about the defense, but I’ll add a couple things: 1.) Lewis may have been looking to the sideline to get calls for the defense because he’s one of the guys on the field that relays the defensive call from the coaches. He studies a lot of game film, believe me and all that preparation can help a player, but it can’t make up for a lack of speed and that’s caught up with Lewis. 2.) I did not pay attention to Emmitt Thomas on the sidelines and his demeanor, so I wouldn’t want to speculate. But at his age, maybe Emmitt has had enough. 3.) Tell me how the Chiefs are going to replace Albert and I’ll tell you whether they should sign him, franchise him again, or let him walk. It’s a huge position, one of the three or four premier positions in the NFL – quarterback, left tackle, pass rusher and cornerback. If a team wants to win, it better have those spots filled with talented players and if they have won, they should make sure they keep him.

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Answer Bob/Volume #5 – January 16

Coming down the home stretch here. A couple more after this one and then I’ll catch up to some of the comments to the questions and answers. Enjoy!

Michael D says: Bob, Happy New Year and all my best wishes to you, Anita, and your family. Apology: being old and bitter I must bring some pessimism to the party with my questions. What the he11 do the football gods have against KC and the Chiefs winning a game in the playoffs? Did they have to remove impact-player after impact-player until the team could not even breathe let alone function as a playoff-caliber football team against Indy? Was Alex Smith supposed to throw the ball to himself and score? Does anyone on the planet believe that Gray was going to put on his Jamal Charles superhero outfit and lead the team to a 4th-Q win? When will people drop the “next man up” mentality and realize it’s not valid when you are so far down the depth chart that you are asking asterisks to play? With the exception of the playoff game, it was the same secondary before the bye as after the bye; how did the pass rush mask such a porous, slow, untalented, uncoachable group of players in the first half of the season? Did the scheme change? Did the mentality change? Was there a lack of adaptability? Was there too much ego or maybe not enough of one? Do Bob Sutton and Dunta Robinson have a job with KC next year?

In golf I can handle the Pond Gods that are insatiable and sometimes a player must stand there and feed the Gods one ball at a time over and over until they are satisfied and allow him or her to continue on with their golfing life. What must the Chiefs as an organization and us fans as a kingdom do to appease the Football Gods so they will just leave us in peace? Thanks for the therapy! GO CHIEFS: The 2014 edition.

Bob says: Michael, at a time when I really needed it, reading your questions put a smile on my face. Thanks so much. It wasn’t like I was reveling in your agony, just enjoying your passion. You touched on one thing that really hit home with me and something that I’ve been carrying around for the last few months, this “next man up” mentality. That’s so easy to say and use that line with the players, with the fans, with the media, but when I get an opportunity to talk with Andy Reid, my question is this: what does the coaching staff do to make sure the next man up is prepared to step in? We hear all the time from players that the starters get the bulk of the practice snaps; that would be expected. So how the heck, are these next ups supposed to be ready to play? By their status, most have already proven they aren’t as talented as the starter, or they are a younger, developmental player that does not have a wealth of experience to rely on. I want to know what the coaches are doing to give the next man a fighting chance when it’s his firsts fight.

By the way, I’m quite familiar with the Pond Gods on the links; I’ve left a sleeve or 10 swimming with the fishes. To continue the analogy, the Chiefs and their fans are like Kevin Costner’s character in the movie Tin Cup. They just keep banging away like Roy McAvoy, believing at some point the ball will stay on the green and not roll back into the water.

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NFL Almanac – January 15

AFC/NFC Championship Game practice report

Denver – all players were involved in practice.

New England – LS Danny Aiken (illness), QB Tom Brady (right shoulder, illness) did not practice.

San Francisco – LB Ahmad Brooks (illness), DE Demarcus Dobbs (knee, shoulder), C Jonathan Goodwin (foot), DE Justin Smith (shoulder) did not practice.

Seattle – WR Percy Harvin (concussion), DT Jordan Hill (groin), RB Marshawn Lynch (not injury related) did not practice.

Head coaching news

Minnesota – named Mike Zimmer as the team’s new head coach. Zimmer has been Cincinnati’s defensive coordinator for 6 seasons (2008-13) and before that was coordinator of defenses for Atlanta (2007) and Dallas (2000-06). …Read More!

Answer Bob/Volume 4 – January 15

Here are more answers and questions. You guys are wearing me out!

Kenny says: How much longer will Jamaal Charles need to play and what would he need to do in order to be considered for the Hall of Fame?

Bob says: Interesting question Kenny and tough to reply because the evidence is not final. At this point, Charles would have no chance to get his ticket punched for Canton. Consider former Denver running back Terrell Davis, who finished his 78-game career with 7,607 rushing yards, 8,887 offensive yards and 65 touchdowns, along with a pair of Super Bowl rings with the Broncos (1997-98). Davis couldn’t make the final round for this year’s class of candidates for the Hall and he’s been a Hall of Fame semi-finalist for the last 8 years but hasn’t been able to get to the final 15 candidates.

Charles has played 80 games with the Chiefs, posting 5,823 rushing yards, 7,798 offensive yards and 43 offensive touchdowns. He does not have a victory in the playoffs, let alone two Super Bowl rings. To have a shot, Charles needs to reach 10,000 rushing yards, even going as high as 12,000 yards. At his current average of 72.8 rush yards per game, he’ll need 58 more games to reach 10,000 yards; that’s almost four full seasons. To reach 12,000 yards, he’ll have to play 85 more games or 5 full seasons and part of another. Only 3 of 13 running backs in NFL history have hit the 12,000-yard mark and not earned Hall of Fame induction. …Read More!

Answer Bob/Volume 3 – January 14

The questions kept coming, here are more answers. Enjoy!

j.t. collins says: Bob, wish the best for Anita & you in 2014. Now for my 2cents & this will cause a response from our Chiefs family – I think Derrick Johnson had a bad year (by his standards) & it showed in his Pro Bowl snub. Also, I see others question Sutton’s 2nd-half adjustments (or lack of it) as I do. I was hoping some other team would hire him away … darn. Is it us fans (lack of knowledge) or do you share our pain? Go ahead, I can take it, people laugh at my 10-6 forecast … fire away. Thanks Bob.

Bob says: J.T. your thoughts are appreciated. I agree with you that Derrick Johnson did not have a good year based on his standards. I wouldn’t call it a bad year, just not what D.J. has produced in the past. I think it’s the obvious turn of his career and it’s only to be expected; he’s played a lot of football in the last four seasons, made a lot of tackles, taken a lot of contact. He’s 31 and has played 9 full seasons – that’s a long time for a linebacker. Do not write off Bob Sutton and make him a scapegoat; he’s a very good coach, who can handle the job. The fall of the Chiefs defense was more a matter of performance and execution than Sutton. He doesn’t get absolved of blame, mind you, but there are bigger problems, and the largest of those is the talent level. They have Dontari Poe, Justin Houston and Eric Berry playing at the height of their abilities, and even Poe and Berry have to play better. Everyone else is either trending downward or is a replaceable part. Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson, Brandon Flowers are not getting any younger, faster, or stronger; they can still contribute and even excel, but the clock is ticking. …Read More!

Answer Bob/Volume 2 – January 13

Here comes chapter two for your questions and my answers. Enjoy!

aPauled says: Awesome year again Bob! My questions: 1) Does the defense have a vocal leader? This group just seems disjointed with no one pulling it together. 2) What’s your assessment of Marcus Cooper? The guy looked good for a while then never seemed to recover from Peyton Manning targeting him. 3) Which guy on the current roster is best poised for a breakout year in 2014?

Bob says: Thanks aPauled for your comments. 1.) If the defense has a vocal leader, it appears to be either OLB Tamba Hali or SS Eric Berry. But the unit doesn’t appear to have a real “vocal” leader like a Ray Lewis was in Baltimore. I think any time a unit performs as poorly as the Chiefs defense did in the second half of the season they are going to look disjointed. It’s something the coaches need to assess and the players need to assess as well. Bill Walsh said about 20 years ago that he knew his 49ers team was capable of winning a championship when the players started to play for each other, rather than the coaches or owner. The Chiefs have not reached that point yet; it’s another step in the process of growing from pretender to contender. 2.) I think overall Cooper was the second best cornerback on the team, behind only Brandon Flowers. What he provided the Chiefs was remarkable given his late arrival and rookie status in the league. I agree – once he got torched by Manning, he lost some confidence. I think that’s where he showed his lack of background at cornerback. He’ll get over that. As long as he gets into the off-season program, I think there’s a chance he’ll start in 2014. 3.) A breakout player for 2014 – that’s a tough one because I’m not sure there’s a player on the current roster that would qualify. I may regret this guess – but I’ll say wide receiver A.J. Jenkins. He showed more in limited time with the Chiefs than he ever did in San Francisco. He needs someone to flip the switch on his motor. If Reid and receivers coach David Culley can get Jenkins to prove that being a great player is important to him, he could help the offense a lot and produce nice numbers in ’14. …Read More!

NFL Almanac – January 13

According to his agent, Canadian Football League All-Pro WR Weston Dressler will work out for the Chiefs on Tuesday. The 5-8, 180-pound Dressler was twice named a CFL All-Star (2012-13) in his six seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. In 106 regular and post-season games, the North Dakota native caught 462 passes for 7,191 yards and 49 touchdowns. Saskatchewan won the league’s Grey Cup championship for the 2013 season with a victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 45-23. Coming out of the University of North Dakota, Dressler was not selected in the 2008 NFL Draft and signed with Saskatchewan. He earned CFL Rookie of the Year honors that first season, catching 56 passes for 1,123 yards and 6 scores. In 4 seasons at North Dakota, he set 19 school records with the Fighting Sioux. Dressler will be 29 in June and will become a CFL free agent on February 15th. Coming out of college, he was clocked at 4.4 in the 40-yard dash.

Head coaching hire

Tennessee – the Titans announced on Monday night that they hired former Arizona Cardinals head coach and San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt as their new head coach. Whisenhunt replaces the fired Mike Munchak. In six seasons with the Cardinals, his record was 49-53 with a trip to the Super Bowl after the 2008 season. …Read More!

Answer Bob/Volume 1 – January 12

As I expected, you guys produced dozens of great questions and comments for the first edition of Ask Bob for 2014. There were so many questions that the answers will come in several posts over the next few days. Again, thanks so much.

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R W says: Bob, glad to see this forum return again. My question: Who needs to go following the meltdown vs Colts in the playoffs? Don’t limit it to coaches; include players and front-office personnel. Plus, who do the Chiefs target for their #1 acquisition in free agency or the draft? Also, if the RB at Auburn is sitting there, do they take him in the 1st round?

Bob says: R W, it would be a major surprise if anybody hit the highway out of Arrowhead solely because they were identified as a scapegoat for the team blowing a 28-point, second-half lead against the Colts. The trip to the post-season was unexpected and came after such a disastrous 2012 that there’s obvious football sacrifice, like Greg Robinson was in 2003 when they lost to the Colts. But there’s no silver lining for the Chiefs after getting the big lead and giving it up this year. There were problems at every level in that second half, from the head coach, staff and players. We can throw in the front office as well because they were the ones that put together the roster. What happened in that second half in Indy should not have surprised anyone; it’s exactly how the Chiefs played in the second half of the season. The two worst players on the field for the Chiefs were DBs Kendrick Lewis and Dunta Robinson. But anyone that watched the defense this year knows Lewis and Robinson were liabilities all season.

Priority spots for additions in this off-season would have to be wide receiver, interior offensive line, tight end, defensive backs and defensive ends. I think they will attack the majority of those deficiencies in the draft and the middle-level free agents. With hopes of signing Branden Albert and working out extensions for Alex Smith and Justin Houston, the Chiefs aren’t going to have a lot of money to throw around in free agency. As for Tre Mason, the gifted running back at Auburn, he announced last week he’ll go into the upcoming NFL Draft. It would be the biggest shock of the 2014 selection meeting if the Chiefs went for Mason or another running back in the first round. There are too many other positions of need and talented personnel people will always find good running backs in the middle rounds.

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Chiefs Sign 5 More Players To Reserve/Future Deals

The tally now stands at 20 players that the Chiefs have signed to reserve/future contracts for the 2014 season.

Five more of the signees became public on Saturday when they popped up on the NFL’s daily transaction report. In fact, the players signed by the Chiefs were the only names on Saturday’s personnel update.

The newest 5 players are: …Read More!

New Additions To Chiefs Roster

The Chiefs have added a pair of players to their roster this week through the reserve/future signings – running back Joe McKnight and linebacker-fullback Jordan Campbell.

McKnight brings NFL experience to the team, as he played in 39 games for the New York Jets over 3 seasons. Campbell was in training camp last year with the Cincinnati Bengals.

These additions now give the Chiefs 15 reserve/future contracts. Here’s info on the newest guys. …Read More!

Chiefs 2014 Contract Priorities: Alex, Albert, Houston

For the teams that lost in the wildcard round of the NFL playoffs last weekend, the time for mourning is over. The work for 2014 has already begun.

Reserve/future free agents have been signed or largely retained by the Chiefs from their practice squad. Decisions are currently being discussed on the players on the roster without a contract for 2014. They are also being made on players signed through next season and beyond. The salary cap managers have already massaged the numbers and have drawn the road map for John Dorsey and Andy Reid when it comes to the 2014 roster.

Taking a look at the Chiefs roster and it does not take long to establish some priorities that need to get done:

  1. Sign quarterback Alex Smith to a new contract or an extension. His current contract expires after the 2014 season.
  2. Keep left tackle Branden Albert, whether that’s a new contract, or slapping him with another year under the franchise player designation.
  3. Re-negotiate and extend the contract of outside linebacker Justin Houston. His deal runs through the 2014 season.

That’s going to take a lot of Hunt Family resources to pull off the signing of all three players. They all play at the premier positions in the league: quarterback, QB protector and pass rusher. Teams that have talented players at those three spots do everything they can to keep them. Those that don’t have talent at any of those positions are constantly searching for a quarterback, blind-side blocker and sack artist. …Read More!

Surviving A Wildcard Blizzard With The Hoosiers.


Downtown Indianapolis, Monday morning.

On the Trail of Football Tears

It was Monday morning, and after two hours of driving west on Interstate 70, I was a few miles past the Indianapolis Airport. Normally, it would be a 20-minute drive to reach the airport from downtown.

There was nothing normal about this day, or those that came before. Like others with Kansas and Missouri license plates, a serious snow storm and a blast of Artic air delayed my return to Kansas City from the AFC wildcard round game that finished up around 8 o’clock Saturday evening. I had already extended my hotel stay one night, and spent all day Sunday working and watching the snow pile up in Indy, a total of 12 inches downtown, more north of the city.

I inched along the highway, slipping and sliding, grateful that there was hardly anybody else out there. Less than a mile from an exit, I pondered pulling off and reconsidering my decision to head home. Another hotel room night sounded a lot better than the previous two hours.

But there was a tractor trailer jackknifed on the off ramp, so I pushed on. As I looked down at the cluster of gas stations, mini-markets and truck stops, there were three cars sitting in the parking lot of a Wendy’s. They were the only cars there. Each had one of those Chiefs flags flying on the car and one car had its trunk open. There were three or four people sitting in folding chairs and there appeared to be a small grill between them.

Trapped on the Trail of Football Tears, these Chiefs fans went back to what they know best – party. The temperature was hovering at zero degrees, the wind-chill factor pushed the feel-like even lower, but three guys in big red jackets and wearing winter hats were tailgating. Although I never got close enough to see for sure, the tailgaters had to be men – women are too smart to something ridiculous like tailgating on a Monday morning in a deserted Wendy’s parking lot in the middle of Indiana.

It was an early highlight of what would be a 14-hour drive that in good weather would take 7 hours. Bored to death, trapped with news talk and sports talk radio, I started taking notes. Stay warm and join me on the parking lot that was I-70 as I and many others tried to get back home from post-season disappointment. …Read More!

Luck Overcomes Mistakes In A Legendary Moment

From Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

Andrew Luck was ticked off. He was mad and he was not making any attempt to hide his anger.

It was the first half of Saturday’s game against the Chiefs in the AFC playoffs and the Colts quarterback was very unhappy.

“I was disappointed in myself,” Luck said. “I was angry, really felt like I was letting the team down.”

In retrospect, Luck beating up himself over his play seems like a cute chuckle. By the time the game was over, Luck had led his team to a come-from-behind victory over the Chiefs with a strong second half performance and a 45-44 victory to advance in the playoffs for the first time in his brief career.

Early in the second half, Luck’s second interception of the game setup a Chiefs touchdowns and a 28-point Kansas City margin.

“There is no 28-point score,” said Luck. “It takes good plays to get down there (end zone) and guys stepped up. Everybody stepped up. Every player on the offense had at least three really big plays that you could say ‘Wow that really turned the game around’.”

None more so that Luck himself. The No. 1 selection in the 2012 NFL Draft has quickly established his credentials as one of the bright young quarterbacks in the league. He directed his team into the playoffs last year as a rookie, and did it again this year.

Here are Luck’s numbers from Saturday’s game, broken down by first and second half performances:

Half

Att

Cmp

%

Yards

A/A

TD

Int

Scoreboard

First

21

12

57.1

129

6.1

1

1

KC 31-10

Second

24

17

70.8

314

13.1

3

2

IND 35-13

“I think we got a little momentum there early with a touchdown, then I go out there and throw a pick and sort of set everything back,” Luck said. “I was angry, but you’ve got to flush it. You’ve got to forget about it. Coach Pep (Hamilton, offensive coordinator), Coach Clyde (Christensen, QB coach) do a great job of sort of getting me back zeroed in. (Matt) Hasselbeck does a great job too. I’m thankful that guys trust me to go out there and right my wrong, per se.”

