Tuesday Practice 8/31 Report

From the Truman Sports Complex

With a short week to get ready for Thursday night’s pre-season finale against Green Bay, the Chiefs had what amounted to a Wednesday/Thursday/Friday practice on Tuesday. Todd Haley put his club through a two-hour session where they spent time trying to cram in all the things they would do over three days in a regular season week.

But luckily this is pre-season, and a game that does not count. Haley was unwilling to reveal just how much time his starters would be playing against the Packers, saying final decisions were to be made in a Tuesday afternoon meeting of his staff.

“We had to be on our toes this week and try to get as much done as we could, while keeping in mind the Green Bay game is coming fast,” said Haley. “We do have to give them some offensive, defensive and special team looks that they will see against the Packers.”

The Chiefs started the day getting down to the NFL roster limit of 75 when they released WR Lance Long. He joined the club in the second week of the ’09 season, after spending opening weekend on the roster of the Arizona Cardinals. Long joined the K.C. practice squad but then moved up to the active roster.

Here are some observations from the session: …Read More!

Berry’s Confidence Grows … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

From the Truman Sports Complex

It’s a moment that is part of every rookie’s initiation into the National Football League.

Call it the AW S&@T! moment.

That’s when a rookie realizes, usually at the last instant, that he’s been had. Whether it was play action by the quarterback that had him biting on the fake handoff, or the double move by the tight end who doesn’t do double moves, all the sudden he’s out of position. That’s never good for a defensive player, most especially a safety.

Eric Berry says he hasn’t had his AW S&@T! moment yet.

“Not in a game, but I’ve had a few in practices,” Berry said Monday with a smile. “I’m sure coach (Emmitt) Thomas can give you the details. I try to forget them.”

As the team’s first draft choice and the fifth player selected in the 2010 NFL Draft, Berry has come to understand there are a lot of eyes on him. When that time comes in a game, when a good fake has him jumping and pulled out of position, everybody will notice.

His goal is to make sure that moment doesn’t come. Not as a rookie and not in the future. Like the perfect game every player seeks but never holds in his hand, a safety without an AW S&@T! moment is a safety that hasn’t played many games. …Read More!

Enrique’s Video Vault: Chiefs vs. Chargers

Our countdown towards the start of the 2010 Red-and-Gold campaign, we present you memories of the last time that the Chiefs and the Chargers faced each other in the opening week, September 7, 2003.

This was a Sunday meeting between the RB hierarchy of Priest Holmes and LaDainian Tomlinson. And Priest reminded us that inspite of concerns regarding his injured hip from the year before, he was still the best ball-carrier in the division, the conference, and the league.

As always, enjoy it.

You can reach Enrique directly at

Week #3 Roundup – Texans Get A Rush

The Houston Texans have had a problem over the years, and it especially showed itself last year. They did not have a reliable running attack. It was the major item holding them back from making the playoffs for the first time in their short history.

But they may have found a running game Saturday night, in one of the highlights of week No. 3 of the 2010 NFL pre-season.

His name is Arian Foster (left) and he ran for 110 yards and a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys, as the Texans dominated the Dallas Cowboys 23-7.

Since joining the NFL in 2002, the Texans have played eight seasons and only twice did a Houston running back finish the season with more than 1,000 yards. That was Domanick Davis, who ran for 1,031 yards in 2003 as a rookie and then 1,188 in his second season of 2004. The reign of Davis did not turn out well. He was on his way to another 1,000-yard season in 2005, but suffered a serious knee injury hat ended his season. The next year there was a dispute between Davis and the Texans on the stability of his knee, plus he changed his last name from Davis to Williams. He never played in the league again.

And the Texans have stumbled in the running game since. Foster was signed as an undrafted rookie last year out of Tennessee. He started on the practice squad, but ended up on the active roster and in the last two games of the ’09 season, he for 206 yards.   …Read More!

Monday Practice 8/30 Report

From the Truman Sports Complex

With a short week to finish off the pre-season, the Chiefs got back to practice Monday, putting in a two-hour session where they spent most of their time working on corrections from last Friday’s game against Philadelphia and situations.

“We cleaned up some things from the Eagles game and then we were competitive with the two-minute drill,”said head coach Todd Haley. “The guys responded fairly well today.”

The two-minute drill battle between the No. 1 offense against the No. 1 defense was the highlight of practice. A run off a draw play by Jamaal Charles gave the offense a first down at the defense’s 11-yard line. QB Matt Cassel stopped the clock with a throw into the dirt.

But then his next three passes went incomplete. Cassel threw high to WR Dwayne Bowe at the back of the end zone, with CB Brandon Carr in coverage. On third down, he threw the ball away when everybody was covered. Then on fourth down, Cassel’s throw to WR Chris Chambers was broken up by Carr.

It was a nice bit of work by the first nickel defense that was on the field for that segment

Here are some other observations: …Read More!

How Much Is Too Much For Dex? … Monday Cup O’Chiefs

From the Truman Sports Complex

From the moment he first stepped on the field in the rookie mini-camp, it was apparent that Dexter McCluster was something different, a player with abilities unlike anybody else on the Chiefs roster.

Since then, he’s done nothing to dispel that notion. Whether it’s lining up at wide receiver, or the slot receiver, or the wing back, or the single back, or the halfback in a two-back set, or as the Wildcat QB, or returning punts, or returning kickoffs … whatever he’s been asked to do, McCluster has done it.

“It’s not too much, it really isn’t,” McCluster said after he finished the game against the Eagles with 16 touches – eight runs, three catches, two punt returns and three kick returns. He produced 177 yards or more than 10 yards every time he touched the ball. Another 23 yards was wiped out by a penalty, or he would have had 200 total yards.

“I don’t think they are going to give me anything more than I can handle and I can handle whatever they give me and more,” McCluster said. “They haven’t gotten close to wearing me out.”

That’s a cocky statement that was said in the least cocky manner imaginable. At 5-8, 180 pounds McCluster is one of the smallest players in the NFL. But like all little men who survive to play in pro football, his pride and belief in his abilities is huge. When nobody else believes, they always do. That’s what keeps them going.   …Read More!

Chiefs Start Slicing

From the Truman Sports Complex

NFL rosters must reach 75 players by Tuesday, but like many other teams in the league, the Chiefs started pruning early. They announced the release of four players on Sunday afternoon:

– T/G Tyler Eastman – the undrafted free agent out of UCLA Maine figures to be a consideration for the practice squad when it gets put together next week. He can play either position and has good movement. I would bet he Chiefs want to work with him more.

– RB Kestahn Moore – the first-year man’s chances of making the roster were derailed by what appeared to be a left knee injury that he suffered against Atlanta on Aug. 13. He missed key practice time and with Jackie Battle stepping forward with good performances in the offense and on special teams, space in the backfield was limited.

– TE Cody Slate – another undrafted free agent out of Marshall, Slate showed some skills and good hands, catching four passes for 49 yards. Depending on how the final roster shakes out at tight end, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him on the practice squad.

– QB Bill Stull – the undrafted free agent from Pitt was signed when Brodie Croyle was hurt, but he did not get a chance to play in either of the two pre-season games where he was on the roster. His release is a good sign that Croyle is ready to play after missing two games with a right arm injury. Depending on what they decide to do with the quarterbacks on the 53-man roster (two or three?), Stull may find a spot on the practice squad.

That leaves the Chiefs at 76 players, so they’ll have to move one more player off the roster by Tuesday.

Forget Pretty, Just Win … Sunday Cup O’Chiefs

“I don’t think there are going to be many pretty ones.”

Those were the words of Chiefs head coach Todd Haley, and he wasn’t talking about the fans sitting in the stands at Arrowhead Stadium.

He was talking about the games his football team will play in the 2010 season.

“If you are expecting it to be pretty fancy, flashy, dashing, daring, any of that stuff, it’s probably not going to be like that for a little while,” Haley added.

I think it’s safe to say that the die-hard Chiefs fans that are left out there could fill Haley in on a lot of ugly games and outcomes that have come down in the last four years. Nobody that holds the red and gold close to their hearts cares right now about how fancy or good looking their team might be.

They just want victories, and they don’t care if they come with warts, pimples or scabs. Haley feels the same way, and you can bet the Hunt Family, Scott Pioli and every person in the locker room wouldn’t care a whit about winning ugly.

Take for instance Friday night’s game, won with a last-minute touchdown by the Eagles, 20-17. Philadelphia was one of the most successful teams of the past decade in the NFL, winning 103 regular season games and made the playoffs eight times. But in the last two minutes of the game, when the Eagles offense went 80 yards on eight plays, they were not led by grizzled veterans of the Philly success story. …Read More!

Leftover Scrapple From Philly Game

One of the things that players who are scrambling to make the roster of an NFL team must do is separate themselves from the herd.

For instance, if there are a bunch of defensive linemen all fighting for one or two spots, it’s going to be the guy who steps up his performance, who makes the coach notice him on field, who does more than one thing that can set him at the head of the class.

That’s what Jackie Battle (right) has done. A third-year running back, Battle has been able to survive in the NFL since he was added to the Chiefs roster at the end of the 2007 season as an injury replacement. His first NFL carry went for three yards and a touchdown against the Lions in Detroit. Battle was part of three games that year, nine games in the next and just five games last year before he went to the injured-reserve list in October with a shoulder injury.

But at some point, just surviving does not cut it. The way his pre-season has gone, it’s doubtful that Battle will have to wonder about his status in the next week when the roster gets cut to 53. It would be the upset of the season so far if he’s not on the squad.

Against the Eagles, he ran 10 times for 49 yards, including a 21-yard gain. He also caught one pass for four yards and he was part of just about every one of the major special teams units.

In this pre-season, he’s the team’s leading rusher with 113 yards on 25 carries. He also has the team’s longest run, that 21-yarder he ripped off in the fourth quarter against Philly.

“Jackie Battle has been trying to get noticed the last few weeks,” said head coach Todd Haley. “He’s trying to separate himself from the rest of the competition and that’s a good thing for us and him.” …Read More!

Sheffield Released From Hospital

Rookie OLB Cameron Sheffield was released from a Kansas City area hospital Saturday morning after spending the night following a neck injury suffered in the pre-season game Friday night against Philadelphia.

The Chiefs annouced his release and that he “has movement in all of his extremities.”

In the third quarter, Sheffield had a helmet-to-helmet collision with Philly RB Mike Bell and he did not get off the turf afterwards. Doctors and trainers immobilized him on a backboard and had him taken from the field by a cart.

Chiefs Can’t Seal The Deal, Lose 20-17

From Arrowhead Stadium

The Chiefs wanted to show improvement Friday night. They did that against the Philadelphia Eagles. They wanted to get their defense up and running, maybe get their first sack and takeaway of the pre-season. They did that, with five sacks and an interception.

They wanted to continue to run the ball like they’ve been able to do. They did that, banging out 168 rushing yards, as Thomas Jones, Jamaal Charles, Dexter McCluster and Jackie Battle all had nice runs.

Most of all, the Chiefs wanted to win, because that’s not something they do very often these days. But they couldn’t accomplish that goal. The Eagles scored a late touchdown to pull out a 20-17 victory.

As always, there was plenty to talk about. Here’s our coverage:

  • GAME STORY – Defensive effort fails to win.
  • COMMENTARY – Coming off the ropes.
  • SIDEBAR – Rookie LB injures neck.
  • SIDEBAR – Chiefs show defensive personality.
  • NOTES – McCluster’s big night

NOTES: McCluster Shows His Skills Again

From Arrowhead Stadium

If you missed the hit that Philadelphia’s Asante Samuel put on Chiefs WR/RB Dexter McCluster don’t worry – it’s already been repeated a dozen times on ESPN and other sports shows that deal with repeated showings of football field collisions.

But get this – as brutal as the hit was, McCluster says he didn’t feel a thing.

“No, it was no big deal,” said McCluster. “That’s why I wanted to and did get up immediately off the ground. It was a nice hit, but it didn’t mess me up at all. I didn’t feel anything.”

If there was any thought or belief that the Chiefs were going to keep McCluster under wraps until the regular season, they pretty much blew those thoughts out of the water Friday night. McCluster was catching, running and returning all over the place:

  • He ran eight times for 47 yards, with a 15-yard run thrown in.
  • He caught three passes, but gained no yards. His longest catch was 3 yards. He had a 23-yard play wiped out by a holding penalty against the Chiefs offensive line.
  • He returned two punts for 19 yards.
  • He returned three kickoffs for an average of 37 yards a return, with a 41-yard long return.

That’s 16 touches in the third pre-season game. Over three games, he has 26 touches and has produced 241 yards.

McCluster says bring it on, he can do more: “Absolutely, I’ve got a lot more in the tank.”


In the pre-season the Chiefs do not release information on any injuries, although they’ve acknowledged when CB Maurice Leggett and OLB Cameron Sheffield went down with neck injuries.

So it’s hard to tell how serious any of these physical situations may be, but here’s a rundown to the extent we could put one together.

– OLB Tamba Hali had his lower right leg worked on during the second half and did not return to the defensive field.

– RB Jamaal Charles came off the field after taking a hit on the knee and spent time with the trainers and doctors. He came back out for the second half, but did not return to the game.

– RT Ryan O’Callaghan did not dress for the game because of a right groin injury that kept him out of practice for several days this week. No prognosis on his immediate future.

– QB Brodie Croyle was dressed, but did not play Friday night. In warm-ups, he did not throw the ball in the drills at any point. He was hurt now two weeks ago, suffering a right arm injury against Atlanta.

– CB Mike Richardson who missed several practices during the week was dressed but did not play. No word on what his injury may be.

– CB Maurice Leggett was back with the team after his neck injury last weekend against Tampa Bay. It’s doubtful he’ll be back this week, but will probably be held out until the week of getting ready for the regular season opener.


A handful of Chiefs did not take part in the game. O’Callaghan, Leggett and G Darryl Harris did not dress. Not getting on the field along with Croyle and Richardson were WR Verrand Tucker, RB Javarris Williams, OT Bobby Green Wood and TE Cody Slate.

On defense, Demorrio Williams and Corey Mays started at inside linebacker. On offense, Rudy Niswanger opened at center and Barry Richardson played at RT for the missing O’Callaghan.

On offense, the Chiefs opened in a one-back formation, with Jamaal Charles as the only running back. He promptly fumbled on his first carry.

For the Eagles, they did not use 10 players and six of those did not dress for the game. That included centers Jamaal Jackson and Nick Cole. When Friday night’s starting center Mike McGlynn went down in the second quarter, they were forced to use their fourth snapper, first-year player A.Q. Shipley.


Highlighting the kicking game performance on Friday night was P Dustin Colquitt, who thanks to a bad decision by an Eagles’ returner, finished up with a 73-yard punt. Overall, he kicked seven times, with a 44.1-yard gross average and a net average of 39.9 yards. He punched four punts inside the 20-yard line.

Punt coverage was pretty good, as Philly had returns of eight and two yards.

On kickoffs, Ryan Succop was not quite as strong with distance as he has been earlier in the pre-season. He kicked off four times, with the ball coming down at the three, seven, minus-six and five-yard lines. Kick coverage was not so good, as the Eagles got off a 47-yard return and overall averaged 28 yards o n three returns.

Succop made his only FG attempt, from 43 yards.

On returns, the Chiefs averaged 8.1 yards on punt returns and 29.2 yards on kickoff returns. McCluster had the longest return, taking back a kickoff 41 yards.


Bill Leavy and his crew walked off six flags against each team during the game.

For the Chiefs, they were hit with a 15-yard taunting penalty against LB David Herron on a kickoff return. RG Ryan Lilja was flagged for holding, wiping out a 23-yard completion from Cassel to McCluster. FS Kendrick Lewis was called for defensive offside. LT Branden Albert was hit with two penalties: a false start and a holding call. The Chiefs offense took a pair of delay of game penalties on purpose, trying to set up better field position for Colquitt on a punt. The Eagles accepted one, turned down another.


The paid attendance was announced at 64,809, but there were a lot of empty seats all around Arrowhead, including the pricey seats in the lower level.

Finally, A Worthy Defensive Effort

From Arrowhead Stadium

It has been slow in coming together, this 2010 Chiefs defense. New coordinator Romeo Crennel is still learning about the talents of his players and he and the defensive staff are still fitting the pieces together.

What we saw Friday night against the Philadelphia Eagles is a lot closer to what Crennel and head coach Todd Haley have in mind for this defense that has been so bad in recent seasons.

“We’ve been in pads 31 days (of the pre-season),” Haley said after the game. “The reason you’re in pads for 31 days is to be a physical football team. I think that tonight you saw that coming out and I think that’s a good sign for our team and a good sign of the direction we’re going.”

The Chiefs went out on defense and did two things they had not done in two previous pre-season games. They got a sack, five of them in fact, and they forced a turnover, as rookie safety Kendrick Lewis picked off a Philadelphia pass. The Chiefs offense was able to use that takeaway to get a touchdown.

In the final accounting, the Chiefs defense allowed 271 yards, with 106 in the running game. But 80 of those 271 yards came on the final drive of the game, against the No. 3 defense. They chased Eagles QB Kevin Kolb out of the game with four sacks and an interception, as he was just 11 of 25 for 103 yards. …Read More!

Rookie LB Suffers Neck Injury

From Arrowhead Stadium

For the second time in two games, the Chiefs held their collective breath as a teammate was taken off the field immobilized on a backboard and strapped to a cart.

Friday night, it was rookie OLB Cameron Sheffield. In the third quarter he went to tackle Philadelphia RB Mike Bell and they collided in a helmet-to-helmet hit. Bell got up. Sheffield did not.

The Chiefs pronounced it a neck injury, but had no other information on Sheffield’s condition after the game. …Read More!

Commentary: Coming Off the Ropes

From Arrowhead Stadium

It was a strange juxtaposition in the hour or so after the Chiefs dropped pre-season game No. 3 to the Philadelphia Eagles 20-17.

Todd Haley talked about how his team had taken a couple of early haymakers in Friday night’s game but had held on and actually started counter punching and causing damage to the Eagles.

An hour later, sitting in the press box, the television was on and there was Sylvester Stallone, sitting in the guest chair on Late Night with David Letterman. The sound was muted so the conversation between Letterman and Stallone was impossible to hear, which is OK since neither one really has much that’s noteworthy to say these days.

But there was Rocky Balboa, wearing glasses with light purple lenses and a purple shirt, purple tie and some sort of Italian suit that sells in the four-figure range. He was no longer Rocky Balboa, the Philadelphia pug heavyweight with the battered face that never gave up in the ring, no matter how much blood he spilled.

On Friday night, that was the Chiefs, and particularly their defense. They were Rocky, getting pounded by Apollo Creed. They got knocked around by a superior opponent in the first round, wobbled woozily around the field, but they were able to survive to the bell. They caught their wind, got their wits back about them, fought back and ended up landing some big punches of their own.

They hit the Eagles with everything but the knockout punch they needed. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the staying power of Rocky, because in the end they ran out of gas and gave up the winning score in the game’s closing minute.

“They say in boxing that it’s not how hard you punch, it’s how you react after you’ve been punched,” said Haley. “We took a couple pretty good body blows; there might have been a couple of head shots, haymakers, whatever you want to say.

“But guys fought back and made plays.” …Read More!

Game Story: Despite Improvement, Another “L”

From Arrowhead Stadium

When coaches, players, media and fans constantly say “the Chiefs need to learn how to win” it gets tiresome. But the 2010 Chiefs proved Friday night that while it might be overused and aggravating, it’s so true.

With a victory in their hand, all the Chiefs No. 3 defense had to do was top the Philadelphia Eagles No. 3 offense one final time. Philly started the possession with two minutes to play, and the ball at its 20-yard line. Plus they had no timeouts.

Eight plays, 80 yards and 101 seconds later, rookie QB Mike Kafka found rookie WR Riley Cooper in the end zone for an 18-yard TD pass with 23 seconds to play. It was the deciding moment of the Eagles 20-17 victory over the Chiefs.

“I feel like that’s the way our games are going to be for a little while,” said head coach Todd Haley. “We are team that hasn’t won a lot of games over the last few years. We are making this transition into becoming a good team and that’s the way the games are going to be.

“I don’t think there are going to be many pretty ones. It’s still going to come down to the team that plays the best will win.”

That was true Friday night before a sparse crowd at the new Arrowhead Stadium. Ultimately, the Eagles made enough plays to win the game. They did it at the start of the game, and then later at the end of the game.

What gave the Chiefs hope is what happened in between, when the defense put on its best performance of the preseason and the starters left the field with a 14-10 lead.

