Tidbits Before Chiefs/Cardinals

A few extras from the week leading up to Sunday’s game against the Cardinals.


The trending numbers in the Chiefs kickoff coverage unit have not been good:

After beating Buffalo, they were No. 1 in the NFL allowing an average return of 18.1 yards a return, with a long return of 35 yards.

After losing to Oakland, they dropped to No. 5, with opponents posting an average return of 20.6 yards after the 94-yard TD return by Raiders WR Jacoby Ford.

After losing to Denver, they dropped to No. 8 in the NFL, giving up an average return of 21.3 yards.

This Sunday, they face one of the league’s best in LaRod Stephens-Howling (right). He’s ranked No. 6 in the league with an average return of 27.8 yards and two TD returns, including one for 102 yards.

“He is definitely one of the best returners we’ve seen,” said WR Terrance Copper, who leads the team in kicking game tackles with 11. “There’s obviously (Josh) Cribbs we saw last year and this guy. He is good.

“He has some speed, he runs hard, he has moves and he has very good vision. It’s definitely going to be a tough task for our special teams.”

In his second year out of the University of Pittsburgh, Stephens-Howling has now returned 92 NFL kickoffs for 2,369 yards and three touchdowns. That’s a 25.8-yard average. He also led the Cardinals in special teams tackles last year with 23. His three kickoff return TDs is second in Cardinals history, topped only by Hall of Famer Ollie Matson, who returned six playing for the Chicago Cardinals in the 1950s.

It’s all pretty remarkable given he’s 5-7, 185 pounds. This week, he’s battled a hamstring problem and did not practice all week.


Consider the boys from Arizona quite lucky. We know what could be the weather any given November. That should always be an advantage for the Chiefs.

Such is not the case as expected for game day. Here’s the National Weather Service forecast for Sunday:

Mostly cloudy, with a high near 67. Breezy, with a south southwest wind between 13 and 21 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.


Against Denver, QB Matt Cassel had a number of passes tipped or knocked down, far more than usual for him this season. What was the reason?

“I think anytime you throw the ball 53 times in a game and you are in that position where they know you are going to throw, sometimes those defensive linemen get a little bit tired and they use more of the tactic of standing there and wait for the quarterback to throw so they can jump up and bat the ball down,” Cassel said. “That happens sometimes but all in all for the most part we did a pretty good job throughout the course of the game of trying to work around those guys.”

On the season, Cassel has had seven passes hit at the line, which is a little bit above average. Donovan McNabb leads all starting quarterbacks with 12.


When they were assistant coaches together with the New York Jets a decade ago, Todd Haley and Ken Whisenhunt had some vicious one-on-one basketball games during the lunch hour.

But when Haley was asked who was a better golfer, he didn’t hesitate, and his answer may surprise given the Chiefs head coach’s background as a golf professional.

“No question about that, Kenny works at it much harder than I do,” Haley said. “I’ve got five kids to worry about; his are a little more grown and he dedicates a bunch of time to it, which I don’t. But anybody that can go to Augusta and I don’t want to be wrong on this, but I believe he shot 71. He made a two on number 11. He grew up in Augusta, it wasn’t his first time out there but he’s the better player.”

Actually, it was an even-par round of 72 at Augusta, and Whisenhunt did eagle the par-4 No. 11.

When Whisenhunt’s career playing in the NFL ended, he took a year off and did nothing but play golf, considering a pro career. His career best round is a 65.

The two friends both played in the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship back in July at Lake Tahoe. “I beat him pretty soundly in the first day of the Tahoe event,” Haley said.


Safety Adrian Wilson is one of 10 players in NFL history with at least 20 sacks and 20 interceptions. He now has 22.5 sacks and 25 interceptions. Players currently in the league that have done this are CB Ronde Barber, S Brian Dawkins, LB Ray Lewis and S Lawyer Milloy.

When Arizona beat New Orleans 30-20 six weeks ago it was only the second time in NFL history that a team scored 30+ points in a game with a rushing or passing touchdown. That day, the Cardinals scored two TDs on fumble returns, added an interception return TD and three field goals.

2 Responses to “Tidbits Before Chiefs/Cardinals”

  • November 20, 2010  - Matt says:

    “Safety Adrian Wilson is one of 10 players in NFL history with at least 20 sacks and 20 interceptions.”

    I believe Eric Berry will have these types of numbers when all is said and done.

  • November 20, 2010  - Michael says:

    I agree, Matt. And now that you mention Berry, I hope the Chiefs get back to blitzing Berry against the Cardninals; he adds a lot to the pass rush. Wouldn’t mind seeing them use Arenas on a few blitzes either. If you can get a good rush out of corner or safety, it can really put the offense in a bind. Another thing about Berry. I’d like to see him return some kickoffs because he is a dynamite returner. I know he’s probably too valuable to the secondary, but man it could really pay off in some big plays.

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