What made the difference the Colts offense in the second half?

“We stopped throwing interceptions and stopped making stupid mistakes,” Luck said. “We did the stuff we practiced and we realize if we can limit mistakes and limit turnovers and limit penalties, we’ve got a fighting chance.

“I think we chipped away and got back into it and then to make it a one-score game was big.”

So what type of changes did the Colts make at half-time when they were down by 21 points? Luck says they did nothing special, or change anything

“Coach (Chuck Pagano) told us to flush it, that we didn’t have to do anything different,” said Luck. “We’ve been down big before and managed to claw back. Guys didn’t panic. We just sort of stuck to the game plan.”

Luck’s final numbers were outstanding: 443 passing yards was the fifth highest total in post-season history, plus he became the first player in NFL history to throw for a touchdown and recover a fumble for a touchdown in the same game in the playoffs.

The comeback was the 11th of Luck’s career that now spans just 34 regular and post-season games. No other quarterback has been so proficient at leading his team from behind so early in his career as Luck. He’s now won 7 games where he was trailing by double digits. In those 34 games his starting record is now 23-11.

“We hope this is not the highest of highs,” Luck said of the victory. “We don’t want the journey to end next weekend. It’s going to be two phenomenal football teams, whatever one we face. We’re just happy to win.”

Chiefs Report Card: Some Good Grades, Some Bad


From Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

Here’s the report card for the Chiefs after Saturday’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts in an AFC wildcard round game:

Passing offense B: Alex Smith had one of the best passing days of his NFL career, throwing 4 touchdown passes, completing 65.2 percent of his throws for an average of 8.2 yards per attempt. His 378 passing yards was the most by a Chiefs quarterback in a post-season game, as were his 46 attempts, 30 completions and 4 scoring throws. Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe rose to the occasion with 8 catches for 150 yards. Smith’s pass protection was shaky at times, but he ran out of trouble and was sacked twice, losing a fumble on one of those takedowns.

Running offenseC: Losing Jamaal Charles in the first minutes to a concussion made for a shaky running game performance. His replacement, rookie running back Knile Davis ran for 67 yards before he left with a knee injury, but that was just 3.7 yards per carry. The Chiefs had 150 rushing yards, but 57 of those yards belong to Smith, and of his eight runs, six were scrambles away from heavy pass rush pressure.

Pass defenseF: It’s a failure when any quarterback, even a very good one like Andrew Luck, throws for 443 yards and four touchdown passes. The Chiefs may have had three interceptions, but with the game on the line, they allowed wide receiver T.Y. Hilton to run right through their zone coverage and connect with Luck on the 64-yard touchdown pass that won the game. The Chiefs only had one sack in 46 passing plays and they never found a way to slow down Hilton, who caught 13 for 224 yards and a pair of scores.

Run defense B: The Chiefs did a good job of making the run game a non-factor, largely because they had such a big lead and the Colts went to the passing game in an attempt to catch up. Donald Brown had 55 yards on 11 carries, and Luck scrambled away from the pass rush seven times for 45 yards. Run defense was actually an area where the Chiefs defense got something positive done.

Special teams C: When the Colts began their second-half comeback one thing that would have done a lot for the Chiefs was a big play from the special teams. It never happened from Quintin Demps on kick returns (seven for an average of 26.7 yards) or the one punt return by Dexter McCluster. Overall, coverage was good, Ryan Succop had six touchbacks in nine kickoffs and Dustin Colquitt only punted twice. Nothing bad, but nothing helped the Chiefs win the game.

Coaching D: In the first half, Andy Reid and his staff had an A-plus. Their game plans on offense and defense worked very well. The Chiefs were putting points on the board and their defense was confusing Luck. In the second half, the Chiefs staff gets an F; they were unable to stop the bleeding once it started with their units. Bob Sutton’s defense has yet to cover Hilton in the passing game; while offensively Reid’s group had a more than a 15-minute advantage in time of possession, but did nothing with that time in the second half. What a sad wasted effort.

NFL Almanac – January 2

Wildcard weekend injury report/

Players that did not practice on Thursday

Chiefs – RT Eric Fisher (groin), OLB Tamba Hali (knee).

Cincinnati – OT Anthony Collins (ankle), CB Dre Kirkpatrick (illness), CB Terence Newman (knee).

Green Bay – LB Clay Matthews (thumb).

Indianapolis – DT Fili Moala (knee).

New Orleans – RB Pierre Thomas (chest).

Philadelphia – G Julian Vandervelde (back).

San Diego – RB Ryan Matthews (ankle), WR Eddie Royal (toe).

San Francisco – CB Carlos Rogers (hamstring).

Head coaches

Tampa Bay – the Buccaneers made it official Thursday, as the team announced the hiring of Lovie Smith as the Bucs new head coach. …Read More!

More Of What Andy Said

From the Truman Sports Complex

Head coach Andy Reid had a few things to say on Monday about what happened in San Diego on Sunday, and looking down the road to facing Indianapolis this coming Saturday.

Here are some important and interesting tidbits:

On the Chiefs entrance this week into the AFC playoffs: “It’s another phase of the season, and you have worked very hard as a team to get into this position and now it’s important that you exhaust yourself to make sure that you’re right. It’s single-elimination and you have to make sure you prepare the right way.”

The difference between his team going 9-0 to start the season, and finishing 2-5: “You know, on the offensive side, we probably didn’t have enough big plays and on the defensive side, we gave up too many big plays; if you had to pinpoint one thing in general that would be it.” …Read More!

Keys To A Chiefs Victory Over Chargers/Recap

4

Keep a lid on Danny Woodhead

He’s just 5-8, weighs 200 pounds and comes out of the major football powerhouse Chadron State University in Nebraska. On paper Danny Woodhead would not appear to have much of future in professional football. On the field he’s a force that needs to be contained if a team expects to beat San Diego. In the first game between these teams back in November, Woodhead had 207 all-purpose yards on just 15 touches and he scored a touchdown rushing and a touchdown receiving. In that game, he averaged 27.4 yards on 5 kickoff returns with a long return of 37 yards; those numbers were among the best against the Chiefs this season. On the year, Woodhead has 1,236 all-purpose yards with 8 touchdowns. Slow the little guy down, and it helps contain two parts of the Chargers attack.

CONCLUSION – FAILED: in the second half, Woodhead became one of the key players as the Chargers were able to come from behind tie the game, and eventually win in overtime. He had 46 yards on 8 touches in the second half, but many of those touches were big plays for the winners. In that OT possession that set up the winning field goal, he had 6 of the 16 plays in the drive.

3

Run the ball

Whether Jamaal Charles plays – he probably won’t – the Chiefs need to come out in the game against San Diego and run the ball. Even if it’s with rookie Knile Davis, or second-year man Cyrus Gray, Andy Reid needs to go with the run game first and foremost against the Chargers. The Chiefs have the No. 9 running offense in the league right now, at 118.6 yards per game. San Diego is the No. 10 rushing defense, giving up 105.5 yards per game, but 4.7 yards per running play. They’ve also allowed a dozen rushing touchdowns in 15 games. Reid wants to mix and match his personnel, plus the Chiefs want to see some of their younger players that have gotten minimal playing time this season. The Chiefs also want to see this game move along as quickly as possible on the time of day clock. The way to go is run baby run.

CONCLUSION – FAILED: Charles didn’t play and that put the ball in the hands of Davis, and he had a big first half with a pair of touchdown runs and 79 yards on 15 carries. But in the second half, he had 12 carries for 2 yards; 7 of those runs went for zero or negative yards. When they needed Davis to run, he wasn’t able to find the room.

2

Win the turnover battle

Ordinarily, going on the plus side for turnovers is not something the Chiefs have to stress in preparation or in pre-game speeches. They’ve almost always done it this season, sitting at plus-17 for the year. They were plus-21 and the league leaders until last Sunday when they coughed up the ball four times, without getting a takeaway themselves against Oakland. The Chargers are minus-3 on the season, due largely to their inability to produce many takeaways: just 17 in 15 games or about 50 percent of the Chiefs total of 35 takeaways in the same number of games. This season, the Chiefs are 9-1 when they finish on the plus side of the turnover ratio and 1-1 when they are even. When they go negative, they are 1-2.

CONCLUSION – MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: It wasn’t a big afternoon for the ball exchanging hands, but the Chiefs did have the game’s only takeaway thanks to Ron Parker’s interception in the first half that set up the team’s second touchdown.

1

Make the tackle

It’s a football basic – tackle the guy with the ball. The Chiefs defense could not get that done last Sunday against Indianapolis; they missed an astounding 17 tackles trying to stop the Colts. There were five missed tackles on Donald Brown’s touchdown run alone. In the previous 4 games, they missed a combined total of 16 tackles. The Indy game was by far the defense’s worst performance of the season and it was by a big margin; the previous high was 12 missed tackles against Buffalo. There are a lot of factors that can create tackling problems, but at this time all Bob Sutton and his team must do is fix the situation and make sure that this team gets the job done when they have a chance.

CONCLUSION – FAILED: The backup defenders seemed to have as much of a problem wrapping up and tackling the guy with the ball as the starters did last week against Indianapolis. There were too many yards after contact in this game. The worst example was in San Diego’s first possession, when Ryan Mathews ran for 44 yards and two different Chiefs defenders had shots at him and couldn’t slow him down.

Column: Reid Accomplished His Goal For Sunday

Would the Chiefs have pushed the Chargers into overtime on Sunday if the varsity played rather than the JVs?

Andy Reid would say yes; that’s what head coaches are supposed to say. Whether it’s actually true or not can be the subject of some significant discussion in the next few days.

But Reid’s decision to leave nearly all of his starters on the sidelines at Qualcomm Stadium for regular season game No. 16 proved to be a sound move. The Chiefs gave the Chargers a run for the victory. Andy’s JVs did not embarrass themselves, the franchise or the league. They upheld the integrity of the season as well; if not for a wayward Ryan Succop field goal attempt with 8 seconds to play, they would have shocked the entire league with a victory, ended the Chargers season and sent the Pittsburgh Steelers into the playoffs.

Anybody wearing black and gold undies should not look upon Succop as their villain of choice. The Steelers had 16 games to get themselves into a position to make the playoffs without relying on other teams. They will sit at home next weekend not because of what happened at Qualcomm Stadium, but because they were so awful in the first half of the season. There were a lot of reasons for those problems, but their names were not Reid or Succop.

A victory for Andy’s JVs would have been icing on the cake for the head coach and his staff. The fact that it didn’t materialize did nothing to ruin Reid’s game plan for Sunday’s game – allow the Chiefs starters an opportunity to improve their health while giving the bottom of the roster a chance to show their stuff in a real-game situation. Mission accomplished on both fronts. All the players who have been on the field for the most snaps this season were on the sidelines on Sunday. Some like RB Jamaal Charles, QB Alex Smith, LB Derrick Johnson and NT Dontari Poe enjoyed the balmy San Diego afternoon in t-shirts. Others like SS Eric Berry, CB Brandon Flowers, DE Mike DeVito, DE Tyson Jackson and C Rodney Hudson were in uniform, but never stepped on the field for a snap.

It was a plan that was quite comparable to how most coaches handle the final pre-season game every summer. Generally the established starters are on the sidelines wearing ball caps rather than helmets and the kids get a chance to play. But the outcome of those exhibitions is forgotten moments after the game clock strikes 00:00.

This was a real game, where the outcome counts, the statistics are remembered and history is recorded. It was a great football test tube for Reid and staff to see how deep their depth might be going into the playoffs. Funny, how the play on the field on this Sunday looked so much like the play the varsity showed for the first 15 games. There was a productive running back leading the way in rookie Knile Davis. There was a quarterback that made good decisions and was able to run away from pressure and produce big plays with his legs. There was a defense that at times was stout and forced a turnover. It was also a defense that allowed far too many big yardage plays and all too often allowed receivers to sit in the secondary with no coverage around them.

Some argue that it would have been better to play the varsity in this game, especially after the performance they had last week against Indianapolis. That 23-7 defeat was an embarrassment and maybe, just maybe, Reid doesn’t want his first line players to forget their performance. Why not let that sit in their minds for two weeks building up to a re-match with the Colts in the playoffs.

Other than set a few records and rack up some statistics, what would have come from playing the established starters against San Diego? Considering how the JVs played the Bolts, does that mean the varsity would have blown them out? Not necessarily. They had their chance back in November and couldn’t get it done. Let’s not ignore how the Chargers may have reacted to seeing the second and third teamers on the field. They knew at the time what they were playing for, but when they went to the line of scrimmage on Sunday there were a lot of faces they’d never seen before.

Andy Reid understands his job – it’s to win games. He’s also learned in 15 years as a head coach that winning a game in the playoffs is like winning two regular season games. Did he want to win Sunday in San Diego? Yes. His roster had been prepared to win the game, and it wasn’t like the offensive or defensive game plans were chopped down the most basic of plays. The playbooks were open and anything was possible.

But is winning in Indianapolis next weekend more important than beating San Diego? Absolutely.

Chiefs Backups Put Up A Fight, But Lose In OT, 27-24

The Chiefs can get ready for the playoffs now.

So can the San Diego Chargers.

In one of the more memorable games in recent franchise history, the Chiefs played with their second and third team players on purpose and still almost knocked off the Chargers before losing 27-24 in overtime Sunday afternoon at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.

Ryan Succop missed a 41-yard field goal with less than 10 seconds to play that would have given the Chiefs a victory. Instead, he pushed the kick just outside the right upright. That gave San Diego new life and more time. In the extra period, the Chargers got the ball first and finished up a 16-play, 62-yard drive with a 36-yard field goal by Nick Novak.

The victory, along with losses earlier in the day by Miami and Baltimore allowed 9-7 San Diego to grab the No. 6 seed in the AFC post-season bracket. The Chargers will play Cincinnati in the wildcard round next weekend.

Locked in the No. 5 seed, the 11-5 Chiefs will get that re-match with the Colts that was talked about so much since Indy beat them up last week at Arrowhead Stadium. This time the game will be at Indy’s Lucas Oil Stadium.

Andy Reid started his preparation for the playoffs by keeping 20 of his 22 regular starters on the sidelines after the opening kickoff. Reid used his 7 pre-game inactive player spots on starters, only 2 because of injury. Only RT Eric Fisher and FB Anthony Sherman opened on offense. Before the game was completed, FS Kendrick Lewis, CB Sean Smith, ILB Akeem Jordan, RG Geoff Schwartz and WR Dexter McCluster saw significant playing time. Others saw limited time in special teams situations.

After Novak’s field goal gave San Diego the 3-point lead, the Chiefs had one last chance to get back in the game. A field goal would have extended the overtime and a touchdown would have given K.C. the victory. QB Chase Daniel, who started his first NFL game, moved the offense into San Diego territory before three straight incompletions ended a most improbable finish to the regular season for both teams.

While the league was debating Reid’s decision to bench his starters and go with the backups, his team went out and grabbed the game’s early momentum. Daniel led them on a 5-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a 17-yard touchdown run by Davis. The big play on the drive was a 48-yard completion from Daniel to WR A.J. Jenkins. Ryan Succop’s PAT gave the Chiefs and early 7-0 lead.

The Chargers pushed the scoreboard back to even on their next possession, as QB Philip Rivers found TE Ladarius Green in the corner of the end zone for a 26-yard touchdown pass. S Quintin Demps was beaten in coverage on the play. The key play in the 5-play, 78-yard drive was a 44-yard run by RB Ryan Mathews where the Chiefs defense missed several tackles.

When the K.C. defense came on the field next, it flipped the field-position struggle. San Diego took over at their 30-yard line after a punt. ILB James-Michael Johnson sacked Rivers on first down for minus-7 yards. On second down, Rivers threw to his left for Keenan Allen, but the rookie receiver slipped on his change of direction while running his route. That allowed CB Ron Parker to cut in front of Allen and grab the interception. Parker’s 15-yard return set up the offense at the San Diego 23-yard line.

On the short field it took Daniel and the offense just 6 plays to reach the end zone, as they scored on a 3rd-and-goal play at the 2-yard line. Daniel hit McCluster on a wide receiver screen and he ran through a San Diego tackle and scored. The PAT gave the Chiefs a 14-7 lead.

San Diego came back on the next possession and put together a 10-play, 80-yard drive that ended with Rivers connecting with TE Antonio Gates on a 4-yard TD throw on a 3rd-and-goal play. Gates got away from FS Kendrick Lewis on the play. Nick Novak’s PAT tied the score at 14-14.

Before the first half was over, the Chiefs put another touchdown on the board as Davis scored for the second time, this time on a 3-yard run over right tackle. The most important play of the possession was a 29-yard scrambling run by Daniel. The PAT gave the Chiefs a 21-14 lead at the intermission.

Most of the second half was a punting battle, but Succop added a 46-yard field goal midway through the third quarter to give the Chiefs a 10-point lead.

Early in the fourth quarter, the Chargers cut that lead to 3 points with a 6-yard touchdown pass from Rivers to WR Eddie Royal. On their next possession, they got a 22-yard field goal from Novak to make it 24-24 with 3 minutes, 21 seconds to play in the fourth quarter.