“I was really proud of the team and how they bounced back,” said QB Matt Cassel. “We had about as bad a start to a game as you can have, but we got ourselves back in and eventually got the lead.” …Read More!

Pre-Game: Eagles-Chiefs

From Arrowhead Stadium

6:30 p.m. CDT — RT Ryan O’Callaghan was not visible on the field in pre-game warmups, so expect Barry Richardson to start.

6:05 p.m. CDT — Right now, the Chiefs say they expect only two players not to dress for tonight’s game: CB Maurice Leggett (neck) and G Darryl Harris (knee). We’ll wait and see what happens with RT Ryan O”Callaghan, who is not expected to play tonight because of a groin injury suffered in practice on Tuesday.

6:00 p.m. CDT — Eagles will not dress six players this evening because of various injuries: CB David Pender, LB Keenan Clayton, C Jamaal Jackson, DE Juqua Parker, TE Cornelius Ingram and DE Victor Abiamiri.

5:55 p.m. CDT — Kicking towards the east goal post, K Ryan Succop was successful on all his FG attempts, including one from 51 yards.

5:51 p.m. CDT — In the northwest corner of the playing field, working in the shadow of the end zone, defensive line coach Anthony Pleasant is working with DEs Glenn Dorsey, Wallace Gilberry and Tyson Jackson. They are working hard at coming out of their position at the snap and delivering a blow to the blocker.

5:49 p.m. CDT — Kicking towards the east goal posts, Philly K David Akers hit a 60-yard field goal with no problem. …Read More!

Important Night For These Veterans

From Arrowhead Stadium

It’s the time of year where players put to use their math skills. Like everyone else, they know the current number is 80 and the final number is 53; that’s players on the regular-season roster.

That’s 27 names on the roster that will be gone within the next eight days. Coaches always counsel the players to not spend any time working the numbers and trying to cut the roster themselves. It’s easy to say, almost impossible to do.

“We know the score,” said third-year FB Mike Cox (right). “It’s our lives. You try not to think about it, but you can’t help it.”

It’s especially tough for the group of players who are not rookies or first-year players. They’ve been in the NFL for two, three, four, maybe more seasons. They know what they will miss if they don’t get their ticket punched for the 2010 season.

There’s only so much a player can do, and more than anything, that’s the urge they must control.

“I don’t think you can make the team with one play, or one game,” said S Jon McGraw, a guy who has nothing to worry about when it comes to a spot on the 2010 Chiefs roster. “You cause yourself problems when you try to do more than you are capable of doing.”

The Chiefs are a relatively young team, and they are not filled with a bunch of veteran contributors who have been around for a long time. Of 80 players, 59 have joined the team in the last two years. Of the 21 inherited players, 12 are in the starting lineup. That doesn’t leave many veterans for bubble spots.

That didn’t keep us from running the roster and coming up with some veterans whose time in Kansas City may depend on what happens in two games over the next seven days. …Read More!

What To Watch For vs. Philadelphia

Whether they know it or not, the meeting tonight with the Philadelphia Eagles is a very important moment for the 2010 Chiefs.

Just how far away is the roster put together by Pioli/Haley from being a contender? We will find out a lot more during the first half of this game at Arrowhead Stadium. If the first-line Chiefs can go play-for-play against the first-line Eagles it will be a sign of the improvement of this team from a year ago. If at half-time the Chiefs find themselves losing the battle, then it shines a pretty bright light on the rebuilding process and how far away they are from reaching mediocrity, let alone contender status.

The Eagles are a team in transition, with the biggest change being at quarterback where Kevin Kolb (above) is the starter, replacing Donovan McNabb. Kolb had a big day against the Chiefs last year and he certainly has every reason to be looking forward to another chance to throw the ball against the Kansas City defense.

Offense, defense and the kicking game all must show improvement for the Chiefs. This is always the most important game of the pre-season, given the fact that the starters will likely play into the third quarter. No matter what side of the football, there has not been enough consistency and productivity.

In two games, they’ve lost by a combined 40-25, scoring just two touchdowns, while allowing four. They have no sacks; they’ve allowed four. They have no takeaways; they’ve given the ball away six times.

Here’s what the Chiefs need to get done against the Eagles: …Read More!

A Team To Copy … Friday Cup O’Chiefs

It’s just a pre-season game, one of four the Chiefs will play this year. Winner and loser will be forgotten quickly as both teams move on to the regular season and the games that count.

But when the Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles meet Friday night at Arrowhead Stadium, fans of the red and gold will get to see their team, and a visiting team that their guys hope to emulate in this rebuilding process.

Kickoff is 7 o’clock and despite the non-sellout, the local TV blackout was lifted and can be seen on various stations throughout the Midwest. We will have complete coverage of the game late Friday evening/early Saturday morning.

Andy Reid (right) brings his Eagles into town with a new starting quarterback in Kevin Kolb, a new featured running back in LeSean McCoy and a host of talented offensive and defensive players, including former Mizzou WR Jeremy Maclin.

Under Reid’s direction over the last 12 years, the Eagles have become one of the NFL’s measuring sticks. Despite the fact they have not won a Super Bowl, only two other teams won as many regular season games in the last decade as the 103 pulled down by Philadelphia. In the 2000s, only one other team went to the playoffs as often as the Eagles.

Those are the kind of numbers that the Chiefs produced in the 1990s under Carl Peterson and Marty Schottenheimer. In today’s NFL, it’s one of the hardest things to do, sustaining excellence for a long period of time. Change is the only constant in the league and understanding and dealing with that dynamic is incredibly difficult. The Chiefs were able to get it done for 10 seasons, but since then their record in the last decade ranged from 13-3 to 2-14, with only two post-season appearances. …Read More!

Honoring History … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

From Arrowhead Stadium

One can only hope that those who currently coach and play for the Kansas City Chiefs will achieve enough in their careers wearing the red and gold that they can be part of the team’s Hall of Honor.

The Chiefs officially opened the Hall of Honor on Thursday evening, with the mandatory speeches, dignitaries and Hall of Famers checking out the extensive displays and memorabilia of the Dallas Texas/American Football League/Kansas City Chiefs.

Pictures, audio, video and display cases are filled with information and mementoes of the team’s rich 50-season history.

While noting that Arrowhead was the first NFL stadium to provide fans with instant replay inside the stadium, Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt spoke with pride of the memory replays that are throughout the Hall of Honor.

And there is plenty of attention paid to Lamar Hunt and his football creation, the American Football League. In fact, under the direction of team historian Bob Moore, there is probably more attention paid to the AFL and the roots of that league than even at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

  …Read More!

NFL Values Decline; Chiefs Drop As Well

On the day that Stan Kroenke spent hundreds of millions of dollars to buy 60 percent of the St. Louis Rams, Forbes Magazine came out with its annual valuations of the 32 NFL teams.

According to the magazine the average value of an NFL team dropped two percent last year, the first time in 12 years that there was a drop in value. Through the Forbes accounting 21 of the teams lost value, some by as much as 15 or 16 percent.

That group losing value includes the Chiefs, whose value dropped six percent to make the team worth $965 million. That ranks the Hunt Family operation at No. 20 in team values, between Seattle and New Orleans.

Forbes says the most valuable NFL franchise is the Dallas Cowboys, at $1.8 billion. That’s a jump of nine percent from last year. The Cowboys, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers all saw their value increase.

Among the 21 teams that lost value according to the magazine, the Jacksonville Jaguars and St. Louis Rams dropped 16 and 15 percent respectively. The Buffalo Bills value fell by 12 percent and the Minnesota Vikings went down 7 percent. That puts the Chiefs drop of six percent as the fifth highest in the league.

A general reminder on stories like this one – it’s all a guessing game. Only the Green Bay Packers financial information is made public. But Forbes has been doing this for 12 years and they have a pretty good track record on stories like this.

Plus, Kroenke’s purchase of the 60 percent of the Rams that he didn’t already own went down on a team valuation of $750 million. Forbes pegs the Rams worth at $779 million. At least they were in the ballpark.

Here’s the Forbes story on the team valuations.

And here’s the chart with all the details.

Wednesday Night Practice Report

From Arrowhead Stadium

The Chiefs opened the doors to Arrowhead Stadium and a couple thousand fans enjoyed a free taste of the renovated stadium and a two-hour practice from Todd Haley and his team.

The head coach liked the idea of getting his team into the stadium for a look before Friday night’s pre-season game against Philadelphia. It’s a place that a good portion of the roster has never seen and those that have been there might not recognize many parts of the building that underwent a $375 million renovation.

“I’m pretty anxious to get up there and see some of it, and here before too long, once I find a little free time, I want to get up there and take a good look around,” Haley said. “We as a team are really looking forward to this, going up there and getting a feel for our new stadium before we actually hit the field.

Once they did get on the field, the focus was the Philadelphia Eagles and preparing to meet one of the NFC’s better teams on Friday evening.

Here are some observations: …Read More!

Stan The Man In Charge In St. Louis

The football playing boys down I-70 in the Loo have a new man in charge.

NFL owners meeting in Atlanta on Wednesday reportedly voted unanimous to approve Stan Kroenke as the owner of the St. Louis Rams. Already holding 40 percent of the team, Kroenke is buying the other 60 percent from the children of the team’s late owner Georgia Frontiere.

Purchase price was based on franchise value of $750 million, so Kroenke will write a check for 4450 million that will go to Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriquez, heirs to the Frontiere estate.

Of course, for Stan Kroenke, a check for less than a half-billion isn’t going to strain his bank account. Forbes magazine has estimated that Stan and Ann (Walton) Kroenke are worth more than $6 billion.

Still to be determined is what Kroenke will do with his ownership of the Denver Nuggets of the NBA and Colorado Avalanche of the NHL. NFL rules prohibit him from operating those teams in a market where there’s another NFL team. Supposedly, he will transfer ownership to his son Josh Kroenke.

Who Gets To Play? … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

The question was put to Todd Haley during his daily inquisition with the media horde:

How much do you consider Wallace Gilberry’s contract vs. what Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson make when it comes to playing time?

One of the site’s intrepid readers had e-mailed me a similar question just a week ago. He wondered how Gilberry (right), a guy who always seems to make plays, can’t get on the field more than Dorsey and Jackson who don’t seem to be involved in as many plays. He wondered whether that was because of the money they were being paid.

I had marked the e-mail so I wouldn’t forget it and then promptly … forgot it.

I thought I knew how Haley would answer the question and he did not disappoint. “Zero” is the consideration he gives to a player’s contract when it comes to parceling out playing time and starting positions.

“Once they enter the building it is who gives us the best chance to win,” said Haley. “I have been in other situations and other jobs where you are supported by the people who ultimately make the final decision and we have done that in a bunch of different places and that is the way that everyone in this building knows that it works. I would say zero (effect) in that way.”

Are you buying it? Do you think money plays no part in who plays in the NFL? …Read More!

Tuesday P.M. Practice Report

From the Truman Sports Complex

Was Tuesday afternoon’s Chiefs practice a moment when the status of DE Tyson Jackson changed?

It sure seemed that way as the Chiefs went through a two-hour workout at their facility, the second practice of the day for Todd Haley’s team.

In all previous practices, Jackson ran with the first-team defense. That was not the case Tuesday afternoon. There were moments when Jackson was with the first unit, but other times he was replaced by DE Wallace Gilberry.

Where it really became visible was when the Chiefs defense was doing scout team work for the Chiefs offense. That’s not normally a chore that falls to the starters, and it did not for DE Glenn Dorsey, NT Ron Edwards, or Gilberry. But Jackson was out there. In one drill, he stayed out there even though the other guys on the defensive line changed twice.

Remember a single practice is but a snapshot in time and does not qualify as an entire movie. This may have been just some coaching experimentation, or the like.

But when a recent No. 1 draft choice who has been a starter is working with the scout team, something is up. Head coach Todd Haley and the players were unavailable following the P.M. practice but they will speak on Wednesday.

Some other observations from practice: …Read More!

Week #2 Pre-Season Roundup

For any fan of Mizzou football the performance Chase Daniel had for the New Orleans Saints in week No. 2 of the NFL pre-season was no surprise.

But it certainly caught the attention of the Saints and their fans, as Daniel took over for Drew Brees and threw three touchdown passes to three different receivers and took the Saints on scoring drives of 51, 83, 65 and 60 yards against the Houston Texans.

Overall he was 15 of 21 for 182 yards, three TDs, one INT, one sack, and a 117.5 passer rating.

“I was really proud of Chase,” Brees said after the Saints 38-20 victory. “He’s worked extremely hard this offseason. He’s had success despite the odds throughout his career. He wins games, and he makes plays. There’s something to be said for that.”

For his part, Daniel was just happy for the chance to get some playing time. He hasn’t seen much of that in the NFL since he left Mizzou after the ’08 season.

“I think I played pretty well,” Daniel said. “I was confident in the huddle, and our playmakers made some great plays. Obviously, there were some mistakes, but I was pretty happy with how I played.” …Read More!

Tuesday A.M. Practice Report

From the Truman Sports Complex

It has the feel of a training camp practice – in River Falls, Wisconsin – on Tuesday morning as the Chiefs ran through a two-hour session at their facility.

Cloudy skies kept the sun covered up and temperatures were mild compared to most of the pre-season, with a nice breeze from the north providing even more relief.

“Whoever arranged for the weather today, thank you,” said DE Glenn Dorsey.

The Chiefs were in full pads for this practice, the 28th time this year that they’ve worn shoulder pads for a practice. There was a lot of situational work, especially in the red zone, where the offense produced mixed results and the defense had a good practice.

When they hit the field for practice this afternoon, they’ll spend most of their time going over the Philadelphia Eagles, their opponent Friday night at Arrowhead Stadium.

Here are some observations from the morning work: …Read More!

Battling For Improvement … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

From the Truman Sports Complex

It happens between 12 and 15 times every Chiefs practice, and when it happens it comes with its own sound effects of two men grunting, pads crunching, heavy breathing and hand-to-hand fighting. It’s better than any of those cartoons where giant robots or space aliens fight with each other.

It’s Branden Albert on offense, and Tamba Hali (left) on defense. A pair of former first-round picks for the Chiefs Albert and Hali are frequent combatants during practice, whether those workouts went down in St. Joseph for three weeks of training camp, or back at their facility for another three weeks of practice before they open the 2010 regular season.

Sometimes it’s in one-on-one blocking drills for the running game, or one-on-one matchups in pass rush and pass protection. Most of the time they crash into each other comes during teamwork portions of practices when the No. 1 offense takes on the No. 1 defense.

“It’s just guys trying to get better so we can help our team win” is how Albert described the matchup that goes down in practice.

Sadly, that’s about all the words we’ll hear from either player about their battles.

  …Read More!

Chiefs 81 thru 1 – Pre-Season Adjustment

OK, you guys really enjoyed the rankings that were posted before camp of the Chiefs in my view No. 81 through No. 1.

So those rankings are back after three weeks in training camp and two pre-season games.

Obviously there have been some changes. There is more information to deal with on these guys and what they’ve shown so far this season. And for some players, it’s what they’ve haven’t shown.

There’s been a big adjustment in the top 10, due to the draft class of 2010. It’s hard to put players in the rankings that haven’t played a game in the NFL before, let alone move them to the top of the franchise’s evaluation list.

But, when a team has put together three troubled seasons like the Chiefs have done, it’s a lot easier for those talented draft picks to soar up the charts. In my evaluations, that’s what has happened with Eric Berry (from No. 13 to No. 5), Javier Arenas (from No. 23 to No. 6) and Dexter McCluster (from No. 18 to No. 7.)

Players who have also moved up include Andy Studebaker, Cameron Sheffield, Jon Asamoah, Jackie Battle, Kendrick Lewis, Jeremy Horne and Cody Slate.

Others have gone the other way, including last year’s top two draft choices Tyson Jackson (No. 26 to No. 36) and Alex Magee (No. 39 to No. 58.)

OK, so here’s the list, No. 81 through No. 1. (Remember the Chiefs have 81 because I’m including the exiled FS Jarrad Page. The Chiefs front office may not think much about him, but we haven’t forgotten the man who wore No. 44.

  …Read More!

Back Home Practice #1 Report

From the Truman Sports Complex

Chiefs head coach Todd Haley had good news to report Monday afternoon on the condition of CB Maurice Leggett.

In Saturday’s game in Tampa Bay, Leggett took a knee to the head/neck area and went down on the field. Trainers and doctors immobilized him, strapped him to a back board and then loaded him on a cart. He was taken to a Tampa hospital where he was kept Saturday night.

While refusing to acknowledge whether Leggett is out of the hospital in Tampa, or back in Kansas City or in some other location, Haley did say that all signs are positive for the third-year cornerback.

“All signs point positive,” Haley said. “The neck and all those issues, the tests came back negative. Sounds like he’ll be able to get back at it sooner rather than later.”

Monday afternoon’s practice was a continuation of the pace and manner of the workouts that were held in St. Joseph. They were in full pads and went for two hours, including a developmental period at the end where players on the second and third team got about 10 live plays, while the starters ran gasers on a adjoining field.

Here are some observations: …Read More!

Enrique’s Video Vault/MNF 3 Weeks Away

A week ago, we brought up the fact that the Chiefs have not won a game on Monday Night Football since 2004. But to find the last time that the Red and Gold squad prevailed on a Monday night at home, well … we had to dig a little deeper.

A nostalgic trip down memory lane takes us back to the 2000 season, to the entertaining Week 5 contest between the Seahawks and the Chiefs. Outstanding performances by Derrick Alexander, Eric Hicks and Elvis Grbac (yes, even him) paled in comparison to the night’s biggest accomplishment: the 82,893 fans drawn to the Truman Sports Complex, thanks to an arranged simulcast in Kauffman Stadium that contributed 4,391 rowdy supporters. That (combined) attendance figure remains the highest in team history and fortunately, they all got their money’s worth.

Only three weeks away from writing a new prime-time chapter, once again, enjoy the memory.

Contact Enrique at

NFL Springs Leak … Monday Cup O’Chiefs

The National Football League has a problem.

OK, it has more than just one, but professional football has finally banged its head against an economic ceiling. The real world has intruded into the NFL and its bank accounts and revenue streams.

People have said “enough.”

If you doubt me, then consider this number – 30,413.

Saturday evening at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa the Chiefs and Buccaneers played a pre-season game. The paid attendance was announced by the Bucs as 41,386 fans. That alone was a joke. Anyone who was there knew that number had no relationship with the number of actual butts in actual seats.

That number, the total of people who walked through the turnstiles was – 30,413.

It was the smallest crowd of pre-season Week No. 2, but there were other games that drew something less than sellouts. Up in Toronto, the Buffalo Bills took their game against the Indianapolis Colts to the Rogers Center. Announced paid attendance was 39,583. There were 55,702 fans inside Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. Up the road in Cleveland, 58,250 fans paid to see the Browns. Both numbers were far less than the capacity of either stadium.

There was a time when the NFL would wake up every morning and be millions of dollars richer than when it went to bed. It was the golden goose of professional sports, dropping golden eggs on everything that it touched. …Read More!

Leftovers From Tampa

Somewhere Between TPA & MCI

There is definitely one part of the Chiefs play on Saturday night against Tampa Bay that showed it was improved from this point in 2009.

That’s Matt Cassel and the first-offense’s passing game.

Cassel is throwing the ball quite well these days and that was evident against the Buccaneers. Let’s remember that Tampa Bay is not a contending team and its defense leaves much to be desired. But he was on the mark Saturday night, missing on only five passes. One of those was to stop the clock at the end of the second quarter. Another incompletion came when a pre-determined route didn’t create an open receiver and he threw the ball into the Houston bench.

Here are Cassel’s passing numbers for the first two pre-season games last year and the first two this August:


































…Read More!

Freeman Fractures Thumb & Other Notes

From Raymond James Stadium

It happened early in Saturday night’s Chiefs-Buccaneers game here in Tampa. QB Josh Freeman felt pain in his thumb and knew something was wrong.

On his third passing attempt in the game, Freeman’s right thumb struck the helmet of Chiefs OLB Tamba Hali on his follow through.

“The next play, I couldn’t really grab it or grasp the ball too well, so I just tried to grip the points,” Freeman said.

But Bucs coach Raheem Morris took his second-year quarterback out of the game and sending him to the locker room for x-rays. The pictures revealed Freeman fractured the tip of his right thumb and will not play during the last two weeks of the pre-season.

Freeman is expected to be ready to play in the regular season opener for the Saints against the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 12.

“I was hoping it was just jammed,” Freeman said. “But it was a little different pain than just being jammed. When I saw the x-ray, they said there was a little fracture. When I heard that and saw the x-ray, I was kind of freaking out. They said, “Hey, just take care of it and it’ll be a couple weeks.’ When I heard that, it made me feel a lot better.”

