Thursday 9/30 Practice Report

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs final bye week practice session went down this morning under sunny skies and with offensive coordinator Charlie Weis returning to the field.

Weis, who underwent gall bladder surgery on Monday, was on the scooter he’s used since suffering a knee injury right before the start of training camp. Since the coaching duties were being handled by the players, Weis never left his seat and simply observed.

While he wouldn’t directly address the return of Weis, head coach Todd Haley talked in general terms about the commitment his players and staff have made.

“For us to become what we need to become, this is going to be a team effort,” said Haley. “I’ve worked real hard at making sure that’s the way I think, that’s the way I keep my focus. When you become a good team, it’s about the entire unit, not individuals. That’s the way our guys think. That’s the way our coaching staff thinks. I know we have more and more players that understand that, and understand that to get to where we want to, we have to be a team.”

Haley did say that Weis being absent for most of the week did no harm to the work that got done during the bye week. “We had plenty of coaches and we got plenty of work done in a lot of different areas,” Haley said. “We had a very productive day today. We got better across the board. I feel very good about how the week played out and now we get some much needed rest and then we’ll be back at it on Monday.” …Read More!

Second-Half Cassel …Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

The gnashing of teeth in the Chiefs Nation over Matt Cassel and his performance has subsided for a week, maybe even two weeks given the bye weekend ahead for the Chiefs and their much maligned quarterback and leader.

Coming off a three touchdown pass performance against San Francisco, Cassel seemingly was forgiven for his first half interception against the Niners. He came back in the second half and threw the ball well and the Chiefs rolled to their third straight victory with a balanced offense that included those three TD passes to three different receivers.

In fact, the second half of the last two games has featured Cassel at his best. OK, maybe not his best, but compared to his first half performances in those games, he took quite a step forward in the third and fourth quarters against Cleveland and San Francisco. Here are his passing numbers for those games broken down to what he did in the first and second half against the Browns and 49ers: …Read More!

Wednesday 9/29 Practice Report-Update

From the Truman Sports Complex

The AFC Defensive Player of the Week was not working on his pass rush moves Wednesday morning during practice #2 of the Chiefs bye week.

OLB Tamba Hali was in his role this week as an assistant coach, working with Mike Vrabel coaching the outside linebackers through drills. Hali was named the conference’s best defensive player for week No. 3 thanks to his three-sack performance against San Francisco.

Under sunny skies and perfect temperatures the second of three worouts this week went down on the team’s outdoor practice fields.  The picture was much the same as Tuesday’s first practice as 15 veteran players were working as assistant coaches with each position group. Make that 16, as injured-reserve WR Jerheme Urban was out there again working with the receivers. Urban tore ligaments in a finger on his right hand in the final pre-season game, ending his season. He still has a large brace on that hand.

“They are prideful guys and prideful people don’t ever want to be part of something negative,” Haley said of his player/assistants. …Read More!

R.I.P. George Blanda

If you are of a certain age where you grew up watching football in the late 1960s and early 1970s, there were certain players that will forever live in your memory banks no matter what zip code your television was in.

There was Joe Namath and those white shoes. There was the little receiver they called Bambi, as Lance Alworth caught passes in those baby blues of the Chargers. There was Butkus and Nitschke who patrolled the middle of the defenses and were always picking turf out of their facemasks.

George Blanda was one of those memorable guys. Wearing the silver and black of the Raiders, pulling that helmet down as he trotted on the field, it was always an amazing sight to see this guy who seemed so old, on the field deciding games with his arm and-or his foot. He didn’t so much run as he waddled out to the huddle. He would take those short choppy steps when he dropped back to throw, and there was never any question that he would take off running (in his last nine years he ran three times.) He was a statue, staring down the pass rush of men half his age.

George Blanda passed away on Tuesday. He had just turned 83 years old, celebrating his birthday some 10 days before he died. Details of his death have not been released by the Raiders or the family. Considering how many games he played (340) and how many years he was in pro football (from 1949 through 1975, missing only 1959), the fact he lived as long as he did was testimony to the constitution of a coal miner’s son from western Pennsylvania.   …Read More!

Coaches, Coaches Everywhere … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

Todd Haley’s desire to think outside the box had WR Terrance Copper running the special teams during the Chiefs first bye week practice on Tuesday.

It’s not a role that Copper ever envisioned for himself. “I’ve always been too busy trying to make the team and keep my spot,” Copper said. “I didn’t think about stuff like this.”

But Haley does. Like a lot of head coaches, he’s constantly trying to build a better mousetrap. He’s always looking for different ways to do the same thing, just to break the monotony, to fuel something in his players or even his coaching staff.

What the second-year head coach believes in, that foundation is set in stone. But there are always ways of sticking to those beliefs and making it work in different ways.

That’s what’s going down during the three bye-week practices for the Chiefs. Haley has designated 15 players as assistant coaches this week. They range from 15-year veteran center Casey Wiegmann to third-year cornerback Brandon Flowers. There is a player/assistant coach at every position group, save the specialists and quarterbacks.

“In a lot of different discussions with veteran players in the last year or so, in asking about what parts of the bye week they like, what parts they don’t like, I came to the conclusion that veterans didn’t like the bye week period,” said Haley.

It’s part of Haley’s personality and his approach to the job that he’s always poking and prodding, trying to pick the brains of people he trusts or respects on different subjects related to the team. In questioning the veterans about the bye week he found out that players, but especially older players, hate practice. It’s something they’ll put up each week because they know the importance of preparing for an opponent.

But when there is no opponent, spending three or four days practicing in the middle of the season is torture. …Read More!

Ask Bob: September 28

Cupp says: You guys really think a Bills castoff would be better than Cassel? I’m not voting Cassel MVP or anything but Trent Edwards really? Come on. Also anybody else see Priest on the sideline on Sunday? Good to see we haven’t completely forgotten the past. Bob any info on what Holmes was up to?

Bob says: Priest Holmes is and always will be a ghost. He suddenly appears, and then just as quickly he’s gone. Not sure what he was doing at Arrowhead, but Priest still has some business interests here and it would be the place he lived if he wasn’t so ensconced in San Antonio.


KC_Guy says: I wonder how many seats the Chiefs declared “dead” for the season. If a paid attendance of less than 70,000 is good to avoid a blackout it should be better than 5,000 seats we won’t see occupied throughout the year.

Bob says: I understand that there was quite a bit of discussion within the walls of the Chiefs offices throughout the off-season on how many seats they would kill for the season. According to NFL rules, they can declare any number of seats dead for the year. That means they cannot sell them at any time, even if there is a demand. I’m not sure how many they settled on, but unlike Jacksonville that blacks out whole sections in the upper deck, I hear the Chiefs picked out seats all throughout the stadium on a few per section basis and killed those. …Read More!

John Madden on Chiefs

Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Hall of Famer John Madden admits surprise by the 3-0 start by the Chiefs, but says after watching Sunday’s victory over San Francisco, he’s know a believer.

Here’s Madden:

“Going into Sunday, those were the two teams (Chiefs and Buccaneers)  I really didn’t believe in that were undefeated. After watching [Sunday], I kind of believe in Kansas City because they look like they’ve really started to turn things around.

“They make you blink your eyes, and maybe it’s that you didn’t pay a lot of attention to them the last couple years. They brought a lot of new players in, new coaches — Charlie Weis, Romeo Crennel — and, hell, they look pretty good.

“I don’t know if they’re ready to do great things as a playoff team, but they’re a hell of a lot better than the Kansas City team that I last looked at.”

Tuesday 9/28 Practice Report – Update

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs first practice of the bye week had a few more coaches working with the players on Tuesday morning.

One of them was not offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, who was expected to be released from a Kansas City hospital on Tuesday after gall bladder surgery on Monday morning.

Head coach Todd Haley had the most veteran members of his roster working as assistant coaches for this workout. There were 15 players who wore baseball caps rather than helmets, led by the most veteran of players C Casey Wiegmann and OLB Mike Vrabel.

“In a lot of different discussions with veteran players in the last year in asking about what parts of the bye week they like, what parts they don’t,” Haley said. “I came to the conclusion that veterans didn’t like the bye week period. I came up with this thought of getting some or our leaders and veterans a little more involved in the communication process with the other players.

“Through one day, I’m happy with how things went. I thought it was a real productive day for us. We definitely got a little bit better today, and that was important for us.”

This was not a one day thing for the players turned assistants; they’ll continue in that role over the next two days. In fact, most of those players were not in the locker room when it was open to the media, because they were about to have a “staff” meeting.

“They had their own run and lift (session) this morning and they had some meeting time,” said Haley. “We are using our resources. This is no different than using all 45 players on game day in my mind.” …Read More!

Not Overlooking The Bye Week … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

Todd Haley never lets up on this forgetting about the past and not thinking about the future.

While some of his players may be looking forward to a matchup with the Indianapolis Colts on October 9, the Chiefs head coach doesn’t want his team overlooking the next few days and the time the team will spend during the bye week.

“The critical part of becoming a good team is the ability to focus on the task at hand and not getting caught up in the past and the future,” Haley said on Monday, after he’d looked at the tape of the 21-point victory over San Francisco. “From my standpoint I want us to be focused on this bye week and doing the things we have to do in the areas that we feel like as a coaching staff that we need to improve on.

“There are a bunch of things that we have to get better at. We aren’t there yet. There’s a lot of work to do. This is a great opportunity for us as a staff and a team to work on that.”

Before anybody in the Chiefs locker room starts plotting to face Peyton Manning and the guys with the horseshoes on their helmets, they must get ready to spend the next three days battling the bye week. That means placing a critical eye on the Kansas City Chiefs.

“I’m sure there will be plenty of things for us to work on during the bye,” said LG Brian Waters. “There’s not a thing that we do that is as good as it could be whether it’s on offense, defense or special teams. I think guys will be smart enough to take this time to take care of their bodies.” …Read More!

Enrique’s Post Patterns: San Francisco

(Throughout the season, as soon as game day is over and the facts are compiled, Enrique will dissect the patterns that dominated the Red and Gold weekly extravaganza. See if you agree.)

THE IN PATTERN (the pattern that is more than welcomed.)

And one that’d be appropriately represented by the sustained excellence that Brandon Flowers has displayed in the incipient stages of the season. Not only in the form of a second consecutive week with a game turning INT, but also in the little parts that have integrated his rather impressive ’10 body of work.

Either showing us how to tackle (against the Chargers), or exhibiting the rewards of his preparation (against Cleveland), or surprising us with his athletic skills (against the 49ers), Flowers has been a force to be reckoned with, as well as the quintessential leader by example. In fact, so good has been his game, that if Flowers keeps this pace by the end of the year, his name will undoubtedly be worthy of Pro Bowl consideration, up there with the likes of Darrelle Revis and Nnamdi Asomugha.

That is, if it isn’t already. …Read More!

Weis’ Health In Question

From the Truman Sports Complex

According to the agent for Chiefs offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, he underwent gall bladder surgery Monday morning.

Bob La Monte told the Kansas City Star that the problem was diagnosed Friday evening, but Weis put off surgery to get through the weekend and Sunday’s game against San Francisco.

Weis is expected to be released from the hospital on Tuesday.

The NFL pipeline was filled with rumors all day of Weis and problems. When asked about Weis, head coach Todd Haley acknowledged that there was a problem, but said it was not life threatening.

“As is my policy I won’t talk about anybody’s health; that’s a family business deal,” said Haley. “That being said, there is nothing life threatening, heart attack related, any of the couple things (rumors) that have been brought to my attention. I will make that statement just to keep there from being a bunch of hoopla. I won’t get into the personal side of this with any of our associates, employees, coaches.”

Weis has been dealing with a left knee injury that he suffered in the days before the start of training camp. He’s had several health problems in the past.

There was no word on whether Weis was at work on Monday.

Haley’s Keys To Winning – San Francisco

From Arrowhead Stadium

Todd Haley was very clear in what he felt his team must do to win each weekend of the 2010 season. Here’s what he said:

“I know that we’re going to be a team that has to protect the football; this is not going to change. We’re going to have to protect the football at all costs, we will not be able to turn the ball over and win games right now. We are going to have to stop the run on defense. We’re going to have to win on special teams and that’s going to mean scoring points, more often or not, or putting our team in a position to score points. We’re going to have to cover on special teams and not allow big plays and on defense we’re probably going to have to create some turnovers – at least one or two a game. That’s what we have to do and that’s what we’re working hard to do every game.”


Once again, the Chiefs did turn the ball over with the interception by QB Matt Cassel. But that was it, and the defense got one back with CB Brandon Flowers second interception in two weeks. They didn’t win the turnover battle. They tied. OUTCOME: Failure.


It’s pretty darn hard to imagine a better performance against a more talented back than the Chiefs holding Frank Gore to 43 yards on 15 carries. OUTCOME: Successful. …Read More!

Blowout Leftovers: Jimmy Raye Fired

A return trip to Kansas City for Jimmy Raye proved to be a dismal experience. Sunday, his San Francisco offense looked horrible in losing to the Chiefs by 21 points.

Then Monday morning, Raye gets the boot from the Niners, this despite comments from head coach Mike Singletary after the game that Raye would be his man for the rest of the season. Something changed on the flight home or bright an early this morning in the Bay Area, because Raye is out of work and quarterbacks coach Mike Johnson has been promoted to the position.

Spotted in an elevator headed to the locker room after the game, Raye appeared a bit shell shocked by Sunday’s events. According to 49ers players, the Chiefs defense was calling out San Francisco plays before the snap. That does not mean the defense can stop the play, but it’s always nice when you have a good idea of what’s coming at you, whether it’s run or pass.

There was an obvious problem with the Niners offense against the Chiefs. Some of that is credit to the defense that played a very good game. But when the quarterback throws 42 passes and went back to throw a total of 47 times, and he only targets TE Vernon Davis six times, then something is out of whack.

All of football, but especially at the NFL level, is counter-punching, figuring out what your opponent is doing to you and then reacting to that. Nobody knows that more than Jimmy Raye, but for whatever reasons the 49ers couldn’t get it done on Sunday. …Read More!

Did Shaun Smith Grab Again?

From Arrowhead Stadium

For the second week in a row, Chiefs DE Shaun Smith has been accused of grabbing an opponent where he shouldn’t.

San Francisco rookie RT Anthony Davis said after Sunday’s game that Smith was “trying to feel” his  package during the game. Davis eventually had enough and early in the third quarter he punched Smith. He got caught and was hit with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Just last week, Cleveland C Alex Mack said Smith did the same thing in that game and he got flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, although his relatiation did not involve Smith personally.

“He kept doing it,” Davis said, who graphically showed reporters in the visitors’ locker room at Arrowhead how Smith touched him. “That hasn’t happened to me since high school.”

Davis said he did not complain to officials and was simply trying to “deal with it.”

“I think he got hit inappropriately,” 49ers head coach Mike Singletary said. “There’s only so much of it you can take. He was wrong for retaliating and he knows that. We just have to maintain our cool.”

Smith was gone from the Chiefs locker room before word of Davis’ accusation was made.

Notes: So Much For A Guaranteed Victory

From Arrowhead Stadium

Last week, San Francisco TE Vernon Davis guaranteed a victory by the 49ers on their trip to Kansas City. After going 0-2, Davis was emboldened to chalk up the first winning performance of the season before it was played.

Davis couldn’t back up his words. Not only this Sunday, as the Chiefs battered the Niners 31-10 in a game where Davis and his teammates never had control and struggled to even keep the score as close as it was.

It left a 49ers team that was much ballyhooed at the start of the season at 0-3 and reeling.

“Something needs to be done,” Davis said. “We can’t keep losing. I’m here to support whatever decision that Coach Singletary makes.”

As far as Mike Singletary is concerned, he wasn’t committing to anything after the game.

“Obviously we did not execute on the either offense or defense,” the Niners head coach said. “Obviously we will have to get back and evaluate the film and make some decisions going forward … we are going to get back and look at the film and hold back on making any changes.”

That indicates there will be some changes contemplated. After the Niners performance, there probably should be. Given a difficult task of playing on the road after a Monday night game, Singletary’s team never seemed to show up. They came in with the reputation of being a big, nasty team and that attitude pretty much petered out after the first quarter.

“We’ve got ourselves in a little hole right now,” said MLB Patrick Willis. “It stings, it hurts right now, but we got a lot of football left.”

QB Alex Smith was very frustrated after the game, and made no bones about the sad performance of the San Francisco offense.

“We were pretty inept all the way around, throwing the ball, running the ball, protecting, penalties, it was all in there,” Smith said. “I don’t think you could point to anything. It was everything.

“We didn’t get it done. We didn’t show up.”


The throw looked like it might be long. Rookie TE Tony Moeaki had San Francisco LB Navarro Bowman on his hip, in what was pretty good coverage. The back of the end zone was coming up fast and Moeaki wasn’t sure he had enough room.

“It was a great throw,” Moeaki said of the 18-yard touchdown pass he caught from QB Matt Cassel.

It was a great throw. But it was a spectacular catch, as Moeaki threw up one hand, pulled the ball down and landed in the end zone for the Chiefs third touchdown of the day.

“He’s doing a great job for us,” said Cassel. “He’s a guy that consistently goes out there and works hard. You see him week in and week out for the last three weeks making plays. He just has to keep working hard.”

Moeaki finished the day with four catches for 44 yards. After three games he continues to lead the team in receiving, with 12 catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns.

But nothing he’s caught matched the way he hauled in that touchdown throw.

“I wouldn’t know how to rate it,” Moeaki said. “I just stuck up my hand and it stuck. I’m just glad I got everything down in bounds.”


The Chiefs had a fairly good day on special teams. The only big mistake came when they went for the surprise onsides kick. The executed the play, but S Eric Berry was ruled offsides, something he said after the game he probably was. That’s the type of play you get to execute about once a season, so it’s a shame to waste a play like that on a penalty.

K Ryan Succop was one of two on field goals, hitting from 32 yards and supposedly missing from 38 yards. That kick went over the right upright, but was ruled no good. Until then he had been 19 for 19 in his career inside the 40-yard line.

P Dustin Colquitt was strong, averaging 44.3 yards, both gross and net, on four punts. He had a long punt of 59 yards and he knocked three of his four punts inside the 20-yard line.

In the return game, the Chiefs were largely bottled up all day. CB Javier Arenas missed a few opportunities because of what appeared to be a right ankle injury. He was not on defense or special teams for awhile and then returned to the game with his right foot and ankle heavily taped. He had three punt returns for an average of 7.7 yards and one kick return for 19 yards. WR Dexter McCluster had three punt returns for an average of 14 yards, with a 30-yard return. He added one kickoff return for 17 yards.

Coverage-wise nothing got done for the Niners. WR Kyle Williams returned three kickoffs for an average of 21.7 yards, including a 30-yarder. He returned just one punt for zero yards.

Succop did send a directional kickoff out of bounds late in the third quarter that cost the Chiefs field position. On the kickoff prior to that, he had done a great job of booting the ball into the left corner of the end zone where it rolled out of bounds for a touchback. Overall his six kickoffs went onside, to the five, touchback, penalty out of bounds at the 30-yard line and to the five.


It was the crew of rookie referee Clete Blakeman working the game and they did not seem to get in the way much. There were no coaching challenges to calls, or challenges from the replay operator, so that’s one reason the game went just 3 hours and 1 minute.

They dropped seven hankies on the Chiefs for 40 yards. Here’s how they broke down:

  • Offense – C Casey Wiegmann called for holding, wiping out a 23-yard run by Jamaal Charles.
  • Kickoff – S Eric Berry called offsides, wiping out a recovered onside kick.
  • Offense – WR Chris Chambers false start.
  • Defense – LB Demorrio Williams offsides.
  • Offense – TE Tony Moeaki false start.
  • Offense – RT Barry Richardson false start.
  • Defense – DE Glenn Dorsey offsides.


Everybody on the 45-man game-day roster except backup QB Brodie Croyle played in the game. Inactives were led by LDE Tyson Jackson, RT Ryan O’Callaghan, FB Mike Cox, CB Jackie Bates, S Reshard Langford, LB Charlie Anderson, LB Justin Cole and DE Alex Magee.