Daniel drove the Chiefs offense down to the San Diego 23-yard line, picking up 4 first downs and chewing up the game clock. By the time they were at the Chargers 23-yard line, they faced a 4th-and-12 play and there were 8 seconds left on the clock.

But Succop’s kick went wide right and San Diego had new life. The Chargers won the overtime coin toss and Rivers directed the offense to four first downs. The key play was a gutsy decision by the Bolts head coach Mike McCoy to go for a first down on a fake punt in a 4th-and-2 play at the Chargers 28-yard line.

S Eric Weddle took the snap and ran through the left side of his blocking. The Chiefs were prepared and stopped his momentum. As Weddle was falling to the ground right on the first-down line, his helmet came off and the ball came loose and ended up in the hands of Chiefs RB Cyrus Gray. He returned it 30 yards for an apparent touchdown.

Referee Bill Leavy announced only that Weddle had gained the first-down yardage. There were no details given by Leavy as to the ball coming free or Weddle’s helmet coming off. He apparently decided that forward momentum had been stopped and forward momentum decisions can’t be challenged by replay.

The Chargers went on with their possession and 7 minutes later, Novak hit the winning field goal.

4 Keys To Victory For the Chiefs Vs. Chargers

4

Keep a lid on Danny Woodhead

He’s just 5-8, weighs 200 pounds and comes out of the major football powerhouse Chadron State University in Nebraska. On paper Danny Woodhead would not appear to have much of future in professional football. On the field he’s a force that needs to be contained if a team expects to beat San Diego. In the first game between these teams back in November, Woodhead had 207 all-purpose yards on just 15 touches and he scored a touchdown rushing and a touchdown receiving. In that game, he averaged 27.4 yards on 5 kickoff returns with a long return of 37 yards; those numbers were among the best against the Chiefs this season. On the year, Woodhead has 1,236 all-purpose yards with 8 touchdowns. Slow the little guy down, and it helps contain two parts of the Chargers attack. …Read More!

Post-Season Experience Lacking On Chiefs Roster

Frank Zombo won a Super Bowl ring with Green Bay; Alex Smith scored a TD in the playoffs against New Orleans

One of the strengths that Andy Reid has relied on during his first season leading the Hunt family franchise is best described in this fashion:

“Been there; done that.”

After 14 seasons as the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, Reid came into the Chiefs operation without a lot of start-up time needed. He had to learn the strengths and weaknesses of a roster of unfamiliar players, but his experience allowed that transition to go smoothly. The Chiefs 9-0 start was helped immeasurably by Reid’s ability to come into the job running, rather than crawling.

What will test Reid’s resume will be taking a team into the second season – the playoffs – that is dominated by players that have either never been in an NFL post-season game, or if they have, they’ve been there infrequently and did not experience success.

On the current Chiefs roster almost half of the players hold football passports that have not been stamped with a visit to the playoffs. It’s 25 of 53 players or 47.2 percent of the roster has no idea what the post-season experience is all about.

Among the 28 players that have played NFL football in January/February, only 10 have the experience of winning in the playoffs. That’s 10 of 53 players or 19 percent.

And, the ultimate NFL success has been enjoyed by just one player on the current roster – backup OLB Frank Zombo is the only player with a Super Bowl ring. That’s 1 of 53, or 2 percent of the team. …Read More!

More Of What Andy Had To Say

From the Truman Sports Complex

A few more of the subjects that Andy Reid spoke about on Monday afternoon when he met with the media horde:

Injury update from Sunday’s game: ” Tamba Hali has some swelling in his knee. We’ll have to get it out of there before he can go. He should be OK down the road here. Ron Parker sprained his ankle. But, other than that we came out pretty much injury free.”

More on the loss Sunday to Indianapolis and how the Chiefs handled themselves: “They got us yesterday. They were the better team all the way around. I thought they coached better, I thought they played better. That happens in this league, I get it. It’s important that we figure out how we can coach better and how we can play better. Whether we play them or somebody else, we need to make sure we do that.”

On Jamaal Charles only getting a half-dozen touches in the Chiefs offense in the second half of Sunday’s game: “Obviously 25 didn’t touch the ball much the second half and that’s my responsibility to make sure that within the realm of things, the 28 plays that we had in that second half, that we give him more of a shot there than the six touches that he had.” …Read More!

Notes & Quotes: Colts Win With Shuffled O-Line


From Arrowhead Stadium

The Colts were able to beat the Chiefs on Sunday with an offensive line scrambled by injuries.

It was hard to tell, as Indianapolis had 367 offensive yards, ran for 135 yards on 34 carries and allowed the Chiefs just one sack of quarterback Andrew Luck.

“Great job by our offensive line,” said Luck, who threw for 241 yards and a touchdown. “They got first downs when we needed them. They had great pass protection. As an offense I think we could have done more.”

Starters at guard Hugh Thornton and Jeff Linkenbach were inactive because of injuries. So was the team’s first backup guard Joe Reitz. That left the Colts with just six blockers, two of those rookies in G Khaled Holmes and T Xavier Nixon. They promoted Thomas Austin from the practice squad to give them seven bodies.

Mike McGlynn started at RG for Linkenbach and Nixon opened at LG for Thornton.

“That was our seventh different lineup there,” said Colts head coach Chuck Pagano. “It doesn’t matter right now because of versatility and guys bouncing around. A young guy like Xavier Nixon coming in and doing the job that he did, it was a tremendous job.”

Smith becomes top QB runner in Chiefs history

On his first run of the game, an 8-yard scramble late in the first quarter, Alex Smith established a new standard for rushing yards by a quarterback in a single season. Smith now has 431 yards on the ground, breaking the previous mark set by Tyler Thigpen in 2008. It’s also a personal high for the Chiefs QB over his career.

Most yards rushing by a quarterback in single season/Chiefs

# Quarterback Season Yards
1. Alex Smith 2013 431
2. Tyler Thigpen 2008 386
3. Steve Fuller 1980 274
4. Len Dawson 1963 272

Most rushing attempts by a quarterback in single season/Chiefs

# Quarterback Season Yards
1. Alex Smith 2013 70
2. Tyler Thigpen 2008 62
3. Steve Fuller 1980 60
4. Matt Cassel 2009 50
  Steve Fuller 1979 50

On the passing front, Smith how has 308 completions on the season, making him the fourth passer in Chiefs history to top 300 completions. The other quarterbacks to have seasons with 300 or more completed passes were Trent Green (3), Elvis Grbac (1) and Bill Kenney (1).

Smith now has 509 passes thrown in 15 games, making him the fifth quarterback in team annals to top 500 attempts. The other passers to achieve that number were Green (4), Grbac (1), Kenney (1) and Steve Bono (1).

Injury report

After the game, head coach Andy Reid reported injuries for OLB Tamba Hali and WR Dwayne Bowe.

Hali has a sore knee that flared up before the game and then swelled up on him during the game. “He’ll have an MRI in the morning,” Reid said.

Bowe was hit in the neck by Colts safety LaRon Landry, who was penalized on the play. “His neck bent forward, but he ended up going back in,” Reid said. “I’m sure he’ll be a little sore tomorrow.”

On the Colts they lost DE Cory Redding who according to Indy head coach Chuck Pagano fell on his shoulder. “He’ll be evaluated tomorrow,” Pagano said.

Personnel report

The inactive players for the Chiefs against the Colts were #9 QB Tyler Bray, #50 LB Justin Houston, #57 LB Nico Johnson, #64 C Eric Kush, #75 G Rishaw Johnson, #76 LT Branden Albert and #96 DT Jaye Howard. Johnson and Albert both out due to injury.

Donald Stephenson started at LT for Albert and Frank Zombo opened at OLB for Houston. Anthony Fasano was back in the starting lineup after missing three games because of a concussion. Geoff Schwartz started at RG next to Eric Fisher at RT.

The inactive players for the Colts against the Chiefs were #38 FS Sergio Brown, #56 LB Daniel Adongo, #69 G Hugh Thornton, #72 OL Jeff Linkenbach, #76 G Joe Reitz, #94 DT Montori Hughes, #99 DT Ricky Jean Francois. All but Adongo were held out because of injury.

That pushed Fili Moala into the starting lineup at DT for Francois. Along the offensive line Xavier Nixon opened at LG for Hugh Thornton and Mike McGlynn started at RG for Linkenbach.

For the Chiefs, backup QB Chase Daniel, G Rokevious Watkins and G Jon Asamoah did not play in the game, although they were dressed for action. For the Colts, only backup QB Matt Hasselbeck did not play.

Atmosphere report

It was far from a full house in the cold weather Sunday at Arrowhead. The Chiefs reported paid attendance of 75,396, but the stadium had the look of about 60,000 fans in attendance.

They did their best to make some noise, but the Chiefs did not cooperate on the field and the Colts did not have a penalty that could be traced to any problem with the noise.

Still, Andy Reid had nothing but good things to say about the crowd.

“I know it was a messy day as far as the weather goes and they keep showing up and cheering us on,” said Reid. “We appreciate that. We have to do our part and do a better job there.”

Kansas City area native Paul Rudd was in the locker room after the game, fresh off promoting the new movie that he’s in Anchorman 2.

Play of The Game: Knile Davis loses the ball


From Arrowhead Stadium

Play – Chiefs RB Knile Davis fumbled and the ball was recovered by the Colts

When – 2nd Quarter with 9 minutes, 44 seconds to play in the half

Down & Distance – 3rd-down and 10 yards, at the Chiefs 31-yard line

Score – Chiefs held a 7-3 lead

Opportunities for rookie RB Knile Davis had been increasing each week in the Chiefs offense, plus special teams work as a kickoff returner.

Nothing can bring that to a halt faster than giving the ball away. That’s what Davis did in the second quarter, losing a fumble that two players later was in the end zone for the Indianapolis touchdown that proved to be the winning points.

On a 3rd-and-10 run, Davis picked up 2 yards but was hit by Colts OLB Robert Mathis. The ball came out and was recovered by DE Cory Redding at the Chiefs 33-yard line.

“I didn’t have two hands on it,” Davis said after the game. “You’ve got to have two hands on it at all times. That’s going to change.”

Davis heard about it from the Chiefs coaches when he reached the sidelines after the play.

“Can’t fumble,” that’s what Davis said he was told. “You can’t put the ball on the ground. You can’t have turnovers. You lose that way.”

After the game, Davis agreed that he’s got to have a short memory on what went down on Sunday.

“I didn’t play a good game today,” said Davis. “I made a lot of mistakes. I’ve got to be better next week.”

Chiefs Are Outplayed, Outcoached And Lose, 23-7


From Arrowhead Stadium

One team looked like a club preparing for the coming NFL playoffs, getting all their ducks in a row. The other team looked like a club that was hung over from celebrating their ticket to the playoffs and did not understand the concept of sailing into the postseason with momentum.

The Indianapolis Colts 23-7 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday was likely the first game of a doubleheader between these teams that will be played over three weeks. If momentum and confidence means anything, then the guys with the horse shoes on their helmets left Arrowhead with plenty of fodder for a post-season rematch.

After falling behind on a quick Chiefs touchdown, Indianapolis ran off 23 unanswered points, earning their 10th victory of the season (10-5) and setting up their spot as the likely No. 4 seed in the bracket for the AFC playoffs. The Chiefs loss and Denver’s victory over Houston eliminated any chance they had of winning the AFC West and they are now locked into the No. 5 seed in the conference with their 11-4 record.

The fourth and fifth seeds play each other in the first-round of the playoffs, with the game going down in Indianapolis due to their status as a division winner rather than a wild-card team.

“Whether that comes to fruition or not will deal with it at that time,” said Colts head coach Chuck Pagano. “Today, we did a tremendous job in all three phases. We did what we felt we had to do to win today against a really good football team.”

The Chiefs were not a really good team on this Sunday. In fact, Andy Reid’s team took the opportunity to turn in their worst performance of the season. In previous defeats against Denver twice and San Diego, they did not play their best, but they were not awful.

Against the Colts, the Chiefs were awful on offense, defense and special teams.

“We didn’t follow up on 23 unanswered points,” said Reid “I mean, that’s a bad day. I feel like it was a team effort in not a very good way. You can’t pull your foot off the accelerator when you go up that quick. You have to keep pounding.”

With the wind-chill factor at 11 degrees and a hardy breeze out of the northwest, the indoor Colts were not bothered by the weather. After falling behind on a quick Kansas City touchdown, Indianapolis was the only team that moved the scoreboard. RB Donald Brown scored in the second quarter on a 33-yard pass and run play from QB Andrew Luck, and then Brown came back and ran 51 yards for a third quarter touchdown. Kicker Adam Vinatieri added three field goals.

Coming off back-to-back games where they outscored their opponent 101-41, Kansas City’s offense was stagnant and unable to generate consistent yardage, let alone scoring chances. QB Alex Smith threw a pair of interceptions, and the Colts’ offense picked up seven points there. Smith and rookie RB Knile Davis lost fumbles, and Indy scored a touchdown off those takeaways. The Chiefs came into the game with a plus-21 turnover ratio and they were tied for No. 1 in the league for fewest giveaways with 14.

They exit at plus-17 with 18 giveaways.

“That wasn’t our team, on offense, defense or special teams,” said linebacker Derrick Johnson. “We did not match the intensity that the Colts played with. If you don’t do that, you don’t win in this league.”

The Chiefs actually scored first, taking their initial possession of the game and moving 59 yards on four plays after getting good field position thanks to a 25-yard punt return by Dexter McCluster. The score came on a pretty 31-yard run by RB Jamaal Charles, who went off right tackle and ran through and away from the Colts’ defense. 

“The way we opened it up and marching down there the way we did, I felt like things were going to be kind of the way they have been,” Smith said. “After that, we couldn’t get any rhythm. We couldn’t execute very well in any area. And, the turnovers really hurt you.

The Colts came back and ran off 13 unanswered points over the rest of the first half. After missing a 34-yard field goal, Vinatieri made a 46-yard field goal early in the second quarter to get the visitors on the board.

The fumble by Davis was recovered by Colts DE Cory Redding at the Kansas City 33-yard line. Luck took his team in for a touchdown on just two plays. The score came on a 33-yard pass play to Brown, who was left uncovered by the Chiefs defense, giving Indianapolis a 10-7 lead.

“He was the check down, so he’s sort of the last guy,” Luck said of his progression with his receivers on that play that ended with Brown. “They did a good job of covering everybody else. All of our backs like Donald do a good job of getting to the right spot in the passing game. He got to the right spot, I was able to get him the ball and he was out.”

Indianapolis pushed the difference to six points later in the second quarter when Vinatieri made a 45-yard field goal and the Colts went to the halftime locker room leading 13-7.

Kansas City opened the second half, but Smith’s right arm was hit as he was throwing a pass by Indianapolis outside linebacker Robert Mathis. The ball flew up in the air and was intercepted by Colts linebacker Jerrell Freeman.

Two snaps later, Brown scored on an impressive 51-yard run where he broke three tackles and did a tight rope walk down the sideline over the last 10 yards. That gave the Colts a 20-7 lead with 12:55 to play in the third quarter.

Indianapolis pushed the lead to 23-7 thanks to a 30-yard field goal by Vinatieri that completed a 15-play drive that chewed up 7:50 on the third-quarter clock. The Chiefs helped out with a pair of defensive penalties on third down, a holding call against cornerback Sean Smith and a 15-yard taunting penalty on nose tackle Dontari Poe.

As they tried to come back, Smith threw his second interception of the game, this one in the end zone and he then lost the football on a fumble as he tried to move away from a collapsing pocket.

“You can’t have those, especially against good teams,” said Smith. “The pass was underthrown and I didn’t have two hands on the ball there at the end.”

The Chiefs wrap up their regular-season schedule this coming Sunday with a game in San Diego against the Chargers that means nothing in the post-season for the Chiefs.

What will mean something is the game they play the next weekend in the first round of the AFC playoffs. Their likely opponent is the Colts.

“I don’t know if we’ll see them again, but that doesn’t really matter at this point,” said Charles, who finished with 106 rushing yards. “They kicked us today. They played better. They deserved to win. We need to get ourselves right. We can’t play like that.”

Sunday Pre-Game – Colts vs. Chiefs From Arrowhead

From Arrowhead Stadium

11:27 a.m. CST – Chiefs are wrapping up their warm-up period and are headed to the nice warm locker room for 30 minutes before kickoff against the Colts. Remember are extensive coverage that will begin in early evening and carry on through the night and into Monday. Enjoy the game.

11:22 a.m. CST – A victory against Indy would give the Chiefs a 6-2 record on the season at Arrowhead Stadium, only the second time in the last 7 years where they won more than they lost at home. In the 2010 season where they won the AFC West, the Chiefs were 7-1 on home games. Last season, they were 1-7 at Arrowhead. So far this year they’ve lost only to San Diego and Denver in the 816 area code.

11:17 a.m. CST – The defensive coordinator for the Colts is former Chiefs LB Greg Manusky. He spent 6 seasons (1994-99) and 96 games wearing a red and gold uniform where he was a special teams standout on those teams. Manusky is now in his 13th-season of coaching in the NFL having worked in Tampa Bay, Washington, San Diego and San Francisco before landing last year with the Colts.

11:12 a.m. CST – A lot of conversation between members of the Chiefs coaching staff and Indianapolis GM Ryan Grigson. Before he took over the Colts leadership spot last season, Grigson was a scout and personnel executive with the Philadelphia Eagles.