Morris can only hope that the thumb heals in three weeks and Freeman is ready to go for the opener.

“How big of a setback? It’s a team setback obviously when you lose your first quarterback,” Morris said. “We’re lucky. It’s an injury we expect him back the first week of the season. That’s very fortunate. It could be worse.

“I’ll have to get a feel for that, when he can practice exactly. Right now we know he fractured the tip of his thumb on his throwing hand. He has an even demeanor about it.”

Freeman was especially unhappy because he was scheduled for some extended playing time in the next few months.

“It’s kind of frustrating because this game I was supposed to get a lot more reps and throw 15 or 20 passes,” Freeman said. “I was looking forward to it, getting out there and getting to stretch the field with Mike Williams a little more and getting to work with Reggie (Brown). Other than that, I can turn my attention to Cleveland and these first few games and start getting ready for them. There’s different ways you can spin it, but I’m choosing to spin it positively.”


It was pretty much a good night for the Chiefs kicking game in all areas. What went down:

  • KICK COVERAGE – Javier Arenas only got one chance to return a kickoff, but he punched it out for 54 yards. He showed good power and vision. Quinten Lawrence returned four kicks for a 17-yard average and was very pedestrian in his results.
  • FIELD GOALS – Ryan Succop hit 28 and 29-yard Field Goals.
  • KICKOFFS – Possibly the best game of Succop’s short career when kicking off the tee. His first kickoff was a bit short, landing at the Tampa Bay seven-yard. After that, his kickoffs were landing at the minus-one and minus-one and minus-eight yards. On those three kickoffs, the Bucs started their possession at the 18, 20 and 20-yard lines.
  • PUNTING – Dustin Colquitt kicked four times, averaging 44.3 yards per punt, with a net average of 39 yards. He had a 60-yard punt in the second half.
  • PUNT COVERAGE – Tampa Bay returners averaged seven yards punt return with the longest being 13 yards.
  • KICK COVERAGE – only one of three kickoffs produced any return yardage as there were two Succop touchbacks and an 11-yard return.
  • PUNT RETURNS – There was little business being done in the punt return game. Arenas had one return for one yard. He called fair catches on two other returns.


Walt Coleman’s crew was barely visible in this game. They walked off a single five-yard penalty against the Chiefs offense when G Ikechuku Ndukwe was called for a false start in the fourth quarter.

They did have one call reversed on a challenge by the Buccaneers. Todd Haley did not throw his red challenge flag. The Buccaneers were hit with three penalties.


Four players did not dress for the Chiefs – QB Brodie Croyle, RB Kestahn Moore, FS Jon McGraw and G Darryl Harris. In the game, QB Bill Stull and DE Bobby Greenwood did not play. It was the first NFL game for both Stull and TE Tony Moeaki. At center, Casey Wiegmann started over Rudy Niswanger.

The Buccaneers did not dress RB Clifton Smith, OT Demar Dotson and WR Marc Stovall. Two players were dressed but didn’t get on the field of play – WR Chris Brooks and DE Brandon Gilbeaux.

Different Story, Same Results In 20-15 Defeat

From Raymond James Stadium

Week No. 2 of the NFL pre-season is in the books for the Chiefs and the results are not pretty. Not pretty at all. With some areas of their play improved since last week’s opening defeat in Atlanta, the outcome was still on the negative side in Tampa, Florida.

Buccaneers 20, Chiefs 15.

In two pre-season games they’ve scored a total of 25 points, while allowing 45 points. The Chiefs have to find a way to score more points and allow fewer. There’s a lot of ground to cover with what happened Saturday evening in Tampa. Here’s our take:

  • GAME STORY: Disappointing Loss For Chiefs
  • Maurice Leggett stays overnight in New Orleans.
  • COLUMN: Sort of better … maybe.
  • Sidebar #1: Flowers Didn’t Bloom
  • Sidebar #2: Rookie receiver finds the end zone.
  • NOTES: Josh Freeman breaks a finger.
  • Pre-Game Notes

Undrafted Rookie Finds The End Zone

From Raymond James Stadium

It’s been quite a week for rookie receivers out of the University of Massachuettes.

On Monday night Victor Cruz caught three touchdown passes for the New York Giants in their game against the New York Jets.

And then Saturday night, Jeremy Horne (No. 8 on the right) caught a touchdown pass for the Chiefs against the Buccaneers.

Both of these guys played at UMass during the 2009 season. Both were not drafted by the NFL, even though they had sterling records as college receivers. How did the Minutemen only go 5-6 last year with these two guys on the field.?

It was during the ’08 college season that Cruz and Horne were dominant receivers in the UMass attack. Cruz led the team with 71 catches for 1,064 yards and six TDs. Horne caught 50 passes for 895 yards and 20 TD catches.

Now they are catching TD passes in the NFL.

“The play was to run to the back of the end zone,” Horne said of his six-yard scoring catch from QB Matt Cassel in the first quarter of Saturday night’s game. “He threw it towards me and I caught it.”

That’s about as talkative as Horne gets these days. There’s a wonderful personality inside a façade right now formed by the coaching and football staff counseling all these young players about not having much to say when they are rookies.

But there is no question that Horne has caught the eye of the Chiefs coaches, especially Haley. It’s reached a point where they put in a special package of plays for Horne to run with the No 1 offense on Saturday night. They wanted the opportunity to see him working with the starters.

QB Matt Cassel said it was a bit of a surprise to everyone in the huddle when the rookie ran out to join them in the first quarter.

“When he first came in, I know it was a shock to most of us,” said Cassel of Horne. “But I know he wouldn’t be in there if the coaches didn’t think he was ready to go and prepared to play. He went in there and did a good job and made a play when we needed it.”

Horne has gotten himself this far by doing the simple one-day at a time routine. He says he does not think about the past or the future, just the present and what he can do to help his chances of making the team. “One day at a time,” said Horne. “One day at a time.”

Flowers Takes A Chance, Gets Burned

From Raymond James Stadium

All his football playing life, Brandon Flowers has been a cornerback. It goes back to his very first days of pee wee ball in southeast Florida.

Playing on the corner is the only place he knows, the only place he wants to be, even though being stuck on that island can be tough at times in today’s world of the pass happy NFL.

“There’s good and there’s bad and you have to take it all,” Flowers said. “You just can’t do things that help them. You can’t do what I did.”

One of those ugly moments came Saturday night in pre-season game No. 2 against Tampa Bay. It’s the second quarter, the Chiefs are up 7-3 and the Buccaneers are just about to move the ball into Kansas City territory. It’s a second-and-six play when QB Josh Johnson drops back to pass and immediately looks to his right. That’s where he sees WR Micheal Spurlock with man-to-man coverage from Flowers.

“I kind of figured they were going to come my way,” Spurlock said. “He tried to knock it down and then make the tackle. I broke it and then got in the end zone.”

It was a huge play in this game, and a mistake that the Chiefs could not afford.

“We are both in the NFL, we are both trying to make a play, he made it and I didn’t,” Flowers said after the game. ”

All through the week of practices between the Atlanta game and the trip to Tampa, Todd Haley and his defensive staff were harping on the players about creating turnovers. They were shut out against the Falcons. There was no question that was part of Flowers thinking as he went after the ball when Spurlock made the catch, rather that secure the tackle.

“We are a defense that’s always trying to force turnovers,” said Flowers. “That’s why they put us on the field, to get those things done. When the opportunity comes you’ve got to make the play.”

Haley did not lower the boom on Flowers, but made it plain the Chiefs couldn’t afford busted tackles like that one going for big play touchdowns.

“We have to tackle; we can’t allow 50-yard pass plays,” said Haley. “Big plays hurt us last year. We did a good job last week with them, but we allowed at least that one big one in this game.

“It’s a fine-line; you don’t ever want to take that stinger away from those guys. It’s similar with some of the pass interference or illegal contacts. We are trying to get these guys to be aggressive and think aggressive. You’ve got to make that split-second decision.

“I know he’s feeling bad about not making a tackle. He was trying to make a play there.”

After the missed tackle and Tampa Bay touchdown, Flowers came out of the game. The play and its results had nothing to do with that decision. It was something pre-determined before the game started as Haley tries to manage his players coming back from injuries. Flowers had off-season surgery on his shoulder, an injury that he played with throughout the ’09 season.

“Part of my job is whether we are doing too much, or are we doing enough,” Haley said. “We had a clear cut plan for Brandon. We were going to get him out of the regular defense and get him into nickel and passing situations so he could get the work necessary.”

Game Story: Disappointing Loss For Chiefs

From Raymond James Stadium

There were three teams during the 2009 NFL season that won fewer games than the four victories that the Chiefs claimed. One of those clubs was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They won three games for rookie head coach Raheem Morris.

So Saturday night along the waters of Tampa Bay should have been a situation where the Chiefs were provided help in their journey to learn how to win. They were not facing a contender like they were last week in Atlanta. They weren’t even facing a pretender. They were facing a team like themselves, one that scraped the bottom of the NFL barrel last season.

No such luck for Todd Haley and his Chiefs. Tampa Bay took a 20-15 victory before an incredibly small announced crowd of 41,486 at the RJS. There’s no way that more than 40,000 butts were in the seats to watch this one that was blacked out in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area. UPDATE: Stadium officials said after the game that 30,413 fans walked through the turnstyles.

The outcome of these August games are meaningless, unless you are a team like the Chiefs that has won only 10 regular season games in the last three seasons and only two pre-season games. That’s 62 times they’ve stepped on the field in competition in 2007-08-09-10.

That’s a 12-50 record, for a winning percentage of .194.

When you hauling around that kind of trash, you need to win whatever contest is going on that day. On this muggy Florida night it was the Bucs and despite the fact the Chiefs worked hard this week formulating a plan to help them win this game, it still didn’t pay off because of several mistakes that killed their victory chances.

“We came into this game with a clear-cut plan, an idea of some things that we had to get accomplished or had to see improvement in,” Haley said afterwards. “One of those things was starting faster with the first-team offense, and they turned the ball over on the first possession after it looked like they were starting to move the ball.”

They wanted to cause turnovers as well, since they did not get a single takeaway against Atlanta. That was in the back of CB Brandon Flowers mind when he tried to strip Tampa Bay WR Micheal Spurlock after a catch. Instead, Spurlock went 53 yards for a score.

Overall, the Chiefs outgained the Bucs 366 to 312. They out ran them, 152-99 yards. They even out threw them with 214 passing yards to 213. But Tampa Bay had no turnovers; the Chiefs had three. The Bucs had two sacks; the Chiefs did not have a sack, although they got close enough to Tampa Bay starter and Kansas City native Josh Freeman suffered an injury to his right thumb, forcing him out of the game.

The Chiefs started the game with the ball, winning the opening coin toss and electing to receive, rather than pushing back their choice to the second half as they did last week. But they did not keep the ball very long, as three plays into the possession Jones went off right guard on a draw play and fumbled. DE Kyle Moore caused the fumble and LB Geno Hayes recovered the ball giving the Bucs first-and-10 at the Chiefs 41-yard line.

Put in this tough situation and defending a short field, the Chiefs defense was able to hold the Bucs to 28 yards and allowed just a 31-yard field goal by Connor Barth. Key play was on third-and-five, the Chiefs went four rushers, including LBs Mike Vrabel and Andy Studebaker who pressured Freeman to get rid of the ball early.

Down 3-0 to start the game, kick returner Javier Arenas almost changed the scoreboard. Catching the kickoff one-yard deep in the end zone, Arenas went left, somehow got away from two different tacklers and then ran for another 25 yards before he was brought down by a fleet of Buccaneers.

When it was done, his return was 54 yards and gave the Chiefs offense field position at the Tampa Bay 47-yard line. Cassel led the first offense on an eight-play, 47-yard touchdown drive, finding rookie WR eremy Horne in the end zone for an eight-yard TD connection on a third down play.

The key performer in the drive was Cassel, who hit four of five passes for 35 yards and the touchdown. The four completions went to four different receivers, in FB Mike Cox, WR Dwayne Bowe, Charles and Horne.

The PAT kick by Ryan Succop gave the Chiefs their first lead of the pre-season at 7-3.

Early in the second quarter, Tampa Bay took the lead back as No. 2 quarterback Josh Johnson directed the offense 88 yards on six plays. The big one was the 53-yard TD pass from Johnson to Spurlock. On that play, Spurlock was well covered by Flowers. Once the ball was in Spurlock’s hands, Flowers tried to rip it out rather than securing his tackle.

Spurlock shrugged him off and then went some 45 yards for the touchdown. Barth’s PAT kick gave Tampa Bay a 10-7 lead.

The teams traded punts before the Chiefs gained possession at their 13-yard line with 4 minutes, 45 seconds to play in the half. Just as they did last week in Atlanta, the Kansas City offense was able to use every second of that clock and finish the half getting points. It was a 14-play, 77-yard drive where Cassel was six of eight throwing the ball for 63 yards. He connected with WR/RB Dexter McCluster for 17 yards, later hitting a big third-down conversion throw to Charles for 16 yards.

Eventually, they used all of their timeouts to stop the clock and had to settle for a 28-yard FG from Succop as time expired, leaving the scored tied 10-10.

For the No. 1 offense it was a strong passing performance without much in the way of generating a running game; Chiefs backs ran 15 times for 55 yards. Cassel was 14 of 19 (completion percentage of 73.7) for 125 yards and a TD pass. His passer rating was 108.4, that low due largely to the fact he averaged just 6.6 yards per passing play.

The No. 1 defense for the most part played well, giving up 177 yards but 30 percent of that yardage came on a single play – the Spurlock 53-yard touchdown where Flowers failed to secure his tackle. Tampa Bay running backs averaged just 3.9 yards per carry in the first half.

In the third quarter the Chiefs got the lead back late in the period, when a 13-play, 76-yard drive led by QB Tyler Palko set up a 29-yard FG by Succop. The workhorse of the drive was RB Jackie Battle, who carried six times for 39 yards.

They held on to their 13-10 lead until just more than five minutes into the fourth quarter when a Palko pass for RB Javarris Williams was intercepted by CB Derrick Roberson. That set up the Bucs at the Kansas City 41-yard line. They ended up at the 18, where Barth made a 36-yard FG to tie the score.

Less than four minutes later they grabbed the lead when QB Rudy Carpenter hooked up with WR Terrence Nunn on a five-yard TD that with the PAT kick, gave Tampa Bay a 20-13 edge.

With time ticking off the clock, Palko led the Chiefs on another long drive, starting at the Kansas City 12 and moving to a first-and-goal at the Bucs nine-yard line at the two-minute warning. On first down Palko scrambled out of bounds for five yards. Battle ran for two yards, and then Palko’s pass was incomplete to WR Rich Gunnell. Facing a fourth-and-goal at the two, the Chiefs were flagged for a false start (LG Ikechuku Ndukwe). On fourth-and-seven, Palko threw short of the end zone to Gunnell who was tackled at the two-yard line.

Still, the Chiefs weren’t done. Still holding all of their timeouts, they were able to force the Bucs into a fourth down punt situation at the Tampa Bay four-yard line. Rather than kick P Brent Bowden ran out of the back of the end zone for a safety. The Chiefs got the ball back and had four more plays, but it all ended when CB Brandon Anderson intercepted a desperation pass by Palko on fourth down.

The Chiefs are now 0-2 on the pre-season, coming home to Arrowhead Stadium to play the Green Bay Packers on Friday evening.

Commentary: A Slightly Better Ugly

From Raymond James Stadium

I doubt that the average Chiefs fan walked away from the television set on Saturday night feeling like their favorite team made a giant leap forward.

Rather, call the Chiefs performance against the Buccaneers one small step for Chiefskind.

Call it an outcome where it was sort of … a slightly better ugly.

More than anything what the guts of Todd Haley’s team needed to show in pre-season game No. 2 was that it could play better than it did in pre-season game No. 1. The Atlanta performance did not qualify as a debacle, rather it was just so disappointing for Haley, his staff, his players and those folks around Arrowhead Stadium who are charged with selling everything from tickets, to suites, to sponsorships.

That made this second outing important, and that sense of urgency was apparent during the week of practices in St. Joseph. Haley hammered away at his team on items like tempo and getting out to a faster start, cutting down the mistakes and forcing the other team to make mistakes.

Then in their first possession, they turned the ball over, with the normally sure-handed Thomas Jones putting the ball on the ground where it was claimed by the Buccaneers and set up their opening field goal.

It was in some ways a better performance for the Chiefs but it was not the kind of evening that is going to convince the folks of the Show-Me State and their Jayhawker neighbors to put their hard-earned greenbacks on the line for tickets. Let’s remember, they were playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team that won even fewer games during the 2009 season than the four victories accumulated by the Chiefs.

The Bucs were not an opponent of the quality of the Atlanta Falcons. With the Chiefs coming out of 30 minutes of play with the No. 1s against their No. 1s and a 10-10 tie at intermission … that was not good. It stings even more when you realize all 10 Tampa Bay points came because of Kansas City mistakes. Jones’s fumble gave the Bucs good field position and they produced a FG. Then, normally reliable CB Brandon Flowers did not secure his tackle on a simple out pattern and it ended up being a 53-yard touchdown for the Bucs offense.

Later in the second half, the Bucs intercepted a pass by QB Tyler Palko that set up another field goal. That’s 13 points courtesy of the Chiefs. That’s going to make them very sick on the plane ride home.

Yes, the Chiefs were better on this night than they were a week before against Atlanta. But no, it was nowhere near the spike in improvement that they needed to display for themselves and their fans to show this is truly going to be a different type of season than the one they lived through last year, and the year before that, and the year before that.

This was progress – snail’s pace progress and right now the Chiefs need to be showing us some Jesse Owens-Bob Hayes-Carl Lewis type of progress.

Pre-Game From Tampa

From Raymond James Stadium

6:05 p.m. CDT — Not dressed for the Bucs tonight are WR Maurice Stovall, T Demar Dotson and RB Clifton Smith.

5:59 p.m. CDT — The Chiefs have 76 players dressed to play in tonight’s game, including rookie TE Tony Moeaki and QB Bill Stull who are on the field for the first time in an NFL uniform.

5:55 p.m. CDT — Tonight is a homecoming game for a pair of Chiefs rookies – WR/RB Dexter McCluster and CB Javier Arenas. McCluster graduated from Largo High School, which is north and west of the stadium. Arenas graduatd from Robinson High School, which is in south Tampa.

5:50 p.m. CDT — Not dressed for the Chiefs tonight are QB Brodie Croyle, RB Kestahn Moore, FS Jon McGraw and G Darryl Harris.

5:45 p.m. CDT — Walt Coleman and his crew is working the game tonight.

5:30 p.m. CDT — Back returning kickoffs in pre-game warmups are WR Rich Gunnell, WR Lance Long, Jackie Battle, Javarris Williams and Terrance Copper. Handling punt returns were CB Javier Arenas, WR Dexter McCluster, CB Maurice Leggett, WR Quinten Lawrence and CB Jackie Bates.

5:20 p.m. CDT — Tonight’s game is blacked out for local television in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area. There had been around 40,000 tickets sold for this game. Right now it sounds like based on season ticket sales and single-game tickets sold to day, the Bucs figure to have eight of their 10 home games blacked out.

5:10 p.m. CDT — Familiar nams on the Bucs roster include the Chiefs first-round selection in the 2002 NFL Draft, DT Ryan Sims and former K Connor Barth. Big 12 names dotted the Tampa Bay roster, led by Kansas City native and K-State product QB Josh Freeman and KU CB Aqib Talib. Other Big 12 talent includes:  K-State – TE Jeron Mastrud; Texas – K Hunter Lawrence, DT Roy Miller, DE Tim Crowder; Nebraska – WR Chris Brooks, LB Barrett Ruud, WR Terrence Nunn; Oklahoma – G Davin Joseph, DT Gerald McCoy. …Read More!

What To Watch For In Tampa

From Tampa, Florida

The importance level of pre-season games is small when taken in their individual snapshots. It’s stringing them together that provide a real picture of where a team is and where it might be going.

That’s the important element of what’s on the line for the Chiefs on Saturday night at Raymond James Stadium. What Todd Haley carried out of the 20-10 opening pre-season defeat in Atlanta was that his team needs to increase the tempo it starts the game with. Last week the Falcons came out and hit the Chiefs in the nose with quick punches from the offense and defense.

They need to make sure the No. 1 offense gets something done in a hurry against the Tampa Bay defense. And they must put the clamps on Bucs QB and Kansas City native Josh Freeman (above right) immediately.