Richardson got the start for O’Callaghan for the third straight week. Shaun Smith started at LDE for Jackson.

In the starting lineup for the Chiefs were Tony Moeaki at tight end, with just one TE on the field. Also, Kendrick Lewis started at free safety, although Jon McGraw was active and played quite a bit.

Inactive players for the 49ers were C Eric Heitmann, WR Ted Ginn, CB Tramine Brock, CB Will James, OT Barry Sims, OT Alex Boone, WR Jason Hill, and Troy Smith was the inactive third quarterback.

OMG! … Chiefs 3-0 With 2-Game Lead!

From Arrowhead Stadium

It’s one thing to consider that after their 31-10 victory on Sunday over San Francisco, the Chiefs are 3-0. But how does one get their arms around the fact that three weeks into the 2010 NFL season they have a two-game lead over the rest of the AFC West?

San Diego lost at Seattle, Oakland lost at Arizona and Indianapolis bashed the Broncos in Denver. It leaves the Chiefs 3-0 and the Chargers, Raiders and Broncos are now all 1-2.

The victory over the 49ers was the type of afternoon the Chiefs haven’t enjoyed for some time. The defense was dominating, the offense scored four times and the special teams did its job. There were stars everywhere, from Tamba Hali and Brandon Flowers on defense, to Jamaal Charles, Thomas Jones, Dexter McCluster and Tony Moeaki on offense.

Here’s what you can find in our coverage:

  • Game story: Maybe it’s time to start believing in these 3-0 Chiefs.
  • Commentary: Haley has something going on with this team.
  • Sidebar: Did Shaun Smith grab again?
  • Sidebar: Winning on first down.
  • Sidebar: Flea-flicker gamble pays off.
  • Sidebar: Hali leads defense.
  • Notes: Guaranteed What?
  • GameBook.
  • Pre-Game Coverage.

Winning By Winning First Down

From Arrowhead Stadium

“I really felt like first down was going to be a critical down for us.”

Those were the words of Todd Haley after the Chiefs 31-10 victory over San Francisco on Sunday.

In fact, it was among his first words to the media horde after the game; that’s how much importance the Chiefs head coach saw in first down.

“Some of the other sexier downs get a little more talk and some of the other areas of the field get a little more talk,” Haley said. “But I think if you’re playing a team like San Francisco, who has been one of the top teams in the league on first down through two games on both sides of the ball that became a critical down for us.

“I feel across the board, both offensively and defensively that the guys understood that.”

Coming into the game, the Chiefs offense was ranked No. 30 in 1st down offensive efficiency, that’s the number of first down plays that gained four yards or more. The 49ers defense was ranked No. 8 in the league. Flipping it around, the Chiefs defense was ranked No. 17 while the San Francisco offense was No. 4, behind only Houston, Indianapolis and New England.

So first down was a big down for the Niners on both offense and defense and not so hot for the Chiefs over the season’s first two weeks.

On Sunday at Arrowhead, here’s how the numbers broke down:




1st Rushing


1st Passing

Total 1st


Total 1st



+4 Yards

CHIEFS 17 for 117 11 for 75




San Francisco 7 for 23 15 for 53




“First down was real critical for us,” said Haley. “We had to be physical, which we were. I think it’s clear you can see this team likes to run and hit across the board. They don’t mind getting in to it a little bit from a physical standpoint. That’s the way it’s got to be. Our guys understand it and they’re willing to go out there and slug it out a little bit, which worked to our benefit today.”

Said QB Matt Cassel: “It was a big point of emphasis to produce on first down. Especially, against this team that is pretty stout against the run and the play-action pass. We wanted to get off to a good start on every possession. Throughout the game we did a pretty good job of that.”

Hali Leads Defensive Effort

From Arrowhead Stadium

Tamba Hali doesn’t talk to the media anymore. The reasons for his decision are well … unknown since he won’t speak to the media anymore. There’s nothing angry in his silence. He still says hello in the locker room like he has since his rookie year out of Penn State. There’s almost always a smile on his face.

He’s decided to let his play talk for him. On Sunday, he was shouting at the top of his lungs. Despite a sore right foot/ankle injury that has bothered him for about a month now, Hali took over the line of scrimmage on Sunday against San Francisco.

Whether his pass rush came from standing up as an outside linebacker or out of a three-point stance as a defensive end, he made the afternoon miserable for San Francisco QB Alex Smith.

Hali had three sacks on Sunday, matching his career best game that came against Denver at Arrowhead last year. And afterwards, he talked. But only to the folks in the Chiefs public relations department, who transcribed what he had to say.

“You now Romeo Crennel has come in here and really changed our identity and the things we’re doing we’re very happy about,” said Hali.

He gave credit to the defensive line for playing so well on the early downs and stifling the Niners running game.

“With them stopping the run, that allowed us to rush the quarterback,” Hali said. “We just had to stop the run. We knew they were a good team coming in as far as running the ball and Alex Smith had a good game against New Orleans last week and our whole focus was just stopping the run.”

Along with Hali’s three there were sacks from OLB Andy Studebaker and NT Ron Edwards. Yes, Ron Edwards, the man who seldom finds himself in position to take down the quarterback; he had one sack in the previous two seasons.

Sacks don’t always tell the story on pass rush pressure, although in this case five is a pretty good indication. Smith completed 55 percent of his passes, while averaging a puny 5.5 yards per passing attempt.

“We had a specific plan that we wanted to handle this quarterback, who was playing at a real high level,” said head coach Todd Haley. “Alex Smith, who is tough and is going to be one of the good quarterbacks in this league. We had a plan and it worked out that we were able to get off a couple blocks and get some sacks. I now the guys are excited about that, but the way we’re trying to do things doesn’t revolve around sacks.”

It revolves around frustrating the crap out of the opposing quarterback. There’s no doubt the pressure left Smith and the Niners frustrated.

“We couldn’t get into a rhythm,” said Smith. “We couldn’t do anything. We would get a first down then put ourselves in third and long. We didn’t get much done at all. I see a lot of room for improvement.”

As Hali said, one of the keys to that pressure was the Niners inability to run the football. They had just 43 yards on 15 carries, all by Frank Gore. His longest run was six yards. The 2.9-yard average was something magnificent for the Chiefs defense.

“We went in with the idea that we had to stop the run,” said LB Derrick Johnson. “He’s an exceptional player. When they couldn’t do that, it really opened things up for us.”

Enough that even Tamba Hali talked.

Flea-Flicker Leaves Niners Scratching

From Arrowhead Stadium

It’s not a play with a fancy name. It doesn’t sit on a piece of paper in the Chiefs offensive playbook with a title like “x-post, gun left, yada, yada, yada.”

According to the players, it was simply called the flea-flicker.

“That’s it, that’s what it’s called,” said QB Matt Cassel.

That’s Cassel and WR Dwayne Bowe above at the end of what was a 45-yard touchdown pass. That’s how it will look in the box score for generations to come. But there was so much more to this play. It had the potential for the big payoff and also came with the potential for disaster. Any time five different players touch the ball on the same play; there are always things that can go very wrong.

“We executed just the way we practiced and just the way it was drawn up,” said RB Thomas Jones. “We were really able to do that most of the afternoon.”

OK, so here are the details.

It was the third quarter, and the Chiefs held a 10-3 lead. The situation was 2nd-and-10 for the Chiefs at the San Francisco 45-yard line. The Chiefs had normal personnel in the huddle, but when they broke the circle, it was hardly normal. Cassel ran out to the far left as a wide receiver. Jones was lined up behind center Casey Wiegmann. WR/RB Dexter McCluster was in the slot right.

Jones took the shotgun snap and handed off to McCluster, who had been in motion. McCluster ran left, but then stopped and flipped the ball back to Cassel who had done a bit of a circle behind the action. It was there that Cassel let loose with a 45-yard throw that Bowe went up and got and landed in the end zone.

Five hands touched it – Wiegmann to Jones to McCluster to Cassel to Bowe. There was a shotgun snap (always potential for something to go wrong), a handoff by a player who normally takes handoffs, a lateral back from a wide receiver in the open field with defensive players around him. And then with Bowe, there’s always the chance he drops the thing at the end of the play.

But every exchange worked perfectly and the Chiefs had the score that took all the air out of the 49ers.

“That definitely gave us a jolt of energy,” said Cassel. “You could see it throughout the sideline. From there we were having a party out there. Everything was going well. We were running the ball well and it just continued throughout the rest of the game.”

It was one of several gambles that Todd Haley called for throughout the game. The Chiefs tried a surprise onside kick that worked except they were offsides. They went for it on fourth down, playing a cat and mouse game with the Niners by lining up to punt and then hustling the offense on the field. And then there was the flea flicker.

“I just think there are games that you can and games that you can’t (gamble),” Haley said. This is one where we had a clear cut plan where we thought we could get some things done. We didn’t get all the things done that we could have. There are some risk-reward plays that are going to have to be called in games.”

On Sunday with the flea-flicker, it was all reward.

Commentary: There’s Something Going on Here

From Arrowhead Stadium

I think it’s safe to say that the mantras chanted for the last two years by Todd Haley have infected his football team.

After picking up a stunningly brutal 31-10 victory over San Francisco on Sunday, the Chiefs locker room was not delirious with celebration and joy. They are now 3-0, and for any player in that room who was part of last year’s 4-12, or the 2-14 from the season before, or the 4-12 from the year before that, this had to be pure heaven. Only six other teams in 51 years of Chiefs football had been 3-0 and that group included the AFL championship teams of 1962 and 1966.

But there the Chiefs were, toweling off, dressing, answering questions in a matter of fact manner. From Thomas Jones, to Brian Waters, to Brandon Flowers, to Derrick Johnson, to Shaun Smith, to Dexter McCluster, to Tony Moeaki … they were all recordings of sane, level-headed football players who have come to understand one thing – going 3-0 accomplishes nothing.

And that comes from Haley.

“One of the pitfalls in this business is thinking that you’ve accomplished something,” said Haley after the game. Of course, he said the same thing before the game, a week ago, a month ago, last year. “If you have a feeling like you’ve accomplished so much, the trap door is about to open underneath you and you are going to make a long fall into some ugly waters. That’s what I believe, that’s how I’ve always believed. That’s the way I was raised and taught. That’s how I coach.

“We are three games into the season, we haven’t done anything.” …Read More!

It’s Now the 3-0 Chiefs After Smacking 49ers

From Arrowhead Stadium

Maybe, just maybe it’s time to start believing in these 2010 Kansas City Chiefs.

No reason yet to run out and check on Super Bowl tickets, but after their 31-10 victory over the San Francisco 49ers, they are 3-0. A record they haven’t seen since 2003 and that has been accomplished only six previous times in the 51-season history of the franchise.

Yes the 49ers are now 0-3, just like the Browns team they beat last week. But the Chiefs used to reside in that same zip code. Whether they’ve moved all the way to the penthouse level is not something that’s proven yet. But they’ve definitely gone up town.

“It feels great,” said QB Matt Cassel, who led a 457-yard offensive effort with three touchdown passes. “Winning ball games is what the NFL is all about. There are a lot of guys in that locker room who went through the tough season last year and all the adversity. To be 3-0 at this point, we are all excited.

“We are not satisfied at 3-0. There is a long way to go. We are just going to keep working.” …Read More!

Pre-Game From Arrowhead

From Arrowhead Stadium

11:43 a.m. CDT – Enjoy the game. We’ll have complete coverage this evening.

11:40 a.m. CDT – New role for rookie G Jon Asamoah, as he lines up as a fullback in the goal line package. Moves pretty well stepping into that role.

11:34 a.m. CDT – Brian Waters called the offensive and defensive lines together and was very animated in the message he was delivering. I’m sure it had something to do with controlling the line of scrimmage.

11:20 a.m. CDT - It looks like the extra captain for the Chiefs today is CB Brandon Flowers. He’s Todd Haley’s pick to join Cassel-Jones-Waters-Vrabel-Waters.

11:11 a.m. CDT – The officiating crew working the game is led by rookie referee Clete Blakeman. He has plenty of veteran help with guys like umpire Garth DeFelice and head linesman Tony Veteri.

11:07 a.m. CDT – Inactive status of S Reshard Langford will force some changes on special teams. He was part of all four of the major units (punt, punt return, kickoff, kick return), so someone will need to step up. …Read More!

Looking For More Ugliness … Game-Day Cup O’Chiefs

So is there really such a thing as an ugly victory?

I mean come on, winning is hard to do, and anything that takes so much work and effort, how can that be ugly? I always figured it was like a newborn. When a baby is born, about one out of 100 is actually beautiful. The other 99 have scrunched up faces, misshapen heads, bumps, bruises and assorted other markings. A month later they don’t look anything like the day they were born.

The only time that a newborn is truly beautiful is when it’s yours. Then, there is nothing on earth that’s prettier.

So far this year, the Chiefs have birthed a couple of victories, the kind that have been labeled ugly. Not that it matters much to them.

“Call them what you want,” said CB Brandon Flowers. “Just call them wins.”

The Chiefs go for No. 3 on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium against the 0-2 San Francisco 49ers. Kickoff is noon and you can see the game on the Fox-TV network.

Whether the outcome is labeled another ugly victory remains to be seen, but the Chiefs could care less. The chance to go 3-0 for the first time since 2003 makes the look inconsequential.

“Are there ugly wins? Sure. Absolutely,” said veteran G Brian Waters. “We have played better in the past and been 0-2. So we are happy with the wins … it’s hard to get overly excited about the way we have played. It’s easy to get excited about what we know we can do in the future.”   …Read More!

Ask Bob: September 25

KC_Guy says: Just wonder what’s wrong with Tamba’s foot. Looks like he’s had it for a while now; keeping him from at least some practice reps. Waters had some kind of lingering foot issue throughout last season and it showed. Although Tamba has been in the backfield fairly often he didn’t have as much impact as I’d had expected. 5 tackles, 0.5 sacks after 2 games sounds pretty pedestrian. Think he’ll have to turn it up some to allow the Chiefs to get more pressure on the QB – something definitely needed for Sunday and even more against the Colts in week 5. Bob, any insight what’s wrong and how much this injury limits Tamba?

Bob says: the injury occurred sometime in the pre-season. I remember him limping over to the sideline in the Philadelphia game and he got re-taped and went back in the game. From that point on, it’s been an issue. I’m sure it may be hurting him a bit, but it would take something far more serious for Hali to come out of the game. Without a doubt the Chiefs need more pressure on the passer, whether it comes from Tamba or not.


…Read More!

Honoring The Chiefs Old Pardner

In pre-game ceremonies on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, the Chiefs will honor Bill Grigsby.

There’s some question as to whether Grigs will feel well enough to make it to the stadium. I know Grigs is struggling these days but to appear in front of a crowd of Chiefs fans that will shower him with love, he wouldn’t miss it. I’ll know Grigs is really sick if they hand him the microphone and they don’t have to pry it out of his hands to get it back.

For some 15 years I shared the radio broadcast booth in the pre-game with Grigs. For much more than that I’ve been around him as part of the media horde covering the Chiefs. We’ve had dinner together, we’ve played golf together, we’ve had a toddy or two (or three) together, we’ve argued and fought, and we’ve shared plenty of laughs and jokes. It’s been quite an experience that carries plenty of memories. At times is was a joy, at other times it was a challenge and there were a few times where it could be exasperating. Always it was interesting.

Grigs and I would be trying to find a cab early Sunday mornings while we were on the road, hustling to get to the stadium to start the three-and-a-half-hour pre-game. Standing outside a hotel, I would be my normal early-morning grumpy self. By the time a cab showed up, Grigs would already know the name of the bellman and the valet parking guy and he’s be telling him one of his many stories. …Read More!

The QB Class of 2005 … Saturday Cup O’Chiefs

It will not be remembered in the same breath as possibly the greatest quarterback draft in NFL history, the 1983 group that included Hall of Famers John Elway, Dan Marino and Jim Kelly.

But the quarterback draft class of 2005 is a remarkable collection of stories about the trials and tribulations of surviving at football’s most difficult position. Two of the 14 members of that class will be the starters Sunday when Alex Smith (1st-choice) leads his San Francisco team into Arrowhead Stadium to face Matt Cassel (230th-pick) and the Chiefs.

Almost half of the class has been in the news in the last three weeks as the NFL season has started. Smith, Aaron Rodgers, Kyle Orton and Matt Cassel began the season as starting quarterbacks for their teams. So was Jason Campbell, but after two games he’s lost the job. It Derek Anderson who was picked to start for Arizona instead of Matt Leinart and in Buffalo this week Ryan Fitzpatrick is the new starter, replacing Trent Edwards.

Of the 14 quarterbacks selected nine are still in the league and six will start this weekend. Five of the 14 are out of the league and four never played a game. …Read More!

Creating Football Wealth

Why do Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and New England rarely draft early but still field competitive teams every year? Why did New Orleans win the Super Bowl a few years after Katrina? How did Dick Vermeil construct a top three offense within three years?

The answer – the success of a franchise is determined by the same principles that made Warren Buffett wealthier than all of us put together.

Like Buffett, successful franchises create wealth primarily through successful low-risk/high-return investments (mid-round draft choices and free agents), a few selective high-risk/high return-investments (early-round draft choices), seizing opportunity when it presents itself (successful trades) and by rarely losing their investment (failed draft choices and free agents.)

The degree of risk is determined by the amount of money you invest. The higher the draft choice, the greater the risk. The more money thrown at a free agent, the higher the risk. The more consideration you give when making a trade, the higher the risk. First-round draft choices are always high risk; about half of them are busts, offering low return. Premier free agents are high risk because they cost more, but again, often result in low or marginal return. Premier players become high-risk/high-return, because they cost so much and a team can only afford a few of these players because of the salary cap and other financial considerations. The bulk of the rosters from most successful teams are made up of low or mid-risk high return investments. …Read More!

Friday 9/24 Practice Report – Update

From Arrowhead Stadium

The Chiefs went through their final practice of the week in preparation for the San Francisco game on Friday morning.

And they did so inside Arrowhead Stadium. On Friday’s before home games, it sounds like head coach Todd Haley is always going to move his players from the team’s facility to the stadium for that session.

“I heard one time that if you study for the test where you are going to take the test that your results go up,” Haley said. “As long as they let me get away with it, we’ll do it.

“I don’t know whether there is benefit or not, but I like being up there in the stadium where we are going to play. Overall it was a high tempo practice and we made a little bit of improvement. Now, it’s up to guys to take care of their bodies, stay in their books and it will be time for the game.”

It will not be time for LDE Tyson Jackson or RT Ryan O’Callaghan …Read More!

Controversy At 2-0? … Friday Cup O’Chiefs

OK, let me get this straight; I’ve been a little foggy for the last few days.

The Chiefs are 2-0 and the Chiefs Nation is a buzz with not a quarterback controversy, but a running back controversy? Some think there is a conspiracy afoot to deny Jamaal Charles playing time. One internet clown apparently wrote that Charles isn’t being allowed to play because he’s a draft choice of the Peterson-Edwards-Kuharich regime. Supposedly that has Pioli/Haley slicing his touches.

So, let’s approach this with some logic, without emotion and hopefully without that kind of stupidity. Follow along.

#1 – Coach Says What?

Todd Haley said when asked Monday if he was satisfied with the number of carries Charles has had – “What’s our record? I am very comfortable with how the majority of things have gone. Do I want to be better? Heck yeah. We have to be better in every area.”

How has the lack of opportunities the Chiefs have given Charles over the first two games hurt them? How does his lack of work change the outcome of games?

It doesn’t. End of story.

However, we’ve got bytes to use and inches to fill, so let’s move on and look at the situation. …Read More!

Opponent: San Francisco 49ers

2010 record: 0-2, losing at Seattle by 25 points and then at home to New Orleans by three points, 25-22.

Last year’s record: 8-8, second in the NFC West Division.

Record for the last five seasons: 31-49, with a pair of second place finishes, two years in third place and one in fourth.

Last appearance in the playoffs: 2002, won the NFC West, and beat the New York Giants in the wild-card round 39-38, before losing to Tampa Bay 31-6. The Bucs went on to beat Oakland for the Super Bowl.