11:07 a.m. CST – It’s 55 minutes until kickoff and the temperature on the field is 24 degrees with a northwest wind blowing at 10 mph. That makes the wind-chill factor at 14 degrees. Today’s high temperature not expected to break 25 degrees.

11:05 a.m. CST – Starting lineup changes for the Colts have Fili Moala starting at DT for Ricky Jean Francois. On the offensive line, rookie Xavier Nixon opens at LG for Hugh Thornton and Mike McGlynn will start at RG for Jeff Linkenbach.

11 a.m. CST – Ryan Succop kicking to the west goal posts had some problems. He hit the right upright from 39 yards and then missed two FG attempts from 47 yards, before finally hitting a 48-yard attempt. The wind right now is strong coming in from the west.

10:50 a.m. CST – Starters update for the Chiefs has Donald Stephenson at LT for Branden Albert, Frank Zombo at OLB for Justin Houston. Anthony Fasano is active and will start at tight end and Geoff Schwartz will again start at RG next to Eric Fisher at RT.

10:45 a.m. CST – One player note from Buffalo-Miami game – former Chiefs TE Tony Moeaki is active today for the Bills, his first chance to play this season.

10:42 a.m. CST – Not many players on the field yet for warm-up action. Those out in the elements are bundled up; lots of hoodies. Nobody running around with bare arms and a small t-shirt.

10:37 a.m. CST – Reax to decisions on Chiefs inactive players: no surprises here. Both Justin Houston and Branden Albert practiced all week, but head coach Andy Reid indicated Friday a bit of pessimism that both would be ready for action on Sunday. It might be different decisions if the Chiefs were still fighting to get into the playoffs. Good news for Chiefs that both TE Anthony Fasano and WR Dexter McCluster are active. Fasano is expected to start.

10:33 a.m. CST – Inactive players for the Colts against the Chiefs are #38 FS Sergio Brown, #56 LB Daniel Adongo, #69 G Hugh Thornton, #72 OL Jeff Linkenbach, #76 G Joe Reitz, #94 DT Montori Hughes, #99 DT Ricky Jean Francois.

10:30 a.m. CST — Inactive players for the Chiefs against the Colts are #9 QB Tyler Bray, #50 LB Justin Houston, #57 LB Nico Johnson, #64 C Eric Kush, #75 G Rishaw Johnson, #76 LT Branden Albert, #96 DT Jaye Howard.

10:25 a.m. CST – Good morning from the Truman Sports Complex where game day has begun cold, snowy, and cold and snowy. The field was covered inside the stadium by a tarp and they uncovered the playing surface in the last 20 minutes and players are starting to hit the field to check it out. The weather is part of the picture for Game No. 15 of the season with the Chiefs hosting the Indianapolis Colts. Over the next hour, we’ll update you on news, notes, inactive players, gossip and I’m sure more weather and field reports.

Chiefs Do Roster Shuffle on Wednesday

From the Truman Sports Complex

It was a busy Tuesday and Wednesday for the Chiefs as players were signed, released and moved to various points in the NFL personnel universe.

On the active roster:

  • TE Dominique Jones was placed on the non-football illness list.
  • TE Richard Gordon was signed to be the team’s 3rd tight end.

On the practice squad:

  • WR Jheranie Boyd was released.
  • TE Demetrius Harris went to the practice squad/injured-reserve list.
  • TE Jake Byrne and WR Fred Williams were signed.

The move that will most immediately show itself is the addition of Gordon to the tight end mix. He’s 6-4, 265 pounds and has 27 games of NFL experience, all of those with Oakland in 2011-12. He has three catches for 11 yards and a touchdown. This season he’s spent time with the Raiders and Pittsburgh. Gordon came into the league as a 6th-round selection in the 2011 NFL Draft by Oakland out of the University of Miami. …Read More!

Upon Further Reflection – Oakland

Worst-to-second – it doesn’t have quite the ring of worst-to-first, but what the heck, anything is better than being considered the laughingstock of the National Football League.

Those 2-14 Chiefs are gone, finally buried by the 2013 edition with its 11-3 record with two games to play and holder of an invitation to the AFC playoffs. It’s one of the great turnaround stories in NFL history.

There are as many reasons for the rise of the Chiefs as there were reasons for the fall of the Hunt Family franchise. New administrators, new coaches, a new outlook and a sprinkling of new players are making big contributions.

Those people and their approach created change in the franchise and that was visible in Oakland on Sunday. An important element of the team’s recent DNA has been altered – the Chiefs had to become a tougher team. …Read More!

Chiefs Keys To Winning in Oakland/Recap

4

Keep giving Knile Davis/Cyrus Gray some of Jamaal Charles’ carries

What’s important this Sunday is the game against the Raiders, not potential post-season games down the road in three more weeks. But there’s no question that Andy Reid and his staff need to be a bit judicious in their personnel use in coming weeks. It doesn’t appear they will get a bye week to start the playoffs, so they’ll have to play in the first weekend and they’ll have to do it on the road. In the last several games, the offensive play time of rookie RB Knile Davis has increased and he’s been productive. Cyrus Gray got some touches as well. Last week Davis-Gray had 15 touches, while Jamaal Charles had 21. That type of ratio needs to continue to keep Charles fresher for the month of January.

OUTCOME: Mission accomplished – that was due to Charles and his 5 touchdowns that made his playing into the fourth quarter unnecessary. He had just 16 touches in the game. Davis had 11 and Gray 2. That’s 13 snaps that would normally have gone to Charles, giving him 29 in the game – pretty normal work day for him in the first 12 games of the season. Two straight weeks of no snaps in the fourth quarter is huge for Charles and the Chiefs.

3

Don’t allow Raiders any ideas about winning the game

There’s nothing the Raiders have done in recent seasons that would allow them to build or gain any momentum. They are 8-21 under head coach Dennis Allen in the last two seasons and in that time the won back-to-back games only once and that was at mid-season last year. This year their outcomes have gone like this: L-W-L-L-W-L-W-L-L-W-L-L-L. They average just 8 points per game in the second half. That’s evidence enough of how they will fade away. Keep losing teams losing – the Chiefs did it last week, they need to do it again.

OUTCOME: Mission accomplished – Only once in the game’s 60 minutes did the Chiefs allow the Raiders to think about winning the game. That came in the third quarter when they scored two touchdowns and pulled within 4 points But the Chiefs came right back and put two touchdowns on the board and then another in the fourth quarter and the Raiders folded their tents.

2

Continue the increase in point production, especially from the offense

Over the last 3 games, the Chiefs have averaged 37 points game. In the season’s first 10 games, they averaged 23.2 points per game. Even the math challenged folks can detect that’s a 14-increase or two touchdowns per game. The Raiders are not one of the NFL’s big scoring teams, averaging 20.3 points per game on the season. In its 3-game losing streak, Oakland has averaged 23.3 points per game. The tenor of the game will depend on whether the Chiefs score points like they have in recent games, or like they did over the first 10 games. If they can’t continue to score points, the game will be a lot tougher than it needs to be for the visitors.

OUTCOME: Mission accomplished – the Chiefs put up 8 touchdowns and 7 of those came from the offense. That’s a remarkable total for a team that had trouble breaking 21 points early in the season.

1

Make life miserable for the Raiders young quarterbacks

The Chiefs showed in the first meeting between these teams how to make a young quarterback nervous and very uncomfortable as they sacked Terrelle Pryor nine times in a 24-7 victory. Pryor is no longer the Oakland starter – its undrafted rookie free agent Matt McGloin out of Penn State. He’s starters the last four (1-3) record, but has limited the interceptions, throwing just 3 in 140 passes thrown. He’s been sacked 5 times. There’s talk of Pryor getting a chance to play in this game and he’s thrown 10 interceptions and been sacked 29 times. Mixing and matching the coverages will help the Chiefs sack and stack the Raiders offense.

OUTCOME: Mission accomplished – McGloin and Pryor threw 5 interceptions on the day, even though they were not sacked. The Chiefs pass rush at least got close enough to McGloin to breathe on him and let him know what they had for a pre-game meal. On his four interceptions, McGloin kept throwing to spots where he didn’t expect a Chiefs defender to be; that’s how young quarterbacks learn.

Report Card: Chiefs Grades Very Good Vs. Raiders

Here’s the report card for the Chiefs after Sunday’s 56-31 victory over the Oakland Raiders:

Passing offense A: It’s hard to give anything but a perfect grade to an offensive effort through the air that produced a perfect passer rating of 158.3. That’s what Alex Smith was credited with after completing 85 percent of his throws (17 of 20), for 14.4-yard average per attempt and 16.9-yard average per completion. Smith did not throw an interception, was sacked twice and had those 5 scoring throws.

Running offenseB: The Chiefs didn’t really need the running game against Oakland, but they were able to produce two touchdowns on the ground. Rookie Knile Davis was the team’s leading rusher with 34 yards on 9 carries, including an impressive 17-yard TD run where he showed speed and power.

Pass defenseB: They had 5 interceptions and held the Raiders shaky quarterbacks to a completion percentage of less than 50 percent. They did allow 2 scoring passes and they also gave up too many big plays through the air. But what kept them from an A grade was no sacks – they faced 41 passing plays and couldn’t put Matt McGloin or Terrelle Pryor on the ground.

Run defense C-plus: Through most of the game the Raiders went with an unbalanced line on early downs, bringing in an extra tackle and putting six men of beef on the line of scrimmage. The Chiefs gave up 91 yards to Rashad Jennings and 2 TDs, but no one else really hurt them. Oakland came into the game leading the NFL in rushing with an average of 134.4 yards per game.

Special teams C: The Chiefs presented the Raiders with a perfect opportunity to fake a punt, when they did not cover the flyers on either side of punt formation. Oakland said thank you and completed a 22-yard pass from a first down. Kicker Ryan Succop was sailing his kickoffs into the end zone for most of the game, but at one point he hit a dribbler that ended up rolling out of bounds inside the 5-yard line. That would have been nice placement for a punt, but this was a kickoff and it cost the Chiefs at least 20 yards in field position. The rest of the special teams didn’t really produce much of anything.

Coaching A: Reid’s players and staff faced a tough situation in the preparation week, coming home from an east coast trip with a big victory, and then turning around and going to the west coast for the next outing. If ever there was the opportunity for the Chiefs to possibly drop their guard, it would be their visit to Oakland. Instead, the Chiefs came out and grabbed the game by the throat on the first offensive play.

Chiefs Make Playoffs; Are They Good Enough To Stay?

I’m confused.

Yes, I know you folks figured that out a long time ago, but I’m just a bit baffled on what to make of these 2013 Kansas City Chiefs.

Andy Reid is taking his first team wearing red and gold to the playoffs, something that didn’t seem possible back in late July when the squad showed up in St. Joe to begin training camp.

When the games began to count, the Chiefs started strong, pushing their record out to 9-0 and establishing a spot among the league’s better teams. Yet, in the last five weeks they have been the team that went 0-3 against Denver-San Diego-Denver, losing by a combined score of 103-83, or a point differential of minus-20 points against two opponents with a combined record of 18-10.

And then, they are the team that’s won two-in-a-row by a combined score of 101-41, or a point differential of plus-60 points against teams with a 7-21 combined record.

Just who are these Chiefs of 2013? The results of the season indicate they can beat bad teams, but can’t get in front of good teams. Given the football math, we know they are going to see nothing but good teams in the playoffs. If they hold true to their regular season form, their January activity likely will be isolated to one disappointing outing.

In their big victory on Sunday when they took out the Raiders by 25 points thanks to an explosion of touchdowns by Jamaal Charles, the Chiefs were far from posting a solid performance across the board.

Charles and Alex Smith were an offensive machine, picking apart the Raiders with screen passes that took advantage of the overall athletic skills of their All-Pro running back. Smith made good decisions, was accurate in his throws and showed his mobility – all the things that are the strengths of his game.

But the Chiefs defensive performance was questionable at best, even with 7 takeaways, including 5 interceptions. They gave up 461 yards and 4 touchdowns to an offense that hadn’t scored more than 28 points all season. And while swiping the ball is frequently evidence of pressure on the quarterback, the Chiefs did not have a single sack in the game, despite 41 passes thrown against them.

Even the special teams, normally the most consistent part of the team’s performance each week had knucklehead mistakes. They allowed the Raiders to convert a fourth-down play out of punt formation when they did not cover the outside flyers. Oakland’s punt team saw the opening and completed a pass for a 22-yard play and a first down.

After the Chiefs went up 28-10 in the second quarter, Ryan Succop’s kickoff angled left and rolled out of bounds, losing 20 yards in field position for no visible reason.

And there were the penalties against the Chiefs that allowed the Raiders to stay in the game. Oakland’s first two touchdowns were helped by 28 and 38 yards in penalties walked off against the Chiefs defense.

The Raiders have a roster that has been pieced together under very difficult circumstances created by salary-cap mismanagement under late owner Al Davis and his minions. They spent a lot of money on a lot of not-very-good players and in the last two years new G.M. Reggie McKenzie has tried to clean up the cap and roster so Oakland can get back to competing at the upper level of the AFC West.

Right now, they are 4-10 and the starting quarterback is a rookie that went undrafted earlier this year, yet somehow has gone from being No. 4 on the depth chart to No. 1 in Oakland. Until Sunday, Matt McGloin had been predictable in that he didn’t make many mistakes and didn’t turn the ball over.

The Chiefs intercepted 4 of his passes and picked up another takeaway when McGloin and his center botched a shotgun snap, with the fumble recovered by OLB Tamba Hali.

Still, there were times when the Raiders made the Chiefs defense look slow, as they repeatedly ran away from linebackers and defensive backs in the passing game. Wide receivers like Rod Streater and Andre Holmes, tight end Mychal Rivera and backs Marcel Reece and Rashad Jennings were killing the K.C. defense. Only Rivera and Jennings were considered talented enough to be drafted coming into the NFL; Rivera went in the 6th-round and Jennings in the 7th-round.

That the Chiefs were able to win this game without four key players – LT Branden Albert, TE Anthony Fasano, OLB Justin Houston and WR-returner Dexter McCluster – was an impressive feather in the team’s collective hat.

Also impressive was their ability to play back-to-back road games, going from east coast to west coast in 8 days and winning both games, especially after coming off a 3-game losing streak.

Eight-hundred words later, my confusion remains – just who are these 2013 Chiefs? I know this – they are going to the AFC playoffs in one of the most impressive one-year turnarounds in professional sports history. That may be as far as this team can go.

But I’m not sure about that – I’m still confused.

Chiefs Bound For Playoffs After Charles’ TD Explosion

For oh so many reasons, what happened at O.com Coliseum on Sunday afternoon will be burned in the long-term memory of the Chiefs and their fans.

In the most dominating performance of the long rivalry with the Oakland Raiders, the Chiefs won 56-31 as they rode the slender legs of RB Jamaal Charles who scored 5 touchdowns while establishing anew his credentials for serious consideration as the NFL’s most valuable player.

The outcome allowed them to sweep the Oakland Raiders this season, was the team’s 11th victory and pulled them back into a tie for first place in the AFC West with Denver.

Most of all, the outcome assured them a seat at the AFC’s post-season buffet in the first season under head coach Andy Reid.

“It’s great to be in the playoffs,” said Reid. “We also understand that’s not where it stops . . . I don’t think this team is satisfied sitting here with that. They want the opportunity to finish this thing the right way. But we took the first step and that’s a step forward.”

They are riding a wave of points as they hit the last two weeks of the regular season and then whatever the playoffs provide them. Last week it was 45 points in beating Washington by 35. A week later it was 56 points and a 25-point victory. The combined 101 points by the Chiefs in consecutive games has been topped only once in franchise history, that by the 1966 Chiefs. That team scored 56 and 48 points in back-to-back games, or a total of 104.

“It’s a huge deal,” said QB Alex Smith, who threw 5 touchdown passes and had just 3 incomplete passes on the afternoon. “We took care of our business this week. We are in the dance and anything can happen.”

Anything can happen when the engine of the offense is Charles. He touched the ball 16 times in the game and scored 5 touchdowns, produced 215 yards in total offense and simply ran willy-nilly through the Raiders defense. His touchdowns went for 49, 39, 1, 16 and 71 yards, the last one coming in the third quarter and the play snuffed out any momentum Oakland was feeling as they had pulled within 4 points with less than 5 minutes to play in the period.

Smith had the four TD throws to Charles and another one to TE Sean McGrath. Rookie RB Knile Davis added the cherry on top with a 17-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Also huge for the Chiefs were the 7 takeaways they generated, with 2 recovered fumbles and 5 interceptions of Oakland quarterbacks Matt McGloin and Terrelle Pryor. Eric Berry returned one of those picks 49 yards for a pick-six touchdown, the 11th return score of the season.

“Each phase had its time and moment,” Reid said of offense, defense and special teams. “At the same time we are coming out of this with a lot of stuff that we need to work on and we’ll continue to do that.”

This was not a perfect performance by the Chiefs in any fashion. They shot themselves in the foot, especially on defense, with penalties racking up 8 for 91 yards. They allowed 461 offensive yards to a team that had struggled offensively because of quarterback problems. The Raiders had 10 offensive plays that went for more than 20 yards and Oakland scored 31 points; it was the first time they topped 28 points in the last 22 games over two seasons.

The Chiefs won the opening coin toss and continued winning throughout the first quarter, as they built a 21-3 lead and scored more points in the first quarter than they had since December 1998 when they had 21 against Denver.