Here are some other things the Chiefs need to get done in pre-season game No. 2 …Read More!

Improving The Improved … Saturday Cup O’Chiefs

From Tampa, Florida

Let me take you back over 30 years to a quiet Monday morning in October. Walking into the little kitchen area that the Pittsburgh Steelers had as part of their offices in Three Rivers Stadium, I ran into Chuck Noll.

He was sitting at a small table with a cup of coffee and he looked worn out, tired and sleep deprived. The Steelers had won the day before, beating I can’t remember who in I can’t remember what season, either 1978 or 1979.

Noll was never much for chitchat, especially with wet behind the ears sportswriters who barely knew if the ball was blown up or stuffed. He offered up a faint smile and a quiet morning greeting. I made mention of the fact that it was quite early and he looked very tired.

Noll grimaced at the suggestion. Over his shoulder as he was walking out the door he said: “Young man just remember it’s harder to stay on top that it is to get to the top.”

Fast forward to Saturday and pre-season game No. 2 for the Chiefs. They are here in Tampa to take on the Buccaneers in a game that starts at 6:30 p.m. CDT.

I think about Chuck Noll’s words every time I think of Jamaal Charles, or hear head coach Todd Haley talk about Charles, or hear somebody in the media horde ask yet another question about Charles and why after his great season in 2009, he’s not the team’s starting halfback in 2010 training camp? I will think about those words tonight when Thomas Jones will get the RB start with the Chiefs offense, and then Charles will come in for his chance to work with the No.1 group. …Read More!

Camp Express Rides Out Of Town … Friday Cup O’Chiefs

From St. Joseph, Missouri

Adios St. Joe.

It’s been fun. Year No. 1 of the Chiefs return to Missouri for training camp went down with only a few visible hitches. The weather was too hot; it was dangerously warm for men running around in helmets and pads.

But the Chiefs overcame and adapted, as head coach Todd Haley tinkered with practice times and sites to help his players deal with the heat.

Many people around the Chiefs missed the north woods in River Falls, Wisconsin, where camp had gone down for 19 years. I missed the people, the weather and the cheese curds. The Falls was a wonderful place to spend several weeks every summer.

But bringing the team closer to home for training camp was the right move by the Chiefs. Just as it was the right move to head north 20 years ago by packing up the trucks and heading to Wisconsin. At that time, Carl Peterson and Marty Schottenheimer decided two things were very important to prepare their team for the season – cooler weather and more competition. At the time they first landed in Wisconsin, the state had the so-called Cheese League, with NFL teams training in La Crosse (Saints), Stevens Point (Jaguars), Platteville (Bears) Green Bay (Packers) and Mankato, MN (Vikings.) There were numerous practice and scrimmage possibilities. …Read More!

Last Training Camp Practice Report

From St. Joseph, Missouri

It seemed only appropriate that the Chiefs final practice of training camp at Missouri Western State University would go down under sunny skies, high temperatures and muggy air. If there’s one thing this camp will be remembered for after the return to Missouri was the extreme weather conditions the Chiefs dealt with in practice.

They didn’t seem to mind much on Thursday afternoon as practice No. 23 went in the books for a two-hour session that was short on physicality and contact and long on mental reps and planning for Saturday’s pre-season game in Tampa against the Buccaneers.

“I was encouraged coming in Day No. One and I’m still encouraged so I would say we’re either on schedule or a little ahead,” said head coach Todd Haley about his team’s three-week stay on campus. “I haven’t felt any major dips.

The Chiefs seemed to work more on plans and plays for Saturday against the Bucs than they did last week in prepping to play the Falcons. It could be because of the outcome of that game, and especially the slow start that had Haley and staff working on more identification of opponent’s plays and schemes.

When the Chiefs leave for Tampa on Friday they will likely leave four players behind – QB Brodie Croyle, RB Kestahn Moore, FS Jon McGraw and G Darryl Harris.

Here are some observations from a hot afternoon: …Read More!

Haley On Cassel: He’s Improving

From St. Joseph, Missouri

A couple hours before the Chiefs hit the field Thursday afternoon for their last practice session at Missouri Western State University, head coach Todd Haley met with the media in his daily press briefing.

And as usually happens during these meeting, the talk turned to quarterback Matt Cassel and where he stands as camp ends in St. Joe and heads back to Kansas City after this weekend’s pre-season game No. 2 in Tampa.

The part of the fan-base that is unhappy with Cassel and his development as the team’s franchise quarterback aren’t going to be happy with what Haley had to say, because he thinks the young man has improved and done so in some very important areas.

“I believe Matt is making progress,” Haley said. “He has found a way to get a little bit better every day. I think as our entire operation improves, he’s going to improve along with it.”

There are duties the starting quarterback must fulfill and Haley said he sees that happening with Cassel. …Read More!

Pulling On The Net/August 19

Every once in awhile as we go through this 2010 NFL season we will bring to you a selection of items we’ve found on the Internet that are either of interest, or just something well written and worth passing along.


From Vic Carucci on NFL.com:

In his first year with Kansas City, Cassel was far from impressive, which was consistent with the Chiefs’ 4-12 finish. He went 4-11 in 15 starts and threw for 2,924 yards, 16 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. His passer rating was 69.9. “I think this is a big year for Matt,” Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli said. He was quick to add that it’s a big year for “a lot of players,” but he knows the franchise is under pressure to show significant progress and that it won’t happen unless Cassel plays far better than he did last year.

Pioli also pointed out that Cassel didn’t have as strong a supporting cast in his first season with the Chiefs as he did in 2008 with the Patriots, after he replaced injured starter Tom Brady and became one of the most-coveted available quarterbacks in the league the following offseason. In New England, Cassel was throwing to Randy Moss and Wes Welker. In Kansas City, he had nobody close to that talent level. …Read More!

Just A Little Bit Better … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

From St. Joseph, Missouri

If Todd Haley has said it once, he’s said it 100 times since the Chiefs arrived on the campus of Missouri Western State University.

“We just need to get a little bit better every day.”

A little bit better? Why not a lot better every day? Long suffering Chiefs fans want this football team to improve and they want it done yesterday.

Haley feels their pain; he’s impatient too.

But it’s easier to want immediate 100 percent improvement than it is to get done. Better to keep the carrot closer and within reach on a daily basis. That provides positive reinforcement rather than the sense that the bigger goal is so far away.

CB Maurice Leggett learned that approach in college at Valdosta State. It was something he first heard from coach James Colzie, who is now the assistant head coach at Valdosta. He told his players they needed to get two percent better every day. Not 10 percent, not 50 percent, but two percent.

In a week that would be 14 percent better, in less than two weeks that would be 25 percent better.

“It forced you to think about the little things and how you had to get those done to keep improving and progressing,” Leggett said. “If you start trying to improve everything all at once, the little things get lost and forgotten and it won’t be real improvement.”

Leggett heard that two percent rule many times while at Valdosta. And, he heard it over the first weeks of training camp because Coach Colzie served as a minority intern for the Chiefs coaching staff. He worked with the team through the pre-season opener in Atlanta before returning to Valdosta for pre-season practice.

“He mentioned it a few times while he was here,” Leggett said. “I’ve been hearing a lot of that.” …Read More!

Training Camp Practice #22 Report

From St. Joseph, Missouri

Under the lights at Spratt Stadium and in front of a crowd placed at more than 3,000 fans, the Chiefs took another step towards wrapping up their training camp stay at Missouri Western State University. The two-hour night practice was the next to last workout on campus.

The Chiefs will practice Thursday afternoon, then will do a walkthrough on Friday morning before hitting the road back to Kansas City to catch a flight to Tampa for Saturday’s pre-season game No.2 against the Buccaneers.

It was a nice crowd, but certainly the smallest of the three events that were staged inside Spratt Stadium. After a very physical morning practice, Todd Haley slowed the pace down a little bit in the evening practice, as they worked hard on situations.

Here are some observations from the practice: …Read More!

Answer Bob – Part #3

OK, here are the rest of your questions from the weekend and answers to a few more posts that came rolling in with Answer Bob Parts #1 and #2.


Niblick says: Was the problem with the right side of the offensive line only O’Callaghan? He took most of the criticism. How did Lilja perform? It seemed the whole right side struggled.

Bob says: Against Atlanta, the whole offensive line struggled. It wasn’t just left or right. And it wasn’t only the offensive line. Remember the sack of Matt Cassel that pushed field position back and gave Ryan Succop a 53-yard FG try? That’s the one that really had Todd Haley frosted after the game. Well, that sack was courtesy of a running back (Kestahn Moore) trying to cut block the blitzing linebacker and failing miserably. I don’t think the O-Line is going to be as bad as it was last year for the first half of the season, but whether it can be as good as the group that blocked in the second half of the year, I’m not sure. Stay tuned. …Read More!

Training Camp Practice #21 Report

From St. Joseph, Missouri

It was a warm, muggy morning for the first of two Chiefs practices on Wednesday. With a workout this evening under the lights, that may have held down attendance, because it was one of the smallest crowds in three weeks at Missouri Western State University.

The players came out at the start of practice and were a bit lackadaisical compared to previous sessions and they soon heard about it from the coaching staff. Todd Haley and his guys have been working hard this week on getting the players up and moving quickly into the practice. They want to combat what happened last Friday night in the pre-season opener down in Atlanta where it seemed the Chiefs did not wake up until late in the first quarter.

Right off the bat Wednesday morning the offense wasn’t getting it done and coordinator Charlie Weis could be heard two fields away screaming at them to “wake up.” Folks in the graveyard on the other side of I-29 from campus heard Weis rip his guys.

Later, during the situation period the players appeared to be walking through the drill which was based on the offense having no timeouts, needing a touchdown and thus forced to throw the ball on the sidelines. When they stumbled through this a few times, Haley lit them up verbally with a blast. When QB Tyler Palko threw a pass short of a receiver on the sideline, Haley blasted him, calling into question his intelligence and homeland. What some of the fans who reacted to the coach’s harangue don’t know is that Palko grew up in a western Pennsylvania village about 15 miles away from where Haley grew up.

At the end, things were much better as they went to a live goal-line period and the first defense and first offense got after each other.

Here’s what happened: …Read More!

No Patty Cake Here … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

From St. Joseph, Missouri

The sounds of football in August have always had a special timber. It’s the crunching of pads as protected bodies hit each other. It’s the whistles and the exhortations of the coaches doing their best to move their charges down the road of improvement and production.

And for decades, those sounds would come twice a day, as players living in tiny rooms in a college dormitory would put the rest of their lives on hold to get up and run into somebody, and then do it again later in the afternoon.

Those are the sounds and moments of old-school football. Like much of the world of sports these days, the old-time concepts seem to be dying away. The chain that links generations of football coaches is regularly broken. The new coaching school has chased two-a-days into the history books. They do not use shoulder pads in any of their practices.

There’s no need for that type of protection, because those training camps are not built on having bodies bang into each other on a daily basis, let alone twice daily for several weeks.

Here on the campus of Missouri Western State University the Chiefs are holding an old-school training camp. There are shoulder pads, there are two-a-days, and there is contact, a lot of contact. I’ve been to the last 30 Chiefs training camps and I can assure you that few of those have had more contact. There were practices back in the Marty Schottenheimer decade where they got after it. Same with Dick Vermeil’s time and even under Herm Edwards.

But none of those coaches pushed the competitive level as high as Todd Haley does on a daily basis. How can one of the youngest head coaches in the league stage a training camp as physical and tough as the two that have gone down under him.

Why? …Read More!

Answer Bob – Part #2

Back to the in-box. Again, thanks for the posts and questions.

Don says: Thanks again for an awesome site! Not being too insightful of a fan I’ll ask like this: I know we shouldn’t take too much from the first pre-season game. It’s too easy to be on cloud nine or in the dumps watching the first contest. When should we be taking cues as to how the season is going to play out? After the third or fourth pre-season game? Or after the first few regular season games? I know, it’s a guessing game, just your thoughts. My thought was to throw the remote but I resisted!

Bob says: Do not throw that remote. Yet. I wish I could give you a head’s up on a fork in the road ahead that will tell everyone the immediate future of the Chiefs. The pre-season games, all four of them are important. But really it doesn’t matter until the Monday night game against San Diego to open the regular season. Even then, that’s one of 16 games. Don’t make any assumptions or decisions on this team until that Monday night game. Get back to me then. …Read More!

Training Camp Practice #20 Report

From St. Joseph, Missouri

At Prattville High School in Alabama and then during his college career with the Crimson Tide at the University of Alabama, Bobby Greenwood played defense. Only defense.

Until Tuesday afternoon’s Chiefs practice at Missouri Western State University. Greenwood was still wearing a jersey with the No. 74, but it was now a white jersey of the offense, not the red jersey of the defense.

Greenwood found out Tuesday that he was going to be an offensive lineman. The Chiefs injury situation along the offensive line was such that they needed a body to help out in practice. He did that a bit in 2009 when he spent the entire season on the Chiefs practice squad. Those guys will play any number of positions for show teams to help the offense or defense.

But this wasn’t show team work on Tuesday. He took snaps in pass protection, dueling with guys that just the day before he was sharing a meeting room with. He took some reps during team work as an offensive tackle.

And as far as the first-year player knows, on Wednesday he’ll still be an offensive lineman.

“They told me to play offensive line, I play offensive line,” Greenwood said. “I talked a little bit with the coaches before practice. Wherever I can get a spot on this team, I’m willing to do it.”

What’s hard to tell at this point is whether Greenwood’s move is just temporary to get through the week. Here’s what’s going on with the line situations: …Read More!

Pre-Season Week #1 Review

With the Broncos, they had the initial steps into the World of Tebow. In the Meadowlands of New Jersey, the Giants and Jets opened their new home together. In Indianapolis, the Colts were wearing the most hideous new helmets the NFL has seen.

Its 32 teams and 16 games in the full opening week of the NFL pre-season.

Where’s the Horseshoes?

Yes, that’s Peyton Manning to the right. When his Colts met the 49ers in this first weekend of pre-season action, the boys in Indy wore throwback uniforms from the 1955 Baltimore Colts.

That attire included a change in the helmet, as they went from the classic horseshoe on each side of a white helmet, to a blue helmet with horseshoes on the back.

The real Colts helmet is one of the iconic signatures of the NFL and should never be tampered with in any fashion. We like the whole throwback thing, but there’s a point of going too far and for the Colts to be wearing anything but the horseshoes is just wrong.

They ended up losing 37-17 to the 49ers. That makes the Colts 4-20 in their 24 pre-season games. There’s nothing that exhibits why winning these games is meaningless to good teams than that record. …Read More!

Waters On Labor: Don’t Blame The Players

From St. Joseph, Missouri

G Brian Waters is the Chiefs union representative and he’s actively involved in the NFL Players Association, as is OLB Mike Vrabel who is on the union’s executive committee.

Waters said there’s no doubt in his mind that there will be a lockout next year, that the league owners will padlock the doors and shutdown the league.

When that happens, Waters says don’t blame the players.

“We weren’t the ones that decided to dissolve the deal,” Waters said of the NFL owners’ decision to opt out of the current collective bargaining agreement. “The players were happy and satisfied with the way it was put together. If there’s any issue with people they need to be looking at the owners. The players were happy. We had no issue with the CBA the way it was. Those (owners) were the guys who decided to cut the deal short, those are the guys that are going to lock us out.”

Waters believes the problems are within the owners ranks, in how best to share the revenue of the game with each other, before they even get to the hired help. “They don’t know how to split their own money, so they are coming after ours,” said Waters.

Some fans view it as a battle between millionaires over who gets more money, and that makes it very hard for them to embrace either side in these negotiations.

“These are billionaires, they have a lot of money,” Waters said of the owners. “They can recover better than anybody. You hear a lot about how hard the recession has hit some of these guys, but I don’t see them stop flying in their private jets. I don’t see them flying commercial. I don’t see them turning in their cars or moving into smaller homes. They are able to recover a lot better than most people.”

Chiefs Add QB; Cut K-State’s Fitzgerald

From St. Joseph, Missouri

The Chiefs announced Tuesday morning that they had signed rookie free agent QB Bill Stull, who was with them in a rookie mini-camp back in May on a tryout basis.

To make room on the 80-man roster for Stull, the Chiefs released rookie DE Jeffrey Fitzgerald of Kansas State.

The 6-3, 215-pound Stull played 32 games with 26 starts at the University of Pittsburgh. He completing 418 of 681 passes for 5,252 yards with 32 TDs and 18 INTs. The Pittsburgh native threw for 21 TDs and eight INTs last year in his senior season.

Stull joins another former Pitt QB on the roster in Tyler Palko. The signing was necessitated by the right arm/elbow injury suffered by Brodie Croyle. On  Monday, Croyle was wearing a brace on that right arm and did not take part in practice.

Palko was the starter for the Panthers over three seasons (2004-06), while Stull started for two seasons (2008-09). Palko is third in career passing yards at Pitt with 8,343 yards, while Stull is sixth at 5,252 yards.

Injury Talk Heating Up … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

From St. Joseph, Missouri

As I’m sure you are well aware of by now, the Chiefs do not talk about injuries in training camp and the pre-season. There are no NFL rules that require them to reveal any details, so they do not. In his daily media briefings at this time of the year, Todd Haley won’t even acknowledge that a player is hurting and not practicing.

It’s silliness at this point of the year, but it is what it is. That leaves those of us watching this team practice on a daily basis guessing at the physical state of some players. Although some of my compadres in the media horde don’t mind guessing on a daily basis, I don’t like it.

But it is what it is. There are players who are injured. They aren’t practicing and it’s the type of news that all Chiefs fans want available to them. We don’t want to see x-rays or the results of tests. We just want somebody to confirm that we really did see RG Ryan Lilja over in the rehab area.

This all bubbles to the top this week because after a pretty quiet camp when it came to injuries of note, Monday was a busy day in the training room. By the end of the afternoon practice the Chiefs were down 10 players because of various physical problems.

There’s a big injury bubble right now on the offensive line. There are 14 blockers on the roster and by the end of the Monday practice only 10 were available. One of those men practicing was rookie Jon Asamoah, who more than likely shouldn’t have been because of a left ankle injury that he suffered in Atlanta. When the team was heading for the buses that took them to the movies on Monday morning, his left ankle was heavily wrapped and he walked with a limp.

He walked with a limp again during practice, but he was out there and he was working. The third-round pick has already learned the difference between being hurt and being injured. …Read More!

Answer Bob: Part #1

From St. Joseph, Missouri

As always you guys provided plenty of fodder for the opinion mill here. I’m always proud of the level of questions that come through the chute here. It’s a great testimony to the readers of this site.

Again, there were so many that I’ve had to divide the questions and the answers up into several segments. So if you don’t see your question and answer in this first part, stay tuned. There’s more to come.


TruChief09 says: Dexter McCluster has been electric at training camp and was rather successful in the first pre-season game. McCluster ran the ball 5 times in the first game compared to only 3 catches. I know pre-season doesn’t mean too much but what is your prediction on the ratio of catches to runs by Dexter this season?

Bob says: That’s really hard to predict; too small a sample. But the Chiefs coaches went into the Atlanta game with a package of plays they wanted to see McCluster handle at running back. They wanted to see how he handled the contact, especially running between the tackles. The fact he had no problems dealing with the tackling and hitting is going to have Haley/Weis looking at more and more snaps from the backfield. Ultimately, once the regular season comes around and Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles are healthy, then I would expect his catches to outnumber his runs. …Read More!

Training Camp Practice #19 Report

From St. Joseph, Missouri

There was no double-bill for the Chiefs on Monday. After their morning practice was cancelled by Todd Haley so the team could go to the movies, they were back on the field in the afternoon and put in a strong two-hour practice.

The head coach was pushing competitive to his team and despite the fact they were out there without the normal football pants and the pads that go with them, there was contact galore and some very enthusiastic and head-thumping line play.

Offensive line was a problem in the afternoon workout because by the time the practice was over, they were down to 10 available offensive linemen. They have 14 on the roster, but three of them started practice in the rehab area and they were joined halfway through practice by another blocker.

“This is training camp and if you don’t bang each other a lot, then physically you are not ready to go,” said offensive coordinator Charlie Weis. “I’m confident we’ll have everyone geared up and ready to go as the pre-season goes a long and we get into the season.”

Here’s how the Chiefs were juggling the offensive line in the workout and other observations: …Read More!

Enrique’s Video Vault – Monday Night Victory

With only 28 days standing in the way of the regular-season debut of the Arrowhead Ones, we’ll continue to prepare you for the upcoming Monday Night game with a memory from six seasons ago.