Owner: Denise DeBartolo York, daughter of Edward DeBartolo, Sr., who purchased the team in 1977. She took over control of the team in 2000 from her brother, when Eddie DeBartolo, Jr. was dealing with legal troubles involving his conviction in a federal case involving Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards. Her husband John York is part of the team’s decision making process and her son Jed York is team president.

General Manager: 49ers have a lot of hands involved in what would be GM duties, from Jed York, to executive VP of football Administration Lal Heneghan and executive VP of football and business operations Paraag Marathe.

Head coach: Mike Singletary (above right) is in his second full season as head coach. He has a 13-14 record. He took over the team at the midway point of the 2008 season, replacing Mike Nolan. Singletary had a Hall of Fame playing career playing 12 seasons for the Chicago Bears. He was a 10-time Pro Bowler and was twice named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1985 and 1988. He retired as a player in 1993. …Read More!

Friday 9/23 Practice Report

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs got some good news on Thursday when it comes to their pass rush for this Sunday against San Francisco at Arrowhead Stadium.

OLB Tamba Hali and DE Wallace Gilberry were both full participants in Thursday’s sessions, after being held out the day before because of injury. Hali has missed practice time in the last three weeks because of an injury to his right foot/ankle. Gilberry has missed practice time as well, but his back problem has not kept him out of any games today.

Hali and Gilberry were the team’s two leading sackers last year, and they remain so this year after two games.

“On the injury report we got a few more guys back and that’s always good for us,” said head coach Todd Haley.

Plus, FS Jon McGraw returned to full participation after missing last week’s game and several practices with a hamstring injury.

LDE Tyson Jackson and RT Ryan O’Callaghan were the only players that did not practice on Thursday, instead spending their time in the rehab area riding stationary bikes. It’s doubtful either will play against San Francisco.

Added to the practice report was S Reshard Langford with an ankle problem. He was listed as a limited participant.

Enrique’s Video Vault: SEC Matters


I ask because this past weekend, I stumbled upon this vision of the Raiders’ 2010 1st-round pick and SEC product (Alabama) Rolando McClain.

 Which led me to remember this January image of then Broncos rookie and fellow SEC 1st round selection (Tennessee) Robert Ayers.

Therefore, I have to pose the questions: Now that we have our own SEC rookie 1st rounder, should we expect Eric Berry to flash similar WWE moves one of these days? Is that a trademark around the SEC alumni nowadays? Does he have it in him to deliver what otherwise would be considered a cheap shot? My gut says that despite the nature of his playing position, Berry is WAY better than that. But hey, it’s a long season and anything can happen.

One thing’s for sure … I’ll be watching.

You can reach Enrique directly at .

Wednesday 9/22 Practice Report

From the Truman Sports Complex

Two games into the 2010 season the Chiefs are 2-0 and a tight end is the team’s leading receiver.

That might have been believable back in the Tony Gonzalez Era with the Chiefs. But it is rookie Tony Moeaki who after the first games of the season is on top the receiving stats, such as they are for an offense that’s struggled in the passing game. Moeaki has eight catches for 79 yards and his playing time is increasing dramatically from game-to-game. For all intent, he’s the start, supplanting veteran Leonard Pope. In the first two games, the Chiefs have had both TEs on the field for their first offensive play.

Moeaki battled through some minor injuries in training camp, and Todd Haley thinks his third-round pick out of Iowa has to understand that he’s more lineman, than he is wide receiver.

“Tight ends in training camps I want them to feel like offensive linemen; generally they aren’t going to feel very good,” said Haley. “That mentality is critical to the development of tight ends and Tony is developing that. He’s got a ways to go, but there are some encouraging signs.”

Moeaki was one of 59 players who took part in practice on Wednesday. …Read More!

Back In The Saddle

If there was a participation report on the media, I would be listed as limited in practice and questionable for Sunday’s Chiefs-49ers game. Thankfully, there will be no trip to the injured-reserve list.

I’m up and running … ok maybe not running, just walking right now. Drugs are a wonderful thing and if it wasn’t for some of the after-effects (you don’t want to know) I would be closer to 100 percent.

Thank you so much for all your kind words and thoughts. We’ll be a little slow on the up tick but we’ll get the job done.

Todd Haley’s Keys To Winning

Speaking last week, Todd Haley was very clear in what he felt his team must do to win each weekend of the 2010 season. Here’s what he said:

“I know that we’re going to be a team that has to protect the football; this is not going to change. We’re going to have to protect the football at all costs, we will not be able to turn the ball over and win games right now. We are going to have to stop the run on defense. We’re going to have to win on special teams and that’s going to mean scoring points, more often or not, or putting our team in a position to score points. We’re going to have to cover on special teams and not allow big plays and on defense we’re probably going to have to create some turnovers – at least one or two a game. That’s what we have to do and that’s what we’re working hard to do every game.”

Pretty simple stuff; it’s basic football. But it’s tough to pull off on a weekly basis. So for each game we will look at Haley’s keys and see what the Chiefs were able to accomplish. …Read More!

Enrique’s Video Vault: Read N’ React

Aside from being deservingly included in the conversation for Chiefs’ MVP, Brandon Flowers and Derrick Johnson share one common trait: They’re the last men to score defensive TD’s for K.C. — both on INT returns. And while their accomplishments came at the expenses of one Kyle Orton and another Seneca Wallace, they were anything but a product of luck. Instead, thanks to the footage, you can blame recognition, a quality that encouraged them to leave their initial responsibilities in order to make their respective plays. 

See? Reading IS fundamental. 


Here’s Brandon Flowers from Week 2 of the ’10 season.


And here’s Derrick Johnson from Week 17 of the ’09 season.

You can reach Enrique directly at  

Winning & Forgetting

Chiefs coach Todd Haley said his team – coaches to players – learned the most important thing about winning last week. And interestingly, it is a lesson he believes you cannot learn without winning.

And that is you have to put success behind you quickly and not forget the thing that gave you success in the first place.

“When you are not winning on a consistent basis you don’t learn that feeling,” Haley said of enjoying success and putting it behind you. “(If you aren’t winning) it just becomes the next game. I can’t really explain it, but it is something I have learned. I don’t think you learn it if you are not winning.

“You (have to) learn the feeling that as soon as the game you are playing is over, it’s over no matter how big that game was.”

As illustration, Haley recounted the Chiefs-Chargers games in a new Arrowhead Stadium on Monday Night Football. …Read More!

Enrique’s Post-Patterns

(Throughout the season, as soon as game day is over and the facts are compiled, Enrique will dissect the patterns that dominated the Red and Gold weekly extravaganza. See if you agree.)

THE IN PATTERN (AKA The pattern that is more than welcomed.)

With apologies to Brandon Flowers and his recurrent outstanding performances, the credit to this pattern being executed to perfection belongs to Derrick Johnson. Who, for the second consecutive game (in less than a week, I might add), showed up big-time along the defensive unit with another team-leading tackling effort (7 stops – all solo) – This, after pulling the trick last Monday Night (12 tackles – 11 solo).

Unanimously regarded for his potential, the knock on D.J. at the pro level has always been his consistency. Through two weeks, the Texas product has made his presence felt, and that is a big reason why the Chiefs stand alone at the top of the AFC West. Will this pace continue in week 3 against the Niners? All of those rooting for the Red and Gold can only hope so.

THE DEEP-IN PATTERN (AKA The pattern that’s even more than welcomed.)

Don’t look now, but by surrendering only a couple of scoring trips to the Browns, the Chiefs have held their opponents to 14 points in back-to-back contests. Granted, those rivals were a short-handed Chargers team (that was lacking WR Vincent Jackson and LT Marcus McNeill) and the, well, Cleveland Browns. But that is no reason to undermine this feat. Especially when you consider that the Chiefs had not been able to hold their counterparts to 14 points or less in straight outings since they held the Dolphins, Raiders and Broncos to 13, 10 and 10 points respectively, back in Weeks 10, 11 and 12 of the 2006 season – or, a span that covered almost 4 years to be exact. …Read More!

Playing The Numbers Game

The numbers game is always interesting.

Consider that Jamaal Charles should be the featured running back instead of Thomas Jones. The numbers are clear, aren’t they? Charles averages 6.4 yards per carry and can break the long one. Jones plods along at just 3.7 yards per carry.

Matt Cassel must improve his quarterback play or the Chiefs won’t ever accomplish what they should. The numbers are clear, aren’t they?

Here’s a look past the surface numbers that you don’t get in mainstream media.

Running backs

Coaches have numbers that indicate whether or not an individual play was a success.

Three runs of 3 yards each won’t get a first down, and the team punts. So a successful run is 4 or more yards. The exception: in short-yardage situations, any run that gains a first down or touchdown is a success.

Using that criteria let’s look at the numbers:

Jones is not successful on more than half his runs. You knew that right? Of 33 times he has carried the ball, he has gained 4-or-more yards just 13 times. Add in the short-yardage situations, and he has 14 running plays that are successful runs (counting the fourth-and-1 the Chiefs converted for first down). So he has a successful run 42.4 percent of the times he carries. …Read More!

Chiefs Now 2-0 After 16-14 victory over Browns

From Cleveland Stadium

The C hiefs are 2-0 for the first time since 2005 after their victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday afternoon, 16-14.

In the four years since then, they were 0-2, 0-2, 0-2 and 0-2.Last year, they did not win their second game until November 15 when they beat the Raiders in Oakland.

Brandon Flowers doesn’t want to hear it. He says it’s time to forget those poor starts in the previous half-decade.

“What happened five years ago or last year doesn’t have anything to do with what we are getting done,” said Flowers, who had the Chiefs only touchdown with a pick six on a first-half interception of Browns backup quarterback, Seneca Wallace.

What this game brought to the plate was a team that has improved on defense and special teams. It was visible in the victory over the Browns. They had an edge in offensive yards (312 to 299), despite giving the ball up three times they were 0 in the turnover ratio. They were even on sacks, the Chiefs had a 16-13 edge on first downs and they had half the penalties of the Browns (4-30 yards vs. 9-78 yards.) …Read More!

Pre-Game in Cleveland

From Cleveland Browns Stadium

11:40 a.m. CDT — The Commish is in the house. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is on the sidelines talking with Clark and Daniel Hunt.

11:35 a.m. CDT — In the warmups, Ryan Lilja too several snaps at right tackle. He’s the emergency fill in there is Barry Richardson should have to leave the game.

11:16 a.m. CDT — Head coach Todd Haley just wrapped up a long conversation with Referee Carl Cheffers and head linesman Kent Payne. This was not a “hi, how are you?” conversation.  Haley was pretty active as they conversation went on, with hand gestures. Interesting.

11:15 a.m. CDT — Expected to start at defensive end for the inactive Tyson Jackson is Shaun Smith.

11:11 a.m. CDT — Today rookie Jeremy Horne and first-year defensive tackle Anthony Toribio will play the first games as member of the Chiefs today. Both are active.

10:57 a.m. CDT — Kicking towards the west uprights, Ryan Succop was one of two from 53 yards. He was wide left on his first try and his second attempt just snuck over the cross bar. …Read More!

Jackson, O’Callaghan Stay Home

From Cleveland, Ohio

The Chiefs charter flight to Cleveland was light two bodies Saturday afternoon as DE Tyson Jackson and RT Ryan O’Callaghan did not make the trip and will not play on Sunday against the Browns.

Jackson will not play because of his left knee injury; he did not practice all week. O’Callaghan also missed most of the practice time because of his right groin injury. He did not play in the season opener on Monday night against San Diego.

Enrique’s Video Vault: The Miracle By The Lake

Aside from the fact that this game and moment was further confirmation that Dick Vermeil was indeed a miracle worker, Bob has already told you all about it. Now, it’s my turn to show you all about it.


You can reach Enrique directly


Anything Can Happen … Saturday Cup O’Chiefs

Brian Waters has played in 150 NFL games.

Casey Wiegmann has stepped on the field for 198 NFL games.

They are the grizzled veterans of the Chiefs. They played a lot of those games together, starting in 2001, going through 2007. They picked up their collaboration again this past Monday night with the 2010 season opener against the Chargers.

Their careers have plenty of memories, moments, plays, games, outcomes that they’ll carry with them the rest of their lives.

But there is one they’ll never forget. When they are living out their days at the Old Offensive Linemen’s Home, and their great grandchildren are coming over and want to hear Pappy tell stories of his days in the NFL, they will both tell their family about the most unforgettable game they’ve played in to date:

Sunday, September 8, 2002. Cleveland Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio.

It was the Chiefs and Browns in the season opener in front of more than 72,000 fans on the Lake Erie shore.

When the players walked off the field that day they left behind one for the ages.

“There are plays from Monday night that I can’t quite remember all the details,” Waters said. “But I can remember everything about the end of that game. I can remember what I saw, what I heard, what I did, what others on the field did.

“It’s like it happened today.”   …Read More!

College Preview: September 18 Night



(1st-Round) #93 DE Da’Quan Bowers (right), 6-4, 278 pounds, 4.64 seconds, Junior.

Coming into this season Bowers had played started 17 of the last 25 games he played in, with 105 total tackles, 19 tackles for loss and four sacks. He missed two games in ’09 to a knee injury. Some scouts view him as very versatile, and could play DE in both the 4-3 and 3-4. If he decided to leave after this season, there’s little doubt he’ll go in the top half of the first round.

(1st/2nd-Round) #2 SS DeAndre McDaniel, 6-0, 212 pounds, 4.54 seconds, Senior

He played in 40 games coming into this season, with 22 starts and productive numbers: 212 total tackles, two sacks and nine interceptions. McDaniel has good size and speed for the safety position. He also loves the contact and will come up in run support or come flying on the blitz. McDaniel’s has had off-field issues – he was arrested in 2008 for assault and battery involving a campus altercation with a 19-year old woman. …Read More!

Friday 9/17 Practice Report

From the Truman Sports Complex

After four days of having their weekly routine jumbled by the aftermath of the Monday night opener, the Chiefs went through a normal Friday at their facility. That included a 90-minute practice session outside where they finalized preparations for Sunday’s game against Cleveland.

The Chiefs may still go into this game undermanned at defensive end, even though Wallace Gilberry was back working with the defense. Both Gilberry and Tyson Jackson did not practice on Thursday and will likely be listed as questionable or doubtful when the team releases its weekly injury report to the league office in the afternoon.

That loss of manpower doesn’t help this defense when facing the Browns offense and the running attack they can throw at the Chiefs. When they did so last year, Cleveland ran for 351 yards and RB Jerome Harrison ran into the team record book with his 286 yards.

“Our system is not a complicated system, so guys that have been working, I think they understand the system, where they need to fit,” said defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel. “We are confident that when they go into the game they will be able to perform and do the job for us.”

Because the Browns are a game-plan team, Crennel doesn’t expect Cleveland to go away from what worked last year. …Read More!

Third Down Problems … Friday Cup O’Chiefs

Nine percent.

That’s a great number for the increase in the value of your investments in this down economy. It’s a very good number to shoot for when it comes to body fat. Any time you can get nine percent discount, it’s a wonderful thing.

But when it comes to third downs in the NFL, nine percent is ugly. It’s bad. It sucks.

That’s what the Chiefs were on Monday night when they faced third down. They moved the chains just once in the 11 third down plays they faced on the night. In what was overall a fairly pedestrian offensive performance, the work on third down was the worst feature of the evening. The explanation for 197 yards on just 40 offensive plays (compared to San Diego’s 389 yards on 70 plays) is that nine percent conversion rate.

The Chiefs offense could not stay on the field.

“We have to get better in third down,” said QB Matt Cassel. “That’s something that as an offensive unit if you’re not good on third down week-in and week-out, it’s very difficult to continue to move the ball, especially when you’re in third-and-long situations. I think we just have to work on being more productive on first and second down and getting ourselves into manageable third-down situations.

“When you’re in manageable third-down situations you have the ability to run or pass and you keep the defense on their toes versus being in third-and-long, you know they’re pinning their ears back and they’re coming.” …Read More!

College Preview: September 18 Early

Nebraska at Washington, Husky Stadium, Seattle, Wa. 2:30 p.m. ABC




(1st-round) #21 CB Prince Amukamara (left), 6-0, 200 pounds, 4.49 seconds, Senior.

Enrolled in Lincoln as a running back, but was switched to the secondary. He struggled early with the change, but eventually became a solid cornerback, and then a top of the line coverage guy. He’s considered the number one CB in the 2011 Draft class. In his junior season in ’09, he had five interceptions and broke up 11 passes. He also produced 64 total tackles and 2 sacks. He had an interception and seven tackles in the Big 12 Championship Game against Texas and that earned him a lot of attention. Career numbers are 112 total tackles, five interceptions, three forced fumbles in 37 games. He has learned to work hard in the weight room and looking at tape, showing a growing maturity level. Last name pronounced ah-MOO-kuh-MAR-ah.

(1st-round) #94 DT Jared Crick, 6-5 ¾, 285 pounds, 4.94 seconds, Redshirt-Junior.

Big 12 Conference coaches honored Crick with a spot on the ’09 all-conference first team. Playing next to Ndamukong Suh, he racked up 73 total tackles, 15 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks. Last season at Baylor, he had five sacks and was named conference and national player of the week honors. In ’08 he did a lot of backup work on the defensive line playing in nine games. So far this year, he has 12 total tackles, 2.5 sacks and a pair of quarterback hurries. On his career in 23 games he has 87 total tackles and 12 sacks. …Read More!

Ask Bob: 9/16

BayouCityChief says: What effect, if any, will Tyson’s absence have on the defense?

Bob says: Based on what we saw before he left the field on Monday night, it will have an effect, especially with DE Wallace Gilberry also injured and not looking good for playing on Sunday in Cleveland. That leaves the defensive line and end position pretty shallow for this game. Given what the Browns were able to do in the running game, it’s not a good sign for the Chiefs.


Paul says: Laurence Maroney was traded to the Broncos? What in the heck does Josh McDaniels think he’s getting out of that trade?

Bob says: First, he knows Maroney from working with him with the Patriots. Second, he’s got problems at running back and with his overall running game. Three, I would be that the price tag was not very high. Four, he just may be desperate at this time given all the failures and injuries. …Read More!

Thursday 9/16 Practice Report-Update

From the Truman Sports Complex

Give up 351 rushing yards to an opponent one year, and it does not present much of a mystery as to what that same opponent will do nine months later if given a chance.

The Chiefs expect to see the Cleveland Browns running game most of the time Sunday afternoon when the two teams meet at Cleveland Stadium. Last year’s record-setting performance against the Kansas City defense should not lead to any change in emphasis for the Browns offense.

“They ran the ball down our throats last year, over and over and over again,” said head coach Todd Haley. “They are going to research your weaknesses and they are going to try and attack your weaknesses. They obviously came into last year’s game with the perception that we were going to have a difficult time stopping the run. And, that’s what they did. They were right.

“For us to have a chance to be in this game, or potentially win it, we have to be able to stop the run, I believe.”

To help pull that off, the Chiefs may have to find some help at defensive end. As they worked their way through their first full practice of this week, they were light on defensive ends. Both Tyson Jackson and Wallace Gilberry did not take part during the media window early in practice. …Read More!

D.J. Makes It Happen … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

It’s this week’s chicken or egg football question.

On Monday night, the star of the Chiefs defensive performance was LB Derrick Johnson. He had a dozen total stops, including 11 times when he was the primary tackler. He caused a big fumble that helped set up his team’s first touchdown.

Johnson was flying around the field, swooping in and making a big stop on Darren Sproles for a two-yard loss. He forced the fumble by San Diego’s Ryan Mathews by not giving up on the play and chasing it down from behind. D.J. was simply a force that the Chargers had trouble dealing with all night.

Now, did Johnson’s performance come because of all the trials and tribulations that he went through last season when he landed in Todd Haley’s dog house? Or was his big night built on the talents he’s always had and would have shown more often last year if given the chance?

“I don’t feel any vindication,” Johnson said. “I always knew what I was capable of doing. I always had confidence in myself. It was just other people that had to gain confidence in me.”