Taking the kickoff, Quintin Demps returned it 50 yards and set up the offense at the Raiders 49-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, Smith dumped a screen pass to the left side of the formation to Charles, who snatched the ball out of the air and steamed down the left sideline. He had to tiptoe along the edge of the field, but no Oakland defender laid a hand on him and he scored just 22 seconds into the game.

The Raiders came back thanks to a big catch and run pass play by FB Marcel Reece that went for 45 yards and set up Oakland at the Chiefs 35-yard line. The K.C. defense allowed a first down, but held the Raiders out of the end zone and they had to settle for a 34-yard field goal from Sebastian Janikowski.

Smith, Charles and the rest of the offense had the next possession and this time they were able to overcome an Oakland sack and got the score on a 3rd-and-19 screen pass to Charles. The running back made a great catch, stabbing the ball with one hand, turning and running 39 yards for his second touchdown catch of the game. Ryan Succop’s PAT kick gave the Chiefs a 14-3 lead.

The defense soon gave them another touchdown, as Berry grabbed the first of two interceptions on the day. It was a 3rd-and-3 play, and Berry read the eyes of McGloin, stepped in front of a pass intended for Reece and running 47 yards with the pick-six and a 21-3 lead for the visitors.

Thanks to three penalties against the Chiefs defense, the Raiders picked up a touchdown early in the second quarter, on a 1-yard run by RB Rashad Jennings. The PAT kick made it 21-10.

Reid’s offense wasn’t able to sustain a drive and Oakland took over after a Chiefs punt at their 20-yard line. A bad snap in the shotgun formation by C Stefen Wisniewski wasn’t handled and secured by McGloin and OLB Tamba Hali recovered at the Raiders 11-yard line.

Charles got a first down with great second effort on a 3rd-and-goal play and then scored his third touchdown of the half with a 1-yard run. That made it 28-10, but quickly it went to 35-10 when another Berry interception set up another Smith to Charles screen pass for a touchdown, this time from 16 yards out.

Oakland was able to get another touchdown to slice the difference to 18 points and again got help from the Chiefs with two big penalties before Jennings scored on a 1-yard run. The PAT kick set the half-time scoreboard at 35-17.

On the opening possession of the second half, the Raiders cut the spread to 11 points when McGloin connected with WR Andre Holmes on a 6-yard touchdown pass. Less than eight minutes later, McGloin threw a 14-yard scoring pass to TE Mychal Rivera and the Chiefs lead was down to 35-31 and there were still 20 minutes of game to be played and the Raiders came out of their stupor and were making a lot of noise.

That all ended in a period of two minutes, 14 seconds. First, Smith and Charles combined on the 71-yard touchdown play. Then the Chiefs forced a fumble on the subsequent kickoff return and recovered at the Oakland 28-yard line. Finally, Smith hit McGrath for a 6-yard score that pushed the score to 49-31.

In the fourth quarter, the Chiefs had two interceptions and also got a touchdown from Davis on a strong 17-yard run. The victory was assured, as was their spot in the AFC playoffs. Who and where they would play in January remains in flux. What they do know is they face Indianapolis next Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium and take a trip to San Diego to face the Chargers.

First place in the AFC West remains in play as they are tied again with the Broncos at 11-3, although Denver has the head-to-head edge that wins all tie-breakers.

Chiefs Knock On Post-Season Door in Trip To Oakland

The Chiefs and Raiders will continue their long-time rivalry Sunday afternoon on the east side of San Francisco Bay with very different agendas.

Kickoff is just after 3 p.m. at the O.co Coliseum and television coverage is from CBS.

For Andy Reid and his 10-3 Chiefs, victory would assure them a seat at the table for the AFC post-season banquet. For Dennis Allen and the 4-9 Raiders, heaven knows what they’ll play for as they chase out another lost season. Pride and paycheck are the only carrots dangling in front of the silver and black.

The Chiefs could also gain entrance via the backdoor with a loss by either Miami or Baltimore. They Chiefs will know about the Dolphins, because they have a noon start at home against New England on Sunday.

Should that early outcome be good news for the Chiefs, it won’t matter to Reid, as he said this week:

Q: The possibility exists that you can clench a playoff spot before kickoff. Will that change your game plan?

REID: “No.”

Q: You’re going to play to win?

REID: “Yeah that’s what we’re going to do.” …Read More!

4 Keys To Victory For The Chiefs in Oakland

4

Keep giving Knile Davis/Cyrus Gray some of Jamaal Charles’ carries

What’s important this Sunday is the game against the Raiders, not potential post-season games down the road in three more weeks. But there’s no question that Andy Reid and his staff need to be a bit judicious in their personnel use in coming weeks. It doesn’t appear they will get a bye week to start the playoffs, so they’ll have to play in the first weekend and they’ll have to do it on the road. In the last several games, the offensive play time of rookie RB Knile Davis has increased and he’s been productive. Cyrus Gray got some touches as well. Last week Davis-Gray had 15 touches, while Jamaal Charles had 21. That type of ratio needs to continue to keep Charles fresher for the month of January. …Read More!

Quarterback Play Explains AFC West Success

Over the last 10 seasons (including 2013), the Oakland Raiders have posted the worst record in the AFC West.

The second worst team in the division in that time was the Chiefs. The best teams in the AFC West were San Diego and Denver, and they were the only two AFC West teams to post records in the last 10 years that finished above .500:

  1. San Diego     98-60.
  2. Denver         91-67.
  3. Chiefs         65-92.
  4. Oakland     49-108.

In a league that spends so much attention and capital on the quarterback position, the on-field results in the AFC West are glaringly tied to the position. Here’s just one example – these are the total number of quarterbacks that started a game for the division teams since 2004, including this season:

  1. San Diego    3
  2. Denver        6
  3. Chiefs        9
  4. Oakland    16

Notice anything about those two sets of numbers? The more stability at the quarterback position, the better the chance a team has at stringing together successful seasons. When a franchise keeps changing its quarterback, the team’s record suffers that creates a vicious circle that leads to changing head coaches, to changing quarterbacks, to changing coaches . . .

The effects of position stability/instability will be on display Sunday in Oakland with the Chiefs and Raiders renewing their long rivalry. …Read More!

Upon Further Reflection – Washington

After getting a look at the tape, the Chiefs performance against the Redskins was their best effort as a team this season.

Andy Reid didn’t use those words but he made it plain he not only enjoyed the victory, but liked how it came together.

“I thought all three phases functioned well and that’s probably the first time this year that’s really taken place to that extreme,” Reid said. “That’s a good thing.”

It’s a really good thing if the Chiefs can replicate that type of performance against Oakland this weekend, Indianapolis before Christmas and in San Diego after all the presents are open.

December has been the ugly month on the calendar for the Chiefs over the last decade. It’s generally the time when teams successful in the post-season begin to string together victories.

Only two of 20 Super Bowl participants in the last 10 NFL championship games had a losing record in December. Seven years ago, Indianapolis went 2-3 in December. Last year’s champion Baltimore Ravens was 1-4 in month No. 12.

Still, those 20 teams were 57-27, a .679 winning percentage.

Here are the numbers: …Read More!

NFL Almanac – December 9

Players added to the active roster

Indianapolis – signed RB Tashard Choice.

Jacksonville – signed RB Delone Carter.

New England – signed TE D.J. Williams.

Injured-reserve list activity

Indianapolis – placed RB Chris Rainey on the injured-reserve list.

Jacksonville – placed WR Stephen Burton (concussion) and RB Justin Forsett (foot) on the injured-reserve list.

Minnesota – placed TE Kyle Rudolph on the injured-reserve list (foot). …Read More!

Snow doesn’t bother Jamaal Charles Anymore

When Jamaal Charles first arrived in Kansas City back in 2008 from the University of Texas and his hometown of Port Arthur, Texas, snow was not something he was familiar with.

And frankly, he had no desire to learn about the white stuff. Last year Charles talked about the first time he saw snow, and that was during a practice in 2008 at the Chiefs facility.

“I thought the coach was going to cancel practice, or at least move it inside,” Charles said. “We just kept running around in the cold and the snow. I hated it.”

But he’s come to learn how to deal with it, and now six years after first seeing falling flakes, the Chiefs major offensive weapon is unfazed by snow, cold and wet.

“Everyone was saying ‘It’s your type of day,’ but it doesn’t matter what type of day it is,” said Charles. “It’s every day for me. No matter what kind of weather conditions, I love to get the ball.

“You’ve got to suck it up. Its football and you’ve got to go out and play no matter the conditions outside, sleet, snow, you got to go.”

Compared to some games, Charles did not get the ball in his hands quite as often as he has been, with just 21 touches. But he produced 159 yards and two touchdowns, one rushing, one receiving. His 151 yards rushing on 19 carries went for an average of 7.9 yards per run, with breakouts of 35 and 33 yards. It was his best rushing day of the season.

That success on the ground is a continuation of what’s happened since the Chiefs started taking the ball down the field more often in the passing game. That came after their bye a month ago. Here’s what the numbers show:

Rushing

Runs

Yards

Avg

TDs

Avg. Per Game

First 9 games

168

725

4.3

6

18.7 – 80.5 yards

Last 4 games

70

437

6.2

4

17.5 – 109.3 yards

Total

238

1,162

4.9

10

18.3 – 89.4 yards

When the scoreboard got lopsided in the second half, Charles got pulled and rookie Knile Davis got a chance to run with the ball, carrying 11 times for 30 yards and his first NFL rushing TD.

Right now, Charles has produced 1,622 yards on 295 touches on the season. His 1,162 rushing yards now ranks No. 9 in team history. He already has the No. 5 (1,509 yards) and No. 7 (1,467) rushing seasons. Through 13 games he’s on a pace to finish with 1,430 rushing yards.

He also moved into fourth place in the career yards from scrimmage list, passing RB Larry Johnson. Here’s the top 5:

#

Player

Rushing

Receiving

Years

Total Yards

1.

Tony Gonzalez

14

10,940

1997-2008

10,954

2.

Priest Holmes

6,070

2,377

2001-07

8,447

3.

Otis Taylor

161

7,306

1965-75

7,467

4.

Jamaal Charles

5,698

1,742

2008-13

7,440

5.

Larry Johnson

6,015

1,369

2003-09

7,384

Report Card – Best Grades Of Season For Chiefs

Here’s the report card for the Chiefs after Sunday’s 45-10 victory over the Washington Redskins:

Passing offense B: The Chiefs really didn’t need any big contributions from their passing game, although QB Alex Smith provided a pair of touchdown passes and completed 70 percent of his throws. The protection was very good on this day, as Smith was not sacked in 20 passing plays and was hit only once. Plus, there were no interceptions. The grade would have been better if they had produced at least 200 passing yards.

Running offenseA: Jamaal Charles was very effective in this game, running just 19 times for 151 yards, or 7.9 yards per carry. He cracked off a 35 and 33-yard runs, and also added 17, 13 and 13-yard runs with a touchdown carry. Rookie Knile Davis got a touchdown running from 17 yards out as well. The 193 rushing yards was their best performance of the season.

Pass defenseB-plus: The Chiefs pass rush returned after being missing for over a month, as they took down Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins a half-dozen times. The defense also got a big interception from ILB Derrick Johnson and they did not allow a pass play of more than 30 yards. With a bit of tighter coverage late in the first half when they gave up 10 points by the Redskins, they would have pulled an A grade.

Run defense A: Washington came in as the No. 1 rushing offense in the NFL after 12 games, averaging 150 yards per game. The Chiefs defense held the Redskins to 65 rushing yards on 17 carries, a 3.8-yard average with a long run of 18 yards from Griffin. RB Alfred Morris had just 31 yards on 12 carries.

Special teams A: One of the team’s best performances in the kicking game in many seasons. If kicker Ryan Succop had not missed a 34-yard field goal, they would have drawn an A-plus grade. That was the only hiccup of the day for the K.C. special teams. They scored on a punt and kickoff returns. Two other returns set up the offense in good field position and they eventually scored touchdowns. The coverage units kept the Washington return game under wraps, giving up just one return out of the norm, a 39-yard kick return that now ranks as the longest given up by the Chiefs this year.

Coaching A: The best thing the Chiefs have going for them is Andy Reid and his veteran coaching staff. As a group there was no panic despite the three-game losing streak that shook the team’s confidence. Across the board, from offense, to defense, to special teams, the staff came up with winning plans of attack that never allowed the Redskins to contemplate winning the game.

Losing Streak Halted as Chiefs Hammer Skins, 45-10

An NFL team can only play the opponent the league assigned them on that season’s schedule for that particular week.

After losing three straight games, the Chiefs would like to thank the league schedule makers for their Game No. 13 opponent – the Washington Redskins.

On Sunday, with all three phases of at Chiefs game putting forward their best performances in a month, Andy Reid’s team slammed the wobbling Redskins 45-10 at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.

That brought an end to the 3-game losing streak, pushed their record against the NFC East to 4-0, gave them their 5th winning performance on the road and pushed them to their 10th victory of the season, becoming the 16th team in franchise history to have double-digit victories in a season.

“It’s tough to lose 3 games in a row in the National Football League,” said Reid. “It seems like a year (since they won). Those are like dog years. I’m proud of the guys and how they came back from that, how they practiced and prepared. I thought they did a heck of a job all the way around.”

It was not enough to wrap up their spot in the AFC playoffs, as both Baltimore and Miami won games that were wild affairs at the end. The Chiefs needed either the Ravens or Dolphins to lose.

They are now 10-3 and are all but assured of making the tournament field with 3 games to play. The Redskins are 3-10 and that type of opponent is just what the Chiefs needed to get themselves back on track.

Playing in first snow, then sleet and finally rain, the Chiefs had multiple stars in this game and they came in all three phases that performed at a high level right from the start of the game.

“It was good to see all three phases functioning like they did today,” Reid said. “I like the attitude that these guys took into the game. They did not let the weather be a distraction. Field position was huge throughout the day and special teams were a big part of that.”

On offense it was RB Jamaal Charles with 151 rushing yards on 19 carries and QB Alex Smith, who only threw for 137 yards, but completed 70 percent of his passes and threw touchdowns to Charles for 5 yards and WR Dwayne Bowe for 21 yards. Smith had no interceptions and he was not sacked.

Defensively ILB Derrick Johnson had an early interception and a long return that set up the Chiefs second TD and OLB Tamba Hali had two of the Chiefs 6 sacks of Washington quarterbacks. They held the league’s best rushing team to just 65 yards on the ground and only 3.8 yards per carry.

And then there was the Chiefs kicking game, as Dexter McCluster returned a punt for a score and set a club record for punt return yardage in a game, and Quintin Demps returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. In all the Chiefs had 300 yards in kick and punt returns on the day.

 

There was no doubt in the mind of Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III how his team dropped their 10th game of the season after winning the NFC East last year.

“They outplayed us,” said Griffin, who had 193 yards in offense and threw an interception before he was lifted from the game with more than 13 minutes to play in the game. “The game got out of hand right from the get-go and that’s hard to deal with.”

The first quarter was a remarkable start for the Chiefs as they put 17 points on the board, set up by defense and the special teams. Washington won the opening coin toss and deferred possession until the second half. So the Chiefs got the ball first and they started with a nice drive that eventually bogged down and ended with a 33-yard field goal from Ryan Succop.

Washington picked up one first down on their initial possession and punter Sav Rocca sailed one right down them idle of the field where it was caught by McCluster, who then returned it 60 yards, giving the offense starting field position at the Washington 13-yard line. In 5 plays, the Chiefs were in the end zone and Charles scored on a 2-yard run. With just a shade over 9 minutes gone in the game, the Chiefs led 10-0.

Soon, it was 17-0, as Johnson picked off a Griffin pass for WR Pierre Garcon and returned it 40 yards to the Redskins 25-yard line. Three plays later, Smith hit Bowe for a 21-yard touchdown on a great run by the wide receiver; Bowe bounced off the initial tackler and burst to the end zone. It was the most points in a quarter the Chiefs have scored since week No. 15 of the 2010 season when they had 17 points against Tennessee in the second quarter of a victory.

When the clock turned to the second quarter, the Chiefs continued to dominate the action. A 24-yard punt return by McCluster set the offense up at the Washington 41-yard line and in 5 plays, Smith connected with Charles on a 5-yard TD play. That made the score 24-0. It moved to 31-0 when McCluster took back the next Redskins punt 74 yards for a touchdown.

It was inside the two-minute warning of the first half before the Redskins dented the Chiefs 40-yard line, and Griffin took them 80 yards on 7 plays before throwing a 7-yard TD pass to TE Logan Paulsen, who beat Demps on the play with a great catch in the end zone. Washington added a 50-yard field goal on the last play of the first half and the Chiefs lead was 31-10.

In the third quarter, the Redskins offense never got past the 50-yard line. The Chiefs were not exactly throwing up a lot of points or yards, as Succop missed a 34-yard field goal try. But a 33-yard run by Charles at the end of the period, set up a 17-yard touchdown run by rookie RB Knile Davis three plays into the fourth quarter.

With the PAT kick, that set the score at the finale of 45-10.

PreGame – Chiefs Vs. Redskins At FedEx Field

Kansas City Chiefs photo

11:30 a.m. CST – Chiefs and Redskins coming up. Remember to stop back for post-game coverage starting late Sunday afternoon and rolling through the evening. Enjoy the game!