It was Week No. 14 game between the Chiefs and the Tennessee Titans, and a long-awaited re-match between Dick Vermeil and Jeff Fisher (after their hard-fought Super Bowl XXXIV encounter.) It also proved a night that elevated the football value of both QB Billy Volek and WR Drew Bennett. But the reason this contest remains significant in Chiefs’ lore is because the victory in Nashville represents the last time the Chiefs were triumphant on Monday Night

Will that drought come to an end on September 13th? I for one, am counting on it, and I know I’m not alone.


Chiefs Go To The Movies-Update

From St. Joseph, Missouri

On one of the most pleasant mornings in the Chiefs stay here at Missouri Western State University, the players made their way down the hill from the locker room and onto the practice fields and began going through their normal pre-practice routines.

That’s when Todd Haley threw the bone.

Haley called the players together and told them to walk back up the hill, change back into their street clothes and head out to the buses in the parking lot. They were going to take part in a team building moment. The morning practice was over.

After a 15-minute bus ride, the team arrived at Hollywood Theaters in the Shoppes of North Village on Belt Highway. From there, the players had about a half-dozen movies to pick from, with the head coach picking up the tab at the concession stand. “But I reminded them that we have weigh in,” Haley said.

The head coach watched The Other Guys, comedy featuring Will Farrell and as Haley said showing his age “Marky Mark” otherwise known today as Mark Wahlberg. So how did he like it? “I couldn’t hear most of it because Shaun Smith was sitting behind me and he was snoring,” Haley said. “I’ve never heard a human snore that loud.”

P Dustin Colquitt watched Dinner With The Schmucks and gave it 3.5 stars out of four. “It’s a funny movie,” he said.

The most attended showing was the action flick The Expendables. That’s where DE Glenn Dorsey went. “It was good, a lot of action,” said Dorsey. “We had a lot of guys in there.”

The goal for Haley was simply to give his team a break from the monotony of camp and have them still do something together. …Read More!

Working On The “D” … Monday Cup O’Chiefs

From St. Joseph, Missouri

There is one game left in the first full weekend of NFL pre-season action. After 15 games that are already in the books, the Chiefs defense is ranked sixth in yards allowed, giving up 244 yards to the Falcons in Atlanta on Friday night.


Ponder that for a moment. The defense that finished 30th in yards allowed last year has begun the Romeo Crennel Era ranked behind only Minnesota, Tampa bay, San Diego, Carolina and San Francisco.

OK, I know it’s the middle of August, it’s a pre-season game and there was nothing on the line. But a girl can dream can’t she? It may sound like a broken record on these posts but your humble scribe believes that no team wins a division, conference or Super Bowl without playing very good defense. That’s just a fact of NFL life.

Yes it’s the golden age of offensive football, with the passing game ruling the roost and quarterbacks and receivers re-writing record books on a weekly basis. But the foundation of 99.9 percent of championship teams is going to be its defense.

It’s been a long time since the Chiefs have played defense the way it needs to be played to help them win. We’ve gone over the numbers before and you can find some of them here in this post. We won’t hit you over the head again.

And we certainly will not hang the red arrowhead helmet on the performance of the Chiefs defense against the Falcons. Not when the first team got shoved around in the first quarter the way it did.

But Crennel has to start somewhere and heck, allowing just 244 yards in offense is a good a place as any to begin. …Read More!

Training Camp Practice #18 Report


From St. Joseph, Missouri

The Chiefs were back to work on Sunday afternoon and despite their loss in the pre-season opener in Atlanta, that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the red and gold fans.

A crowd of over 3,600 was on the campus of Missouri Western State University to watch the two-hour session in full pads. It was a hot Sunday, but nowhere near the temperatures that dominated the first two weeks of camp.

What that big crowd saw was a team that kept hearing their head coach yelling about tempo. Todd Haley thinks his team was caught off-guard by the high tempo that the Atlanta Falcons displayed on Friday night. He doesn’t want that to happen again.

So Haley and the staff went on and on about speeding things up, going faster. Offensive coordinator Charlie Weis entertained the crowd with his banter as the offensive skill position players ran through a tackling machine. There was no mercy in his heckling of players that ran with their head down or did not protect the football.

There were some injuries that came out of the 20-10 loss, but nothing appeared to be serious. Remember, the Chiefs do not talk about injuries during the pre-season. They don’t even acknowledge that anything has happened.

Here’s the injury situation and a couple changes to the starting units that we observed in Sunday’s work: …Read More!

From The Mouth of Todd

From St. Joseph, Missouri

Chiefs head coach Todd Haley met with the media horde Sunday morning and talked about the team’s pre-season opener, the 20-10 loss to the Falcons in Atlanta on Friday.

Some words of his that are worthy to repeat:

From his opening statement:

“This group of players, our team, we need to be a smart football team. I don’t think in all areas we showed that, or did the things necessary to be a smart football team. It cost us some points. As a young group trying to establish itself as a better team, a good team, we need to maximize opportunities in a game like that which I don’t think we did.” …Read More!

Time To Smarten Up … Sunday Cup O’Chiefs

When a team does not have the level of talent that comes close to matching the best teams in its league, does that mean their season is a waste of time?

Hardly. The best talent does not always win. There are ways to make up the deficiency in playing ability. One of those is to play smart football.

Coaches define “smart” football in different ways, but they all tend to come back to the same collection of actions and reactions. Because everyone in the game of football knows how significant turnovers are to the outcome of games, smart teams take care of the ball and force opponents to give it away.

Smart teams do not take penalties before the snap of the ball. On offense that’s false starts, illegal motions, illegal shifts, illegal formations, illegal illegals, delay of game. On defense that’s offsides, encroachment, 12-men on the field and on special teams that’s not sending the kickoff out of bounds, or having extra people on the field, or roughing the kicker.

A team that plays smart football always understands down and distance two of the most important statistics on any play in the game. Without knowing what the down and distance to a first down are, a player does not have a firm grasp on that particular situation. Smart football players always know where they are on the field, what time there might be on the clock to deal with and they know the things they should and should not do at that moment.

Playing smart football is not something the Chiefs did on Friday night in Atlanta. …Read More!

Leftovers From the ATL

From Atlanta, Georgia

It’s easy to forget that just three years ago the Atlanta Falcons were a shambles of a franchise, the punch line to NFL jokes.

Michael Vick, the Falcons quarterback had pled guilty to federal charges involving a dog fighting ring that he bankrolled. He was going to prison and was indefinitely suspended by the NFL. First-year head coach Bobby Petrino abandoned the club, leaving after 13 games to take a job back in college football at the University of Arkansas. He told the Falcons players he was quitting by leaving a note in the locker room.

After that disaster, owner Arthur Blank made some changes. He hired Thomas Dimitroff away from the Patriots to become his new general manager. Dimitroff hired Mike Smith to become the Falcons new head coach. They made a host of player acquisitions, including the drafting of QB Matt Ryan (right), the signing of UFA RB Michael Turner and the trade that brought TE Tony Gonzalez.

In the last two seasons they were 20-13, with an 11-5 season in 2008 that led to a spot in the playoffs. And based on what we saw Friday night at the Georgia Dome in opening the pre-season with a 20-10 victory over the Chiefs, the Falcons will be contenders again this season.

It’s just further proof that if an owner hires the right people at the right time, it doesn’t take long to turn things around. Disaster brought change to the Falcons and there was immediate improvement that appears to still be heading in a positive direction.

Here are a few other tidbits from the game: …Read More!

Tony G./Falcons Enjoy Opening Pre-Season Victory

From the Georgia Dome

Tony Gonzalez got to see his old team Friday night. That’s him above getting submarined by Chiefs CB Brandon Carr.

The major reason Gonzalez asked out of Kansas City back in early 2009 was that he did not want to go through another rebuilding project with the Chiefs. The end of his career is a lot closer in the windshield than it used to be, and pro football’s all-time best receiving tight end says he wants the chance to go to the Super Bowl.

Based on what he saw on this night in Atlanta, I doubt he’s having second thoughts. In a typically ragged first pre-season game, Gonzalez and the Falcons beat the Chiefs 20-10 to kick off the NFL’s exhibition season.

As expected, Gonzalez did not play long; he was out and on the sideline before the end of the first quarter. He caught two passes for 28 yards and amazingly was the Falcons leading receiver on the night. In fact, he was the leading receiver in the game.

What Gonzalez saw across from his team was a club still working overtime to get back to contender status. That’s where the Falcons are and their first groups showed that as they dominated the Chiefs in the first quarter.

Still, Todd Haley’s team did not get blown out and they did not quit, scoring their only touchdown in the game’s final seconds. There was plenty to see and write about:

  • GAME STORY: Not a Good Way to Start
  • COMMENTARY: Backing Up The Bandwagon
  • SIDEBAR: Rookie Picks Get Jump On Careers
  • NOTES: Charles in Charge Of Run Game

ATL NOTES: Charles In Charge

From the Georgia Dome

Much was made in the last week of veteran RB Thomas Jones being listed with the first team offense and last year’s running sensation for the Chiefs Jamaal Charles showing up on the second line of the depth chart.

Neither Jones nor Charles has made an issue of who holds the starting job right now. In training camp there are plenty of carries for everybody.

But Friday night against the Falcons, Charles established that he’s not going to just sit back and play second-fiddle to Jones. He didn’t get the start, but Charles did average 9.3 yards on his four carries, breaking one run for 13 yards and it seemed like it could have been longer.

“Yeah, I thought I had that one,” Charles said. “It felt good getting out there and taking the hits and make the moves.”

Jones got very limited opportunities, carrying the ball twice for two yards. Charles also caught two passes but was only able to get two yards out of the plays.

“We’ll just see how it goes,” said Charles when asked about the starting job. “Right now, I’m trying to get better.”


The only time the Chiefs first offense seemed to get anything moving was late in the first quarter when they went to the no huddle. It helped set up their initial first down on the final play of the period, and ultimately moved the ball to a point where they faced a 2nd-and-6 play at the Falcons 29-yard line.

That’s when the no huddle ground to a halt, as Cassel threw incomplete to TE Leonard Pope with pressure in his face from DE Kroy Biermann. On the third down play, Cassel was sacked by LB Curtis Lofton, pushing the field goal attempt by Ryan Succop to 53 yards. Succop missed from there, hitting the left upright.

“There are some positives definitely from the game and I think we got the no huddle going there in the second quarter, that was a positive,” said Cassel.

The question has come up before, because Cassel has always looked very comfortable running a no huddle attack while with the Chiefs. Why not use it more often?

“That’s really a question you are going to have to ask Coach Haley,” said Cassel.


With the 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown recalled because of a holding penalty, it was not a very good night for Steve Hoffman and the special teams.

Succop missed a pair of 53-yard kicks, but made a 20-yarder at the end of the first half to get the Chiefs on the board. He kicked off just twice, putting his kicks at the two-yard line and in the end zone for a touchback.

P Dustin Colquitt punted three times for a 43-yard average, and a net average of 40 yards. He also put one punt inside the 20-yard line.

Arenas averaged 28.3 yards on three kick returns, but he didn’t get a chance on punt returns, with a pair of fair catches.

As far as coverage, the Chiefs groups were solid. The opening kickoff was returned for 31 yards, but after that the Chiefs gave up on a nine-yard punt return.


The Chiefs had 77 players dressed on their sideline during Friday night’s game and all of them played against the Falcons.

They left three players back in Kansas City: TE Tony Moeaki (ankle), G Darryl Harris (knee) and TE Jake O’Connell (?). Moeaki missed the entire past week of practices with an injury he suffered in the team’s intra-squad scrimmage on Aug. 7. Harris was injured on Aug. 5 during an afternoon practice. O’Connell participated in the first part of Wednesday afternoon’s practice indoors at Missouri Western, but then finished up the workout in the rehab area, riding the stationary bike.

Veterans OLB Mike Vrabel and FS Jon McGraw played only in the first series against the Atlanta offense. They were replaced by Andy Studebaker and Kendrick Lewis.

LB Brian Waters played into the early second quarter before he was replaced by rookie Jon Asamoah. It was also at that time that WR Jerheme Urban came in for WR Chris Chambers.

Not dressed for the Falcons were a long list of players, including three defensive starters: MLB Mike Peterson (calf), CB Dunta Robinson (hamstring) and DT Peria Jerry (knee). Also out of the action were former Mizzou S William Moore (groin), S Matt Giordano (groin), RB Jerious Norwood (hip), CB Brian Williams (knee) and WR Harry Douglas (knee).


The referee was Jerome Boger and his crew was busy during the game, walking off a total of 14 penalties for 106 yards.

They nailed the Chiefs for the following penalties: OLB Tamba Hali was called for offsides, the offense was hit for delay of game, there was another defensive offsides and then there was the holding call on the kick return, and a pair of offensive holding calls on RT Colin Brown and RG Jon Asamoah.


Pre-season games always attract a lot of scouts from NFL and CFL teams as they prepare for the roster cuts coming in a few weeks. Friday night, there were a lot of familiar faces in the Georgia Dome press box, former members of the Chiefs personnel department. That group included Mike Murphy, who is now working for the Miami Dolphins, Mitch Lapoint who is now with the Dallas Cowboys and Matt Littlefield, who was scouting the game for the Toronto Argonauts. He’s also working as the defensive line coach for the Division III program at the University of Chicago.


Serving as captains for the Chiefs in this game were LT Branden Albert, ILB Derrick Johnson and K Ryan Succop … among the captains for the Falcons was TE Tony Gonzalez … the Chiefs won the toss with Albert calling heads, but deferred their choice until the second half … Georgia Dome counters had ILB Jovan Belcher leading the Chiefs in tackles with six … there were 20 players available who could catch passes for the Chiefs against the Falcons and 14 caught passes and 16 were targets. The only players who did not get a ball thrown to them were RB Thomas Jones, WR Dwayne Bowe, WR Terrance Copper and WR Lance Long … McCluster and TE Leonard Pope had dropped passes.

Berry, McCluster & Arenas State Their Case

From the Georgia Dome

There were not a lot of smiles in the Chiefs locker room after their 10-point loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

But on the long flight home to Kansas City after the game it’s a good bet that Scott Pioli and Todd Haley will happily compare notes on the play of their top draft choices.

On this night at least, Eric Berry, Dexter McCluster and Javier Arenas took what they have been doing on the practice field in St. Joseph and transferred it to the game field against the Falcons.

It was not a night of big numbers for anybody, let alone these guys playing in their first NFL game of any kind. But those three especially made plays and got things done. For instance:

  • Berry was credited with one tackle on defense and another on special teams. He did not have much of a chance to get his hands on any passes, but he flashed several times on coverage.
  • McCluster ran five times for 25 yards, working out of the halfback position, a spot where he hasn’t gotten a lot of practice time. He also caught three passes for 23 yards. He could have had another 23 yards had he not dropped one pass where he had open field in front of him.
  • Arenas picked up three tackles on defense, and he had three kick returns for a 28.3-yard average. Most disappointing was a 99-yard return for a touchdown that was wiped out by a holding call against the Chiefs.

“We were all disappointed when we saw that,” said Berry. “He was so close a couple times. But then to break it and have that happen, we just have to get better.”

Six of the Chiefs seven selections for the 2010 NFL Draft were dressed and participating. The only man missing was third-round TE Tony Moeaki, who did not make the trip because of a right ankle injury that’s kept him off the practice field for the last week.

Third-round G Jon Asamoah saw a lot of playing time at both left and right guard. Fifth-round S Kendrick Lewis saw a lot of playing time at free safety and was credited with a hit on the quarterback on a blitz that forced an incompletion. Fifth-round LB Cameron Sheffield had two tackles and was credited with defending a pass.

For Berry it was a homecoming for his first NFL game. He grew up in Fairburn, a town on the edge of the Atlanta sprawl about 12 miles southwest of the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and 22 miles from the Georgia Dome itself.

His family and friends couldn’t get their tickets together, so they were scattered throughout the stadium, little pockets of No. 29 in red sprinkled in with the Falcons fans.

“I was able to spot them as the game went on,” said Berry. “I wish I could have given them something to cheer about so I could have heard them.”

Berry’s tackle on special teams came on the game’s opening kickoff as he helped pull down returner Eric Weems after a 31-yard jaunt.

“It’s good when you have those pre-game butterflies if you can get the first hit out of the way early, especially on the kickoff,” said Berry, who admitted that he’s had butterflies before every game he’s played since peewee ball. “It’s just part of the experience.”

McCluster was happy to be able to contribute, although he was not happy with himself for dropping the one pass that could have been the big play.

“It was a great chance to perform, and that’s what we like to do,” McCluster said. “I’ve got to take this and learn from it and get better.”

Enrique’s Video Vault: Tony Gonzalez

If Tony Gonzalez thinks facing the Chiefs was going to be hard, he has no idea what that is going to mean to us.

Fortunately for me, I have one way to let it all out.




Commentary: Caution – Fans Backing Up

From the Georgia Dome

Beep, beep, beep.

That’s not the sound of Charlie Weis’ scooter backing up on the practice field.

Beep, beep, beep.

No, that’s the warning from the Chiefs bandwagon backing up to pick up all the folks who fell off after Friday night’s pre-season opener against the Atlanta Falcons.

Over the off-season and through two weeks in the sauna that has been training camp, enthusiasm for the Chiefs had been chugging along at a rather remarkable pace. For a team that finished the season 4-12, for an organization whose biggest free agent signings were a couple of coordinators and for business that was having trouble selling tickets, sponsorships, suites … the feeling about the team had grown surprisingly upbeat.

Welcome back to Mother Earth those that jumped on the red and gold bus. This is going to be a bumpy ride.

Do not make more of this evening and its outcome than what it is – the first pre-season game. It was played on August 13th, one month before the Chiefs play a game that counts on Monday night at Arrowhead Stadium against San Diego. There’s a lot of work to be done, and the Chiefs knew that before they took the field Friday evening.

But let what happened in the stuffy air of the Georgia Dome be a reminder that the Chiefs still have big problems. The biggest is the same troubling factor they had last year and the year before, and the year before that. They do not have enough talented players. We saw that in the first quarter when the first team groups of the Falcons and Chiefs went head-to-head.

No, the Birds didn’t blow out the Chiefs. It was their first game too. But the Atlanta defense didn’t let the Kansas City offense breathe and the Falcons offensive line pushed the Chiefs defensive front around like it was a varsity-JV scrimmage. NT Ron Edwards was invisible against the No. 1 center Todd McClure and the rest of the first team blockers.

DE Glenn Dorsey was making tackle after tackle, but unfortunately the plays were ending up behind him, not in front. Tyson Jackson, paging Tyson Jackson … please pick up the white paging telephone and let coordinator Romeo Crennel know where you were in those first 13 minutes before the Falcons sent their starters to the bench.

This was not good. Neither was the overall offensive performance by the Chiefs. For the most part, Todd Haley and Weis kept things very vanilla, like most coaches do in the pre-season. So that made the taste of this offensive performance very familiar and certainly unsatisfying for anyone expecting a little more twist and shake to the affair. They were able to run the ball with just about everybody on their roster save Thomas Jones – who only got two carries – so count that as a good sign.

Cassel was six of eight for 25 yards and he was sacked twice. That’s a nice completion percentage (75%), but that’s only 3.1 yards per attempt. He also fumbled the ball away on a sack, one of three Chiefs turnovers on the night.

Brodie Croyle was less that scintillating, hitting eight of 15 for 65 yards, but also throwing an interception that set up the game’s first touchdown. The Chiefs came out of the half-time locker room knowing they would have the ball to start the third quarter.

It was a perfect chance to put into play the half-time they had practiced Wednesday back in St. Joseph. Weis called a bomb on the first play, as rookie WR Jeremy Horne ran deep down the left side and got a step on his defender. Croyle threw the ball that far, but it sailed way out of bounds. He never gave Horne a chance to get his hands on the ball, let alone catch the thing and make a play. It was a quarterback mistake that rookies make and shouldn’t have come from a fifth-year quarterback.

On his next pass, Croyle threw well over the head of his receiver, who had no chance to catch the pass. But the Falcons safety was right there for the interception that set up Atlanta’s first touchdown.

In the breakdown of the game tape there will be pieces of the Chiefs performance that will be laudable and worth building on. They played tough, they never gave up, they kept working the plays that were sent their way.

They did all the things they did last year, including one thing they wanted to do different.

They lost.

Game Story: Not a good way to start; Chiefs fall 20-10

From the Georgia Dome

Last year the Atlanta Falcons won nine games. The Chiefs won four. The season before that, the Falcons won 11 games, the Chiefs got two. That’s 20 victories to six.