How could he not feel vindication? Last year he couldn’t get on the field, despite the fact he had the playmaking ability superior to just about everyone else on the roster. How does a guy go from getting defensive snaps only in the nickel defense, to being on the field for all 70 plays?

That’s what Johnson did Monday night. He started at inside linebacker on the weak side in the base defense. When the Chiefs went nickel, he was on the field, sometimes dropping into coverage, other times rushing the passer. He never left the field.

“That’s what I wanted,” Johnson said with a smile. “I wanted to start, I wanted to play and I wanted to help our team win.” …Read More!

Opponent: Cleveland Browns

2010 record: 0-1, lost season opener to Tampa Bay 17-14.

Last year’s record: 5-11, fourth in the AFC North.

Record for the last five seasons: 29-51, with four finishes in last place in the AFC North.

Last appearance in the playoffs: 2002, wildcard team that lost first-round game to Pittsburgh 36-33.

Owner: Randy Lerner, inherited the team when his father Alfred Lerner passed away in 2002. A lawyer by education, Lerner has been involved in high finance and is also the owner of the Aston Villa soccer team in the Premier League of English soccer.

General Manager: Mike Holmgren, first season in charge of the Browns. He sat out the 2009 season, after spending the previous 17 years as an NFL head coach with Green Bay and Seattle, winning a Super Bowl after the 1996 season with the Packers.

Head coach: Eric Mangini, second season with Browns (5-12); five seasons as NFL head coach (28-38).

Coordinators: offensive coordinator Brian Daboll; defensive coordinator Rob Ryan; special teams coordinator Brad Seely. …Read More!

Wednesday 9/15 Practice Report-Update

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs had a short walkthrough practice Wednesday afternoon rather than a normal full two-hour practice.

Earlier Wednesday the players lifted weights and did some running, and then had just over one hour on the field as the coaches presented their game plans for Sunday’s game in Cleveland.

“In this mode of thinking outside the box, it was a different schedule for us on a Wednesday but I think it was a productive day,” said head coach Todd Haley. “They got a good run in this morning, and then we had a mental day in the afternoon. Tomorrow we’ll be back on a traditional schedule.”

Taking part in the workout was new LB Charlie Anderson, wearing No. 52. A seven-year NFL veteran, Anderson has played in 92 games in his six seasons in the league, spending five years with Houston and then last season with Miami. He came into the league a sixth-round choice of the Texans in the 2004 NFL Draft.

Haley said he was still getting to know the player, but knew he was big, fast and has a history of helping on special teams. “I’ll take all those guys that I can get,” said Haley. “That’s an area that I know we have to win every week.”

On the Chiefs practice participation report for Wednesday DE Tyson Jackson did not practice, while RT Ryan O’Callaghan (groin), DE Wallace Gilberry (back) and OLB Tamba Hali (foot) as limited.

…Read More!

ASK BOB: 9/15

TX_ChiefAN says: Bob…I wish that I could have met you while we (wife and I) were here … this was an Awesome experience (first NFL game for my wife). We lost our voices and have sooooo many memories (one of which we took a pic w/ Clark Hunt…awesome guy!) Nice renovations and I think the team really enjoyed the crowd’s noise. I do need to ask though, who blew the coverage on that NN TD?

Bob says: Glad you enjoyed your first taste of the new Arrowhead. As for the blown coverage on the 59-yard TD by WR Legedu Naanee, the head coach said it was several people, but Eric Berry says it was him. It would make sense that it would be either Berry or the other safety at the time, Kendrick Lewis. It’s something that comes with playing young players. With Berry, I’ll bet he doesn’t make the same mistake again. …Read More!

A Chance To Be Head Coach

Monday night was just what Todd Haley envisioned it would be like when he was a head coach.

He wasn’t calling plays. He watched his team’s defense. He made a critical substitution on special teams. He monitored the lightning and rain, the number of plays each defender along the defensive line had. He managed the game.

And he loved it. He loved the 21-14 win, of course. He loved the surprising two-score lead his guys held midway through the third quarter. He loved it that his guys kept San Diego out of the end zone late in the game.

But what he really loved was being a head coach and doing the job the way he envisioned it should be done all those years he worked in the trenches as an assistant coach. On Monday he was involved in all aspects of the game. And . . . without much doubt, he helped his team win.

“This is the vision I had when I took the job,” Haley said late Tuesday afternoon and clearly showing the after-effects of the long night before. “I had a lot of fun coaching last night.”

Here’s what you should have suspected about Haley all along during his rookie season.

He didn’t want to call the plays. He didn’t like thinking about his next offensive series when his defense couldn’t stop anyone from running the ball. And he’s a smart enough guy to know that hurt the Chiefs a year ago. So when he got his staff in place, he became what he always thought he would be as a head coach. …Read More!

A Good Man Is Gone … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

The Chiefs lost a good man on Tuesday. Maybe I should say another good man.

In the continuation of a process that he started in December 2008, Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt’s slice and dice of his team’s front office claimed another victim with the resignation of team president Denny Thum.

From the time his position was marginalized within the organization last year when he was named president without power, it was only a matter of time before Thum’s almost 40-year run with the Chiefs would end. Why Hunt would want to chase away a man with the talents and experience of Thum is beyond comprehension.

It tells us that this revamp of the Chiefs had nothing to do with competency and everything to do with throwing out the old and bringing in the new. That is Hunt’s right as the leader of the ownership family to make these moves, and to do it for whatever reasons. Unfortunately, that approach has cost his franchise some very talented people, men and women who were extremely connected, talented and loyal to the Chiefs.

None more so than Thum; if you want a definition of a good soldier for the Hunt family over the last four decades you need only look at Thum’s record and accomplishments. Hired after his graduation from Rockhurst College, Thum worked his way up on the business side of the organization. First Jim Schaaf and then Carl Peterson gave Thum the chance to handle business issues on the football side of the team. Along the way, there were opportunities for Thum to go to other NFL teams, but he always turned those down.

He became one of the best negotiators in the league, and he and Peterson played the role of Good Cop (Thum) and Bad Cop (Peterson) to perfection. Gifted with a remarkable quantity of patience Thum was always able to get a deal done simply by never giving up. …Read More!

Chiefs President Denny Thum Resigns

After 37 years with the organization, team president Denny Thum resigned on Monday.

Thum began work with the organization in 1974 after graduating from Rockhurst College. He worked his way up through the business side of the organization and eventually became assistant general manager under former team president/general manager Carl Peterson. In that role, he became one of the NFL’s best salary cap managers and contract negotiators. He was respected by everyone in the league and by 99.9 percent of the agents he  negotiated with on contracts.

He was named team president in May 2009 in what largely was a ceremonial title. Despite his experienced with the salary cap and contracts, GM Scott Pioli did not want him as part of the football operation. Any power to get things done for Thum went out the window with the revamping of the front office under the direction of team chairman Clark Hunt.

After that, Thum’s departure was only a matter of time.

Enrique’s Video Vault: Dex & Dante

After further review, I found one more reason to like the image of Dexter McCluster taking over the franchise record with his 94-yard punt return for a TD – It is clean. I conducted a surprise examination of it, and, much to my delight, this one did not tested positive for blocks in the back — unlike Dante Hall’s then-record of ’03. Now, the ghost of Julian Battle won’t come back anymore to taint my memories. Thanx Dex … I owe you one.

The Current Record (Dexter McCluster’s 94-yarder)

The Former One (Dante Hall’s 93-yarder)

You can reach Enrique directly   

NFL Week #1: Review

The first week of the NFL’s 2010 season is in the books right now and it came down with very few surprises in the 16 results.

One of the biggest surprises was the Chiefs upset victory over San Diego, in a game where they were anywhere from four to five-point underdogs.

There was also the Houston Texans and RB Arian Foster (left), who ran for 231 yards and three touchdowns in beating their No. 1 nemisis, the Indianapolis Colts.

It was not an opening weekend of point explosions, as nine teams were able to get victories in games where they scored less than 21 points. There were five teams that scored 30 points or more. But there were also five teams that scored less than 10 points.


Home teams were 12-4 for the season opening week. The only winning road teams were Arizona in St. Louis, Green Bay in Philadelphia, Miami at Buffalo and Baltimore at the New York Jets.


Pittsburgh RB Rashard Mendenhall ran 50 yards for a touchdown in overtime to give the Steelers a 15-9 victory over Atlanta.

In that game, the Falcons won the toss and were unable to score on their first possession. The Steelers got the ball and scored immediately.


OFFENSE: Houston RB Arian Foster ran for 231 yards and three TDs against Indianapolis. That was a club record rushing performance for the Texans and the second best opening weekend rushing game in NFL history. Only 250 yards by O.J Simpson in 1973 had

DEFENSE: Arizona S Adrian Wilson had two interceptions, a sack and he blocked a field goal against St. Louis. He’s the first player to hit that trifecta since then Carolina DE Julius Peppers in 2004

  …Read More!

Soggy Leftovers From Monday Night

Yes, that’s head coach Todd Haley lifting WR Dexter McCluster after his 94-yard punt return touchdown last night in the season opener against San Diego.

“It was an exciting play, one that gave us a lift,” said Haley. “He’s one of the few guys I can lift”


During his college career, Eric Berry played in some loud stadiums. There was his own at Tennessee and then LSU, the Swamp at the University of Florida and a few more.

That made his first night in Arrowhead Stadium a ball.

“That was loud, real loud and it helped us,” said Berry. “You could definitely feel the energy. Even when it was raining, they hung in there.

“I know at one point we were looking up at the big screen and about a dozen guys were on there without their shirts on. That was great.”

…Read More!

Terror Of Arrowhead Returns

From Arrowhead Stadium

It was once the most feared stadium in the National Football League. Arrowhead Stadium and the Chiefs fans that filled it every game day and night were known throughout the land. Opponents hated the trip to Kansas City, except the ultra-competitive players, who loved the idea of competing in front of such rabid fans.

That Arrowhead hasn’t been seen in some time, and it’s too early to say it’s back in full force. But there’s no doubt that the folks that survived the rain and wind of Monday night left their stamp on the game and the Chargers:

  • San Diego was forced to use two timeouts as they were about to run out of time on the play clock.
  • The offense was called for three delay of game penalties.
  • The Chargers also picked up a false start penalty.

“What a great energy out there,” said head coach Todd Haley. “This is how I visualize Arrowhead and it’s because of those people out there that went through some pretty difficult conditions. That’s got me real excited. I know if we can come in and win these games, we’ll have a chance to compete.”

Unfortunately these days we don’t get to know how many people were actually in Arrowhead for the game. The paid attendance was announced as 71,297. How many actually showed up is unknown but there were only a few pocket of empty seats, most of those in the high-priced club level.

It was the largest announced attendance since December of 2008 when 73,689 were announced for the game against Miami.


Olathe’s Darren Sproles was back in Arrowhead for another visit home, but it will not be one of those nights he remembers fondly.

Sproles touched the ball 14 times as a runner, receiver and returner. He produced just 70 yards and no play went for 20 yards or more:

  • Ran five times for three yards, with a three-yard long run.
  • Caught two passes for two yards, with a four-yard long catch.
  • Returned five punts for 33 yards, a 6.6-yard average with a long return of 13 yards.
  • Brought back two kickoffs for 32 yards, a 16-yard average with a 19-yard long return.

“You don’t ever want to let him go off,” said WR Terrance Copper, one of the special teams coverage leaders. “Everybody worked hard to stay in their lanes and not give him anywhere to run.”


Among the faces in Arrowhead for the Monday night game were a large number of folks from the Oakland A’s, in town to play the Royals. The A’s grabbed a 3-1 victory Monday afternoon and a number of staff and players were headed across parking lot M to the Chiefs-Chargers game.

They were led by manager Bob Geren, who is from San Diego and a big Chargers fan. On the other side was A’s reliever Brad Ziegler, who grew up in Odessa, Mo and has always been a big Chiefs fan. In fact, he hung a Jamaal Charles jersey in his locker at Kaufmann Stadium.

“I told the guys that the atmosphere you’re going to get on Monday night in the opener against a division team will be tough to beat,” said Ziegler.


P Dustin Colquitt had a nice night punting the ball, kicking nine times for an average of 38.2 yards, and a net average of 34.6 yards. Considering the weather conditions, it was a nice performance.

Punt coverage allowed just 33 yards to Sproles on five returns, the longest being 13 yards.

K Ryan Succop did not try a field goal, and made all three of his PATs. Succop kicked off four times, with two touchbacks. His other kicks went to the nine and seven-yard lines.

On kick coverage, Sproles returned two kicks for 32 yards, with a long return of 19.

Copper had three tackles in the kicking game, S Reshard Langford and LS Thomas Gafford had two tackles and TE Jake O’Connell had one special teams stop.


Referee Peter Morelli and his crew were pretty much invisible most of the night, which is always good for an officiating crew. On the night, they walked off a total of eight penalties and there were no instant replay reviews or even controversial calls.

The Chiefs had only three penalties. TE Jake O’Connell was called for holding on a punt return, WR Terrance Copper was hit with a facemask penalty on kick coverage and RT Barry Richardson was called for offensive holding. That wiped out a two-yard gain by RB Jamaal Charles.

The Chiefs won the opening toss when the Chargers called heads on the coin toss and it came up tails.


No surprises among the inactive players for the Chiefs. They were the injured OLB Cameron Sheffield and RT Ryan O’Callaghan, along with FB Mike Cox, second-year DE Alex Magee, first-year players CB Jackie Bates and DT Anthony Toribio and rookies WR Jeremy Horne and LB Justin Cole.

That left the Chiefs with just seven offensive linemen, and in pre-game RG Ryan Lilja was working at RT and C Rudy Niswanger was taking snaps at RG.

With O’Callaghan out of the action, Richardson got his second NFL start at right tackle.

For the Chargers, they were without OLB Shawne Merriman, DL Vaughn Martin, Cam Thomas, LB Brandon Lang, OT Adam Terry, CB Dante Hughes, S Darrell Stuckey, with J.T. O’Sullivan as the inactive third quarterback.

Monday night was the first NFL starts for TE Tony Moeaki, ILB Jovan Belcher and SS Eric Berry. It was the first starts as member of the Chiefs for Moeaki, Belcher, Berry, RG Ryan Lilja and RB Thomas Jones.

The Chiefs sixth captain for the game, as named by the head coach, was WR Chris Chambers.


It was the Chiefs first opening game victory since 2005 when they beat the New York Jets 27-7 … it was also their first Monday night victory since 2004 when they won at Tennessee 49-38 … it was their first winning effort on Monday night at home since 2003 when they beat Oakland 17-10.

With touchdowns by Dexter McCluster and Tony Moeaki, it was the first time two rookies scored touchdowns for the Chiefs in the opening game since 1987. That was also against San Diego, in a 20-14 victory for the Chiefs at Arrowhead. First-round draft choice Paul Palmer returned a kickoff 95 yards for a score and second-round choice Christian Okoye had a 43-yard touchdown run.

The Chiefs only had one fumble in the game, remarkable given the weather conditions. McCluster dropped a punt, but quickly fell on the ball before the coverage guys arrived.

The offense was a miserable one of 11 on converting third downs, just nine percent. They were also zero for one on fourth down … San Diego had nearly a 15-minute edge in time of possession.

Chiefs In First Place After 21-14 Opening Victory

From Arrowhead Stadium

Take a moment and check out the standings in the AFC West. The first week of games in the 2010 NFL season are in the books and the Chiefs are the only team in their division that found a way to win.

Chiefs 21, Chargers 14.

On a soggy Monday night in a game that dripped into Tuesday morning. With the Raiders and Broncos losing on Sunday, there are the Chiefs standing 1-0, with a one-game lead over the entire division.

This game was a benchmark for the Chiefs and their development and they fulfilled the belief of head coach Todd Haley that they are improved, they are better than they were last season. Certainly they are on defense and in the return game with special teams. It was not a good night for the Chiefs offense, other than one key statistic – they did not turn the ball over.

There was much that went down and here’s what we have:

  • Game Story: Defense and special teams key victory.
  • Commentary: Enjoy the victory, but it’s just one.
  • Sidebar: Goal-line stand saves game.
  • Sidebar: Dexter made Chargers sick.
  • Notes: A return of Arrowhead as we knew it.
  • Pre-Game Coverage

Dex Makes Chargers Sick With His Return

From Arrowhead Stadium

It was your garden variety bug that felled Dexter McCluster for a day last week. He missed Friday’s practice and went on the league’s weekly injury report as doubtful for Monday night’s game against the Chargers.

The rookie came back and practiced the next day and was eventually upgraded to questionable. But there was nothing questionable about what he got done against the Chargers. It was his 94-yard punt return for a touchdown that turned the game’s momentum in favor of the Chiefs and helped send them to a season opening victory.

“Ah, that was a great one to watch,” said teammate Javier Arenas, who had broken off two nice punt returns earlier in the game. “Everybody on those teams knows that they just have to get a hat on somebody and we’re gone.”

The punt return team already knew that from the pre-season, but Monday night drove the point home.

“It gets everybody excited when you have somebody that can take it back,” said CB Brandon Flowers, who is on the punt return team. He is joined by S Eric Berry, WR Terrance Copper, LB Cory Greenwood, LB Andy Studebaker, TE Jake O’Connell, CB Travis Daniels, RB Jackie Battle, S Reshard Langford and CB Brandon Carr.

On McCluster’s touchdown return, not a single Chargers player in coverage touched him. After catching the punt at the six-yard line, McCluster went left and put a little wiggle move on RB Michael Tolbert who was coming down in his lane. But that little wiggle and the wet turf sent Tolbert sliding and McCluster was gone. O’Connell got a block on punter Mike Scifres, who was the last man who could have tackled him.

“Everything just opened up on that side,” McCluster said. “The guys did a good job of sealing off the lane and I just had to run through. I can’t say enough about those guys and what they allowed me to get done.”

Those guys also allowed Arenas to rip off returns of 34 and 26 yards. By the time the game was over, the Chargers net punting average for the night was 20.3 yards.

“We think we can get something every time,” Arenas said.

On the night, the 160 punt return yards was a new record for the Chiefs, breaking the old mark of 141 yards set against Oakland in 1979. McCluster’s 94-yard TD return was the longest in Chiefs history, topping the 93-yarder by Dante Hall against Denver in 2003. It was also the longest TD return by a player in his debut NFL game since Tampa Bay’s Jacquez Green had a 95-yard punt return against Green Bay in 1998.

Like everybody on offense with the exception of RB Jamaal Charles, McCluster did not have much of a day as a receiver and running back. He had three touches for a total of nine yards.

“It was tough out there with the weather and they are a good team,” McCluster said. “It’s something for us to work on.”

More than anything, the Chiefs want their defense to keep working and forcing opponents to punt. Because whether it is McCluster or Arenas, the Chiefs have weapons.

Defense Made “The” Difference

From Arrowhead Stadium

Glenn Dorsey was honest in his assessment of what was going down in the Chiefs defensive huddle in the closing minutes of Monday night’s season opener against the Chargers.

“We were looking around, wondering what was going to happen, knowing how important the next play was going to be,” Dorsey said. “Then we would just go out and play the play. When it was over, we got ready for the next one.”

Only the hindsight available from the future will tell us whether the goal-line stand in the game’s final minutes was a milepost in the development of the Chiefs defense. But there’s no doubt that what the Chiefs got done Monday night was a defensive performance that was a long time coming.

“It’s something for us to build on,” said LB Derrick Johnson, who may have played the best game of his career, leading the Chiefs with 12 total tackles, causing a fumble and flying around all over the field against the run and covering the pass. “We had to keep them out of the end zone to win. We did. That feels pretty good.”

It should be a warm and fuzzy for the defenders. The whole evening should make the Chiefs defense a little more confident, a little surer of their direction and goals. Other than blowing a couple of assignments in coverage that set up one touchdown and gave the Chargers another, they were in control of the game for most of the night:

– They limited the San Diego running game to 3.8 yards per carry and talented rookie Ryan Mathews picked up 75 yards on 19 carries. Darren Sproles was held to three yards on five carries.

– Pressure was pretty constant on Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. They got two sacks on the night.

– In the second quarter, with the help of a big rain storm that blew through Arrowhead, they limited the Chargers to 21 yards on 16 plays in the period.