11:25 a.m. CST – The Chiefs are close to wrapping up their pre-game work on the field and they’ll head back to the locker room to warm up, dry off and prepare for kickoff just after 12 noon. Reportedly, the fans have not hurried to their seats at FedEx Field. The place looks empty.

11:20 a.m. CST – Weather report is a good indication that to get an edge in this game, each team should be trying to put points on the board as quickly as possible. With the precipitation gradually changing to sleet, that’s worse than snow. If as predicted by the National Weather Service the temperature goes up, then it goes from flakes to drops and that makes it tougher. Chiefs offense should be worried simply because of dropped passes that have hurt them in recent games, especially last Sunday against Denver.

11:15 a.m. CST – Here’s the National Weather Service forecast for this afternoon in Landover, Maryland: “Snow before 2 p.m. EST, then freezing rain and sleet with a high near 31 degrees. Northeast wind around 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100 percent.” Current temperature is 29 degrees with a wind chill of 21 degrees. …Read More!

A Year Later, Chiefs/Redskins Swap Spots

The National Football League is a changing landscape from week-to-week, but especially season-to-season.

Like sand dunes pounded by the desert winds, the league takes different shapes, exposing one team this year, while covering up another, only to have the wind reverse the previous season’s standings.

It’s truly the “Not for Long” league and there may be no better example than the Chiefs and Redskins.

Last season, the Redskins rose from the bottom of the NFL to win the NFC East and make the playoffs with rookie quarterback sensation Robert Griffin III. The Chiefs were buried under the rest of the league, finishing with the NFL’s worst record at 2-14.

Nearly 12 months later, those roles have been reversed. The Redskins are an ugly 3-9 and Griffin has had problems coming back from a knee injury. Meanwhile the Chiefs started 9-0 and are now 9-3 and still in control of their ability to make the playoffs.

“You look at the Redskins and they were a playoff-team a year ago,” said Chiefs QB Alex Smith. “They’ve certainly lost some tough games this year, but they’re capable of anything. If you don’t show up and don’t play, they are capable of embarrassing you; that’s every team in the league.”

So how is it that the Chiefs pushed the up button the NFL elevator this year, while the Redskins punched the down button and are on the lowest levels of the league? Is it attitude? Injuries? Opposition? …Read More!

This Week’s Foe – Washington Redskins


Game – No. 13.

Opponent – Washington Redskins

2013 record – 3-9, last place in the NFC East.

Franchise began – in 1932 as the Boston Braves. The team was started by businessman George Preston Marshall and three partners. In 1933 the team name was changed to the Redskins and Marshall became the sole owner. It was in 1937 that Marshall moved the franchise to Washington, D.C. He owned the team until his death in 1969.

Overall franchise record – 588-560-27 over 82 seasons of play beginning in 1932 as the Boston Braves.

Owner – Daniel Snyder purchased the Redskins in May 1999 from the estate of previous owner Jack Kent Cooke for $800 million. The deal included what was then called Jack Kent Cooke Stadium (it’s now FedEx Field). In 2003, Snyder sold 15 percent of the team to developer Dwight Schar for $200 million and 15 percent to Florida money-man Robert Rothman also for $200 million. He also sold 5 percent to Frederick W. Smith, founder of Federal Express. Snyder still owns 65 percent of the team and stadium. The 49-year old Snyder was born in Maryland. His net worth has been estimated by Forbes magazine as $1.2 billion. In 1989 he and his sister Michelle founded an advertising and marketing firm they named Snyder Communications. Eventually, it became a New York Stock Exchange listed company. In 2000, Snyder Communications was sold to a French company in an all-stock deal valued at $2 billion. It was with that money that he bought the NFL team and its stadium. Snyder is married and has three children. …Read More!

Upon Further Reflection – Denver at Arrowhead

Andy Reid, Bob Sutton and the rest of the defensive coaches need to spend some quality time in the next few weeks and months pondering the Chiefs defensive scheme.

Either that or they can hope that Peyton Manning leads the Broncos to a Super Bowl victory and then decides to retire.

The Chiefs are going to have problems winning the AFC West as long as the Broncos can field a passing offense like they currently have with Manning and his trio of talented wide receivers and a pretty good tight end.

After two games in three weeks it’s safe to say the Chiefs do not have the personnel to matchup with Denver. Few teams do, but with Reid’s defense the situation is exacerbated by their desire to play so much man-to-man coverage. If that’s going to be the style, then the Chiefs need better cornerbacks and faster safeties, because as the Broncos showed on Sunday at Arrowhead, the Chiefs couldn’t slow Manning down.

Yes, Denver picked on rookie CB Marcus Cooper, but it wasn’t like Manning ignored all the other defensive backs. Here’s how the number broke down in the final rendering: …Read More!

4 Keys To Winning For Chiefs vs. Broncos/Recap

4

Don’t allow Welker, D. Thomas and Decker to dominate

In the first game between these teams, those three wide receivers had 75 percent of the completions thrown by Peyton Manning and 82 percent of the yards (18 catches for 264 yards). On the season those three have delivered 60 percent of the Broncos catches and 65 percent of Manning’s passing yards, so against the Chiefs they were far better than an average game performance. For the most part the Chiefs matched up in man-to-man coverage with Brandon Flowers on Welker, Sean Smith on D. Thomas and Marcus Cooper on Decker. Those three must play better football, especially Smith who has turned in several sub-par performances over the last month. On a defense that needs to play well, the corners need to play best.

OUTCOME – FAILED, as Decker scored four touchdowns and both he and Demaryius Thomas had 100-yard games. Those 3 receivers caught 14 passes for 318 yards and the 4 scoring passes to Decker. They were the motor for the Denver offense.

3

Alex Smith needs a performance like last Sunday

The strength that Smith supposedly brings to the Chiefs offense is his consistency and stability. But in the last two games his numbers have been all over the spectrum from impressive against San Diego to bad versus Denver two weeks ago. The starkest contrast was in his completion percentage – vs. the Broncos it was 46.7 percent; against the Chargers it was 68.4 percent. The trickle down from that difference can be seen in the yards thrown and average yards per attempt. All of those were better against San Diego in the first Denver game. For the Chiefs to win in the re-match on Sunday, Smith needs to be last week’s passer, not the quarterback that played two weeks ago.

OUTCOME – Mission accomplished as Smith’s day was quite similar to what he showed against San Diego last Sunday. He threw a hurtful interception early in the game, but after that was able to connect on some big passes. He ended up getting burned by some bad drops, especially from WR Donnie Avery who had three.

2

Win all parts of the kicking game

The Chiefs have been solid on special teams this season, but overall not very special in production. Denver has made more things happen in the kicking game this year with punt and kickoff returns for touchdowns and the most consistent kicker in the league. The Chiefs have a slight edge in punt returns with Dexter McCluster, punt coverage thanks to Dustin Colquitt’s directional kicking and in gross punting. The Broncos have an edge in kick returns with Trindon Holliday, kick coverage, net punting thanks to Britton Colquitt and field goal percentage from Matt Prater. Across the board the Chiefs need to outperform the Broncos. They need a big return day, a bigger coverage day, Dustin must punt better than his brother and Ryan Succop must be at his best.

OUTCOME – Mission accomplished as the Chiefs special teams had their best overall day, due in large part to the 108-yard kickoff return for TD by rookie RB Knile Davis. Coverage was very good and punter Dustin Colquitt helped change the field position several times.

1

They must hit Peyton Manning

With the advantage of the home-field crowd noise, the Chiefs pass rush will have a split-second edge that they did not have two weeks ago in Denver. Maybe that will be enough to allow them to actually put Manning’s butt in the dirt, something they were unable to do in the first meeting between the teams. Manning sat back and threw for 323 yards, but he had just one touchdown pass, completed 60 percent of his throws at a time when he was averaging 70 percent a game and he hit one big throw on a 70-yard pass and run to D. Thomas. In effect, the Chiefs tiptoed up to the pressure line, but were not able to cross over. Even without OLB Justin Houston, they must find a way to get their hands on Manning and get his uniform dirty.

OUTCOME – FAILED, as the Chiefs hit Manning more than they did in the first meeting between the teams. But like that game, they did not rack up a sack of the Denver quarterback and that allowed him to stand there and pick apart the K.C. secondary.

Report Card: Chiefs vs. Broncos

Here’s the report card for the Chiefs after Sunday’s 35-28 loss to the Denver Broncos:

Passing offense B-plus: Alex Smith again threw the ball well in defeat, making only one mistake with an end zone interception early in the game. Smith went on to throw a pair of touchdown passes and he finished with a completion percentage of 61.9 percent. Smith was under pressure, but Denver did not sack him.

Running offenseC: Take away 46 rushing yards from Smith on scrambles away from the pass rush and the K.C. run game had only 113 yards on 20 carries from its running backs. Jamaal Charles had a rushing touchdown but his longest run was 15 yards.

Pass defenseF: Once again the Chiefs were not able to sack Denver QB Peyton Manning. They were without OLB Justin Houston and that didn’t help matters. But a contender needs to be able to overcome those types of injuries and the Chiefs could not make that happen. That allowed Manning to pick apart the K.C. secondary, especially rookie cornerback Marcus Cooper.

Run defense D-minus: Any time he really needed help from the running game, Manning was able to dial up a play that gained important yardage on the ground. That included a 45-yard run by rookie RB Montee Ball from the shadow of the goal posts that got the Broncos offense out of trouble.

Special teams A: Highlighted by the 108-yard kickoff return TD by rookie Knile Davis, the Chiefs won the kicking contest. They drove Broncos returner Trindon Holliday out of the game with a shoulder injury after being tackled by FB Anthony Sherman. The punting of Dustin Colquitt helped tilt the field position several times.

Coaching D: The Chiefs are in a three-game losing streak and it’s time for Andy Reid to figure out a way to stop the bleeding. In the second half of the season, they have regressed badly on defense, while improving their passing game, that had nowhere to go but up. The last three games have provided proof for those that believed K.C.’s 9-0 start was based on inferior competition.

Play of the Game – Eric Decker’s 4th TD Catch

 

From Arrowhead Stadium

Play – Broncos WR Eric Decker caught a 1-yard touchdown pass

When – 4th Quarter with 14 minutes, 16 seconds to play in the game

Down & Distance – 3rd-down and goal, at the Chiefs 1-yard line

Score – Denver held a 28-21 lead

It had already been a long day for Chiefs rookie CB Marcus Cooper. The Denver offense had been battering him all day. Now, the Broncos were just inches away from the end zone for the touchdown that would give them a two-touchdown lead early in the fourth quarter.

Denver came out in their normal offensive personnel, with three wide receivers, a tight end and running back. WRs Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker were lined up to the left, Eric Decker to the right. TE Joel Dreessen was tight right, with Knowshon Moreno in the backfield.

The Chiefs were in their primary sub-defense with 6 defensive backs on the field, along with 2 defensive linemen and 3 linebackers.

Cooper was on an island in coverage. FS Kendrick Lewis was inside, set up to cover any inside move by Decker or an out move from Dreessen.

“It’s part of the job, being out there by yourself,” said Cooper. “I figured every time they snapped the ball it was coming my way.”

QB Peyton Manning took the snap from under center, something he rarely does in the Denver offense. He took one backward step, while turning to his right and he immediately fired the ball towards the back right corner.

That’s where Decker was running too, and he had a half-step on Cooper, who was actually in good position.

But the throw from Manning was perfect, put in a place where only Decker had a chance to catch the ball. Cooper would have had to run through the receiver to get his hands on the ball.

“He put the ball in the right spot,” said FS Kendrick Lewis, who watched it all happen as he trailed the two players involved. “Coop didn’t have much of a chance on that one.”

The 1-yard touchdown play gave the Broncos a 35-21 lead, and would prove to be the winning score after the Chiefs added a touchdown later in the fourth quarter.

Knile Davis Cracks The Record Books


From Arrowhead Stadium

“Coach always talks about opportunity,” said Chiefs RB Knile Davis. “Right there, I took advantage of an opportunity to contribute.”

The rookie out of the University of Arkansas etched his name in the Chiefs and NFL record books with a 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Denver on Sunday. It was the big play that the Chiefs kicking game has been seeking for weeks now.

It was the highlight of what was Davis’ biggest day in his first NFL season, as he returned 2 kickoffs for 130 yards, caught 2 passes for 18 yards and had one run for 20 yards. That’s 168 all-purpose yards on 5 touches.

The 108-yard score was a bit of a gamble by Davis. He was deep enough in the end zone that getting back to the 20-yard line was going to be tough. But he didn’t think twice.

“If I catch it, I’m coming out,” Davis said. “I told my coaches that. I just hit that thing straight; the quickest way to the score is north.”

Back as the up returner was RB Cyrus Gray, who admitted he considered jumping in and telling Davis to down the ball in the end zone for a touchback.

“I thought about letting him stay (in the end zone), but why not?” said Gray. “Let the guy that has the ability to take it from anywhere on the field. I didn’t tell him to stay in; he just did his thing.”

Davis caught the kick from Denver’s Matt Prater and went up the middle of the field until the 10-yard line. That’s when there were already 4 Broncos covering in the kick inside the 15-yard line and another 3 inside the 20. Not one of those 7 players laid a hand on him as Gray, along with DE Mike Catapano, FB Anthony Sherman and S Husain Abdullah provided the blocks and interference.

By then he was running past potential tacklers, until he ran smack into Prater, who was busy trying to fend off the block of OLB Josh Martin.

“When I got past the kicker I knew there were two guys to my left,” said Davis.

He outran all of them and setting himself up in the annals of the game. It was the Chiefs first kickoff return for a touchdown since November 22, 2009 when Jamaal Charles had a 97-yard return against Pittsburgh at Arrowhead.

It’s the longest play in Chiefs history, longest kickoff return in club history and the second longest kickoff return in NFL history. Here are the details:

LONGEST PLAYS IN CHIEFS HISTORY

#

Yards

Player

Opponent

Date

Play Type

1.

108

Knile Davis

Denver

12/1/2013

Kickoff return

2.

106

Noland Smith

@ Denver

12/17/1967

Kickoff return

3.

102

Gary Barbaro

Seattle

12/11/1977

Interception return

4.

100

Dante Hall

Pittsburgh

9/14/2003

Kickoff return

 

100

Tim Collier

@ Oakland

12/18/1977

Interception return

 

100

Sean Smith

@ Buffalo

11/3/2013

Interception return

LONGEST KICKOFF RETURNS IN CHIEFS HISTORY

#

Yards

Player

Opponent

Date

1.

108

Knile Davis

Denver

12/1/2013

2.

106

Noland Smith

@ Denver

12/17/1967

3.

100

Dante Hall

Pittsburgh

9/14/2003

4.

99

Dave Grayson

@ Denver

9/7/1963

 

99

Tamarick Vanover

@ Seattle

9/3/1995

LONGEST KICKOFF RETURNS IN NFL HISTORY

#

Yards

Player

Team

Opponent

Date

1.

109

Cordarrelle Patterson

MIN

GB

10/27/2013

2.

108

Knile Davis

KC

DEN

12/1/2013

 

108

Randall Cobb

GB

NO

9/8/2011

 

108

Ellis Hobbs

NE

@ NYJ

9/9/2007

 

108

Jacoby Jones

BAL

DAL

0/14/2012

Cooper Struggles Under Glare of Peyton’s Passing


From Arrowhead Stadium

It’s been quite a ride this 2013 NFL season for Marcus Cooper.

There have been highs, there have been lows. But likely nothing he’s experienced was as low as Sunday’s game against Denver.

The Broncos said they did not paint a bull’s eye on the back of Cooper’s No. 31 jersey. It doesn’t matter what they said, because their actions spoke loudest. QB Peyton Manning always seemed to be finding the receiver that Cooper was covering. For a lot of the game that was WR Eric Decker, who finished up with 8 catches for 174 yards and 4 touchdown catches.

Cooper had the coverage on Decker’s third and fourth touchdowns, both catches in the end zone where he got behind the coverage. There was also a 42-yard catch where Decker beat Cooper and a 77-yard catch and run by WR Demaryius Thomas that Manning hit against him.

“We allowed some explosive plays to hurt us,” Cooper said. “Peyton is a great quarterback; he’s going to make those plays. We just have to limit those. This is a learning experience.”

Certainly, life at cornerback can be a humbling experience for any player. Just ask veteran Brandon Flowers who was beaten by Decker for the first and second touchdowns. Veteran Sean Smith couldn’t make the coverage or tackle on Manning’s fifth TD pass, a short one to RB Knowshon Moreno.

But the target seemed to be painted on Cooper.

“His touchdowns were on two different guys, Flowers who is a top cover corner and No. 31 (Cooper),” said Manning. “Those guys are good players. You’re not in the NFL unless you’re a good player. If you run good routes and you have time to make an accurate pass, sometimes it’s tough to defend.

“I give Decker more of the cred as opposed to saying we were going after one particular guy.”

As Manning said, it’s tough to defend a receiver when the guy throwing the ball always stays vertical, rather than horizontal and under a pass rush. The Chiefs again could not sack the Denver quarterback and that made life especially difficult for the defensive backs.

One guy who says he has not lost confidence in Cooper is his head coach.

“That’s not an easy thing as a rookie, a young kid and he’s put in a big-time position out there,” said Andy Reid. “He’s not giving up on himself, which is important. Good players got him on a couple, but he came back and battled.”

Cooper said that’s all he can do – continue to fight.

“Just keep working,” Cooper said of what he plans to do. “I’m a corner and that’s just the life I live. Sometimes things are going to work for me, and sometimes things aren’t going to work. I just have to keep going at it in practice and continue to learn.”