And there’s a very good chance Atlanta will win more games than the Chiefs in the 2010 season. As if they didn’t already know, the boys in red and gold were reminded Friday night here in the heart of Georgia that the rebuilding process is not anywhere close to being done.

Falcons 20, Chiefs 10, was the final score of pre-season game No. 1 and ultimately it will be forgotten pretty quickly around the red clay of Atlanta. For the folks that head back to St. Joseph for the last week of training camp at Missouri Western State University it was a slap of reality that they do not have the level of talent possessed by contenders like the Falcons.

“We clearly have a bunch to work on in a lot of different areas,” head coach Todd Haley said afterwards. “A lot of the stuff we’ve been working pretty hard at, the situational stuff, that’s what has me a little down. We had some really good situations to learn from, to be smart and we let a couple go by the wayside.”

When the No. 1 groups were on the field for most of the first quarter, the Chiefs defense got pushed around by the Falcons offensive line. The Atlanta defense was all over QB Matt Cassel and his offensive mates, forcing a turnover and holding them to a single first down in the initial period.

“There are some negatives obviously, but there were some positives,” said Cassel. “I thought the young running backs did a good job getting out there and getting some yards. I felt we got the no huddle going pretty well there in the second quarter. There are some positives we can take away, but we definitely have to start a little faster.”

The Chiefs did run for 128 yards on 28 carries and only two of those yards came from veteran RB Thomas Jones. Javarris Williams finished up with 38 yards, Jamaal Charles 37 yards and Dexter McCluster 25 yards. That was a combined 16 carries for 100 yards.

Overall, the offense had 273 yards, but turned the ball over three times, gave up a pair of sacks and produced just 4.3 yards per attempt. After getting bashed by the Falcons first team, the Chiefs defense finished up the game allowing just 244 yards. But they had no sacks and forced no turnovers.

Ultimately it became a rather typical first pre-season game featuring a lack of efficiency by the backup players on both teams. Mental mistakes killed the Chiefs. Rookie Javier Arenas had a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown wiped out by a holding call.

“We had too many of those situations where he hurt ourselves,” said Haley. “We didn’t play smart football. We have to be a smart team.”

For awhile it was a game of field goal kickers, as the offenses were off just enough that they couldn’t convert on third downs. But ultimately in the second half, the Falcons backups and third teamers were able to put a pair of touchdowns on the board. The first was set up by an interception off a poorly thrown ball by Chiefs QB Brodie Croyle. That was a two-yard run by RB Dimitri Nance midway through the third quarter.

They started the fourth quarter with another one-yard scoring by Nance that set up the final score. That was a 19-play, 81-yard drive where the Falcons held the ball for 10 minutes.

For the Chiefs, their only touchdown came in the closing seconds of the game when third-string QB Tyler Palko scored on a one-yard run.

The game started quite ugly for the Chiefs on both offense and defense. Cassel and the offense did not produce a first down until the final play of the first quarter. Nine plays in that period produced 18 total yards, along with that one first down and a turnover, when Cassel had the ball knocked out of his hand in the pocket and the Falcons recovered the fumble.

It was not any better for the No. 1 defense. Atlanta has a nice offensive package with QB Matt Ryan, RB Michael Turner, TE Tony Gonzalez and WR Roddy White. They only really needed Turner and his backup Jason Snelling against the Chiefs, as those two accounted for all the yardage. Turner carried the ball four times for 29 yards and caught one pass for six yards, and Snelling got 15 yards on four carries.

It was a nice play by veteran OLB Mike Vrabel that actually stopped the drive from lasting longer and heading into the end zone. On a 3rd-and-3 from the Chiefs 12-yard line, Snelling ran right and Vrabel fought off the block and stopped the running back for no gain.

Matt Bryant came in and kicked a 30-yard field goal and the Falcons had a 3-0 lead.

The Chiefs first possession lasted three plays and gained two yards before a Dustin Colquitt punt. Atlanta picked up a pair of first downs on their next possession, but that ultimately stalled and K Steve Hauschka came in to try a 53-yard field goal. His kick hit the cross bar and bounced back into the end zone.

Possession No. 2 from the Chiefs ended with Cassel coughing the ball up on a 3rd-and-6 play at the Chiefs 47-yard line. DE Kroy Biermann got credited for the sack by knocking the ball out of Cassel’s hands. It was recovered by DE John Abraham and the Falcons were in great position at the Chiefs 40-yard line.

Ryan was replaced at quarterback by Chris Redman, and joining him on the sideline were Turner and Gonzalez and at least one member of the Falcons offensive line, center Todd McClure. That changed the nature of the game, as the Chiefs defense was able to put pressure on Redman and got Atlanta off the field with only three plays.

On a 3rd-and-2 play, RB Jamaal Charles ran up the middle making several nice moves and picked up 11 yards – that initial first down of the game for the Chiefs. It was also the final play of the first quarter.

They carried that possession into the second period, picking up two more first downs until LB Curtis Lofton sacked Cassel on a 3rd-and-6 play. Ryan Succop came in to try a 53-yard field goal and he showed enough leg. But the ball hit the left upright and the Falcons continued with a 3-0 lead.

Defense became the order of the day for the rest of the half. The Falcons tried a 50-yard field goal by Bryant, but that was wide. Succop came back and tried another 53-yard field goal, but he missed this one wide right.

Now, under the direction of Croyle, the Chiefs offense got the ball back with 3 minutes, 43 seconds to play at their 20-yard line. By the end of the half, they would have the first Kansas City points of the season on the board, thanks to a 30-yard field goal by Succop.

To get there they racked up six first downs and the focus of the drive was McCluster and RB Kestahn Moore. McCluster caught three passes for 23 yards and dropped one that may have gone for another 23 yards. Moore ran once for eight yards and then caught two passes for 21 yards. The big play came as the clock was running out on the half, as Croyle hooked up with Moore on a 19-yard completion where the running back had several moments where he almost went down, but he kept moving his legs and got the ball to the two-yard line.

At that point, the Chiefs were out of timeouts, but one was called on Atlanta for having an injured player on the field that could not get up. That allowed Succop to come on and kick a 20-yard field goal that tied the score at 3-3 as the teams went to the locker room at half-time.

Croyle has thrown the ball with good accuracy during two weeks at training camp, but his first two passes of the second half were awful. On 1st-and-10, he went long to streak WR Jeremy Horne, but the ball was out of bounds and could not have been caught by any mortal wide receiver. His next throw on 3rd-and-7 was intended for his favorite target WR Jerheme Urban, but the pass was badly overthrown and landed in the lap of Atlanta S Shann Schillinger, who returned it 29 yards to the Chiefs 14-yard line.

About 150 seconds later off the game block, a six-play drive ended with a one yard run by Nance for the game’s first touchdown.

Back and forth things went until the halfway point of the third quarter, when the Falcons took over and began the long march that ended with another one-yard TD run by Nance.

A fourth quarter interception thrown by Palko set up Atlanta’s final score, as Bryant hit a 37-yard field goal.

Palko then led the Chiefs third offense on a 15-play, 84-yard touchdown drive over the game’s last six minutes, where they picked up six first downs and Palko scored from the one-yard line.

Pre-Game Chiefs-Falcons In Atlanta

From the Georgia Dome

6:20 p.m. – standing on the sidelines in conversation are Scott Pioli, Clark and Daniel Hunt and Falcons GM Thomas Dimitoff, who once worked for Pioli with the Patriots and also worked in the Chiefs personnel department in the Peterson Era.

6:17 p.m. – The Chiefs have 77 players dressed for tonight’s game. The Falcons have 69 players in uniform. Both teams are finishing up their pre-game stretching.

6:00 p.m. – Out early to take kicks and punts were the following players: punt returns – Dexter McCluster, Javier Arenas, Maurice Leggett and Jackie Bates; kick returns – Quinten Lawrence, Lance Long, Kestahn Moore, Javarris Williams, Terrance Copper,

5:55 p.m. – Starting RT Ryan O’Callaghan will not play tonight. Correction: TE Jake O’Connell will not play tonight and was left back in Kansas City. Somebody got their Irish O’Cs mixed up with the Chiefs. Also out are the expected duo of TE Tony Moeaki and G Darryl Harris. With O’Callaghan down, it will be interesting to see how the Chiefs handle the tackles. Barry Richardson has been working almost exclusively at left tackle, with Colin Brown at right tackle.But it would seem far more likely that Richardson will move over and start at RT than Brown. Stay tuned.

5:50 p.m. – Tony Gonzalez and Scott Pioli greet each other like long lost friends at the 40-yard line, with a hug and smiles all-around. Not hard to figure why Gonzalez was happy to see him, but not sure what Pioli had to smile about involving that April ’09 trade.

5:47 p.m. - First player for the Chiefs on the field completely dressed in his uniform is K Ryan Succop.

5:45 p.m. – Tony Gonzalez and Brian Waters are having a long conversation at the 40-yard line. Both are dressed as if they’ll play, but we can’t imagine either one getting a lot of playing time in this game, especially on this turf. The Georgia Dome is not known to have one of the league’s better playing surfaces. …Read More!

What To Watch For In Atlanta

From Atlanta, Georgia

Weather-wise Atlanta is very much like Kansas City has been, with temperatures in the 90s and high humidity.

Luckily for the Chiefs and Falcons, they’ll play inside, with the air-conditioned comforts of the Georgia Dome.

There’s nothing on the line when it comes to the 2010 season for either team, but there’s plenty of careers that will be extended or ended tonight as these teams put their full rosters to the first test of the pre-season. As always, the starters on both sides like TE Tony Gonzalez (right) will not be on the playing field for long, probably a dozen plays or the first quarter.

I know Chiefs fans will watch Gonzalez closely no matter how long he’s out there. But here’s what to watch with the guys that are still members of the red and gold:

  …Read More!

Value of NFL Franchises/Part #2

Portfolio.com and bizjournals got together to identify the most successful National Football League franchises.

They attempted to measure the league’s 32 teams based on the combination of on-field success as football teams and off-field as football businesses.

Whether or not the rankings and value estimates have any validity is something only the NFL owners, their bankers and lawyers know for sure. But it’s fun to speculate.

Here’s what Portfolio.com says are the percentage of home stadium seats filled during the 2009 season: …Read More!

A Berry Homecoming … Friday Cup O’Chiefs

From Atlanta, Georgia

If this were a regular season weekend in the NFL, the game between the Chiefs and Falcons on Friday night at the Georgia Dome would be rife with good story lines.

There’s future Hall of Fame TE Tony Gonzalez going against his former team. There would be Hall of Famer Emmitt Thomas returning to the city where he spent the previous eight seasons as part of the Falcons coaching staff. There’s the first meeting between teams put together by Scott Pioli and Thomas Dimitroff; it was with New England where Dimitroff was part of the Pioli staff with the Patriots. And there are a host of geographical connections, especially with first-round draft choice S Eric Berry returning home to play in his first NFL game.

Yes, those story lines are still there, but with the kickoff at 7 p.m. CDT, it’s just the first of four games that do not register in the final accounting of the 2010 season. If Gonzalez plays long enough to catch a pass, it won’t be the 1,000th catch of his career. As much as Thomas will enjoy his return to the ATL, it’s not going to be the type of game where he’s seeking revenge.

But there’s a lot on the line in this game. It’s the first of four weekends where the Chiefs have a chance to improve, to see how many good players they have and to push along the process of learning how to win. …Read More!

Value of NFL Franchises/Part #1

Portfolio.com and bizjournals got together to identify the most successful National Football League franchises.

They attempted to measure the league’s 32 teams based on the combination of on-field success as football teams and off-field as football businesses.

Whether or not the rankings and value estimates have any validity is something only the NFL owners, their bankers and lawyers know for sure. But it’s fun to speculate.

Here’s what Portfolio.com says are the values of the league’s 32 teams: …Read More!

Updating The QBs … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

From St. Joseph, Missouri

The words flying out of the mouth of Charlie Weis this week certainly had to give some people pause.

“… the first thing I wanted to do was help fix the quarterback.”

Weis was speaking of Matt Cassel, but eventually he would include Brodie Croyle and Tyler Palko in the conversation about fixing quarterbacks.

Yes, quarterback. There’s no running away from how important the position is for any football team, and especially one that’s trying to climb out of the bottom of the NFL barrel. Even before he was wearing a brace on his knee, walking with the help of a cane and using a scooter to get around, Weis wasn’t the type of coach that would tiptoe around an issue.

In this case it’s the quarterback position and it holds the key to the Chiefs 2010 season.

“If the quarterback plays better, usually the team plays better,” Weis said. “You sit there and say that about the offensive line and others, but think about it, there are only two players on offense that have the ball in their hands on every play and that is the center and the quarterback. They are the guys that can do the most help and are also the guys that can do the most harm.”

Since the retirement of Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson after the 1975 season, many men have tried to become the new Dawson. None have succeeded. There have been 23 men that have started games in those 34 seasons, ranging from Adams to Vlasic, with plenty of stops in between. There were passers who put up some nice numbers like Bill Kenney, Joe Montana and Trent Green. None could replace “Lenny the Cool.”

Cassel, Croyle and Palko are on deck now. Combined they have 12 years of experience in the NFL. That makes them one of the least experienced quarterback groups currently in the league. There are six other teams that have quarterbacks on the roster with fewer years in the league: Carolina (5), Tampa Bay (7), Chicago (8), Green Bay and Denver (10) and Arizona (11). …Read More!

Training Camp Practice #17 Report

From St. Joseph, Missouri

Outside the sun was beating down on the grass practice fields at Missouri Western State University. The empty grass practice fields on this Wednesday afternoon.

Coach Todd Haley took his team inside to work in the second of the day’s two practices. There were multiple reasons why.

“It gives us a chance to beat the heat, but the No. 1 reason is we are playing in a dome and on (artificial) turf,” Haley said. “We have a chance to practice in the atmosphere we will see Friday night in Atlanta.”

So the two-hour practice went down with a lot of work done preparing both the offense and defense for the Falcons. There’s no game plan in place for this game with the Chiefs, but the coaches wanted them to be familiar with some of the plays like are likely to see.

They also practiced another part of every game: half-time. That’s right, they practiced half-time. About 90 minutes into practice, Haley blew the whistle and the players left the indoor field and went back to their locker room. They spent approximately 10 minutes there, and then came back out for the rest of practice.

And the first thing the Chiefs did when they started the “second half” was work on their kickoff return.

All of this came at the suggestion of assistant head coach Maurice Carthon.

“It’s an area of the game where we really struggled last year,” Haley said. “We’ve got this nice setup here so we’ll see how it goes.”

Here are some afternoon practice observations: …Read More!

Training Camp Practice #16 Report

From St. Joseph, Missouri

The outdoor oven that has been northwest Missouri for the last two weeks continued Wednesday morning. But luckily for the Chiefs, there was a nice breeze coming out of the south that provided a bit of relief as they when through their first of two practices today.

As practices go it was less than inspiring, especially in the early going as there seemed to be little enthusiasm for matters of football. Ultimately it seemed that everything got back on track towards the end of the session, that ended with a long talk from head coach Todd Haley to his team.

Another guy that has been talking to the team is veteran RB Thomas Jones. This is his 11th NFL training camp and he’s seen plenty during his career and according to Haley, Jones is willing to share that knowledge in constructive ways.

“I’m here to help win football games and the way you do that is to work hard, doing the extra little things – those are the kind of things I try to bring to the team,” Jones said. “It’s been a tough camp with the weather and the typical grind of training camp. Guys are really pushing, working hard and doing the things that we need to do to get better.”

Here are some observations from the morning practice: …Read More!

Pioli Has Zero To Say On Page

From St. Joseph, Missouri

Chiefs GM Scott Pioli stopped and talked with the media after Wednesday morning’s practice and he was very upbeat about the training camp experience the team has enjoyed at Missouri Western State University.

“It’s been encouraging, it’s been productive, I think we had such a good off-season that it’s continued,” Pioli said. “The players have worked hard, they’ve practiced hard. We’ve gotten good work in. This has been fabulous for us in terms of facilities and the energy from fans. The players talk about it every day. We are home.”

Pioli refused to answer questions about restricted free agent Jarrad Page and whether or not the Chiefs were attempting to trade the fifth-year safety.

“I only talk about the players that are here,” Pioli said with a smile. “Have you heard that before?”

Fixing A Problem … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

From St. Joseph, Missouri

One would have a tough time finding two contract situations in the NFL more different than that of New York Jets CB Darrelle Revis and the unattached FS Jarrad Page.

One has a contract and is violating it, withholding his services from the team that holds his rights for the next three years. The other is without a contract, but the team that holds his rights is withholding his ability to seek new employment and can continue to do so for the rest of this year and beyond.

Revis is a Pro Bowler, maybe the most talented cornerback in the NFL these days, who played on a team that went to the AFC Championship Game last season. He’s part of the No. 1 defense in the league over the 2009 season. Page is an average safety, who in four seasons played in a first-round game in the playoffs as a rookie and never smelled the post-season again. Until last year he was a starter on what were very bad NFL defenses.

What they share is this: they both want money and freedom. Essentially in the world of sports, freedom leads to money. That’s why the term free agent is one of the great misnomers in sports. The top free agents come at a price, and that’s anything but free. But it almost always requires freedom, or the threat of freedom. Athletes secure the big-money contracts only if there’s the presence or hint of freedom.

And that’s why I think in the current collective bargaining negotiations between NFL owners and players they should implement a ban on long-term contracts and restricted free agency. …Read More!

Chiefs Practice Changes

From St. Joseph, Missouri

The Chiefs are trying to beat the heat in their first training camp in 20 years in Missouri, so they continue to adjust their practice schedule. This time they are going inside.

On Wednesday, the second practice of the day will be conducted at 4:30 p.m. in the Griffon Indoor Facility. Next Monday, the first practice of the day will also go down inside at 8:50 a.m. Both of those practices will be closed to the public.

Here’s the remaining schedule of practices: …Read More!

Training Camp Practice #15 Report

From St. Joseph, Missouri

Yes, Emmitt Thomas said, there were days in Liberty back in the day that were just as hot as Tuesday at Missouri Western State University.

“Oh yes, I can remember many,” Thomas said.

It was certainly the hottest day of training camp so far, as temperatures pushed up against 100 degrees. There was a nice breeze coming out of the south, but it was blowing only hot air onto the practice fields.

While head coach Todd Haley did cut some time off the end of the two-hour practice, the players did have to do running for conditioning purposes afterwards.

It was an afternoon where the offense made a bit of a comeback, after the defense has ruled the practice roost for the last four or five workouts. The passing game with QBs Matt Cassel and especially Brodie Croyle (right) was more effective than in recent practices.

For Thomas, it was his first training camp in red and gold since his final season with the Chiefs defense back in 1978 at William Jewell College about an hour away from here.

GM Scott Pioli and head coach Todd Haley handed him three draft choices and Thomas has been busy since April working to get them up to speed so they can contribute in the 2010 season.

“They are progressing real well, but they have a lot of work ahead of them,” Thomas said of the three rookies that he’s working with in the secondary: Eric Berry, Javier Arenas and Kendrick Lewis. “We haven’t played anybody in another colored jersey yet, but for right now they are working real good.”

Here are some observations from Tuesday’s session: …Read More!

Brothers In Offense … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

From St. Joseph, Missouri

“This has been a very easy transition for me. I am so in tune with thinking like Todd (Haley). I couldn’t have picked a better situation.”

Charlie Weis stood in the shade of a tent just off the practice field at Missouri Western State University and faced the media music. When he uttered the words above, some of the dozen or so press people clucked to themselves. They don’t believe Weis’ words. They think it’s only a matter of time before Weis starts thrashing about under the weight of the head coach’s personality.

Hired back in February as offensive coordinator, Weis made an appearance then with his new boss and two other hires, defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel and secondary coach Emmitt Thomas. Then he went into his offensive cave and was not seen again until the off-season program and then the start of training camp.

Understand that Weis can handle a group of media about as well as any coach in the NFL, whether they are head coaches, coordinators or assistants. He knows what to say. He knows what not to say. A guy doesn’t spend five years facing the media horde at Notre Dame University without developing some skills and a thick hide.

But living through that experience also doesn’t have a guy like Weis running to chit-chat with any scribbler, tin-throated sports talk yakker or TV hairdo that comes through the door. Oh, that goes for Internet wretches as well. …Read More!

Enrique’s Video Vault – Monday Night

a timely reminder that we’re only five weeks away from the beginning of the season (on Monday Night, no less), we’ll leave you something to pump you up (if you aren’t already) — Hank Williams’ presentation that gave us just a tiny glimpse of the future.