– Faced with a 1st-and-goal at the Chiefs four-yard line, they didn’t give up a single yard. In fact they took two yards back. On first down, Rivers pass to Floyd was broken near the pylon was broken up by Carr. On second down, Sproles ran a draw and was stopped for a two-yard loss on penetration from Dorsey and Johnson. On third down, Rivers overthrew Floyd at the back of the end zone, and on fourth down, Dorsey hit Rivers as he delivered a pass to Floyd in the end zone that fell incomplete.

Crennel tinkered with his nickel defense for this game. The base nickel had DE Wallace Gilberry and Dorsey on the line, with LB Demorrio Williams also putting his hand on the ground as a rusher. OLB Tamba Hali was on the other side. Johnson roamed the middle of the defense and then they went with six defensive backs, with the starting four of Brandon Flowers, Brandon Carr, Jon McGraw and Eric Berry, with Javier Arenas and Kendrick Lewis coming on the field.

There were times when OLB Mike Vrabel would replace Williams for more coverage. Later in the game, it was second-year safety Donald Washington coming in to replace McGraw.

There were moments where that nickel defense made some mistakes. TE Antonio Gates got wide open in the first quarter on a 3rd-and-four against the nickel that went for 34 yards. Three plays later, Gates got open in the end zone for a touchdown.

The Chiefs were in their base defense when Rivers hit the biggest play of the game for the Chargers, a 59-yard touchdown pass to WR Legedu Naanee. On the play, Naanee got behind the entire defense and when he caught ball there wasn’t anybody within 15 yards of him.

“That was me, I made the wrong read and … it was me,” said Berry. “It won’t happen again.”

It can’t, not with this team at this time. Haley made that plain.

“When we are up by two scores, we have to make that team beat us and giving them a play like that really allowed them back into the game, when there wasn’t a lot of hope,” said the head coach. “Overall the defense played physical, tough football. Guys were coming in and out of the game fighting through, four, five six guys struggling with something (injuries.)

“We can’t have plays like that.”

Commentary: A Learning Victory

From Arrowhead Stadium

Dear Chiefs fan, I’m determined not to rain on you, not after what went down Monday night. Anybody that was at the Truman Sports Complex and survived the late summer monsoon that rolled through during the Chiefs-Chargers game will take days to dry out.

But they won’t care, not after the Chiefs left the building with a season opening 21-14 victory over the boys from San Diego.

There’s a lot of dampness I could throw on this already soggy victory. I could prattle on about how it’s just one of 16 games, and the Chiefs are going to struggle if they can’t play better offense than they did, and the defense can’t make the mental mistakes that almost cost them the game.

All those are true, but all those pale in the glory of victory for a football team that hasn’t won many games over the last four years. It’s something that should be celebrated, enjoyed, rehashed and not thrown in the back seat of the car in just one day.

Todd Haley was quick to pull out the fire hose Monday night and pour water on any little flame that popped up that would give the indication the Chiefs have somehow arrived. That’s his job, that’s how he must lead his team.

But Chiefs Fan, celebrate the night, remember last year’s beat downs of 30 and 29 points by the Chargers and revel in the fact the Chiefs were less mistake prone, more physical and found a way to beat the reigning division champs. It hasn’t happened enough over four years, so it should be savored and enjoyed like a great single malt Scotch, or a well-made cigar. …Read More!

Déjà Vu For Chiefs In Opener Victory

From Arrowhead Stadium

They spent a lot of money – close to $400 million – to renovate Arrowhead Stadium over the last three years or so. There are new clubs, concourses, televisions, scoreboards, concessions and rest rooms. Basically, the guts of the old Arrowhead were ripped out and replaced with new equipment.

But Monday night as a late summer rain storm drenched everyone in the building we found out that while there was a lot new in Arrowhead, some of the old ghosts still haunt the place.

Defense and special teams combined to give the Chiefs an upset victory over the defending AFC West champion San Diego Chargers 21-14. It was a game that looked so much like the 85 games the Chiefs played in the building back in the 1990s, when Derrick Thomas, Neil Smith, James Hasty, Dale Carter, Dan Saleaumua and a host of others banged heads against anybody that came in the Arrowhead door.

And while they couldn’t be any different physically, mighty mites Javier Arenas and Dexter McCluster brought back memories of Tamarick Vanover blowing through coverage units and finding the end zone.

For an organization that has struggled over the last four years for positive moments, this one couldn’t have been bigger, better defined and timed perfectly.

“This was a big game and it’s a big victory for the organization and the city,” said the team’s most tenured player, G Brian Waters. “For us, it was one game. But it was a good game, because we made enough plays to win.” …Read More!

Pre-Game From Arrowhead/Chargers vs. Chiefs

From Arrowhead Stadium

8:50 p.m. CDT — Couple items from pre-game warmups: OLB Mike Vrabel was working with the goal line offense as a tight end. At one point, RG Ryan Lilja was working at RT. The Chiefs have only two tackles active tonight, starterss Branden Albert and Barry Richardson. The Chiefs did not show their hand on who their emergency quarterback may be for this game, since they have only Matt Cassel and Brodie Croyle dressed.

8:20 p.m. CDT — Kicking towards the west goal posts, Ryan Succop easily nailed a 54-yard FG.

8:17 p.m. CDT — Another number change for the Chiefs, as S Kendrick Lewis is now wearing No. 23 rather than No. 49 that he wore in the pre-season.

8:00 p.m. CDT — Inactives for the Chiefs tonight are OLB Cameron Sheffield, OT Ryan O’Callaghan, DT Anthony Toribio, CB Jackie Bates, WR Jeremy Horne, LB Justin Cole, FB Mike Cox and DE Alex Magee.

8:00 p.m. CDT — Inactives for the Chargers tonight are LB Shawne Merriman, SS Darrell Stuckey, CB Dante Hughes, LB Brandon Lang, DT Cam Thoams, OT Adam Terry and DE Vaughn Martin. J.T. O’Sullivan is the inactive third quarterback.

7:55 p.m. CDT — Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson and Chargers LB Shawne Merriman having a nice chat at the 15-yard line. Merriman is expected to be inactive for tonight’s game.

7:40 p.m. CDT — Todd Haley and Brian Waters having a conversation at the 25-yard line. Wonder if it’s about the show of unity that many teams have done this opening weekend involving the NFL Players Association. After the national anthem, players from both teams have been walking about 10 yards onto the field and holding up their index fingers signaling No. 1, as in one together. Waters would not talk about whether the Chiefs would follow other teams tonight, but given the national TV audience, it’s a good bet they will. …Read More!

The Chiefs Will Be Super … Another Man’s Opinion

While going through my random sports notes, I noticed the following facts:

– Back in February, the Colts lost a Super Bowl in Miami for the first time since 1969. The following year’s NFL champs were … the Kansas City Chiefs.

– Back in April, Duke Basketball won its first National Championship since 2001 – The previous time that happened, a team that had Scott Pioli, Charlie Weis, Romeo Crennel, Mike Vrabel, Otis Smith and Anthony Pleasant under contract (the New England Patriots) was making preparations towards winning the Lombardi Trophy … I wonder: where are they now?

– Back in June, the Celtics and the Lakers played the 7th game of the NBA Finals in L.A., an occurrence that had been missing from the sporting landscape since … 1969. Did I mention who were about to become NFL champions soon after?

– Far away in England, but also back in June, John Isner and Nicolas Mahut played the longest match in tennis history, breaking the previous mark that was set … in 1969. No need to repeat the obvious.

– Looking ahead, this year’s Super Bowl will be played in Dallas. Mmm … the Chiefs once upon a time were FROM Dallas. Wouldn’t it be poetic that for a franchise looking to make its long-awaited return to glory, would be able to do so by returning home…?

My guess is that you probably know where I’m headed … the Chiefs will go to the Super Bowl this year. …Read More!

Vermeil, Roaf Lead Chiefs Hall Contingent

The preliminary list of candidates for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2011 were released Monday by the Hall.

There are 113 names on the ballot including five with a connection to the Chiefs, topped by former head coach Dick Vermeil. Now five seasons after he last coached the Chiefs, Vermeil is eligible for the first time. Also first-time eligible is former Saints-Chiefs LT Willie Roaf.

Other Chiefs connections among the long list of names are CB Albert Lewis, K Nick Lowery and WR J.T. Smith.

CB Deion Sanders, RBs Jerome Bettis, Marshall Faulk and Curtis Martin, and WR Jimmy Smith are other first-year eligible candidates 2011. From the preliminary list of 113 nominees, selectors will choose 25 candidates who will advance as semifinalist nominees. Those names will be released in mid-November.

That group will then be reduced in another ballot to 15 modern-era finalists that will be announced in early January. That group will join senior nominees former Washington Redskins linebacker Chris Hanburger and former Los Angeles Rams linebacker Les Richter that will be voted on at the day before the Super Bowl in Dallas.

Enrique’s Video Vault: MNF Is Here!

And to celebrate its return, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite games ever: The ’95 thriller between the Chiefs and the Chargers that also represents the last time that these two teams met on Monday Night – prior to today — in Arrowhead Stadium.

Now…considering the events that took place that day (and the name Tamarick Vanover suddenly comes to mind)…would you interpret this showing as a shameless attempt to see if history repeats itself, maybe this time with a game-ending return courtesy of Javier Arenas?

Don’t even respond. Everybody knows the answer.


You can reach Enrique directly

A Benchmark Monday … Game-Day Cup O’Chiefs

Yes, this is a big one.

Year No. 2 of the Pioli/Haley Era kicks off with a national television audience watching and more than likely the biggest home crowd the Chiefs will see all season as they face the San Diego Chargers on Monday night at Arrowhead Stadium.

Kickoff is 9:15 p.m. CDT and can be viewed on Chanel 9/KMBC-TV and ESPN.

It is but the first step in a football marathon that runs until the first days of February for the good teams, and the first days of January for the bad ones. What category fits the 2010 Chiefs? That’s what makes this game so important.

Let’s set aside the obvious effect on business that rests on the outcome of this game. The Chiefs are struggling to sell all parts of their inventory, whether it’s tickets, suites, sponsorships, signage, etc. A victory over the Chargers would mean a real stomp on the gas pedal of fan enthusiasm and also would generate millions of dollars in sales for the franchise.

And we don’t need to dwell on the fact that it’s the first regular season game in the New Arrowhead, and the first Monday night game in Kansas City since 2004 and the Chiefs first prime-time appearance on Monday night since 2005.

What is most important is what this matchup means in a football sense. The Chargers are the defending AFC West champions, winners of four consecutive division titles and five of the last six. They are the alpha-dog that everybody else in the West is chasing and trying to dethrone.

  …Read More!

Ask Bob: 9/12

I’m trying to keep up with your questions with some thoughtful answers, so bear with me as we get ready for the Monday night game.

Bob, I really loved your practice reports from training camp because they had so much detail about what went on and I couldn’t get that anywhere else. Why can’t we get the same thing on practices now? I really don’t feel like we know what’s going on.

Bob says: Once the regular season starts, the rules for media viewing practice changes dramatically from training camp and the pre-season. Under NFL rules, teams have to give the media a window to see who is on the field and who is not. Most teams all the prying eyes to watch things like the pre-practice stretch and individual position drills. Once it gets into working on offense, defense or even special teams strategy for the upcoming game, the media is ushered out. I’d say that’s the way it goes with about 90 percent of the NFL teams. There are a few that allow their local media to watch the entire practice, no matter the time of year. Somehow, they are able to function, but most teams and coaches are very paranoid about too much information hitting the streets. …Read More!

Dex Gets Upgrade

After going through Saturday night’s practice inside Arrowhead Stadium and coming back Sunday morning with no further problems, rookie WR/RB Dexter McCluster was upgraded from doubtful to questionable for Monday night’s season opener.

McCluster missed Friday night’s practice because of illness and when the Chiefs released their version of the NFL’s official injury report for the game, he went down as doubtful. That means there was a 75 percent chance he would not play.

Questionable generally means a 50-50 chance of participation. If he has no further setbacks Sunday night or Monday, then McCluster should be on the field to play the Chargers.

There were no other changes in the Chiefs injury report on Sunday. OLB Tamba Hali and RT Ryan O’Callaghan were both listed as questionable and OLB Cameron Sheffield was ruled out of the game.

If there are no setbacks for Hali, expect him to start against San Diego. O’Callaghan will not play, with Barry Richardson taking his spot in the starting lineup.

Remembering Opening Day: 1998

In the days leading up to the 2010 Chiefs season opener, we have been recalling some of the more memorable first games for the red and gold over the last 30 seasons. These are openers that I’ve seen first-hand. Here’s another one of my favorites.

September 6, 1998, @ Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.

There was a time in Chiefs history when they played defense quite well. It was a stifling, aggressive, attacking style that forced turnovers, dropped quarterbacks and helped the team rack up more victories than defeats. It also had Arrowhead Stadium rocking every Sunday, or Monday night, or Thursday evening.

There were few times during the 1990s where the Chiefs Nation made more noise than they did for the season opener in 1998. An old foe was in town, the Oakland Raiders. They had a new head coach, a young bratty looking guy by the name of John Gruden. They had a problem at quarterback, where they were led by Jeff George.

And Gruden found out that he had a major problem on his offensive line. Derrick Thomas and his defensive mates, with some help from the screaming Arrowhead faithful  – numbering 78,945 on this night - made that very plain.

Oakland fumbled the ball five times in the first half and the Chiefs offense led by QB Elvis Grbac turned those takeaways into 20 points with a pair of touchdowns and a pair of Pete Stoyanovich field goals. RB Donnell Bennett scored on a one-yard run and Grbac and WR Andre Rison combined on a 30-yard TD play.

D.T. went crazy in this game.

The Chiefs had 10 sacks and Thomas ended up sacking George six times, one short of the NFL record he set eight years earlier. The Raiders had all off-season to prepare for this game, but they had no answers in stopping Thomas.

He put the cherry on his sacking Sunday with a safety on his sixth sack, with just under two minutes to play in the game. The best part of the play was that Thomas called his shot before the snap, making the signal for a safety as the teams were lining up for the play. …Read More!

Enrique’s Video Vault: ’98 Opener

 Our man Enrique reached deep into his vault and found some highlights from the Chiefs-Raiders game at Arrowhead Stadium that opened the 1998 season.


Window Closing On Bolts? … Sunday Cup O’Chiefs

What is it about the San Diego Chargers that this team has won so many games, drafted and developed so many outstanding players in the last half-decade, but has no Vince Lombardi Trophy to show for all that success?

It’s a situation Chiefs fans are familiar with, because in the 1990s their team dominated the division, won over 100 games and had only miniscule post-season success.

Now, as the Chiefs and Chargers get ready to face off in the 2010 season opener Monday night at Arrowhead Stadium, these teams are at opposite ends of the AFC West and have been now for some time. With head coach Norv Turner (left) at the helm, San Diego rules the roost, while Kansas City has leased the basement apartment for three years now.

Last year, the Chargers embarrassed the Chiefs, not once, but twice. They rolled into Arrowhead in October and grab a 30-point victory. Then later in the season, San Diego was the site for a 29-point victory by the Lightning Bolts.

That 59-point difference is the worst division beat down in the same season in 50 years of Texans-Chiefs football. (Check chart below.)

But over the last five or six seasons, there may not have been a better time for the Chiefs to face the Chargers than now, to open the ’10 season.

All that Chargers success has come with a price.   …Read More!

Saturday 9/11 Practice Report – Dex Doubtful

From the Truman Sports Complex

Chased inside Friday night by lightning, the Chiefs finally got their practice under the lights at Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday evening.

Working in the practice was WR/RB Dexter McCluster who earlier had been listed as doubtful for Monday night’s season opener against San Diego because of an illness. But in the media window for practice, McCluster was working with the receivers and the offense, doing all the things he did before he missed Friday night’s workout. He did not look like somebody that has a 75 percent chance of not playing, which is what doubtful means.

Also working in the Saturday evening practice was OLB Tamba Hali who is listed as questionable with a foot injury on the injury report. Hali was working with the linebackers, although they were walking through various defenses so we didn’t see Hali run.

Not practicing were OLB Cameron Sheffield (neck), who has been declared out of Monday’s game and RT Ryan O’Callaghan (groin) who is listed as questionable. O’Callaghan was riding a stationary bike during the early part of practice. …Read More!

One Man’s Opinion: the 2010 season

A wise man once told me many years ago: “Bob, don’t bet on humans. Only bet on animals. Humans will disappoint you every time.”

That idea stuck and with the short exception of a period in college where I thought I was Bobby the Greek, I’ve never wasted a lot of time and especially money picking winners or losers in athletic events. Maybe it was paying off the vig to a couple of well-muscled and connected fellow students that drove the point home.

But people expect picks from the pundits. They want to see how much they agree or disagree. So who am I to deny the visitors to

So what follows are my picks for the final records of all 32 NFL teams, the designation of those 12 teams that will make the playoffs and the two teams that will play in the Super Bowl.

For speed readers, I’ve got the Baltimore Ravens winning the Super Bowl, beating the defending champion New Orleans Saints.

As for the Chiefs, I did not pick them to make the playoffs. I did not pick them to finish .500. I stuck with the gut feeling I’ve had with this team from the start: there’s not enough talent yet. I think the Chiefs will be better, but I think they are a team with 6-10 skill. That doesn’t mean they can’t win a few more games on coaching, playing smart, desire, etc. But if they go 8-8, then Todd Haley should be coach of the year.

Here are the picks, and please, please, please, whatever you do, don’t use these as any kind of road map for wagers of any type. I don’t want to be responsible for anybody’s embarrassment or beat downs other than my own. …Read More!

Surviving The Process … Saturday Cup O’Chiefs

There’s one thing that Matt Cassel knows, and if he doesn’t then somebody should give him the information.

Len Dawson was booed by Chiefs fans. Terry Bradshaw was booed by Steelers fans. John Elway was booed by Broncos fans. Insert name of Hall of Fame quarterback and he was booed by fans of the insert name team he played for during his career.

There were some Chiefs fans back in the day that believed Dawson didn’t take enough chances with his passes, that he threw short dinks and dunks and that he did not go down the field as much as he could have, especially since he was calling the plays. His career completion percentage of 57.1 percent, his career average of 7.7 yards per attempt and his 237 TD passes to 178 interceptions look like pretty good numbers now.

But in the day, some Chiefs followers were unhappy and they let Dawson know it, firing verbal assaults from the stands at both Municipal and Arrowhead Stadiums.

That’s a simple fact of life for an NFL starting quarterback. The scene gets played out over and over around the league. Guys like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have escaped it so far, but their careers are not over yet. They still have plenty of opportunities to throw interceptions or badly timed incompletions that will raise the vocal hackles of their fan base.

Cassel reiterated the other day that he does not read papers, watch TV sports or listen to sports talk radio. I’m sure he doesn’t spend any time on Internet sites or web forums.

“I just try to block it out,” Cassel said this week. “That is something that goes along with this job. You are always going to be tested and there is always going to be scrutiny and there is always going to be somebody saying, ‘hey, he is not good enough. He can’t do this, he can’t do that.’

“I have a job to do and right now my job is to be the quarterback of this team. I am going to go out and work hard and do everything I need to do to be productive on the field.”   …Read More!

Friday Night 9/10 Practice Update – Where’s Dex?

From the Truman Sports Complex

It seemed like a good idea at the time – take the Chiefs inside Arrowhead Stadium for practice Friday night so they could work under the lights like they will in their season  opener on Monday night against San Diego.

But Mother Nature got involved. Just as the Chiefs were getting ready to start practice, the skies were a glow with lighning as the sounds of thunder rattled off the empty Arrowhead seats. Head coach Todd Haley called a time out and it was back to the indoor facility to get in their practice.

One guy missing during the media window to Friday’s night’s session was WR/RB Dexter McCluster. He was nowhere to be seen on the field. The Chiefs practice participation report said that he did not practice because of illness. Also not practicing was OLB Cameron Sheffield because of his neck injury. Listed as limited participants were RT Ryan O’Callaghan and OLB Tamba Hali.