Pre-Game From Arrowhead – Broncos vs. Chiefs


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Arrowhead Stadium

2:55 p.m. CST – We are 30 minutes away from kickoff for the Chiefs-Broncos. Remember our post-game coverage will begin Sunday night and run through Monday morning as we cover every angle of this big AFC West match. Enjoy the game.

2:50 p.m. CST – The last time the Chiefs played in an AFC West game this late in the season where both teams had winning records was 2005, when on December 4th they beat Denver 31-27. The Chiefs went into the game 7-4, while the Broncos were 9-2.

2:45 p.m. CST – Chiefs fans have always loved to boo John Elway and even though he’s not in uniform, they still let him have an earful as he walked on the field with an entourage in his role as the lead football guy for the Broncos. Given a choice between facing Elway or Peyton Manning, Chiefs fans may pick Elway, because at least they were able to beat him more than just one time. Remember Manning is 10-1 against the Chiefs coming into Sunday’s game. Elway had a 17-12 record as a starter against K.C.

2:40 p.m. CST – Lengthy discussions on the field between referee Terry McAulay and both head coaches. It’s hard to tell from above if it’s game related for just a bunch of football folks saying hello.

2:35 p.m. CST – The Broncos are without starting LDE Derek Wolfe, who remains in a Denver hospital after suffering a seizure during the team’s bus ride to the airport on Friday afternoon. Wolfe was taken from the team bus by ambulance to a Denver hospital after suffering the seizure. No further word has come out of the mile high city on the cause of his seizure.

2:30 p.m. CST – Today’s forecast from the National Weather Service calls for hazy sunshine, calm winds and an afternoon high near 55 degrees. As the sun sets, temperatures will go down to around 40 degrees by the end of the game.

2:25 p.m. CST – The Chiefs made a roster move on Saturday, sending rookie DB Sanders Commings to the injured-reserve list and promoting rookie OLB Josh Martin from practice squad. Martin wears No. 95 and can thank Justin Houston’s inactive status as the reason for his step up to the active roster.

2:20 p.m. CST – Broncos kicker Matt Prater put on quite a show in the warm-ups, hitting a 53-yard FG to the west end zone that had another 10 yards on it as it crashed into the net. At 48 yards out, Prater’s kick went higher than the goal posts. Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop was good from 50 yards to both ends of the field, but missed from 55 yards kicking towards the east goal posts.

2:15 p.m. CST – Reax to Broncos inactive players: as bad as the Chiefs will miss OLB Justin Houston, Denver is without two starting defensive linemen, a starting cornerback and it’s starting tight end. DE Derek Wolfe (seizure), DT Keith Vickerson (hip), CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (shoulder) and TE Julius Thomas (knee) are all out of the game.

2:10 p.m. CST – Reax to Chiefs inactive players: not sure why veteran CB Dunta Robinson is dressed given the fact he’s not been part of the defense for several weeks now and has shown he can’t cover in the open field. It’s also good to see DT Jaye Howard get a chance to get on the field, even if he doesn’t play.

2:05 p.m. CST – Lineup changes for the Chiefs have Geoff Schwartz and Donald Stephenson starting at right guard and right tackle, even though season-long starters Jon Asamoah and Eric Fisher are active and able to play. Interesting statement on what the offensive coaches think about the right side of their line. Also, Frank Zombo will start in place of the injured Justin Houston.

2 p.m. CST – Inactive players for the Broncos against the Chiefs are #2 QB Zac Dysert, #22 RB C.J. Anderson, #45 CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, #50 C J.D. Walton, #73 G Chris Kuper, #80 TE Julius Thomas, #95 DE Derek Wolfe.

1:55 p.m. CST – Inactive players for the Chiefs against the Broncos are #4 QB Tyler Bray, #50 OLB Justin Houston, #57 ILB Nico Johnson, #64 C Eric Kush, #69 G Rokevious Watkins, #75 Rishaw Johnson and #99 DT Kyle Love.

1:45 p.m. CST – Good afternoon from Arrowhead where it’s a sun-splashed Sunday afternoon and is expected to be a perfect day for this big AFC West game between the Broncos and Chiefs. Stay tuned as we will bring you the pre-game scene, news of players and all things related in another game day in the Truman Sports Complex.

Chiefs Send Commings To I.R.; Activate Rookie LB

Sanders Commings finally got a chance to play in his rookie season, but the opportunity didn’t last long.

The Chiefs 5th-round draft choice was placed on the injured-reserve list on Saturday because of continuing problems with his right shoulder.

To take his spot on the roster, the Chiefs have promoted OLB Josh Martin from the practice squad.

Commings was activated on November 5th, after spending the first 9 games on the injured-reserve list/designated for return. That was due to a broken collarbone in his right shoulder that he suffered in a rookie practice in the days before the entire team reported for training camp in July.

The cornerback-safety out of the University of Georgia played in 2 games, with only three defensive snaps and 44 plays on special teams.

Martin was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Columbia, and he made the 53-man roster coming out of the pre-season. He was inactive for 3 games and was then released and re-signed to the practice squad where he’s been since then. The 6-3, 245-pounder grew up in Aurora, Colorado so he may get the chance to play with against his hometown team on Sunday.

Chiefs Practice Report – November 29

From the Truman Sports Complex

Count OLB Justin Houston out of Sunday’s game against Denver; same with rookie DB Sanders Commings.

But chances appear good that OLB Tamba Hali will be chasing after Peyton Manning despite his sprained right ankle.

The Chiefs went through their final practice of Broncos week without Houston because of his elbow, Commings due to his shoulder and DE Mike DeVito, who was not practice because of personal business. DeVito practiced on Thursday and was scheduled to work on Friday before he had to take care of family matters.

Right now, it appears that Houston and Commings will be ruled out of the re-match with Denver, while everybody else on the injury report will either be questionable or probable. That includes all three ailing offensive line starters in LG Jeff Allen (groin), RG Jon Asamoah (shoulder) and RT Eric Fisher (shoulder).

The injury reports of both the Chiefs and Broncos to the league will come later this afternoon.

Chiefs Practice Report/Update – November 27, 2013

From the Truman Sports Complex

When the Chiefs went through their walkthrough practice Wednesday morning in preparation for their main practice, OLB Tamba Hali took part.

That’s a good sign that Hali’s sprained right ankle is feeling better and improves the chances that he will play on Sunday against Denver.

Head coach Andy Reid said Hali was held out of the full practice on Wednesday as a precaution. Without any setbacks during the next three days, Reid seemed confident Hali will play.

OLB Justin Houston and his dislocated right elbow were inside an MRI machine at lunch-time on Wednesday, getting pictures taken of that injury. It appears highly doubtful that Houston will be able to play against the Broncos. Depending on what comes back from the pictures, Houston could wear a brace on that arm that would possibly allow him to play.

The only other player that did not practice on Wednesday was rookie DB Sanders Commings. He’s got some inflammation on the same shoulder where he suffered a broken collarbone way back in July.

Here are the practice/injury reports for both the Chiefs and Broncos: …Read More!

NFL Almanac – November 27

Players added to the roster

Denver – signed DT Sione Fua.

Detroit – promoted G Rodney Austin from the practice squad.

Green Bay – promoted LB Victor Aiyewa from the practice squad.

Indianapolis – signed DB Corey Lynch.

Miami – promoted DB Jordan Kovacs from the practice squad.

New England – promoted DT Sealver Siliga from the practice squad.

New York Jets – promoted TE Chris Pantale from the practice squad

Oakland – activated OT Jared Veldheer from the injured-reserve list/designated for return.

Seattle – promoted DB DeShawn Shead from the practice squad.

Tampa Bay – signed TE Kyle Adams.

Tennessee – signed S Shann Schillinger. …Read More!

Upon Further Reflection – San Diego

Andy Reid said Monday that his confidence in the Chiefs defense was not been shaken by the events of Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.

That’s head coaching speak there, stiff upper lip and all that. If Reid doesn’t pause when considering the play of his defense over the last three weeks, he’s not doing his job as the leader of the football team.

The Chiefs defense has lost its swagger and in the most recent 3 games, they have been unable to produce at anywhere near the level they showed earlier and that helped push them to a 9-0 start in the 2013 season:

- Buffalo – 470 yards allowed, 1 offensive TD given up, 3 takeaways, no sacks. WON

- Denver – 427 yards allowed, 3 offensive TDs given up, 1 takeaway, no sacks. LOST

- San Diego – 491 yards allowed, 5 offensive TDs given up, no takeaways, 1 sack. LOST

That’s an average of 462.6 yards per game. If that number was taken out to an entire season, they would be dead last in yards allowed. Right now after 11 games Dallas is No. 32 in the league, giving up 432.2 yards per game.

Over 11 games, the Chiefs are giving up an average of 350.9 yards. They are ranked No. 16 in the league. Going into the San Diego game, they were giving up a 336.9-yard average, to rank No. 12. The week before that after playing Buffalo, they were giving up 326.9 yards and ranked No. 10. Going into the week they played the Bills, Bob Sutton defense was giving up 309 yards per game and was ranked No. 5 in the league. …Read More!

NFL Almanac – November 25

Players added to the active roster

Dallas – signed DB Sterling Moore.

Waiver-wire activity

Minnesota – claimed OT Mike Remmers off waivers from San Diego.

Players deleted from the active roster

Dallas – released TE Andre Smith.

Miami – released NT Isaako Aaitui, DB D.J. Campbell.

Minnesota – released DB A.J. Jefferson. …Read More!

With No Pressure, Rivers Picks Chiefs Apart

From Arrowhead Stadium

San Diego QB Philip Rivers came into the game against the Chiefs as the most accurate passer in the NFL, completing 71 percent of his throws.

At Arrowhead on Sunday, he completed 69.2 percent of his throws (27 of 39), but he averaged just over 10 yards an attempt and 14.5 yards per completion.

Rivers picked apart the Chiefs defense, hooking up with 8 different receivers for his 392 yards and 3 touchdown passes.

“Everyone talks about their pass rush which is great,” Rivers said. “But their secondary is great too. I got asked all week if I wanted to get it out quick and throw short passes I said yeah, but the problem is they are not running free a lot.

“Our staff did a heck of a job with the plan and creating some crossers and our guys did a great job of running after the catch.”

The scene that was replayed over and over was Rivers standing in the pocket, having the time to wait for his underneath receiver to run through the secondary, usually with a nice pick or rub from a teammate, catch a pass and then run, and sometimes run, and a couple times really run.

The San Diego team speed made the Chiefs defense look slow, and while it’s not the league’s fastest group; Andy Reid’s defenders are not lead-footed.

“It looked like crossing routes were a bit of an issue,” Reid said in the biggest understatement of the afternoon.

In the first half the Chiefs simply couldn’t cover rookie WR Keenan Allen. Most of the time it was rookie Marcus Cooper handling him in coverage, but Sean Smith had his chances as well. Allen ended up catching passes for 8, 29, 4, 14, 11, 13, 9 and 16 yards. Those first four catches were all on third down plays.

“Man coverage, press coverage, that’s how I like playing,” said Allen. “You feel like you can work off of that. You can get a release and get off the line and do what you can do.”

The Chargers scheme left the Chiefs defensive backs grasping for air as receivers got away from them.

“They came out with a good game plan,” said CB Brandon Flowers. “There were a lot of crossing routes and a lot of pick routes. Too many big plays give up by us.”

At half-time, the Chiefs made some adjustments and took Allen out of the game for the most part in the second half – he caught one pass for 20 yards. But there were other receivers ready to step in and contribute and the Chiefs were not able to cover them.

In the second half, WR Eddie Royal had 3 catches for 86 yards, including one for 54 yards. RB Danny Woodhead had 3 balls for 34 yards, and TE Ladarius Green caught 3 passes for 80 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown, the first score of his NFL career.

“I was just hoping that I didn’t rip or fall down and fumble,” Green said. “That’s something to remember, especially in a big game like this.”

Green ran away from Flowers and S Quinten Demps on the play.

Then came the winning touchdown pass to WR Seyi Ajirotutu, who beat Sean Smith and Demps to catch the 26-yard touchdown throw, his only target and catch of the day.

“It was a good play, a good pass and good catch,” said Smith. “I thought I had him walled off on the boundary but they still made the play.”

Sunday was an afternoon where the Chiefs pass defense was simply not there. Without Tamba Hali and Justin Houston playing and providing the pass rush, Rivers had all day to pick apart the secondary.

“I can’t say enough about the offensive line,” said Rivers. “We have a shuffle going on there. D.J. Fluker played left tackle for now the third time in his life. Jeromey Clary is playing right tackle, but he hasn’t practiced a ton there. (RG) Chad Rinehart is coming off injuries and is only in his second week back. It was a heck of a job by those guys up front,

Pre-Game – Chargers vs. Chiefs From Arrowhead

From Arrowhead Stadium

11:30 a.m. CST – The Chiefs are heading back to the locker room and we are off to get some hot chocolate before the Chargers-Chiefs face off. Remember our post-game coverage will begin in the late afternoon, into the evening and on to the early morning hours. Make sure to check early and often. Enjoy the game!

11:25 a.m. CST – The National Weather Service forecast for Sunday afternoon calls for sunny skies, with a high temperature in the low 30s. The wind will shift in direction, coming from the south in the afternoon and gusting from 6 to 10 mph. Right now, it’s overcast and not much sunshine, with not much wind and a temperature of 24 degrees.

11:20 a.m. CST – Walt Coleman is the referee today, but he’s lost the umpire on his crew as Roy Ellison was suspended without pay by the NFL on Friday because of an incident that happened in last week’s game between the Eagles and Redskins. Ellison has appealed his suspension, but he will still not work this weekend. Stepping in for him is Rich Hall, the umpire from the crew of referee Ed Hochuli. That group had the weekend off. Hall is a 10-year NFL veteran and he worked the Chiefs-Texans game a month ago.

11:15 a.m. CST – Andy Reid came out of the locker room and walked right to mid-field to talk with Chargers head coach Mike McCoy and the game’s referee Walt Coleman. Reid and McCoy were enjoying a long conversation, something Reid does not always do with the opposing head coach.

11:10 a.m. CST – The starting lineup changes for the Chiefs will have Geoff Schwartz at RG for Jon Asamoah and Donald Stephenson at RT for Eric Fisher. On defense, Allen Bailey will start at RDE in place of Mike DeVito.

11:05 a.m. CST – San Diego made a late roster move Saturday, releasing OT Mike Remmers and promoting OT Kenny Wiggins from the practice squad. Wiggins is a first-year player out of Fresno State and he’s active and is wearing No. 72.

11 a.m. CST – An hour before kickoff and traffic remains pretty heavy into the Truman Sports Complex off I-70 and the Blue Ridge Cutoff. There are a lot of parking spots that remain open in the east and west lots.

10:55 a.m. CST – Kickers finished up and Ryan Succop was just short of the crossbar from 50 yards towards the west goal posts. I mean just short, by the length of a football. He hit from 43 yards. Chargers kicker Nick Novak didn’t try anything longer than 44 yards going east and he made that kick. The cold air will make for tough FG conditions for the kickers – I wouldn’t expect any attempts from 50 yards or more.

10:50 a.m. CST – Keeping our eye on the kickers as they warm up. San Diego’s Nick Novak kicking to the west goal posts was good from 50 yards, although he missed badly from 49 yards. Ryan Succop has just started his series of kicks to the east goal posts and just hit one off the left upright from 37 yards.

10:45 a.m. CST – The field was covered overnight so it’s in good shape. There’s a band of frost in the southeast corner near the big tunnel that remains very icy and probably won’t change since that’s the corner of the end zone that does not get any direct sunshine. The temperature right now is 20 degrees.

10:40 a.m. CST – Inactive reax on Chargers: There were no surprises among the 7 players not playing for San Diego today. Big loss is starting LT King Dunlap (knee). His departure leads to a major shuffle of the Bolts offensive line. RT D.J. Fluker moves to LT, rookie Johnnie Troutman starts at LG, C is Nick Hardwick, RG Jerome Clary moves out to RT and Chad Rinehart moves into the RG spot.

10:35 a.m. CST – Inactive reax on Chiefs: Ouch! The entire right side of the offensive line is out of action as both G Jon Asamoah (calf/shoulder) and T Eric Fisher (shoulder) are on the sidelines. No matter how you shake it, that’s not a good thing for the Chiefs and their offense. Also, losing DE Mike DeVito hurts the defense – while he’s not flashy DeVito handles a lot of dirty work on the line of scrimmage.

10:32 a.m. CST – The inactive players for San Diego against the Chiefs are #4 QB Brad Sorensen, #10 WR Lavelle Hawkins, #28 SS Brandon Taylor, #69 OT Willie Smith, #77 OT King Dunlap, #95 DT Kwame Geathers and #96 OLB Jarret Johnson,

10:30 a.m. CST – The inactive players for the Chiefs against San Diego are #9 QB Tyler Bray, #21 CB Dunta Robinson, #57 LB Nico Johnson, #64 C Eric Kush, #70 DE Mike DeVito, #72 RT Eric Fisher and #73 Jon Asamoah.

10:25 a.m. CST – Good morning from Arrowhead as it’s another football Sunday in Kansas City as the Chiefs host the San Diego Chargers. It’s a clear morning here at the Truman Sports Complex, the kind of November morning where you can see your breath. It’s not supposed to get much warmer, and we’ll have the weather forecast coming up, along with other items and scenes from inside the stadium.