That is, the December 4th, 2000 game – also a Monday Nighter — where the Scott Pioli-Charlie Weis-influenced New England Patriots (only the model we’re trying to duplicate) took on the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Arrowhead Ones lost that game 30-24, but clearly, that wasn’t the story back then. Thanks to the intro prepared by ABC, a lighter moment was tried to be made out of a rather important issue that was undecided in the U.S. at the time, and that involved a couple of fellows named Bush and Gore.

You might have heard it.

Training Camp Practice #14 Report

From St. Joseph, Missouri

Starting practice at 6 o’clock rather than 90 minutes earlier may have allowed the Chiefs to work in cooler temperatures Monday evening at Missouri Western State University.

But cooler was definitely relative.

Facing afternoon temperatures of 98, with a heat index-feel like 110 degrees, Todd Haley pushed back the second practice of the day in an attempt to help his players and fans deal with the heat.

“What I’m finding out about this area and our trainers did a lot of research is that the hottest part of the day is late afternoon as opposed to some places I’ve been where it’s mid-afternoon or early afternoon,” the Chiefs head coach said. “We were able to get that done, which I’m grateful for, which took some coordination on a lot of different peoples’ part. Hopefully that will allow us to have two productive practices on two-a-days.”

Doctors, trainers and meteorologists have all been consulted on the situation with the weather in northwest Missouri. It’s all part of being a head coach, as Haley has come to learn.

“Ultimately, I’ve got to make sure that I’m looking out for the welfare and the safety in all areas of these players,” Haley said. “They have families, friends and loved ones that are biting their nails every day and every game, so we’ve got to take care of them first. We’re thinking about it, trying to do the things necessary to make sure that is taking place.

“Whether it’s equipment-wise, whether it’s hydration; you don’t see some of this, but we’ve got more cold tubs than I’ve ever seen in training camp filled with ice every day. Some of those are permanent cold tubs here that the university put together and we’re just making sure that these guys are doing everything possible to take care of their bodies.”

As they went through the evening workout, the only players not participating were OL Darryl Harris (knee), TE Tony Moeaki (ankle/foot) and CB Travis Daniels (?). G Brian Waters was practicing, but took no reps in the team work portion of practice. At one point, rookie Jon Asamoah was filling in at left guard – he’d been exclusively on the right side before Monday night.

Here are some practice observations: …Read More!

He Almost Kept the Chiefs Out of K.C.

David F. Dixon died on Sunday in New Orleans. He was 87 years old.

Dixon was an art & antiques dealer, who owned a store and gallery in the French Quarter. He was a city leader in the Big Easy and was known for his philanthropy, in big ways and small.

His passing did not cause even the slightest ripple on the Kansas City sports scene. But some 47 years ago had Dixon been successful the Kansas City Chiefs as we know them would not exist. In a closet in Dixon’s office you will find a box with various mementoes from his remarkable life. In that box is another smaller box with some 50 pencils. Stenciled into the side of each pencil are the worlds:

New Orleans Saints 1963.

If it had been up to Dave Dixon, the Texans team that left Dallas after the 1962 American Football League season would have landed in New Orleans. Instead, it found a home in Kansas City, became the Chiefs and the rest is pro football history for middle-America. …Read More!

Charlie, Romeo & Mo Step Out

From St. Joseph, Missouri

For only the second time since they were added to Todd Haley’s coaching staff back in February, coordinators Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel stepped in front of the media microphones. They were joined by assistant head coach Maurice Carthon.

There were no earth shattering revelations from either, just the normal coach-speak one would expect to hear from graduates of the Bill Parcells Finishing School of Coaching. But after so many months, it was just nice to hear their voices.

The best stuff came from Weis and his role as the replacement for the head coach as offensive coordinator.

“The first thing was that we had to be comfortable with the flipping of roles and we talked about that before I got here,” said Weis. “The media’s obvious reaction was going to be these are two offensive guys, they are two hard-headed guys; they will not get along. We talked about that long before I decided to come here. It was important to us and the Kansas City Chiefs that we feel comfortable with what our roles were going to be. I’m just happy running the offense.

“Whatever he wants, let’s know what it is and let’s go forward. Too many times too much ego gets involved when it comes to the credit and the blame. Trust me – I’ve just come from a place (Notre Dame) where you get a lot of credit and a lot of blame. However he wanted it to be, that’s the way it was going to be.

“I have no uneasy feeling about where I am. I feel very comfortable. …Read More!

Training Camp Practice #13 Report

From St. Joseph, Missouri

The Chiefs welcomed veteran guard Brian Waters back to practice Monday morning. And he welcomed the opportunity to finally get into the mix, after missing the first 12 practices of camp.

“It’s like riding a bicycle, you just get back on,” Waters said of his return to practice. “I’m glad to be out there with my teammates. It’s one of the worst things watching your teammates work hard and be tired and coming in and feeling like you haven’t put in an honest day’s work. That’s not the best feeling.”

Waters indicated that his return for Monday’s work was part of a plan that was set before camp started. Last year on the first day of training camp he suffered a right ankle/foot injury that he played with all season. It appears now that his absence from the first part of camp had more to do with being cautious with his return from that injury than any new problem. Remember, on the Thursday the team arrived at Missouri Western State University, Waters passed the club’s fitness test on a series of 300-yard shuttle runs.

“Part of the plan right now is to start and go and go and go and do a little bit more each day,” Waters said.

Head coach Todd Haley was glad to see him back.

“I’m just happy to have him back,” said Haley. “He’s a guy who put a lot of work into this off-season. I know he’s been chomping at the bit to get back and he got through this morning without incident. We’ll see how this afternoon goes.”

Both Haley and Waters said they had no idea at this time whether or not Waters would play in the pre-season opener on Friday in At

…Read More!

Question Mark No. 1 … Monday Cup O’Chiefs

From St. Joseph, Missouri

Sometimes when you look at a football team and its numbers, there are moments where they do not mesh, where one number next to another leaves you scratching your head for a rational explanation of what’s happened.

Take the Chiefs defense, please. Sorry couldn’t resist the Henny Youngman moment! (For the kids, here’s a link to who Henny was.)

Last year they were the eighth ranked defense in the NFL when it came to possessions where the opposing offense went three plays and out. They faced 201 offensive possessions and the opponent punted after three plays 49 times. That’s right around 25 percent of the time.

That ranked the Chiefs defense at the top half of the league with the likes of the New York Jets, Minnesota and Pittsburgh, some of the best defenses in the league. This was a very good stat. It was one of the few they were able to muster.

Here’s the flip side that doesn’t connect: the Chiefs had the worst defense in the NFL last year on 1st-and-10; they faced 430 such plays and allowed 2,878 yards, or 6.7 yards per first down play.

Do the math and that means after a 1st-and-10 play, the opponent had on average a 2nd-and-3 situation on the next play.

“We were either really, really good, or we were really, really bad,” said OLB Mike Vrabel. “We were high in the league in three and outs and that’s a good stat to have. But we had trouble in stopping the running game and sometimes we couldn’t get off the field.”

Head coach Todd Haley saw it the same way. “We were all or nothing,” Haley said. …Read More!

Enrique’s Video Vault – D.T.

Over the years our man Enrique has rolled video tape on just about anything and everything Chiefs related that was available to him in Mexico. Despite his distance from middle America, he has developed quite a collection of memories from the last 20 years. We are going to bring some of these videos to you with commentary from Enrique. Enjoy!

Life without D.T. …Read More!

Pulling On the Net/August 8

Every once in awhile as we go through this 2010 NFL season we will bring to you a selection of items we’ve found on the Internet that are either of interest, or just something well written and worth passing along.

Right now, we’ve got some stories from the national eyes that have come to the Chiefs training camp in the first 10 days and written about what they saw. That would be ESPN.com’s John Clayton, CBSSports.com’s Clark Judge and SI.com’s Don Banks.

(Check out the video with Clark’s story and you’ll get a chance to see your favorite internet scribe covering the Chiefs.)

Plus, there’s an update on former Chiefs defensive line coach Tim Krumrie and a piece with former Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard that’s worth reading. Also there’s a feature on former Chiefs guard-now the top agent in pro football, Tom Condon.

Enjoy. …Read More!

Why I Like Tim Tebow

Check out the haircut that rookie Tim Tebow’s veteran teammates on the Broncos gave him Saturday afternoon, just before the team held an open practice at Invesco Field.

Friar Tuck Tebow is how it looks. It’s just the most ridiculous haircut you’ve ever seen. But then there are some of the hairdos that were inflected on other rookies. Ouch.

Yet Tebow willingly went along with the rookie hazing. No big-timer act, no Dez Bryant refusing to carry his teammates shoulder pads.

“I think all the rookies had a good time with it,” Tebow told the Denver media after practice. “It was something to give everybody a laugh, something also to build chemistry.”

By the way, some 20,000 people showed up at Invesco for the practice. The Broncos signed autographs afterwards and Tebow was the man in demand. He was the last player off the field and had to be escorted by a pair of policeman.

Scrimmage Redux … Sunday Cup O’Chiefs

From St. Joseph, Missouri

First, it’s probably a misnomer to call what went down at Spratt Stadium on Saturday afternoon a scrimmage. The Chiefs weren’t really tackling and they weren’t allow to touch the quarterbacks and they didn’t always do things they would have automatically done in a real game.

For instance, when OLB Tamba Hali pulled up on a pass rush, you know it wasn’t a game or real scrimmage. Hali never stops when there’s real competition going on.

But the jazzed up practice presented Todd Haley and his coaching staff what they wanted and needed at this point in the pre-season. It ratcheted up the intensity and it provided players on the roster to show under “close” to game conditions how they are developing.

“When you start putting the coaches and all the other players on the sideline, it creates a different situation or a different comfort level than what they are used to from a daily practice schedule point of view,” said Haley. “We are looking for each individual, each position group then overall unit that on defense, offense and special teams to show that they are making progress.” …Read More!

Training Camp Scrimmage Report

From St. Joseph, Missouri

The Chiefs intra-squad scrimmage Saturday afternoon before 10,721 fans that jammed Spratt Stadium showed us one thing for sure – the defense is ahead of the offense after 10 days of training camp.

Defensively, the Chiefs were all over the field in the 90-minute workout, especially when it came to putting pressure on the quarterback. Matt Cassel, Brodie Croyle and Tyler Palko all had to run for the lives and had the rushers been able to sack the quarterback, the defense would have had close to 10 takedowns.

Rookie Cameron Sheffield continued his impressive play on the pass rush, and DE Wallace Gilberry was all over the place. OLB Tamba Hali had several nice rushes as well.

The offense was able to score only a pair of touchdowns, as the second and third groups hit for scores. Croyle connected with TE Jake O’Connell on an 18-yard TD throw and RB Jackie Battle punched in a one-yard run in a goal line situation.

The Chiefs made a roster move on Saturday because of the injuries they’ve had at guard with both Brian Waters and Darryl Harris not practicing. They signed OL Dan Santucci, a 6-4, 305-pound former Bengals draft choice (2007) who played at Notre Dame for Charlie Weis.

To make room for Santucci, the Chiefs released injured FB Tervaris Johnson.

Here’s how things broke down at Missouri Western on Saturday: …Read More!

Chiefs Hold Page Hostage … Saturday Cup O’Chiefs

From St. Joseph, Missouri

It was only a matter of time before it happened.

Jarrad Page and his agent/brother John have kept pretty quiet over the last six months about the safety’s status with the Chiefs.

But when you’ve been ignored and your football career is being held hostage, eventually you are going to get loud.

That’s what went down on Friday as brother Page issued an e-mail and then went on 610am to talk with host Nick Wright.

Essentially the outburst went like this – Todd Haley mishandled Page from the start last season, turning off the player to the point that he asked to be traded last August … there is legitimate interest in Page from other teams, but the Chiefs are not allowing a trade to happen … Scott Pioli won’t call them back to talk about the situation … an earlier trade request in June was ignored and never brought a response … the Chiefs are being vindictive.

The Page’s game plan is obvious: they are trying to provoke a response and have the Chiefs release their rights to Page. They want it to happen now, when he can find a job with another team and have a chance to play in the 2010 season.

At this point there is absolutely no reason for Pioli/Haley to hold on to Page’s rights. He doesn’t figure in their plan for 2010. He never did. They are going to end up releasing him anyway if they can’t make a deal. They simply are trying to make an example of him. …Read More!

Training Camp Practice #11 Report

From St. Joseph, Missouri

As the Chiefs went through their second practice of Friday and their 11th of this year’s training camp, it turned into a good day for young defensive ends Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson.

While Dorsey has had a solid camp, Jackson has been very inconsistent. But working against the Chiefs offense, especially on running plays, both of the former first-round choices more often than not got the job done.

On one play Dorsey was hit by three blockers, but was not moved off his spot, forcing the ball carrier inside where there was plenty of help to make the tackle. Jackson did a good job of shedding blockers and getting involved in plays, something he’s done only sporadically during this camp.

It wasn’t all peaches and cream for the young guys. One play after Jackson made RG Ryan Lilja look bad on a pass rush, he was stoned by the veteran guard on the next snap, barely getting his nose across the line of scrimmage.

Here are more observations from the workout that featured a big crowd watching under sunny skies: …Read More!

Working At Home For NFL Official

From St. Joseph, Missouri

This is George Hayward’s 20th year working as an NFL official.

But it’s the first time he’s worn his NFL stripes and blown his pro whistle while working in his hometown of St. Joseph. On top of that, he was working on the campus of his alma mater, Missouri Western State University.

“When I came here for my freshman year in 1970, we had a double-wide trailer as the student center,” Hayward said Friday, taking part in a four-day stay with the three other officials at the Chiefs training camp.

Led by referee Carl Cheffers and including head linesman Heyward, umpire Undrey Wash and back judge Todd Prukop, the striped shirts met on Thursday night with the Chiefs players and coaches. They explained some of the rules changes and points of emphasis for this season with the officials.

They met on Friday with the media in camp and did the same thing.

For Hayward it was an easy road trip. He lives in St. Joe and like everyone else in this community he’s thrilled that the Chiefs have come for training camp.

“The town is just so excited about them being here and it’s great to turn on ESPN and the NFL Network and hear people talking about my hometown,” Hayward said. “There were a lot of people that worked very hard to make it happen and I’m sure that right now they are glad they did.

“It’s really given the city a shot in the arm.” …Read More!

Training Camp Practice #10 Report

From St. Joseph, Missouri

There was a big crowd watching the Chiefs first practice of Friday at Missouri Western State University this morning. The crowd was announced at 2,500, one of the bigger turnouts in the first eight days of camp.

Head coach Todd Haley put the team through a two-hour session in hot, but not miserable conditions. They worked in full pads, with a second session scheduled for Friday afternoon.

(That’s Jackie Battle left, being interviewed after Friday’s practice. When a team has been in camp for eight days, even the fourth running back ends up doing press duties.)

It was a nice day for the passing offense, as quarterbacks Matt Cassel and Brodie Croyle threw the ball well. Both have picked out favorite receivers and they connected on several nice plays with them during the workout. For Cassel it’s WR Chris Chambers. For Croyle it’s WR Jerheme Urban.

It was Cassel to Chambers on a nice play in the seven-on-seven session that produced big yardage. But later in the team work the offense ran a gadget play where the running back takes the handoff and then tosses back to the quarterback. Chambers ran down the left sideline and Cassel put the ball right in his hands. But with three defenders around him, Chambers dropped the ball. The big crowd groaned with angst over the play.

Here are a few more observations: …Read More!

Week One Is Done … Friday Cup O’Chiefs

From St. Joseph, Missouri

The Chiefs return to Missouri for training camp is now one week and nine practices old at Missouri Western State University.

In this short period of time, much has happened with Todd Haley (above), his coaches and players. They have taken the first steps of preparing for the 2010 season, and beginning the process of slicing 27 players from the roster before the Monday nighter that kicks off the regular season.

Coverage of this camp from the Kansas City media has been extensive, with TV, radio, newspapers and Internet sites spending a lot of time reporting on what’s going down on the practice fields. There have also been big crowds eyeballing the Chiefs as they went through their workouts. Both are pretty unusual for the team at this time of the year because the crowds among media and fans were not at these levels while the team was in Wisconsin.

Too often the media and fans are taking snapshots from practices and turning them into a feature film. Making evaluations on a player from his performance in one practice or one drill doesn’t provide any perspective on the training camp picture or the type of camp the player is having, or his position in the big picture of the team.

On Thursday, the guy who was suddenly a training camp bum was CB Brandon Carr. …Read More!

Question Mark No. 2 – Matt Cassel

From St. Joseph, Missouri

Kansas City Chiefs fans have always had a love/hate relationship with their quarterbacks. Sometimes they love him, but most time they hate him. There isn’t a single starting quarterback in team history that wasn’t booed.

“Oh my yes,” said Len Dawson when asked if he remembers hearing from the boo-birds during his 13 years with the Chiefs. If a Pro Football Hall of Famer is going to hear from the fans then what chance do guys like Mike Livingston, Steve Fuller, Todd Blackledge, Steve DeBerg, Elvis Grbac and Trent Green have of developing the role of the red and gold’s favorite son?

That does not make Chiefs fans any different than most football fans – quarterback is always the position in the spotlight. Expectations are always so high for the man that it’s damn near impossible for him to be loved and cheered for his play because there’s so much that can go wrong. Right now, Drew Brees is the prince of New Orleans for his play last year and leading the Saints to their first championship.

If Brees falls short this year, he’ll be a bum in the eyes of some on Bourbon Street. That’s just the way life goes for the man behind center.

And what of the newest man holding the starting quarterback position for the Chiefs? There’s no question about the questions that hover around Matt Cassel as he begins his second season as the man in Kansas City. There were glimpses of outstanding play from him last year. There were times when he struggled. Most of the time during the ’09 season Cassel’s performances and production where somewhere in the land of mediocrity.

A week into training camp, just where does Cassel stand now? Has he shown improvement? …Read More!

Training Camp Practice #9 Report

From St. Joseph, Missouri

It was a good afternoon for the running backs as the Chiefs put in their ninth practice of training camp here at Missouri Western State University.

Even though veteran RB Thomas Jones was somewhat limited by what appears a right knee injury, the other halfbacks on the roster were snapping off runs throughout the long workout in warm and muggy conditions.

Jamaal Charles, Jackie Battle, Javarris Williams and Kestahn Moore all picked up a few more reps with Jones on a lighter schedule. All of them took advantage of the opportunities. Charles had some of his best runs of the week-old training camp, hitting a couple runs on the edge and turning them up field for big yardage. On one play he got into open space with Mike Vrabel in front of him and juked the linebacker out of the way. Battle was big on runs between the tackles and he made a nice cutback in the middle of the scrum on one play that would have led to a TD run.

Williams continues to show more power than he did at any time last year. On one run, he bulled into Alex Magee, hitting him in the chest and knocking the defensive end backwards. Moore continued to show he has some skills in the same form as Jones, as he broke off a couple of nice runs and took a couple of shots from defenders but kept on running.

Right now the Chiefs look like they’ll end up releasing a halfback that can play in the NFL.

Other observations from Thursday’s practice: …Read More!

A Star In The Making … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

From St. Joseph, Missouri

Dexter McCluster took the handoff at the running back position and moved towards the left side of the Chiefs offensive formation. This went down during the team’s Wednesday night practice at Spratt Stadium and Missouri Western State University.

The offensive line pushed the defensive front to the left. McCluster stopped, planted his foot in the artificial turf and then burst through the backside of the play. It happened so quickly and so fast that in a blink, he was 15 yards down the field. It was one of those zone blocking plays that the Denver Broncos used to kill the Chiefs with time after time.

This time, however, the guy carrying the ball was wearing a red helmet.

Dexter McCluster is going to become the new star of the Chiefs. He showed the 8,000-plus fans that were on campus last night how he will make them stand up and scream when the 2010 Chiefs start playing games in September.

It’s his speed, his quickness, his moves and his seeming fearless approach to toting the ball. When he runs, it is like the cartoon Road Runner – his legs are churning so fast they are a blur, while his upper body seems stable, with no wasted motion.

With his dreadlocks flowing out of the back of his helmet, he’s a treat to watch. …Read More!

Question Mark #3 – Offensive Line

From St. Joseph, Missouri

For decades baseball geeks have parsed the statistics and situations of the professional game trying to find the keys to victory anSd championships. These seamheads have been divining knowledge from the game and its numbers, creating new categories of statistics and new insight into the sport.

It’s only been in the last few years that the geeks have discovered football and its wealth of numbers and situations. Five years ago it would have been impossible to find out how many yards after the catch the New Orleans Saints receivers racked up in the 2009 season.