It’s a foot problem for Hali, which may be tied to the injury that kept him out of the pre-season finale against Green Bay. During the media window, O’Callaghan was doing laps around the indoor field and then was working on the statitionary bike. He’s dealing with a groin injury.

Out in San Diego, OLB Shawne Merriman (Achilles) and QB Billy Volek (knee) were listed as limited participants in the Chargers practice on Friday.

The Chiefs are scheduled to work inside the stadium on Saturday night as well, if Mother Nature cooperates.

Remembering Opening Day: 1993

Over the next few days as a lead up to the 2010 Chiefs season opener, we are going to remember some of the more memorable first games for the red and gold over the last 30 seasons. These are openers that I’ve seen first-hand over the past three decades. Here’s one of my favorites.

Sunday, September 5, 1993 @ Tampa Stadium, Tampa, Fl., Denver, Co.

On a hot, muggy day at the old stadium in Tampa, three players made their regular-season debuts as members of the Chiefs.

By the time they were done, Joe Montana, Marcus Allen and Will Shields would establish themselves of Hall of Fame caliber players. Montana and Allen are already enshrined in Canton, and Shields should get his ticket punched soon after he becomes eligible (in 2012).

Montana came to the Chiefs in a trade with the 49ers. Allen signed with the club as an unrestricted free agent, leaving the hated Raiders. Shields was the team’s first pick in the 1993 NFL Draft, going in the third round after an All-America career at Nebraska.

On this day, everything clicked for the Chiefs. Montana had made a smooth transition to the west coast offense as it was being put together and called by offensive coordinator Paul Hackett. Allen was very quickly a team leader and showed that despite having been in Al Davis’ doghouse for four years he still had gas in his tank.

It was a different story with Shields. He was a backup in this first game, but right guard Danny Villa went down with an injury. That forced Shields to jump in and play, a position he never left until his retirement after the 2006 season. The last thing he heard when he went on the field that Sunday in Tampa were the words of offensive line coach Alex Gibbs: “Don’t get Montana killed.” …Read More!

Enrique’s Video Vault – ’93 Opener

Our man Enrique reached deep into his vault and found some highlights from the Chiefs-Buccaneers game in Tampa that opened the 1993 season for the Chiefs.


Going With Two Quarterbacks

When the Chiefs decided to carry just two quarterbacks on their 53-man roster to open the season, more than a few fans were surprised. In the last 30 years, the team has never had fewer than three quarterbacks on the active roster for a game.

But in going with Matt Cassel and Brodie Croyle on the 53-man roster, the Chiefs were one of 10 NFL teams that kept only two quarterbacks.

The others were Baltimore, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Minnesota, New England, New Orleans, New York Giants and Seattle.

That group includes four of the best starting quarterbacks in the game: Peyton Manning with the Colts, Tom Brady with the Patriots, Drew Brees with the Saints and Aaron Rodgers with the Packers.

Of those 10 teams with only two QBs on the active roster, four do not have a quarterback on the practice squad: Baltimore, Minnesota, New England and New Orleans.

As of the season opening game on Thursday night, here’s how the quarterbacks are parceled out around the two conferences: …Read More!

College Preview: September 11 evening

#18 Penn State at #1 Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Ala., 6 P.M., ESPN


(1st-Round) #61 C/G Stefen Wisniewski (right), 6-3, 298 pounds, 5.16 seconds, Senior

He’s made the transition from guard to center before the ’09 season and seemed to have no problems with the move. This year, he’s getting the chance to move back to guard, a spot he likes more. Wisniewski has the athletic ability to play any of the offensive line positions. He’s a team leader and good in the classroom as well. There are not many negatives with this young man. The Wisniewski name is almost legendary in the Happy Valley. His father Leo played at Penn State in the early ’80s and went on to the NFL and his uncle Steve was a two-time All-America for the Nittany Lions and then had a long NFL career with the Raiders.

(2nd-Round) #22 RB Evan Royster, 6-0, 212 pounds, 4.53 seconds, Redshirt-Senior

Things did not start well for Royster last week against Youngstown State, when he ran 11 times for 40 yards and caught three passes for 58 yards. But history shows he should be able to turn that around fairly quickly, based on his status now as the seventh leading rusher in Penn State history with 2,958 yards. (He just passed Larry Johnson at 2,953 yards). He needs just 441 yards to become the school’s career rushing leader. Last year, he was second in the Big 10 Conference with 1,169 rushing yards on 205 carries with six TD runs. …Read More!

College Preview: September 11

#17 Florida State at #10 Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, 2:30 p.m., ABC



(1st-Round) #7 QB Christian Ponder (right), 6-2, 220 pounds, 4.68 seconds, Redshirt-Senior.

Along with Jake Locker of Washington, Ponder is considered one of the elite senior QBs for this spring’s draft. Although he could be taller, he’s got everything else teams are looking for in a QB coming out of college, including experience with a pro-style offense. This is third year as FSU’s starting quarterback and other than missing three games at the end of last season with a separated shoulder, he’s been durable. Smart took he’s already earned a Master’s degree in finance and is working on a doctorate.

(1st-Round) #62 G Rodney Hudson, 6-3, 284 pounds, 5.26 seconds, Senior.

Hudson is considered one of the best guard prospects coming out of college football this season. He earned second-team All-America honors last season and has now started 34 games for the Noles. In that time he’s allowed 1.5 sacks and been flagged for one penalty. He has also played center and left tackle, while spending most of his time at left guard. Not big and stout, but he’s mobile and can trap and pull.

…Read More!

The Right 45 Ain’t So Easy … Friday Cup O’Chiefs

If you’ve ever sat at a table working the 500-piece jigsaw puzzle at a lake house or beach cottage, you have a pretty good idea of what NFL teams do when trying to decide on the 53 men that will make up their roster.

First, you get the framework of the puzzle in place, you know, the flat sided pieces. Then you start filling in the inside. For the picture to turn out correctly, the pieces can’t be forced into their holes. To make a pretty picture, they must click together

It’s the same with an NFL team. Try to force pieces together and the puzzle of the regular-season roster is not going to come together very well. Even more difficult are the game-day decisions; in this case eight players must be placed on an inactive list. Pieces have to be taken out of the puzzle.

The trick is pulling the inactive players out of the team puzzle without hurting the overall picture.

This process is on Todd Haley’s mind a lot these days, especially heading into a season opener against San Diego. Haley’s comments from Thursday may have shocked some people, but anybody who saw the two teams play last year – when the Chargers grabbed 30 and 29-point victories – knows that San Diego has a much better team.

“I know this team that we are playing on Monday … we are not nearly as skilled as they are,” Haley said. “It’s not close. That’s no disrespect to our guys. That’s just the way it is.”

Working from a deficit right off the starting line makes Haley’s job of shaping the game-day roster even more important. The head coach has made it clear he’s not in the business of taking insurance policies with him into games this season. Backup quarterback Brodie Croyle is the only insurance that’s a given. …Read More!

Remembering Opening Day: 1989

Over the next few days as a lead up to the 2010 Chiefs season opener, we are going to remember some of the more memorable first games for the red and gold over the last 30 seasons. These are openers that I’ve seen first-hand over the past three decades. Here’s one of my favorites.

Sunday, September 10, 1989 @ Mile High Stadium, Denver, Co.

There was so much anticipation and hope in the air. No Chiefs fan was sure what to expect in the first game of the new era led by GM Carl Peterson and head coach Marty Schottenheimer. So much wrong had gone down in the previous 15 years, what few Chiefs fans were left took a wait and see attitude.

The wait to see the first game of that 1989 season looked like many that had come before for the Chiefs. They fell behind early, trailing 3-0 on a David Treadwell 41-yard field goal on the Broncos first possession. When the Chiefs got the ball for the first time, QB Steve DeBerg’s pass was intercepted by S Tyrone Braxton who returned it 34 yards for a touchdown. Denver was up 10-0.

After the kickoff, on the next offensive play, DeBerg fumbled the snap, the Broncos recovered at the Chiefs eight-yard line and it took only four plays before Sammy Winder scored on a two-yard run. Denver was now leading 17-0 and there was still 6:30 to play in the first quarter.

The look on the faces of Peterson and other front-office staff in the Mile High Press Box was a combination of shock and bewilderment. VP Tim Connolly, who made a habit of keeping a giant bottle of ant-acids in his briefcase was throwing down Tums by the handful.

The Chiefs got themselves back in the game, scoring the next 13 points, to trail 17-13 about halfway through the third quarter. RB Kenny Gamble scored on a one-yard run, and K Nick Lowery kicked 41 and 23-yard field goals.

Later, DeBerg threw a touchdown pass for the Chiefs, as he connected on a five-yard pass with WR Carlos Carson. But not long after hitting that score, DeBerg threw another interception that was returned for a touchdown by S Randy Robbins. …Read More!

Chiefs Rank No. 24 In Popularity Index

This summer, the media-research firm Nielsen Co. conducted a first-of-its-kind study on the popularity of NFL teams.

The company developed the Nielsen Sports Media Exposure Index. It is a ranking system based on the local and national television ratings of each team, how many visitors the team gets to its official website and how many times they are mentioned on the Internet.

The survey results were released on Thursday and not surprisingly, America’s Team, the Dallas Cowboys finished first among the 32 NFL teams. In fact, they were overwhelmingly the most popular team in the league, finishing well ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Well down the list were the Chiefs, finished at No. 24, just behind the Carolina Panthers and just ahead of the Oakland Raiders. Based on the difference in their ratings, the Cowboys are three times more popular than the Chiefs which sounds about right.

According to the popularity index the St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jacksonville Jaguars are the least popular teams in the league.

The most popular division? The NFC East with the Cowboys (#1), Giants (#3), Eagles (#7) and Redskins (#11).

Here are the rankings:

  …Read More!

Thursday 9/9 Practice Report – Update

From the Truman Sports Complex

Todd Haley didn’t pull any punches in assessing his team in comparison to San Diego, their opponent in the Monday night season opener.

“I know this team that we are playing on Monday … we are not nearly as skilled as they are,” the Chiefs head coach said Thursday afternoon after wrapping up the second practice of the week dedicated to the Chargers. “It’s not close. That’s no disrespect to our guys. That’s just the way it is.”

It’s hard to run away from that reality, as the Chargers have won four straight AFC West division titles, while the Chiefs have just gone through the worst three-year period in the team’s history.

But don’t think Haley is conceding anything going into this game. …Read More!

A Crossroads Moment … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

Barry Richardson was at the crossroads of his young NFL career.

The third-year tackle came out of pre-season game No. 1 in Atlanta with a right leg injury. Specifics on the health of players are not something the Chiefs ever provide and this injury came at a time before NFL regulations required them to issue an injury report.

When a 6-foot-6 guy is walking around the practice field with a limp, it doesn’t take a medical degree to understand he’s injured. That was August 15, two days after the loss to the Falcons. Richardson spent time on August 16 in the rehab area while practice was going on.

But on August 17, other offensive linemen had fallen along the way and the number of blockers available was at a minimal number. That was the day the coaching staff moved DE Bobby Greenwood to offensive tackle. And it was the day when the limping Richardson returned to practice.

Since then, nobody on the Chiefs team was on the field for more snaps in the final pre-season games than Richardson. When starting right tackle Ryan O’Callaghan went down on August 24th with a groin injury in practice, the still ailing Richardson was forced into to the starting lineup. He got starters snaps at right tackle against the Eagles, and then worked at left tackle in the fourth quarter. In the pre-season finale against the Packers, he spent time again playing right, and then left tackle.

And there’s a good chance on Monday night he’ll be in the starting lineup at right tackle when the Chiefs open the regular season against the San Diego Chargers. …Read More!

Answer Bob: Wednesday 9/8

I know I don’t always do a good job of getting back to questions from you guys, so I’m going to jump in and answer a few when they come through on the comments. Excuse me if I miss a few, but we’ll continue to refine this and get to everybody.

Thanks for reading and subscribing to


Question: Bob, were there any players released this past week that you were hoping the Chiefs would pick up?

Bob says: With 700-plus players flooding the open market it’s hard to zero in on one or two players that would be an upgrade. I would always look at the cuts by teams like the Colts, Packers, Steelers, Giants, Eagles, etc. Good teams seldom make personnel mistakes, but sometimes they’ve just got an overload at one position. Take the Eagles, and three years ago, they drafted and then released Andy Studebaker. Now, he’s got a chance to be a significant contributor to the Chiefs. …Read More!

Remembering Opening Day: 1984

Over the next few days as a lead up to the 2010 Chiefs season opener, we are going to remember some of the more memorable first games for the red and gold over the last 30 seasons. These are openers that I’ve seen first-hand over the past three decades. Here’s one of my favorites.

Sunday, September 2, 1984 @ Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pa.

This was the second year of the John Mackovic Era and his passing offense had elevated Bill Kenney to a 4,000-yard plus passer in the 1983 season. But in the final pre-season game of ’84 against the New England Patriots, Kenney suffered a broken right thumb when it hit a helmet during a pass. He would end up spending five weeks on the injured-reserve list.

Into the starting role came second-year man Todd Blackledge (left). Selected in the first round of the 1983 NFL Draft, Blackledge was part of what would go down as one of the most remarkable first-round QB drafts in history. In the end, Blackledge would be the least successful of those six quarterbacks. Three of those guys are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame – John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino.

The Chiefs went to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers for opening day. This was not the dynasty Steelers of the 1970s. There were a few guys with four Super Bowl rings left, topped by WR John Stallworth. In fact Stallworth and fellow receiver rookie Louis Lipps were the stars of the game, combining for 14 catches for 350 yards and three touchdowns.

The guy that Stallworth, Lipps and QB David Woodley picked on that day was a rookie cornerback named Kevin Ross. Playing in his first NFL game, Ross was beaten time and time again, especially by Lipps who finished with 183 yards.

…Read More!

It’s A Wrap … Pre-Season Oscars

OK, so we are a day or two late in acknowledging the end of the 2010 training camp/pre-season in the NFL.

It’s only in the last few days that teams have shifted into the regular season mode as they get ready for this first weekend of games. It all starts with Thursday night’s lid-lifter featuring the Minnesota Vikings visiting New Orleans and the defending champion Saints.

Before we completely forget about what happened over the first six weeks of the season, whether it was in St. Joseph, or Atlanta, or Arrowhead Stadium, let’s take a few minutes and remember as we present our Pre-Season Oscars, acknowledging both good and bad performances from the start of the season.


Offense – WR/RB Dexter McCluster. He is quite possibly the most exciting offensive addition to the Chiefs roster in some time. Many fans have made the comparison to Dante Hall, but McCluster is a much better offensive player and force than Hall ever was. Dante was probably a better returner, however, McCluster will have the chance to show us. If they can keep opponents from snapping the 5-8, 170-pounder in half, he will lift the entire offense.

Defense – LB Derrick Johnson. The way D.J. handled his situation over the last year is worthy of praise. When he went to the dog house, he did not pout. He kept working. When the off-season came, he did not scream and yell and try to get a ticket out of town. He kept working. When his second off-season program came around, he kept working. It appears that Johnson will start the season as a starter and one thing that’s obvious, he will keep working.

Special teams – Returner Javier Arenas. If it wasn’t for McCluster, the Chiefs Nation would have embraced this little guy from Alabama. He’s got a chance to put the Chiefs back on the punt and kickoff return map, a place they haven’t been since Hall was traded to St. Louis. What’s amazing about Arenas is his ability to break or spin away from tacklers who hit him high.

…Read More!

Wednesday Practice Report / Update

From the Truman Sports Complex

Say this for Todd Haley: the Chiefs head coach is persistent.

For the second time since starting assignments were declared for the season opener against San Diego, Haley was asked by the media about one of those decisions. Specifically, he was asked what he’d seen from Derrick Johnson to move him into the starting lineup ahead of last year’s starter Demorrio Williams.

And for the second time the coach did not answer the question, but continued his campaign for changing the football landscape.

“I’m trying to take anything like ones and twos out of the vocabulary,” Haley said after Wednesday’s practice session. “The more our guys can think that way, the better for us. Every one of our guys has to think of themselves as a front-line contributing player for us. To me that inside backer position in the base defense is no more important than say a gunner on the punt team.”

More from Haley and how he’s going to approach his 45-man game-day roster: “We are going to have guys that are penciled in as starters playing on special teams. I’m not going to take insurance policies to the game. I don’t think we have the depth or the margin of error to do that. We need everyone that’s putting on shoulder pads, helmets and cleats on, other than maybe the No. 2 quarterback to be contributing and more than one, two or three snaps.”

The Chiefs dove head first into their preparations for the Chargers on Wednesday.

“They have good stability there; Coach (Norv) Turner has been there a number of years and it’s clear they understand what he expects,” said Haley. “They have a number of good players on offense and defense and special teams that create a lot of problems.”

The Chiefs second practice of the opening week of the 2010 regular season went down outside at the team’s facilities with the players in shoulder pads and shorts. Here are some observations from a very short open period where the media was allowed on the field: …Read More!

Maple Leaf Magic … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

As a kid, Cory Greenwood was like any other youngster in his little corner of the world.

He was constantly engaged in some sort of activity; a whirling dervish like any young boy, bumps, scrapes and bruises galore.

Like all the mighty mites in Canada, it started with hockey. Putting on the skates, wearing the gloves, grabbing the stick, hitting the ice … it was all he thought about.

“It was fun, out there mucking around with the puck and banging the boards,” Greenwood said with a smile. “I put the skates when I was about five years old and played for like the next 10 years.” Eventually, he would rise in the ranks of amateur hockey in Canada, high enough that had he devoted his time to the ice, he may have made a career for himself in professional hockey.

But when Greenwood was in the eighth grade, he discovered football. There were pads and helmets, but no more sticks and no more boards. Just the wide open spaces of a Canadian football field. Something about it felt right for him. “There was more of a mental aspect of the game than in hockey,” he said. “There were game plans and preparation. There’s only one game a week and that allows you to do a lot of training. I really liked that.”

There were no dreams of football taking him anywhere. He followed the action in the Canadian Football League and the National Football League, but he did not have a favored team or player.

This week Cory Greenwood is standing in the locker room of an NFL team. That fact is sometimes beyond his comprehension.

“I never thought about it, never dreamed it,” Greenwood said. “It’s pretty amazing.” …Read More!

The Now Or Later Battle … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

It’s the constant predicament faced by NFL head coaches at this time every year. When chopping the roster to the league limit of 53 players, what’s more important – players who can contribute now, or developmental players who are a year or two or maybe more away from carrying their own weight?

The decision making can sometimes leave a head coach a bit dizzy. Todd Haley may have been that way on Monday. The Chiefs head coach said he wants help from every player on his roster this year, and he wants developmental players.

Here’s Haley on the idea of the players must produce now:

“What I’ve been telling these guys from day one, and that includes just now when we ended practice, is we need you now; we don’t need you tomorrow, we don’t need you next week, we don’t need you next year. In my mind I want to put the best team out there every week, whatever that is.”

So does that mean Haley has turned into a modern day George Allen, who as a head coach of the Rams and Redskins lived by the motto that “the future is now”?

Here’s what Haley had to say about that:

  …Read More!

Answer Bob: Labor Day Edition

What a busy weekend trying to keep up with the Chiefs and the NFL and all the roster moves. I’m worn out, but I do want to answer some of your questions. I know I don’t always do a good job of getting back to questions, so my Labor Day resolution is to do some more work every few days and answer questions you have posted in the comments.

Again, thanks for reading and subscribing to


Chris says: KC Star said that Cameron Sheffield (inferred) was taken off practice by ambulance. What is the story?

Bob says: Here’s what I saw. At approximately 11:30 a.m. on Monday an ambulance from the K.C. Fire Department drove into the Chiefs facility at the Truman Sports Complex. The ambulance had its lights flashing but no siren and was not in a hurry. It traveled behind the Chiefs indoor facility, where there is access to the locker room, training room and even to the practice field. About 20 minutes later, the ambulance came back out from behind the indoor facility, again with lights flashing, but not running the siren and not moving quickly at all.