Where Did The Chiefs Pass Rush Go? Will It Return?

Think of the situation this way:

You own a house in a nice neighborhood. When you are there you feel safe and secure, because it’s home.

All the sudden there is a series of break-ins in the area. Your neighbor gets hit, losing all of his computer equipment and televisions. So does the guy on the cul de sac to the west; they actually grabbed his car out of the garage. And, the folks in the Cape Cod to the east got hit while they were sleeping and didn’t even know it.

What do you do? Do you sit back and think “they won’t hit me.” Or, do you decide to fortify, upgrade the security system, change landscaping, install outdoor lights and alter your personal habits and daily comings and goings.

Most people are going to make changes, so they have a fighting chance against the bad guys.

That’s what happened to the Chiefs pass rush. After seven or eight games, NFL teams decided they had to make adjustments because of the brazen brand of sacking Chiefs that kept showing up in the backfield and stealing opportunities for their offense.

In the last 3 games, the extra security attention has paid off, as the Chiefs have just a one sack and opponents have racked up two of the best yardage games of the season.

“I always think the sacks take care of themselves,” said Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton. “We’re always looking No. 1 to win third down and if we get to third down, No. 2 is to affect the quarterback. That’s the bottom line in this whole thing.” …Read More!

This Week’s Foe – San Diego Chargers


Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers

Game No. 11.

OpponentSan Diego Chargers.

2013 record – 4-6, tied for third in the AFC West. They have victories over Philadelphia, Dallas, Indianapolis and Jacksonville. They have lost games to Houston, Tennessee, Oakland, Washington, Denver and last Sunday to Miami, 20-16. They are 2-4 on the road and 2-2 at home

Franchise began – in 1960 as a charter member of Lamar Hunt’s American Football League. They were the Los Angeles Chargers in that first season, but moved to San Diego for the next season and have remained there.

Overall franchise record413-416-11, a .498 winning percentage over 54 seasons.

Owner Alex Gus Spanos bought majority interest in the Chargers in 1984 from Eugene Klein. Price paid was $48.3 million for 60 percent of the ownership shares. Since then, he has bought out minority partners and has 97 percent of the team. Now 90 years old, Spanos was born and raised in Stockton, California. The son of a bakery owner, he began working in his father’s business at the age of eight years old. He served in the Army Air Force during World War II as a tail gunner, attended the University of Pacific. Spanos began accumulating his fortune by making and delivering lunches to construction worker and migrant farm workers in the San Joaquin Valley. He eventually founded the A.G. Spanos Companies and grew into the largest builder of apartments in the United States by the late 1970s, with large land holdings in Las Vegas. Over the last 15 years, he’s suffered from heart problems and dealt with colon cancer. He’s no longer an everyday factor in the Chargers; his oldest son Dean Spanos runs the operation in San Diego.

Chiefs record against the Chargers – they are 52-53-1 since playing the Chargers in September 1960 at the Los Angeles Coliseum in the first game for both franchises. The Chargers won 21-20. Last season, San Diego won both games against the Chiefs, taking a 17-point victory at Arrowhead Stadium and an 18-point decision at Qualcomm Stadium. The teams met once in the post-season, with the Chargers grabbing a 17-0 victory in San Diego in the first round of the 1992 playoffs. …Read More!

Upon Further Reflection – Denver

Fans and media pundits like to wax on about how good certain coaches are at dialing up successful game plans, half-time adjustments and ya-da, ya-da, ya-da.

Let’s remember, it’s not just coaching – it’s about the players.

If it was just about the guys wearing the windbreakers and headsets, then the Chiefs offense would not be nearly as inconsistent and unproductive as it has been this season. There’s no question Andy Reid is a very good head coach and a talented play-caller and game-day leader. As he likes to say, “he gets it.”

After watching the offense against the Broncos, I’m beginning to wonder whether guys in that huddle “get it.” All the blame doesn’t fall on the players – it’s a shared load of failure with the coaches. But there’s not a good coach alive that would have expected the type of first quarter the Chiefs offense played against Denver.

By the time the period was over, they were behind 10-0 and never caught up, even matching the Broncos point-for-point in the last three quarters. On Monday, Reid talked about the first quarter and the 19 plays that produced results that got under his skin.

“The first 19 plays of the game offensively, we had an offside, we had a drop, we had a turnover and we had a fumbled snap,” Reid said. “We were playing against a good football team and that’s not even adding in the penalties that came after that.

“You can learn from these things . . . we are not starting fast enough right now. I’m going to work on that part and make sure that I do a better job of giving the guys an opportunity.”

Here’s what happened on those first quarter offensive plays: …Read More!

Chiefs Taste Defeat In Denver, 27-17

The magic ride of the 2013 Kansas City Chiefs is over.

Sunday night in Denver the Chiefs could not match the performance of Peyton Manning and the Broncos, falling 27-17 and ending their season opening winning strike at 9 games. They are now tied with Denver for the top spot in the AFC West and AFC with 9-1 records.

“We knew coming into this game that Denver was a tough team to beat and they got the best of us,” said ILB Derrick Johnson. “We know we get another crack at them in a couple weeks.”

The Broncos have a big game next Sunday on the road in New England. The Chiefs will be home to host the San Diego Chargers. Then on the first of December, the two teams will face each other again, this time at Arrowhead Stadium.

“They got us today,” said head coach Andy Reid. “We’ll bounce back and learn from our mistakes. There are things we can learn from here and get things fixed.”

This game got away from the Chiefs in the first quarter, when the Broncos jumped out to a 10-0 lead. That put Reid’s team in chase mode, which is not something they have faced much in the first 9 games. Only twice were they behind at the end of the first 15 minutes, but in both cases they were only one score down – by 3 points to Dallas and 7 points to Buffalo.

With an inconsistent and often unproductive offense, the Chiefs had no chance of jumping over that early scoreboard deficit. Over the final 3 quarters the score was 17-17.

“We had opportunities to score some points off the stops we made,” Reid said of the chances his offense had thanks to the K.C. defense. “Our defense gave us chances, especially at the start of the second half there when they had some stops. We have to take advantage of that, but we didn’t do a good enough job offensively.”

A fumble lost by FB Anthony Sherman, 9 penalties walked off against them, 3 sacks and 5 other hits on QB Alex Smith, who completed just 46.7 percent of his passes for an average of 5.1 yards per attempt – those are not facts conducive to winning games, especially on the road against a good team.

“We made too many mistakes,” said OLB Tamba Hali, who along with his fellow defensive pass rushers was shutout in the game. “We didn’t execute well enough and they did a better job of that.”

Still, the defense held Peyton Manning to just one TD pass, while throwing for 323 yards. Rookie RB Montee Ball contributed a pair of rushing touchdowns.

From the very first play, the Chiefs knew they were going to have some problems, as LT Branden Albert jumped early for a false-start penalty and they ended up going 3 plays and out. After a Dustin Colquitt punt and a Denver return, the Broncos began at their 47-yard line.

Manning was not sharp at the start and the possession bogged down after six plays. Kicker Matt Prater came in and nailed a 54-yard field goal to give Denver the 3-0 lead.

With just over 5 minutes to play in the first quarter, Manning and rookie RB Montee Ball botched a handoff and the fumble was recovered by Derrick Johnson and returned to the Denver 18-yard line. What a gift it was for the Chiefs.

On 1st-down, Smith completed a short pass on the left side to Sherman, who was stopped by CB Quentin Jammer and then hit by LB Danny Trevathan and the ball hit the ground where it was recovered by Jammer. Instead of being up 7-3, or at worst tied at 3-all, the Chiefs got nothing and the Broncos made them pay as Manning and WR Demaryius Thomas combined on a 70-yard pass play that set up a 9-yard TD toss to TE Julius Thomas who beat SS Eric Berry for the score. It was a swing of 10 or 14 points and left the Denver with a 10-0 lead.

The Chiefs did answer back in a drive that started in the first quarter but ended in the second, on a 6-yard TD pass from Smith to WR Dwayne Bowe. It was an 11-play, 80-yard possession that was highlighted by a 26-yard catch and run by Bowe and they were helped by a taunting call against Denver SS Duke Ihenacho after an incomplete pass to RB Jamaal Charles in the end zone.

Behind by 3 points, the defense had the chance to make a stop and get the Chiefs back into the game. Instead, Manning took the Denver offense 79 yards on 10 plays with 2 penalties against the Chiefs, finishing up with a 1-yard touchdown run by Ball. The PAT made it 17-7 with just over 9 minutes to play in the half.

When they got the ball back, RB Jamaal Charles broke off the longest run of the season for the Chiefs, going 35 yards and moving the ball from the K.C. 33 to the Denver 32. They picked up a pair of first downs and had 1st-and-goal at the Broncos 2, but gained zero, 1 and zero yards on three runs. That produced a 20-yard Ryan Succop field goal and the Chiefs trailed again by 7 points.

Denver moved quickly down the field for another potential score, eventually settling for a 52-yard FG try from Prater. But his kick went wide left and with 32 seconds to play, the ball at the Chiefs 42-yard line and 2 timeouts left, Reid’s offense had the chance to score points. But Smith took a sack sandwiched between two timeouts and they went to the locker room without another score and down by 3 points.

The third quarter was the Colquitt punting show, as brothers Dustin for the Chiefs and Britton for the Broncos kicked six times in all. On its first 3 possessions, Denver did not reach K.C. territory. The Chiefs got as far as the Broncos 44, but a penalty and a sack pushed them back on the other side of the 50-yard line.

As the quarter ended, Manning moved his offense 65 yards in 6 plays, as Ball scored again, this time from 8 yards away. The big play in the drive was a 33-yard completion to WR Eric Decker.

The Broncos were now up 24-10, but pushed it to 27-10 midway through the fourth quarter on a 36-yard FG from Prater.

Smith connected on a 10-yard touchdown pass to TE Anthony Fasano that was first ruled incomplete. Fasano made a leaping catch at the back of the end zone and officials ruled he didn’t get his body down before falling out of bounds. Reid challenged the call, and the replay review reversed the decision and the Chiefs moved to within 10 points at 27-17 with 5 minutes to play.

That’s where the scoreboard stayed. The offense had 2 more possessions but with timeouts used up on the previous Denver possession, Smith was unable to get anything done and the winning streak was over.

 

Pre-Game Chiefs vs. Broncos

– ENJOY THE GAME!

– MANNING IN GLOVES: As he went through his pre-game warm-up routine, Peyton Manning was wearing gloves on both hands. It will be interesting to see if he wears them once the game starts. After playing his home games inside while with the Indianapolis Colts, he’s had to adjust for his home games in Denver; Manning has said he does not like to wear gloves while playing.

– IT MUST BE A BIG GAME: reports from the warm-up period at Sports Authority Field have Tiger Woods standing on the Broncos sideline, talking with Denver legend John Elway, both Stanford products. That’s girlfriend and skier Lindsey Vonn next to him.

– CHECKIN’ THE AFC WEST STANDINGS: If the Chiefs can walk away from Denver with a victory, they will hold a 2-game lead on the Broncos with 6 games to play, and they will hold a 6-game lead over San Diego and Oakland with 6 games to play.

– AS ANDY SAID: Chiefs head coach had a couple good lines in all of the pre-game interviews he’s done for the NFL Network, ESPN and NBC. Here’s one, as he talked about his club: “The fourth quarter, we’ve created the turnovers and then taken advantage of them either with scores from the defense or the offense has kicked it in in the fourth quarter. It’s the craziest darn thing you’d seen . . . “However we can score, we’ll try to manufacture them. I don’t really care. I’m not going for style points.”

– BALMY DENVER: An hour before kickoff the temperature on the field at Sports Authority Field was 50 degrees with clear skies.

– STRESSED OUT?: With the physical problems of John Fox and Gary Kubiak among head coaches in the NFL, add Baltimore GM Ozzie Newsome to that list. He left Soldier Field in Chicago after the game in an ambulance after reportedly fainting in the locker room.

– CHIEFS TOP HEAVY TONIGHT AT WR/DB: Andy Reid has set up his 46-man game-day roster with 9 defensive backs and 6 wide receivers. May be a hint of what’s to come in the game from the Chiefs on offense and defense, and certainly special teams.

– REAX TO BRONCOS INACTIVE PLAYERS: For any team playing Denver it’s always nice to see Champ Bailey inactive for the game. Losing veterans LB Nate Irving and G Chris Kuper hurts the Broncos depth. Interesting position numbers as well: 4 active tight ends, and only 4 active wide receivers.

– REAX TO CHIEFS INACTIVE PLAYERS: No surprises, although having Dunta Robinson inactive is something new. He hasn’t played in a month, but was always active. The addition of rookie Sanders Commings to the secondary cost Robinson his spot on the game-day roster. Also, just added WR Kenny Williams is active as well.

– DENVER INACTIVE PLAYERS VS. CHIEFS: #2 QB Zac Dysert, #21 RB Ronnie Hillman, #24 CB Champ Bailey, #32 CB Tony Carter, #50 C J.D. Walton, #56 LB Nate Irving and #73, G Chris Kuper.

– CHIEFS INACTIVE PLAYERS VS. DENVER: #9 QB Tyler Bray, #21 CB Dunta Robinson, #57 LB Nico Johnson, #64 C Eric Kush, #69 G Rokevious Watkins, #75 G Rishaw Johnson and #96 DT Jaye Howard.

– WEATHER REPORT: It was a sun-splashed Sunday in Denver with the afternoon high temperature getting into the mid-50s. There is no precipitation in the National Weather Service forecast for this evening. Conditions are mostly clear, with the temperature dropping into the low 30s. Just about perfect for the NFL’s biggest game of the season to date.

– DEL RIO TO USC?: Fox-TV broke the news Sunday morning that Broncos interim head coach-defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio was interviewed two weeks ago by Southern Cal athletic director Pat Haden about the head coaching job with the Trojans. Haden flew to Denver for the conversation that came the day before Broncos head coach John Fox entered the hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina.

NFL Almanac – November 16

Players declared out of Sunday/Monday games

Carolina – LB Chase Blackburn (foot), TE Ben Hartsock (knee), G Chris Scott (knee).

Jacksonville – LB Paul Posluszny (concussion).

New England – CB Alfonzo Dennard (knee), S Steve Gregory (finger).

Oakland – QB Terrelle Pryor (knee). …Read More!

Tale Of The Tape – How They Were Built

The Denver Broncos are the reigning AFC West champions, but right now they are looking up at the Chiefs who own the NFL’s only unbeaten record.

With Showdown Game No. 1 coming up Sunday night, it’s another chapter in what has been the biggest rivalry the Chiefs have had in the last 15 years – the Hunt Family franchise hasn’t played many important games in that time, but when they did the Broncos always seemed to be across the field.

So did Andy Reid and John Dorsey come in as head coach and general manager with the idea of building a team that knocks off Denver?

“I would tell you that you’re not sitting here building your team to beat the Denver Broncos,” said Reid. “There’s a fine line there that you’re trying to accumulate as many players as you can at all positions, so not only can you compete against Denver but these other teams in the National Football League that have good players. To say that John sat there and brought in players to say that we matchup with Denver I don’t think that was the way that went.”

Here’s a look at the rosters of both teams as they prepare for Sunday night’s game; the emphasis is on how they acquired the players, how young and old they are, and how much NFL experience is on each team.  …Read More!

On The Other Side From Peyton

The slightest of smiles creased Brandon Flowers face as he talked about the first time he played against Peyton Manning.

“Growing up you see him on TV and then you get into the league and then he’s there on the tape and on game day he’s across the line from you,” Flowers said. “It’s pretty wild at first.

“Then, it just becomes another game, except he’s not just another quarterback.”

It was in the 2010 season, the third in the league for Flowers when he first had the chance to play against Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. Todd Haley was the Chiefs head coach and Romeo Crennel had come in and taken over the defense. The Chiefs opened the season with three straight victories, after winning just 4 games the season before and collected only 2 victories in Flowers rookie season of 2008.

They were 3-0 going for victory No. 4 as the Chiefs went to Indianapolis to face a Colts team that had started slowly in 2010, standing just 2-2 as they hosted Kansas City.

Flowers remembers that the whole defense felt confident going into the game, because they had Crennel and over his career as defensive coordinator in New England and head coach in Cleveland, Romeo had won more times than not against Manning.

“We worked and worked and worked that week with Romeo’s plan, watching tape, listening to him,” Flowers said. “We were ready, we were prepared.”

And, the Chiefs defense played well. …Read More!

Chiefs Win Bye Week – All Return, All Are Healthy

When an NFL head coach sends his team off for a few days of rest and relaxation, it’s a little bit like a father sending his kids off to spring break. You hope they have a good time and that they come back when they are supposed to and are not damaged in any significant fashion.

Color Andy Reid a happy football pappy on Monday as the Chiefs players returned from their bye-week vacation. Reid said all players were accounted for and all took part in the team’s practice on Monday morning.

“It looked like they were moving around pretty good,” Reid said.

That included rookie DE Mike Catapano, who left last week as the only player on the injury report thanks to a high ankle sprain. Reid said Catapano took part in some of the practice work on Monday. “We’ll see how he does come Wednesday, but today he moved around OK,” the head coach said.

So what did the Chiefs work on during their first practice back? Did they get involved in football matters the coaching staff produced from the team’s self-scout?

“We worked a little bit on Denver,” Reid said. “Then we worked a little bit more on Denver.” …Read More!

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