Now I can tell you it was 2,129 yards.

Pull apart all the statistics of the NFL championship teams and there are always exceptions to almost every given rule of the game. But there are slices of facts and situations that are bellweathers in the game. Land on the wrong side of some numbers and that makes it nearly impossible for a team to win games and seasons.

One of those is the ability to run the football. Another is the ability to stop the opponents running game. A third is the ability to protect the quarterback.

Two of those three important avenues to victory involve the offensive line. If the line doesn’t get the job done blocking, there is no running game. If the O-Line doesn’t protect the passer, there’s little chance the air game is going to work effectively.

Thus another reason the Chiefs are 10-38 over the last three seasons and why fans are concerned about the blocking unit that will protect QB Matt Cassel and open holes for RBs Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles.

Head coach Todd Haley says the competition level has risen along the offensive line in this camp. …Read More!

Training Camp Practice #8 Report

From St. Joseph, Missouri

Rookies WR/RB Dexter McCluster and S Kendrick Lewis were the stars of the Wednesday night practice that entertained a big crowd of 8,000-plus Chiefs fans at Spratt Stadium on the Missouri Western State University campus.

In near perfect weather conditions with much cooler temperatures, low humidity and a nice breeze Todd Haley put his team through a two-hour plus workout. The session was not designed to showcase any particular player, but it was second-round choice McCluster and fifth-round pick Lewis that left the biggest impressions.

McCluster showed his speed and quickness and made a nice over-the-shoulder catch for a 50-yard score. Later, despite tight coverage from CB Brandon Flowers, McCluster caught a slant and raced away from one of the Chiefs fastest players.

During the practice McCluster lined up in 13 different positions on the field as a wide receiver, slot man and running back. “I just go where they tell me,” McCluster said. “I’ll go wherever they want.”

Lewis was a ball hawking machine in the red zone drills, knocking down three passes in one segment. One of those should have been an interception as he got a nice jump on a pass from QB Tyler Palko. But he couldn’t pull in the ball.

“I love football and I love to play football under the lights,” Lewis said. “The crowd being out here got us fired up. I think everybody on our defense had a good night.”

The practice was one of those sessions that Haley was looking forward too, enough so that he cut short a scheduled morning practice to give his players time to rest their legs for working in full pads and on the artificial surface of the stadium.

“I think any time you can change the variables and create a different situation for the guys to react to and to not be distracted and to keep their focus and concentration, I think it’s an opportunity for us to improve,” Haley said. “We’re going to play four pre-season games under the lights and our first (regular season) game is under the lights. So I think it’s a good opportunity for us as a staff and as a team to have a good practice.”

Here are some more observations: …Read More!

Mid-Week Update From Camp

From St. Joseph, Missouri

It’s a cloudy afternoon here in the river city as the Chiefs get ready for practice tonight at Spratt Stadium on the campus of Missouri Western State University.

Practice begins at 7:15 p.m. and will run for two hours under the stadium lights. The National Weather Service is calling for a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms this evening.

The team had a practice scheduled for this morning. It was moved inside, then was changed from a practice to a walkthrough session as head coach Todd Haley gave his team a reward for their hard work in the last week.

“I just thought after seven real good practices and real good work, it was the thing to do, especially in light of tonight’s practice,” said Haley. “We’ll go full pads and get a chance to work under the lights, hopefully.”

There is no admission charge for tonight’s session. Missouri Western also announced on Wednesday that they were cutting the price for premium parking to $5. Those spaces are all available within sight of the stadium.

Camp Grab Bag … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

From St. Joseph, Missouri

The Chiefs are getting ready to run up on the completion of their first week of training camp. There has been a lot going on, both in public and behind the scenes. With 80 players in the dorms, and another 80 or so people on campus to directly help the team, there are a lot of stories in the air.

Then add the weather that just scorching hot on Tuesday afternoon, leaving guys like DT Shaun Smith (left) using anything handy to wipe up the sweat.

Sometimes things get passed over because of the wealth of opportunities. We’ll attempt to provide some answers, forward some information and milk some different areas of training camp.


Basically because it does not sound like head coach Todd Haley finds that sort of work useful. Last year for one of the few times in the 19 years that the Chiefs were in River Falls they did not work against the Vikings. …Read More!

Question Mark No. 4 – Pass Rush

From St. Joseph, Missouri

The Minnesota cornfields were flying by outside the bus windows some 15 year ago as the Chiefs rode over to Mankato for two days of practice work against the Vikings. Sitting in the back of this bus was the then new defensive coordinator of the Chiefs, an intense guy named Gunther Cunningham.

He was just two weeks into his first training camp with the Chiefs and he was talking about his defensive philosophies. In his view, one of the most important things a defense could do every Sunday was make the opposing quarterback uncomfortable. He said it was the quickest way to turning the quarterback into a negative factor for the offense and a positive factor in winning for the defensive team.

“It always comes down to this – cut off the head and the snake will die,” Cunningham said. “If the leader is uncomfortable, the rest of the offense is going to be the same way.”

In the last three years, there have not been a lot of uncomfortable quarterbacks playing against the Chiefs defense. In the 2007-08-09 seasons, the Chiefs had a total of 69 sacks; that breaks down to 37, 10 and 22.

“Without a doubt we have to put more pressure on the quarterback with our defense,” Todd Haley said during the off-season. “That’s not just on the defensive line, but at every level of the defense.” …Read More!

Training Camp Practice #7 Report

From St. Joseph, Missouri

The Chiefs earned their training camp pay Tuesday afternoon. Andre Bruce and his crew won’t have to water the fields at Missouri Western State University because they took on enough sweat during the Chiefs practice.

“It felt like 120 degrees out there, especially with all these pads,” said rookie WR/RB Dexter McCluster, who had a big practice day. “But practicing in these conditions gets you ready for when it does come in the game.”

The heat index was 104 degrees as the Chiefs got in their seventh practice of training camp. Head coach Todd Haley cut short some of the sessions and there was no after-practice running session, which is the normal routine.

For awhile it seemed like the heat may have gotten to assistant head coach/running backs coach Maurice Carthon. Coaches are always trying to find different ways to keep drills and practices interesting. Carthon took it to another level in a pass catching drill. He used a port-a-john next to the field. He had one back sit inside, another opened and closed the door and he threw passes into the john.

Asked about it afterwards, Jamaal Charles just laughed. “That’s Coach Mo,” he said.

Here are some more observations from the workout: …Read More!

A St. Joe Training Camp Primer

From St. Joseph, Missouri

After a few days of getting the lay of the land and the feel for the Chiefs first Missouri training camp in 20 years, I think I can give you a bit of a primer if plans call for a trip to St. Joseph and the campus of Missouri Western State University.

SITE: MWSU is on the east side of I-29 and the best way to get on campus is to take the Route 36 East exit and then the first exit there. Signs will point the way after that. Traffic to this point has not been a big problem.

DRIVE: I love to hear all the tales about how fast somebody got to St. Joe from various parts of Kansas City. It reminds me of the Seinfield segment where George is talking about going from the Upper West Side to JFK in 20 minutes. If you’ve ever driven in NYC you know it’s impossible to get anywhere in 20 minutes.

If you are driving from north of downtown Kansas City, it’s 45 to 60 minutes. From the east side of K.C. it’s 60 minutes. From the Plaza south it’s 70 to 75 minutes. Far south Johnson County is going to take you 90 minutes. Those are actual estimates. If you drive like Jimmy Johnson, obviously those times can be shortened up. …Read More!

It’s Going To Be A Hot One!

From St. Joseph,  Missouri

Tuesday has dawned hot and bright here in the river city and by this afternoon when the Chiefs take the practice field, it’s supposed to be close to 100 degrees and close to feeling like 110 degrees on the no chill/heat index.  Play accordingly if you are headed this way for training camp at Missouri Western.

The Chiefs made a roster move overnight, releasing G Andrew Lewis and signing LB John Russell. He’s 6-4, 280 pounds out of Wake Forest and went undrafted back in April. He signed with Green Bay, and was attempting to make the position switch from college DE to pro OLB. Russell was released by the Packers last Friday .

Russell’s signing may be an indication that injured OLB Pierre Walters is out for some time. He’s not practiced the last two days, but the Chiefs have not even confirmed that he’s injured, let alone what the injury might be.

Lewis was a rookie free agent out of Oklahoma State who was running with the No. 3 offensive line.

D.J.’s Last Stand? … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

From St. Joseph, Missouri

“I was drafted in the first round to make plays.”

A simple declarative statement by one Derrick O’Hara Johnson, Chiefs linebacker, former No. 1 draft choice and a young man who understands the time is now for him to fulfill the potential he’s carried through five seasons as a pro football linebacker.

Sometimes players enter the NFL and then pass out the back door of the league and never quite understand what their role was supposed to be with their team. That’s currently not the case with Johnson. He was drafted to make plays, big plays and a lot of them. That’s all very clear to him as he enters what is essentially the make-or-break season of his career.

The change in the labor situation left Johnson with few options after his disappointing 2009 season. Despite having five seasons in the league, he remained a restricted free agent when the owners took an early opt out on the collective bargaining agreement and the threshold for being an unrestricted free agent rose from four to six years. He signed the tender offer made to him by the Chiefs and will get $2,621,000 this season, so there’s no “woe is him” for D.J.

Next year, will be his chance for a big pay day. But to get that from the Chiefs or another team in the league, Johnson has “to make plays.” …Read More!

NFL Personnel Report – August 2

The unsigned draft pool is even shallower today, as four teams got contract agreements with their first-round picks. There was also a trade in the NFL on Monday and a familiar Chiefs face found work.

The Baltimore Ravens traded QB John Beck to the Washington Redskins. In return, the Skins sent CB Doug Dutch to the Ravens. Washington turned around and released QB Colt Brennan. It sounds like Beck and Rex Grossman will create the competition for the backup spot behind starting QB Donovan McNabb.

Former Chiefs RB Dantrell Savage (left) signed with the Carolina Panthers on Monday. Savage had been out of the NFL since he was released last year by the Chiefs.

Among the draft picks, Jacksonville and No. 10 pick DT Tyson Alualu got a deal done for five years at $28 million, with $17.5 million in guaranteed money. Joining the signees was Cincinnati’s first-rounder, pick No. 21 TE Jermaine Gresham, with a 5-year, $15,850,000 contract with $9.66 million in guaranteed payments. …Read More!

Question Mark #5 – Dropped Passes

(This is the first of five stories on the readers’ biggest question marks surrounding the 2010 Chiefs.)

From St. Joseph, Missouri

The little guy couldn’t have been more than five or six years old. He wore a Chiefs t-shirt and was sitting with his Dad and Grandfather at the top of the bleachers at Missouri Western State University watching his favorite team practice.

And, he wasn’t doing it quietly. He peppered the early part of the session with a running commentary directed at the players in front of him. The youngster was surprising well informed on the offensive players he was watching, knowing that Dexter McCluster was a rookie. Heck, he knew who Quinten Lawrence was – that means he had to be a big fan.

On the field below his seat the wide receivers were rolling through their individual drills session. It’s a period of practice where they work on technique, but mostly they just catch the ball. Dwayne Bowe ran a route, the ball fluttered into his hands – thrown by an assistant coach – and then the ball fluttered to the ground, a dropped pass.

“Come on Bowe,” admonished the little guy. “You gotta’ catch those. You know you have a problem with that.”

The crowd of fans sitting in the bleachers got a big laugh out of that. Bowe heard the comment, but did not acknowledge it. But others on the field in the receivers drill smiled and enjoyed the moment. …Read More!

Training Camp Practice #6 Report

From Hades … St. Joseph, Missouri

Even the shade was hot Monday afternoon as the Chiefs went through their second practice of the day.

Bowing to the effect of 94 degrees and a heat index of 109 degrees, head coach Todd Haley stopped for more than double the normal water breaks in a practice. The team pretty much took a breather after every segment of the session and there was no post-practice running.

It was the smallest crowd of the camp, far below the numbers that showed up for workouts over the weekend. There was one set of bleachers on the west side of the practice fields that was in the shade and it was standing room only in those seats.

The conditions made it a great afternoon for finding out the mental toughness of this team. And as one would expect, they were up to the task at some points, and failed on others. Mental mistakes had Haley really chewing on some of his players and coaches.

Here are some other observations on what went down on what felt like the surface of the sun on Monday afternoon: …Read More!

Readers 5 Biggest Questions About Chiefs

From St. Joseph, Missouri

Last week we asked you for your three biggest question marks about the Chiefs as they were heading into training camp. As always, you guys were quick to share your opinions and your thoughts.

In between practices and expanding our belt line on Belt Line Road here in St. Joe, we tallied up the questions and came up with a top five. Here are the top five question marks in the mind of the readers. They are listed in reverse order and when we’ll be posting a story on each item:

  • Question Mark #5: The wide receivers and their habit of dropping the ball. The story will come later today.
  • Question Mark #4: The pass rush or lack of same. The story will come on Tuesday.
  • Question Mark #3: Offensive line. Look for a story on the blockers Wednesday.
  • Question Mark #2: Matt Cassel and his performance. That’s the theme for Thursday.
  • Question Mark #1: Chiefs run defense. That will wrap things up on Friday.

Training Camp Practice #5 Report

From St. Joseph, Missouri

I’ve got to hand it to Andre Bruce, Terry Lee and other members of the Chiefs grounds crew who are on hand here at Missouri Western State University for training camp.

About 7:15 a.m. a big thunderstorm had finally cleared the campus, leaving a quarter-inch of rain that fell in less than a half-hour. Come 90 minutes later, the Chiefs were working on the two new grass practice fields with nary a problem.

Overall, Todd Haley was pleased with the morning’s work.

“I continue to be encouraged with the way the guys are all working right now,” Haley said. “What’s starting to occur now is we are moving in to our sixth practice, guys are getting acclimated to their surroundings, the conditions, the weather conditions, those kinds of things. They are settling in to a little bit of a routine right now, which I think is good.

“Things are moving in the right direction.” …Read More!

D.J. Says He Does Not Have Asthma

From St. Joseph, Missouri

Somewhere in recent weeks, someone talked publicly about Derrick Johnson and said that one of his biggest problems was that he was playing with asthma.

As he walked off the practice field at Missouri Western State University on Monday morning, after an intense two-hour plus practice, Johnson was breathing heavy.

But it was no heavier than any of his teammates as they made their way up the hill to the locker room.

And no, he does not have asthma.

“I’ve got to address that, I’ve heard that (he has asthma), no I have no respiratory problems,” said Johnson, who was alerted by friends that Chiefs conversation included talk of him having breathing problems.

“You can ask the strength and conditioning coaches, I’m always the first guy, beating everyone on my conditioning runs.”

The birth of this story had Johnson not breathless, but befuddled.

“I don’t know, maybe I breathe hard,” Johnson said. “I don’t have any problems.”

Rainy Monday Morning In St. Joe

From St. Joseph, Missouri

Monday morning has dawned wet in northwest Missouri. Very wet.

At 7 o’clock, a thunderstorm was still roaring and dropping plenty of rain on Buchanan County. But the skies have cleared somewhat in the run up to practice and it looks like there’s no more rain headed this way. The Chiefs will attempt to work outside this morning.

More details to come after both practices today here at Missouri Western.

Making It Through The Weekend … Monday Cup O’Chiefs

From St. Joseph, Missouri

The first weekend of the NFL season is in the books all 32 teams were in training camp at the close of business on Sunday night.

Some teams will get their first practice done on Monday. The Chiefs will have their fifth and sixth workouts by the time dinner is served Monday evening at Blum Hall. By then Tamba Hali (left) will be drinking a lot more Gatorade.

Four workouts over the weekend gave everyone a first peak at the 2010 Chiefs. What can we tell from the weekend? When it comes to organization, to knowing what to do, to the general operation of every practice, it’s a night and day difference from last season.

When it comes to executing the plays designed by head coach Todd Haley and Charlie Weis and the defenses of Romeo Crennel, well things are little more ragged. That was especially so on Sunday afternoon when there was a bit of a roller coaster going on during the practice of two hours plus. It was just the kind of afternoon the head coach does not like, which might be why his voice was heard for the first time flowing across the dual fields at Missouri Western State University.

“I want guys to be the same guy every day,” Haley said. “Regardless of the amount of pressure, what type of practice it is, whether it’s a game, a Friday, a Thursday, whatever day it is, you want the same guys every day.”

Training camp can very quickly become Groundhog’s Day, where like the movie featuring Bill Murray every day seems to be the same. Actually, that’s the way the actual town of the groundhog, Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania is as well. But I digress …

It is far too early to make any sort of major pronouncements on the ’10 Chiefs. At times they appear more advanced than at any point last year. At other times, they seem to struggle with aspects of the offense and defense, which is pretty standard for a team just three days into camp.

Here are the observations of this observer, who watched every play in St. Joe and has the sunburn to prove it: …Read More!


The number of unsigned 2010 draft choices has fallen to just eight of 257 draftees, but there are still a couple of big names without contracts.

Leading that group is DT Ndamukong Suh (right), selected with the second pick of the draft by Detroit. Suh is the highest ranked player without a contract. His agent is Eugene Parker a man who has been known to keep players out of camp for lengthy periods of time (see Michael Crabtree.)

Supposedly Suh and his agents wanted a deal that would exceed the 6-year, $78 million contract with $50 million in guaranteed money picked up by first pick QB Sam Bradford from the Rams.

Also unsigned as of late Sunday night in the first round was pick No. 6 OT Russell Okung in Seattle, No. 9 RB C.J. Spiller in Buffalo, the No. 10 pick DT Tyson Alualu in Jacksonville, No. 21 pick TE Jermaine Gresham in Cincinnati, the 26th pick NT Dan Williams in Arizona and No. 31, DE Jerry Hughes with Indianapolis.

The only other unsigned draft choice now is 2nd-round selection DE Sergio Kindle, selected by Baltimore. Kindle was the 43rd pick in the draft, but he fell down two flights of stairs in Austin and suffered a fractured skull. He’s been ruled out of training camp and the pre-season. …Read More!

Training Camp Practice #4 Report

From St. Joseph, Missouri

Through the first days of camp the loudest voice heard on the practice field at Missouri Western State University has been offensive coordinator Charlie Weis.

But another voice piped up during Sunday afternoon’s practice, and it was a familiar sound. It was a ticked off head coach.

When the Chiefs began the teamwork portion of their fourth training camp practice, the offense was working in the red zone. Before the drill started, Haley talked to both offense and defense about the need to eliminate penalties, turnovers and mental mistakes inside the 20-yard line.

(Photo: the Chiefs pick out kids in the crowd after each practice to carry a player’s helmet from the field to the locker room. That’s Chris Chambers with his little guy after Sunday’s practice.)

Then on play No. 1, QB Matt Cassel dropped back to pass, couldn’t find anybody open and was touched down for a sack by OLB Tamba Hali.

That lit the fuse on Mt. Haley.

“Throw the ball away Matt,” he yelled. Then he sent the entire group of offensive players over the neighboring field to run a penalty sprint. From there he started the drill over.

There was a lot of that during Sunday’s full-pad practice for the offense. There were some plays made by Cassel and company, but there were also moments where it was obvious they were not at their best.

When the team was in the nine-on-seven running drill, the first play saw OLB Mike Vrabel tackle RB Thomas Jones for a two-yard loss and the second snap turned into a busted play. That had Weis working his lungs. “That’s two wasted reps,” he screamed at his offense and delighting the large crowd of fans who were watching the workout under sunny skies.

Again, the depth chart on August 1 is meaningless in September, but Derrick Johnson and Jovan Belcher were running with the first defense in this practice. Both players looked like they had a good day, especially in filling the gaps against the running game and sniffing out screen passes.

Here’s a lot more on what went down Sunday afternoon: …Read More!

Not Much Growl In Wildcat … Sunday Cup O’Chiefs

From St. Joseph, Missouri

As fads in the world of pro football come and go, the Wildcat has come and it’s making a slow exit out of the NFL. It’s unlikely to ever be gone completely, given the fact that plays where somebody other than the quarterback handles the ball or throws a pass have been part of the game for a hundred years.

While the Chiefs used a good portion of their Saturday morning practice working on plays from the Wildcat formation, it wasn’t because having the quarterback split wide and another player receiving the snap is going to be a regular part of the Kansas City offense.

Not with Todd Haley as head coach and Charlie Weis as offensive coordinator.

“We both come from the school of thought that you let the throwers throw, the catchers catch and the runners run,” Haley said on Saturday. “If you have a unique player, it can be useful.” …Read More!


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