At the end of his meeting with the media, Todd Haley was asked if someone had been hurt at practice. “Nobody that I know right now,” said Haley. “I didn’t see anything occur. We are fighting through some things with some guys that you have all been aware of. It appeared we made it through in good shape.”

That’s what I know.

…Read More!

Enrique’s Video Vault: Mile High Monday Night

Led by the thrill of entering the home stretch in our wait for Opening Night, we thought about bringing you the memories from the last Monday Night game at Arrowhead Stadium, a Patriots victory over the Chiefs.

But we thought that you might like this one just a little bit better. It involves Joe Montana and a certain victory at Mile High Stadium.

Once again, please enjoy it — and stay alert, ’cause next week, we’ll finish this reminiscences with a bang.

You can reach Enrique directly


College Preview: September 6

Boise State vs. Virginia Tech, Fed Ex Field, Landover, Maryland, 7 P.M., ESPN


(2nd/3rd-round) #73 OL Nate Potter, 6-6, 300 pounds, 5.07 seconds, Redshirt-Junior

First team All-Western Athletic Conference selection as a sophomore at left tackle, where he started the last eight games of the ’09 season. Coaches have moved him to left guard for the ’10 season. If he can show ability there, it will only enhance his NFL prospects.

(3rd-round) #2 WR Austin Pettis (right), 6-2 ½, 201 pounds, 4.61 seconds, Redshirt-Senior.

With his 63 catches and 14 touchdowns last year, Pettis earned first-team All-WAC honors in ’09. While not especially fast, the California product has very good hands and the ability to separate from coverage. He suffered a left ankle fracture near the end of the ’09 season, that cost him playing time, but he’s fully recovered. In 38 games he’s caught 158 passes for 1,887 yards and 29 TDs.

…Read More!

Monday Practice Report – Update

From the Truman Sports Complex

There’s no depth chart for the Chiefs season opening game that has been released yet by the team. And Monday afternoon, head coach Todd Haley did not provide any new information on the spots where there was obvious competition for the starting jobs in training camp and the pre-season: center, inside linebackers and free safety.

In fact, Haley wants to change the mindset of everyone, including his players and coaches, about the significance of being a starter.

“It’s critical for our team, the players and coaches to get out of our heads this first team, second team stuff,” Haley said. “We are going to need everybody, every player to have some sort of impact.”

A true statement, but players, coaches, the media, administrators … just about everyone cares about the best players on a team and generally those are  the starters.  During the 20-minute open period in Monday’s practice when the media was allowed to watch,  Casey Wiegmann was running with the No. 1 offensive line. On defense, Derrick Johnson and Jovan Belcher were working with the No. 1 defense at inside linebacker, as was free safety Jon McGraw.

Whether those decisions are final remains to be seen, as Haley would not address the matter Monday afternoon. But at some point in time – maybe as late as Monday night’s game against San Diego – they will become known to the public. …Read More!

Roster Tidbits … Labor Day Cup O’Chiefs

One of the best parts of getting to hang around pro football teams for 30-plus years is the collection of stories that can be found in every locker room, in every season.

NFL players don’t just come from one part of the country. There are not physical, mental or emotional templates when it comes to reaching the highest level of the game. Pull together 53 men and there’s no way that diversity doesn’t dominate the discussion.

There are big city guys working next to farm boys. It’s black and white together. There are smart guys, with high IQs and not so smart guys who have trouble functioning in the world. There are really big guys, and really little guys.

And every year, the deck of roster cards gets shuffled again. No team stays the same from year to year; the only constant in the league is change. As teams begin to lock down their regular season rosters, the group of men they pull together tells a new story of themselves and what the team might be in the 16 weeks ahead.

Like the Chiefs and their 53-man roster that didn’t go 24 hours without changing. They claimed NT Anthony Toribio off the waiver wire from Green Bay. To create a spot on the roster, WR Quinten Lawrence was released. More changes may come down this week, and certainly there’s a chance that more could come after the first game.

The rosters of struggling and rebuilding football teams are always very fluid, but we enjoyed a sunny Sunday afternoon picking apart the 2010 Chiefs roster and finding out more about the second edition of Pioli/Haley football. Here are the facts; I’ll let you decide what type of picture it paints.   …Read More!

NFL Personnel File For Sunday, September 5

I don’t think I’ve seen as much action on the NFL waiver wire as what went down in the last 24 hours.

With over 700 players suddenly free agents, there is always interest in a few of those players. But for some reason, this year that interest in making waiver claims went through the roof. The league does not release this type of information, so it has to trickle out piecemeal from the teams, the players themselves or their agents.

At the end of Sunday evening, at least 16 teams had put in one claim for a player on the waiver wire. Miami and the New York Jets claimed at least four players each, while Arizona and Seattle had three each.

One surprise move was the decision by the New York Jets to released FB Tony Richardson. In last week’s episode of “Hard Knocks” head coach Rex Ryan said Richardson had to be on the final 53-man roster because he was a symbol of the rough, run and tussle offense he wish to run. Richardson may be gone only for a week; the Jets are scrimping on money these days and if a vested veteran player is on the game-day roster opening weekend, he’s guaranteed his base salary for the year.

Here’s what went down on Sunday: …Read More!

Chiefs Stay Busy With Personnel

The not-so final Chiefs roster has already had its first changes and the club has signed up a full practice squad. That was the personnel business we found out about on Sunday with the Chiefs.

Claimed on waivers from the Green Bay Packers was NT Anthony Toribio (right). He’s 6-1, 315 pounds and a first-year player out of Carson-Newman in Tennessee, where he was a four-year starter.

Toribio was at Arrowhead Stadium last Thursday night and played against the Chiefs in the pre-season finale. He was given credit for one assisted tackle.

He signed with the Miami Dolphins after he was not selected in the 2008 NFL Draft, but was released on the final cut down before the regular season. He spent time on the Dolphins practice squad, but was released. He signed with the Packers practice squad late in the ’08 season and ended up being moved up to the active roster for two games, but he was not one of the game-day active players. In spent all of the ’09 season on the Packers practice squad until the final game, when he dressed and played in Green Bay’s game against Arizona.

Toribio is 25 years old and a native of Miami, Florida. His last name is pronounced tuh Rib ee oh.

To create a roster spot for Toribio, the Chiefs released WR Quinten Lawrence.

They also announced their eight-man practice squad on Sunday. All were players who were released on Saturday in the cut to 53. They were: NT Garrett Brown, DE Dion Gales, OT Bobby Greenwood, G Darryl Harris, QB Tyler Palko, CB/S Ricky Price, WR Verran Tucker and LB Pierre Walters.

Pre-Season Week #4 Roundup

Nothing is forgotten quicker than the final pre-season game. That’s not fair to many players who have outstanding moments or games, so we decided to go-ahead and remember the plays and players who stood above in week No. 4 of the pre-season.

One note – as you go through the plays and players realize that most of the names are also on the waiver wire right now; even a great moment couldn’t save them a spot on the roster.


  • 102 – Detroit CB Paul Pratt interception return for TD v s. Buffalo
  • 99 – Seattle RB Louis Rankin kickoff return for TD vs. Oakland
  • 93 – San Diego WR Jeremy Williams punt return TD vs. San Francisco
  • 93 – Cincinnati RB Cedric Peerman TD run vs. Indianapolis.
  • 91 – Tampa Bay S Corey Lynch interception return vs. Houston.
  • 83 – St. Louis LB Chris Chamberlain interception return vs. Baltimore.
  • 77 – Green Bay WR Brett Swain catch vs. Kansas City.
  • 66 – Arizona P Ben Graham punt vs. Arizona.
  • 66 – N.Y. Giants D Jenkins TD catch vs. New England
  • 65 – Philadelphia P Sav Rocca punt vs. N.Y. Jets.

…Read More!

The Not-So Final Roster … Sunday Cup O’Chiefs

There are a half-dozen or so players that went to bed last night, members of the 2010 Kansas City Chiefs, who may find their station in life changed by the end of business on Sunday.

They need to remember the mantras of all NFL players, other than the upper echelon of the league – rent, don’t buy.

Like all the other NFL teams, the Chiefs got their roster pared down to 53 players on Saturday. Among the decisions were some moves that could be called surprises, others that were obvious. How the roster looks on this Sunday does not necessarily mean it will look the same a week from now when Todd Haley holds his final practice to get ready for the regular-season opener against the Chargers.

Until then, here’s how the pieces came together for the first version of the final roster and what might change from there.


It’s not out of line to think that a team that won only four games last year, and just 10 in the last three years, would have a big roster turnover every season. It only seems natural that the franchise would be plowing the field over and over each year until they found the right bodies.

That’s what makes it a bit unusual that there are just 14 players on the roster right now that were not with the team last year in some form, whether active roster or practice squad:   …Read More!

NFL Personnel File/Saturday, September 4

Take a good look at the picture to the left. That’s Chiefs S DaJuan Morgan tackling Packers RB Kregg Lumpkin in Thursday night’s game at Arrowhead Stadium.

More accurately today, that’s former Chiefs S DaJuan Morgan tackling former Packers RB Kregg Lumpkin. Both players were among the players that lost their spots on NFL rosters over the last two days.

Saturday was the busiest day of the personnel year in the NFL as the league’s 32 teams got down to the regular season limit of 53 players.

Just a few days ago, the teams had 75 players, so that’s over 700 players that were knocked off the roster in some manner. Most were released. A few were released injured, meaning that if they clear waivers they move to the injured-reserve list. Some went right to the IR-list. Others got tickets to the reserve/PUP list.

Here’s the list as it stood at midnight. There will be more changes coming in the next 48 hours.   …Read More!

Chiefs Cut To 53

The Chiefs finally announced their moves that got their roster down to the league limit of 53 players.  Here’s what they did.


  1. DT Garrett Brown
  2. DL Dion Gales
  3. DT Derek Lokey
  4. LB David Herron
  5. LB Pierre Walters
  6. S DaJuan Morgan
  7. S Ricky Price
  8. QB Tyler Palko
  9. RB Javarris Williams
  10. WR Verran Tucker
  11. G/T Colin Brown
  12. T Bobby Greenwood
  13. G Darryl Harris

Injured reserve:

  • CB Maurice Leggett
  • WR Jerheme Urban

We’ll have more information and discussion on Sunday of the moves and the roster as it sits right now. They’ve obviously gone light at quarterback, but then there’s at least one big name-no game quarterback now available in Matt Leinart – he was released by Arizona. And, does Urban’s move to IR make room for a No. 3 receiver like T.J. Houshmanzadah? He was released by Seattle. Stay tuned, I’m willing to bet there are few more moves to be made on the active roster, and then there’s the practice squad to sign up as well.

Also on Saturday, the Chiefs traded FS Jarrad Page to the New England Patriots for an undisclosed conditional draft choice. Because they had a roster exemption for Page, he did not count against any of their roster limits.

Chiefs Deal Page To New England

For months, no make that over a year, Jarrad Page wanted out of the Chiefs locker room.

His wish came true Saturday afternoon when the Chiefs traded Page to the New England Patriots for a conditional draft choice. The trade was reported by ESPN.

Page has not been seen around the Chiefs since the ’09 season ended. He and Todd Haley had several disagreements during the time they were together and Page told teammates there was no way he was going to return to the team.

The trade has no effect on the Chiefs moves to get to the 53-man NFL limit, which they had to reach at 5 p.m. CDT.

College Preview: September 4 Plus


One of the top early season matchups in college football has been tarnished by North Carolina leaving 13 players back in Chapel Hill because of various investigations and punishments. That group includes seven of the Tar Heels defensive starters, almost all of whom are top-ranked NFL prospects. If you don’t see them on the field, now you know why.



(2nd/3rd-Round) #80 WR Terrance Toliver (left), 6-4, 206 pounds, 4.49 seconds, Senior
Toliver was the Tigers second leading receiver in ’09, catching 53 passes for 735 yards and 3 TDs, while starting 11 of the 12 games he played. In 40 games he has 85 catches for 1,241 yards and 7 TDs. LSU has had six WRs taken in the top 100 picks of the NFL Draft since 2004. Tolliver needs a big senior season to join that group. Good physical skills and strong after the catch. He’s considered a bit immature; he was arrested in March and charged with disturbing the peach, public intoxication and resisting arrest.

(2nd/3rd-Round) #11 ILB Kelvin Sheppard, 6-2, 245 pounds 4.64 seconds. Redshirt-Senior.

Led the team in tackles in the ’09 season with 103 total stops and is considered the emotional leader of the Tigers. He’s has 188 total tackles in three years, playing inside and also at OLB on the weakside. He began this year’s pre-season as the MLB, but injuries on the outside have moved him back there.

…Read More!

College Roundup: September 4



(1st/2nd-Round) #54 DT Stephen Paea, 6-1, 310 pounds, 4.95 seconds in the 40-yard dash, Redshirt-Season.

He was All-Pac 10 Conference first team in ’09, Paea is a disruptive forced on the interior of the Beavers defense with 84 tackles, 19.5 TFL and eight sacks in two seasons. He’s twice been selected as a co-captain of his team, after arriving in Corvalis following a pair of JUCO seasons. He’s a very talented athlete with a 500-pound bench press and a vertical jump of 30 inches. A native of Tonga, he was born in New Zealand and his dream was to play professional rugby. Paea is considered the No. 2 NFL prospect in the Pac-10 behind Washington QB Jake Locker. His last name is pronounced pie-uh.

(2nd-Round) #1 RB Jacquizz Rodgers (above), 5-6, 188 pounds, 4.49 seconds, Junior.

In ’08 he was the Pac-10 Offensive MVP, the first freshman to win that honor in conference history. Younger brother of OSU WR James Rodgers, he ran for 1,440 yards last year with 21 rushing TDs. Last year he was one of the few players in the country that scored touchdowns rushing, receiving and passing. His first name is pronounced juh-quizz.   …Read More!

A Guess On The 53 … Saturday Cup O’Roster

OK, the Chiefs got the jump on me and sliced seven players off the 53-man roster Friday night.

I was all set to give you my prediction on the 53-man roster as it would look early Saturday evening after the NFL deadline.

With seven gone, that means there are 15 more moves that must be made for the Chiefs to reach that league mandated number. There’s also the chance they could go lower, because they’ve already got their eye on somebody who popped up on the waiver wire on Friday. Todd Haley calls it last chance shopping.

I’m not big on mock drafts and I’m just as ambivalent on mock rosters. If I had all the answers, I would be hiding out in some fancy NFL front office, making sure I got all the credit and somebody else took the blame.

So rather than give you my 53, I’m going to give you the next 15 roster moves. Remember, this is opinion. Anybody in the media that says they have inside information is either a.) lying or b.) will soon be shot … you know one of those if I tell you the information, then I have to kill you type of things.

Anyway, here goes and remember please, no wagering: …Read More!

NFL Personnel File For Friday

The first day of what will be a very busy Labor Day weekend closed out on Friday in the NFL as the league’s 32 teams began their work of reaching the regular-season roster limit of 53 players.

It was also a busy day in the trade market, as the Chargers, Dolphins, Eagles and Giants all picked up players in deals. Friday night, Minnesota traded QB Sage Rosenfels to the Giants along with RB Darius Reynaud for a couple of draft choices.

San Diego gave up a seventh-round pick to Dallas for WR Patrick Crayton. The Cowboys picked up another late round choice when it traded OL Pat McQuistan to the Dolphins. The Eagles got G Reggie Wells from the Cardinals.

It was also a time when some players saw their seasons end as they went on the injured-reserve list: players like OLB Elvis Dumervil (above), last year’s NFL sack leader with the Broncos, RB LenDale White, and promising rookie RB Montario Hardesty. Several other familiar names will begin the season on the reserve/PUP list like S Ed Reed, S Darren Sharper and LB Gerald Hayes. Players on reserve/PUP can return to practice after six games and then have a three-week window of practice to possibly come back and play in the 2010 season.

…Read More!

Chiefs Take First Slice On Roster

The Chiefs announced Friday night that they have released seven players as they begin their march to the NFL roster limit of 53 players by 5 p.m. CDT on Saturday

There were no surprises among the group sent to the waiver wire. It included three NFL veterans and four rookie free agents. They were:

  • G/T Ikechuku Ndukwe, a four-year veteran who joined the team last year in a trade with Miami.
  • CB Mike Richardson, a four-year veteran out of Notre Dame who joined the team at the end of last September and turned a good season on special teams.
  • G Dan Santucci, a four-year veteran who signed in early August.
  •  TE Leroy Banks, a rookie free agent from Southern Mississippi.
  • WR Rich Gunnell, a rookie free agent from Boston College.
  • C/G Lemuel Jeanpierre, a rookie free agent from South Carolina.
  • LB  John Russell, a rookie free agent from Wake Forest.

The team also announced what every already knew, that FS Jarrad Page had signed his restricted free agent tender offer. The Chiefs have been granted a roster exemption, so Page does not count against the roster limit right now.

That leaves the Chiefs at 68 players, so another 15 must be taken off the roster in some form by late tomorrow afternoon.

How Important Was Last Night’s Triumph?

Here’s your one-word answer: Very.

Yes, it came against a team that was protecting its most talented players. Yes, it still took place within the time frame of the training schedule. And no, the corresponding footage surely won’t be classified under the “CLASSIC” tag at the NFL Films headquarters.

Still, you can’t properly measure the value that it has.

Under different circumstances, the outcome of the pre-season finale between the Chiefs and the Packers would not have been considered as a subject for dissection. In fact, the very game would not have been worthy of additional attention. We can all agree on that. Taking into account that these kinds of instances are primarily being used nowadays as a last resort for a handful of rather desperate individuals (either struggling to fulfil their dreams of becoming active members of the fraternity called National Football League, or simply trying to hang on for dear life to that already-attained status), it really wouldn’t be that surprising to expect the final analyses to be focused around performances like the ones presented by Jackie Battle, Travis Daniels and Jackie Bates.

But every now and then, important concerns do get to be clarified at the last hour. And for the Arrowhead Ones (as a whole), the positive 17-13 result against Green Bay shed an inspiring light on more relevant issues than the customary ones that first meet the eye. Some that cannot be judged by raw numbers, and that primarily, are based on gut feelings. Among those achieved you can count: …Read More!

Page Signs Tender Offer; What’s Next?

From the Truman Sports Complex

FS Jarrad Page on Friday signed one-year, $1,759,000 tender offer that was made to him back in February.

That means Page counts against the Chiefs now 75-man, soon to be 53-man roster. Normally, in cases such as this, teams get the a two to three-week window and roster exemption, which the Chiefs reportedly have applied for and been granted.

According to, Page has not decided yet whether he will report to work with the Chiefs.  Page has asked for a trade. By signing the tender offer, that process becomes easier for the Chiefs and a trading partner to pull off.

Weeks ago, the Chiefs indicated that they had not received any trade offers for Page. With all the bodies moving about with the roster cutdown to 53 in the next 48 hours, some teams will take a look at what’s available and where Page might fit in. But that may not happen until after the first game. From the start Detroit has been the logical landing spot for Page because of the presence of defensive coordiantor Gunther Cunningham and the team’s need for safeties.

Unless the framework of a trade has already been put together, it seems doubtful that one will go down this weekend. It maybe after the first game and teams have assessed their rosters and possible injuries before the trigger on a trade is pulled. One wonders what may have happened had Page signed his tender two weeks ago and reported to the team. The exemption would be running out right now and the Chiefs would then be forced to make a decision.

Leftovers From Dinner With The Cheeseheads

From the Truman Sports Complex

It happened about 45 minutes before the Chiefs and Packers kicked things off on Thursday night at Arrowhead Stadium.

Dark clouds had passed over the playing field, leaving behind some rain as they headed east. To the west, the sun was breaking through some light, fluffy clouds. So while it was still raining, right above the sports complex sprouted a rainbow.

It was a big one too. It looked like it might have begun in Wisconsin and the other end was somewhere in Texas. The colors were vivid and the rainbow sat there for several minutes.

Maybe that’s all the Chiefs needed to get their first pre-season success in a couple of years – a rainbow with a pot of victory gold sitting underneath.


When it comes to playing football, it really doesn’t matter where the game is played or what the rules are – count in Demorrio Williams.

At least that’s what Todd Haley says.

“I think if we said ‘Hey we are going to have pickup game outside this wall, right now after this game, he would be in, whether it was two-hand touch, whatever it was, he would be playing.

“He likes to play, he’s relentless. That’s a good sign for us.” …Read More!

Chiefs End Pre-Season Futility, 17-13

From Arrowhead Stadium

There was happiness visible on the Chiefs bench in the closing seconds of the team’s 17-13 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night.

After a 2-14 season in 2008, then 0-4 in the ’09 pre-season, a 4-12 record in the ’09 regular season and then 0-3 going into the ’10 pre-season, a victory of any type was badly needed.

So even though the Packers rested most of their best players, the Chiefs were going to enjoy the victory. And there was plenty that went down involving the game and here’s our coverage. Enjoy!

  • GAME STORY: Able to beat the Packers JV team.
  • COMMENTARY: No time to celebrate.
  • SIDEBAR: Defense does its job.
  • NOTES: Dexter McCluster gets it done again
  • Pre-Game Stadium Report

Notes: Rookies Honored As Captains

From Arrowhead Stadium

It was an unusual scene when the captains of the Chiefs and Packers met at midfield for the pre-game coin toss.

Representing the Chiefs was the team’s 2010 NFL Draft class of seven players. Eric Berry, Dexter McCluster (right), Javier Arenas, Jon Asamoah, Tony Moeaki, Kendrick Lewis and Cameron Sheffield (in street clothes) went out to represent their team.

It was the idea of head coach Todd Haley, who has raved about the intangibles of the group since the first day they walked into the building.


McCluster continues to make things happen, whether on offense or special teams. Now, if he can just keep his teammates from getting penalties and taking away some of his yardage.

Against Green Bay, McCluster carried the ball three times for 37 yards, two of those running plays coming out of the Wildcat formation. He did not catch a pass, but he returned two kickoffs for an average of 21.5 yards. All this was in limited work over the evening.

In the pre-season, where he essentially only played in three games, McCluster:

  • Ran for 108 yards on 17 carries, a 6.4-yard average.
  • Caught seven passes for 40 yards.
  • Returned two punts for a 9.5-yard average.
  • Brought back five kickoffs for a 30.8-yard average.


When they got the ball to start the third quarter, the Chiefs pulled out the Wildcat formation with McCluster handling the ball. On first down, McCluster ripped off a big run down the left side, only to lose a large part of the yardage to a holding call on FB Tim Castille. On the repeat of first down, McCluster ran for nine yards and a first down.

On the next play, McCluster took the snap and handed off to WR Jeremy Horne on an end-around going from left to right. Horne had forward progress for four yards, but when he was walled off by the Packers defense, he reversed his field.

Horne ended up losing 12 yards on the run and the Wildcat went back in the box and was not seen again Thursday night.


When he lines up at nose tackle with his 300 pounds, Derek Lokey is actually considered a bit underweight for the position.

Not so when he lines up at fullback, something he did last week against Philadelphia and he was out there again against Green Bay on Thursday night.

“I’ve been campaigning for it,” Lokey said after the game. “I did some of that when I was in college (University of Texas) and I’ve been trying to get them to give me a chance.”

So far Lokey has done nothing but block; he’s not touched the ball either in a handoff, or as a receiver. Haley wants to see if he can catch the ball. Lokey says give him a chance.

“I can catch the ball,” he said. “Give me a shot.”


Ed Hochuli, aka Mr. Muscles, and his crew worked the game. Despite the fact that only the Kansas City area and Milwaukee-Green Bay were getting the television broadcast, Hochuli made sure he got plenty of TV time. No referee/crew chief among the league’s officiating crews turns on his microphone and speaks more than Hochuli.

There were two replay challenges by the Packers, one in each half. Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy lost the first one, when an on-field ruling of an incomplete pass was upheld. But in the second half, McCarthy challenged the placement of the ball after a running play by Kregg Lumpkin. The officials ruled him down without crossing the goal line. But after McCarthy threw the red flag, the review showed that Lumpkin had the ball in his possession when he crossed the goal line, thus it was a touchdown.

In the second half, Haley threw his red flag on a possible Packers fumble that on the field was ruled down by contact. Hochuli went under the hood and came back with a decision not to change the call, costing the Chiefs a timeout.

Overall, the Chiefs were flagged for five penalties for 42 yards. There was an offensive pass interference call against WR Jeremy Horne that wiped out a seven-yard gain by McCluster. On the first offensive play of the second half, McCluster ripped off a 27-yard run out of the Wildcat formation. But C Rudy Niswanger was hit with a 10-yard holding call, wiping out 23 yards of that play.

There were three fourth quarter penalties on defense. CB Jackie Bates was called for an illegal contact penalty, giving the Packers a first down. DE Alex Magee was hit for five yards on an illegal use of the hands. Late in the period, CB Travis Daniels was hit for a 12-yard defensive pass interference call.


  • Punting – Dustin Colquitt punted five times for a 45.2-yard average. His net average was 39.8 yards and his long punt went for 61 yards.
  • Kickoffs — Ryan Succop kicked off four times, sending his kicks to the goal line, goal line, five-yard line and then a surprise mortar kick that went to the 26-yard line. Only once after a kickoff did the Packers begin the possession outside the 20-yard line.
  • FGs & PATs – Succop missed from 51 yards when he hit the left upright. He came back and kicked a 26-yarder and made all of his PAT kicks
  • Returns – On punt returns, Arenas ripped off a 44-yarder to start the night and finished with two returns for an average of 23.5 yards. On kickoff returns, McCluster had two and Javarris Williams one and they averaged 21.3 yards between them.
  • Coverage – Darn good night for coverage units, as they held returner Jason Chery to a 9-yard on three punt returns and then a 16-yard average on kickoff returns.


A dozen members of the Packers did not dress for the game, including starting QB Aaron Rodgers and starter RB Ryan Grant. Also out were starters LT Chad Clifton, DE Cullen Jenkins, OLBs Clay Matthews and Brad Jones and CB Charles Woodson.

For the Chiefs, they had five players who did not participate: CB Maurice Leggett, OLB Cameron Sheffield, G Darryl Harris, RT Ryan O’Callaghan and OLB Tamba Hali. Starting for O’Callaghan was Barry Richardson, with Andy Studebaker stepping into the starting lineup for Hali.

Also, WR Chris Chambers was dressed but did not play in the game. Chambers was a limited participant in practice last Tuesday and no obvious injury is apparent with the veteran. But his nightw as over before it even began.


Honored in pre-game ceremonies was Kansas City’s “Mr. Music” Tony DiPardo. Along with his wife and family, DiPardo was taken to mid-field in a wheelchair where he was honored with a special trophy and tribute on the video boards.

SIDEBAR: Understanding The Defensive Performance

From Arrowhead Stadium

It was a good “yeah but” performance for the Chiefs defense on Thursday night against the Green Bay Packers.

The No. 1 defense dominated the Packers offense in the first half. In four possessions, Green Bay had 12 plays, gaining a total of 18 yards. It was 10 rushing yards and eight net passing yards.

“Yeah but.”

In this case, the “yeah but” is the fact that Green Bay’s offensive weapons were a non-factor. QB Aaron Rodgers, RB Ryan Grant and LT Chad Clifton did not dress. TE Jermichael Finley and WR Donald Driver dressed, were on the field, but were there for only a handful of plays. WR Greg Jennings must have done something wrong in the last week. It was like he was being punished, because he did play, catching two passes for nine yards before retiring for the evening.

That is the guts of the Packers offense right there, and they were not a factor as the Chiefs forced what few starters did play to four consecutive three-and-out possessions.

When they look at the tape on Friday, the Chiefs defense will deal with those factors. Thursday night after the game, they were enjoying the results of a good night’s work.

“We’re improving as a defense,” said LB Derrick Johnson. “To get four three-and-outs, that’s a great way to start a game and that’s what we wanted to do. We went to get in a good habit of making those three-and-outs so we can builds this team around defense.

“Championships are won around defense.”

Even though it was the Packers JV team offense on the field, the Chiefs starters were able to build on the defensive performance they put together last week against Philadelphia. In a full half of work against the Eagles, the first defense allowed 86 yards on 32 plays. Combine that with Thursday night’s first quarter numbers, that that was 104 yards on 44 plays in three quarters of play.

The sad part was the Chiefs got one sack and no turnovers against the Packers, after getting five sacks and an interception against the Eagles. Taking down the QB Matt Flynn was LB Demorrio Williams, picking up his third sack in a week. Not bad for a guy who in his first two years with the Chiefs did not have a single regular-season sack. In fact, you can probably count on both hands the number of times he rushed the passer in two seasons. There might even be a few fingers left over.

But he ran through the Eagles protection for two sacks and then Thursday night, he blew through the replacement for Clifton, second-year man T.J. Lang, a former fourth-round choice out of Eastern Michigan. Williams didn’t do it with a blitz. He was part of the team’s nickel defense and he came on the field and put his hand on the ground and lined up as what amounted to a defensive end.

“Whatever I have to do to get on the field and make plays, I will do,” said Williams. “It doesn’t matter. Standing up, putting my hand down, it’s whatever I’ve got to do to put myself on the field and help this defense.”

Because the Chiefs were without injured OLBs Tamba Hali and Cameron Sheffield did some juggling with their normal nickel defense personnel. Thursday night Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson stayed on the field, Johnson and Mike Vrabel played the inside linebacker spots, while Andy Studebaker played outside and Williams lined up as a defensive end.

“The more you can do,” said head coach Todd Haley. “We tell these guys all the time that they more they can provide us, the more valuable they are to the team.”

The overall defensive numbers against the Packers did not turn out so well because the Chiefs couldn’t get Green Bay off the field in the fourth quarter. They ran 27 plays and racked up 112 yards in just the final period, driving the ball to the Chiefs 11, 21 and 29-yard lines, but could only put a field goal on the scoreboard.

Commentary: No Time To Celebrate

From Arrowhead Stadium

It was pretty hard to tell from Todd Haley’s post-game demeanor that he had finally gotten off the schnide and his team captured the first pre-season game victory of his short head coaching career.

There was no celebration, no hooting and hollering, not even a smile from the head coach as he stepped to the podium and faced the media horde for the normal post-game inquisition. His body was there, but his mind was elsewhere.

Moments after the game clock showed 00:00 and he had shaken hands with Packers coach Mike McCarthy, Haley already put the 17-13 victory into the history banks and moved on. There’s a lot of work to do in the coming hours, days and more than a week. Haley made it very clear what was on his mind.

It wasn’t beating the Packers JV squad – it’s getting ready to play the San Diego Chargers on September 13 to start the regular season.

“We have these next 11 days here to get prepared to start the season,” Haley said. “It was important for our team to make positive strides and I feel like we did that through the pre-season in all areas.”

A lot has to happen in just the next few days. It starts with the Chiefs trimming their 75-man roster to a 53-man active list and an eight-man practice squad. All that must be done by 5 p.m. CDT on Saturday. …Read More!

GAME STORY: Chiefs End Pre-Season With a Smile

From Arrowhead Stadium

Remember the last time the Chiefs won a pre-season game? I didn’t, so I had to look it up.

It was August 28, 2008, more than two years ago. The Chiefs beat the St. Louis Rams at Arrowhead, 21-17. They claimed the Governor’s Cup after the game.

There was no Governor’s Cup to cradle Thursday night. But there was a victory, and those are so few and far between for the Chiefs in the last four years, it matters not that it will be a winning effort quickly forgotten.

The Chiefs beat the Green Bay Packers 17-13. OK, it was more like the Chiefs beat the Packers JV squad by less than a touchdown in front of another sparse crowd at Arrowhead. (Paid attendance was announced as 63,843. Many came to the game disguised as red, yellow and orange seats.)

The victory pushed their record to 1-3 for the now-finished pre-season in what quite possible could be the last four-game slate of exhibition games the franchise will play, with an 18-game regular season and shortened pre-season coming in labor negotiations.

It was also the first pre-season victory in the short head coaching career of Todd Haley.

“Overall that’s good for our team to go out there and get a win,” Haley said after the game. “Now we have 11 days to get ready for the opening of the regular season. From the big picture that I could see from the sidelines, through the first half I felt like we had taken a positive step.” …Read More!

Pre-Game/Chiefs-Packers From Arrowhead

From Arrowhead Stadium

6:30 p.m. — It’s 30 minutes to kickoff and either this is going to be a late arriving crowd, or a not-arriving crowd. There are very few people sitting in stadium seats right now as the rain has pretty much stopped. But the real test is the parking lots to the east and west of the stadium – they still have plenty of open spots. Traffic is heavy on 435 coming in from the north, and I-70 eastbound is slow going coming up to the Blue Ridge Cutoff.

6:25 p.m. — A huge rainbow is sitting above Arrowhead right now as the sun has peaked out from behind the clouds to the west, while it continues to rain on the field. The dark clouds and bad weather appear headed to the east.

6:15 p.m. — The Chiefs have 70 of their 75 players dressed tonight. The entire team is on the field going through warmups and there are no late surprises with players not dresserd to play tonight.

6:10 p.m. — Not expected to dress for the Chiefs tonight are CB Maurice Leggett, OLB Cameron Sheffield, G Darryl Harris, OT Ryan O’Callaghan and OLB Tamba Hali. All missed practice time in the last week due to injury.

6:07 p.m. — The Packers just released their list of players who will not dress for the game and it’s topped by QB Aaron Rodgers and RB Ryan Grant. Also not dressed will be CB Charles Woodson, S Will Blackmon, CB Brandon Underwood, LB Clay Matthews, LB Desmond Bishop, , LB Brad Jones, OL Bryan Bulaga, OT Chad Clifton, DE Cullen Jenkins and OL Allen Barbre. Starting at QB will be Matt Flynn.

6:05 p.m. — In his pre-game kicking routine, Ryan Succop was good from 53 yards out kicking towards the west uprights and 49 yards to the east uprights. On the field that wind is gusting in several different directions. …Read More!

College Roundup: Pitt @ Utah

Here are the top prospects for the 2011 NFL Draft that will be on the field Thursday night when the Panthers face the Utes in Salt Lake City.

University of Pittsburgh at University of Utah, 7:30 p.m. on Versus


(1st-Round) #91 DE Greg Romeus (right), 6-5, 268 pounds, 4.79 seconds in 40-yard dash, Redshirt-Senior.

The ’09 Big East Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Year with 43 tackles 11.5 TFL and eight sacks. Romeus clinched victory over Notre Dame by forcing a fumble by QB Jimmy Clausen with 2:10 left to play that was recovered by Pitt. He has 19.5 career sacks. Romeus played just one year of high school football and was known more as a basketball player at Coral Glades HS in Florida. He petitioned NFL Adivsory Committee last year and was told he was not a first-round pick, so he returned for his final season of eligiblity. Romeus suffered from back spasms during Pitt’s camp, missing a week of practice.

(1st-Round)#82 WR Jon Baldwin, 6-5, 225 pounds, 4.48 seconds, Junior

A Larry Fitzgerald-like product out of the Pitt offense, Baldwin was a first team All-Big East receiver in ’09 as a sophomore, catching 57 passes for 1,111 yards and eight TD catches. Among those scoring catches were touchdwons of 71 and 79 yards. Coming out of Aliquippa H.S., he was a football-basketball-track standout. He’s big, strong and fast — a prototypical package for today’s NFL receiver.

(2nd-Round) #77 OT Jason Pinkston, 6-4, 308, 5.12 seconds, Redshirt-Senior.First-team All-Big East Conference left tackle in ’09, Pinkston has battled shoulder problems in his career. He missed most of ’07 season with a left shoulder injury that required surgery. He missed the Sun Bowl in ’08 with a right shoulder problem. He has 28 career starts the last 25 at left tackle. Pinkston began his Pitt career as a defensive tackle after graduating from Baldwin H.S. in suburban Pittsburgh.

…Read More!

What To Watch For Vs. Green Bay

The Chiefs close out the 2010 pre-season Thursday night at what figures to be another half-filled Arrowhead Stadium. The Green Bay Packers are in town, and they’ve shown this August they will be the best team the Chiefs play in the schedule that does not count.

Too bad the Chiefs and Packers figure to play their starters like QB Aaron Rodgers (right) for only a quarter or so as everyone’s attention has already turned towards the start of the regular season next week.

The Packers arrive in Kansas City coming off a game where they scored 59 points against the Colts. Remarkably, 31 of those points came in the second half, when the starters were on the bench for the most part.

Although nothing is forgotten quicker than the final pre-season game each year, there are plenty of items for the Chiefs to get done in this game, whether it be as a team, a unit or individually. Here are some things to look for as the original participants in the first Super Bowl meet again.

…Read More!

Finishing With The Offense … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

When it’s a team that does not win many games, no matter when they are scheduled, every opportunity to score a victory is important.

So it is with the Chiefs on Thursday night, when they host the Green Bay Packers at Arrowhead Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and the local TV blackout has been lifted.

Nothing gets forgotten faster than the outcome of the final pre-season game. But it’s an important night for a handful of players that were trying to earn their spot on the roster. By 5 p.m. on Saturday, the Chiefs like the rest of the NFL, must have its roster down to 53 players.

Over two days we are providing the lay of the roster land, or at least the look from our eyes after watching every practice of the pre-season and every play of three exhibition games. Today is the offense and here’s the defense. There are three different levels in our guess work evaluations:

  • RED means they are a lock to make the roster.
  • BLACK means they are sitting in a good position.
  • BLUE means they are on the bubble.

Here’s the offensive side of the roster. With each position are the range of spots that group should have on the final roster. I’ve also listed the players at each position in a ranking of where I think they stand within the group. …Read More!

Riley County Celebrates at Arrowhead

Thursday night will be an early Homecoming celebration for the folks at Riley County High School.

Two former Falcons will be on the field at Arrowhead Stadium when the Chiefs and Packers play pre-season football. Wearing the red and gold of the Chiefs will be free safety Jon McGraw, Riley County class of ’97.

Wearing the green and gold of the Packers will be wide receiver Jordy Nelson, Riley County class of ’03. Both McGraw and Nelson went on to play college football just down the road at Kansas State and both were drafted into the NFL. McGraw was the second-round choice of the New York Jets in the 2002 NFL Draft; Nelson was selected by the Packers in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft.  Both were first team Class AAA players in their senior seasons at RCHS (McGraw in ’96 and Nelson in ’02). Both were named the Flint Hills Player of the Year by the Manhattan Mercury newspaper. Each of them played in the Kansas Shrine Bowl game.

Thanks to McGraw and Nelson, the current edition of the Riley County Falcons can dream of the future as well. The team will be at Arrowhead on Thursday night to cheer on their favorite sons. The NFL donated tickets and McGraw and Nelson are providing the transportation to Kansas City for approximately 112 students and staff members.

That crowd will be nearly half of the school that has approximately 225 students in grades nine through 12.

It’s Homecoming Thursday for the Riley County Falcons!

Starting With The Defense … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

The clock is ticking on the start of the 2010 Chiefs season.

The team will have a walkthrough practice on Wednesday, play the Packers on Thursday at Arrowhead Stadium and then face the job of taking a 75-man roster down to 53 spots. They must get that done by 5 o’clock on Saturday afternoon.

Today, there are probably 45 of the 53 spots that the coaching staff can fill without much discussion. Every team hopes the last eight or 10 spots on the roster will generate a lot of internal debates, because that’s an indication of the competition that’s gone down in the pre-season.

As Scott Pioli and Todd Haley and their staffs get together and start slicing and dicing the roster, injuries will play a factor. Essentially most teams fill out the 53 slots with 25 on offense, 25 on defense and three specialists. But some key injuries can tilt the distribution of the numbers without that 25 or even force taking a spot or two form offense to help the defense or vice-a-versa.

Over the next two days we are going to provide the lay of the roster land, or at least the look from our eyes after watching every practice of the pre-season and every play of three exhibition games. Coming today is the defense and there are three different levels in our guess work evaluations:

  • RED means they are a lock to make the roster.
  • BLACK means they are sitting in a good position.
  • BLUE means they are on the bubble.

Here’s the defensive side of the roster; Thursday we will bring you the offensive side. …Read More!


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